Since I currently have two big essays to do for school over this holiday, I’ve decided to be lazy and follow *side gaze* ~the crowd~ by doing a Top 10 list of the books I have read (note: NOT books that are published) in 2014. Enjoy.
10. ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury
This book, about a dystopian future in which reading books/essentially thinking for yourself, is banned, and if you are caught with a book then firemen will proceed to come and burn it, was weird. Everything lost control so quickly and before you knew it the protagonist (if there even really is one) is (spoiler) living on the outskirts of a society he once worked for. I really enjoyed it — it’s a quick read and, ironically, it makes you think.
9. ‘Everyday Sexism’ by Laura Bates
Filled with informative statistics and facts about the state of our society re: sexism, ‘Everyday Sexism’ will leave you sad, scared, angry, infuriated, and hopeful. It is a must read for everyone, especially people who say “But feminism isn’t needed today!!” or people who still start sentences with “I’m not being sexist, but…”
8. ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ by Neil Gaiman
The perfect mix of reality and fantasy. Neil <3.
7. ‘Fight Club’ by Chuck Palahniuk
I am one of the uncultured few who has not seen the film of the same name by David Fincher, so when I began reading this book I did not know what to expect. Basically, it’s weird, minimalist in style, and awesome. I didn’t see the twist at the end, and Tyler Durden’s speech made me question what I was doing with my life (eating Jaffa Cakes, watching re-runs of Keeping Up with the Kardashians).
6. ‘Slaughterhouse 5’ by Kurt Vonnegut
Jesus, how many Middle-Aged White Men did I read this year? Slaughterhouse Five was hard for me to read at first — I didn’t really enjoy the first couple of pages, but once I’d gone through them and really got into the story, I fell in love. More or less.
5. ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Another white guy for the list. When I finished ‘The Great Gatsby’ for the first time, I hated it. All I could think was ‘what was the point of all that? How am I supposed to care about these characters and feel empathy for them when they were rich, white and in the heart of the place to make money in a time when The Great Depression was still looming and had its negative effects on millions?’ But, this was probably because I am a Moody Teen who had to read this in the summer for school, and after analysing it with my wonderful teacher, I realised the ~depth~ and ~emotional artistry~ behind it. You’re an okay guy, Fitzgerald.
4. ‘No Matter the Wreckage’ by Sarah Kay
This collection of probably my favourite poet’s poems is beautiful and heart warming and everything you need when you are happy, sad, melancholic, angry, confused, or alone. You can watch loads of her readings of some of the poems in the book on YouTube, but having the actual physical copy makes the experience so much better because you feel like the poems are written for you and are 100% completely huggable.
3. ‘The Complete Maus’ by Art Spiegelman
This graphic novel manages to talk about the war and the varying facets of people who were in the war, the camps and the people at home to great degree. Instead of being another sentimental capitalisation of one of history’s brutal times, Spiegelman deals with his story that he is telling with grace and mastery, showing us his doubts at publishing it himself. Thank goodness he did.
2. ‘Crime and Punishment’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky
If it wasn’t for the epilogue, particularly the last page, this would have been number 1 on all of my lists. I need to read more Dostoevsky.
I read this book about three months ago now, and I still can’t stop thinking about it. There’s so much to say about it, and I’d need to re-read the book to understand be able to form a coherent and critical/intelligent response, but this is one of those books that I think will stay with me for life.