Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Top Ten Best Books

If for some crazy reason I get marooned in the Island of Despair, or sentenced for a very long stay in prison, this will be the list of top 10 books I want to have with me.

1. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This book can fortify a man’s spirit, a desperate man’s spirit.

2. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Needs no further explanation and this is a bit of a cheat, but I’m the one to be marooned in a desolate island and I want the complete collection.

3. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. Man’s triumph over nature and relish on the timeless, beautiful writing style of Papa.

4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. It's Leo Tolstoy and I love his books, a lot, especially this one. The last parts of Anna Karenina offer me some answers to a lot of my questions.

5. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Want to re-explore Tolkien’s Middle Earth, and the many fantastic adventures happening in the land. Revisit Moria – once a glorious city and now turned into decayed, dark ruins of gloom, far more desperate than the Island of Despair. Also want the company of hobbits, dwarves, and elves, and wizards. Okay, some orcs, too.

6. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Need a book that will add humor to my solitary hours.  Also Hemingway asserted that “all modern American literature comes from ‘Huckleberry Finn’”, which I agree.

7. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. This was the book that really endeared me to read more books while still studying in college. Still remember being amazed by the book’s spectacular plot which has been copied poorly by many writers.

8. The Bible. Though I’m not much of a Bible reader these days, I'd still want to have this book with me and re-read those enduring stories and wisdom it contains while in blissful solitude.

9. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. This is my second Hemingway in the list (actually I want all the Hemingway books with me but I want people to believe I read widely, so I’ll stick to this obscene list). Also reading this book makes me want to spin my own stories, and living in solitude is a perfect time to do it. Who knows I may come up with something.

10.  The Sweet Science by A.J. Liebling. This is the only book in the list that I haven’t read, also the only nonfiction aside from the Bible (though many people I know would say otherwise). I’ve been trying to find a copy for years and still unsuccessful. But if I'm about to be left behind in the Island with no hope of getting rescued for years, then I can have any book I want, right? Now I want this.

Almost making the list: The Great Gatsby, War and Peace, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Crime and Punishment, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, The Grapes of Wrath, and In Search of Lost Time.

This list of top ten best books may change in five years, or not, as I’m still devouring books that are frighteningly invading my room and seeking many other good books I can hoard from out there.

How about you? Do you have any particular good reads you want to share? What's your list of 5 or 10 best books that you would love to bring with you in an island, or read before you die?


  1. if it was I, karamazov yes... but huck fin, no no, it would be torture

    1. I was in college. My little knowledge and background about litretyur is really just that, little. I picked up the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the shelf of our college library because I was told it’s the sequel to the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which I’d read and liked. Now every time I force myself to make my own all-time list of the best books I’ve read or about to read, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn always comes up. Maybe because this was the first book I’ve read in the library that made me forget I was reading in the library till the custodian asked me (nicely) to leave after making some ruckus. I was reading the part when Tom and Huck executed their elaborate plan to rescue Jim, and was laughing hard – first time that had ever happened to me while reading. Been seeking to experience that moment from other books. So far, I got it from reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Also Mark Twain is one of my personal best story-tellers of all time. I can’t read JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye (which I’ve read thrice but didn’t make the list) without thinking of Huckleberry Finn. This book definitely makes my list.

      Thanks for dropping a comment, Xan.


    2. Neither would I pick Salinger, not one of his books. They're good reads, yes! But pair any of it with solitude in the Island of Despair? I'd say suicide; sweet, slow suicide.

      Anyway, I've read the best books thanks to you. Oh and I'd bring Angela's Ashes, a good laugh that one.

    3. Oh, yes, of course, Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, 'Tis, and Teacher Man, too, especially the first and second. Definitely fun to read.

  2. here's order of importance..

    1. complete set of perry mason novels..yup, they're counted as 1..duh..
    2. complete collection of nero wolfe novels..again, counted as 1..
    3 - 10. vacant slots..

    One of JD Salinger's book would most definitely make the cut..just don't know which one yet..have to read them all first..

  3. Thanks for sharing, Luv. Enjoy your reading and good hunting for the vacant slots!

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  5. here's mine :D

    metamorphosis (franz khafka) in the time of cholera(Marquez)...zahir(coelho)....P.S. I love you(cecilia Ahern, probably her only novel that impressed me, the movie sucked though)... Don Quixote... count of monte cristo(dumas)....noli and el fili(rizal)...beakfast at tiffany's (truman capote)...diamond guitar and other stories (this is an anthology of short fiction by truman capote)
    Beloved....Love (both by Morrison)...

    I wish there are more than 24 hours a day... been dying to read again (i'm dormant for 2 months now! such a loser).

    1. That's a strong lineup. Wish you could lend me your copy of the Diamond Guitar and Other Stories. I've only read In Cold Blood and a biography of Truman Capote. He's one of the finest writers I've read. His books are also very hard to find in bookstores.

      Thanks for the comment, Faye!