Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Top Ten Favourite Books

Today, I want to do something different - I want to look at my ten favourite books. It's a list subject to change, it's what I think of when I look at my shelf, and it doesn't do nearly enough justice to books that I read a long time ago. In fact, the list is of books I've read in the last 6 years, give or take, and comes with a caveat or two: I refused to include two books by the same author, and I don't have a particular order of preference to them. They are what they are.

The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman

It's simple, but smart, and it digs down to the core of how we place meaning on things. It's also short, which - for a college student - is perfect. I was able to read it guilt-free, and did so in one weekend while working. I couldn't put it down.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Challenging my ability to feel, it carries a certain weight over Green's other titles simply because it's the most recent one I've read. I think, if I'd read it before Paper Towns or Looking for Alaska, I would have preferred them. To put it clearly, I love his writing style, his wit, and the characters he creates. Deeply insightful, and the sort of book I wish I'd discovered when I was younger.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

In a desperate need to find something like John Green's books, I found Chbosky. I found Charlie, who was weird and hurt and who found friends who were just that little bit older than him to make a difference, and a lot of how he felt about life and a lot of what he was experiencing - though not the Thing That Shall Not Be Spoiled - were identifiable in myself, when I read it. (And, yes, definitely one for fans of John Green.)

Gone by Michael Grant

When Gone was being advertised, it was with a comparison to Heroes. This boded well with me. For the weeks and months before its release - a release to which I was savvy thanks to working in a bookshop - I allowed myself to build up a degree of excitement. I was not let down. I fell in love with the book, and the series, and aside from a couple of the more gruesome scenes, it's one I recommend wholeheartedly to a lot of parents looking for books for their young-teen kids.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

One evening, on Twitter, John Green and Maureen Johnson were talking about a book - We Were Liars. I looked it up. I liked the sound of it. I bought it. I struggled, on a tired day, to read it. Then I forced myself to try again, when I was a little more refreshed, and I loved it. I couldn't put it down. It was full of mystery and charm and it said a lot about the world in a very beautiful way.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Did you ever notice everything always seems to come back to one person? In the book, that's Gatsby himself. But my reading of it? That was John Green. I had tried to read it for college, only a few months before John announced it for the Nerdfighter book club, but I couldn't. Then I tried again, and I looked more closely, without the pressure of exams, and I fell into its charm. Plus, John Green agreed with a point I made about it in the comments on YouTube, and that made everything really awesome for a while.

Screenplay by Syd Field

Syd Field changed how I look at stories, and how I looked at Hollywood. While I've always had a burgeoning interest in screenwriting, one which I never truly followed up on, I didn't know much about it. Even that aside, I was granted an insight into cinema in a way I never would have imagined. It's a remarkable book, and very easy to understand.

The Curve by Nicholas Lovell

The future is digital, and people need to understand that more. I didn't, not for a long time, not in the way Lovell talks about, and it was this book that helped me realise what it was that I wanted to study at a Post-Graduate level. I owe him a lot, with that in mind - though the repeated mentions of his book on my blog will have to do for now!

The Millionaire Messenger by Brendon Burchard

This book shaped my online activity for a time. Simple, direct, and filled with powerful lessons to be learned, it was one I loved when I really made myself read it. I forced myself to do every exercise, to give myself the time - no matter what else I wanted to do - to complete them fully, and I came out feeling like I had a better sense of what I wanted to do with my life and with my writing. I'm not a millionaire, but I know I've learned some valuable lessons on how to address my life in the future.

The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

I never thought I could do so much with my life, realistically, until I read this book. I didn't think travelling and working at the same time was really a possibility. I didn't think other people did it. I'm at a point in my life where I'm just getting ready to take on life fully, and while it's still early days, I'm allowing myself the dream. I'm allowing myself to think about it, as a reality, and while it's not entirely Irish-based, it's an excellent push in the right direction that I don't just need to dream.

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