Top Ten Book Challenge
Nothing like books to open doors to a magical world of creativity, imagination and what not! Thanks to my parents, I got introduced to the amazing world of books at a very young age and there has been no turning back since then. They introduced me to the right genre and author at the right age that I grew with the right books at the right age!
Renga Lending Library was my Hogwarts I should say! The smell of old books that filled my nostrils when I enter the library still lingers in my memories. The numerous adventures I had through the books I read, all credits to the uncle who owned the library then.
It is really tough to name ten favourite books! I would like to list the names of authors who made an impact in my though process at various stages of growing up. Being an ardent reader of both English and Tamil books, I will list top 10 in both languages, only that would make justice! And so, here is my list, books I grew up with and have had a deep impact in my life:
1. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter : All the seven books, I would have read each book at least 10 times and each time I would find something new and the magic of Rowling's words always amaze me! Epic is the word! The characters are so adorable that they become an integral part of your life.All the seven books became movies and it was a ritual in our family to watch the movies together. My dad and brother have read the books and I took great pleasure in narrating the stories to my mother!
I often tell my family, that Harry Potter is an epic in the lines of Ramayana and Mahabharata. With the good wins over evil concept ideally presented, it is indeed an epic. I was so crazy about the Harry Potter books that I would keep these books every year for Saraswathi Pooja, much to the annoyance of my grandma! Humour, Philosophy, Romance, Sentiments, Emotions all mixed in the right proportions, this book is definitely going to be in my list for my child to read for sure!
1. Chandilyan's many many historical novels took me back in time to the era of Tamil kings! Each scene would be brought in front of my eyes by the author with his lucid and detailed descriptions. Rajamuthirai and Kadal Pura - "கடல் புறா" are my favourites. A particular scene describing a market with many many shops selling pearls still unfurls in front of my eyes whenever I think about it. One more scene that I immediately comes to my mind is that of a huge drum that is used to announce war. I fell head over heels in love with my mother tongue reading Chandilyan! The beauty of the language has its grip on me even today, thanks to him!
2. Enid Blyton's books : My childhood dreams were filled with her stories. The Faraway Tree, Famous Five, Secret Seven and many other books opened doors for creativity and imagination. Recently, I bought The Faraway Tree and read it.
The joy of reading it still remained the same! I was shifted back in time and became a child again. Such is the beauty of Enid Blyton's words and narration!
Tamil: Kalki's Ponniyin Selvan, Sivagamiyin Sabatham and other books triggered my interest in history and increased my love for Tamil. The characters and simple narration makes you fall in love with the story. The same reason why people still buy the book or go watch the play!
Though the style is not as adept as Chandilyan's when it comes to historical novels, the story still holds your attention!
3. Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and all her other Poirot novels introduced a completely new genre of books to me! As I grew out of Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie adopted me! There was a time when I used to hunt for all the Agatha Christie novels as if my life's aim to cross all her books in my list to be marked as read!
Agatha Christie's books improved my English vocabulary and introduced me to a much serious style of writing. Her books would make me feel adult-like - crime, mystery and adventures, making me guess the culprit and the joy of failing to identify the right one!
Tamil: La. Cha. Ra. - unknown to many, he is one of the brilliant writers I have come across. His sheer narration and use of words make you understand the proverb - Pen is mightier than Sword! As the great writer Sujatha says, if one doesn't/hasn't read La. Cha. Ra., he is not fit to comment about short stories at all.
The emotions of his characters cannot be described in any other word but his! Each line and word is so powerful that it lingers in your thoughts a long time after you finish the story!
4. Robin Cook's medical novels especially Chromosome 6. At a point, when I was so interested in Biology and medical sciences, his books intrigued and fascinated me. Fever and Coma to name a few other!
Tamil: Sujatha's Vignana Sirugathaigal and many many many other books. What to say about this genius? He has written stories in every possible genre and his vast knowledge reflected in every page. His books on Sanga Tamizh literature like Puranaanooru, Silappadhigaaram etc. make it so easy to understand the classics for the present generation.
5. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. After reading this book, I always wanted to see India through the eyes of a Westerner! The vivid portrayal of Mumbai and the characters makes this book very unique and interesting!
Tamil: Balakumaran's Udayar. This six part book is all about construction of the Thanjavur Big Temple. Though the narration is not all that great, the story is what keeps you glued to the book!
6. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini. This is one of the very few books that made my eyes well with tears. Such characterizations and narration!
Tamil: Vairamuthu's Kallikaattu Ithikaasam. This is one more book that made me cry. The language used and the story - mind blowing!
7. Arthur Hailey's books - Airport, Hotel, Wheels etc. The insight that one gets about the different industries along with a wonderful plot cannot me matched! Brilliance!
Tamil: Vikramadithan Kadhaigal by Aru. Ramanathan. The classic Vikram and Betaal in Tamil. The many many adventures of Vikramadityan told in Tamil - I still remember narrating stories from this book to my cousins and friends!
8. Mahabharata and the numerous books written based on it in both English and Tamil. Right from the children's version of the story - I vividly remember the scary illustrations to Rajaji's version, Karna's Wife by Kavitha Kane, Ajaya by Anand Neelakantan, Cho's Mahabharatham gave different perspectives of each character in this amazing epic!
9. Ramayana and the numerous books written based on it in both English and Tamil. Rajaji's Ramayana, Asura by Anand Neelakantan gave interesting interpretations for different characters and scenes!
10. Jeffrey Archer's books - Kane and Abel Series, First Among Equals, A Prisoner of Birth etc. When I grew out of Agatha Christie, Jeffrey Archer became my favourite author when Sidney Sheldon and few other authors failed to get hold of me!
Tamil: The short stories written by my father C.V. Rajan! I can't express my awe at reading his published and unpublished stories. Thoongum Puli, Chandru romba sensitive etc. I still preserve the file containing his works! He truly inspired me to write - though I am not that creative to write fiction, at least a few non-fiction articles!
While writing this article, I was constantly reminded of this generation children who are addicted to gadgets and are missing the magic of books. I truly hope parents inculcate and encourage book-reading in their children that is sure to inspire them!