Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

From children's favourites to foodie tales: five books destined to leave a lasting impression

Leslie Pableo shares the reads that she still remembers keenly, years after she first put them down

'Kitchen Confidential' by Anthony Bourdain. Courtesy Ecco
'Kitchen Confidential' by Anthony Bourdain. Courtesy Ecco

I really don’t have a favourite genre – as long as a book can take me away from the present reality and the author can make me see and feel what they want to while gripping my imagination, I will read it. I have read hundreds of them, but here are the books that have really stayed with me.

Leslie Pableo is a photojournalist at The National

'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini (2003)

This heartbreaking story tells of the friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant. For one, this connection is pure, loyal and selfless, while for the other it is superficial and more based on how his father perceives him. Set in Afghanistan at a time of crucial change, this powerful, multi-layered tale has become a classic.

'A Thousand Splendid Suns' by Khaled Hosseini (2007)

Hosseini is a master. His second novel is a story of two Afghan women, Mariam and Laila, and their unlikely friendship in war-torn Kabul. At first, Mariam is wary of Laila as she is the second wife of Rasheed, but both women eventually bond as they suffer at the hands of their shared husband’s abuse.

'Kitchen Confidential' by Anthony Bourdain (2000)

The late author was already a celebrity when I read this book. I have always wanted to be a chef and thought the career would be easy, but reading this taught me otherwise. I like the way he narrates the story, his struggles, long hours of hard work and his honesty about his drug use. Ultimately, this book helped me decide the chef’s life is not for me, after all.

'The Little Prince by' Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1943)

I was an adult when I read this book but the child in me was able to relate to it. It made me realise that as adults we lose things that are really important in life, and that as we grow older and supposedly “wiser” we tend to complicate things. I now understand the “fox secret” and that it’s not a hat but an elephant inside a boa constrictor … I can see the Little Prince nodding his approval.

'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott (1868)

You could identify with any of the four March sisters – I myself immediately identified with Jo. In an era when women were expected to be dutiful wives, she wants to have a career as a writer. She asserts herself in everything that she does. I also love reading the character of the sisters’ mother – it was like having someone give me valuable lessons and advice about life’s choices.

Updated: September 9, 2019 04:16 AM

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