If you have read any of my posts in the last couple of months, or seen any of my tweets about it, you will know that my TBR pile of books (which sits on a side cupboard thingy) is actually a tower so high I can’t reach the top. I stacked them all on the floor the other night to see how high it was and it reaches my chin. Obviously I should not be allowed near any book stores for a year or so. Anyway, amongst all of these books are a select few that I’m a bit more excited to read than all the others, so I thought I’d share them with you all. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something new to read from my list. I was going to do a top 10 thing, but I really can’t rank these, and there were only 7 books I was really excited about. So in no particular order, here are 7 books from my TBR tower that I’m really excited to read.
Child 44 (plus sequels) by Tom Rob Smith. The only reason I heard of this book is because there’s a film adaptation being released this year starring Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman (who teamed up in one of my most favourite films, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), and I thought I’d read the book before watching the film. Set in Stalin-era Soviet Union, Child 44 follows a Russian secret policeman investigating a serial killer, who can continue to keep on killing because “the Soviet system cannot admit to having such capitalist social problems as murder or prostitution” (The Guardian, 2008). Yes it sounds gruesome and dark, but also an amazing premise – a crime that can’t be committed if the act is not classified as a crime.
Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain. I was lucky enough to win tickets to see a pre-screening of the film adaptation of this memoir, which details the life of Vera Brittain during WWI, and shows the profound loss experienced by so many during the course of the war. The film was amazing, but it left me feeling really empty (you should still watch it though if you like WWI flicks). Despite this emptiness, I made a beeline to the bookstore the next day to pick up a copy of the book and I will be purchasing a fresh box of tissues before I read, as I will no doubt need them.
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. The winner of last years Man Booker Prize, I’ve seen mixed reviews on this one – some have said it’s brilliant, and others have said that they didn’t enjoy the vivid description of the hardships suffered by the POW’s working on the Burma railway during WWII. I don’t really have an issue reading about war atrocities – I don’t enjoy it by any means, but I can recognise that these things happened and if an author is aiming to provide a true account of events, sometimes you need to make people squeamish.
The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig by Stefan Zweig (obviously). ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ was probably my favourite film from last year. It wasn’t just because of the Wes Anderson whimsy or the brilliance of Ralph Fiennes, both of which are obviously crucial to the film. It was the story itself I fell in love with, and the characters who made their way through it. When I discovered it was based on the writing of Stefan Zweig, I immediately began trawling the interwebs for his books, and I found this collection of his short stories! While I know the screenplay from the film is probably somewhat different to Zweig’s work, I’m still ridiculously excited to read this book.
Gallipoli by Peter FitzSimons. Written by my favourite Aussie author, Gallipoli is an in depth look not just at the disaster that was the Gallipoli landing in WWI, but also what life was like in the trenches for the Australian and New Zealand soldiers, the majority of whom were not professional soldiers but were regular men who wanted to fight for their country and their mates. With the upcoming ANZAC Day marking 100 years since the Gallipoli landing, books like this one have never been more important in ensuring that the ANZAC legacy stays alive.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. This book was the basis for the Angeline Jolie directed film by the same name, and tells the incredible story of WWII hero Louis Zamperini – a former Olympic athlete who survived a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean, drifted in a raft for 47 days, and was then held for two and a half years as a prisoner in a Japanese POW camp. If you haven’t watched the film, I highly recommend it (but take tissues).
The Invisible History of the Human Race by Christine Kenneally. I can’t really describe this book very well, so here’s the Amazon blurb: “While some books explore our genetic inheritance and some popular television shows celebrate ancestry, this is the first book to explore how everything from DNA to emotions to names and the stories that form our lives are all part of our human legacy. Kenneally shows how trust is inherited in Africa, how silence is passed down in Tasmania, and how the history of nations is written in our DNA. From fateful ancient encounters to modern mass migrations and medical diagnoses, Kenneally explains how the forces that shaped the history of the world ultimately shape each human who inhabits it.” Pretty cool in my opinion.
How about you? Do you have any books you’re particularly excited to read?