There has been this Book Bucket Challenge going on around social media recently. I decided to jump on the bandwagon and think about the ten books that have had an impact on my life. As I was trying to recall the books I had read, I realised that many of these are texts I studied in Literature classes in the past. In no particular order, these ten are:
- The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins
One of the few books I could not put down after watching the second film installment, the trilogy is a lot more accessible than other trilogies, and the themes are powerful and well-packed. I love the utopian/dystopian contrasts and the ideologies raised in the series. Plus, the film, although nowhere as good as the book, is an awesome accompaniment to the written word.
- Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes
It was one of the first few books that made me cry. It was nothing but heartache watching Charlie Gordon degenerate, while at the same time conscious of his degeneration. It made me realise how much we crave human relationships and love and intelligence and gave me a glimpse of what makes us human.
- Dracula, Bram Stoker
I studied this as part of a Geopolitics module in Literature and absolutely loved it and how ingenious Stoker was in incorporating the geopolitical relations in the gripping novel.
- Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
A dark romantic classic which I can never forget. As cheesy as some parts can get, they always give me goosebumps. The elusive Mister Shao is probably influenced by the darkishly handsome Mr Rochester, more than I dare to tell. And Jane Eyre – strong, passionate and bold – as one of the perfect female protagonists.
- Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
A long ago travel narrative that unlocked my interest in satirical novels. This one is simply brilliant.
- Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
This novella has been read over and over since I studied it as an ‘A’ level text. I loved the sensitive way Conrad treated the natives and Kurtz/Marlow, as well as the post-colonial influences on the novella.
- The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton
If I had a choice, I would want to teach this book to the teenagers I work with. I think it raises questions about who belongs on the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside’, and it is one of those powerfully moving books that probes and questions what we are introduced to – strangely familiar in the real world we know.
- The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
‘Part of me is made of glass, and also, I love you.’
I think Krauss managed to treat ‘love’ in an extremely mature and thoughtful way for all the characters in her novel. What sticks with you at the end of the novel is not the narrative, which is rather disjointed, but the powerful and emotive quotes that just strike you as memorable and worth remembering. I was surprised how ‘love’ was treated in this novel – without adhering to its usual romantic thread.
- Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell
I don’t know why I like this book, but I do. It left a strangely pleasant aftertaste reading about the mundane and peasant lives of women. Of course, what made the reading so pleasurable was the sense of humour Gaskell conveyed.
- The Bible
Of course, I believe the Bible holds some Truths in life which has influenced me more than I am even conscious of. It transforms me day by day, and although I have put it down for a while, I hope it will continue to mould me as a person.