I kinda think that I started reading much later than most people around me. For the first 11-12 years, I lived in a small town where I was more interested in running and playing in the hot sun and coming home with a grazed knee or climbing trees and coming home with a little tear in my dress. When I read, I read only comics, and those mostly Hindi.
1. Naughty Amelia Jane – Enid Blyton
Sometime in Std III, my English teacher at school called me and a couple of other kids from my class and gave us our first ‘novels,’ because apparently our language skills were better than the others in the class. Naughty Amelia Jane was the one I got.
2. The Enchanted Wood – Enid Blyton
I borrowed this from a friend who was 2 years my senior. The first book that I just couldn’t put down.
3. The Secret of Terror Castle – Robert Arthur, Jr.
Bought for my brother, the first mystery story I read. When I first read it, I didn’t understand most of it. So I ignored it for the time being and re-read it a couple of years later, after reading a ton of Bobbsey Twins, random mystery short stories, Famous Five, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys stories, in that order.
4. The Hound of Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle
Abridged version. Again, the first time I read it, I didn’t quite follow it, in fact I doubt I even read it…probably just stared at the print and waited for the pictures as I turned the pages. Chronologically, I think I got my hands on this before the Three Investigators book. Probably around IIIrd or IVth std when I wanted to look just as cool as my bro reading big books rather than comics.
5. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
My first serious literature I think. I read it when I was in class X.
6. Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
Read this not too long after the Woman in White. Love(d) it and it was my favourite book for a very very long time.
7. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
This and the next 4 are my favourite books from my BA syllabus. On its own, I’m not very fond of Jane Eyre and find it a tad plain. But then I read Wide Sargasso Sea, and it brought out so many nuances in Jane Eyre that I started loving this book also.
8. Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
Still looking and looking for a copy.
9. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
10. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
11. Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
Hours and hours of reading this. A friend and I used to read it aloud to each other in the hope that it would help us understand the book. It is, to date, the most difficult book I’ve read. (I’ve heard James Joyce’s Ulysses even tougher to read; which is why it still sits on my shelf unread.)
12. Joy in the Morning – P G Wodehouse
My first Wodehouse. Borrowed from a friend. I can never forget reading it in hostel and laughing till my stomach ached and I had tears running down my face. I kept it for so long and re-read it so many times that my friend decided to donate it to me.
13. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
My favourite gift book. My aunt gave it to me when I was travelling to hyd, and I have since gifted it to many who were travelling, to an altogether new place and/or beginning a new phase in life.
14. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
Touched me deeply. Have never had so many strong emotions rush through me as I had while reading this book.
15. Karukku – Bama
Read it during my PG, and it opened my eyes to a whole set of things that were right in front of my eyes.
16. Penelopiad – Margaret Atwood
Just because it is brilliant. 🙂
#Image from here.