I’ve read a fair few books this year, and here’s my top 10, divided into two sections- Fiction and Non-Fiction.
1. World War Z by Max Brooks
Hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read, with Brooks managing to convey a compelling and disturbingly real view of a the world attempting to rebuild after the zombie plague. By having the events recounted by a diverse group of characters, with Brooks clearly having put in lots of work and thought into crafting a truly global catastrophe.
It’s ingenious and very gripping and extremely creepy, possibly one of the scariest things ever made.
2. Emma and Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen
Double whammy of good old fashioned romance with Austen telling charming stories with real wit and warmth and creating fantastically realistic characters. Massively entertaining.
3. A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
The first two volumes in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga, these books are massive, sprawling epics which benefit from a constantly shifting focus which allows us to see the wars and intrigues play out from different perspectives. There’s complicated families and alliances coupled with wonderful scheming and double crosses to make it an enthralling read and Martin shows a knack for creating brilliant characters who all have their unique biases and opinions. Gets you totally hooked and ensures you finish every volume eager for the next.
4. The Millenium Trilogy by Steig Larsson
Larsson’s grim crime novels are rather tough going at times but very gripping and written in this way that matters to be both wonderfully detailed and fast paced. The first book is probably my favourite, but the sequels are gripping reads too, and in the character of Lisbeth he’s created a fantastically iconic character, enigmatic and appealing and quite unlike anything I’ve come across before.
5. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway’s short novel of man vs nature is a brilliant quick read, with Hemingway crafting this lyrical, poignant tale of loneliness, aging and the bizarre relationship between men and their prey.
1. Dispatches by Michael Herr
Herr’s experiences as a correspondent during the Vietnam war are recounted here in evocative, urgent prose that shines a light on the effect war has on the mind. There are tough moments but there’s also a lot of warmth and humour in a book crafted by a writer who shows impressive insight and honesty in detailing his responses to the often horrific things he witnesses.
2. Tough Sh*t by Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith’s memoir is ridiculously entertaining and also works as a profanity laden self help book, encouraging his readers to pursue their dreams, ignore the haters and stay positive. Works best for Smith fans but for those unfamiliar with his work it’s a wonderful introduction to his mix of crude humour and sweet positivity.
3. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Hillenbrand tells the life story of the Olympic athlete and PoW Louis Zamperini. I’d heard about it because of one horrific story of his ordeal after crashing down in the ocean, but this powerful scene forms only part of the man’s intensely interesting and astonishing life.
4. Sirens by Tom Reynolds
A collection of Renolds’ blog posts about his life as an ambulance crew member. It’s a hugely entertaining book that shines a light on the frustrations and problems confronted by the emergency services. There are heartwarming and sad stories, but there are also entertaining anecdotes about the stupidity of some of the people who come under his care.
5. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Murakami’s entertaining and philosophical examination of his own life as a runner and what he gets from doing it.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO