Books are my best friends. I search them out, asking around, reading reviews, and keeping track of bestseller lists. If I like one author, I make it a point to read his/her entire works.
Reading has transformed me in many ways. As Burke Hedges said, you never know which book at which time in your life, might be the one to inspire you to grow in a way you thought was never possible.
Here is a list of authors who gave me the skill and strength to relate to people and events, communicate intelligently, and tide over rough patches in life.
Dr. Edward de Bono is a genius who taught us to think. Through his 62 books translated into 37 languages, Edward de Bono tells us all about Lateral and Parallel Thinking. 'Teach Yourself to Think', 'Teach Your Child How to Think', 'Six Thinking Hats', 'Creativity Workout' etc. are a must read.
Enid Blyton one of the world's all time bestseller writers was a children's favourite. I too grew up reading her 'The Famous Five' and 'The Secret Seven' series. Even today I recall with a chuckle those funny episodes. Who will forget Mrs Hicks, Goon and Timmy the dog?
Thomas Hardy had a distinct writing style that stirred the heart. 'A Pair of Blue Eyes', was my first encounter with romance! But, 'The Mayor of Casterbridge', 'Far from the Madding Crowd' and 'The Return of the Native' were undoubtedly masterpieces.
James Hadley Chase wrote some of the best plotted tales of blackmail, intrigue and murder, giving them luring titles like 'The Way the Cookie Crumbles', 'Goldfish have no hiding place' etc. I would never 'shy away' from telling how compulsively readable he was.
Erle Stanley Gardner taught me to be logical and rational. The court room sessions, an inalienable part of his novels were gripping. If a character could immortalise his creator, Perry Mason was the character, and Erle Stanley Gardner his creator.
P G Wodehouse was best known for the characters he created - the dimwitted Bertie Wooster and the indispensable Jeeves. As a word-smith he had no equal. His only aim was to make us laugh, but PG, I believe must have had the last laugh!
Lyall Watson is an author I remember with abundant admiration. He ignited my curiosity and then startled me. But looking back, I am grateful to him for making me realise how little I knew about the world around me.
Dennis Wheatley was the prince of thrillers. He was strikingly imaginative and strangely weird. His novels depicted intrigue and warfare, oriental mysticism, and astral journeys. Who will forget Duke de Richleau, Simon Aron, Richard Eaton, Rex van Ryne or Gregory Sallust?
Arthur Hailey was perhaps the first one to write 'Faction', a mixture of fact and fiction! Only his characters and situations were imaginary. He based his novels on intense research, detailed planning, and slick narration.
Ayn Rand was labelled by many as a controversial writer. Morality, she felt was not something to be imposed by others, but a consequence of one's own self-interests. Her novels made me think about virtues, values and integrity.
Morris West may have had religion as his central theme, but he had more to tell on how humans dealt with the divine in their lives. 'The Devil’s Advocate' his best novel portrayed the efforts behind determining whether one was a saint or not.
Irving Wallace was a favourite, long before 'The Man' brought him into the limelight again, for portraying a black man as the President of America. Forget his occasional indulgence in erotica; his characters, plots and narration were fascinatingly unique.