10 Books to Save

Honest confession: I am an ill-read person, if you count the number of books I have read. But as you can probably tell from the title, I have read at least ten books so far. Well, yes, I have read more than that. These are the ones I would be desperate to save if a fire broke out. I came across this interesting exercise on Lotus Reads’ blog.

The books I selected are important to me for different reasons, some purely for the reading pleasure they gave me, others for the emotional value they hold, and yet others for their timeless companionship.


Shonai Shono Rupokotha (Listen to the Fairytale I Tell You) by Amiya Sen:

My grandmother wrote this book. She was a powerful writer, way beyond her times and one with a magician’s ability to play with words. This book of hers has the backdrop of India’s freedom struggle and tells the story of how a bunch of young people of the time did their bit for the country’s independence. A book worth more than all money could buy, for me.

2. Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton

3. Sanchaita by Rabindranath Tagore (Tagore’s collected poems)

4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

5. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle

6. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

7. Lipika by Rabindranath Tagore (Brief Writings)

8. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

9. Carry Me Home by Sandra Kring

10. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

Now, that list is in no particular order, for, I feel it’s unfair to compare any two books of fiction. They all gave me tremendous satisfaction as a reader, and like I said, some of them have become lifelong friends.

Which ten books will you save?


14 thoughts on “10 Books to Save

  1. I just read The Kite Runner. Very impressive. The humanity of the story was almost overwhelming, and it gave me an appreciation of the complexities of Afghanistan.

  2. I couldn’t list ten books, because my tastes are changing daily. I loved Lonesome Dove, but I can’t seem to read McMurtry any more. I’m listening to Tobias Wolff on audio right now, and I am very impressed with his insight and style.

  3. On the subject of books, I have just one too many loves, Bhas. Far more than 10 that I would simply feel with which to whittle down, would be to do the other books that have loved me unmeasurably in return, a great injustice. But I admire anyone who can condense their thoughts in such a clever manner with fortitude and focus, as you and Lotus. It would have started when I was very small…the memories and the passions..each book that opened a door to the then very near future. And I have faced interesting ‘futures’ because of my reads. Possibly a few of these would be The Land of Grren Ginger by Winifred Holby, The Shell-Seekers & September by Rosamund Pilcher, the entire works of Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell and the entire works of fiction by Britain’s the late Dame Iris Murdoch. Particularly in her case, my favourites being The Black Prince & The Philosopher’s Pupil. Oh my God, I could go on forever, Bhas. Sorry for the ramble.

  4. Hi, Bhaswati! That is a truly lovely list and I love the picture of all the books together. See, I told you you had a talented family! 🙂 I would love to read your grandmother’s book some day. I’m glad to see you list Roddy Doyle’s book as a favourite. I had it sitting on my bookshelf for the longest time and when my daughter’s school had a book sale recently, I donated it to them. Now I so wish I had read it first! Ahhh, how did I forget to include “Angela’s Ashes” ? It’s been a favourite of mine for a long,long time.

  5. I have a huge “50 years of Playboy” special edition which a friend gave me. It has lot of pictures. Would it count as a book?:-p

  6. That’s a pretty tough question. Ten? I would take my copy of Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. I’d take my antique copy of Hamlet. I would probably burn to death trying to save them all.

  7. “Bhaswati,” she said in anquish, “the last time we estimated, years ago, we had then about 5,000 books – and you want me to choose?”

  8. Jason, you put it across so well. I would be surprised if The Kite Runner didn’t leave a strong impression on any reader. Scott, I know what you mean. The list I presented is true as of now; two years down the line, I may have a completely different list. I just did this as a casual exercise. Susan, thanks for the ramble. I completely understand what you mean. It’s difficult to pick books randomly like that. There are many more treasures, not in that list, that are equally precious to me. However, like I said to Scott, I saw this more as a fun exercise than anything else. Lotus, thanks for the kind words! Let’s hope I can translate my grandma’s book for you to read :)Do read Paddy Clarke…if you get the chance. I am certain you will like it. Jeff, isn’t it a lovely book? It will always be dear to my heart, I suppose. Yoda, I can expect that from you. LOL. Calling it a book? Umm, not sure. Let’s just say it’s a collectible you wouldn’t want to part with ;)Matt, interesting choices there!”Bernita dear,” she replied gently, “no need to choose; you can keep all 5,000. We shall depute a permanent enforcement of the fire department to guard your massive treasure at all times.”

  9. Hi Homey(TeeHee):I’ve read #6 and saw the movie for #10. Here’s my ‘Books to Read’ list.And here’s a cute SHORT STORY I wrote. Keep Writing Homey(TeeHee AGAIN)your humble servant,Ancient Clown

  10. One: a pocket size translation of Odyssey, in Polish, dog-eared, stained, ripped and misshapen, which I have caried with me everywhere since the age of 16. Everything else in life can be replaced. This — no.

  11. Ancient Clown, thanks for dropping by. I visited your blog and found it interesting. ‘Will read the short story soon. Keep checking in :)Sir G, thanks for stopping over at my blog. Now, that does seem like an indispensable treasure. I am very curious to know what it looks like. Do you have a picture posted somewhere in your blog?

  12. After all these comments about The Kite Runner – I’m going to have to go get it and read it. :)Which 10 would I try to save? That is such a tough question. My library has hundreds of books…maybe I should put my favorites together so that I can grab them easily — though, I think the only books I would save are the ones that are irreplaceable — a couple of photo albums and several volumes (binders) of my stories that I wrote while in high school and college.:)

  13. That sounds like a terrific collection, Esther. I am envious. The volumes of your early stories has to be a prized possession. Do read The Kite Runner. You won’t be disappointed.

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