To be more accurate, I labelled these particular books my favorite ones not really just because of their story or their characters. Honestly, if you ask me their names or what happened in this particular chapter or where did the most intense event take place, I probably wouldn’t be able to answer you right away. But the real reason why I tag them as my favorite books is because of how I felt right after I read them. It doesn’t matter if I felt anger or sadness or happiness or with most of these, that I felt I couldn’t move on from the stories and the characters. These books elicited something in me and so, they stuck in my mind and now I consider them my favorites. I’m sharing these with you just in case you need some inspiration on which book to pick up next.
1. Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. This is definitely on top of my list. If I were to name just one favorite book, this would be it. I read this in high school as part of a school project and I think I just found this lying at home (my sister’s) so I picked it up and got hooked. In a time when I was surrounded with The Baby Sitters Club and Sweet Valley books (both of which I also read), this particular book was the first book that elicited some emotion in me. Perhaps because it’s a coming-of-age book or perhaps I related with the protagonist. Whatever the reason, this is the first conscious book that I really liked. Funny that I haven’t reread this and yet, still consider it at the top of my list.
2. 11 minutes by Paulo Coelho. Included in Coelho’s works that I love are Brida and By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept but amongst all of his titles, 11 minutes is still my favorite. To be honest, Coelho’s books are a hit and miss for me. But 11 minutes is definitely a bullseye. A controversial topic – prostitution and sex – yet even though I was young when I read this, it struck me as pure beauty how Coelho wrote this novel.
3. Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. This might be a cliché (and a bit weird following the title above) but this came out when I was in college and part of this Christian organization I was in was a study program with this book. I actually really enjoyed reading it. It clarified what my purpose on earth was in a very simple and practical and easy-to-understand way. Plus, I really enjoyed the group discussions then with my friends. I recommend this to anyone – whatever belief you have – because it is very universal.
4. Shogun and Tai-Pan by James Clavell. I was very proud when I finished these two titles, both part of the Shogun series, because they are super long! It’s about 3 inches thick and yet, it was able to capture my attention from the get go. Clavell’s way of writing is very detail-oriented that he really describes what you are seeing and describes each character precisely, even if you’ll never see that character again. I could not put the books down! I remember wanting to go home as soon as possible just to read the book and before long, I would find it was already 2am in the morning! Unfortunately, the following titles after that didn’t really captivate me anymore, even though I have the complete set and am trying to finish the last two books.
5. Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge. Oh my gosh! This book should be read by every.single.woman out there. I promise. I mean, just read the title! Isn’t that enough to make you want to read the book? As in, I can still remember the emotions I felt after reading this like it was just yesterday. I had to stop every few pages just to internalize and reflect on what I just read. A lot of times I cried! I practically wanted to ear mark and highlight every page and word in the book! Then I would be in awe and amazed and dumbfounded with the revelation after revelation of this book. Grabe, this is an absolute must for every female, living body. It will make you realize who you are, what your worth is, how you should be treated, what value you should have of yourself and so much more. So, so powerful yet such an easy read! Definitely a book that added more light to my spiritual walk with God. To think, this was given to me during my college years but I only read it a few years back so that’s approximately a decade of collecting dust before I actually turned a page. For men, there’s Wild at Heart, which I also want to read just so I could have a glimpse of what goes on in the minds of men somehow.
6. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. Way before the movie came out and way before there were even talks of making a movie, I already read this. It was such a simple story but somehow, the whole book captivated me – from the storyline, to the country it was set in up to the amazing culture behind it. I must have a thing with stories revolving around the controversial and sexual side of our history and current society.
7. The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. I think this catapulted me into liking ‘action-packed’ books. I love how the book captured me from the start of the race up until the end, not wasting words or book space and leaving me breathless with every page. It was so fast paced that there was no room for boredom or anything else except that I was there in Europe, in the middle of all the action with Dr. Langdon. I know the movies caused quite a stir with the Catholics and other Christian religions but for me, this is just a work of fiction. A beautifully written work of fiction at that. If one’s faith is easily shaken by a simple movie, then I don’t think that faith is built upon a rock solid foundation. Go back to the Bible.
9. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. Ok, this may be under the Young Adult’s section but it has so much violence and darkness that I don’t think teens should even read this. Haha! But really, from the moment I read Hunger Games up to the Mockingjay, even with the last book’s weaknesses in writing, I was hooked. Then when the films came out, me and my sister really worked our schedules around watching it! Haha! I remember my feelings after turning the last page of Mockingjay. I was like, “That’s it? That’s the end? What’s next? What am I going to do? I cannot move on from this!” And then spending a week in my room, depressed, murmuring ‘Katniss’ and eating nothing. Haha. The last part’s a joke though.
10. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. My latest favorite author. Either his way of writing or the translation of his work has a quirk and weirdness to it that I like. Imagine if he wrote the originals in English, how would that have been? With almost a thousand pages, this too is one I am proud of having finished. The way I describe his way of writing in this book is that he really takes time; he takes time for you to know the characters and what they are doing. What they eat, how they eat it, where they bought it. So much so that after I read the book, I would find myself wondering what the characters were doing at that moment. I was so into the story that I felt I knew the characters and that I were part of their everyday routine.
And so, to date, that rounds up my top books that I consider my favorites. I’m not a super reader nor will I “pretend” to have read a certain title just to make me seem intellectual and special but I do consider myself to be a book worm. Reading is really one of my interests and something I have done since I was a kid and something I will continue to do well into my golden years. Though sometimes it’s hard to find time to cuddle with a good book (oh the hassles of adulthood!), reading is one of the times I can be myself.
It’s nice to note that half of these were from my older sister’s collections, books she would recommend me to read. So if you have any suggestions, please let me know. I’d love to hear what books you have in mind for me to read. =)
*note: photos not my own