Readers, today I’m going rogue!
Alright… it’s not that dramatic. I just wanted to finish the list I started last week. I thought this would be a good week since I have nothing for the official TTT topic. I decided to not link up to the main page of TTT since my list is ‘unofficial’.
Hopefully, you can forgive me and enjoy my top ten contemporary reads.
1 Boxers and Saints – Gene Luen Yang
I really love and appreciate books that open up a whole new culture to me. Boxers (vol. 1) and Saints (vol. 2) are about the two sides of the Boxer Rebellion in China. The graphic novels rides the line between history and fantasy, celebrating Chinese culture and tradition without completely vilifying the enemy (as we see in Saints).
2 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
Not only did Mitchell write six great short stories, I like the whole experience and how the stories were cut in half. I know some see the book as pretentious, and maybe so, but I loved it all the same.
3 Devil in the White City – Erik Larson
This was a ‘right time, right moment’ book, as I don’t usually venture into non-fiction. I was in class and the professor made a passing remark about the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. I was fascinated (and ticked that the Professor didn’t explain more!) and a few days later I saw this book on display.
I’ll never look at historical narrative the same way. I ate it all up and can’t wait to read more from Erik Larson.
4 Every Day – David Levithan
Some will know my love/hate relationship with YA and some days I just want to toss in the towel on the whole genre. And then I read a book like Every Day. While everyone else is trying to do dystopian (or, more recently, high fantasy), Levithan decided to forge his own path.
The premise is supernatural-based, the character A switches to a different body every single day, but it’s the real-life sadness of living in another’s skin that makes the book impactful.
5 Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
I just remember getting to the twist and almost flinging the book across the room! But the book is even more than just the twist, as the reader delves deep into an emotionally unhealthy marriage… one that made me want to take a shower afterwards.
6 The Martian – Andy Weir
SPACE! Ok, ok… I’ll calm down. Weir’s tale of Cast Away on Mars is definitely one of this year’s highlights. There are many aspects of this book that separately I would hate (like the math), but together everything worked for me! (Also the movie is a great companion piece.)
7 The Shining – Stephen King
I’m always in search of a good horror/suspense novel. The Shining is still the one that gets to me. People are far scarier than ghosts, vampires, and zombies.
(In case anyone is curious, I love both the movie and the book. I’m blown away by Kubrick’s direction and I don’t think a faithful adaptation of Jack Torrance would work well. Case in point, the 1997 Mini-series… so bad.)
8 Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
One of the first books I reviewed on this site and my favorite of 2015. Most End-of-the-World books are ‘been there, done that’ and I appreciate how different Station Eleven was compared to the rest. It was a perfect marriage of high and low brow, and I was surprised by the moments that made me shed a tear.
9 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
I was completely blown away by this novel. At first I didn’t even want to give it a try because I thought all I was gonna get was Nicholas Sparks with a time travel plot. Holy crap is this so much more, and my heart breaks still thinking about it.
10 Velvet Elvis/Love Wins – Rob Bell
I don’t read a lot of religious books, especially in the last decade, but I love me some Rob Bell. His works were very influential in my college years. I can’t pick between Velvet Elvis or Love Wins because both shaped my outlook on life and how I view religion today.
Any love for my top ten? What’s your favorite contemporary books? I’m always looking for suggestions for my next favorite book!