The last 10 books I’ve read:
1. World War Z - Max Brooks
This book was lent to me by my good friend Austin. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will probably have seen one or two photos of him, or at least, a few of my adventures while hanging out with him. He’s a good ol’ boy from Arkansas and he is completely prepared for the inevitable Zombie apocalypse. Seriously. I can’t go into details here, but trust me, if the grid goes down, Austin is someone you’d want on your side. That being said, I enjoyed this book. It’s a fun and easy read - brain candy, if you will.
2. The Invention of Solitude - Paul Auster
This book was gifted to me by my pal and cellist (in that order, for now) Joel Gorrie. I’d never heard of Paul Auster before, but I really enjoyed this book. it’s split into two parts, the first of which covers the death of his father. The second deals with his thoughts on solitude and fate. It’s called a memoir, but it felt more like reading someone’s journal.
3. SUM - David Eagleman
My good friend Carissa gave me this book. Her name has appeared on almost every one of my book lists. We both like to read and a friend who recommends/gives you good books is invaluable. This book was really interesting. The author is a neuroscientist and each chapter is a different theory as to what the afterlife might be. It was great. It reminded me of Alan Lightman’s, “Einstein’s Dreams.”
4. The Psychopath Test - Jon Ronson
Something true about me that not many people know is that I find psychopath’s fascinating. It’s not something that comes up in regular day to day conversation so I don’t often broach the subject, but it’s true. I’ve spent a lot of time watching documentaries and interviews with psychopaths and their ability to lie and their lack of empathy are both frightening and really quite interesting. This book is an account of one journalists attempt at exploring the mental health industry and explains how we come to label people as sane or insane.
5. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This is one of my favourite books. Every once in a while I give away one of my favourite books on Twitter. Many of you who have played and won have been sent a copy of this book. It’s a simple book but it surprises me every time I read it. If you have never read it, I encourage you to go out and buy it and give it a read. Or, follow me on Twitter and try to win a copy for free! The first time I read it I had no idea what it was about. It’s better that way.
6. Doctor Sleep - Stephen King
This is the sequel to Stephen King’s, “The Shining”. I read this book for two reasons. Firstly, I enjoyed “The Shining” and I was interested to know how King had continued the story. Secondly, I was reading through number 7 on my list (A Tree Grows In Brooklyn) and I needed a break from the tone. Stephen King is like the exact opposite of Betty Smith, so I took a break and read this. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d expected I would. The writing is fine. I’ve read a few of his books now and each one reads quickly, like a conversation. But I thought the plot of this book was boring. It has its moments, but I found myself getting impatient a little after halfway through.
7. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn - Betty Smith
I’m a fan of the HBO series that came out several years ago called, “Band of Brothers”. In it, there is a scene where one soldier hands another a copy of “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” and I always thought there must be a reason for it. So, I read the book hoping to discover some sort of connection. Other than the fact that the book came out in 1943, I can’t find one. It’s a beautiful book to be sure, but I didn’t find it to parallel the show or to be any sort of commentary on it. It’s a story about a family, particularly a member of a family, a young girl, growing up in Brooklyn in the early 1900’s. It’s sad and sweet but it wasn’t my favourite.
8. A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway
This was another book given to me by my friend Carissa. She works at a used bookstore and often lets me know if there’s a book I might be interested in. I really enjoyed this one. Hemingway talks about Paris, about his somewhat brief friendship with Gertrude Stein, about meeting and befriending F. Scott Fitzgerald and about disliking Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda. He discusses what it means to be a writer, and what it takes to write well. It’s a great book. If you’ve seen and enjoyed Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris” you will probably enjoy this book.
9. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
This is a very good book and this is a very sad book. If you are looking for a quick and easy read, something to pass the time and cheer you up, keep looking. If you are looking for a book full of beautiful imagery and incredible writing, you have found it. I am a big fan of Steinbeck. However, if you’ve never read anything of his, I would recommend starting off with something a little shorter. Of Mice and Men, or Cannery Row for instance.
10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
I love chocolate. I always have. When I was growing up I watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory many times. I always liked Gene Wilder. But I used to rewind and re-watch the intro with all the chocolates going by. That was one of my favourite parts (that, and the scene where they fly down the river in the boat). I used to daydream about visiting a chocolate factory and I was sure it would be full of magic, and maybe Gene Wilder. Recently I discovered that the movie was based on a book. I’d heard of Roald Dahl before, but only read a few short stories. This one’s a great little read.
Thank you so much for all your recommendations. A lot of you have been sending them in and I love hearing from you guys.
Please feel free to recommend some of your favourites, either on here or Twitter or Facebook. Thanks.