Ok, so while I’m working on reading my next book (I can’t decide on The Killing, or Sport of Kings- please help!), I thought I’d try to post my top 4 fiction books!
“Top 4?!” I hear you ask, “what a strange number…why not 5, or 3?”
That’s a great question. With a wimpy answer…. the mental exhaustion of trying to whittle down all the books I love has sent me into a literary coma…and I had three tied for 5th.
I thought it would be a great, fun idea….until I actually tried to do it. Can I just be brave and say there are too many amazing books out there? If people could please stop writing such wonderful prose so that my favourites are easier to select I’d really appreciate it.
I’m kidding obviously, but sitting down to write this really made me appreciate how many amazing books I’ve read in the last few years. There have been some stinkers too but we’ll pretend they never happened (I’m looking at you Gone Girl).
So here are my top 4 and reasons why I love them.
–The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear – Walter Moers
So this one is not well-known, but is probably my favourite. Translated from German, the story begins with the birth of a small blue bear, floating in the ocean on half a walnut shell. Found by mini-pirates and raised on their boozy ship, Captain Bluebear begins an fantastical fantasy journey through different worlds. Each chapter describes a different “life” in a different place, and each one gets more ridiculous and amazing than the last.
And oh how it’s funny. Moers’ satiric sense of humour runs through each and every page. I can’t find the words to tell you how much I love this book. It might sound like a ridiculous story…because it definitely is I suppose… but Moers is an incredible writer. He manages to add intellect and credibility to a Brazilian Tobacco Dwarf. Don’t let the page count put you off, the humour and imagination of Moers mean you’ll fly through it.
–A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
Very different from my last choice, A Little Life is a title that doesn’t give away the sheer depth inside the cover. I suppose that was Yanagihara’s intention. Put down on paper any life, and even the seemingly mundane is rich and deep and full of happiness and pain.
The novel follows four friends as they come of age, Malcolm, JB, Willem and Jude. Jude remains a central point to the story, as does his close friendship with Willem. The length of the book, and the sometimes disturbing and upsetting content is difficult to condense into a few lines. Some passages were so upsetting I could not bring myself to repeat them on rereading the book. Part of the reason for that was the subject matter, but part of it was because I had come to care so deeply for the characters themselves, which is a testament to the author. A harrowing and beautiful book, this one has to be read to be believed.
–Room – Emma Donoghue
Room is told from the perspective of five-year-old Jack, who is unknowingly held captive with his mother in a small room. The room is all that Jack has ever known meaning that his perspective leaves out the pain and fear the reader manages to glean from the way his mother behaves.
After a while I began to find myself falling into the flow of the way Jack speaks, so if you struggle at first, stick with it. It was both disturbing and wonderful to see something so awful told from the perspective of a small boy, understanding things in the way he sees them. It’s a sad but accurate testament to the resilience of children no matter what they have to go through. The story is gripping and I struggled to break from reading it as I so wanted to see how it ended.
*Side note- I saw the movie with some trepidation, and the book-lover’s fear – will they ruin it?! But, it was excellent. Tremblay and Larson were spectacular.*
-the long way to a small angry planet – Becky Chambers
I’ve mentioned this book when reviewing Chambers’ newest book. Part of the reason I loved it so much was the wonderful writing and deep, interesting characters. Another part was that my husband spent an hour choosing it for me as a present. When I looked at the cover and blurb I really didn’t think I would like it. I’ve never really read many sci-fi novels, but this one truly crept-up on me and snuck it’s way onto the shelf of books I keep at arms reach for constant referral.
Both human and alien, the story is one of unbelievable adventure and yet very normal human emotions. It reminded me of Fire-Fly (TV series) – human stories, but in space. When I learned it was self-published I was pleasantly surprised, as there is nothing amateur about it. It’s well-written, and extremely enjoyable.
So they’re my favourites…for now!
What are yours? Leave them in the comments!!
*signing off to read*
The Busy Bookworm.