On days when you have nothing on your to-read list or because you’re on quarantine, you google top 10 books to read and a list pops up. The books on this list are on average 700 pages long, are classics and you might not be in the mood to read long novels. Moreover, reading a book that you know has been in this top list sometimes creates expectations and feelings even before you dwell into the book and you might feel disappointed that you didn’t connect to it as others have.
Well, there are good fiction books that are about half of that length that will still leave you with a deep impression. Here’s that list from the books I’ve read.
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Station Eleven by Emily St.John Mandel: Most dystopian novels have sci-fi and the creation of a new world at their core but this one’s theme is memories, a very human touch to the dystopian genre.
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini: His books are all wonderful but this one spoke to me the most
- The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami: If you’ve been reading about race and colonialism from the usual African-American perspective, this one is of a Moroccan slave and how a Spanish master and this slave’s relationship changes as they explore territories to conquer native’s lands.
- The Alchemist by Paul Coelho : This is a good one but don’t be fooled into reading other books written by Coelho thinking they would be half as good as this. One book wonder.
- We the survivors by Tash Aw: Talks about Malaysia and Aw has this ability to put together so many complicated themes into simple words. I particularly liked the fact that the book includes migrant workers from the past to the present as a core theme.
- Inheritance by Billi Kaur Jaswal: The author is a Singaporean btw! This book provides a perspective of mental illness and family in Singapore through the eyes of a minority Singh family. If you’re bored of reading of Singapore and Malaysia through a Chinese protagonist, this is a gem that appeals beyond the region.
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: A thriller rather than a haunting, please read it.
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Yes, you know the Frankenstein monster but if you haven’t read the book, you won’t realise it isn’t about science gone wrong but about humanity. Frankenstein is a symbol for the disabled, invalid people in our society whom we shun because they’re different. You think you know the story? I challenge you that you don’t;)
Now, let me put forth books that aren’t adult fiction but are still not to be missed.
10. Hungry by Roxane Gay: a semi autobiography is how I’d describe it. It’s a must read for everyone to have an awareness and an understanding of how we treat the obese among us. The most powerful statement Gay puts forth is that fat people become invisible even though they are of a large mass and are in your view. Nobody sees them. Everybody steps on them.
11. The Dead Queens’ Club by Hannah Capin: This is a young adult(YA) novel for teenage girls. This is a feminist novel. This is the book I wish had existed when I was a teen.
12. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead: YA again. If you were curious about Twilight, then this far better series by Mead will give you an insight of what teenage girls like. My friends and I went crazy over the series.
13. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer: You can find this in the kids section of your library ,ages 10-12. Personally, move over Harry Potter, the evil boy genius is far smarter, sneakier, funnier and action- packed. Combine fairies and centaurs and goblins! I hunted down the final book at the age of 17. Too good to be missed.