When was the last time you read a book that wasn’t required reading for some form of class? If you’re like most of us here at BULLSH!T, and have a stack of books sitting on your bedside table that you’ve bought but haven’t had the time to read, summer can be the perfect time to get back into it. If, however, you have no idea what sort of great reads are out there, we can help you there.
This one is definitely one of the better pieces of literature to emerge this side of the 21st century. The writing is so artfully scripted it can only be described as hauntingly beautiful. Set in Germany during WWII, this book is written from the perspective of death. The story follows Leisel, a young German girl, meaning that this book takes a unique perspective upon the war. More than once during this book you will stop, retread a sentence and feel your mind implode as this book places simple perspective upon universal truths you always pondered. The film is just about to be released and it looks equally amazing. Warning, this book will find even the stoic with wet eyes.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion Genre: Romance/Humour
Best read…on a sunny afternoon in your backyard or a park.
The Rosie Project follows the story of Don Tillman, a genetics professor living in Melbourne, who is more than a little eccentric. Don’s love life is generally disastrous as he finds both women and dating strange and difficult. His solution, therefore, to his singleness predicament is to employ a scientific approach to finding his perfect partner. The Rosie Project will make you laugh out loud, is full of endearing characters, and a really interesting concept for a book. Graeme Simsion captures Don’s voice convincingly, and remains consistent throughout the book. If this story doesn’t warm your heart by the end of it, then you are clearly made out of stone or something.
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Genre: Literary fiction
Best read…on a train heading somewhere far away.
Haruki Murakami is basically the king of Japanese literature. If you haven’t read anything by him yet, this book should be your starting point. Set in Tokyo in the late 1960’s, Norwegian Wood is a coming-of-age story about friendship, love and loss. Characters dip in and out of protagonist Toru Watanabe’s life as he drifts through life, trying to understand his past and his future, and the relationships he has with different people. Murakami employs a poetic and evocative writing style, conjuring a real sense of nostalgia. His descriptions are artfully crafted, creating beautiful imagery and sense of place, even if you have never been to Japan before. The scattering of music references from the time will make you want to start collecting vinyl records, or at least make you want to put The Beatles on in the background.
Winner of the 2005 Man Booker Prize, The Sea is both beautiful and somewhat disturbing—from the offset you can tell that the book is slowly building to something big. The story revolves around main character Max Morden, who has decided to go back to the sea side where he spent his summers growing up, close to his childhood home, in order to come to terms with the people he has lost in his life— specifically his wife. As the story unfolds however, we become aware of something far more complex and sinister lurking in Max’s past. The Sea is elegantly written, and has a reflective style that captures the exact kind of nostalgia one gets when looking back on their childhood.
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Best read…when you’ve got lots of time to finish it. Very addictive
This book is one of the most visual books I’ve ever read. While you’re reading this book, you are transported into a new universe of mystery, and you can’t help but read on. It combines zombie/vampire apocalypse, dystopic worlds and the conventions of sci-fi, horror and fantasy and it does it seamlessly. It’s hard to describe because the book itself is a web of characters and plot developments, all centred around Amy Bellefonte, the girl who can live forever.
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Genre: Young adult/Romance
Best read…when the travel-bug hits you and you’re too broke to go anywhere.
This book follows the adventures of two teenagers, going cross country when Amy’s mum asks her to transport her car to Connecticut from Amy’s home in California, bringing Roger, a family friend, along with her as he also needs to go to the East Coast. When Amy’s mum plans a boring 5-day trip, Amy and Roger decide to take a detour since they have places to visit that aren’t on the planned route. A perfect summer novel, this involves romance, a bit of heartbreak and a lot of visits to fast food restaurants as well as meeting new friends on the road.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Young adult/Romance
Best read…Whenever. This book is perfect for any occasion.
In this book, protagonist Anna’s dad ships her to Paris to spend her senior year of high school in France. Initially ungrateful, Anna soon starts enjoying her new life in Paris and becomes close with St Clair, a boy who’s spent most of his life shipped between Paris and San Francisco. Almost a tourist guide to Paris, Anna goes all over the city with her new friends and discovers how cool it really is to spend a year abroad. Romantic and adorable to the extreme, this book made me smile and laugh and it remains one of my favourites.
Whilst this book is not for the faint hearted, there is no doubt as to why it is one of the most famous novels of the 20th century. The concept of “Big Brother” was born from the book itself. The story is set in 1984, in an alternate reality where the world is separated into three regions, each constantly at war with the other two regions. The government of each region controls every aspect of life, including a ministry for love and a ministry for sex. The thought police are a government body aimed at controlling the minds of citizens and helping to manipulate records of the last to effectively change people’s perception of the present. A surprising twist at the end will have you rereading chapters and starting to think deeply about the importance of literature, the government and the malleability of human thought.