And challenge indeed it was. I have just copy pasted the list from my Facebook timeline–thought it would interest you guys to read it. If you liked it, create your own lists in the comments section, or write a separate blog post. If you can, write in brief the reason why you like the book.
So these are the ten books I have enjoyed the most — I think. I haven’t read any of them for years except The Long Ships, and they give off a musty sort of smell now, lying unused on the shelves. But don’t let that deceive you — I love them still.
There is no particular order, but The Hobbit will always be on the top. .
#1 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: My first ‘proper’ book. An unlikely, four-feet tall hero who has to face a fire-breathing dragon who roasts warriors in their armour and then eats them as a hobby. There is a band of boisterous dwarves and a tall, authoritative wizard too, but they can be ignored.
#2 Something Fresh By P.G. Wodehouse: My first encounter with Wodehouse and I still like it more than any of his books.
#3 Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson: Epic scale and overwhelming pathos. One of the most tragically disturbing books I’ve read, and it’s huge at almost 1200 pages.
#4 India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha: A detailed account of everything important that has happened in India since independence. A little too scholarly in tone, it nevertheless is an absorbing read.
#5 The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson: A Swedish classic. A good-old Viking tale about Red Orm, a rare Norse warrior with a regard for honour, and his crewmates. Originally in Swedish, I read an English translation (obviously). Set in the backdrop of Christianisation of Scandinavia.
#6 Red Country by Joe Abercrombie: Gallows humour meets fantasy which in turn meets western. Marks the return of one of the most-loved characters written by Joe Abercrombie.
#7 The Green Mile by Stephen King: Probably my favourite Stephen King book. A moving story about a black, hulking convict John Coffey who arrives in Cold Mountain penitentiary, being charged with rape of two little girls. Whether he’s guilty or not is another matter, what’s important is the way this book touches on human emotions. It actually made me shed tears, which is truly a remarkable achievement.
#8 The Discovery of India by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru: The fact that Nehru wrote this book in prison speaks volumes about his intellect and knowledge. The prose is elegant and the book makes you fall with India all over again. A true polymath, this Nehru guy.
#9 Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke: Jane Austenesque prose coupled with magic makes for an extraordinary book. But this book is extraordinary in many ways. It gives you a really interesting alternate version of English victory over the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte. Lengthy, but worth it.
#10 Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay: Set in Tang dynasty’s China, this book has hands down the most beautiful language in the fantasy genre. There is a prevalent poignant tone in the story which I adored.