In January I wrote a post entitled 'A few books I'd like to read this year' and this is almost a continuation of that. Many of those are still on my list. The Luminaries by Eleanor Caton, On The Road by Jack Kerouac, Stoner by John Williams, The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, and Nausea by John Paul Sartre are sitting over on my bookshelf as I type.
I have read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and Wonder by R.J. Palacio and utterly adored them both. I attempted One Day by David Nicholls and The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window & Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson but I couldn't get into them so I've put them back down for now. The rest are firmly on my wishlist and will undoubtedly find their way to me soon. Some of them probably very soon, as a little celebration for submitting my final essay for the term at the end of this month!
These are the first few that came to mind when I was writing a little list for myself. I've included a few sentences about each one, that I have mostly pinched from descriptions over on Goodreads - I've also linked to each book's Goodreads page just incase you'd like to read a little more about them...
The Gigantic Beard that was evil | Stephen Collins
+ On the island of Here everything is neat, orderly and beardless. One day Dave grows a gigantic and unstoppable beard. Where did it come from? How should the islanders deal with it? And what are they going to do with Dave? A graphic novel that looks utterly stunning and most certainly not just the tale of a giant beard.
It's Kind Of A Funny Story | Ned Vizzini
+ A humourous account of a teenager's battle with depression and his time spent in a psychiatric hospital inspired by Vizzini's own brief hospitalisation with depression in 2004. A struggle Vizzini never overcame, he sadly took his own life at the end of last year. This is such an important book for many, I've lost count of the amount of reviews I've read that said it changed their lives.
Naive. Super | Erlend Loe
+ Our narrator is in his mid-twenties and has suddenly become disillusioned and confused by life. He quits University and begins searching for the meaning in his life. He writes lists, becomes fascinated by time and whether it actually matters, he bounces a ball against a wall repeatedly finding joy in childish activities - all in a quest to find the best way to live life. It sounds so wonderfully enigmatic.
The five people you meet in heaven | Mitch Albom
+ Eddie is an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. He dies on his 83rd birthday in a tragic accident and awakes in the afterlife where he discovers that heaven is not a destination but an answer. In heaven five people explain your life to you. Eddie's five people illuminate the mysteries of his apparent meaningless life and reveal the haunting secret behind the question 'why was I here?'.
Rebecca | Daphne Du Maurier
+ Our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing Maxim de Winter and she can barely believe her luck. When the couple arrive at Manderly, a vast country estate, Max is a changed man and the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is kept alive by Mrs Danvers. Realising how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives, this is the story of a young girl who is consumed by love and the struggle to find her own identity.
Orlando | Virginia Woolfe
+ A 'biography' that tells the story of the cross-dressing, sex-changing Orlando who begins life as a young noble in the sixteenth century and moves through multiple worlds to end life as a modern female writer in the 1920s.
Waiting for Godot | Samuel Beckett
+ Vladimir and Estragon, two seemingly homeless men, are waiting for someone or something named Godot. A comical wordplay of nonsense, dreamscapes and poetry. Famously described as a play in which 'nothing happens, twice'. I'm certainly incredibly curious!
Howl & Other Poems | Allen Ginsberg
+ A visionary poet and beat movement icon, Allen Ginsberg broke the boundaries with his fearless verse. The vindication of Howl at an obscenity trial was a pivotal moment in twentieth century history. I'm slowly making my way through this collection and listening to recordings of him performing his work that are available online. Possibly a body of work with the marmite factor, it's one that seems to provoke strong reactions. Marvelous!
The Picture of Dorian Gray | Oscar Wilde
+ Realising that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure his portrait will age instead of him. He retains the features of innocent beauty but the portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul.
Things The Grandchildren Should Know | Mark Oliver Everett
+ How does one young man survive the death's of his entire family and make something worthwhile of his life? Everett, front man of The Eels, shares the story of how he survived his crazy upbringing and followed the uneasy path to finding himself. One of my boyfriend's favourite books and one that I started only to put down for a time when I have a day to fully submerge myself within its pages. I can already tell it's going to be a compelling and inspiring read.
Girl, Interrupted | Susanna Kaysen
+ The memoir of Kaysen, who at eighteen was put into a taxi and sent to McLean Psychiatric Hospital where she was to spend the next two years on the ward for teenage girls. An unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.
More Than This | Patrick Ness
+ A boy drowns, alone in his final moments. He dies. Then he wakes, naked, bruised and thirsty, but very much alive. How can this be? As he struggles to understand what is happening he dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more than this?
Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe | Benjamin Alire Saenz
+ Aristotle is an angry teenager with a brother in prison and Dante is a know-it-all with an unusual way of looking at the world. When they meet they seemingly have nothing in common but as they start spending time together they discover that they share a special friendship. The kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. Through their friendship, Aristotle and Dante learn important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. I just can't resist a good coming of age story!
The Invention of Hugo Cabret | Brian Selznick
+ Not exactly a novel and not quite a picture book. Twelve year old Hugo lives in the walls of a Paris train station and his survival depends on secrets. When his world suddenly crashes into that of an eccentric girl and her grandfather, his undercover life and precious secret are put in jeopardy. There are over 200 pictures within this 500 page book and it looks utterly wonderful!
The New Ghost | Rob Hunter
+ A 24 page graphic novel that follows a spectral entity on his first day at work. An atmospheric, gentle, poetic and heartwarming tale of the afterlife.
Flowers for Algernon | Daniel Keyes
+ The much-loved story of Charlie, a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. Through diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. The experiment seems to be an important scientific breakthrough until Algernon begins his sudden deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie? My only lasting memory of this book is sobbing uncontrollably at the end, one to save for when I need a really good cry I think!
Are there any books you'd really like to read soon?
- Jennie xo