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Best Books Worth Reading

Priya is pursuing her undergrad in Law and Business Administration. She loves translated books, world cinema and French chic.

I believe I should’ve been clearer with the title of the blog. Best Books that I feel are worth reading. Now, some of these have been exported from the previous blogs I’ve written which I hope you’ll take the time to peruse some other day. For now, I’ve compiled a list from across genres so that there’s a book for every reader.

P.S. You wouldn’t find any horror or science fiction in this list because I’ve haven’t quite explored them enough, or should I say, at all, to make lists.

1. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

From the scores of books that I had read by Christie, I found And then There Were None one to be particularly disconcerting. Ten strangers find themselves on an island, and in a room wherein there is an old children’s counting rhyme that forms the basis of the subsequent murders. No, that wasn’t a spoiler. The mention of a murder in an Agatha Christie novel doesn’t count as a spoiler. It creates suspense for the reader as well as the characters because they soon realize that they’re being hunted, but by a force unseen and unformed, and they have only each other to rely on.

2. Bloodline by Sydney Sheldon

This book was my introduction to Sydney Sheldon, and his world of moneyed heiresses, charming men, deathly assassins, greed, ambition, and desire. I went on to read a couple of his other books, but this has remained my favourite to date. The plot surrounds the board members of Roffe and Sons, each of whom wants the company to be sold off to repay their debts. Whereas, Elizabeth, due to a turn of unfortunate incidents, gains control of the company and attempts to save it to the best of her abilities. There is a lurking danger present throughout the book that tries to sabotage her, and ultimately kill her.

3. The Reader’s Room by Antoine Laurain

Alright, this is a French novella that should probably fall into the translated category. But nothing better came to my mind, and crime, thriller and suspense as a genre is something I’m newly discovering. The story of what goes on in a Reader’s Room; if you’re an aspiring writer, this would certainly touch a raw nerve. Interesting characters, a storyline not quite like others I’ve read, didn’t even expect the ending but in hindsight, loved it quite a bit.

1. Afterburn and Aftershock by Sylvia Day

You might have read Sylvia Day’s more popular Cross series. But I have reached a saturation point where I can’t read books with characters who have an abused past and a series that is being dragged on for way too long. Anyway, these books are hot, sexy and just about everything that you want in erotic novels. I love the guy: he is pretty much one of my favourite erotic novel heroes of all time and the girl is fine, not spineless; that’s all I need anyway.

Oh, and there's also a movie based on these books. You can check it out here. It' stars a bunch of unknowns set in the scenery which screams low-budget, and doesn't do any justice to the wonderfulness of the books. It was produced by Passionflix, a kind of Netflix but confines itself to adaptations of steamy romance novels.

2. Beautiful Stranger by Christian Lauren

If you are looking for good sex, with a hot British million-dollar venture capitalist and a one-of-a-kind, hardworking heiress, no less, then you’ve got the right book. This is a standalone book that you should definitely read for the sex. I like that the girl is in finance, equally rich and broken from a previous relationship and that it is the guy who heals her; it's usually the other way around for most novels.

3. Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige

Rarely do I see a storyline as organized and carefully crafted as Laurelin Paige’s Fixed on You series. First thing’s first, it has a real, developed story, and quite a lovely one, which is often missing from your usual erotic hardliners. I love the dialogues, I love the characters, I love the chemistry between them. And I also love that for a change the characters don't have an abused past. They have a past, but not the type we usually read about.

1. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere is a story about Richard Mayhew, a young businessman who gets tugged into a world that exists underneath the streets of London. In this book, Gaiman captures the real essence of the word “fantasy” and really tests our imaginations and forces us to abandon all sense of order and authority. It is exciting, fast-paced, unexpected, unusual, and an absolute page-turner.

2. Jade War by Fonda Lee

Green Bone Saga is a trilogy written by Canadian-American author Fonda Lee. Jade War, the first book in the series, was the recipient of the World Fantasy Award in 2018, so you’re in good company. Its setting and characters are a complete departure from the half-baked, medieval-European types of societies that run rampant in too many fantasy novels. The worldbuilding here is spectacular. Lee brings out every aspect of society in detail: folklore, beliefs, superstitions, history, culture, foreign affairs, commerce, etc. The main characters have well-thought-out arcs and change and adapt in response to circumstances.

3. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

This is just the most delightful novel I’ve ever read. Quite like PG Wodehouse in terms of humour, but set in a fantastical world of wizards, dryads, heroes and dragon riders. The Colour of Magic is the first novel in the Discworld Series by Pratchett. And while I’m yet to read the remaining 40 novels, I have to admit I’m hooked to this satirical masterpiece that satirises every fantasy novel ever written.

