I used to be so indecisive when it comes to choosing which books I love most, and I think I still kind of am actually. I have read many books in my lifetime – and in shaa Allah many more in the future – but for the time being I’d like to share with you guys my favorite ones right now, at this point in my life. Please bear in mind that this list is not set in stone; it may change and vary with time. However, these are my ultimate favorites, and perhaps in the future I’d come across a book that I’d love more, but these will always have a special place in my heart. P/S: I probably didn’t do any of these books justice since I’m so terrible at explaining.
- The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
To be honest, this is the kind of book that you read and just go “wow this is so good how can any book be better than this??!!”. Or at least that was the case for me. The Lovely Bones is about a 14 year old girl named Susie who was raped and murdered on her way home from school. She went to heaven, and from above she saw how each of her family took the news of her death differently. She watched how her mother dealt with losing her, how her sister met the love of her life and how her father lived with the fact that he wasn’t there when his daughter needed him most.She watched them grief, shatter, and try to mend the pieces back together. Susie also watched her murderer; how his life played out, and the memories of his past that played a role in making him the man he was.
The thing that I love most about this book is the way the author wrote; it was like poetry. She managed to describe everything so beautifully that I feel as if Susie herself is talking to me, or better yet, that I am Susie. By the time I finished the book I felt as though Susie has become a part of me; she felt as familiar to me as my own self.I know for a fact that there aren’t a lot of books out there that has the power to do this. I also love how the characters in it are flawed and so very…. human.
2. Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
No, I’m not trying to sound sound smart or sophisticated by saying I read Shakespeare lol. In fact, how I came to read this book in the first place was by pure chance. I was 15 when I got casted to play Juliet (with a modern twist, of course). Right before the audition, I wanted to know who Juliet really was before playing her. I mean, I know the basic plot line of the story: boy meets girl, they fell in love, families didn’t approve and for some reason they both committed suicide in the end. I was also curios as to why Shakespeare is highly glorified in the literature world (I mean, if your work is talked about for centuries, you’d have to be really good, right?). So one of my friends (she was the director or the scriptwriter, I’m not sure lol) left her book at the reading corner of my class, and I decided to read it. I honestly didn’t expect I’d like it! It got to a point where I actually memorised most of the quotes by heart (yes, I am a HUGE nerd I know).
To be frank I didn’t understand most of the Old English used so I had rely on footnotes and in-text clarification, but the language of poetry in it is timeless. It was more of a tragedy than a love story for me (I mean, who marries a guy you’ve met for a few hours, and kill yourself for him a few days after?). For those of you who are reluctant to read classic novels because of the ancient language in it, don’t worry! Buy the ones that have footnotes explaining what they mean like the one I read. They’re sold in Popular or MPH or any other famous bookstores and since no one really reads them, they’re really cheap! A bonus since most books in Malaysia are so expensive 😦
3. The Woman He Loved Before – Dorothy Koomson
If you’re a fan of Koomson, you’ll notice these recurring themes in most of her novels: tragic romance, interracial marriage and beautiful, beautiful words. TWHB is a story about Libby, a woman recently married to the man of her dreams, Jack, whom she had only known for a short while. But this isn’t the first time Jack is married. And after Libby was in a car crash in which she was the only one injured, two detectives came knocking on her door to talk to her about it, and also about the “mysterious” death of Jack’s previous wife, Eve, of which, surprise surprise, Jack is the main suspect. After a while Libby found Eve’s old diary and with it unearthed dark family secrets that should’ve stayed hidden. I love how Koomson’s story-telling technique makes you feel like you are really experiencing it. As the plot unraveled, it kinda blew my mind because I was not expecting plot twists (take it from the girl who gets bored by more than half the movies/books she sees/reads cause she can figure out the ending halfway through it).
4. Wuthering Heights
I have a confession: I’m obssesed with period dramas shows/books, and Wuthering Heights is one of my absolute favourite. It’s about a remote moorland farmhouse named Wuthering Heights, and the people who lived there, spanning two generations. Particularly it’s about a girl named Catherine, daughter to the owner of Wuthering Heights, and a boy named Heathcliff, a homeless gypsy orphan that Catherine’s father kindly brought home one day. They grew up together, became extremely close, and eventually fell in love. But Heathcliff was a gypsy, a servant, and Catherine dreamed of marrying some gentleman from a respectable family one day (apparently every girls’ dream back then).
When asked whether she loved Heathcliff, Catherine answered:
“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.”
But still, she married the wrong guy. Catherine was selfish and arrogant while Heathcliff, after years of being humiliated by Catherine’s brother, was extremely vengeful. Like seriously, he was so obsessed with revenge that I hated him at one point lol. Anyway, if you’re expecting some fluffy 17th century romance then you won’t find it here. This is, in its foundation, a love story, but its also much more than that. How so? I’ll let you guys find that out yourselves.
5. Eleanor and Park
Now, this is a young adult love story that doesn’t make me throw up in my mouth or roll my eyes every few seconds. This book tells the story of a new girl named Eleanor, who came from an abusive family, and Park, a half-Korean 16 year-old she met on a school bus one day. Although they couldn’t be more different from each other, they eventually bonded over comic books and mix tapes.
Their neighbourhood was not very affluent, but while Park’s home is filled with warmth and love, Eleanor’s is filled with her stepfather’s physical and emotional abuse, mostly towards her mother. I love how the book is both cute and honest; there was no over-exaggeration of anything, which makes the story even more real to me. Eleanor and Park fell in love in a way that was both completely normal and relatable, given the circumstances, but their love story is something you spend your life wishing you have. By the way, the ending is sad. I probably should warn you about that. No, there was no tragedy, but it ripped my heart all the same.