It’s World Book Day today, and as per usual we’d like to take the opportunity to tell you about some of the brilliant books we’ve read recently… And of course we’d like to hear what you’ve been reading, down there in the comments or over on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Will has recently discovered the joys of Kindle ownership, and has been rediscovering some old favourites as well as catching up on some things he’s been meaning to read for ages and some things that he’s just happened across…
Dune – Frank Herbert
If you’ve not read Dune then you probably should; it’s a genuine classic. Kind of to sci-fi what Game of Thrones is to fantasy, in that it transplants political intrigue and complex relationships into a genre setting, it’s a fast paced thriller with deep characterisation and casts a long shadow over contemporary science fiction. It was also (allegedly) a huge influence on George Lucas when he made Star Wars, and is in the process of being made into a movie by the fantastic Denis Villeneuve, creator of Arrival and Blade Runner 2045.
The First Law Trilogy – Joe Abercrombie
From classic science fiction to contemporary fantasy. The First Law Trilogy (The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings) is a brutal, gritty series, telling an epic tale of war and magic through the eyes of a cast of – at best – morally ambiguous characters, with villains as well drawn and with as much depth as its supposed heroes. Few authors evoke the horror and brutality of close quarters combat as well as Abercrombie, nor create such nuanced and likeable characters. I originally planned to just read the first book then move on to something else, but ended up binging the whole lot in one go.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
It’s quite difficult to describe Murakami’s work in a single paragraph. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a story about a lost cat, a disappeared woman, wartime atrocities, alternate realities… And much, much more. It’s not the easiest read, but it does ease you in; by the time the really odd stuff starts happening you’re invested enough in the characters and the story that you’re happy to roll with it, even if it doesn’t entirely make sense, and is never really fully explained. But this is the joy of Murakami’s writing, and what makes his novels so special.
Scrublands – Chris Hammer
This was a random Kindle discovery (but apparently is massive, optioned for a film and all that) that I really enjoyed. Reading a bit like a James Ellroy crime thriller transplanted into a drought-stricken Australian outback town, it doesn’t have the scope or depth of that author, but as a page turning thriller it works well. Probably a bit overlong, and with some awkward elements I reckon it’d make a good holiday read.
The Muse – Jessie Burton
It took me a while to get to this one, because I didn’t like the cover. The version I had was a bit chick-lit looking, something light and fluffy to read on the beach. It really isn’t. The Muse is a magnificent novel, with two intersecting storylines decades apart that come together in a crescendo as the novel closes. It’s difficult to classify, with elements of mystery and thriller, but at its heart it’s a powerful character study of two women decades and miles apart.