10 Brilliant Books You Need To Read Before The End Of The Year
Books That Were Read Half Way Through The Year
There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.
I wanted to do this post at the end of July, but time was not on my side. I tend to squeeze in a lot of reading. Always at once, I will have a book of fiction, non-fiction and poetry on the go at the same time.
Though it is a little over half a year, I will quickly share the books I have read and enjoyed so far this year, and hope to do a similar post with the poetry books read this year so far. Hopefully you may find a book to read and discover, or if you have read any of the books below, what did you think?
These are not reviews, just a post out of interest and hope to spread the love of reading, get out there and support your local book stores and if you can never find the book you want, ask them to order it, or hit Amazon but beware of high delivery prices.
Mentioning the War by Kevin Higgins
Kevin Higgins is a well known poet and critic and it is a pleasure to know him personally. Earlier this year, Kevin published his essays, book reviews and criticisms in a book called ‘Mentioning the War – Essays & Reviews 1999-2011′.
Though it’s not the normal book I like to pick up, I have to say it was a pleasure to read, witty, informative, harsh biting criticism, and on many topics from the arts, poetry, socialist poetry, the anti-war movement and plenty of book reviews which can be very amusing. It’s a book I highly recommend and you can read my review here.
The Big Sur by Jack Kerouac
Anyone that knows me personally will know I am a huge Kerouac fan and have nearly every book, poetry and fiction, sitting on my shelf, but, I had surprisingly never gotten round to reading the Big Sur and finally at the start of the year I came across a copy.
To me, after ‘The Dharma Bums’, it is one of my favourite Kerouac books. Very personal (as are all his books) but, you really are brought on a journey, if not down to a level of craziness, sadness of a drunk on the verge of madness, driven over the edge by his own success.
It’s a harrowing book of an alcoholics decent, deeply sad and agonizingly tragic and a must read, even if you are not a Kerouac fan.View this book.
Empire of the Summer Moon By S.C.Gwynne
If you have ever read, possibly one of my favourite books I’ve read, ‘Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee‘, you will love this book and it is up there with Dee Browns classic. A horrific account of captives during the turbulent years in the states from 1836-1875, involving the ‘white squaw’ Cynthia Ann Parker, her son the famous Comanche chief Quanah Parker and the wars between the natives and the American army.
This book is packed with murder, plunder, battles, scalping, rape, land grabbing, horse chases, war after war, treachery, back stabbing, friendship, love and peace, and can be a times, very hard to stomach and can be disturbing. Yet at times it is visually stunning, breathtaking, and quite possibly one of my favourite books I have ever read, so far. Read my review here.
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
I believe this book should be read by every individual on this planet, no matter what your opinion of Richard Dawkins is. Of course, I am a huge fan of Dawkins, simply because of his brain and mind, his intelligence and knowledge of evolution and his love, like mine, for Charles Darwin.
Yet, this book is different than all his other books on genes and evolution and when it was released, caused huge controversy (what better way for publicity) due to his dissection of religion and the belief in a God. It is written with great wit and rigor, hugely informative, passionate, clever and intelligent.
Whether you are deeply religious, an atheist, religiously confused or looking to be entertained and educated, you will find this book intriguing and truly telling. View this book.
The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
Nicholas Carr once posed a question in an article he had written, ‘Is Google making us stupid?’ and followed it up with references to how the Internet is changing the way we think and ability to think deeply. He then followed up this article with this book, and explored how the Internet is changing the way we think, read and remember.
This is a fascinating read, well researched, compelling and dives deeply into the neurological effects of the Internet on the brain. He gives us the tools from Gutenbergs printer up to the typewriter and on to the Internet and how this has effected the human race, our attention spans, the way we live our lives now and communicate, socialize and remember. A very informative and thought-provoking read that I highly recommend. View this book.
Federico Garcia Lorca A Life by Ian Gibson
I never get to read many biographies, but anyone again who knows me personally will know I live and breathe everything Lorca, and though for me this is a monster of a book, it is brilliant, well researched, gripping and a book I could never put down.
This intriguing and masterful biography tells about the life of Spain’s greatest poet and dramatist, Federico Garcia Lorca, his early life, his family, his accomplishments, his work and literary development, his involvement with other brilliant artists such as Dali, Falla, Bunuel and a whole bunch of others, his homosexuality and struggles, the Spanish civil war and his untimely murder by the Franco regime.
Ian Gibson spent a huge part of his life researching and developing this book and has written it brilliantly and without sentiment, a truly amazing biography. Read my review here.
The Sea is my Brother by Jack Kerouac
This short book by Kerouac was written 7 years before The Town and the City but was never published in his life time and only recently released, and been a fan, you know I had to go buy it. The book follows two characters, Wesley Martin, a young carefree heavy-drinking seaman who befriends Bill Everhart, an intellectual lecturer, and together they ship of to Greenland with a boat load of war cargo, an actual journey Jack had partaken himself.
The book to me was unfinished and if Kerouac would have got around to working on it, would have been totally different, and you can easily see the immaturity of the writer and his development that was to become his style and trademark. Though not the best, still worth a read. Read my review here.
Vikings in America by Graeme Davis
I read a lot of historical books; aswell as science, it is one of my favourite topics. Like the native culture of America, my heart is also a Viking lover, anything to do with Vikings, I will watch or read.
In this ground-breaking well researched informative and gripping book, Davis examines the evidence that the Vikings where the first Europeans to discoverer and land in America, to trade with the Natives and to even colonize. The book is fascinating, well crafted and a continues narrative of historical prose with tons of tales and hard evidence that will lead to debates for many years. Well worth reading. View this book.
The Iliad by Homer Translated by Stephen Mitchell
Though this can fall in to the poetry category, I believe it can also fall under the fiction category. There are tons of translations of Homers Iliad and this is the latest and my introduction to the masterpiece. To me, this is the perfect edition for anyone afraid of tackling this beauty, simply because it is more accessible and easier to read, especially for the reader uninterested in poetry.
The whole story of Troy, of Achilles and Hector, of Helen, of war and blood and chaos, pure madness, brutal and beautiful at the same time will have you drooling at the mouth, and though this is not the definite translation, it is the easiest accessible to the social reader and I keep urging people (more pushing and shoving) to read this translation as I know they will love it. Read my review here.
The Greatest Show on Earth-The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins
Wow is all I can say to this amazing book. I love all things Dawkins in his writing and intellect brain and he consistently surprises me and educates me with his mind and easy way of writing. As a fan of evolution, of natural selection, of science and the beauty of the natural world, this book had my heart pounding and eyes as big and open as a planet.
This is a stunning book. It explains in great detail, the evidence for evolution and exposes the creationist argument for intelligent design. Apart from that usual argument, this books open up and introduces us into an astounding interesting world of nature, of life and living, of time and existence, of the world around us and its beauty. Probably my most recommended book on this page that I urge any living human to take up and enjoy. See this book.
What’s Next For The 2nd Half Of The Year.
So there you have just some of the books I have whipped through this year, 10 of them, and hope you will find a book to read. I will do a post on the poetry books I have read so far this year (there is alot yikes) and now, on my table I have a few books to start which are Persian Fire by Tom Holland, The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins and The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
If you have any comments or recommendations, do share below, always welcome.