Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Favourite Books of 2017

I'm a little late but it's still January (just) so I'm OK! Last year's reading challenge was a very achievable 20 books and I'm pleased to say that I read 20 and started on a 21st which I've since finished this year. Of those books, only 1 or 2 have been really bad so it's been a good book year. As always, these weren't all released in 2017 but just novels I've read this year. Let's get stuck in, shall we?

5. Pet Semetary - Stephen King
As a massive horror junkie and a lover of movies adapted from Stephen King novels, it's kind of crazy that up until 2017, I hadn't actually read any of them! After watching both versions of IT, I felt reading it was overkill but Juan had Pet Semetary in his collection so I helped myself. As it was written back in 1983 and there was a film of it, chances are you are familiar with the story but just in case you're not, allow me to divulge. Pet Semetary tells the tale of doctor Louis Creed and his family Rachel (wife) and two kids, Ellie & Gage. Louis gets a new job which sees the family move to the quiet town of Ludlow. Here, they befriend their elderly neighbours Jud & Norma and Jud takes the family to a pet cemetery where local children bury their beloved pets. Following this, things take a turn for the worst with a series of terrible things happening to the Creed family, starting with the death of their cat, Church, who Louis buries in the Pet Cemetery...
Although slow in parts, I found Pet Semetary to be engaging, I jut really wanted to know what happened next. I've always been of the thought that as books lack the music and obviously visuals, they aren't scary but I found this story to be really unnerving & whilst reading the book & for some time after, it stuck with me & I felt really creeped out whenever near a cemetery!

4. Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts
This book was a serious time-investment (I mean, just look at the size of it) and I was worried I'd give up half way through and although at times, I did feel a bit fed up with it, I'm glad I persevered. Main character, Lin is an Australian criminal who escapes prison, obtains an illegal, fake passport and flees to India. Shantaram follows his struggle acclimatising to his new surroundings and culture and his journey exploring and falling in love with India and the friends he makes there.Shantaram is a novel, said to be based on true events but as I worked my way through, there was a few times I raised my eyebrows & wondered how embellished it is. On finishing it, I researched and found that "very loosely" based on true events might be more accurate with people who feature in the story dispute some of the events described and the author admitting characters, dialogue, and narrative structure are all created. In that sense, and due to the drugs and crime themes, it reminded me a little of Marching Powder by Rusty Young - if you liked that, chances are you'd love Shantaram too. The beautiful description in the book is what I loved about the book but also what contributes to it's enormous length so at times I did skim read and at times I got confused with all the different characters as some have similar roles and names. That being said, the story is just fantastic. Very emotional and entertaining, especially for those with a passion for travelling or wanting to learn more about Indian culture.
3. Everything Everything - Nicola Yoon
We've come this far and it's young adult fiction for the rest of my countdown, which will hardly come as a surprise as it is my favoured genre of book. Everything Everything is about 18 year old Maddy who cannot go outside due to suffering from severe combined immunodeficiency. This also means everything has to be sanitised, she is home schooled & therefore doesn't have a lot in the way of friends - just her mum and a nurse who looks out for her when her mum's at work. When Olly and his family move next door, her world gets turned upside down. Although at times predictable, I found Everything Everything to be a really enjoyable and thought provoking read, and the story moreish, just don't bother with the film...
2. It Only Happens in the Movies
Holly Bourne has fast become one of my favourite authors and this is one of my favourites to date and I can't really put my finger on why. I devoured It Only Happens In The Movies in just 2 days. It's not particularly unique, nor filled with edge-of-the-seats twists but maybe it's likeliness to real life and how it had me reminiscing about early relationships/ideas of love is what is when you're a teenager that reeled me in. Audrey isn't into romance, in fact rom-coms are her least favourite ever since her parents split. Her Dad has replaced her with his new family & her mum's drinking has picked up pace to the point she's missing work. The latter has also inspired Audrey to get a job at the local independent cinema so she doesn't have to bear witness to it so much. Here, she meets Harry who embodies most of the stuff she doesn't like: guys who think they are God's gift to girls but when she learns he's making his very own zombie she can't help but be intrigued by him.
1. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
My stepbrother got me Ready Player One for Christmas in 2016 & he said it was something he could imagine me liking. I remember reading the blurb, a bit perplexed as it isn't something I'd normally pick out but it turned out to be one of favourite books, ever. Ernest Cline's debut novel is a science fiction, dystopian number where society spends the majority of it's time on virtual reality game/platform, OASIS, to escape a depressing world, amidst an energy crisis. When one of the creators of the OASIS dies, he leaves a trail of clues within the game and the first person to crack them all, gains access and control of the OASIS and his fortune. Ready Player One sees the main protagonist, Wade, or should I say, his OASIS avatar, Parzival, join the race to win the prize in this absolute treat of a book - think Willy Wonka meets Hunger Games. Ready Player One is just so cool! It's got 80's video game references, a good thought piece on our dependence on technology, twists, action & an inkling of a love interest. I just loved it. The trailer for the movie isn't giving me much hope for the Ready Player One film (so do read the book first) but I'll definitely be going to watch it in hope I'll be pleasantly surprised. Besides, it's being released on my birthday this year!

That's it for my book round up for 2017! As for 2018? I'm upping my annual target to 25 and with a big pile of books ready to read, I can't wait to get started.

Which books did you read & love in 2017? Which books are you excited to read in 2018?

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