Thanks, dB and Chhoto, for tagging me; I enjoyed this mental exercise #toptenbookschallenge.
MY TOP TWELVE BOOKS (in chronological order of impact on my life):
1. AMELIA JANE/ MALORY TOWERS/ THE FIVE FIND-OUTERS - the series (Enid Blyton): Probably my first-ever 'favourite author'. Days of sheer and unbridled delight!
2. KING OTTOKAR'S SCEPTRE - and the Tintin series (Hergé): Fell in love with the Tintin series when I was probably 7 or 8, and it became a life goal at that age to eventually own all the books. I don't think I can pick a favourite, but mentioning this book because it was the first Tintin I read, and I remember my father being thrilled I was reading this, because he used to be fond of them when he was young.
3. THE HARDY BOYS - series (Franklin W. Dixon): School summer holidays were most looked forward to, because it meant my father taking me to the lending library so I could grab as many of these as I could. Have possibly read every book, except for the 'Casefiles' series which I never caught on to.
4. THE INVISIBLE MAN (H.G. Wells): The book that propelled a fantasy for a lifetime! Probably the earliest science-fiction novel I read, that continues to intrigue me when I think about it.
5. STRANGE CASE OF DR.JEKYLL AND MR.HYDE (Robert Louis Stevenson): I read an abridged version when I was probably 10; so there are probably several layers/allegories I may not have got then, but it was a mind-boggling concept that spooked and fascinated me at the same time. I remember presenting this as my first book report, and having my classmates tell me that I totally SOLD them the book.
6. TEACHINGS OF SRI RAMAKRISHNA (Advaita Ashrama): The most important book in my life during the most challenging phase of my childhood, upon realising death is not something that happens only in other people's families. A book that contained answers to every philosophical question I encountered, as I tried to come to terms with life. Also, I saw my son's name 'Hriday' for the first time in this book.
7. WHAT WOULD WALLY DO (Scott Adams): During my first few years of learning to cope with workplace negativity, Dilbert comic strips were THE most helpful tool that provided validation of the 'unfairness', but also helped me mock the futility of feeling negative (Wally being my hero).
8. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE (J.D. Salinger): The eccentric pace and narrative severely bleached my mind for weeks after I read it. I know it was the insanity within me that identified with the insanity of Holden Caulfield, the angst, the loneliness, the delusion of belonging... I know it, I really do.
9. CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: CELEBRATING BROTHERS & SISTERS (Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Baisali Chatterjee Dutt): For kissing my heart by dedicating an entire section of stories to Rakhi brothers-sisters, and I'd never read another book about talked about this relationship. And the special memory that this was a surprise gift from a loved one I share this relationship with.
10. 100 PROMISES TO MY BABY (Mallika Chopra): I may not have agreed with everything the author wrote in the book, but I loved the idea of journaling commitments to a still-in-the-womb baby, the first step towards being a conscious parent. What a wonderful responsibility and a blessing it is to be a parent, and what better a way than to reinforce life commitments towards your baby (and secretly towards yourself)!
11. WHO WILL CRY WHEN YOU DIE (Robin Sharma): One of those books I started off saying "What's new in this, I know all this stuff", but I ended up loving this book because it helped me start wonderful conversations with myself, about why I felt the internal responses I did when I exposed myself to the thoughts the author was putting forth.
12. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID - the series (Jeff Kinney): In those deceptively superficial, sribble-style pages are observations and experiences best enjoyed by adults. I love brilliance when it comes packaged in simplicity!