End of weird conversation with oneself. Anyway, the nominees are
- To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee - Note to self: Have fingernails pulled out in a slow and painful manner for not reading this book earlier. This book is so good, we might as well bung the rest of the list into a nearby large water body. How does a book remind you of your own childhood (especially with a sibling) so vividly, and yet 'carry a message'? How? Howhow?
- Swami And Friends, R.K.Narayan - We spoke too soon when we said we could throw the list away. This one is at least as good as the Harper Lee book, if not better. Especially if you grew up in a small South Indian town. Stealing out of home on summer afternoons, eating pickles under a tree, vitally important cricket matches, weird maths problems, the works. Unmissable. The TV version was exceptional too.
- Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain - Is it cheating to include two books under one item in the list? Yes, it is? Feel free to litigate. These two cannot really be separated from each other.
- Kim, The Jungle Books, Rudyard Kipling - Cheated again. So there.
- Peyton Place, Grace Metalious - A bit of an obscure choice, but doesn't it bring out the horrors and joys of growing up in small-town New England in the 50s (or is it the 60s?). One suspects that Stephen King owes this book a big (unacknowledged) debt.
- My Family And Other Animals, Birds Beasts And Relatives, Gerald Durrell - If you're even remotely interested in nature, Greece, food, or laziness, you should read these books.
We cease and desist now. Nominations from faithful readers are invited. Because yeh public hai, sab jaanti hai.
1. Note that we will not strictly concentrate on childhood. From infant to young teen to young adult. Alles ist grist to die Mill.