Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Me to Read

This week the people at the Broke and Bookish ask us to list the ten books which have been most recommended to us.Here’s my list:

1.A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth Ozeki

I remember when the shortlist for the Booker Prize of 2013 was out the premise of this book really caught my attention – like everybody else,I didn’t think that ”the time being” could actually be a being.Although Catton’s The Luminaries won afterwards,many people I know read Ozeki’s book,enjoyed it a lot,and told me that it is a must-read.I also note that they’ve all been captivated by the storyline as they’ve finished reading it in a matter of days.

2.The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

My friend keeps telling me that I should read it,as he is sure I’ll enjoy it,maybe because he knows that I’m fond of multi-layered books.The premise seems promising and I saw somewhere on the net that there are 12 characters who correspond to the Zodiac signs; the use of horoscopes in books is something unheard of before and given that Catton’s novel won the Booker,I gather that it must have impressed quite a few juries on the panel.I have no qualms about the potential of this book,and I’ll read it soon. – well,maybe next year,considering its size.

3.The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes

I was surprised by how popular this book was – could it be the most popular Booker Winner ever? In fact I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.I received a defective copy from the Bookdepository and I’m currently awaiting a replacement.Otherwise I would have read it immediately after Things Fall Apart which I’ll most probably finish tonight.

4.Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

 Oddly enough I’ve seldom seen any negative review of this very controversial book; it is a favourite of many and its beauty presumably lies in the way it is written.Lolita is quite mysterious to me,as I wonder if there will actually be any tinge of paedophilia in it,if Lolita acts like a little girl or a teen,or if it is so well-written that we will forget about the disturbing subject centering the novel.All in all I cannot wait to read this one.

5.The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy – Douglas Adams

I’ll be honest: after reading the premise,I dismissed the series as ridiculous.But throughout the year that followed,I noticed that many people who read classics count the ”Hitchhiker” books among their favourites too! I am thus sure that I’ll have a good time reading them and they might as well be among my own favourites! I’m currently saving my money to buy these books in Folio edition.

6.The Outsider – Albert Camus

After visiting a myriad of blogs on wordpress,I feel I am the only one who has not yet read this book.As it is often the case with Camus’ books,many people rank L’Etranger – as it is called in French – among their most memorable reads.I have it at home,but maybe I’ll read it after finishing The Myth of Sisyphus,Camus’s essay on existentialism.

7.The Arrival – Shaun Tan

For no special reason,this book caught my attention in the list of the best graphic novels of all time.I liked the premise and saw that it has good ratings on goodreads,so I added it to my wish-list.Afterwards I saw this book being reviewed by a graphic novel enthusiast who ranked it among the best works she has ever read.Such sentiments were echoed,albeit to a lesser extent,by another blogger who said it is a very powerful novel.The peculiarity of this book is that it doesn’t have any word; its beauty and pathos reside solely in Shaun Tan’s superb illustrations.Really a book I’m looking forward to reading!

8.North and White – Elizabeth Gaskell

Many people liked it and recommended it to me.I’m not a huge fan of the Victorian era,and reading Gaskell doesn’t sound very appealing to me.Nonetheless I think I’ll have to give her book a chance,if it as good as others say it is.There is also Cranford,which many seem to like.

9.The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

These past years have seen a resurgence in the popularity of this book.I have only a vague idea of what it is about,but I wonder why many think it is as good as they say it to be.I’m also very curious to know how someone best known for her exceptional poems fared with writing a novel.

10.Wonder – R.J Palaccio

This one has been popular since its publication,I think.I’ve heard great things about it and really want to buy it,even if I can’t help thinking that its cover highly resembles that of A Fault in Our Stars; I fear Wonder might just be as overhyped as John Greene’s book.But well,I will definitely read it!

I had to list only ten novels,so I couldn’t include all the books recommended to me.Among those which I will surely buy are Maus,the graphic novel,E.M Forster’s masterpiece Howard’s End and Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin.


24 thoughts on “Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Me to Read”

  1. I’ll be reading The Sense of An Ending in exactly 2 books time! Look forward to hearing what you think. The Arrival will not disappoint, it’s a beautiful book. Everyone was telling me about Wonder which I read and reviewed last week but it just wasn’t for me…

    1. I think I might read The Sense of an Ending after finishing Things Fall Apart,even though I have a defective copy of the book.But I guess that’ll depend on my mood: I also have Waiting for Godot and Myth of Sisyphus waiting!

      I’m glad you say The Arrival is excellent! It reinforces my idea that the book is a must-read even for those who’re not so much into graphic novels!

