Hmmm, quite curious, if you allow yourself to believe that polls are good predictors of reality. Here are the top 10 most inspirational reads.
1. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (1960)
2. The Bible
3. A Child Called It - Dave Pelzer (2001)
4. Men are from mars, Women are from Venus - John Gray (1993)
5. Diary of Anne Frank - Anne Frank (1947)
6. 1984 - George Orwell (1949)
7. A Long Walk to Freedom - Nelson Mandela (2002)
8. The Beach - Alex Garland (1994)
9. The Time Travellers Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (2005)
10. The Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger (1951)
Mockingbird is good, the writing is brilliant but the better/bigger element is the perspective it shines on discrimination. Enough said about this book. Just wonderful.
Interesting that the Bible found itself in the second place, but that was not really what made me blink. It was #4, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. THAT’s inspirational? You have got to be kidding me. I can understand the rest of them all right, but THAT book? proof that book lovers are crazy.
Reading #3 book made me cry in rage. Literally cry. We still have women like this who can be that cruel to their own children. How can you do this? I dont take the tack that you have to be mad to do this. Even when you are mad, you dont lose sight of your basic humanity. And its a child. Some animals do this but for crying out loud, we are supposed to be humans. Evolved out of the barbaric times. Absolutely foul and still makes me want to go medieval on the guilty people. But then, why whine about one small boy when we humans commit unspeakable things on our fellow human beings, such as the holocaust.
Not much to speak about the Diary of Anne Frank, it was quite inspirational all right and the tone of tender innocence combined with the hints of terror that seep through, brilliant writing.
I remember standing in front of Anne Frank’s hidey hole in Amsterdam. It looks so innocent now and if you can somehow bleed away the seething mass of tourists from your mind, you can sort of put yourself in the mind of this young girl. Quite moving and inspirational.
1984 again does not need any introduction, when the state becomes overpowering, then the rights of individuals get squelched. The book warns about the rise of fundamentalism and totalitarianism, whether right, left, up, down, religious or what have you. I see how this is slowly encroaching the boundaries of our lives across the world, whether its the war on terror by the west or war on culture by the assorted Buddhist / Jewish / Hindu / Muslim Rage Boys or even the mild variety you see in western countries where the state is slowly becoming the most cloying and suffocating nanny state ever.
But people still fight back, as Nelson Mandela, one of my hero’s, writes in his autobiography. And one man CAN make a difference. Quite an inspirational chappie. Unfortunately, I have not read the next two books, The Beach by Alex Garland or The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Mind you, reading the blurb in Amazon leads me to pick the latter for my wish list and sort of skipping the former. While I have read The Catcher in the Rye, I am not sure if I would really class it as inspirational, but that is just me.
Off the top of my head, below are some other books that I think might be worthwhile to add, but this is just me (this is also the list of books that I try to re-read every year)
- The Gita and Arthshastra
- Ayn Rand’s books, all of them, but primarily Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged
- Dale Carnegie’s books
- Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
- Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach
- The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
- HMS Ulysses by Alistair Maclean
- My Experiments with Truth by Gandhi.
I have not added the English versions of Gitanjali or Vivekananda’s works as the they are less than ideal translations. What do you think? What else are we missing? What is on your bookshelf, Kindle or pdf that you can say is inspirational?
If your child / younger brother/sister/friend was going away on a long journey and all s/he could carry were 3 inspirational books, which ones would you pick?