Happy Tuesday everyone! It is the second day of the week already but I hope everyone is doing well and is safe. Oh well, Tuesday also means one thing, a Top Ten Tuesday update! Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
This week’s given topic is Books Guaranteed to Put a Smile On Your Face
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Upon learning about this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, one of the first books that came to my mind was Fredrik Backman’s Anxious People. In his most recent work, Backman wove a necessary tale that reflects both the physical and psychological landscape of our time. He did so whilst remaining loyal to his primary literary device – humor. The situation Backman wove humorous but it belied the deeper subjects it explored – the search for peace of mind, depression, and even suicide. There are so many things happening around us that the challenge is not to survive but to stay sane. Above all, without being preachy, Backman reminded his readers, and humanity in general, to be kind.
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
I was initially apprehensive about Japanese writer Yoko Ogawa’s The Housekeeper and the Professor. I don’t know; I guess I find innocuous book titles a little uninteresting? Nevertheless, I am glad that I overcame this reservation for I loved the story of the housekeeper and professor. I actually thought it was a romance story! But what unfolded is a universal story about memory and the beauty of the small relationships we build with those around us. I loved the simplicity and honesty of the characters’ emotions.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Honestly, I am averse to works of science fiction; ironically, I like fantasy and magical realism. However, reading Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy slowly opened a door to me. Although it was a slender read, I enjoyed the wit and humor of the characters, especially Zaphod Beeblebrox, the “President of the Galaxy”. It is no wonder that the series is so popular, although I have yet to read the rest of the quintet. I am looking forward to the rest of the series and I hope the succeeding books are as witty and comic as the first book.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I can still vividly remember reading Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince although a decade has passed by. I recall his innocence and naivete. On the surface, it sounds like a children’s story (which it is) but it also contained messages adults can relate to. I do recall his disappointments upon learning about the frailties of human beings. It is one of my all-time favorite reads. It also has one of my favorite book quotes: “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
I loved the cover of TJ Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea, which was one of the reasons why I gave the book a chance. It is the story of Linus Baker, a caseworker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He was personally handpicked by the Extremely Upper Management for an important but confidential assignment, to investigate an orphanage located in the far-flung Marsyas Island. I loved the children. They are weird but unique and loveable at the same time. I am not a fan of the novel’s romantic elements but the relationship between children kept me pretty occupied.
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
When I bought Hiro Arikawa’s The Travelling Cat Chronicles back in 2019, I wasn’t prepared for the emotional rollercoaster it would arouse in me. It is the story of a stray cat, Nana (Japanese for number seven), who was adopted by Satoru. For five years, they lived together until Satoru was no longer able to take care of Nana. To search for a suitable home for Nana, Satoru and Nana embark on a journey all over Japan, visiting Satoru’s old-time friends. I loved the strange relationship that was forged between pet and owner. It tackled the blurred and unusually confusing line where our perceptions of our pets’ feelings and emotions converges with our own. The book’s conclusion was heartbreaking but I can’t help but smile whenever I am reminded of Nana. In the period between reading the book and the present, I have become a cat-person!
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Deviating from my own line of thought, of heartwarming stories, is Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians. The book really kept me entertained for its witty depiction of Asian high society. I loved Astrid and she remains one of my most memorable literary characters. As a work of literature, it was subpar, but I did indulge in Kwan’s satire. It was palpable that it was written for the big screen. Nevertheless, I am seriously considering reading the rest of the trilogy because of this. If only to keep me entertained in this bleak times.
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
From what I have read, Swedish humor has been described as dry. But lo and behold, I find them actually funny and it all started with Jonas Jonasson’s The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (quite a lengthy title). It was one of the few books that I really laughed out loud on, nonchalant of the people beside me. I enjoyed the “dryness” but pointedness of the humor. Although I did find the Allan Karlsson’s, the titular hundred-year-old man, story a little saddening. He had many interesting stories to tell because of his long life and yet he ended up in a home for the aged. He even reminded me of my own grandfather and his tendencies to be Scheherazade.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
The list wouldn’t be complete without Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove. It is the second Backman and the third Swedish novel in the list. What can I say? I love their humor. Although it wasn’t always the case. At first, I was a bit apprehensive about reading A Man Called Ove. There was too much hype around it that I steered clear of it. Thankfully, I did change my mind and it ended up as one of my all-time favorites. Ove, the eccentric main character, was an entertaining and memorable creation of literature. He is a reticent old man who is dreaded by his neighbors but as we get to know more about him and his story, we are sucked into a whirlpool of emotions, from happiness, to sadness, to euphoria. The latter is an antithesis to the stoic person that is Ove. But it was all in great spirit.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
And it is a win for Potterheads like me! I loved the entire Harry Potter series, even though I watched the movies first before reading the series. The books made Hogwarts come even more alive with magic. But there was just something special about the first book. It set the tone for the rest of the series; even though the story got darker with every succeeding book. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone introduced as to the trio of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley, perhaps the most popular trio in literature.