You’d probably expect a literature student to constantly have their head buried in a book. You expect them to be a complete and utter bookworm, practically eating the neated pressed piles of paper like tictacs. But, not me. To my eternal irritation, I’m actually quite a slow reader. I usually need a bit of a nudge to get into a good book. But when I do find something I love reading, I can have it finished within the day.
One of my mini resolutions for 2016 is to actively make attempts to read more, and little reading challenges like this are the perfect way to push myself into exploring a wider variety of literature. So, if you’re like me and need a little nudge to pick up a page-turner, have a gander at the top 5 books you should be reading in 2016 to make you a more active and varsatile reader:
Read a banned book
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange was banned by several schools, libraries and booksellers across America and further afield following its release because of the text’s ‘objectionable language’ and controversial subject matter – that almost guarentees it must be a good book, right?
Burgess’ 1962 dystopian novel follows Alex and his ‘droogs’ in an alternative future where the youth have formed their own extremely violent and merciless subculture called ‘ultraviolence’. Teenage Alex and his gang seem untouchable as they kick, punch and rape their way through countless vulnerable and innocent victims, until Alex is caught for his crimes and imprisoned. In order to be released early from jail, Alex volunteers to be a part of the controversial Ludovico Technique which aims to rehabilitate convicts through aversion therapy by giving participants vomit-inducing injections as they are forced to watch violent scenes in an eerie cinema.
Mixed with Russian Nadsat dialect, Burgess’ intelligent, gritty and surreal novel is a must read for the banned books section of your bookcase.
Read a book published this year
The Winds of Winter (A Song of Ice and Fire Series) – George R.R. Martin
R.R. Martin’s eagerly anticipated The Winds of Winter has been keeping Thrones fans waiting for months on end. But, hopefully, we’ll finally see its long awaited release in 2016. Following A Dance with Dragons, the sixth installment in R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series is promised to resolve several cliffhangers left from the previous book with at least ‘one planned large battle’ to take place very early on.
R.R. Martin has also hinted that some of the plotlines from the forthcoming novel will play out in season 6 of the adapted TV series Game of Thrones. (So, does that mean the book will be released after the next HBO season in April? Stop torturing us, George!)
Read a graphic novel
Habibi by Craig Thompson
This 672-page long book is an Islamic fairy tale graphic novel depicting the relationship between Dodola and Zam, two escaped child slaves. This love story and parable of humanity’s relationship with the natural world explores the cultural divide between classes as well as the first and third worlds, and the history of religion with focus on Islam and Christianity.
If you’re looking to read something different from what you usually read in terms of genre and form, and something that you will learn from as well as enjoy reading, Habibi is the one for you.
Read a funny book
Scotland’s Jesus by Frankie Boyle
As arguably the most controversial, most hated/loved comedian of our time, Frankie Boyle has also proved in recent years that he is a dab hand at writing, too.
With Boyle’s acid-tongue, pessimistic sense of humour coupled with his hyper intelligence of politics and current affairs, ‘Scotland’s Jesus’ is a hysterical and paradoxically bleak outlook on the state of the world today, including chapters ranging from international politics to the animal world.
Read a scary book
The Shining by Stephen King
King’s horror masterpiece The Shining centres around Jack Torrance, an increasingly unpredictable and dangerous alcoholic/struggling writer, his wife Wendy and their son Danny, who possesses telepathic abilities and is able to read minds and experience premonitions of the future as well as the ghostly past.
In an attempt to start over after Jack’s latest violence outburst, the family move in for the winter at The Stanley Hotel where Jack takes on the job of off-season caretaker. But Danny, and later the rest of his family, realise that the hotel has a terrifying and sinister presence of its own as the ‘shining’ shows Danny horrific visions of the terrible events that have taken place in the hotel.
Stephen King, cabin fever, telepathy, a violence alcoholic, and ghosts – what more could you want in a horror novel?
What books will you be reading in 2016? Let me know in the comment section below.