This list is pretty self-explanatory…
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (2005)
The title of this book has always appealed to me, though I’ve never gotten around to reading it. However, Kirstie Komoberi
, whose opinion – as the most beautifully-passionate of bookworms
– I value immensely, speaks incredibly highly
of this book. In fact, the heights she reaches with this book are more dizzying
than those she reaches with any other book. That being the case, I will most certainly be making the effort to read it this year. Plus, I am now not only excited to enjoy the book, but also to chat to Kirstie about it afterwards!
History of Western Philosophy – Bertrand Russell (1945)
Philosophy has always piqued my interest and I have wanted to read a range of philosophers for a long time. The problem, to my mind, is where to start. I have spent much time scouring Wikipedia to learn that each subsequent philosopher is responding to, incorporating, or building on, the ideas of a previous philosopher. Well, I have always enjoyed Bertrand Russell. The breadth of themes he touches upon, and his relatively casual writing style (albeit evidencing a supreme knowledge), I’ve found, make him a good starting point. Truth be told, I find his style relaxing. Anyway all this led me to concluding that Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, originally published in 1945, to be a perfect introduction to philosophy.
– P.G. Wodehouse (1925)
I stumbled upon this book by accident
whilst flicking through the Jeeves
selection in my local Waterstones. It is small in size, with a pretty cover. For someone who has only read Wodehouse by way of Wooster and Jeeves, this 1925 short story I’m certain, will, like everything I’ve read of his, be an absolute joy.
A Farewell to Arms
– Ernest Hemingway (1929)
I don’t know exactly it is, but I’ve always like Hemingway’s
writing. Ever since reading Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises
on the train to and from uni in my first year, ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ during
my first year of uni, and The Old Man and the Sea
whilst – appropriately enough – in Florida, before I encountered both of those stories. I will shortly be reading Carlos Baker’s extensive 1969 biography of the writer, after which I’ll turn my eye to A Farewell to Arms
, which I’ve always meant to read, and which has been sat on my shelf for far too long.
Winter in Madrid
– C. J. Sansom (2006)
Another book brought to my attention by Miss Kirstie Komoberi
. I’d never heard of it before, but according to Kirstie
, it is set during the Spanish Civil War – a period of history I am very much interested in (so much so that I’ll soon be reading George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia
– which is,
like Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms
; a greatly-overdue read.) I know nothing about this book other than what Kirstie has said about it; but I am rather keen to read it.
Homage to Catalonia
– George Orwell (1938)
Carrying on from above; I should’ve read Homage to Catalonia a long time ago. I think Orwell’s book-length non-fiction is his best work – I have in mind Down and Out in Pairs and London (1933) and The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) – and read with great interest his thoughts on socialism in the latter. That being the case, I am supremely interested on his impressions, and experiences, of the Spanish Civil War.
Herzog – Saul Bellow (1964)
When I first read the synopsis for this 1964 novel – the life of a man who writes letters he never sends – I was immediately drawn to the book. Years ago, I bought it; but I have yet to read. 2017 is the year!
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez (1967)
Given how interested I am in Latin America – not to mention, Colombia, particularly – this is, like the Hemingway and Orwell on this list, something I really should have read by now. Well, this year I will.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
– Junot Díaz (2007)
Continuing with the Latin (granted; Caribbean) theme, here. A good friend of mine – of Chilean descent and with whom I do much of my work on Latin American issues – remarks how he doesn’t read as much fiction as he should – but was so insistent that I read this novel, that I simply can’t turn it down. I should, and would like, to be reading more authors from Latin America and the Caribbean; so this is an obvious place to start.
The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins – John Pearson (1972)
I’ve always enjoyed crime films – Goodfellas (1990) is far and away one of my favourite films; and the book it’s based on, Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family (1985) by Nicholas Pileggi, is well worth a read. The BBC drama Peaky Blinders, meanwhile, has got me very interested in the British criminal underworld and, jumping forward multiple decades, I decided I wanted to read this book about the Krays. Legend (2015), the recent film hitch takes its cues from The Profession of Violence, I thought was quite good; and I’m very interested to read about these gangsters in greater depth.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time [manga collection] – Akira Himekawa (1998)
Graphic novel: yes. Excited: yes. Ocarina of Time is one of the fondest memories of my childhood. I can’t not read this.
In Cold Blood: A True Account of Multiple Murder and Its Consequences – Truman Capote (1966)
I adore talking about books and could do so until the sun burns out. This being the case, my interested is particularity piqued by recommendations. My best friend has three recommendations he is absolutely adamant that I must read: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961); In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966); and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939): the first of which he said he was convinced whilst reading it, that it is a novel I would love. Nevertheless, I’m beginning in the middle. (Catch-22 and The Grapes of Wrath are an unofficial #11 and #12 on this list.)