Emma and I absolutely love reading, and whenever we have some spare time you can usually find us engrossed in fiction. It happens in phases, but once we start we tend not to stop. Which means there are a lot of books we actually don’t manage to put down, so it was incredibly difficult to narrow this list down to just seven.
- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
All of Steig Larsson’s books in this series are almost impossible to stop reading (and indeed the ones that follow), but none quite match the intensity of the first. Every time the storyline for one of the characters hooked you, Larsson would end the chapter and start talking about the next. It was a skill done many times before and since, but few have done it more successfully.
- Gone Girl
The novel with the misleading blurb (at least on our version – go check yours), Gone Girl has you questioning every second of the novel. And then it’s followed by an incredible reveal, but even after that the story is compelling and full of questions. One thing I’ll say about Gone Girl is don’t watch the film before you read the novel; it’s a fairly poor adaption.
- The Girl on the Train
The final in my very own “Girl” trilogy is another one with a fairly poor film adaption. I think both Emma and I had read Train from start to finish within twenty-four hours, and both felt kind of lost without it for a few days afterwards. Honestly, a stunning novel.
- The Hunger Games
The first one, not the following two. I remember reading THG for the first time. It was the start of the 2012 Olympics and we were going to see one of the football matches at Old Trafford. I was ill, and had a day to kill before the evening football match. I had read one chapter the night before, I had finished the book before teatime the next day. Dead excited for the second and third books, they were slightly disappointing (whereas the film series went completely the other way).
- Chaos Walking
I tried to select just one of Patrick Ness’ trilogy for “young adults” but I couldn’t, all three are equally compelling and always surprising. Emma recommended I read this about a year ago and I was sceptical at first, believing I’d be too old for it. I wasn’t. To get me more excited about this, they’ve announced a long-awaited film series, starring Spider-man and Rey as the main leads. Yeah, that couldn’t be any better!
Neil Gaiman is my favourite author of all time, no ifs no buts. I could have made this list completely about him, but I resisted and narrowed it down to one book. It came down to American Gods or Neverwhere and I’ve gone for the latter due to the fact it hooks you from the start. Neverwhere is also the only book on this list that was originally screenplay. Beginning life as a TV series, Gaiman wrote a novel during the transmission and then adapted it for a US audience. All adaptions are fantastic (for its time – 96 TV is very different to 17 TV).
- Jurassic Park
Perhaps more famous for the film series, but the books match the quality (if not improve upon them). Michael Crichton’s two books are of the absolute highest quality and are easy to read – even with the dino names taking pride and place. The one disappointment from the whole series is that the second book (The Lost World) was almost completely ignored when filming the series. The plot in that book is better than anything Spielberg came up with on Isla Sorna.