Each book becomes the key to the next book I’ll read. Once a book is finished, it is the one that tells me what my next book will be. Just like it was the case in ‘Mustafa Kemal’ by Yilmaz Ozdil.
I learnt about ‘Beyaz Zambaklar Ulkesinde’ in the pages of ‘Mustafa Kemal’. Written by the Russian author Grigory Petrov in 1923, it is a book singled out by Atatürk as worthy of recommendation to all students which could be made a compulsory read in military schools.
I finished the book in one breath which told how Finland climbed the ladder of social and economic success with the efforts of a handful of people.
It is encouraging that people are able to first change themselves and their surroundings, and eventually a whole country with determination and hard work.
There are scarcely any pages that I haven’t underlined. I’d like to share with you one of them by skipping the sentences in-between:
“Being an intellectual does not mean dressing fashionably. Educated people are responsible for cultivating the minds of the public, appealing to their conscience and strengthening the people’s will. Educate the peasants, laborers and lower classes on how they can live better. Teach the public to understand and protect the value of life. Do not forget that ignorance, rudeness, drunkenness, diseases and poverty of people is your shame.”
‘Beyaz Zambaklar Ulkesinde’ is a bedside book everyone must read.
Another bedside book is ‘The News’ published in Turkish in 2014.
Interpreting the routine flow of life through philosophy, the so-called ‘philosopher of daily life’ in Europe, Alain De Botton tells about the effect of news from tabloids to economy on us in his book called ‘The News’.
It is a good guide for those who wonder why and how the ‘who is the murderer’ shows on TV have the highest ratings. Did you know that catastrophic news that we normally cannot handle actually cheer us up and we watch all those news with a secret joy because we are not the ones going through them?
And what about the surge of interest in the private life of celebrities?
Botton tells them all one by one by giving examples.
Once you read this book, rest assured that none of the news will just be another piece of news, but rather enable you to know yourself better.
Speaking of knowing yourself, another bedside book that is old but yet timeless… Engin Gectan’s ‘Insan Olmak’. I read the book in 1995 for the first time and it is still among the bestsellers.
The book tells about the dynamics behind the behaviours of an average person, and its language is quite simple despite being written by a psychiatry professor.
I find myself turning back to the book now and then once every few years and underline another sentence each time I do so. It becomes helpful in seeing how the years have changed me and my perception of events.
I underlined the following sentence this year: “There are two types of people in the world. Those that live and others that watch and criticize the ones that live. Watching symbolizes death whereas participation refers to life.”
I wish each of us can join life with pleasure…