Monday, 16 October 2017

My Top 10 Books!

Books are for me and I am for books!

 I vaguely remember my first reading ‘encounter’ with a book ‘Mickey Mouse: Clubhouse’ with me on my mother’s lap. Since that time to the present, I read hundreds of books which I cherish. I decided to narrow down my favourite top 10 and present a mini-review with it. What’s your pick? Read and find out!

10. Malgudi Schooldays (R.K. Narayan)

A classic Indian tale, probably set just after the Indian Independence. The story follows the days of Swami, the main character, and his friends Rajam and Mani. Something worth noting about this book is the innocence of the characters. The timid Swaminathan, the brave Rajam and the bold Mani make a great team. It is interesting to see what life was like in a typical Indian town. Also, their story of trying to become part of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is great as well. Connecting to their stories is not very difficult as my native place is in Mangalore, South India. Clearly, my reason for liking it is because of the simplicity with which it is narrated.

9.The Complete Adventures of Feluda (Satyajit Ray)
Crime-thrillers are always my favourite. What I really like about it is the change in depth of the crime; sometimes it seems obvious enough and you try to work it out yourself. Other times, instead of stopping to think, you just get on with the book anyway. It is a collection of stories, one better than the other. However, it is really great to see the Feluda equivalent of ‘Elementary, my dear Watson!' Satyajit Ray outdid himself on this one.

8. A Man Called Ove, (Fredrik Backman)
This book is about…well, a man called Ove. The book is narrated in two time sequences, one taking place in the past narrating Ove’s backstory, and one taking place in the present. The present narrative is interesting and especially good with people like Patrick “The Lanky One” and Parvaneh, always trying to get Ove to 'modernize'. But is the past time sequence which was enthralling. The very sad story about how Ove loses everyone in his life after his father and his wife and unborn child. It just brings tears to one’s eyes to read about it. It also explains Ove’s uncanny temper. A very tear-jerking book.

7. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
Thievery, violence, arguments, more thievery, makes a good book! It paints a very good picture of what times were like during World War II. 

The story begins with the life of Liesel, her mother and her brother. After her brother's death on a train, possibly due to tuberculosis, her mother leaves Liesel to Hans Hubberman and Rosa Hubberman. she also meets Rudy Steiner and makes friends. The story is beautifully narrated illustrating her journey and unquenchable thirst for book. It is also entertaining to read about how she gets along with neighbours, The bullies in her school, and most of all, how she would rather help another person for her own life.

You begin to take an instant liking to the characters, especially Hans Hubberman. Rosa Hubberman just adds to the fun with her constant yelling and shouting. An astounding work of fiction if I may say so.

6. The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)

What can I say? This prequel to the masterpiece of The Lord of The Rings is ground breaking in itself and adds spice to LoTR as well. What differentiates it from other novels is the amount of detailed description to each and every character, the way it never lingers and keeps moving on, and most importantly, giving almost every item and person their own backstory, and not introducing them to the story when the plot asks for it. Detailed description is why the LoTR movies were a huge success: because the readers were able to imagine the characters exactly as portrayed in the movies. One example for this is this song:
Chip the glasses and crack the plates!
Blunt the knives and bend the forks!
That’s what Bilbo Baggins hates-
Smash the bottles and burn the corks!

Cut the cloth and tread on the fat!
Pour the milk on the pantry floor!
Leave the bones on the bedroom mat-
Splash the wine on every door!

Dump the crocks in a boiling bowl;
Put them up with a thumping pole;
And when you’ve finished, if any are whole,
Send them down the hall to roll!

That’s what Bilbo Baggins hates!
So carefully! Carefully with the plates!

This book is worth your money. And your time. And my axe!

5.Wonder (R.J. Palacio)

The protagonist August is different and passes through love, anger, hatred and most of all kindness because of his facial deformity. Yet he stands tall and is remembered forever in my heart. In this book you begin to really feel for Auggie; you are just as shocked as him if he is insulted, you are just as upset when you learn about Daisy the
Dog’s fate and you too are joyous when he triumphs at the end of 5th grade. The books simple English made me feel like it really was a recorded diary by August, his sister Via, his friends Jack and Summer, Justin, Miranda and Julian. Although it seems like this book is nowhere in the crowd, it is one of the best I have ever read.
“If you had a choice between being right and being kind, choose kind”
…is the essence of the book and touched my heart!

4.To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

The story is set in Alabama in around the 1930s. The book is about two kids, Jem and Jean-Louise who are brothers, living during a time when Alabama's racial laws still existed. The plot line is interesting as their father, Atticus Finch, is almost the only one in support of the blacks in a court case. It is nice to see him defend their side when the crowd gapes in disbelief.

Atticus Finch, is one amazing character. From the way he reasons with his kids to his court case later on in the book, truly spectacular. The way he keeps cool and calm in the craziest of situations is almost lovable. Really, he is the more gripping guy in the story, followed by Jem Finch. (The protagonist just feels like an active narrator in the book). A must read for all those who haven’t.

3. Surely your joking, Mr Feynman! (Richard Feynman)

The humour Feynman comes up with! Richard Feynman is a man into science ever since he was a child. He is associated with developing the Atomic Bomb, won the Nobel Prize and is known to have given talks to Einstein and Lord Kelvin. If you thought hat science books were boring, you might want to reconsider. In this autobiography, Feynman talks about varied subjects, from his childhood demand of fixing radios, to how unwillingly he accepts the Nobel prize and many more in a fun way.  Basically he likes to do a combined mixture of comedy and knowledge. He makes a joke out of every scene. How he does it is beyond me, but all I can do is sit and wonder. Truly, Feynman is one legend!

2. The Short History of Nearly Everything (Bill Bryson)

Bryson has made some amazing works of fiction. These include A Walk in the Woods and The Life and Times of The Thunderbolt Kid. This book however, is completely different from the other two. The name suggesting it, The Short History of Nearly Everything talks about how you are lucky to be reading the very book (using atoms), that you are never alone (using microorganisms), and yet at the same time are alone in this Universe (using the vast emptiness of space).

There is something about the book which just makes it difficult to put down. Coming from an author who is into travel logs and travelling itself, you would be surprised to see this book. It is more of an encyclopaedia, when Bryson dedicated a couple of years of his life to this book.  Otherwise, I’m just a queer person for liking this. But it is more than just an encyclopaedia. Bryson can write good comedy. Just because the book only contains knowledge doesn’t mean that he isn’t going to use comedy in his book. Just like “The late but godlike Richard Feynman” in Bryson’s words. Although he was referring to something else then. But still! It is a great book and you should read it!

1.The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)

Nothing ever comes close to beating the humour in this book no matter how much I try to find one. Truly remarkable book! The book is about two people on Earth, Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect, who are actually from 'somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse'. Earth is destroyed by a Galactic race called the Vogons, but Arthur and Ford ‘hitch a lift’ and escape. After a series of events, they meet up with Trillian, a human who skipped the Earth’s demolition. They also meet Zaphod Beeblebrox, President of the Galaxy. Not to forget, another favourite of mine from Douglas’ creations is Marvin the Paranoid Android. What’s special about him is how he is always depressed. Some of the randomness just makes you want to think “What is going on?” An example for you:

“…back when men were real men, women were real women, and fuzzy creatures from Alpha Centauri were real fuzzy creatures from Alpha Centauri”

Excerpt from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, entry: Magrathea

Seriously, this book is something that is must read. It is “my precious”. Don’t you want to make it yours?

That's it then! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to rush to my kindle to add more books. Which one is your favourite? Answer in the comments section below! 

Till next time, goodbye!