More on Erotic and Fantasy Novels

1. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko, at its heart, is an immigration tale, a stunning depiction of the hardships of moving to another country, out of necessity or desire, to create a better life for their family and themselves. Set in Busan, Korea, the daughter of a crippled fisherman is forced to move to Japan after she discovers that she is pregnant by a lover who is already married. The story follows a chronological order from the early 1900s to post World War. The story revolves around the four generations of a Korean family as they build a life in Japan. The attention to detail is fantastic, the setting so deliciously researched it could qualify for a history textbook. I felt the book was written to sensitize readers about the plight of Koreans during those decades. As a reader, I always preferred interesting characters, I never read with the intention that I should connect to a character, and for that reason, I found it appealing.

2. Girl, Women and Other by Bernadine Evaristo

You might read none of my recommendations, but I plead with you to give this book a chance. It spans across generations of Black women, biracial women, and a transgender—twelve in total—and provides us with a glimpse into their lives, so mundane and myriad yet exciting and powerful. There is a different protagonist in each chapter, and their experiences and thoughts are without overlap. The narration was woven together to stir the heart and immerse the reader into a picture rarely found in mainstream books.

3. The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif

Do you recognize beautiful writing? I mean, there’s Poe and Twain and Saki. Then there’s Ahdaf Soueif. It was an impossibly beautiful story written in impossibly beautiful language. It’s a love story if you must know. But not the tacky kind. Subtle. The romance between an English lady, a widow and an Egyptian Pasha set in a Cairo colonized primarily by the British. There were two stories running parallel. A descendent of the Pasha’s family who was piecing together the love story for another relative. Bit by bit, she unravels Anna’s and Sharif’s story, and what a story!

1. All the Possibilities by Nora Roberts

You’ve probably heard of Nora Roberts. I don’t know why, but from all the books that I read by her, this one definitely stands apart. It’s a romance novel just like a million others, but this one was…sweet. All the Possibilities follows a US senator trying to woo the daughter of a former president. I loved the protagonist, Allan McGregor. He stood out from the usual romance heroes. For a change, he was a calm, level-headed and poised gentleman.

2. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

This one is a very popular book. I think the name itself gives it away. What starts as a hating game between Joshua and the tiny Lucy gives way to a lot of chemistry simmering underneath their heated, and oh-so-witty verbal onslaughts. It is at its core a heart-warming romance novel with a funny protagonist and a shy hero. This was the book that introduced me to the love/hate equation and I’m awfully glad I read it.

The movie came out recently starring Lucy Hale and Austin Stowell. I haven't watched it yet, but so excited to!

3. The Kiss Thief by L.J Shen

This one is one of my all-time favorite books! It follows the love-hate trope and has the most ridiculously sweet storyline. It was unexpectedly lovely. Senator Keaton forcefully marries nineteen-year-old Francesca (such an M&B theme) much against her wishes but both naturally start falling in love with each other. I loved how Senator Keaton or Francesca wasn’t obsessively described but their dialogues, body language and other non-verbal cues all played up to frame their characters. I found LJ Shen to have a remarkably non-obtrusive style of writing, quite a gem in the romance genre. You don’t even realize that you’re actually reading it – it’s like a wonderful story playing in front of your eyes; a perfect execution of showing, not telling.

More on Romance Novels

1. Cheffe by Marie N’Diaye

Cheffe is a French book by award-winning author Marie N’Diaye. I read the translated version of it. It’s about one woman portrayed through the eyes of an unrequited lover. Just about one woman who is neither a superstar nor a celebrity. She’s an ordinary woman, a chef and a cheffe to our narrator, and the author has used that ordinariness to create such an amazing woman. There were mixed reviews about the book, especially the writing, with several adjectives strung together, disconcerting as some called it. I quite enjoyed it, enjoyed the story and loved the beautiful descriptions of French cuisine.

2. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

The Name of the Rose is a stunning portrayal of life in an Italian monastery set in the year, 1327 AD. At its heart, it is a murder mystery, which is interspersed with themes of Christianity, the prevailing political climate and the insidious tug of power between the Pope and the King. Spread over seven days, the story is narrated in the first person by a young novice called Adso who, with his master, investigates the series of deaths within the walls of the aedeificum. Inadvertently, they stumbled upon the web of secrets that should’ve stayed uncovered. It was quite unlike the usual mystery novels, where a trail of breadcrumbs leads to the murderer. On the contrary, it was complex, intricate and thoughtful, with consistent red herrings employed to distract the reader.

3. The Moon Opera by Bi Feiyu

A novella written by Chinese author Bi Feiyu follows the story of Xiao Yanqiu as she returns as a star to the Peking Opera. It’s slow, and complicated, or to be more precise, its protagonist is complicated, so vain and jealous, insecure about herself, and her role that she had earlier disfigured the face of her teacher. Phrases now and then seemed stilted but it can only be blamed on the translation…the philosophical adductions didn’t quite hit home. But if one is roused by excellent characterization, this novella is the one to choose.

More on Translated Works

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Priya Barua

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