I typically do not read a lot of fiction – if you look through a lot of my posts, the majority of my time is spent reading non-fiction. It’s not that I do not like fiction, in fact, some of the most entertaining novels (and times when time seems to fly) is when I read some really great fiction books. Here are a few of my favourites that I have read recently with a bit of hopefully a non-spoiler summary:
14 by Peter Clines
A great audiobook that I listened to – I somehow learned about Peter perhaps through the audible best sellers list. The story is about a man who finds a low rent building which seems too good to be true. As he explores the building and talks to other tenants, he finds mysterious things popping up everywhere: strange people, cockroaches, black lights where they shouldn’t be. All of these things start to culminate in more and more mysteries. Each mystery makes you want to read (or in my case listen) more. I won’t ruin the ending but if you love H.P. Lovecraft, you will love 14.
Junkie Quatrain by Peter Clines
When a number of zombie films came out, I was excited. The movies are scary but I always enjoyed watching and thinking about what would happen if a zombie apocalypse happened in real life. The Junkie Quatrain is a book with four different stories – similar to how Rashomon the film is played out. Each of the stories builds on the past one providing a different perspective and view and adding more and more context to the overall universe that Peter Clines has imagined. While they technically call them ‘junkies’ due to their behaviour and appearance, these are zombies. Again, another audiobook that was a very easy and entertaining listen.
Replay by Ken Grimwood
I can’t remember how I discovered this book but I wished I had discovered it earlier – it’s a book about time travel. Imagine that you suddenly die and then wake up in younger self with all the memories and experiences of your life. This, in essence, is what the novel is about. Can you imagine what you would do? Win at the casinos before they had a chance to crack down on card counters? Win any sports bets? Find the loved one that you let get away? Love the premise of the book and ever since reading this book, I’ve re-read it at least a few times, mostly to just feel that magic of being able to live your life over.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The classic comedy book – the humor that Douglas Adams has is just fantastically whimsical and brilliant. In fact, many people think that he could have either became an author or a scientist. The book is about a space traveler who hitchhikers onto a ship right before Earth gets destroyed to make way for an intergalactic bypass. Bonkers? Yes. Ripe for mathematical and physics humour? Absolutely. Bistromathematics? Disappearing and re-appearing sofas? Different gin and tonics across the universe? I wish the movie did the book justice but that, I think, is tremendously difficult.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
I’m not sure how to summarize the book, in fact, I think in my first read through, I’m not sure that I really understood it but I remember reading through and being thrilled and in awe of how Haruki wove together different elements into an overall binding narrative. A masseuse? A cult leader? A step off the highway into a different dimension? Seems weird but certainly worth a re-read from me (and a read from me). While not strictly fiction, I also liked Haruki’s book “What I talk about when I talk about running” which is Haruki’s book on his running experience. Fascinating and almost makes me want to run. Almost (I just think that it is really boring and I don’t have the mental focus to run for hours and hours at a time).
Y: The Last Man by Brian Vaughan and Pia Guerra
I’m actually a huge fan of graphic novels and manga (the manga will have to come in another post) but I particularly enjoyed this series about Yorick Brown, who from a freak accident, turns out to be the last man on Earth. Rather than imagining all the fun that Yorick can have with women, imagine what societies might be like without men (the majority of pilots, doctors, government, etc. would be gone given that most of these are male-dominated professions). As Yorick tries to figure out what the heck happened to all the men, he is hunted down by others who want him for their own purposes.
These are just a few novels that I have enjoyed – let me know what you think!