I had written this article a few years ago and since then, my tastes have evolved. But none of it takes away from the attraction that these books have. To discuss my reading evolution, I will bring an updated version of this article soon. Until then, this can be my must-read list. 🙂
Books. A human’s best friend. Every time you feel down, pick up a book and you’ll forget all your worries. Every time you feel happy, pick up a book and you’ll feel your happiness double. Every time you feel angry, pick up a book and you’ll find that your anger evaporates. Oh, well. This might not be applicable to many people, but yes, bookworms will understand.
That feeling of holding the book in your hand and losing yourself in its pages: Priceless! I could read and read and read day and night. When my job involves books and everything book-related, it’s a bonus that I can be absolutely proud about. And what do you know! My pride knows no bounds!
A book can be your companion in travel. You could read a book just about anywhere. And I mean ANYWHERE!
In this age of evolving technology and gadgetry, the love for reading books, of shuffling through the pages of a book, listening to the sound of the pages turning and of finding the words forming vivid images in your mind, is lost somewhere. A couple of years ago, there was an ad doing the rounds, of how an iPad can never replace a newspaper or a book. It was a little unfair to newspapers and books, for it almost showed that the only thing that you could use them for was swatting flies and cockroaches. Nevertheless, the basic point still stood out and struck a chord with me.
There are certain books that you have first impressions about, but then all those impressions are bound to be destroyed once you start devouring the books. I would love to see what all books have that effect on me. The Oh-My-God-I-Thought-It-Was-This-But-It-Is-Not effect.
In this post, I list out 20 books (in no particular order) that are on my must-read list. The reasons why I picked these books vary, from interesting title names to interesting authors, to interesting plots to the hype surrounding them. Here we go:
#1 – Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote:
One of Truman Capote’s best-known books, the first thing that leaps to mind is Audrey Hepburn’s face as Holly Golightly. Like my husband says, “I’ve watched the movie.” And then the inner voice prods and says, “Yeah, but have you read the book?” I get the point. I don’t have the book yet, but rest assured once this lockdown lifts, I just might buy it. Who knows?
#2 – A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
Unlike what the title looks like, this book by M. Forster apparently shows the tensions that simmered between Indians and the British during their rule of India. Now that I have read Gandhi’s autobiography (and disliked it too much), I’d love to read this point of view.
#3 – Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray:
William Makepeace Thackeray, using the metaphors ‘Vanity’ and ‘Fair’, made an impression on my mind, of man and his worldly attachments. There have been many times when I went to the Kindle Store and thought about picking the Kindle version. But nope. I need a paperback/hardcover for a book as heavy as this. How this will turn out, is left to be seen.
#4 – Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho:
Paulo Coelho, I want to know: Why did Veronika decide to die? And after the disappointment that I thought was The Alchemist, will this book live up to the attraction it holds for me? I wouldn’t be too disappointed because I’ve already gotten a heads up about Coelho’s writing through The Alchemist. But who goes into a book being okay with being disappointed?
#5 – The Winter of our Discontent by John Steinbeck:
Apparently this book shows us how immorality can lead to discontent and yet, how it is not too late for us to change for the better. At least, that’s what I understood from the synopsis. I love winters, so will it be an enjoyable read? It remains to be seen! John Steinbeck, let’s see what you have in store for me.
#6 – Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez:
Alright. My first impression of the book was that one of the main characters might be diagnosed with cholera and how their love stood by despite the harsh circumstances brought about by the disease. But no. Gabriel Garcia Marquez has something else in mind. Activism for Eradication of Cholera. And I don’t care that I will be going into this book with high expectations because Gabriel Garcia Marquez demands as much.
#7 – Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf:
High-class women. High-class parties. High-class Mrs. Dalloway. What do you want to say, Virginia Woolf? But now that I’ve seen this book on so many lists that talk about classics, I’m scared that it will seem to me to be overhyped and grossly let me down. Let’s see how it goes, though.
#8 – The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell:
At last! A book that preaches on how to get on the path to conquest of happiness. Exactly what I needed! Well, at least that’s what I think even though something tells me it’s a futile exercise. So let’s see what Bertrand Russell has in store and whether or not he will be able to change my mind at all.
