Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke And The Bookish. I haven’t participated in these before, but today’s one looked quite fun so I figured why not.
At first I thought that the top ten books I recommend the most would be synonymous with my top ten books of all time, but it’s occurred to me this might not be the case – there are some books I would recommend even when they’re not among my favourites (just because it doesn’t suit me, doesn’t mean others won’t like it – that kind of thing). So without further ado…
The Top Ten Books I Recommend The Most
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller: Although I know I said this list was not necessarily synonymous with my favourite books, the top place is the same in both lists. I have encouraged many to read this book over the years, and I myself read it on a recommendation (it was a gift from a friend for whom this is also a favourite book). Clever, funny, witty, tragic, and the origin of the phrase and concept of a catch-22 – what more do I need to say about this anti-war masterpiece?
- Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières: Another book set in war time, this is the most famous of all the books by this author, and for good reason. Set on a Greek Island occupied by the Italians in WWII, it is a blend of romance story and a story of survival through the horrors and atrocities of war, all told with the beautiful writing style for which Louis de Bernières is known. Don’t be put off by the rubbish movie adaptation – this book is an absolute gem, and a must-read as far as I’m concerned.
- Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks: This is the book that caused my obsession with neurology based books and my increasing fascination with the human brain. It is a collection of case studies looking at people with various neurological disorders and how music affects them in different ways – the subtitle of the books is “Tales of Music and the Brain”, which captures it perfectly. You don’t need to be a doctor to understand it, and Sacks writes so compassionately it’s impossible not to be drawn in. I love recommending this book (and author) to people!
- An Utterly Impartial History of Britain, or 2000 years of Upper Class Idiots In Charge by John O’Farrell: The title suggests the somewhat comedic tone of this clever little history book, but truth be told this book is more than just a bit funny – it’s really quite hilarious. Covering British history up until the end of WWII (he wrote a second book on post-war Britain), this book is entertaining no matter how much or little of the content you already know. If only all history books read like this.
- Making History by Stephen Fry: While we’re on the subject of history, this is the best of Fry’s four fictional works he has penned. In it, the main character manages to prevent Hitler ever being born, which instead of improving the world in fact has disastrous and completely unexpected effects. A very clever speculative work, with the usual wit and verbosity one would expect from Fry. I recommend this one regularly, as not many people seem to know he has even written novels.
- Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams: The reason I am mentioning this book and not his considerably more famous Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series is because most people have already heard of the latter and formed opinions about it regardless of whether they’ve read it, but again not many have heard of his Dirk Gently books. They are quite different, although still very funny and very bizarre, and I think they show a very different side to Adams’ imagination.
- The Fault In Our Stars by John Green: Ever since I read this last year, I’ve been recommending it to anybody who will listen. It takes a lot of talent to write about a topic as sensitive as cancer, and write about it so realistically and with such good humour, but John Green almost makes it look easy. An absolutely brilliant book that I honestly have not heard one bad word about yet.
- The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: This author has become the modern day master of gothic stories, with this book being the first in a series of novels set in Barcelona, and all linked through the Cemetery Of Forgotten Books – a place that appeals to the book lover in all of us. What is great about this book is the clear love of storytelling that is established, and it is this (as well as the awesome writing) that makes me recommend it regularly.
- The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: I’m a bit picky when it comes to Fantasy. I won’t just read any old novel from this genre, and I feel like most of the books that belong to it are all just copying each other. But this particular book stands out for me as something entirely original and unique, thanks to the genius of Rothfuss and his research and experience into so much that has gone into this story. I recommend this to everybody all the time, but especially lovers of the genre – this is one of the best I’ve ever read.
- Anything by P. G. Wodehouse: No, I don’t mean a book called Anything. It’s just that Wodehouse wrote close to a hundred books, and they’re all pretty brilliant, to be honest. So I tend to recommend the author to a lot of people, with a general push towards beginning with the Jeeves and Wooster novels before branching out. The few that have tried Wodehouse on my recommendation have enjoyed it, so maybe you will too?
Well, that’s it. Some of these surprised me, actually, but there you go.
What books do you find you recommend the most? Are they among your favourites? Why do you recommend them?