Today, I will be daring enough to choose just ten (just ten!) books from my babies. As I have mentioned in my previous post, doing so is like choosing among your children who you love best. I don’t have children, let alone a husband yet, but I can imagine it could be difficult. And very painful.
Yet for this season, I would like to give the spotlight to ten books which influenced, inspired, and encouraged me to read more as well as become a better person. These incredible and original thoughts which came from creative and brave authors must be put in a pedestal and let others praise them. It is past the time for me to do this.
Now, without further ado (and before I start to think deeper of other books I have read), may I present to you my top ten list.
- Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. Nothing can compare with the influence these seven magical installments from J. K. gave to me. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone might be one of the full novels I have read during my early years in grade school. It encouraged me to read more and opening my young mind with many possibilities at the same time. It aided my imagination to stretch wider. Without this series, I might not be fond of reading as much as I am now.
- Without Seeing the Dawn by Stevan Javellana. I love this book and proud that the author of this novel is a Filipino. Set during WWII, it told a story about how Filipinos lived during Japanese occupation in the country. I love historical fiction and having read one about my country’s past made me aware of what my ancestors had to endure during those times. It also made me realized that most of the important values portrayed by Filipinos at that time are evaporating in the current generation. It made me think with a pain in my heart that as the world develops, the values of some also degenerate.
- Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. I read this when I was sophomore in high school and I never regretted that I did. It was my first Albom book. Perhaps I am to echo what others already said about this book or his other creations, but his writings are very inspiring and enlightening. I found myself reflecting how I lived for the past years and how I could’ve made it better. Then I got the Mitch Albom Fever. I have poured over all his published books, cried a river in ALL of them, and recommended those to my friends.
- Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan. This is also a series consists of the first with five novels with two extras and graphic novels in between; and the second with another five. The first series is about Greek mythology – their gods and demigods, while the second is about their Roman counterpart. Since I was little, I was fascinated with mythologies and having those stories (and lessons) be incorporated in a work of fiction, and a YA at that, made me jump with glee. I read the first installment, The Lightning Thief, when I was 17 or 18, and it rekindled my passion and interest in mythology. It was a very educational as well as entertaining read. After I finished the book, I came wanting for more. And so I indulged myself and just last month, I finished the third installment of the second series!
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. This is one of the two books my Creative Writing teacher in high school required us to read. The other one is #2. At first, I found the book dull. It’s such a thin published book – more of a thicker pamphlet actually. During my first time to browse its contents, I think I wrinkled my nose while making that tsk tsk sound. It was like half of its total pages are used for photos of a seagull! But since it is a school requirement, I have to read it. And found myself surprised. With just few powerful and evocative words (and lots of pictures, just to remind you again), it made me feel like the seagull – a being who wants to be free from the rules. No, this is not the Communist Manifesto and it won’t change your political views. Instead, it made me feel confident that I am not alone in my quest to follow my heart – we are all different and being unique is not that bad, that sometimes some people just recognize a higher purpose for their creation than others. And they do something to make that purpose fulfilled.
- The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth. It was in my second year in university when I first read this book. I was, as often at that time, in my school’s library browsing over titles in the literary section (and not in textbooks and references, ha!) when I stumbled upon this novel. The book was old, with its yellow pages and delicious smell. I read the blurb and when I found it interesting enough, grabbed it for a check-out. I used two or three days (I wasn’t a full-time reader at that time; I still have grades to maintain in order to grab a Latin honor) to finish it and when I did, I had this crazy smile on my face when I whispered to my best friend, “I want to be an assassin.”
- Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. This is another reading requirement in my university’s History of Political Thoughts class. I remember having a hard time finding a copy of this Norwegian novel in our local bookstores. When I had mine, I was like two or three chapters behind my class and I had to catch up as our professor was fond of book quizzes. It is a work of fiction intended mostly for the young minds to be exposed to philosophy and the great thinkers. It has a number of chapters of various and important philosophers starting from Socrates. The reading requirement turned out to be an adventure-filled, thought-provoking experience for me.
- Remember When by Judith Mcnaught. I have finished this book courtesy of my high school classmate who lent it to me. It was my first historical romance novel ever read and it made my young heart soar with hope and dreams of meeting my dream man in the future. I am grateful for the author, whose total published novels I have read almost in half, for she introduced me to the world of historical romance.
- The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. Another book requirement, this time in my Reading class in high school. I admit it was extremely boring at first. I was brought up reading American and English novels that having a Chinese-inspired story made me dull and uninterested. I read it for the sake of writing a book review with sense, but something changed at the middle of the book. It’s like a late bloomer; the pace of the story caught up in the middle. Or perhaps I just got used to reading pre-revolutionary China and names I couldn’t correctly pronounce, but anyway. I became to like this book because of its honest and unsentimental views of the Chinese society at that time. It seems so real – the love, infidelity, and pain found in the book. I was 13 or 14 when I read this and I wasn’t prepared to be overwhelmed with the cruel reality in the world even during that time. It made my eyes and mind open and realistic that not every story has a happy ending.
- Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux. I admit I haven’t read The Time Traveller’s Wife despite others’ high recommendations. It’s not my cup of tea. Even though I read historical romance, at least the stories still sound possible unlike time travelling. Apologies for those who like Niffenegger’s masterpiece, but this is just my point of view. However, I didn’t know that one novel, a historical romance at that, had this time travelling element and I was up for a surprise: I fell in love with the book – its plot and characters. I was crying like an idiot at around two or three in the morning, wanting to scream at the injustice at the ending. Then I vowed to give time travelling stories a chance.
So there go my top ten books. I’m sure if I hesitated to write this now I will be able to replace and/or add other novels in there so I have to finish this fast before I changed my mind. It is really difficult!
How about you guys? With Thanksgiving just around the corner, isn’t it timely to give our thanks to our loyal companions and their masters?
And speaking of Thanksgiving, I have an ongoing giveaway which all of you are definitely invited to join. Click here for the giveaway post or here to be directed to the rafflecopter page. See you there!