THE BELL JAR by Sylvia Plath: Given how much time I spend badgering all my friends to read this book, I clearly don't blog/Tweet about it enough. In short, The Bell Jar is one ridiculously good book. Esther is a fascinating character: witty, intelligent, morbid, perceptive, flawed beyond belief. Plath's writing is stylistically flawless and compulsively readable. And, although I rarely write in books, the margins of my copy are riddled with pencil marks and annotations (especially around my favourite passage). Yet the truth is, even after rereading this book so many times, it remains a mystery.
CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN by Louis de Bernieres: This is one of the few books of which I can say "I've never read anything like it" with complete sincerity. What makes this book so endlessly wonderful is the clever combination of historical fiction, romance and politics. There are so many different viewpoints interspersed throughout and the idiosyncrasy of the entire novel is wonderful. If you want a great read, albeit fairly confusing, Captain Corelli's Mandolin is the way to go. The fact I've mentioned it so few times completely undermines its brilliance.
this, watch it now!). Americanah is profound, written with flair and incredibly thought-provoking. Adichie explores the themes of race and love like no other author; Americanah is a powerful novel: a definite must-read.
ENGLEBY by Sebastian Faulks: Again, I only finished this book the other day (although I read it across a long period of time), but usually I'd blog about a book of this standard within seconds of finishing. Engleby is exactly the kind of novel I enjoy: a dark, disturbing and intricate murder mystery. Mike Engleby is a simply unforgettable narrator – he really makes the novel what it is. To cut it short, if you want a brilliant mystery novel, oozing with suspense, this is a superb choice. I can't believe I haven't reviewed or raved about it yet – I surely will in the future!
THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt: If you asked me to pick my top three favourite books, I'm pretty sure this would make the cut. The Secret History is incredible – there's no other word for it. Straight from the first few lines, it's clear this book is something incredible (“Does such a thing as 'the fatal flaw,' that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn't. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs.”). The reason I've never reviewed it? I could never do this book justice.
THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt: In case you can't already see, Donna Tartt is an author I can't get enough of. I finished The Goldfinch in early September, but I can tell it's a book I'll be reading and rereading for years to come. Again, the fact I've barely mentioned The Goldfinch, let alone not reviewed it, undermines its excellence. It's easily one of the best books I've read this year. I can't help but ask: is there anything Donna Tartt can't do? I'm not going to say anything more about The Goldfinch – any attempt to explain its excellence results in complete injustice of its excellence.
THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood: I've never read a book as accomplished as The Handmaid's Tale. It's so rich in ideas and thoughts & remains – out of all the dystopian novels I've ever read – the most terrifying. The depth Atwood brings to the novel, the complexity of the characters and the intricacies of the society are what make it truly wonderful. If you're a fan of dystopians, you need to read this. If you simply like reading, you need to read this. Even if you don't like reading, you need to read this. You get the idea right? Everyone needs to read this.
Have you read any of these books? I'd love to know! I think I'll make this kind of post regular as there are so many incredible books I don't talk about enough!