The problem with picking a list of 10 favourite books is that you have to exclude so many books that you love!
I deliberated over this a bit – and checked that all the books in my Goodread’s favourites shelf were here (and I’ve left some of them off this list anyway). It is quite diverse, with non-fiction, pulpy action and a sprinkling of classics. 1. Perfume by Patrick Suskind.
My introduction to Perfume occurred on a 6 hour bus journey that began at midnight. I was supposed to sleep on the bus, instead I enhaled Suskind’s words. It was my first exposure to a penguin classic – and I kept buying little orange books afterwards, trying to recreate the romance I had with Perfume, but it never compared. The middle of this book, when the main character hibernates gave me terrible shivers, and is possibly one of the only characters I have read that has ever actually scared me.
2. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
This book should be treated like All Quiet on the Western Front is treated by scholars, as literature first and war commentary second. However, it seems to be only read by those who are already well versed in war literature. Matterhorn is a fictional account of the Vietnam War, written by a vet. Marlantes’ prose jumps from the pages, and I recommend this book to ANYONE who will listen.
3. Hard Landing by Stephen Leather
This book standing alone may not make my top 10, however, it needed to be included because I am obsessed with the main character, Spider Shepherd who stars in this series. Spider Shepherd has eaten up so much of my time, and I’ve re-read so many of the books that I can quote lines and randomly spurt facts from the novels. My boyfriend knows all about Shepherd, and can discuss many of his dangerous missions, and he hasn’t read a single book! It isn’t highbrow and at times I am ashamed of my love, but damn it, I love a man in camo.
4. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The book that introduced me to ‘the Classics’. Assigned in Year 9, I skim read it and thought it was boring, but was so engaged by the discussions in class I read it again, this time enjoying it. I haven’t read it as an adult, but just the memory of reading this book and being interested in what happened makes me smile. It was that moment when reading older books was no longer that scary, and I acknowledged that I do like reading. I plan on re-reading it soon.
5. All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
Another book from school – however this is one I chose to study. I will always remember the look on my teacher’s face when I asked to write about war fiction. She was an older woman, and was trying to convince the four students in her class that the Bronte sisters, or Jane Austen were appropriate choices. I chose Remarque and Wilfred Owen. I haven’t looked back since, I study military history at university and my I’ll happily read any book that takes place during a war of some kind.
6. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
A suprise like for me – I knew it was set in WWII so I expected I would like it, but I loved it. I read the whole book in a day, sitting at university. I turned up to a tutorial that day without doing any prep because I only wanted to read The Book Thief. I haven’t watched the film, and I have been told I should stick with the version in my head.
7. Open Season – C.J. Box
The other series I binge on, besides Spider Shepherd, is Joe Pickett. Boy, do I love me some Joe Pickett. I measure future husbands against Joe, and they all come short. Also, his escapades, life and friends are the stuff of the best action/crime thriller. There isn’t a single instalment of this series I haven’t given a 5 or 4 star rating on goodreads for. The setting is truly beautiful, and has made me want to read other literature from the area.
8. Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
LOUIE! I fell hard for Louie. I cried my heart out while reading this book, and at the same time appreciated the historical accuracy that was included. I rarely think historically through my tears, so that was a new experience for me. I tried reading Seabiscuit, and made it about twelve pages in before I decided Hillenbrand was a one horse wonder for me.
9. Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNab & The One That Got Away by Chris Ryan
Both SAS soldiers on the same mission, and both have very different accounts of what happened (and whose fault the failure of the mission was!) I read these two books back to back, and found them both interesting. McNab is probably the more prolific writer, but I like Chris Ryan’s style more. I also think that McNab is a stuck up asshole, but I enjoy reading his work anyway. I have read a lot of the fiction from both of these authors.
10. Resurrection Day – Glenn Meade
This book was a present from some friends, and the reason they picked it was because the back talked about terrorists, which I was obsessed with (it was the year of 9/11, alright?!). I read it, loved it, and then proceeded to read so many pulpy action novels my eyes started to bleed. I still like reading them today, and it is all down to Resurrection Day!
Phew! That was a lot longer than I was expecting, and I’m pretty sure I’ve left something off!