Books, much like people can influence life by cajoling one into thinking, by offering a perspective, by simply entertaining or even at times offering for a change, much needed advice. In over a gazillion titles there are a whole wide range of books to delve into. From humor, to information, from recipes to hard-facts, from entertaining stories to heart-wrenching reality, books can transport one almost instantly. Like they say all you need in life is love, or a good book!
Nominated to share the 10 books that changed my life, here is my list in a chronological order of my reading. They may not be the best pieces of fiction I have read but they have offered me a perspective thereby fostering change.
1. Beauty and the Beast – by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Possibly my favorite fairy-tale forever. Happy endings, exemplary courage, vivid imagination, chivalry and a charming Prince, absolutely lovely.
2. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – by Mark Twain
The book assumes the power of imagination and of beating the odds through delightful characters in Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. Every time I read it, I begin to cherish the smaller treasures of life. Of looking for and finding adventure and the joy of being curious. The sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is tremendous too.
3. Little Women
The courage of the March family, the wit and simplicity of values, Jo March and her resolve totally inspires. The novel follows the young women as they grow up and face life, each armed with a skill that takes them afar.
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
By far my favorite book, my go-to book that never fails to charm. Apart from the well defined characters, intriguing dialogues is conversation marked by wit and intelligence that makes the story come alive. More importantly how Elizabeth and Darcy overcome all obstacles, including personal failings to find romantic happiness.
5. The stories of Anton Chekhov – especially ‘The Bet’
The trumping of knowledge and the power of reading is wonderfully illustrated by Chekhov in his story, the Bet. With patience, perseverance and knowledge the story elucidates that there is no solitude in life with the presence of books.
6. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
The power of original thought and why man must think for himself. Howard Roark in his steely ways and stubborn demeanor further is an extrapolation of personal integrity. Not giving in to peer pressure, having a genuine line of thought and most importantly celebrating the individual make Ayn Rand’s book extremely provoking.
7. Love Story by Eric Segal
The Romeo and Juliet reminiscent, heart-touching love story of two completely different people who are surmounted by conditions beyond their control. The Harvard boy and the Radcliffe girl, from two different worlds who fall in love and how. With tears streaming down my face I still remember wishing away the ending!
8. Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell
Scarlett O’hara and Rhett Butler, what a combination. Yes, tomorrow is another day. The complexity of the characters, the spirited protagonist and the bane of ruffled feathers sparked by temper. In spite of all the loss, completely exasperating the reader she says, tomorrow is another day.
9. The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald
The absolutely unparalleled love and devotion of Jay Gatsby told in Fitzgerald’s master-piece. Who wouldn’t want to be Daisy! Very charming and yet very tragic, the life of Gatsby is enriched by the love he displays. Modern fiction that enthrals!
10. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Donna Tartt is my favorite modern day writer. And her master-piece, the Goldfinch is stunning. More so because of the ending again. There’s art, there’s literature and then there’s New York as the setting. Added to that is the refreshing ideology Tartt presents.
and my favorite literary character of all time? Elizabeth Bennet. Her wit, lively and playful manner is simply so endearing. Besides rash decisions and a sharp tongue make her very real too.