Six Books That Gave Sonali Bendre Strength And a Smile in Her Fight against Cancer

The actor and passionate book lover has shown a hopeful, happy face through her battle and recovery. What gave her joy? Her books.

Courtesy Twitter
Courtesy Twitter

The courage and humour shown by actor Sonali Bendre Behl in her fight against cancer have been inspirational. For the avid reader herself, her book club, which was started as “a passion project” in March 2017, has been “a lifeline”, she tells Thrive Global India. “I just had to go to my device to see what was being said, what was the conversation, just added to it. It gave me a reason to read, to do a discussion, to move ahead from where I was physically.”

The following books made her laugh, encouraged her and kept her going through one of the toughest phases of her life.


Unfettered Wings: Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Women

Sana Munir

This book, for me, was a reminder that you don’t need to be extraordinary; your deeds do; they make a difference. When you read these stories you realise that you could be a regular person and still do the most incredible things during your lifetime. It was amazing to read about all these women of strength.


The Crazy Rich Asians trilogy

Kevin Kwan

When my treatment started I was emotionally very fragile and I needed to read something that was lighter. That’s when I picked up this trilogy. Though I had already read the first book [Crazy Rich Asians] with my book club, I started from the beginning. It was so much fun. I laughed through it. I even watched the film that I really enjoyed.


A Gentleman in Moscow

Amor Towles

This is a lovely book about a count in Moscow whose life went through a whole lot of change but he never gave up hope. He lived his life so beautifully through an entire revolution, while his country and the entire world had been turned upside down. It is well written but what I liked

most about the book was that its tone was always so positive. it was very encouraging to read something so hopeful during my treatment.


The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing

Gavin Edwards

I took my book club’s advice and picked up this book next. On the surface, this book has all the random and funny things Bill Murray has done but as you beginning to think deeper, you realise that there is an important life lesson there. Everyone should strive every single day to find that spark of joy in their lives. That’s what makes life worth living. Don’t care about what people say or what they do: Do what makes you happy. Through these small acts, Bill touches people’s lives and brings them joy. That, in turn, makes him happy.


Joy: 100 Poems

Christian Wiman

A chaplain who visited patients in my hospital gave this anthology of poems to me. He is a lovely older gentleman by the name of Brian. He would chat with me often while I was going through chemotherapy. I really enjoyed all the poems that revolved around finding joy.


Half Brother

Kenneth Oppel

My son Ranveer suggested this book because I like animals so much. He had already read and enjoyed it. I agreed to read it if he would do a discussion of the book with me for my book club. I think this book is even more special to me because of my son’s involvement.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- Marcus Aurelius

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