“An autobiography is a life story”
This has been truly said about autobiographies. Autobiographies not only provide you an insight into the authors’ life but also their thoughts, their direction of thinking, their strengths and their weaknesses. A good autobiography would get you believing as if you were listening to the story of a great person by the person himself. Further, a good autobiographer never dominates the reader by trying to prove himself/herself right in any particular decision. He/she just provides the circumstances and a factual description of whatever happened. They might choose to tell the reasons after their decision under that particular circumstance, but they do leave space for the reader to ponder over the situation and to willingly agree or disagree with the author. Even though, now days, many ‘celebrities’ are writing or sponsoring others to write their autobiographies, the authenticity of the previous autobiographies remains intact.
The advantages of reading an autobiographical novel is that you feel close to the author. You find yourself connecting with him/her at various levels and may be disagreeing at others. But, that paves the way to critical analysis of one’s own life situations, which are integral to the process of development of one’s own personality. Hence, Autobiographies are those books which make you better, much better a person and much strong a character. Here is the list of 4 such chosen autobiographies, which you must read if you are a book lover –
Wings of Fire by A P J Abdul Kalam and Arun Tiwari
As Anand Parthasarathy of The Hindu has rightlycalled this work ‘a warm and intensely personal, deeply passionate story of a common boat-owner’s son who has become India’s most distinguished technocrat’, we can very well get hold of the charm of the book. The ex-president of India who also led India to its status in space rocketry and missile technology has been a source of inspiration over the years for almost every person in the country. His entire account from his childhood in Rameshwaram to him becoming a missile scientist, his struggles and his phases leaves the reader thinking about how great a person can do with his will power and talent even when there is very less you can find of opportunities. The book sends you into another world by the time you are done reading it and then you feel like going through it again and then again.
The story of my life by Hellen Keller
This stunning lady troubled by fate but alive by heart writes in the very first chapter of her autobiography “It is with a kind of fear that I begin to write the history of my life. I have, as it were, a superstitious hesitation in lifting the veil that clings about my childhood like a golden mist.” The flow in her language and the originality of thoughts will keep striking you till the end of her book, which will inspire you for the whole of your life for the exemplary content it holds in its pages. This book–published when Keller was only twenty-two–portrays the wild child who is locked in the dark and silent prison of her own body. Further, Keller takes us into a rather extraordinary story of human will and confidence. Being blind and deaf due to an illness caused to her as a child, what she achieves in the field of education is all because of her determination. This is where the subtle expression of her faith in human capabilities makes the readers wonder about their own capabilities and whether they have been using it to its fullest extent. This is a book, which entices you from the very first line.
The story of my experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi
Millions-for the simple yet enriched way in which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has written it-have admired this book. As it is known, Gandhi is remarkable because of his passion for truth and non-violence. This is why he titled his autobiography the way he did. This book takes you on a journey to not only the personal life of one of the greatest idealists of the World but also gives you insights into the process of rebirth of a nation called India. It vividly explains Gandhi’s inner capabilities and how were they shaped so strong so as to finally become the pillars of Indian Independence. It’s a must read for every Indian for the content it offers.
I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou
Through a series of personal events, feelings, and thoughts, Maya Angelou is able to captivate its readers with her recounting of her life from her early years up to late adolescence. This book has something different to offer to you as it uses thematic development and other techniques, which are generally common to fiction even though this is an autobiographical work. It is remarkable because it is an autobiography, which is also a piece of literature. Angelou, being a civil rights activist has explored the themes of rape, racism, literacy and other such problems very dynamically in her book. Not only this, she has also used this autobiography to express the status of women in a male-dominated society in a new way. It is for these experiences that one is advised to read this book.