As the year comes to an end, I look back to the books I read this year. First of all I am really happy I met, no, surpassed my goal of reading 45 books by actually reading 51 books.
To say that it was difficult choosing 10 books out of the beautiful bunch would be an understatement. It was gruelling and arduous. Many times I almost gave up because I CAN’T CHOOSE BETWEEN MY BABIES!! But after weeks of deliberation and indecision, here are the top 10 reads of 2017 (not in order).
1) EM AND THE BIG HOOM by Jerry Pinto
“I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to deal with the world. It seemed too big and demanding and there was no fixed syllabus.”
In a one-bedroom-hall-kitchen in Mahim, Bombay, through the last decades of the twentieth century, lived four love-battered Mendeses: mother, father, son and daughter. Between Em, the mother, driven frequently to hospital after her failed suicide attempts, and The Big Hoom, the father, trying to hold things together as best he could, they tried to be a family. Goodreads: Em and the Big Hoom
2) TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
“Atticus, he was real nice.”
“Most people are, Scot, when you finally see them.”
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. Goodreads: To Kill A Mockingbird
3) MACBETH by William Shakespeare
“By the prickling of my thumb,
Something wicked this way comes.”
4) WONDER by R. J. Palacio
I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? Goodreads: Wonder
5) MUNNU: A BOY FROM KASHMIR by Malik Sajad
“Basically, no one’s really counted the dead. You can always bargain with the statistics. Give or take. Give or take. You know?”
A beautifully drawn graphic novel that illuminates the conflicted land of Kashmir, through a young boy’s childhood.
Seven-year-old Munnu is growing up in Indian-administered Kashmir. Life revolves around his family: Mama, Papa, sister Shahnaz, brothers Adil and Akhtar and, his favourite, older brother Bilal. It also revolves around Munnu’s two favourite things – sugar and drawing.
Munnu is an amazingly personal insight into everyday life in Kashmir. Closely based on Malik Sajad’s own childhood and experiences, it is a beautiful, evocatively drawn graphic novel that questions every aspect of the Kashmir situation – the faults and responsibilities of every side, the history of the region, the role of Britain and the West, the possibilities for the future. It opens up the story of this contested and conflicted land, while also giving a brilliantly close, funny and warm-hearted portrait of a boy’s childhood and coming-of-age. Goodreads: Munnu: A boy from Kashmir
6) HAMLET by William Shalespeare
“One may smile, and smile, and still be a villain.”
7) THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY by Oscar Wilde
“Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.”
Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it ﬁrst appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting inﬂuence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Goodreads: The Picture of Dorian Gray
8) THE BASTARD OF INSTANBUL by Elif Shafak
“Imagination was a dangerously captivating magic for those compelled to be realistic in life, and words could be poisonous for those destined always to be silenced.”
In her second novel written in English, Elif Shafak confronts her country’s violent past in a vivid and colorful tale set in both Turkey and the United States. At its center is the “bastard” of the title, Asya, a nineteen-year-old woman who loves Johnny Cash and the French Existentialists, and the four sisters of the Kazanci family who all live together in an extended household in Istanbul: Zehila, the zestful, headstrong youngest sister who runs a tattoo parlor and is Asya’s mother; Banu, who has newly discovered herself as a clairvoyant; Cevriye, a widowed high school teacher; and Feride, a hypochondriac obsessed with impending disaster. Their one estranged brother lives in Arizona with his wife and her Armenian daughter, Armanoush. When Armanoush secretly flies to Istanbul in search of her identity, she finds the Kazanci sisters and becomes fast friends with Asya. A secret is uncovered that links the two families and ties them to the 1915 Armenian deportations and massacres. Full of vigorous, unforgettable female characters, The Bastard of Istanbul is a bold, powerful tale that will confirm Shafak as a rising star of international fiction. Goodreads: The Bastard of Istanbul
9) THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins
“I have never understood how people can blithely disregard the damage they do by following their hearts.”
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train.. Goodreads: The Girl on the Train
10) THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES by Agatha Christe
“Instinct is a marvellous thing. It can neither be explained nor ignored.”
In her first published mystery, Agatha Christie introduces readers to the heroic detective, Hercule Poirot. This is a classic murder mystery set in the outskirts of Essex. The victim is the wealthy mistress of Styles Court. The list of suspects is long and includes her gold-digging new spouse and stepsons, her doctor, and her hired companion. Goodreads: The Mysterious Affair at Styles
11) THE SLEEPING DICTIONARY by Sujata Massey
“Remember this! It is never an entire people who is cruel; it is merely individuals who exert their will on others.”
YOU ASK FOR MY NAME, THE REAL ONE, AND I CANNOT TELL. IT IS NOT FOR LACK OF EFFORT.
In 1930, a great ocean wave blots out a Bengali village, leaving only one survivor, a young girl. As a maidservant in a British boarding school, Pom is renamed Sarah and discovers her gift for languages. Her private dreams almost die when she arrives in Kharagpur and is recruited into a secretive, decadent world. Eventually, she lands in Calcutta, renames herself Kamala, and creates a new life rich in books and friends. But although success and even love seem within reach, she remains trapped by what she is . . . and is not. As India struggles to throw off imperial rule, Kamala uses her hard-won skills—for secrecy, languages, and reading the unspoken gestures of those around her—to fight for her country’s freedom and her own happiness. Goodreads: The Sleeping Dictionary