My Top 10 Books

The Scribble and Edit Top 10 Novels Blogfest is over, but there is no bad time to make a list, especially if it’s one about favourite books.

These are 10 of my favourite books — or have been at one point. Definitely not a comprehensive listing and not limited to novels. So, approximately in the order I read them:

  1. Shadow the Sheepdog (Enid Blyton): Got it for my seventh birthday — the story of a boy and his dog. At that time I had romanticized notions of having a dog of my own. Buttons came into my life a few years later and it was much more exciting than I’d have imagined.
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee): I was about 12 when I read this, and I wanted to be Scout and Jem at various points. It also introduced me to a world and to ideas I’d had no inkling of. I recently reread the book and was amazed at how different but no less wonderful it was.
  3. All Things Bright and Beautiful (James Herriot): This is an omnibus edition, but it was the one I read first, when I was about 12 or so. The spectacular countryside of the Yorkshire Dales and the memorable characters (both two-legged and four-legged) in Herriot’s lucid narrative style have tremendous reread value. It was after I read this that I knew I just had to go see the place.
  4. The Thornbirds (Colleen McCullough): Ironical that a story about the enduring relationship of a a little girl and a priest would be responsible for “completing” my sex education. I was 14 then, so it figures. That’s not the only reason it’s on this list — it was a true epic and a wonderfully told tale. That said, having recently reread it, I found it disturbing in parts, but it had a tremendous impact on me at that time.
  5. The Far Pavilions (M.M. Kaye): Yet another epic love story — about both people and places. Apart from being a masterly piece of storytelling, the setting of the book was familiar in a sense. It was one of those books that “get into you” and stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.
  6. Into Think Air (Jon Krakauer): The disturbing and haunting story of the disastrous Everest expedition of 1996. The veracity of some of the events described have been questioned, but that does not take away the unputdownability of this volume.
  7. I Am Spock (Leonard Nimoy): For a Trekkie like me, there was never any doubt that Nimoy was Spock! This book is an amazing autobiographical account of how Nimoy dealt with the cultish identity that the popularity of Star Trek bestowed on him. Interestingly, it followed one titled I Am Not Spock (which I haven’t read), where he attempts to distance himself from this Spock-self.
  8. On Beulah Height (Reginald Hill): My favourite book from a favourite series and a favourite author. I consider this the most complete crime novel I have read — in my limited experience, of course. It motivated me to seek out more of the inappropriate Superintendent Dalziel and his minions.
  9. Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling): Of all the Potter books, this was my favorite. I was in my late 20s when I read this book, so chances are I wasn’t exactly the intended audience. But this one had everything: magic, mystery, adventure, fun, intrigue, friendship, betrayal… all packaged in a superlative narration.
  10. The Eye of the World (Robert Jordan): The book the properly introduced me to the genre of fantasy and motivated me to write my first novel. It’s easy to see how much impact this had on me from the parallels my first book has with the story (sigh… might as well admit it).

P.S.: Many thanks to Gargi for the Blogfest notice. I wish I hadn’t procrastinated.


8 Replies to “My Top 10 Books”

  1. You are so fancy…I didn’t read books when I was little. I read the ending of a book in ninth grade and pretended having read it :p I donno if I have any favorite books even now.

    Maybe you only get favorites at a certain age and I missed it all together. I played video games instead and have tons of favs of those. 🙂

  2. You’re a trekkie?! Sweet!

    I haven’t read I am Spock but now I surely will. And yes, Nimoy is Spock. I used to aspire to be Spock when I was a kid. Is that sad?

  3. @Vinod: You were not alone… but maybe we shouldn’t be saying this in a public place 😉

    @Nik: That’s an idea — a list of top 10 games, including all kinds of games, not just video.

  4. Great list! Glad you compiled it even now. I had ‘I am Spock’ on my reading list many years ago and it somehow slipped off my radar. Hope to read it soon. What an apt title for his autobiography.

  5. Cool list, PD. I love many of the books you’ve listed here – ‘Shadow the Sheepdog’ still makes me cry. And I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve re-read ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, and been astounded at discovering something new yet again. And yes, ‘The Thornbirds’ was pretty crucial to my sex education too!! 😛

    I’ll make my own list on my blog, I think – that way I can perhaps get more people to make their lists!

  6. Looking forward to your list!

  7. Payal, an award awaits you at my blog.

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