My taste in books seems to change over time, as I’m sure most people’s does. Sometimes a book will mean something more to you because of something you’re going through at the time and it speaks to you right at that moment, or a style of writing that might have bored you in high school you’ll come to appreciate and enjoy, or your taste in genres changes, etc. So I emphasise the words ‘right now’ in my title, because I’m sure that 5 or 10 years ago this list would have looked completely different. In fact, my favourite book 10 years ago was The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell (although at the time I read it, the author was listed as Anonymous), and to date it is the book I have re-read the most. About a year ago I read it again, and although it contains some fantastic sentences, I realised that it’s no longer really that great. I have changed both as a person and in my reading habits, and it no longer resonates with me. As an aside, it’s also unfortunately had the cover changed to look more like the Fifty Shades trilogy which is a bit of a turn off personally.
So, keeping the above in mind, I’ve compiled this list of my 13 favourite books right now, and why I love them. ‘Right now’ meaning right this moment; today as I write this. And why the strange number, you ask? Well that’s because I started writing my top 5, then had to change it to my top 10, and then remembered 3 more books I really wanted to include. Despite this, I am sure that as soon as I click ‘publish’ I’ll remember ones I still missed off the list. This is why I hate limiting myself to a specific number.
Please also note the below is in no particular order. I find it extremely difficult to pick a favourite amongst these and an order. I had reviewed some of these books on my old blog, so links to those reviews are included.
Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
There are two things I love reading about, if they’re well written; family bonds, and childhood bonds. This book provides both, and is so beautifully written that I can happily open the book to any page, read a passage, and be transported back to the story. Two families from completely different walks of life share a large house in Western Australia, and this novel follows each of their paths over decades. Such a simple premise but one carried off so wonderfully by Tim Winton. We have the dysfunctional family where the mother is an alcoholic and the father is a gambler, and then the hard-working churchy family with the disabled son, all of them rich characters, all with individual stories, successes and failures. I loved this because it was honest. Best way to sum it up, I think.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I love reading anything to do with World War II but this has to be the most original novel set in that time I’ve read. I loved Liesel, I loved her friendships (especially with Rudy), and I loved the narrator. So sad, but so well written.
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
If someone were to tie me down and torture me and force me to name my favourite book, this would be it. That doesn’t sound like a compliment, but it is. Another simple idea for a story; a contemporary American family and what happens to them over a number of years. We learn how Patty and Walter met, we learn about their children, and we learn about how their definitions of love change over time. I miss reading about this family. I wrote a review for this on my old blog, and the review can be found here.
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The ending to this novel has such a fantastic twist, one that I didn’t see coming, and it made me love this book. Don’t get me wrong, I was already enjoying this novel, but then BAM!
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
I saw the film before I read the book, but this book made me fall in love with Chuck Palahniuk’s work, and it’s amazing, especially considering it was his first published novel.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
I loved the language, I loved how raw this is. It’s just brilliant.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
This was the first classic I read in high school that I actually enjoyed, and it remains my favourite Dickens book to date. Let’s face it, the man knew how to use the English language to bring out emotion and bring attention to social issues. Miss Havisham still gives me the creeps!
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I only read this for the first time a couple of years ago and immediately saw what all the fuss was about. People love this for different reasons, but I personally loved this because of Scout. I also found this nostalgic to a point, perhaps because, again, this was one that touched on childhood bonds, and Harper Lee used Scout’s point of view so amazingly well in such a difficult subject. Read this!
Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
One of my biggest complaints with Stephen King’s horror novels, despite enjoying them, is that often the evil that is being fought is built up as such a nasty adversary that it’s almost as if the author doesn’t know how to defeat them either, and then rushes the ending. I find Stephen King does much better in his short stories, and this recent collection was enjoyable from start to finish.
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
So well written, I loved so much about this book. I loved the characters, I loved the dialogue, and I loved the story. I was going through a bit of a Cormac McCarthy love-fest when I read this but my opinion on it hasn’t changed. I have a review for this here.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Such a well written horror novel. I remember it giving me chills, even though we all know the Dracula story by now. I would have loved to have read this when it was first released – now that would have been haunting!
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
I only read this recently and I really felt sorry for both Jack and Rose, who stumbled into what society expected of them and then were so unhappy that they grasped for something to save them, then latched onto whatever they could find. A really sad story.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Speaking of sad stories, this one is depressing! But Cormac McCarthy being wonderful again, as he follows a father and son in a post apocalyptic world.
Phew, that was a tough task! So, what are your favourites right now?