Dominic Beesley picks some right good reads to try this year
Time Out Dubai staff
Five literary sequels Doctor Sleep by Stephen King 36 years in the making, this is Stephen King’s sequel to one of his most famous novels – The Shining. It revisits The Shining’s main character, Danny Torrance, now in his forties, as he battles psychic vampires. There is no way it could be as chilling as the original, could it?
Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett Pratchett’s 40th novel in his bestselling fantasy series. After introducing newspapers and a postal service to Discworld in his previous novels, this book sees the arrival of steam trains. Written in Pratchett’s usual style, and full of dwarves, imps and talking gargoyles it is sure to be a hit with the loyal army of fans.
Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy by Helen Fielding The latest installment of Bridget Jones’s diaries is set years after the last book. Bridget is now in her early fifties and a newly-widowed single mother. Despite that, the humour is still there as Bridget struggles to cope with the many problems of modern-day life. If you laughed/cried/snorted derisively at the other books there is a good chance you will do the same again.
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks After writing a James Bond book five years ago, Sebastian Faulks has written the first authorised sequel to PG Wodehouse’s beloved Jeeves and Wooster books this year. Faulks has described it as an ‘homage’ so expect a good helping of upper class twits, disapproving aunts and a wise butler or two.
Solo by William Boyd William Boyd is yet another author stepping into someone else’s shoes and writing for a beloved character, as he’s written the newest James Bond book. Solo sees Bond in Africa, forced to go on a mission on his own. If you’ve only ever sampled Bond on screen this modern telling cold be just the introduction you need to the sub-genre.
5 funny books The Moaning of Life by Karl Pilkington Karl Pilkington has travelled the world in search of the meaning of life, a journey that’s seen him undergo plastic surgery in LA and deliver a baby in Bali. In this book, he shares his story and complains a lot. Fans of Karl’s podcasts with Ricky Gervais will like this a lot.
Film in Five Seconds by H-57 Film in Five Seconds is a collection of pictures and infographics, each of which tells the story of films as diverse as Titanic and The Lion King in… well, in five seconds. You may have seen similar treatments on an email forward but this classy collection is the best. There’s an even app to download and if you scan the pictures with your phone, you can watch the illustrations come to life.
1,339 QI Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop The latest book from the QI team is full of pointless but quite interesting facts and this time there are even more than ever. Did you know, for example, that a pint of milk can contain milk from more than 1,000 cows? Well, now you do. Want more? Here you go. Women look their oldest at 3.30pm on Wednesdays. Arthur Conan Doyle was one of the judges at the world’s first-ever bodybuilding contest. Agatha Christie was a keen surfer. Want more? Buy the book.
A Very Klingon Christmas by Paul Ruditis The perfect gift for that person in your life who’s a little bit too obsessed with Star Trek. A Very Klingon Christmas tells the story of Christmas through the eyes of the Klingons – those aliens with the big foreheads from several series of the hit sci-fi franchise.
100 Things You Will Never Do by Daniel Smith In this book, Daniel Smith outlines how to attempt things that you’ll never be rich enough to do (buy an island, for example), brave enough to do (base jump from an enormous building), or you’re just incapable of doing (like turn invisible). A different take on the usual ‘things you must do’ series and, probably, more realistic too.
5 Non-Fiction Letters of Note by Shaun Usher Based on the popular blog and Twitter account, Letters of Note is a collection of unusual letters from the great and good that are ‘deserving of a wider audience,’ according to the front cover. There are over one hundred letters, from the likes of Iggy Pop, Leonardo da Vinci, Roald Dahl and Queen Elizabeth II, amongst others. Fascinating reads and an authentic insight into irreverent history.
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield Chris Hadfield became an online sensation earlier this year, thanks to his Twitter account. While tweeting from the International Space Station he recorded a music video and gave us daily insights into life in space. In his memoir, he shares some of his unique experiences of nearly 4,000 hours in space.
One Summer by Bill Bryson Bill Bryson’s latest books tells the story of the American summer of 1927. The busy season saw Al Capone’s power growing, Charles Lindbergh fly across the Atlantic and Babe Ruth break the world record for home runs. In typical Bryson style it is a compelling mix of anecdote and carefully researched fact.
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell Gladwell’s newest book focuses on how underdogs can be so successful. Looking at history, science and psychology, he explains how some of our disadvantages in life can really turn out to be advantages, or vice versa. A must read for anybody on the cusp of success against the odds.
Writing on the Wall by Tom Standage Tom Standage explains how social media, like Twitter and Facebook, isn’t a new thing in his history of the written world. The book describes how people have stayed connected since the days of the Romans. LOL.
5 Young Adult The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon The Bone Season is the first in a seven-book series by an author who’s already being described as the next J.K. Rowling. Set in a future version of London, full of people with psychic abilities it will also appeal to open-minded adults looking for a new epic.
Diamond by Jacqueline Wilson The newest book from former Children’s Laureate Jacqueline Wilson. Set in Victorian London, it tells the story of Diamond, a young girl who, when her father discovers she has a talent for acrobatics, is sold to a travelling circus. Girls of a certain age are very likely to appreciate and approve of the style.
Allegiant by Veronica Roth The final book in Veronica Roth’s dystopian trilogy is set in a world where people are divided into factions based on their personality. The books are being made into films, with the first due out early next year, so you should start reading them now, if you haven’t already, to be ahead of the curve.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green Another wildly popular young adult novel that is being made into a film. The story is from the point of view of Hazel, a teenager who’s suffering from cancer. At a support group, she meets and falls in love with Augustus, a cancer survivor. Expect a few tears going along the way.
Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman Technically, this is aimed at children rather than young adults, but it’s by Neil Gaiman – and everyone loves Neil Gaiman. In this book, a father tells an unbelievable story to his children – involving aliens, pirates, and dinosaurs – to explain why he took so long buying milk at the shop.
5 Books That Will Impress People Who See You Reading Them The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton The Luminaries won the Man Booker prize earlier this year, breaking two records. At 832 pages, it’s the longest book to ever win, and the author is also the youngest person to win, since she’s 28. The novel follows Walter Moody, a man who travels to New Zealand and finds himself involved in a complex mystery.
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, The Lowland tells the story of two brothers living in India and America, and how different their lives become.
S. by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst JJ Abrams, the man behind Lost and Alias, is behind this confusing and high-concept novel. It looks like an old book and tells two stories at the same time – the story printed in the book, and conversation between ‘readers’ that have been scribbled in the margins.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt Donna Tartt’s third novel took more than ten years for her to write, and has already made it on to most critic’s lists of the best books of 2013. Amazon, for example, named it as the book of the year. It deals with a young boy who’s lost his mother, and only has a painting of a goldfinch to remind him of her.
The Circle by Dave Eggers Dave Egger’s latest novel, the Circle, deals with matters of online privacy, and the modern day obsession with social media. When Mae Holland starts working at the Circle, a technology company that’s taking over the internet, and discovers that all is not as it seems.
Great that this sneaked in to number 25, I have an admiration for Eggers, and more for the machine that markets him.
I live here in Abu Dhabi and am, like Eggers, an author in the genre of Techno-thrillers. (A genre that neither Dave nor I realised was a pigeon hole until we were put in it)
My work, "Erasure" and its sequel "Broken" deal with many of the topics that Eggers touches upon.
The problem with both of our books is that the subjects we write about are actually a reality, and our readers are often stuck between reading what is a piece of fiction and applying the contexts and situations to real life.