Here at AwesomeBooks we, if you can believe it, love books! So I’ve spent this week asking around the office to find out our team’s favourite books they’ve read this year, so hopefully we can give you a little inspiration for deciding your next read!
1. Tampa – Alissa Nutting
A bit of a controversial one to start off the list but after reading it all the way back in April it’s stuck with me ever since. It’s dark, disturbing and, in places, difficult to read, but it’s also brilliant. Nutting’s protagonist is a twisted but beautiful and charismatic young woman with an unhealthy interest in teenage boys, so much so that she takes a job as a teacher just to get closer to them. Like I said, it’s pretty dark.
But despite how awful the narrator’s motive are, she also very difficult to hate. It’s one of those books that keeps you completely hooked and seriously messes with your head but it’s well worth the read. Many have compared it to a modern day, gender-swapped, Lolita and it’s easy to see why. Despite the obvious plot similarities, Nutting’s characters are believable and well developed, her writing is strong and, in some places, beautiful and overall it’s a book that will probably be talked about a lot but that you really need to read for yourself, to be able to fully appreciate how fantastic it really is.
2. High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
This one was a favourite of a few of us here in the office! And understandably so, it’s easy to get lost in Rob’s world and in his mind. I remember back at school being taught about how authors sometimes used a ‘stream of consciousness’ and if there was ever a perfect example of that then this is it. Hornby creates such a realistic voice for Rob it’s not difficult to relate to him and his problems and empathise with him completely; he’s awkward, often unsure of himself, his thoughts jump around all over the place as you see him trying to convince himself to try and do the right thing, but he also understand that he’s flawed and, as the novel progresses, we see his opinion of himself shift and change and grow.
High Fidelity is one of those books that just about anyone can pick up and enjoy regardless of what age they are because the problem’s Rob faces are problems we all have to deal with – who hasn’t had arguments with their family, felt lonely, broken up with a partner or felt unsure about their career or future? You don’t just empathise with Rob, at times you realise you are Rob, and that’s what makes High Fidelity such a brilliant book.
3. Divergent (series) – Veronica Roth
A young-adult series of dystopian fiction that adults can be not-so-embarrassed to admit they’ve read. I’ll admit I’m a bit addicted to dystopian fiction and sci-fi and anything set in a different world or society; I love the classics like 1984 and A Clockwork Orange and I love more recent attempts like The Hunger Games, so when I heard about the Divergent series, I pushed aside all thoughts of ‘well I’m an adult, maybe I won’t enjoy it’ and just went for it! And I am so happy I did, I loved this series and got so hooked I read all 3 books, one after the other, in just over a week.
The characters, on the whole, are pretty likeable and it’s great to see them develop and change and grow throughout the series, the plot itself is full of exciting twists and action, and the writing style is very easy to read but not in a patronising or full-of-chichés sort of way.
The series follows a 16 year old girl called Tris in a society where people are categorised according to their abilities and personality traits. In between all the action, the uncovering secrets and adventures, the books raise a number of questions about how we identify ourselves and each other, what it means to be a part of something, and how the decisions we make in our teenage years can affect our entire lives. So despite being aimed at a YA audience there’s a lot there that readers of any age can enjoy!
4. The Roy Grace Series – Peter James
It would be impossible to pick just one book from this series by Brighton-based author, Peter James (I’ll admit, I’m a little biased for including this one, he’s one of my favourite authors!). The series centres around Detective Superintendent Roy Grace – a Brighton based detective working to solve serious crimes in and around Brighton.
Throughout the series he faces the case of 4 dead bodies and 1 missing man, a lost CD which puts a man and his family in danger, illegal organ trafficking, a murder committed by a man who couldn’t possibly have been there and a number of other thrilling cases, all the while Grace is re-building his life after the mysterious disappearance of his wife several years ago.
James’ writing is enthralling and action filled, he develops some really likeable and interesting characters who, throughout the series, you really grow to care for. His mix of using a factual background within his fictional world, makes the novels seem all the more real; exactly what you want from a good crime-fiction novel! And what’s even better (or maybe worse…) is that once you’ve finished one book, you can’t wait to start on the next!
Our Other Recommendations
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Brave New World
A Visit From The Goon Squad