Hard to ignore with 5 people tagging you to do it; so here I go with a list of 10 books that had an impact on me some way or the other. Thanks for the 'nominations' Nikita, Yagyesh, अनुग्रह, Ankur and Abhinav :).
In chronological order of their impact (and not necessarily the best books I've ever read!) ...
1. Treasure Island (RL Stevenson) - Treasure Island is one of the first novels that I can remember reading. The entire joy of visualising the whole treasure hunt, the maps, pirates, cannons, ships and the whole thing being organised by the young boy. The excitement of reading all of it as a kid!
This was the book that inducted me into this world of reading; and what a world this has been!
15 men on a dead man's chest, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Oh, and at that age, I had no clue what rum even was.
2. The Magic Faraway Tree (Enid Blyton) - This series was semi-inception-like; in hindsight. Where I read about characters entering a world of fantasy, by walking down a ladder and having to come back into it before the world shifted away - my parallel being entering this whole colourful visual world every night while reading some part of it, before having to come back to reality when the next class at school started; or my mom came into my room to check if I was doing my homework or whiling away time.
And from these, I went into the magical world of Enid Blyton books - Secret Seven, Famous Five and the entire 'detective' mode.
3. Hardy Boys Series (Franklin W Dixon) - And from the Secret Seven 'detective' mode; I grew up into the teenaged Hardy Boys series, that caught my fancy as it was one series that I could always find a book of, in the school library; so much that I used to borrow library cards from my friends to pick up additional books in their names for reading.
Fell in love with the series, that I promised myself that when I grow old, I would buy all the books in the series for myself. And the plan is still on!
4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (JK Rowling) - Harry Potter was just another series of books that I had laid my hands on, till I started with Prisoner of Azkaban. It was in this book, my favourite by far in the entire series, that I got emotionally tied to the entire series, in a way no book ever has managed to since or previously.
The whole Sirius and Remus back story. Friendship like I had never seen before. And given I grew up with the characters, right upto reading Deathly Hallows in a hotel room, one day before my first day in College at Bhopal, purchasing the book at a queue in a bookshop I hunted down in a new city.
After all this time?
5. My Side (David Beckham) - It was in a Young World feature on the 2002 World Cup, that I first read about David Beckham. And love at first sight, it was. He was my window into this world of football that runs my life today; and one of the biggest passions of my life - Manchester United.
Was he the best player at Manchester United? Nah. Far from it.
Is My Side the best football autobiography I've read? Nah. No way. Keane, Gary Neville, Sir Alex all outscore him.
But My Side was my 1st footballing book, that gave this Football-information-hungry-boy, a view into what it is to be a player at Manchester United, in those days when there was no high speed internet or Twitter. And what it is to really make it large in life. And when I had my own money to buy books finally, My Side was the first one that I ordered, from Flipkart.
6. Mathematics for Class X (RD Sharma) - A book that brought out the nerd in me - and was the reason for my Math love till I found a barrier in the form of Integration and Differential Equations. In a way, this book shaped my entire career - for the worse and the good. With all the practice from it, I ended up with a 100 in the board exams that meant the whole relative clan thought I was IIT material, that I ended up screwing my last two years of schooling. But given all the practice that I had, CAT preparation and the whole 'hardwork' that came with it, was a cakewalk. And probably led to where I am today.
7. Five Point Someone (Chetan Bhagat) - Say what you want about his English (especially when your lines criticising his grammar themselves have grammatical errors!), but the man had a blockbuster with this book. Especially given I was in Engineering college at that time, and could so relate to most of what Chetan Bhagat wrote about. And who doesn't want an entertaining book. The book had such an influence, that for a long long time, my Blog was called Seven Point Someone. And oh, to be honest, it made me aspire to write something, someday.
8. Stars Shine Down (Sidney Sheldon) - Bhopal used to be a 24 hour long journey. And it was before one such journey that I picked up this Sidney Sheldon book and what a book. As a Civil Engg student, the whole real estate industry and OPM (other people's money) left a lasting impact on me. The rise and fall of Lara Cameron, and her characterisation made the book unputdownable; that in the next 4-5 months, I devoured the entire list of books that Sidney Sheldon had written.
9. Marketing Management (Philip Kotler) - "What? Kotler? Seriously?" is what most of my friends have asked me. But that was one academic book, that I read from cover to cover without any 'pressure' of an exam behind it. And it was the book that gave me a view into the world of 4Ps, 5Cs and what not. The boxed anecdotes about real world marketing examples - in one world - brilliant.
10. Rafa (Rafael Nadal) - If there's one person I idolise, it is Rafa. (Okay, two actually but given Rahul Dravid is yet to write his autobiography...). This one gave me so much insight into what makes the man, what makes him tick, and what has helped him reach such heights - his values, and principles in life. His never say die attitude; and the ability to come back, when people think it's done for. This book inspired me like no other has or probably ever will; and is probably a fitting way to finish this list!
PS: Thanks to the ones for tagging me. Made me write something non-work related, after a LONG LONG time.