I love reading and get lots of my books from charity shops or second hand from friends. I would also recommend Better World Books, which is like an ethical Amazon (mainly ex-library books) that donates to literacy projects. I also would recommend getting a library card – I borrow lots of brand new hardbacks from my local library and it also helps me to finish them knowing I have a deadline!
Here is a round up from 2016 – there’s a short story / dystopian / economics theme this year.
- 1984, George Orwell – 5
It’s a classic for a reason! So interesting, so many references (newspeak, proles, Big Brother), so influential – surveillance, brainwashing, control of the masses.
2. At Home, Bill Bryson – 5
Really interesting book – tours a vicarage and explains the history behind the home, room by room.
3. Lost at Sea, Jon Ronson – 4
Collection of Jon’s short stories from the Guardian – a group of weird and wonderful articles along the same vein as his other books e.g. Psychopath Test, Them, So You’ve been Publicly Shamed.
4. Mr Paradise, Elmore Leonard – 4
Classic Elmore Leonard
5. High Rise, J. G. Ballard – 4
Harrowing dystopian story based in a high rise flat exploring issues of class and the complete break down of society. Very good.
6. Shtum, Jem Lester – 5
I read this book in a day and it made me cry and cry and cry. It’s written so well and the characters are so great. It’s about a father’s relationship with his non-verbal autistic son, Jonah.
7. Think like a Freak, Steven D. Levett – 4
I adore the Freakonomics books – all really interesting and the sort of books which you talk about for days after.
8. The Red Notebook, Antoine Laurain
Light-hearted, easy read and very French. Perfect for reading on the beach.
9. Frank, Jon Ronson – 4
This is a thoroughly readable book by one of my favourite authors. There is a film also based on the book which is similar but quite different at the same time.
10. What the Dog Saw, Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell books are all very interesting and explain answer to questions through stories and bring it all to life. A collection of articles originally published in the New Yorker.
11. Reasons to Stay Alive, Matt Haig – 5
This is a beautiful, personal book about Matt’s personal struggles and his mental health. It’s a must-read. My favourite quote from the book:
12. The Book of Night Women, Marlon James – 4
A really good book about slavery in Jamaica. It’s quite harrowingly violent and follows a young girl on a sugar plantation.
13. The Boy Who Could See Death, Salley Vickers – 4
Sally Vickers is a great author – would thoroughly recommend her other books. I found this book in an Oxfam bookshop. Like many sets of short stories, they are all quite dark & interesting.
14. The Versions of Us, Laura Barnett – 4
This is a really interesting romance book – there are 3 stories with different outcomes of the same couple who meet in Cambridge.
15. The Pier Falls, Mark Haddon – 4
I bought this book as I went to a book reading in Blackwells book shop in aid of Oxfam. Mark is a really interesting person and the book is good, but very dark!