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Monday, 19 June 2017

Top 15 Favourite Books

Here is a list of my top 15 favourite adult fiction novels.

On Beauty – Zadie Smith. I first read this when I was twelve. It's a brilliant, humorous and thought-provoking novel about family, love and life. It revolves around two rival families; the liberal American Belseys, and the conservative British Kipps'. The son and daughter of each family have a fling; the father of the Belsey family has just cheated on his wife of thirty years and now starts crushing on the Kipps' daughter; meanwhile the wives befriend each other. It's entertaining and addresses socio-cultural issues. Read it a few times; love it every time.


Lolita – Vladmir Nabokov. A controversial novel that struggled to get published, Lolita deals with pedophilia. Humbert Humbert, a European scholar and poet, is obsessed with 'nymphets'; pre-pubescent girls aged 9-14. He travels to America to stay with a woman named Charlotte Haze and becomes infatuated with her 12 year old daughter Dolores, aka Lolita. It is a funny, well-written and satirical book voiced by an unreliable narrator. The subject matter may make many uncomfortable, but I promise it's worth a read. It is not a 'filthy' book; on the contrary.


The Circle – Dave Eggers. An excellent book satirizing the influence of internet conglomerates. The protagonist, Mae, goes to work for the major American company 'the Circle' where her friend Annie works. The Circle runs everything - it's aim is to bring everyone on the online world together, watching each other's activity; commenting on everything they do. It shows the growing influence of Facebook, Twitter and Google, and as the story goes on Mae gets more and more sucked into the sinister system.


Only Ever Yours – Louise O’Neill. Unputdownable. Tragic, scary, and powerful, this book is intense and really fucked with my head. It's a dystopia set in a future where girls no longer exist and are now made in a factory and raised in a School from the age of 4-16, where they are trained to become companions (wives), concubines (prostitutes), or chastities (nuns). When they are 16 they will be selected by one of ten boys who will choose their fate. The main character is a girl named Freida, who I root for throughout, and who is struggling to cope with the disintegration of the friendship between her and a girl named Isabel. This story will fuck with your head and make you think.


Apt Pupil – Stephen King. I'm not a horror fan but I do love King's non-scary books. This is part of his Different Seasons collections, and one of my favourite stories ever. It's about a thirteen year old boy named Todd who befriends an ex-Nazi soldier Dussander, who is now old and retired. Todd begs Dussander to tell him tales about the days in the concentration camps, and ends up having nightmares and going mad. The two spend most of the story trying to fuck with each other. It's hilarious, thrilling and has great character development.


11/22/63 – Stephen King. Great epic about an English teacher who goes back in time to stop the President Kennedy assassination. Filled with action, drama, tension, love and King's excellent description, this comes highly commended. Something to really pad your time out, sink your teeth into and enjoy.


Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption – Stephen King. Another one from Different Seasons. The brilliant movie is based on this also brilliant book. Well written and hard to put down, it pours you into the lovable characters of Red and Andy. Similar to the film and pays attention to detail. I wouldn't say one or the other is better.


I don’t know how she does it – Allison Pearson. Currently re-reading this. It's an equally tragic and funny story about a high flying fund manager barely able to make ends meet. Kate Reddy works for a top financial company and struggles to balance her life between her children, husband and herself. (And by time for herself, I mean she gets none). The book is fast paced and punchy, symbolic of the stresses and difficulties of Kate's life. She is a very realistic character who Pearson really brings out. A film starring Sarah Jessica Parker was made; I haven't seen it but I can say SJP was not the right person to play Kate. Kate is supposed to be an every-woman British working mother, not a Hollywood ex-SATC star. Nonetheless, this book is a great social comment on the hardships of modern Western women trying to 'have it all' yet feeling constantly unhappy.


Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn. Incredible story, incredible twists, incredible characters. On the fifth anniversary of his marriage, Nick Dunne's wife Amy goes missing. Nick is accused of killing her and insists he hasn't. The film is equally fabulous, with the script written by Flynn herself. I love the story, the plot twists, the everything. Massive fan-girl over this tale.


The Girl on the train – Paula Hawkins. Another gripping, thrilling tale with 'girl' in the title. I read this in three days. It's a real non-stop read. Every morning a woman named Rachel takes the train out to work, and passes by houses and imagines the lives of the people inside. She especially imagines this one couple living on a house close to where the train passes by. But one day she sees something happen, and it changes everything, pulling her into the lives of those she only watched from afar. Packed with twists and unreliable characters, I can't recommend it enough.


Truly Madly Guilty – Lianne Moriarty. A group of couples who are friends with one-another have a barbecue at one of their houses. At the barbecue a terrible incident happens which makes them question their friendships, marriages and lives. A funny and exciting social drama about how people's lives can intertwine and lead to the better.


The Last Anniversary - Lianne Moriarty. Even better than the other one I would say. This is about an island in Australia called Scribbly Gum that is famous for the 'Munro Baby Mystery.' Several decades ago, two young women discovered an abandoned baby on the island. Now the island is the centre of attraction, and both women are old ladies now, as is the baby, all with kids of their own. But many are determined to know the truth about the mystery, and what really happened that night. Stimulating, great characters, and holds you right till the end.


How to build a girl – Caitlin Moran. Johanna Morigan is a teenager stuck in squalor in Wolverhampton. She decides to turn her life around by becoming a music journalist, and falls into a life of partying, men, booze and fags. Along the way she learns a lot about life, and about who she is and who she wants to be. It's funny, light-hearted and a great quick read. I also love Miss Moran's How to be a woman. 


Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk. Seen the movie? The novella it's based on is also awesome. Feels nice to be right in the narrator's head too. In case you're unfamiliar, this is the story of a young man who works for a life insurance company who befriends a soap maker called Tyler Durden. After the man's flat burns down in an accident, Tyler convinces him to start a 'fight club', in which men gather together and hit each other several times a week. Getting back to their natural testosterone-filled instincts. It's short, gripping and told with a frank and slightly apathetic tone.

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath. This book resonated with me a lot. It's the semi-autobiographical tale based on Plath's life, and is about a nineteen year old girl's nervous breakdown. Esther Greenwood is a high-flying student who wins a scholarship to write for a magazine in New York, yet suffers from crippling depression. She is later sectioned and taken to a mental hospital for treatment after trying to commit suicide.

So there are my current top favourite books. Will also do a list of favourite non-fiction books, and books from my childhood/teens. Have you read any of these? What are some titles you enjoy? I'm a massive nerdy bookworm, always have been LOL. Reading is great! It's fun and lets you get lost into a different world. Get lost into the wild...

8 comments:

  1. This is very cool! I have to say, I am not familiar with most of the books on your list but some of them sound really interesting! I read a few fantasy books in my youth but as I've been getting older, I've been trying to read up on the classics. Some of my favorite fiction books are:

    Lord of the Flies - William Holding
    Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
    To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
    1984 - George Orwell
    Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
    Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick
    The Stranger - Albert Camus

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    1. I've read Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984 and Brave New World. Loved Mockingbird and 1984; enjoyed Lord of the Flies, thought Brave New World was a bit confusing and struggled to finish it. Actually nearly put 1984 on my list but I wanted to do more 'pop' books rather than classics. The only real 'classics' on my list are Lolita and The Bell Jar, both great reads.

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  2. The Circle, Only Ever Yours, Gone Girl, The Girl on the train, Truly Madly Guilty, The Last Anniversary are all of the ones on your list that stood out the most to me.

    Have you ever read "Looking for Mr. Goodbar?" by Judith Rossner? It seems like a book that you might have interest in. They made it into a great film with Diane Keaton but it's really hard to get. It's similar to some of the books on your list here.

    Brave New World is very much the other side of the coin to 1984. I personally think it's good to read them both as long as you are reading 1 of them. 1984 is about society being controlled through fear and oppression while Brave New World is about society being controlled through desire and pleasure/entertainment. I grew up around a lot of irresponsible people like that in Brave New World yet personally, I had much more values and standards of structure and efficiency for myself than my parents and many family members and even peers around me. So personally, I really liked how the book showed the negative side to society being too into self-indulgence etc.

    The subject matter of Lolita is a little too uncomfortable for me personally so I don't know that I'll ever read that (nor see the film). Same with the subject matter of The Bell Jar, I prefer to stay away from reading psychological stuff like that as I personally find it too depressing.

    Fahrenheit 451 is probably my favorite book of all time. If you love reading, I would recommend it.

    Martian Chronicles & Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? are great if you're into science-fiction. (I'm a HUGE fan of Twilight Zone and these books are somewhat in that fashion, especially the former.)

    I highly recommend The Stranger by Albert Camus for you. It's a gripping read that I think you will enjoy. Really interesting and unique.

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    1. Thanks for the recommendations! I've heard of Farenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore but that's nothing to do with the book is it XD
      Yeah some people can find Lolita disturbing but it is done very well and poetically. I like books that are 'shocking' as is apparent.
      Haven't read Looking for Mr Goodbar. I'm not huge on sci-fi, prefer psychological dramas/thrillers/dark comedy/fantasy.

      It's true that the premises explored in Brave New World are interesting (soma!) Huxley was Orwell's mentor I believe when Orwell was at Cambridge. Might explain why the books go hand-in-hand.

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    2. No problem, I hope you enjoy them if you happen to check them out. :) I'm sure that Michael Moore got the name from that book, though I saw that film so long ago (and only once) that I don't much remember what the tie-in may (or may not) have been. The book has a very small sci-fi element but it's mostly a dystopian novel like Brave New World and 1984 but less sci-fi than those two, I think you'll like it.

      I love Plot Twist/Endings and I like movies that are psychological; However because of my history, I just get really weird about reading things that have adult-child abuse. It's just a weird personal thing I have. haha I might be able to read The Bell Jar, but I'd have to be in a specific mood to handle that kind of "mental illness" material. I think reading it is more personal than watching it, if that makes sense?

      Looking for Mr Goodbar is definitely a shocking drama. I wouldn't recommend the sci-fi ones for you then but I do still recommend The Stranger as it is more of a psychological thriller.

      Also, Orwell and Huxley didn't get along because they both thought each other were wrong and they were right. In reality they were both right and wrong together! It's good that they both did their own pieces, which is why I recommend reading them together. :)

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    3. Hey, I read Farenheit 451. It's a little thing so I read it in a couple days. The language was beautiful, so poetic and I loved his use of imagery. At times I got a bit confused as I couldn't tell what was happening for real and in Montag's imagination. I sympathised with him a lot, deffo reminded me of 1984's Winston Smith. I wouldn't put it as one of my favourites, but I definitely enjoyed it.

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    4. I'm glad you read it and liked the style. I think it's a book anyone who loves reading should take the time to read. :)

      By the way, I'm currently in the process of moving so it will take me longer to read and respond to your posts and comments etc. over the next couple weeks.

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