I nearly forgot to write a post about the best books I read this year.Luckily there were bloggers who reminded me of it.
Despite not reading that much – there was a horrible hole of 3 months in my reading year – I did discover some gems that wowed me.They are listed in no particular order and you can find the reviews of each in ‘Why you should read…’ on the menu tab.(Or simply click here )
1.Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
What can I say! A beauty.Normally I need some 3-4 pages to fully get into a book,but the language was so fluid and accommodating that I let myself drawn into the story from the very first page.The way Tolstoy started his book has much to do for this – read it and you’ll know what happens at the beginning! And whilst reading it,I could very easily feel that it was no ordinary book.Breathtaking.
2.Lord of the Flies – William Golding
I don’t know why so many people didn’t like it.For me,it was stunning.Very few classics showcase the beauty of the English language as well as this book does.Besides it is superbly structured.Almost everything has a meaning and Golding very intelligently writes his story; he leads his readers where he wants.And the ending is just thrilling,my God! A terrific book that blends beauty of language with horror of content like no other.
3.Labyrinths – Jorge Luis Borges
I never knew people could write or think like Borges.Each and every story in this book stunned me.At the moment I’m writing this post,I feel like taking the book out and re-reading the stories.People say that if Borges were not an author,he would’ve been a physicist.True,for he makes the most of seemingly unusable elements like space and time.Moreover he was an extremely intelligent man; all of his stories just ooze originality.They provoke us and show us how conventional in our thinking we really are.Ever heard of the expression ”think outside the box”? This man,Borges,did just that!! If you see it in a library,buy it asap,for you’ll never,ever,see stories on TV or in books close to his in your life.
4.Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
I picked it with no great expectations.I was buying paperbacks on the net and had enough to buy a third,cheap,one.So I ended up with Things Fall Apart.I started reading it at 11:00 at night and devoured nearly 100 pages in 1 hour and a half.The language is sublime,with Achebe intelligently preserving the charm of the African culture in it.His narrative voice is intoxicating and hard to get out of.Also the moral of the story is really important,and don’t even think that the book is biased – far from it,it isn’t. A very important read.
5.Possession – A.S Byatt
This book and I didn’t begin on good terms.I found it very heavy and boring at first.But as the story unfolded itself,I got more and more intrigued by it.I still can’t believe that everything in it was pure fiction.Byatt has put in a monumental effort in the writing of Possession and I don’t think we will ever see a similar book again.The poems,epics,letters and factual documents were written with baffling realism.She also described the characters’ feelings with unbelievable exactitude.But,in essence,in the midst of its complexities,Possession remains a unique love story.
6.The Great Gatsby – F.Scott Fitzgerald
I love this book so much perhaps because I can relate to Gatsby.I think he is a fascinating character with a very poignant story.You can study the character over and over without getting bored.And the language: a beauty!Fitzgerald could describe any trivial thing in poetic terms.The story,too,was very well written in my opinion.It felt very much American and was reminiscent of the works of another giant,Tennessee Williams! I loved it,as expected!
7.Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
I know this book divides opinions.It got one-star reviews on goodreads as well as five-star ones.I ignored what it was all about,so the book caught me right at the start.I finished it very quickly because I felt connected with the characters and was eager to know who they are and what will await them.It is written with extreme pathos and I can’t believe it didn’t win the Booker Prize – though I know how close it was to doing so.Beautiful.The narrator is unforgettable.
8.Too Much Happiness – Alice Munro
The last book I read this year.Munro lived up to her reputation.The stories are delicately and very simply written,but are all accompanied with a twist that will give them their own identities.There are so many good stories in this collection that it is hard to select which ones I’ll talk about.They are heartbreaking,compelling and unforgettable.’Child’s Play’ in particular saddened me so much that I kept thinking about it for days.The ultimate story,the longest,by far,in this collection shows how talented an author Munro is.She not only amply deserved her Nobel Prize,but also will be mentioned in the same breath as other literary giants even long after her death.
9.The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat – Oliver Sacks
A non-fiction book.I bought it out of curiosity but it really changed my outlook on mentally ill people.Because of Sacks’ undeniable talent as a writer,the book felt just like a collection of short stories.The cases in this book are all different from one another and you’ll be introduced to terrible,nightmarish mental illnesses you’ve never thought of.But the book is not all about that.It shows you how most patients overcome their illnesses and what we can learn from their experiences.A very insightful book that will make you more empathetic than ever.
10.Of Human Bondage – Somerset Maugham
Nothing in particular happens in this book.You just follow the life of a young boy till he’s 30.It is a very huge novel,but one that will make you grow as a person.It was just the kind of book I needed before going to university.You can learn so much from Philip’s experiences and from the people he meet.Also because of its hugeness you will have this book around for quite some weeks and you somehow feel a certain bond between the main character and you.I won’t suggest this book to people,but if you happen to be interested in it even after reading the blurb,then go ahead,read it.After all,it’s Somerset Maugham’s masterpiece.