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My Favourite Books

selective focus photography of woman holding book

I enrolled in a creative writing class and the first assignment itself got me stumped. I have to list 10 of my most favourite books and write what I liked about them and why would I recommend them to anyone.

Well, the writing part is not so difficult. For me, limiting my favourite books to just 10 is the challenging part. It literally caused me several sleepless nights. To be honest, it’s not the first time I lost sleep over books. But still, it counts.

So I did the most logical thing I could, I started listing books I love and stopped when my list reached 10. I know I missed many, many of the beloved books. But I don’t know how else to finish this assignment on time.

Below is the list I used for my assignment –

  1. A Daughter’s a Daughter by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)

Let me start by saying that this book is not a murder mystery. As the name suggests, it is about the relationship between a mother and her daughter.

What I liked about the book – Mothers and daughters have a very close relationship. It always showed them in a typical loving glory. But this book takes a different take. While it shows the happy moments, it doesn’t shy away from showing the challenges in their relationship.

Why you should read this book – If you have read any Agatha Christie murder mystery and love how she portrays her characters and locations, you will love this book. If you do not enjoy murder mystery and have thus kept away from Agatha Christie book, you should check out this book. Anyone who likes an emotional story will like this book.

  1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chomsky

This novel beautifully discusses serious issues like mental health and sexual abuse. Despite having a heavy theme, the book is written in a very light-hearted manner. It’s a perfect feel-good book for me.

What I liked about the book – This book is written in a very different storytelling style. The narrator (who is also the protagonist) writes letters to an unknown recipient and the story is told in the form of these letters. I love any book which is written in letter or journal entry format.

Why you should read this book – If you want to know more about mental health but don’t know where to start, this can be a good starting point. Instead of understanding mental health from a clinical perspective (which can be intimidating at times), a fictional take helps. It shows how different people feel different emotions and what thoughts are going on in their minds. It’s light and easy-going and since it is a fictional novel, you can safely assume that alls well in the end.

  1. The Martian by Andy Weir

After reading this book, I had a huge crush on its protagonist – Mark Watney. Naturally, this book holds a very special place in my heart.

What I liked about the book – I have always been a loner and an introvert. I can’t even recount how many times I have used every possible excuse to get out of a social setting. I always thought I would love to be all alone all the time. So, reading about a man all alone on an entire planet really intrigued me. But when I read this book and saw what such isolation can do to a person, it changed me in a big way.

Why you should read this book – If you have seen the movie but have not read the book you have no idea what you are missing. So, please go and read the book. If you have no idea about the book or the movie, then please go and read the book before watching the movie. In short, if you like humour (and who doesn’t), you would love the book.

  1. Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

This book was recommended to me by a sweet elderly secondhand bookshop owner. I bought this book purely on a whim and that turned out to be one of my best purchases.

What I liked about the book – This book is about an orphan girl who is sent for higher education by a trustee of the orphanage. It was the first time someone had done anything nice for her. She starts writing letters to the anonymous trustee just because she has no one else to share her joys and sorrows with.

This young girl became my ideal feminist character. How she takes care of herself in a world that is not always kind to women who have no one to protect them. The message still feels relevant in the present society as well.

Why you should read this book – If you are tired of reading about the so-called fairy tale romance where a damsel in distress is rescued by the prince charming, then this book is for you. Here the damsel is capable of saving herself and even those around her.

  1. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This is one of the books I read for the first time as a child and then over the years, it has become my favourite go-to book whenever I need something to cheer me up.

What I liked about the book – It’s easy to do good deeds when things are going well for us. But when you have nothing yourself, then can you share with those less fortunate than you?

This book showed me the meaning of being truly good and not just when it is convenient.

Why you should read this book – This is a children’s book. But the best children’s books are those which can be enjoyed by adults as well. If you like reading books where children go through life’s struggles all by themselves and even show adults a thing or two about appreciating life, then you should read this book.

  1. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

My mother read this book when she was a child and it left a lasting impact on her. When I grew up, she entrusted me on a quest to obtain this book before online shopping was a reality in India. It was like a treasure hunt for me and when I finally read the book, it was worth every struggle.

What I liked about the book – Despite the title of the book, it’s not the story of Rebecca. In fact name of the main protagonist is never mentioned in the book. The protagonist is a shy scared girl overwhelmed by everything around her. I could feel an instant connection with her.

The way the author has described all the characters and even the beautiful locations, makes me feel like I am actually there.

Why you should read this book – If you like stories with unexpected endings, then this book is a must-read for you. In fact, if you are a movie buff and enjoy any movie by Alfred Hitchcock, you should absolutely check this out. There is actually a movie based on this book directed by Hitchcock himself and this might be one of the cases where the movie is as good as the book.

  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre was ahead of its time when it was written. But even now, the theme seems true and relevant. There is not much I can say about this book that is not already said.

What I liked about the book – I loved the optimism of Jane Eyre no matter how difficult her life was. She is an ideal I aspire to be. She shows how strong a woman can be if she loves herself fiercely and never compromises on her values.

Why you should read this book – This book is a must-read for anyone who likes strong female characters. If you are looking for action or a thriller or even a lot of romance, then this book is not for you. This book will make you feel emotions most other books can’t even touch.

  1. The Invention of Hugo Cabaret by Brian Selznick

It is said that you should never judge a book by its cover. But the truth remains that we all appreciate the beauty and look for it every chance we get.

This book is the most beautiful book I have ever read.

What I liked about the book – It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words and it’s so true for this book. The book has original illustrations made by the author himself. It’s not a comic book but rather the story is written in such a way that it can not be appreciated without the illustrations. The story itself is about very visual media and the author has managed to capture the very soul of it.

Why you should read this book – Reading, this book is an experience in itself. You may have read hundreds of books or you might have just started your reading journey. But I haven’t come across any book like this. I would just recommend that you get a Hardbound copy (I don’t even know if the paperback exists). Otherwise, you won’t get the ultimate experience. Even the movie fades in comparison.

  1. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

There are a lot of sci-fi and fantasy books that play with the concept of time travel. This book however explains time travel in a way that actually makes sense.

What I liked about the book – I loved how the author has written the entire story from the point of view of someone who is not doing the time travel but whose entire life has been impacted because of it. It’s a fresh perspective. We never think about how our actions are impacting everyone around us.

Why you should read this book – If you like anything about time travel, then it is a must-read. On the other hand, if you like love stories of couples not suitable for each other but love overcomes all hurdles, then also this book is for you.

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I don’t read horror usually. So, this is probably the only book that gave me nightmares and yet I love it.

What I liked about the book – The author has built a dystopian society that mistreats women. What hit me so hard was the fact that there is nothing written in the book which is not happening already in some or the other part of the world. Not every injustice is happening all at the same time in the same place like in this book. But still whatever is described is actually happening.

The story doesn’t move in chronological order. The author jumps around in the timeline but her writing is so clear that at no point the reader is confused about what is happening. Not many authors can do this with such grace.

Why you should read this book – It doesn’t matter what genre you love to read. It doesn’t matter what your life experiences are so far. If you read this book, you will see our society in a way that is often ignored. This book will make you feel uncomfortable because we need to feel uncomfortable about certain things and stop normalizing everything that’s happening.

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