If you’re reading this right now, I would be on a flight back to the UK. Which means that I wrote this post in advance. But you’ve probably already figured that out by now. Yes, good intro, Dev.
Anyway, welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday! If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it’s a meme that’s been around the book blogging community for a while. It’s hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and the gist of it is that you’re assigned with a weekly prompt and then you compile a list based on said prompt. Simple as that.
This week’s prompt is ‘All Time Favourite Books of the X Genre’. Personally, I’m cool with anything so I don’t really have a favourite genre. The closest I can think of is magic realism or anything to do with parallel universes or alternate realities—they’re also my favourite genres to write about. But I don’t think I’ve read many books that fall under those categories because I am a slow and lazy reader. So for this week, I’ll alter the prompt slightly into ‘All Time Favourite Books’. Or I could call it the ‘Dev genre’ or something—because I am narcissistic like that. Anyway, let’s begin!
Holes by Louis Sachar
Easily my most favourite book out of the bunch. I first read it in year seven as part of the assigned reading in my English class (this was the first one for the year) and I was not impressed—at first. The edition my school provided had the cover with the yellow-spotted lizard on it and it did not make for an appealing one to twelve-year-old me. I mean, let’s not deny it. We all judge a book by its cover (and also the blurb) and twelve-year-old me judged hard. I was quickly proven wrong, however, because my reading experience went a little something like this:
- Does that have anything to do with anything?
- What the heck?
- You’re a douche.
- OooooOOOOOOHH MY GOOOOD!!?!
- Karma! Ha, suck it!
Safe to say that this book clearly blew my twelve-year-old mind. I think this is the book that spawned my love for magic realism (though I’m not entirely sure if this book could be considered as such) and writing stories with seemingly random plot lines but ultimately makes so much sense in the end (I don’t actually know the word for it). It’s a definite must-read in my book (heh).
Matilda by Roald Dahl
This one’s a close second; I spent half an hour deciding which book I should put first because I love both so much. I think I can safely say that Matilda is every child bibliophile’s favourite book heroine. She certainly was mine—she still is, too. She is me, I am her, and that’s all I have to say about it. I was also insanely jealous of her telekinetic powers when I was younger, even if they didn’t last forever.
Sugarbread by Balli Kaur Jaswal
I bought this in Singapore simply because the bright yellow cover caught my eye when I first stepped in Kinokuniya. The “Finalist for Epigram Books Fiction Prize” emblem further cemented my interest. And I’m so glad I purchased it because it’s such a lovely, thought-provoking book. It’s got multiple themes that are interwoven through an intricate plot; I had to put it down several times because I felt that the suspense could kill me if I didn’t. If you want to read more of my thoughts on this book, my review of it is here.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Definitely one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. I didn’t know what to expect of this and, admittedly, I didn’t enjoy the first few chapters because I thought the story was going nowhere. But it unfolds into a beautiful story of family, love, friendship, and acceptance that I’ll remember for a very long time. It’s sweet, simple, and poetic, with characters occasionally spouting questions and insightful perspectives on life that will make you think alongside them. I have a review of it if you’d like to read more of my thoughts on it.
Cam Girl by Elliot Wake (FKA Leah Raeder)
One of the few books of 2015 that managed to make me tear up—and to those who know me well, you’d know that I rarely cry when it comes to books. Call me heartless, but that’s just how I am. I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s a truly captivating read, with charming, lyrical prose and engaging characters. It makes for a more emotional read when you find out of the author’s backstory and how it factors into this book as well as his previous works. I cannot wait to get my hands on Wake’s latest book, Bad Boy, which is written (spoilers) after his transition. That book will, undoubtedly, be packed with ten times more raw emotion and intensity, and I’m super excited for it.
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Is it bad if I relate to the main character if said character is bitchy, selfish, and a tad bit manipulative? Because I did when it came to this book. It’s slightly different from my typical reads because it has a main character who, I think, is meant to be unlikeable in a way. But in the wake of her situation (cancer, for those who are wondering), part of me understood where she’s coming from and why she ultimately decided to carry out her plans. It’s fascinating, reading from that kind of perspective, and it opened my mind to writing different sorts of multifaceted characters.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
If you love Lord of the Flies but wished there was a feminist adaptation for it, then fear not for your prayers (or, if you’re not that devout, wish) has been granted. Brief summary: a plane carrying beauty pageant contestants crash lands on a deserted island and the girls are left to fend for themselves until help arrives. It’s wonderfully satirical and hilarious and I don’t want to say much more on this because I’ll just ramble on for ages. Just go read it.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The best way I can describe this book is Sword Art Online but with more sense. Both the manga/anime and this book are set primarily in a virtual reality in which players must triumph over a series of challenges and rituals in order to achieve the grand prize (I’m not spoiling what those prizes are for either). The characters have heart and you find yourself rooting for all of them every step of the way. It’s not hard to love this book, especially if you have a penchant for video games and would love to be able to live in a virtual world of your choosing.
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
This is slightly different from all the books I’ve listed so far, but I’ve always had a weakness for introspective pieces of fiction. It’s unusually written, but in a good way, because it jumps around with each chapter (or, in this case, letters of the alphabet, as it is a dictionary), which means it’s up to the readers to piece together what became of the relationship. Love is such a multifaceted and complex emotion, it’s never been an easy thing to describe, but Levithan’s work is on a whole other level, as he succeeds in embodying love as just that.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
This is another book that I read for school (year eleven, I believe it was) and another one that I absolutely loved. It’s a series of short stories and anthologies set during the Vietnam War; I thought it was a harrowing read the first time around. But after numerous lessons on how this is meant to be both a memoir and meta-fiction, I grew even more fascinated by it. It contains many important themes such as life and death, nationalism, courage, and morality. It sheds new light on the side of history that people often overlook and is overall an incredibly contemplative read.
So there we have it! If you’ve made it this far into my post, then thank you for reading! Have you read any of the books above? If so, what did you think of them? And if you haven’t, have I convinced—or, at the very least, interested—you? Let me know what you think in the comments and I’ll see you hopefully in the next post.
Until next time,