This is the first in a series of posts which will eventually populate my “Likes” page (see it up there on the nav bar; nothing to see there yet). I’ve come to think of my favorites in any category in 5’s, thanks to High Fidelity (a book and movie I love, but it won’t appear in this post), so that’s how we’ll be doing these pieces.
I’ve started tonight with books; not sure why, but this was the most developed piece in my mind. I had intended to do books and authors in a single post, but it started to look a bit long. Maybe more, shorter posts than less, longer ones? Why not?
As always, thanks for reading, and hope you like the new website!
Top 5 Books/Series
5. Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling
Seldom do you read books that are written by someone who clearly loves language. There are lines in these books that I’m laughing at, just because of how Rowling put things. Oh yeah, and nearly 4,000 pages of a coming of age story against a deep mythological background of wizards, magic and a whole lot of other fun stuff.
4. The Beach – Alex Garland
Travel, exotic locations, a rich portrayal of a cast of disaffected 20 somethings who are looking for more than just your average life – is it any wonder I read this book three times before the age of 30? It’s also an amazing depiction of someone slowly losing their mind while convincing themselves (and you) that they’re getting saner.
3. The John Rain Thrillers – Barry Eisler
Currently standing at nine books and three short stories, these stories track the development of John Rain, a master assassin who is known for “natural deaths”, so if you need someone to die and make it look like a heart attack, he’s your guy. Over the course of the series, Eisler (a former CIA operative) takes us through the intelligence underworld, weaving in true events to give us a better picture of what the world really looks like. Makes you feel like you’ve been leading your entire life with blinders, and now you can finally see.
2. Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
The events in the book are true, only the narrative is fiction. Gregory David Roberts was a recovering heroin addict in Australia in the late 70’s who broke out of prison and fled to India to start a new life. The book opens as he arrives in Bombay. He’ll discover the true meaning of life, love and loyalty while acting as a slum doctor, gun runner and movie producer. Beautiful, beautiful book.
1. Straight Man – Richard Russo
This book was required reading for my final writing class in college. I read 34 pages exactly, thought it was funny, but dropped it because I preferred to read what I wanted to read. 18 months later, I picked up the book while packing for California and devoured it. It’s the funniest, truest (is that a word?) book I’ve ever read. A college professor trying to find himself after 20 years of tenure, mortgages and marriage threatens (jokingly) to assassinate a duck a day until he gets his budget after his wife leaves for a business trip. Nothing short of brilliant.