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Stay home, Keep learning

Written by Omair Alavi

Omair Alavi | Published May 16, 2020

The lockdown due to Covid-19 may have been eased a bit, but the fight against the pandemic is still going on. It is better to be safe now than sorry later and for that, we all have to act sensibly and keep on social distancing as we have been doing for weeks now.

And there is no better way to keep busy at home while also enjoying yourself than to read books. Reading should be taken as pleasure and a way to take the mind off thoughts that make one feel down. If one makes it a point to read something each day, by the time the lockdown ends, we all would be more learned people with a wide imagination that will help in the longer run.

What should

young people be reading in these testing times? Well, we have a few options for you that you can check out or just pick up any and all books that you have at home.

Little Red Book — Punctuation

Let’s start with a book that will both educate and entertain the readers for as long as they live. Terry O’ Brien’s Little Red Book’s Punctuation book will not only help readers understand the basics of English grammar, but also make them realise the importance of everything that exists in the language for a reason.

There can be no time better than this lockdown period to learn the difference between a semi-colon and a colon, where to use an apostrophe and where not to, what the difference between a hyphen and a dash is and above all, how to use these punctuation marks to improve your narrative.

Everything is explained in this book with the help of examples so the readers might not have to go online and surf around to get a better understanding. Once through with this book, you will realise that English is not a funny language but one which, if conquered, can make life fun!

Tales from the Arabian Nights (1001 Nights)

It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that Arabian Nights is the most popular book when it comes to stories in this part of the world. It is filled with a never-ending stream of stories that range from Aladdin and The Magic Lamp to Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves to Sinbad The Sailor.

The book is available in both unabridged and abridged forms and it would be best to first read the simple version to understand the morals, before switching to the original ones later in life.

These stories teach you that greed never yields good results; things achieved through deceit always end badly, never trust strangers no matter how charming he or she may seem, besides other stuff. The best thing about this series of stories is that they originate from a mega story, the one where the Scheherazade keeps her husband Shahryar involved in these stories so that he forgets about everything else, and goes onto live happily ever after, at the end of the book.

Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five series

Although children’s favourite author Enid Blyton wrote many books and created countless characters, her Famous Five series remains popular nearly 60 years since their last appearance.

The series of adventure novels that began with Five on a Treasure Island (1942) and carried on till Five Are Together Again (1963) comprise of as many as 21 books in which youngsters Julian, Dick, Anne and Georgina (George) and their dog Timmy, go on an adventure long before Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. made it fashionable.

From searching for treasure to solving mysteries featuring smugglers, traitors and kidnappers to name a few, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five have been there, done that. All 21 books are still available in the market and although some might feel they are old-school, trust me they are as updated as any kid’s imagination today. If you want to go through them, now is the best time!

LEGO Superheroes Visual Dictionary

I have observed that kids these days don’t fight much over a book because a) they don’t have the time to read and b) they don’t see books as something worth fighting for.

But what would you say if I told you that there is a book that can make even the best of friends fight each other? Yes, The LEGO Super Heroes Visual Dictionary has all the ingredients to dent friendships, even in these tiring times.

The most prized part of this Dictionary is the ‘Exclusive Yellow Lantern Batman’ mini-figure that comes with it, followed by the Visual dictionary that has no equal. If you have seen the LEGO Super Hero flicks especially with LEGO Batman in it, then you don’t need any introduction to this piece of art. Get to know everything about superheroes, their sidekicks, their nemesis, and their henchmen in these pages. Although the extra details about these mini-figures might only be relevant to collectors, the normal detail is enough to keep kids busy.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls

Enough of boy stuff, there is one such girl book that has outshone everything written for the boys out there. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls talks about changing the world and for that, it comprises 100 tales of extraordinary, strong, resilient women. They never gave up while struggling and neither should the readers who end up inspired after going through these stories.

Everything ends happily within these pages which is what we need at the moment because, in the fast-paced real world, we need real stories to inspire you. These stories are not just for girls, they can inspire the open-minded boys too who have lots of ideas in their minds, but can’t put them to any use.

This book teaches you how to take chances and that nothing is impossible. If you are eager to take chances, your route to success will be just a few steps away.

Time’s The 100 Most Influential People Who Never Lived!

And finally, the grandest book of all comes in the end — Time’s 100 Most Influential People Who Never Lived. Yes, the book is as interesting as it sounds since it discusses those fictional characters that have influenced the lives of generations, but have not existed in real-life.

It brings an end to the speculation that Sherlock Holmes lived and solved cases in London; that Wonder Woman flies to our defence whenever there is trouble, and all Mary Poppins needs to pop into our lives is a letter sent to the skies via a kite!

From Robin Hood to Barbie, to Captain Ahad and Harry Potter, this book talks about 100 fictional characters and how they have influenced generations since making their first appearance. Laced with photographs, illustrations and accurate details that would make Wikipedia look small, get your hands on this book and be influenced by the best people of all times!

Golden Stories of Umar Ibn-Al-Khattab

The best time to acclimatise with the most influential Muslim leader is during the Holy Month of Ramazan. Golden Stories of Umar Ibn-Al-Khattab chronicles the life and times of the second Muslim Caliph Umar Bin Khattab and also presents his life as an inspiration to others.

He was not always the biggest servant of Islam, as this book will tell you; he was one of the fiercest enemies of the new religion when the Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) introduced it in Makkah. How he switched sides, how he helped Muslims conquer the world and defeat armies that were better, stronger, and far more experienced, this book covers it all.

Unlike autobiographies and biographies, the stories in this book are deliberately left in non-linear order so that the readers would get to know more about one of the most influential Muslim rulers of all times.

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 16th, 2020

About the author

Omair Alavi

Omair Alavi is a highly regarded journalist, critic, and commentator, specializing in news, sports, showbiz, film, blogs, articles, drama, reviews, and PTV drama. With extensive experience and a keen eye for storytelling, he captivates audiences with his insightful analysis and compelling presentations. His expertise and contributions have made him a prominent figure in the media and entertainment industry.