At times, one feels burdened by the weight of a stressful life, and all one can think of is escape. But there are many invisible faces who have courageously taken on the battles of life. These inspirational tales have climbed up the ladder of the IANS bookshelf this week. Reflect on them. IANS | 6 months ago

1. Book: No Looking Back; Author: Shivani Gupta; Publisher: Rupa; Pages: 246; Price: Rs. 295

Twenty-two-year-old Shivani had thrown a party one evening - and awoke the next morning in hospital, her spine and her dreams shattered by a car crash. Paralysed and then wheelchair-bound, it took Shivani years of pain, struggle and determination to regain control of her life and her body; to demand an receive

respect from the world; to gain acceptance from within and without; to find love and happiness.

Then tragedy struck again. As the newly-married Shivani drove to Manali with her family, an oil tanker collided head-on with the car. Bedridden once again, she watched helplessly as first her father-in-law and then Vikas, her husband, succumbed to their injuries. And yet, Shivani refused to surrender - she wouldn't let her inability to walk keep her from achieving her ambitions.

This book is an inspiring narrative about surviving the challenges of disability and indignities faced by approximately 25 percent of the world's population, whether in terms of infrastructure, legislature or awareness.

2. Book: Courage Beyond Compare; Author: Sanjay Sharma and Medini Sharma; Publisher: Rupa; Pages: 258; Price: Rs. 295

The 10 sportspersons profiled in the book are champions in diverse disciplines like athletics, swimming, badminton and cricket, who have brought glory to the country both in national and international arenas. They overcame immense physical limitations to reach the pinnacle of their chosen fields.

Powerful and inspiring, these stories are heart-warming reminders that a strong mind, steely will and dogged determination almost always triumphs over the limitations of the human body.

3. Book: Face to Face; Author: Ved Mehta; Publisher: Penguin; Pages: 314; Price: Rs. 499

Blind since the age of four, the author led a lonely and turbulent childhood in India until he was accepted to the Arkansas School for the Blind, to which he flew alone at 15. America and the school changed his life, leading to degrees at Oxford and Harvard and a fruitful writing career.

This is the author's autobiography touching upon his childhood, blindness and remaking himself.

4. Book: This Star Won't Go Out; Author: Esther Earl with Lori and Wayne Earl; Publisher: Penguin; Pages: 431; Price: Rs. 699

Diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 12, Esther Earl was an exceptionally bright and talented, but very normal, teenager. She lived a hope-filled and generous, outwardly focussed life as she navigated her physical decline with grace.

A cheerful, positive and encouraging daughter, sister and friend, Esther died in 2010, shortly after turning 16, but not before inspiring thousands through her

growing online presence.

This memoir collects her journals, fiction, letters and sketches. Photographs and essays by family and friends also help to tell her story.

(Posted on 11-04-2014)

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