Wednesday, September 3, 2014

10 Most Influential Books Along My Reading Life

I got a tag on Facebook to share my ten most influential books in my life, and I think it would be better to post it here (and publish it latter on Facebook). By “most influential books” I mean books which have become milestones in my reading life; they don’t have to be my most favorite (but some are), but they are tokens of my evolution in reading life. From the list you will also see that I have been brought up by books….

#1. Stories and Pictures by V. Suteyev

My mom bought this second-hand book when I was only nine months (from the inscription on the title page). It was my first gift of book, which I received long before I can read! :) I still keep this book (fortunately it’s hardcover). For me it is not only a book, but most of all, it’s a token of love and dedication from my parents. They bought this when they were poor because they knew what values a good book had for their daughter. How grateful I am!

#2. The Adventures of Tintin (comic series) by Hergé
I have read all the series many times. I remember how I got excited every time my parents took me to a bookstore when I was 7 or 8, and let me sit among the shelves to read Tintin. They are not only funny, but from them I have learned so many knowledge I haven’t (or even never) got in school (I was in elementary school at that time). That explained why I used to know things that my friends didn’t. I wondered at that time, but now I know that Tintin had taught me much more than I thought, while causing me to laugh at the same time. Thank you Hergé!

#3. Mahabharata (graphic novel)
My dad bought me a set of Mahabharata, illustrated by a local illustrator (R.A. Kosasih), and it became one of my favorite readings when I was at elementary school. I didn’t realize at that time, but Mahabharata taught me a lot about love, truth, honor, loyalty, family, and friendship. It is really a treasure you can give to your children!

#4. Curtain by Agatha Christie (and all her books)
I think I have mentioned this many times before… Christie’s murder stories were my favorite when I was 13, until now. Christie taught me that the world is not always black and white; murderers are not always bad guys, more often in Christie’s novel, they are normal and kind people like us. From Christie’s novels I took a conclusion that to murder is always a choice; everyone can do it if he chooses to do it. Particularly from Curtain, I learned that love is stronger than anything, including murder temptation. I think Christie’s novels have become an essential milestone for me into adulthood.

#5. Winnetou by Karl May
Winnetou is one of my dad’s favorites, so for years he has forced persuaded me to read it. At first I thought west world, horses, cowboy, and Indian was too masculine for me, but once I tried, I couldn’t put it down, haha.. From Winnetou I learned about true friendship between two different races, and of course, the injustice done by the stronger race against the weaker one. It can be said, that through Winnetou I was welcomed to the real world with all the complexity of human race.

#6. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I first read To Kill A Mockingbird at 2009; and it was my first proper introduction to the classics literary world, because after reading this book I began to be attracted to classics novels. It can be said that To Kill A Mockingbird was the first novel which I read as a classic; I pondered a lot over the conflicts, not just reading it through as I used to before.

#7. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Christmas 2011 was another milestone of my reading experience. It was the time when I braced myself to read classics in English (I’m an Indonesian). Naturally, I picked a novella as a start; and Dickens got the honor—I picked A Christmas Carol. I spent days to finish it, with occasional consultations to my dictionary, and a lot of struggles. How could I pick a Victorian novel with Dickens’ flowery writing style as a start? But maybe, it sharpened my skill in a short time, and in a year I think I can read classics in English quite fluently. Oh, and if you happen to stumble upon my review of A Christmas Carol, don’t be surprised, it’s embarrassing! X_X

#8. L’Assommoir by Émile Zola
It’s no surprise that Zola should appear here.. :D Actually L’Assommoir was my second Zola, but this particular book really shocked me. Shocked me sweetly, rather, as apparently, L’Assommoir became my further reading milestone. It brought me to my most favorite author: Émile Zola :) Now I have one author whose novels I plan to read entirely, and I know won’t disappoint me.

#9. A Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
After delving in classics literary for a year, I have decided to take a personal project: The Well-Educated Mind. A Scarlet Letter happened to be my first book for the project. With this short but complicated book I started my journey to the deeper digging of classics reading. I spent much longer time than it should be for this short book, but I enjoyed every step. I began to get excited with this project!

#10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Hmm….why Gatsby? When I decided to do this meme, I knew that Gatsby would be one of the ten. But why is it influential? I can’t find any definite answer…:D  I love Gatsby, I enjoyed working with WEM for it, I loved the latest movie too. I don’t know, maybe because Gatsby is such a memorable book. There are a lot of layers waiting to be unveiled on every reread; and the whole experience of reading it is always exciting!

Now, tell me, what are your 10 most influential books? I challenge everyone, please tag yourself… ;)


  1. so lucky you are mba, both of your parent love to read... buku yg pertama itu bersejarah banget dan tak ternilai harganya... mahabarattha skrg lg ngetrend lg ya mba baik bukunya maupun film nya di antv.. thanks for the sharing mba :) i want to read zola also, but hasnt got the chance to get the book yet..

    1. Thanks Astri... I hope you'd like Zola too. So far, I haven't meet any single classics reader who doesn't like Germinal. Just try it! ;)

  2. You definitely have some great ones on your list: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, A Christmas Carol, and The Scarlet Letter. (I have a love/hate relationship with Scarlet Letter, but for sure a memorable read). I still have to read your recent L'Assommoir post - it's on my To Do list. : )

    I would love to do this, but I have two full days today and tomorrow, so maybe Friday????

    1. Take your time, Ruth..
      Hmm...unfortunately I wrote L'Assommoir's review in Bahasa Indonesia, and I'm not sure google can translate it very well. :D

    2. Well, I couldn't even find it. I guess I saw your post for it on Facebook. Was it (L'Assommoir) on a different blog?

    3. No, it's in this blog. Actually it is on my Review A-Z horizontal menu, under "L". Here's the URL:


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