So Following on from the top 10 worst list and with this years total now at 314 books read, here is my 10 best and with the same qualifications as before they are in descending order, from 10 to 1 and they are my favourite reads of the year, they may not be to everyones taste but they made me happy, or excited or in more than one case just downright freaked me out (once again amazon links provided if you want to check any of them out yourself) so without further ado, lets start with:
10) So You’ve been Publicly Shamed – Jon Ronson – I really enjoyed this book that looks at the new issue of public shaming of people perceived to be doing wrong and how you can survive it and what you can do to reduce the problem, looking at a number of cases from Justine Sacco to Max Moseley, this is all told with Ronsons inimitable humour and makes for a fascinating read
9) The Lady in the Van – Alan Bennett – In no way a new author but one of my new author discoveries for the year, I love the gentle pace and touch of northern humour throughout these books and will be seeking out more of his in the new year, this is based on a true story of someone who lived in his driveway for years and both the book and the film are well worth checking out.
8) House of Cards – Michael Dobson – Another book series I found by way of watching it first, I will admit to a slight addiction to the amazing Netflix series starring Kevin Spacey as Francis. The books however really stand out for me as political thrillers with a hint of crime, the authors real knowledge of the corridors of power (he was a tory whip) lend this a genuine feel of authenticity and makes you worry about what really goes on behind closed doors.
7) Double helix (a personal account of the discovery of the structure of DNA) – James Watson – A personal Science hero of mine, and this book in my opinion has everything a popular science book should have, it contains enough scientific detail for anyone to follow including someone with an above average knowledge of the subject, along with details of other people involved and the process of the discovery itself. All told with James Watsons uniquely outspoken and since it was written in the 60’s slightly sexist tone he talks about a woman scientist as being quite pretty if she made an effort with makeup and stuff, but qualifies it by saying he forgot all that when she started talking about crystallography. This is a charming story of one of the last centuries greatest scientific discoveries and well worth a read to anyone interested in Genetics or the processes of Science.
6) Assassination Classroom – Yusei Matsui – A Manga series that follows a likeable teacher, whose students are trying to kill him because he’s a tentacle monster who has threatened to destroy the earth. A silly concept told in a hilarious manner with some really deep undertones about educational ideologies and whether exam results are all important. Koro Sensei himself is actually a fantastic teacher, I say this as a teacher myself and I love this Manga series.
5) Booker and cash (Bad sons) – Oliver Tidy – Oliver Tidy is another of my author discoveries of the year and this is my favourite series that he writes, the partnership of Booker and Cash, a police person and New bookstore owner in this novel are amazing and who wouldn’t want to live in a bookstore and solve crimes it’s like a dream job (oh wait I do live in a bookstore). Told as usual with a great set of twists and turns and really strong characters that you invest in, this is a good book to curl up with on a horrible winters day. As a sign of how good this book is, `I finished the first and immediately started the next because I got so involved something I rarely do with any series – an independently published author as well, well worth checking out if you like me love a cosy crime novel.
4) Secret History of Wonder Woman – Jill Lepore – This is a fascinating look at the history of a comic book character through the history of its creator. William Moulton Marston the creator of wonder woman, was one seriously weird dude, he invented the lie detector, had a polyamorous relationship and a slight BDSM fetish, all of this combined with a well researched history of the comics and how it ties in with the early feminist and birth control movement in the USA make for a deeply fascinating read. I’m pretty sure that Santa is bringing me wonder woman comics for christmas
My top 3 books have not changed since my mid year top 10, and this is no reflection on the quality of things i’ve read since some of these following books and authors may be close to making it on to my all time top 10 list much like the ones on the worst list were
3) Ready Player One – Ernest Kline – A delightful ode to 80’s pop culture geekery, written by possibly one of the most geeky men in existence (he lent his delorean to George RR Martin so he could drive to a comic con). Set in a dystopic future it looks at people living in virtual reality because the world they live in is so rubbish, this is an all action thriller that is well tempered with a sense of joy and humour.
2) Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson – Another one of my new author discoveries of the year and someone who could give any author a master class in creating atmosphere through written language. This is the most creepy book I have ever read, I finished it in broad daylight because I couldn’t put it down it was that disturbing and I was too scared to read it at night and yet there is no real horrific events that happen in the story – there may or may not even be a ghost, just an ever increasing tension built through suggestion.
and Number 1 – The Circle – Dave Eggers – A dystopic science fiction novel set in the almost present day, about a company that isn’t or blatantly is Google, slowly taking over everyones lives by owning everything and seeing every interaction you have on the internet because of this (sound familiar). This again is a masterpiece of writing and is still number one on my list because of the sheer number of times i’ve seen reports about new developments on the internet or new ways you can you use it to help your daily life and said oh that happens in the circle. If you feel slightly paranoid about the internet anyway this may not be the book for you.
Also some honourable mentions of books that didn’t make this top 10 but were close.
Joe Abercrombies half the world series (genuinely brilliant fantasy), Denzil Meryick (fantastic scottish crime), Joe R Lansdale (american cosy crime), Library of Souls (miss peregrine 3 love these books) and Gotham Academy ( fun little graphic novel)