Today I’m delighted to welcome Indian novelist Renita D’Silva. Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is the classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
“The book I keep returning to time and again is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I love every character – Boo Radley, Jem, Atticus, and, especially, Scout: her innocence, her wonderful narrative voice through which she reveals more to the reader than she herself understands.
I first read the condensed version as a teen. Being a voracious reader, I could never find enough to read in the village in India where I grew up. There was a small library – a couple of shelves of worn books with falling apart pages, woodlice ridden spines, crumbly to the touch and smelling yellow, of rot and stale lives. Having read each book multiple times, I was desperate for something different when I found this fat book wedged behind the shelves, forgotten and unloved.
I dusted it off, thrilled to have something new to read. I was ecstatic when I discovered that it was a Readers Digest anthology of four condensed books; one of them, To Kill a Mockingbird. I read the first line (they left that in), Scout’s sweet voice saying, ‘When he was nearly thirteen my brother Jem got his arm badly broken…’ – and I was hooked.
I read that version so many times that I knew sections by heart. I had a huge crush on Atticus – typical bookworm that I was, all my major crushes were from books. I graduated, in time, to nursing infatuations on Mr Darcy and others but my love for Atticus remained constant, made all the more steadfast when I finally watched the movie. Years later, I read the full version of the book and it was like discovering a new side to an old and trusted love. I have re-read the book countless times since then and each time, I find something – a word, a sentence – to cherish within its beloved pages.”
Renita D’Silva’s Bio
Renita D’Silva loves stories, both reading and creating them. Her short stories have been published in The View from Here, Bartleby Snopes, this zine, Platinum Page, Paragraph Planet among others and have been nominated for the ‘Pushcart’ prize and the ‘Best of the Net’ anthology. She is the author of Monsoon Memories, The Forgotten Daughter, The Stolen Girl, A Sister’s Promise and A Mother’s Secret.
Renita D’Silva’s books
What if you discovered that everything you knew about yourself was a lie?
When pregnant Jaya loses her mother, then her baby son Arun in a tragic cot death, her world crashes down. Overcome by grief and guilt, she begins to search for answers – to the enigma of her lonely, distant mother, and her mysterious past in India.
Looking through her mother’s belongings, she finds two diaries and old photographs, carrying the smoky aroma of fire. A young boy smiles out at Jaya from every photograph – and in one, a family stand proudly in front of a sprawling mansion. Who is this child? And why did her mother treasure this memento of a regal family lost to the past?
As Jaya starts to read the diaries, their secrets lead her back to India, to the ruin of a once grand house on a hill. There, Kali, a mad old lady, will unlock the story of a devastating lie and a fire that tore a family apart.
Nothing though will prepare Jaya for the house’s final revelation, which will change everything Jaya knew about herself.
Read my review of A Mother’s Secret.
‘A Mother’s Secret’ by Renita D’Silva [UK: Bookouture]
What is a ‘Porridge & Cream’ book? It’s the book you turn to when you need a familiar read, when you are tired, ill, or out-of-sorts, where you know the story and love it. Where reading it is like slipping on your oldest, scruffiest slippers after walking for miles. Where does the name ‘Porridge & Cream’ come from? Cat Deerborn is a character in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’ detective series. Cat is a hard-worked GP, a widow with two children and she struggles from day-to-day. One night, after a particularly difficult day, she needs something familiar to read. From her bookshelf she selects ‘Love in A Cold Climate’ by Nancy Mitford. Do you have a favourite read which you return to again and again? If so, please send me a message via the contact form here.
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee [UK: Arrow]
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Why does @RenitaDSilva love TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee? http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2b5 via @SandraDanby #reading