Since it’s the summer, I figured that this would be the perfect time to recommend books. Some of these you’ve probably already read (okay, some of these you’ve definitely read), some you’ve might not have read. This is in no-way a comprehensive list but I just wanted to put up what I think are some really good books that people should definitely check out. I’ll do my best to explain why you should give them a try and why I liked them.
1. Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time Series
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
I don’t think I can ever do any type of book recommendations without mentioning, at least once, Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. In The Wheel of Time, the Dark One–the embodiment of evil–is breaking free from his prison, ready to wreak death and chaos upon the land. One man is fated to save the world from the Dark One’s grasp, but also destined to destroy it in the process.
While the premise sounds very basic, Jordan does an incredible job of turning it into something much more than a simple good vs. evil story. The Wheel of Time is not only his story but the story of an entire world and its struggle with the rapidly-approaching Last Battle. It is an incredibly detailed and beautiful series of books. Me being a massive fantasy fan, The Wheel of Time series has everything I want: an in-depth and detailed world, awe-inspiring battles, killer quotes and great characters.
The Wheel of Time kicks ass and if you like fantasy, then you should definitely give it a try. I wrote a post about the series here.
You can find more info on the series at their website, Dragonmount.
2. Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
The long-hoped-for, long-feared encounter had come at last. Mankind was about to receive its first visitor from the stars.
Rendezvous with Rama details mankind’s first encounter with an alien construct, a gargantuan cylinder hurtling towards the Solar System. It’s a slow, thoughtful look into how man would react to first contact.
As a lover of science-fiction, I love Rendezvous with Rama whole-heartedly. It’s a slow, mysterious novel where each chapter leaves you with more questions than answers. It’s not like most other novels where the draw of the book is the action or the violence. Instead, it’s about the slow discovery of a design that is wholly and completely alien to us. It’s a visionary piece of science-fiction writing and I think if you like science-fiction, you should 100% give it a try.
You can find read the description about the book, as well as some reviews, here.
3. Filth, by Irvine Welsh
The games are the only way you can survive the job. Everybody has their wee vanities, their own little conceits. My one is that nobody plays the games like me, Bruce Robertson. D.S. Robertson, soon to be D.I. Robertson.
In Filth, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson schemes, manipulates and thoroughly screws with his co-workers in a ploy to gain a leg-up on them in a race for a promotion. It’s a filthy novel (see what I did there? I’ll see myself out), and it does not flinch in showing you the vulgar realities of Bruce and the consequences of his actions.
Filth is an amazing book, and I wish more people would read it. It’s a lurid, vulgar, depressing and darkly-funny book, and one of my all-time favourites–which might make me just a bit biased. The way that Irvine Welsh writes is unique, in that the whole book is written to resemble Scottish dialect. While that might make it a bit hard to read at first, I found that I could easily understand what was going on after spending the first few chapters adjusting. From then on, it was a smooth ride through one man’s spiral downwards as he manipulates and screws with his coworkers in an attempt to get his promotion.
I don’t say this lightly, this is quite a mature book and probably not suitable for anyone who’s not into cursing or any sort of nastiness.
Link to the official site here.
4. Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Trying to find a single quote that could nicely summarise this book is pretty much impossible, so I’ve given up trying. Move along.
The End Times are coming, as predicted by the only accurate prophetic book, written by a crazy old witch named Agnes Nutter. An Angel and a Demon, both having lived in our world for centuries, try their best to avert it and save their pleasant lives amongst man. Oh, and someone’s misplaced the Anti-Christ.
Good Omens is a quaint little book packed with some of the best lines ever. It’s a funny book that dips into light-hearted humour and some pretty deep retrospectives on the idea of free will, the meaning of life and the truth behind ‘good’ and ‘evil’. The jokes are probably the highlight in a long list of highlights, from the well-written characters, the great plot and the endless references. Each joke, small or large, short or long, are all given the same attention and each one of them is funny. Although some might pass over your head (there’s a lot of British jokes and references, a lot), you’ll still get enough of them to really get how funny this book is.
You can check out the Goodread’s page on the book if you want to know more.
5. Fables, written by Bill Willingham
What happens when you gather all the characters from all your childhood stories in one place? Why, you get Fables.
I’ll be honest, I love the covers of Fables almost as much as I love the stories themselves. Just look at them!
Anyways, back on topic. Fables, created by Bill Willingham, are a series of graphic novels depicting the lives of famous storybook characters such as Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf, Beauty and the Beast, etc. and then put them in the real world. The premise is great and it’s executed wonderfully. The artwork is clear and beautiful, the dialogue feels quick and smart and the characters, God I love the characters! Each of these fairytale characters have been elevated from their original personalities and given these great new twists, which I won’t spoil here.
More info here.
6. The Last Wish, by Andrzej Sapkowski
Okay, I admit, I could’ve tried a bit harder to try to come up with a quote to summarise the book but a running theme with The Last Wish is how things often are more than they appear. This makes coming up with a single quote summary is pretty much impossible.
The Last Wish is the first book to introduce us to Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher who was created to hunt down the monstrosities that plague the world of men. Although he could be played as a straight, no-nonsense, gruff character and have the story totally work like that, Andrzej took another route. He gave Geralt intelligence, he gave him reasoning and the ability to quip. That’s what makes the Witcher series so great in my opinion. There’s lots of great action, but it’s also very human. There’s a levity and humour to it, and what could’ve been a very black-and-white story is, instead, given many, many shades of grey.
And if you’ve played the video games, then you should give these books a try for another perspective on your favourite characters.
More info here.
And that’s it!
I’ll probably do more book recommendations later, but I just wanted to get this one up first.
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