When it comes to making reading lists, I tend to get over zealous and maybe a little unrealistic, adding book after book until the list becomes endless – I’m sure that many of you bookworms out there are just the same! That’s why I’ve decided to take a new approach. I’ve picked the five books that I most want to read from my extensive list and given myself until the end of the year to read them all. Here’s my Autumn/Winter reading list:
- THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini
“Afghanistan, 1975: Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.”
This book is loosely based on the childhood of the author; I adore books that let you delve right into another culture and time period, as if you’re seeing the story directly through the characters’ eyes. Often described as ‘heartbreaking’ and ‘devastating’, I imagine that this one is going to be a bit of a tear-jerker.
- THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME by Mark Haddon
“The Curious Incident of the Dog int the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger’s syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.
I have heard so many great things about this book and have been meaning to read it for a very long time. Mark Haddon claims to have done very little research into autism and Asperger’s syndrome before writing his book, so I’m intrigued to know how he has depicted Christopher’s character.
- EMMA by Jane Austen
“‘Emma Woodhouse, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition’ thinks a little too highly of herself, and entertains herself by meddling in the affairs of others. The results are not always to her liking.”
I cannot get enough of Austen’s sharp wit and irony, and there’s said to be plenty of that in ‘Emma’. I’m really looking forward to reading this one, especially as Clueless is one of my favourite chick-flicks.
- SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET by Heinrich Harrer
“Heinrich Harrer, already a famous mountaineer and Olympic ski champion, was caught by the outbreak of the Second World War while climbing in the Himalayas. Being an Austrian, he was interned by India. By an almost super-human effort, and on his third attempt, he succeeded in escaping into Tibet. After a series of remarkable experiences in a country never before crossed by a Westerner, he reached the forbidden city of Lhasa. He stayed there for seven years, learned the language and acquired a greater understanding of Tibet and Tibetans than a Westerner had ever before achieved. He became friend and tutor to the young Dalai Lama and finally accompanied him into India when he was put to flight by the Red Chines invasion.”
I don’t often read non-fiction (I’m not that sure why!) but this tale caught my attention. Having your world completely turned upside down like that is definitely something worth writing about. What’s more, I’ve always found the Tibetan culture very interesting and would love to visit Tibet some day.
- THE WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLE by Haruki Murakami
“Toru Okada’s cat has disappeared. His wife is growing more distant every day. Then there are the increasingly explicit telephone calls he has recently been receiving. As this compelling story unfolds, the tidy suburban realities of Okada’s vague and blameless life, spent cooking, reading, listening to jazz and opera and drinking beer at the kitchen table, are turned inside out, and he embarks on a bizarre journey, guided (however obscurely) by a succession of characters, each with a tale to tell.”
I was made a Murakami fan after reading Kafka on the Shore (I would highly recommend you read this book!) and South of the Border, West of the Sun. His work is full of metaphors and strange goings-on that leave your mind reeling days after you’ve finished the book.
Have you read any of these books? What’s on your reading list?