      As for Wonder,you’re far from being the only one whom it didn’t impress! I guess it is quite over-hyped!

      As usual,thanks a lot for commenting! It is always very nice to hear the thoughts of someone who has books expanding from so many categories! 🙂

    1. I must start reading some Camus!
      I am particularly impressed by his superb use of the French language; he effortlessly writes and talks poetically!

  2. I heard great things about Wonder too but personally didn’t think it was as good as the hype made it out to be. The Bell Jar is one of my favourite books and I heartily recommend it. I also think that Maus is definitely worth buying!

    1. I think Wonder is a little over-hyped! There are many other people whom it didn’t appeal to…
      I don’t know if I should read it!
      As for the Bell Jar,I guess it is a must-read,if you say so! 😉
      Maus is on my wish-list.I should resolve to buying it even if it is about the price of two paperbacks!
      Thanks for commenting! Your thoughts are always welcome!

  3. Interesting list! Many of these have been recommended to me too, but I’m definitely joining in on recommending the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Yes, it is ridiculous, but it’s also ridiculously hilarious. You should try at least the first one to see if it’s your cup of tea 🙂
    And as it happens, I checked out Maus I&II from the library today. Can’t wait to see if they live up to the hype!

    1. Haha,ok,I’ll try the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!
      The funny thing is that it is incredibly popular among classic readers who’re normally used to reading very serious and solemn novels!

      Maus seems promising.After all it is the first and,I think,the only graphic novel to have won the Pulitzer! I’ll definitely check your review about it and its sequel; I also wonder if the latter will be as good as its predecessor!

  4. A vote for both North and South and Eugene Onegin! I’m planning to read The Illuminaries and The Hitchhiker’s Guide too. Camus and his works really interest me, but I’m not sure I can get through Lolita. Great list! You’ve given me some timely reminders of books on my TBR list!

    1. I was sure you were going to comment on North and South! It seems like a good book as I’ve often seen it being recommended on many blogs!
      As for Eugene Onegin,I quite apprehended the fact that it was written in verse,but many people,you included,said many good things about it! I wonder if it will stand up to the greatness of the other Russian monuments: Anna Karenina,Brothers Karamazov,and War&Peace!

      Hmm,Camus’ works seem promising.His French is always so splendid,and he always provides his readers with much food for thought!
      Lolita,too,quite surprisingly,is very popular!I will definitely read it,as I’m curious to know why it has been so acclaimed,and especially because there isn’t any other book like it in literature!

  5. And here I thought this whole time you’ve read The Luminaries! (on reference to a comment long way back per books becoming classics)

    Wonder sounds like a… wonderful novel and definitely one I would gravitate towards if you gave me the option between Green and Palaccio (and perhaps you would opt for the same, or neither).

    joey via. thoughts and afterthoughts

    1. Haha,yep,I remember this conversation! I was saying how Booker winners and nominees eventually become the best books of their time,like The Luminaries,The God of Small Things and Never Let Me Go.
      Out of the three I didn’t read Catton’s book.But a friend of mine kept telling me how good and multi-layered it is,so I based my comment on what his opinion!

      Aha,Wonder,so far,has not been so wonderful a read to some bloggers I know.They said it didn’t stand to its hype.I think I should give it a chance nonetheless,given that it is a book meant for children…
      If you read it with the perspective and expectations of a child,I think it’ll be ‘Okay’.

      1. I feel like there are many books for children/middle-grade that have profound impacts on the oldies (or just non children/MG). I’m still discovering them but perhaps you will enamored by it.

  6. I read Wonder last year, it’s a great little story. I read Gaskell and Plath in college and were really quite impressed. I keep looking at The Luminaries when I make my weekly trip to the bookstore, but don’t know if I’m intrigued enough to invest in its purchase.

    1. Ha,Wonder! I’ve so far heard mixed reviews about it!
      As for Plath and Gaskell,I guess I should give them a go.

      Hmm,I think you should give The Luminaries a chance.It won the Booker and many people were impressed by it!

      1. I don’t think I ever would have picked up Wonder since it’s has an 8-12 year old age range, but I heard such great things about it. I gave it to my mother to read and she’s not a fan. She doesn’t like the writing, which I get. Palacio is not a great writer, but it is her first book and hopefully she’ll grow into it. And remember we’re jaded adults reading a book for 8-12 year olds.

  7. Yes, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a must!!! But other than that, I too am intrigued by Lolita…it is contraversial, but people LOVE it. It’s weird, and I want to know what there is to rave about that book…

    1. You’re one of the very few who haven’t liked Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy!
      I am much interested in the Bell Jar,and Lolita seems very promising! 😮

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