First things first, happy new year! My new year’s ready resolution is simple. I am going to try and read all of the books which I own and haven’t read. I think many books fans have this same dilemma – you purchase a book with every intention of getting stuck right in, but then something else grabs your attention. A new book comes out which intrigues you, your friend recommends you a book you just ‘have to read’ or you visit the library and borrow a few books which, of course, have to take priority as they need to be returned, and your new purchases get left on the shelf, slowly gathering dust.
So, in this post, I am going to give each of those lonely books sitting on the shelf their moment in the spotlight, in the hope that it will encourage me to actually get to reading them.
1. The Wicked Girls – Alex Marwood
I’m a fan of psychological thrillers, and Amazon kept recommending me this book so I thought I would give it a try. The basic gist of it seems to be that two 11-year-old girls are charged with murder, and this book covers what happens when they meet again as adults. But, after purchasing, I started making a concerted effort to broaden my reading taste and read less thrillers and more novels of other genres. Hence, I still haven’t got around to reading this.
2. Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
This was bought on a bit of an impulse; the blurb really intrigues me. “The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it…It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.” It is described as “breaktaking”, “dazzling” and “enchanting”, and that’s exactly what I want from a book; pure escapism that takes you away to a magical world. So, I just need to find some time to sit down and go to the circus.
3. Valley of the Dolls – Jacqueline Susann
I actually first heard of this book because it was mentioned in another book, and so I thought I’d look into it. I found out it was something of a cult classic, following the lives of three showbiz girls living in the 1960s. I love reading books set in different times and exploring glamorous lives which feel so removed from my own. So, I want to give it a try. Hopefully 2014 will be the year.
4. Life Of Pi – Yann Martel
My friend lent me this a couple of years ago; I have tried to give it back to her, but she isn’t particularly interested. She tried it and couldn’t get along with it. So I’ve kept hold of it, as I really do want to give it a read at some point. I’ve seen the film, and it seems like a lovely premise, and I know the book will be better, as they almost always are. But with so many thrilling, gripping tales available I haven’t managed to find the time for this philosophical coming-of-age tale.
5. Water For Elephants – Sara Gruen
Another circus novel – this seems to basically be about a man who runs away to the circus. What’s not to like about that? I bought the book before the film was even released, and I still haven’t got around to checking out either. Water For Elephants is a must read for me in 2014.
6. Goodbye For Now – Laurie Frankel
This book sounded like an interesting combination of romance and sci fi; a man who has lost his partner invents a computer algorithm which is meant to recreate dead loved ones using their online presence, allowing you to speak to them like they are still alive. It is said to be reminiscent of One Day and even The Time Traveller’s Wife, both of which I loved. So, I’m looking forward to getting round to reading this.
7. The Boy Who Could See Demons – Carolyn Jess-Cooke
This book is told from the point of view of a child, a writing technique which I believe can and has worked really well, in books like Room and Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend. In this book, the little boy sees demons, and these demons tell him to do bad things. I ordered this off Ebay and received a bound proof copy which I was a bit annoyed about, but I’ll give it a read anyway and hope it doesn’t contain too many errors or omitted pages.
8. The Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick
I’ve never read the book or the film, but this seems like the type of story I would like. It is the story of Pat, a man who has spent time in a mental health facility, and has now got out and is determined to turn his life around. But, as far as I can gather, a few things keep getting in the way.
9. The Time Keeper – Mitch Albom
This looked like something a bit different – a fantasy fable about the man who invented time trying to teach others the importance of it. I’ve never read Mitch Albom before, but I’m quite fascinated with the concept of time, and this sounds like an intriguing story.
10. Hunger Games Trilogy
I know, I’m a bit behind the times here, but I just got this trilogy for Christmas. Although these books were huge a couple of years ago they didn’t really appeal to me, but I saw the first film and I was hooked. I’m not determined to read at least the first two before seeing the second film which is in cinemas at the moment, so I need to get reading fast!
11. The Help – Kathryn Stockett
I wasn’t too keen on reading this when it first came out, I don’t know why but something about it just didn’t appeal. The story of three female characters living in 1960s Mississippi; this book has received huge critical acclaim and since been made into a film, so when I saw it second hand for just £2, I thought it was time to give it a try.
12. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
I love the film Fight Club, and I didn’t realise for a while that it was based on a book. I’ve now got the book, but I haven’t got around to reading it. I’m not sure how reading about fighting is going to go – it’s not a genre I’d usually go for, but the film worked brilliantly so I’m sure the book will too.
13. Hannibal Rising – Thomas Harris
The only book out of the Hannibal series I haven’t read, this one covers his childhood. It’s a prequel to the others, and is said to be quite different. But, in his other books, Thomas Harris created one of the creepiest and convincing villains of literature, so it’s got to be worth a read to find out how he got there.
14. Mystic River – Dennis Lehane
Since reading Shutter Island, I’ve been determined to read more of Lehane’s work. This one is about two young boys, one of whom gets abducted. It follows them into adulthood, when one of their daughters is murdered, and the investigation which follows. Dennis Lehane is recognised as one of the greatest modern crime writers, and I’ve heard this is one of his best books.
15. House Rules – Jodi Picoult
I love Jodi Picoult – she’s a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, and I’m sure this book won’t disappoint. This one is about a child with Asperger’s syndrome who is suspected of murder, and I’m sure she’ll handle the topic with the amount of detail and understanding which she does so well.
16. Carrie – Stephen King
This was one of the first horror films I watched as a child, and I loved it. Reading the book is a must this year.
17. Misery – Stephen King
The third in my Stephen King omnibus, I haven’t heard much about Misery but, as it’s written by the King of horror (see what I did there?), I’m sure it’ll be good. It’s about a writer who is kidnapped by his ‘biggest fan’ and forced to write a book with her as the protagonist. Apparently, it even contains a few writing tips too.
18. Inferno – Dan Brown
I was very chuffed with myself to pick a mint hardback copy of this up yesterday in a charity shop for £3.50! Considering that the full RRP is £20, I think I did well. I love Dan Brown and I’ve read all the previous Robert Langdon novels, so I’m looking forward to this.
19. 61 Hours – Lee Child
The Jack Reacher novels are another guilty pleasure of mine; although they can be cheesey at times, they’re always packed with action and suspense. I don’t bother reading them in any particular order as I think they all work well as stand alone novels. So it doesn’t matter that this is not his latest story as I’m sure it’ll be a damn good yarn.
20. Flowers In The Attic – Virginia Andrews
I’m too young to have been around when Flowers In The Attic originally took off, but I kept hearing mentions of it in TV and films, so I thought I’d investigate it. Since buying it, I’ve read a lot of reviews which complain about the amount of sex scenes in it – sex scenes depicting underage incest, something I’m not keen on reading about. I think this put me off – but this year, I suppose I should give it a go.
I don’t know how well I’ll stick to it, but in theory this lot should keep me going for most of the year! What’s your reading plans for 2014? And any recommendations on where I should start are more than welcome.