14 Must-Read Books

Updated: Jun 10

A long pending task of sorting and arranging the books was finally accomplished this weekend. While I adore all my books, I must confess, I love some of them more than the others. The realization dawned on me when I gave extra attention & extra time to some books than the rest while arranging. This got me thinking of all the books in my collection, which are my absolute favorites? Just a thought of the many random ones I get when I’m surrounded by books, really. It is quite a task to pick a certain ‘favorites’ as you know, but I picked these books for various reasons. It wasn’t always about the plot or narration or the favorite author; my reason for liking a book is sometimes strange – maybe because I fell in love with the character or the feeling a book invoked was too overwhelming, creating, storing & retrieving some strong memories; some books are dear to me also because in them I found the answers to some of the questions I had at that point of time in my life. So here goes my list (not an ultimate one, of course) of 14 must-read books, not necessarily in that order.



The Immortals of Meluha, Amish Tripathi – First of the Shiva Trilogy, the book cover had caught my attention – yes another strange reason for liking a book 📷 On a different note, Shiva is my favorite God & this book gave an interesting perspective to him, being a simple man who rose to become a hero, a god through his actions.

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Gifted, Sudha Menon and V R Ferose – Deeply inspiring stories of people with disabilities, this book teaches so much! Each story shows the inherent strength of human spirit, how courage and determination, and acceptance of who we are and going beyond the imperfections/ inabilities that can change not just our lives but also of those around us.

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The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho- While I didn’t read this book for a very long time, I couldn’t keep it down when I started reading it. The magical story about following our hearts & following our dreams was probably just the thing I needed in my life when I’d resumed writing & traveling after a long break and was doubting my decision.

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The Room on the Roof, Ruskin Bond – His stories are a part of my childhood memories. His first, this book is about friendships, dilemmas, adventures & difficulties of teenage life. What makes it more special to me is meeting Mr. Bond – the creator of Rusty, on one of my solo backpacking trips.

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To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee – This powerful & moving classic is one of the finest novels that everyone must read at least once in their life. I remember when some friends had read this book and told me they did not/could not like the book. It’s completely their opinion, which I respect. But to me, the central theme of the book was courage, which is why it makes it one of my must-reads.

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Animal Farm, George Orwell – The book is a brilliant satire on the corrupting influence of power and will make you think. When one day lazy & drunken, Mr. Jones of Manor Farm forgets to fee his livestock – a rebellion ensues on the farm. Under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, all the animals vow to eliminate the terrible injustices of the farm, renaming the Manor Farm to Animal Farm. But with time, the ideals of rebellion are corrupted and eventually forgotten.

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A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini – This gripping tale had left me emotionally drained for days. It is about two women – Mariam, who was married to an older man and Laila, a teenager in Kabul. When Taliban takes over and the lives become a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality, and fear. Yet love is the thing that can move people to act in unexpected ways, leading them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with startling heroism.

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The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald – Forget the movies, read the book to understand a story in a way it was meant to be. After the war, the mysterious Jay Gatsby – a self-made millionaire pursues wealth, riches and the lady he lost to another man with stoic determination. When Gatsby finally reunites with Daisy Buchanan, tragic events are set in motion. Told through the eyes of his detached and omnipresent neighbor and friend, Nick Carraway, the story unfolds the destruction and tragedy that awaits.

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Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri – Written with elegance, this collection of short stories is an enchanting mix of stories with profound feelings. Again, while I personally liked few of nine stories, the rest were alright. Overall I’d enjoyed the book as it offered many stories and characters and a myriad of emotions.

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Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer – I’ve always been enchanted by and drawn to the mountains. Mt. Everest needs no introduction, and this book is a landmark of mountaineering literature. It certainly is about the ill-fated tragedy & death, but it also about the brilliantly evoked landscapes and places, hair-raising experiences of man’s attempt to conquer the world’s highest mountain, and of devastation, catastrophe, and endurance.

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Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie – I’d picked up a liking for mystery books since my early reading days. I remember borrowing Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys from the school library and staying up late reading them. As I grew, Agatha Christie’s Monsieur Poirot & Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes were naturally my favorite characters. But this particular book is an intricately woven murder mystery in a very unlikely (in fact, boring) setting – a train. The luxury train stands snowbound, just after midnight. On board, the passengers are locked for the night. By morning the train is one passenger fewer, who lays dead in his compartment.

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The Book Thief, Markus Zusak – The story is really simple but what makes it interesting is that it is narrated by ‘Death’. Set in Germany during the World War II, it’s a simple story about Liesel a girl who lives with her foster parents and loves books, about her friendship and adventures with the neighbor boy and a Jewish man hiding in her basement.

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Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert – Coming over a crushing depression, braving the doubts and fears, following her heart, daring to step into the unknown, finding balance & peace is the extraordinary journey of this woman who learned to eat, pray and love in three different cultures. It’s an intelligent and funny and insightful read.

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Jaya, Devdutt Pattanaik – I was always curious about mythology. While I do not oppose or support the argument over them being myth or history, I simply enjoy the creativity and imagination the stories exhibited through the characters of god, goddesses, demigods, demons, monsters, heroes, warriors, wars and aftermath and all that. Jaya is an illustrated retelling of Mahabharat – one of the major ancient Indian epics. I enjoyed the book as it tickles the gray cells and gives a totally unique perspective to each character and event of the epic.

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Have you read any of these books? What is your observation and opinion on it?

Also tell me which books have made it to your list of must-reads, it might help me pick my next book.


Happy Reading!

#books #reading #mustread

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