I hope you are having a good start to 2017. Still kept those New Year Resolutions? I received lots of books for Christmas (I’m very easy to buy for. Books, stationary, anything along those lines) and it occurred to me that, apart from briefly mentioning a few titles in my FAQ tab, I’ve never mentioned what my favourite books are.
Here is (my current) top ten books of all time.
10. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
You may not know name Inheritance Cycle but the name of the first novel in the series, Eragon, might be familiar. It was adapted into a film in 2006 which was a box office bomb. Regardless the book series was met with positive reviews. The series tells the story of a farm boy called Eragon who finds a dragon egg in the woods. He hatches the egg and becomes a dragon rider, fighting against the evil king. A bit cliché? At times, yes but the redeeming feature of the novels is how immersive the world is. The author Christopher Paolini published Eragon when he was sixteen years old. The names of the books in the series are Eragon (2003), Eldest (2005), Brisingr (2008) and Inheritance (2011).
9. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
In 2016 I was working in Senate House which is part of the University of London (side note: Senate House is said to be in inspiration for the Ministry of Truth building from George Orwell’s 1984). I was present for the start of a series of Interactive Fictions nights, the aim of which was to bring as many books to life as possible. The first book chosen was The Great Gatsby. Ironically a point can be made that the novel argues against such parties because they are destructive. In preparation for the party I thought it best to read the book. What I love about Gatsby is the many different ways you can interpret the text. Does Gatsby really love Daisy or is he in love with her money? Is Daisy really as innocent as she seems? Is Gatsby a good or bad person? The answers are yours to decide but there is no denying that Gatsby is great.
8. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
The opening line of the first novel in the Dark Tower series has become famous.
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
The series follows Roland, also known as the Gunslinger, and his quest to reach the Dark Tower. The reasons for his quest, his past and what exactly the Dark Tower is are teased to the reader over the course of the series. The series also crosses with other Stephen King books including some of his classics like Salem’s Lot and Carrie. You can see the whole Stephen King Universe and how it links together in the diagram below.
The Dark Tower is set to reach the big screen in 2017 with Idris Elba portraying the Gunslinger.
7. Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith (novelisation) by Matthew Stover
I know some of you are rolling your eyes but hear me out first. The Star Wars Universe is massive and many of the stories set in and around the film series are told in book format. The films themselves have been turned into novels and offer more detail on character’s thoughts and feelings. This isn’t the reason why I love this book so much. The prose is beautiful. Listen to this quote about Darth Vader.
And you rage and scream and reach through the force to crush the shadow that has destroyed you but you are so much less now than what you were. You are little more than half a machine. You are like a painter gone blind, a composer gone death. You can remember where the power was but the power you can touch is only a memory. And so with all your world destroying fury it is only the droids around you that implode and the equipment and the table on which you were strapped shatters and in the end you can not touch the shadow. In the end, you don’t even want to.
The novel is no longer cannon in the Star Wars universe which I think is a great shame. (If you don’t know what I mean by cannon you can read my post about it here) but it is so beautiful written and well crafted and I have to give it a place on my list.
6. The Harry Potter Series by J K Rowling
I’ve spoken about my love for the Harry Potter series before on this website and I’ve mentioned how much I admire J K Rowling as a writer and as a person. Like the Inheritance Cycle, the Harry Potter Universe is incredibly immersive. The reason it does not rank higher on my list is the fact that I have not read the books in a long time and I think that the Cursed Child was a bit of a let down when compared to the other Harry Potter books (To see my review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child please click here).
5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Question: Why do good people let themselves get treated so badly?
This question inspired the idea that would eventually become the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Charlie, a wallflower in society falls in love with a girl called Sam and gains a new group of friends. Over the year this novel is set Charlie learns to overcome his anxiety and his past as well as learning that the future is inevitable. The novel explores themes such as friendship, body image, first love, suicide, eating disorders and sexuality and is told in the form of letters written by the protagonist to the reader. Perks became a cult classic and gained more attention when a film adaptation was released in 2011 staring Emma Watson.
Answer: We accept the love we think we deserve.
4. The House of Silk and Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz
The House of Silk was published in 2011 with the backing of the Conan Doyle Estate meaning it is cannon in the timeline of the original Sherlock books. The book starts with Watson explaining that the reason this story has not been told before is that the contents were “too shocking to be revealed until now.” I won’t spoil too much of the plot for you, the novel is written in the style of Doyle but there are some detectable elements of Horowitz. The book was followed by the sequel Moriarty which I enjoyed just as much. Moriarty is set in 1891 after Sherlock’s apparent death in The Final Problem. A new criminal mastermind has taken Moriarty’s place in London, Sherlock’s old friends and fellow detectives must stop the new kingpin of crime. Both novels have superb twists at the end and are worth a read if you are a Sherlock fan or a keen reader of thrillers and mysteries.
3. Orcs by Stan Nicholls
This novel follows a band of Orcs in a magical world inhabited by other fairy tale creatures like Goblins, Centaurs and Dragons. The Orc’s aim is to capture five ancient artefacts (called stars) before any other race can claim them. The novel is so complicated that it is hard to explain in a few sentences. Think of Game of Thrones but with the magic of Lord of the Rings. If you love fantasy as much as I do, you should find yourself a copy.
2. Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale: The Final Chapter by Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook
This isn’t a novel, it’s a collection of emails between the Head Writer of Doctor Who in 2005-10, Russell T Davis and a reporter Benjamin Cook. It details the process of writing the fourth series of Doctor Who (Staring David Tenant and Catherine Tate) from concept to transmission. The book also sheds light on how a TV program is made and explores some behind the scenes rumours. It also shows you the life and mind of a writer. I was so enthralled in the book that I completed it in one afternoon. If you are a Doctor Who fan or a writer this book is for you.
1. Looking for Alaska by John Green
I think this is one of the very few novels where I shed a tear. The protagonist Pudge joins Culver Creek Preparatory High School to seek the Great Perhaps which is the great truth of life or the meaning of life. He befriends Alaska Young and Chip Martin AKA “The Colonel”. Together the trio prank another group at the school, the Weekday Warriors while completing their school work and dodging detention from their teachers. When tragedy strikes the school, everyone is affected with life changing repercussions.
I also reviewed Looking for Alaska for a university project in my final year. The review can be found on the Creative Writing classes online magazine The Southbank Review. The link to this review can be found below or on the publication tab.
Ironically words can’t do a good book justice. I can’t explain to you how much I enjoyed these books, there are no words big enough or powerful enough. The best way to understand my passion and enthusiasm is to read them for yourselves.
Did one of your favourites book make my list? Do you have a list of your own or an all time favourite book? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media and I’ll see you next time.