Half a year has already gone by, so it’s time for a top 5 of my favourite reads of 2018 so far. As you can see in the photo above, it’s a very varied stack of books!
5. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic. In Anthony Burgess’s nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends’ social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. And when the state undertakes to reform Alex to “redeem” him, the novel asks, “At what cost?”
When I started ACO I was a little afraid that the slang used in the book would keep me from getting through it and liking it. Luckily, it only added to the reading experience and this now definitely is a new favourite modern classic of mine!
4. The Eight Mountains by Paolo Cognetti
The international sensation about the friendship between two young Italian boys from different backgrounds and how their incredibly strong connection evolves, changes, and challenges them throughout their lives.
Pietro is a lonely boy living in Milan. With his parents becoming more distant each day, the only thing the family shares is their love for the Dolomites, the mountains that hug the northeastern border of Italy.
While on vacation at the foot of the mountains, Pietro meets Bruno, an adventurous, spirited local boy. Together they spend many summers exploring the mountain’s meadows and peaks and discover the similarities and differences in their lives, their backgrounds, and their futures. The two boys come to find the true meaning of friendship and camaraderie, even as their divergent paths in life— Bruno’s in the mountains, Pietro’s in cosmopolitan cities across the world—test the strength and meaning of their connection.
A modern Italian masterpiece, The Eight Mountains is a lyrical coming-of-age story about the power of male friendships and the enduring bond between fathers and sons.
I recently read this book and just fell in love with the way Cognetti described the Italian mountains.
My review on The Eight Mountains will be up tomorrow!
3. Out of Mind (Hersenschimmen) by J. Bernlef
This intimate and affecting story of the dramatic decline suffered by an elderly man afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease draws its strength from the first-person narrative voice of the man himself. Initially lucid, if fatigued, 71-year-old Maarten Klein lives with his wife Vera in Gloucester, Mass. Dutch-born, they endured with difficulty the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands before emigrating to the U.S., where Maarten worked as a secretary for the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization. While Maarten has long considered himself a socially “marginal figure,” in other respects the Kleins’ lives are unremarkable but for his intensity of perception, sustained in sharply convincing fragments even as his faculties disintegrate. “I seem to lose words like another person loses blood,” he observes helplessly, and resolves to “invent a life for myself from minute to minute,” but ultimately becomes the sole and poignant “survivor of my own language.”
This book made me feel all the feels, which definitely is a good thing. I’m happy I finally sat down and read it!
2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
This book has been on my “to-donate” shelf on Goodreads for a little while, but I’m so glad I chose to read it anyways! I love the magical worlds Maas builds and I’m really looking forward to reading the other books in this series!
1. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.
In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.
Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with two new, unusual allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.
Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.
The King still has it! I absolutely loved reading Mr. Mercedes and it had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I also found a new favourite villain in Brady Hartsfield – he’s just plain nuts!