My Top 10: Books

Last week, there’s a World Book Day. Of course, I wasn’t aware of the day until my cousin Anom informed me. And I wanted to write something about it because I do like books and reading. So I decided to list my Top 10 Books ever. But it took me longer than I expected, I mean to come up with the list. I find it rather difficult to list just 10 books when I have literally hundreds of books that have brought me joy and excitement.

Anyway after giving much thought, I finally came around to list these 10 favourite titles of mine. So in random order, here they are:
1. Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Lord Jeffrey Archer. Personally, I think this is one of his most clever works. First published in 1976, this was also his first novel. It was said to have been inspired by Archer's real-life experience of near-bankcruptcy. Interesting fact: Apparently, it took him some time to find a publisher for this first novel. When it was published, it only sold 3,000 copies in hardback. The paperback did a bit better, selling about 20,000 in the first year. However, as word-of-mouth took over, demand increased. Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less has now been reprinted 57 times.

2. Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival” by Anderson Cooper. I like autobiographies and memoirs and this one is clearly my favourite. I guess being a journalist myself, I am drawn to this book. A son of a famous and wealthy socialite Gloria Vanderbilt, Anderson is now one of the popular anchors at CNN. He has been a globetrotting reporter for fifteen years, covering armed conflicts, political upheavals and natural disasters in hot spots around the world. The book is Cooper’s account of the people he met, the things he saw and the lessons he relearned in the midst of devastation. Beautifully narrated.

3. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. After 4 years, I am still affected by the plot. It tells the story of Amir, a young boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, who betrayed his best friend Hassan, the son of his father's Hazara servant, and lives in regret. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of the monarchy in Afghanistan through the Soviet invasion, the mass exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the rise of the Taliban regime. Heart wrenching but beautifully written.

4. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. Like many people, I too read many self-help and motivational books. But I like this one the most. The focus of The Magic of Thinking Big is on the different thought patterns that repeatedly lead to success. It explains how your mind works and how you can harness it to achieve success instead of allowing it to torture you. However, perhaps because the book was published over 50 years ago, it lacks the fast food information feel of many modern books. Now the only thing left for me to do is to apply the tips given…. Hmmmm.

5. Every Boy’s Got One by Meg Cabot. Yes, confession time. I read Meg Cabot’s books. Anda ada masalah? But you know what, reading these kind of books allow me to talk to my daughters on a few more levels. I particularly like Ms Cabot’s Boy series especially this book. I think Ms Cabot is quite a clever author. The entire novel is written in diary, e-mails, notes and PDA entries. Included are several clever illustrations. Despite, or perhaps because of, the unusual format, the story is charming, the characters very well drawn and I was pulled into the story from the very beginning. It was a fun, light-hearted story.

6. Playing for Pizza by John Grisham. I believe I’ve read almost all of Mr Grisham’s books (just like Lord Archers’ books). This title is among his few fictions that’re not really legal related but definitely one of the most enjoyable books by the author (and I do like his other books). The novel is about an itinerant American football player who can no longer get work in the National Football League and whose agent, as a last resort, signs a deal for him to play for the Parma Panthers, in Parma, Italy. The quarterback's move to a small city in a foreign land leads to a series of cultural misadventures.

7. Keluarga Gerilya by Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Okay, this book was part of my compulsory reading when I was in Form 6 in early 80s. It was written in 1950, after Pramoedya’s release from Dutch custody, Keluarga Gerilya charts the complete and absolute annihilation of a nationalistic Indonesian family, triggered by the fight for independence from colonial rule. It is a painful novel to read, overflowing with anguish, despair and disillusionment. This was a family that lost everything, even humanity, as it charted an unwavering path to freedom. Simply heart wrenching.

8. The Secret Mountain by Enid Blyton. Growing up like many kids, of course, I read Ms Blyton’s books too. Of all the adventures, this one stuck in my mind for as long as I remember. I guess that’s because the Secret Mountain was the first Enid Blyton book that I ever read. My brother Chor bought this title and we became Enid Blyton kakis forever. And till today, I can still picturing myself joining Mike, Jack, Peggy and Nora, together with Prince Paul, flying off to the heart of Africa on a dangerous mission. They are my childhood friends, you know?

9. Harry Porter Series by J.K Rowling. Then I grew up, and I hooked up Harry, Hermione and Ron instead. Okay, I can’t possibly pick any of the seven books to be my favourite here (don’t want to and how can you?). But to me, the series provide me serious entertainment. Oh by the way, Harry Porter series have been sold in more than 300 million copies worldwide and are translated into more than 63 languages.

10. 1511H Kombat by Faisal Tehrani. I was told of the book by my cousin Meor Hamzah. Set in the futurustic year of 2087, this book saw Faisal merging occidentalism with the spirit of mystic chivalry. It also opened up my eyes that there are many good books in BM. Very interesting read, indeed. Apparently, there are people in Germany who thought this book was cool and wanted to translate it. (The book is being used as text in one of the universities in Germany).

Okay, now that I have successfully list my favourite, I think I would like to read about your top 10 books too... do share!!! I tag Yah and Anom first....