2019 wasn’t a big year for me reading books. Off the top of my head, I started a few, but only finished one or two. I started two graphic novels, and I’m still currently reading them. I bought a Star Wars book called Thrawn and I’ve been addicted to it ever since. It made me miss books. So, I’ve decided 2020 I will get back into reading, find the time and read some. It got me thinking about when I used to read 15 books a year and which ones I enjoyed. Below, I’ve made a list of some that stood out.
Two books I have read and re-read: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson. Besides being awesome books, when I moved to Brisbane, I didn’t have a job and couldn’t afford new books all the time, so I re-read those. Still favourites.
Two books that I couldn’t actually put down: Tranny by Laura Jane Grace and The Hepatitis Bathtub and other stories by NOFX. Both are from Punk bands I like, so that’s a coincidence. Another notable mention is Bully, by someone I can’t remember and a book about the serial killer BTK. Oh, and The Spooks Apprentice by Joseph Delaney.
Two books that made me for-real cry: The Dirt by Motley Crue. I was on a plane coming back from Christmas break and there is a bit in the book about the singer’s daughter (I won’t spoil it) and I started openly weeping on the plane. I have read that book twice and lent it to many people. The other is The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. I won’t say the part, but it’s near the end and I think it brought a tear to my eye.
Two books that are absolutely flawless and perfect (in my opinion): One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I picked up Cuckoo’s Nest from the Valley markets for $6 and it had the movie cover, which I normally avoid, but that book is perfection. It is flawless in every single way. You hold your breath for something not to be right, like a sentence or the wrong word, but it never happens. I just can’t believe someone can write like that. The other book, The Road, which they made into a film also, which doesn’t give it justice, sent me through more of an emotional trip than any other book has, ever. I picked it up at a second-hand bookstore years and years ago. Cormac McCarthy is one of the reasons I write today.
Two authors I buy no matter what: Besides Cormac McCarthy, I buy Stephen King books when they are released. I haven’t read the last four or five, but I always intend to. I buy them because I used to read them all the time, and because he is the master of horror. The other is Terry Pratchett. Every book Pratchett released I would ask for the hard cover for Christmas. His last book, I got halfway through and stopped. It’s not because it was bad, but because it was his last one and a part of me can’t bring myself to finish it.
Two graphic novels that are my favourites: Blankets by Craig Thompson and Maus by Art Spiegelman. Blankets is about a teenager who goes to church and reads the bible and then finds a girlfriend and wrestles with his emotions versus his doctrine. It’s beautiful and truly magic. Maus is based on Art’s father’s experience in the death camps in WWII and the aftermath of growing old and talking to his son. Jews are portrayed as mice and Nazis as Cats. I can’t recommend these two books enough. You’ll find them on every single list of top 10 graphic novels ever made (ahead of Batman, I might add).
Two books that scared the shit out of me: Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game and The Amityville Horror by Jay Ansen. Netflix made a movie of Gerald’s Game and I was keen to watch it. It carried over several scenes that I didn’t think they would add. I was reading it at night, which is my first mistake, and towards the end of the book when she looks into the rear vision mirror and the guy with long limbs is in the backseat, made me nearly jump out of my skin. I had seen two different films of The Amityville Horror, and knew the story well. Then I found the book at a second-hand bookstore and thought I’d give it a read. When the mum looks out the second storey window and there is a face looking back at her, I was done. Scared the heck out of me.
I had a general rule not to stop reading a book halfway through, but now that time is hard to find to read, if the book isn’t good, I stop. I have many books on my shelf, floor and table, that I want to read, not to mention two graphic novels still to read that I’m looking forward to. And just to finish, two books that I’m looking forward to reading: The Rise of Skywalker Star Wars book adaption. Apparently, it has more in the book than the movie? And it explains more. I’ll grab that when it comes out. Finding Me, by Michelle Knight, one of the kidnap victims that was locked up for like 13 years until her escape. Another honourable mention is Flea’s book Acid for the Children and the next Thrawn book.