#9 – For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway:
Who does the bell toll for in such Ernest (Hemingway)? I guess I’ll just have to read to find out. [Sorry, not sorry for that pun. 😛 ] My father bought this book for me at a second hand book sale more than a year ago but I haven’t been able to read it. I blame my TBR for it. Not my fault.
#10 – Utopia by Thomas More:
How long before I actually get to this place? I feel like it’s a very vague concept and one that is better-looking in the imagination than in reality. Written by Thomas More, There is correspondence with other men and then there are discourses on ways to reach this “good place”. What was I thinking?
#11 – Coma by Robin Cook:
The only other Robin Cook book that I have read till date is Abduction. And I found it amazing! This hasn’t changed in the 3 years since I wrote this blog post. But this thought brought on me a desire to read this medical thriller. The name itself gave me the chills.
#12 – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson:
This is one book that has shattered my illusions of it. Before I read the summary, I assumed that this was a book that was a story of a demented murderer on the run in Las Vegas. But then, Hunter S. Thompson talks about drugs and the 60’s cultures although maybe my impression of it and its reality aren’t that disparate from each other. Interesting!
#13 – The Painter of Signs by R.K. Narayan:
As the name suggests, K. Narayan tells the story of a man who paints signs. It’s R. K. Narayan. All arguments end there. R. K. Narayan is a man who knows how to depict the familiarity of the common man in words. And he paints such a beautiful picture that it is difficult for anyone to not fall in love with the simplicity of his words.
I managed to read this book this year and sad to say, I disliked it a lot. Not what I was expecting – the way I felt about it.
#14 – The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger:
I was not able to decipher this and thought, ‘What does this man want? ( J.D. Salinger)’. Till I saw the gist. Teenage rebellion. Grass. Crops. Hmmm. Again, interesting concept and I feel like it’s one that will spin my head right round, right round! Sorry, not sorry.
#15 – Dracula by Bram Stoker:
Who doesn’t want to know about Bram Stoker’s fiendish vampire Count Dracula? The image that comes to mind when I think of Dracula is that of blood dripping from the fangs of the suavely yet horrifying dressed near-human monster. And swipe left and I see an image of Dracula sitting upright in his coffin, eyes red with thirst and rage.
#16 – The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux:
Two colors come to mind. Purple and red. Purple to denote Lee Falk’s Phantom. For some strange reason, whenever anybody says “opera”, all I can envision is a fat lady singing on a stage, in front of blood-red drapes. Yet, Gaston Leroux paints a seemingly lovely story about two people in love. Er, too much love?
#17 – Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts:
Well, as stereotypes go, I envision an old toothless man sitting in the corner of some obscure sweetmeat shop or maybe a stationmaster of a small station. But no. Gregory David Roberts’ protagonist is an Australian robber on the run. I’ll save the rest for when I read the book.
#18 – My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk:
This novel by Orhan Pamuk is set in 16th century Istanbul and follows the lives of miniaturists. Didn’t see that one coming. But it does sound interesting and I feel like I need to keep the time it was set and written in, in mind before reading and judging it. History needs open minds. Or so they say. Do they say?
#19 – The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky:
I expected that this Fyodor Dostoyevsky book would follow the life of a presumed “idiot” and I was not disappointed when I read the summary. And since idiocy is so rampant in the world these days, right from the far west to the far east, I feel like this is going to be a book that I can probably read and say, “Hey, I know a person like this.”
#20 – Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe:
Chinua Achebe’s novel describes the life of a 19th Century Nigerian leader and a local champion. My guess is that this novel shows how life can be put right back together when you feel that it is falling apart at the seams. I don’t know how right I am, but I look forward to reading this classic.
Since then, I have read this book and absolutely LOVED it.
That is my first list of 20 books that I have made a priority to read. I had hoped to lay my hands on these books, and I was successful to a certain extent while others remain elusive. Let us see if I can grab the rest as soon as possible.
Until next time, keep reading and add melodrama to your life! 🙂