Free Press Journal

Learn from what you read, says Sophie Choudry


Sophie Choudry tells that through books you learn about life through someone else’s eyes

Early Start
I started reading at a very young age because reading is an integral part of your education in England, which is where I was born and brought up. I used to like fiction, then I got into a lot of plays, like, Arthur Miller, then I moved on to self-motivational books, but above all I love autobiographies or stories about real people!

Paperback Consumption
I used to read a lot more than I do now. I think the addiction to Netflix means my addiction to books has taken a slight backseat. Nonetheless, I am still a voracious reader and can finish a book in two to three days if I’m really into it. It just varies from month to month!

Reading Highs
The best part of reading is that some books can transport you to a different time and place. And with some, you learn life lessons. You always walk away with knowledge when you read a book be it Fifty Shades of Grey or Richard Branson’s autobiography. You are always learning something about life through someone else’s eyes!

Pros Galore
It broadens your mind, your language, your imagination, which is so important, especially, at a time when language is falling to pieces and the new generation only wants to speak in abbreviations or social media language!

Current Changes
Language has become more relatable, stories more relevant but that’s the whole point about books… they reflect the times we live in. Nonetheless, Shakespeare was relevant then in terms of setting, but the lessons you take away about human behaviour and society are still relevant today. It’s the same for Jane Austen and many more. The setting is not contemporary, but the lessons are! That’s the magic of great books – they never age!

Firm Faves
The Spy Princess by Shrabani Basu is an absolute favourite, because I am so inspired by Noor Inayat Khan. It is an incredible true story about patriotism, courage and the strength of a woman!

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is absolutely magical… magic realism, in fact. But it is all about the circle of life and there are so many beautiful lessons to learn!

Tuesdays with Morrie because once again there are so many life lessons in this beautiful story that teaches us the value of life, relationships and more.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, one of the greatest of all time! Atticus Finch is the moral hero we all need even today. Through warmth and humour, the book addresses serious issues like racial inequality, rape and teaches us all about the importance of tolerance!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a romantic novel that isn’t only about love, but a social commentary and the importance as a woman in finding yourself!

From The Merchant of Venice to Twelfth Night, Hamlet and more, how can one even begin to define the great work of William Shakespeare?! I think what amazes me is that every time I read them, I took away something new.

When you want something with all your heart, the universe will conspire to make it happen is the greatest lesson one can take away from Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist. Yet another book about destiny and self-belief! Andre Agassi’s autobiography Open was the most fantastic read. An honest and open insight into the man, the tennis legend, the human being!

I have also loved the works of Charlotte Bronte, Thomas Hardy, Arthur Miller, Dante and Moliere. I speak fluent French, so I was able to read quite a bit in French and I did A level Italian in which we read a lot of Dante, Goldoni, Sciascia, all of which I highly recommend.