Lists. It seems that humans are obsessed with them. You know, packing the “essentials” in one list, the “cream of the crop” the “top of the line” sort of thing. You see it all over the Internet – TIME Magazine releases a lot of lists, be it fashion icons, films, books, art house essentials, etc. Forbes releases its annual list of Wealthy people – celebrities, businessmen, investors, etc. We have lists in our daily lives! To-do lists, to-read list, to-watch list, to buy list… the list seems… endless.
Yet here I am trying to write down a list of 17 books. Why 17? Well, because it is my favourite number (don’t ask me why, even I don’t know!). 17 books. It’s a hard task; but one I must do – at least, for the sake of this post.
1. The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova
Ahh, you know this is my favourite book, based on my previous post. It has the right amount of charm, history, romance and thrill for me. And don’t even get me started on all those European travels in search of clues to the whereabouts of Professor Rossi, ultimately leading them to… Vlad Tepes.
2. Dracula, Bram Stoker
By now you will realise I like the horror genre. Right you are, dear reader! 🙂 I love this novel because of it’s Gothic setting. Eventhough there were a lot of factual inconsistencies in this novel (being one, Bram Stoker had never been to Transylvania!), it is still a very enjoyable read. Besides, Mina Harker is quite a character.
3. The Zahir, Paulo Coelho
This book helped me a lot during a very trying phase of my life. It gave me the spiritual and emotional “wake up calls” I needed, and it remains to be one of my favourite Coelho works.
4. The Harry Potter Series
I know, cheating! But I cannot separate these, for they all have a hold on me. Haha! Kidding aside, the series helped me believe in magic again, and it made me treasure bravery, friendship, and the power of choices more than ever. It really is a great series – my favourite series to date. Period. Ever.
5. The Case of the Glamorous Ghost , Erle Stanley Gardner
Do you happen to know about Perry Mason? Yes, he is the formidable, indestructible defence lawyer created by (the lawyer, haha) Erle Stanley Gardner. I first encountered this book at the shelves in my boyfriend’s house, and although there is a formula for novels like this, I have come to love them. I started reading and looking for copies of the Perry Mason book series, and I got hooked immediately. They are entertaining, you know? The kind of book you want to read when you want to pass a very pleasant afternoon reading. Light, with the right amount of intrigue and glamour.
6. I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere, Anna Gavalda
This collection of short stories are fantastic! Thank God I found a copy of this! It is a very entertaining read not lacking in sense, emotion and style. I love it!
7. Needful Things, Stephen King
Oh, I love Stephen King! I like the way he writes. He has that knack of throwing to light the darkness around and inside us. He is very insightful and the way he understands and writes about the complexity of the human mind and emotion is appalling. In this particular book, a shop owner named Leland Gaunt has everything you need, especially your most coveted thing in the world. Plus, nothing in his shop, and certainly not Gaunt, is what it seems.
8. Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Oh this book! It opened my eyes to the reality that kids see things better than adults do. It showed me the power of imagination and perception. The book instilled in me hope, sadness, love, and friendship. It is a very moving piece.
9. The Beautiful and Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Ahhhh. My first Fitzgerald read, I fell in love with it. I found in a sale bin, in one of my favourite bookshops, Booksale. But I digress. The book is packed with the complexity of human relationships, emotions and thoughts. It left my heart aching at the end, but all good books should leave you an impression, right? And this one left me depressed. I immediately wanted to start with The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night, though. I love stories like that!
10. After Dark, Haruki Murakami
Ahhh, this started my love affair with Mr Murakami. The story perfectly captured that essence of existentialism. I cried at the end of this novel, I wanted to be like Eri Asai – asleep, just asleep. In a coma. (At least during that time, anyway).
11. The Alienist, Caleb Carr
I found this to be a truly enjoyable novel. I simply loved the characters. That, plus humour, the dark, and the adventure all made up this thrilling ride into the hunt for the serial killer in 19th Century New York. The descriptions were vivid, alive – that I almost felt as if I were in the novel – eating at Delmonico’s, riding a hansom, and seeing all the beauty and ugly of what would ultimately become the Crossroads of the World.
12. Perfume, Patrick Suskind
This is a phenomenal read, especially for someone like me who is so particular about smells. It is delightful, dark, brooding – and, tastefully done.
13. Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
Ahhhh, this. The only regret I had after reading this novel was that I didn’t read Ishiguro sooner! I liked everything about this novel, the budding romance between Mr Stevens and Ms Kenton, countryside England… ah, perfect. It was written beautifully as well – subtle. I’d even go as far as say it is sublime.
14. Blackout, Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza
Oh because I love Brazil! 🙂 Kidding aside, Garcia-Roza’s writing is impeccable – the provocation and thrill is always present. There is also the underlying existentialist theme, which I really like. Which brings us to…
15. The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus
The endless suffering. Existentialism at its best.
I first encountered No Exit (Huis Clos) from our Introduction to Literature class. Yes, it is a play about three people in Hell. This is where the famous “hell is other people” phrase came from. Mmhmm.
17. Inferno, Dante Alighieri
This terrified me, the first time I read it. I was sure I had a circle reserved for me somewhere… I memorised each circle, and the people damned in them…
That is my list of 17 books that have a special place in my heart. In time, this will probably change – there are far too many books out there waiting to be read! For now, this short list will do. 🙂
We have come to the parting of ways… how about you? Have you a list like this? If yes, please feel free to share a link to your blog post and I’d only be too happy to check them out! 🙂