OK so this will of course change according to how I am feeling, where I am, what mood I am in, the situation – whether I am on the tube on the way to work or on holiday and I will inevitably read new, better books, but here is my list of my top ten favourite books at this point in time. I am by no means a books critic but I will try to give you a brief synopsis of each book and the reason why I liked it. 🙂
Kane and Abel – Jeffery Archer
This book follows the lives of two men born on the same day, but that is all they have in common. One is born into a wealthy family in America, the other is born into a poor family in Poland. Both are intelligent people and the book follows their lives over sixty years, until old age. Their paths cross and a bitter feud against each other commences. This book shows both sides of the fight and ultimately you see their fight for justice, their personal struggles and a fight of their conscious between good and evil.
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
A real epic, I read this when I was travelling through Central Asia and it filled many an hour sat relaxing in the Gobi desert. Following 5 Russian aristocratic families, this book covers the Napoleonic Wars era and the French invasion of Russia. It is based on real and fictional events. We see Napoleon invade Russia, we see people fall in love, we see heartbreak, we see the mundanes of everyday life and we see peace. This book isn’t as hard-going as the reputation it has. My book had a list of all the characters at the front which was helpful so I didn’t have to remember who each person was, try it, you’l enjoy it!
I Am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes
A crime thriller with scenes around the world, from Afghanistan to America. A single agent has to race to stop a terrorist release a deadly disease back into the world. Gripping and seen from a number of viewpoints, take it on holiday to switch off and you wont be able to put it down.
Stonehenge – Bernard Cornwell
This is the (fictional) story behind how and why Stonehenge came to be built. I always love a good Bernard Cornwell book – I will read literally anything by him! This is a great story behind such a mysterious monument and truly awakens your imagination.
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
This is on so many reading lists at school. I personally did read this at school and have since read it again as an adult. A plane crashes on a Pacific island and the only survivors are adolescent boys. A leader is elected and some form of democracy is attempted, but without any adult supervision, any sense of order is lacking. The boys start to turn on one another and the biggest danger on the island becomes themselves. Such a gruesome book and a reminder that there may be innate cruelty in all of us but it teaches us an important lesson about power and its abuse.
Knights of the Black and White – Jack Whyte
Historical fiction starting just after the first crusade and follows some of the most important figures in the history of the Knights Templar, like Hugh de Payens. I find the Knights Templar a really interesting historical subject to read about its always more fun in a fictional format!
Emma – Jane Austen
Emma is a highborn society girl and is in effect, a snob. She meddles in peoples lives trying to match make without quite understanding the meaning and concept of love. She is well-intentioned, intelligent and headstrong and makes for a love-hate character for some until the end. If you think Jane Austen books are all about long overly descriptive paragraphs about a tree, think again, this book, is light and funny.
Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
This story is told in first person by the horse Black Beauty. Based in London, it follows Black Beauty seeing kindness and cruelty throughout his life before finally finding love and a place to stay forever. Not too preachy and has a happy ending.
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
Narrated by Lin, a recently escaped prisoner from an Australian prison tries to find love and meaning in his life in Bombay. With an intense love for India at its core, this book shows a great understanding of human life experiences.
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll
I don’t know how to describe these books, they are so colourful, imaginative and obscure. They really stretch your imagination. It all starts with Alice following a white rabbit with a pocket watch down a rabbit hole and after falling along way, finds herself in a hallway with lots of locked doors. There are so many weird and wonderful goings on, creative poetry and even the names of the characters in this book, to make it a memorable childhood (OKI’ve read it as an adult too!) book.