Related read – Best Eateries for Bookworms – I

In Part I, I had listed 15 of my favorite books, but since then I have read a number of books which I have found equally unputdownable. So, here is another list of 15 of my favorites in alphabetical order. If you like reading fiction, they are a must read. If you want more information on a particular book, just click on the name of the book. Here goes:

Catch22Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

The story of Yossarian, a bomber in the U.S. Air force set during the later years of the World War II. The reader might find the story a little out of sequence because at times there are same events which are described by different characters at different points of time. The story is dipped in satire and questions touching upon various themes like moral dilemma, bureaucracies, personal integrity and patriotism. The book is considered as one of the greatest literary works of the twentieth century.

DuneDune by Frank Herbert

The book revolves around a highly evolved form of  human race scattered across various planets in the universe some twenty thousand years in the future where science and technology has evolved far beyond its present state. The story touches upon various themes like politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion. Dune was first published in 1965 and it won the Hugo and the Nebula awards for best novel in the following year. It is considered the best science fiction novel of all times.

LolitaLolita by Vladimir Nobokov

A book which holds the distinction of being called “sheer unrestrained pornography” and “one of the best novels of 1955” at the same time. Lolita was refused by 4 American publishers because of its subject content before it finally saw the light of the day. The book follows the story of a middle aged literary scholar who is obsessed with young girls and gets sexually involved with a 12 year old girl named Dolores Haze. Lolita now holds the status of a classic and is considered as the most controversial book of 20th century.

lordofthefliesLord of the Flies by William Golding

During an unnamed nuclear war, a plane carrying a group of young boys crashes in a deserted island. There are no adult survivors and the boys are left on their own. The book dwells into the idea of how culture and society created by humans fail even at the smallest level. The boys create group amongst themselves which finally ends up in disaster and they end up being hungry for each others blood. The book underlines the conflict between the “greater good of the society’ and the “hunger for power”. As you reach the climax of the story, you would have completely forgotten that you were reading about a bunch of school kids.

my name is redMy name is Red by Orhan Pamuk

An enriching book by the Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk. The book was originally written in Turkish and was later translated to English. How difficult the translation would have been can be understood by the complex English sentences. The story is a murder mystery set during the rein of the Ottoman Empire during the late 1500s where a miniaturist is murdered while working on a very special book. Each of the chapter is narrated by a different character and sometimes even by a coin, a color or the corpse of the murdered miniaturist.

night train to lisbonNight Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier

One of the most mesmerizing books I have read recently. The narrative flows beautifully even though the book has been translated from German. The book follows the story of Raimund Gregorius, a teacher of Greek and Latin, whose chance encounter with a beautiful Portuguese woman sets a chain of events where he finds himself on a journey to an unknown country to find about the past of Amadeu de Prado, a Portuguese Doctor and a writer. My favorite lines from the book are – “Can God create a stone He couldn’t lift? If not, then he isn’t almighty; if yes, He isn’t either, for now there is a stone He cannot lift.”

19841984 by George Orwell

The book which has already been translated into 65 languages, was written in 1944 and contained chilling accounts of how the world might be in 1984. The story is set in Oceania, a super state, where the protagonist Winston Smith works for the ruling party(the term Big Brother was coined for the leader of the ruling party) and who is assigned the work of falsifying political records and history. The book touches upon the theme of Nationalism, sexual oppression and censorship. Thankfully, the world did not end up as the book predicted, except for China.

the blind assassinThe Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Winner of the Booker Prize in 2000, the novel follows the story of Iris Chase and her sister Laura who commits suicide immediately after the Second World War. The beauty of the book is that there is a story within the story. As the story of Iris and Laura proceeds, the reader comes across another story of a Blind Assassin in a fictional world and his love for a mute girl whom he is sent to kill. This book is a classic example of how a story can be woven to keep the reader glued till the end. An amazing book.

the book thiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is a story told by the Angel of Death, the surreptitious soul collector who is haunted by humans and who was very busy during the Second world war. Set in the Nazi Germany, during the beginning of the second World War, the book follows the story of an orphaned girl who is sent to live with her foster parents in a small town. The family hides a Jew in the basement of their house during the war, which changes their lives in many ways. A beautifully written book.

the Color purpleThe Color Purple by Alice Walker

The book won the 1983 Pulitzer for fiction and was later made into a movie by Steven Spielberg which introduced Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey to the big screen. The book takes into account the extreme low condition of the black females in the conservative society of the United States during the 1930s. The book is a series of letters and diary entries of a black woman named Celie , a poor and uneducated woman, who at the age of fourteen is raped and impregnated twice by the man she believes to be her father. And yes, the movie is as good as the book.

the-english-patientThe English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

A critically burnt English man, his nurse Hana, a thief and a Sikh Sapper named Kip form the central characters of this beautifully written book which won the Booker in 1992. The book was also made into a movie which won 9 Oscars including the Best Picture in 1996. The story of the English Patient’s past and the love story between Hana and Kip form the two parallel stories of the book.

the kite runnerThe Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir, a young boy from a small village in Kabul, who betrays his best friend Hassan, the son of his father’s servant, and lives in regret. The story has the fall of the monarchy in Afghanistan through the Soviet invasion and the rise of the Taliban as its background. I think enough has been said about the book already. Its a shame if you haven’t read it by now.

The Scarlet LetterThe Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

First published in 1850, this novel is the story of Hester Prynne, who commits adultery while she is waiting for her husband to return from a journey. She gives birth to a girl and refuses to identify the father as a result of which she is subjected to public shame and a red cloth(in the form of the letter A, which stands for Adultery) is attached to her gown while she is lead out of the town. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt. The book was an instant success and was the first mass produced book using mechanized printing.

secretlifeofbeesThe Secret life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

A beautifully written book, The Secret life of Bees tell the story of 14 year-old Lily Owens whose life is somehow connected to her mother’s accidental death. Lily’s black caretaker Rosaleen insults three white men one day and had to run away to save her life. Repeatedly abused by her father, Lily runs away with Rosaleen and is taken in by three black beekeeping sisters who hold the key to her mother’s past. A moving, must read book.

timelineTimeline by Micheal Crichton

If you want Science fiction with the chills and thrills of a roller coaster ride, Micheal Crichton is the best bet. Timeline remains undoubtedly his best novel, although each of his book has turned into a bestseller. The book tells the story of a group of Historians who travel back to the Middle ages to save a friend of theirs who had already traveled back in time before them. The way Crichton combines the minute Historical details with Quantum Physics and Time travel is amazing.

I hope you enjoyed the list and

p.s. A lot of the information in the post is via wiki.