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My Favourite Books: Part I

Since the end of summer, I haven't honestly read anything which is something I've tried to rectify this week by making sure I read during my commute to work. I travel for around an hour to work and then an hour back each weekday but for some strange reason, I haven't taken this time as an opportunity to get some much-needed reading done. I always feel like I don't get a lot of time to read over the weekend because I catch up on other things like this blog and you know, having a life outside of my job, but I do miss reading an awful lot. So because I haven't read anything in a while, I thought it would be a good idea to actually share some of my all-time favourite books with you guys instead. These are books that I have possibly read numerous times, that gripped me from start to finish, or are just books I would simply recommend. I am going to separate my favourites into a few different posts because I a) don't actually have all of my books in my current flat as many of them are tucked away in a cupboard at my mam's and b) don't want the posts to go on for days. So in no particular order, here are my first 4 picks that I'd highly recommend:

Along Came a Spider by James Patterson
First up is the first of two books that I absolutely love by the author James Patterson. If you've ever ventured into any sort of book store you will have no doubt seen an extensive range of books from Patterson because that guy has released a lot of stuff, but Along Came a Spider is a favourite for me. It is the first novel which follows an African-American forensic psychologist/homicide investigator, Alex Cross, through your typical intense, crazy, unrealistic stereotypical crime thriller drama. However this story isn't so unrealistic. If you're remotely into anything like Silence of the Lambs or anything to do with serial killers - you will love this series because it is a generally realistic and truthful fiction story that uses a lot of inspiration from real life cases. I say this every time I do a book post, but I will say it again and I will not spoil the story for you, but this story follows Alex Cross in the investigations of some murders ranging from black prostitutes to private school teachers and then to a child kidnapping and an egotistical individual is linked to it all.

Kiss the Girls by James Patterson
The second instalment in the Alex Cross stories is called Kiss the Girls and I like this one almost more than the first, Along Came a Spider. The writing style of both of these books is fast-pace and energetic so you can read through them in no time at all. The writing style is easy to follow despite using "police" language at times and it creates a sense of suspense just when and where it is needed. Kiss the Girls has a slightly different crime thriller plot to Along Came a Spider as this time the story travels down more of the female prisoner/victim of serial killers/criminals side of things and Cross has more a romantic interest mentioned throughout. I have only read this book once but I can clearly remember significant details of certain parts of the story, certain lines, certain characters and their actions etc. and for me that shows just how much of an impact that story had on me as a reader. It is worth quickly mentioning here that both Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls were both made into film adaptations with Morgan Freeman playing Alex Cross and whilst that casting decision is possibly the most accurate one to ever have been made ever (if you have read or read these books in the future you will no doubt instantly read the narrative in Morgan Freeman's voice. I don't know how or why but it will happen), the films do not do the books justice. They're really bad 90s adaptations that miss out vital parts of the stories and yeah, I'd recommend avoiding them all together!

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Now my next favourite has been made into a movie that is 110% worth watching, but let me prattle on about the novel itself first. The Road is a post-apocalyptic story of the journey of a father and son across barren land who are some of the last few survivors after an incident that killed the majority of life on earth. I really enjoy post-apocalyptic crisis stories so this one was an instant winner with me. Cormac McCarthy has become one of my favourite authors over the years but I would say this is my firm favourite book of his because it's a little bit different to his usual grizzly cowboy-esque tales. As you can imagine from the setting of the story, this novel is bleak from start to finish. It is gritty, sometimes uncomfortable to read, and it just generally will tug on your emotions for a multitude of reasons. But that is exactly why I like it. It's a story I've read a couple of times now and I know I will re-read again and again in the future. It is a story that definitely stays with you because you feel so emotional reading it but also because it has the power to shock you yet leave you wanting more rather than rejecting it in disgust. As I mentioned earlier it has been adapted into a film and the film is *excellent* and very true to the book so I would recommend it however, if you are interested in the story and you are familiar with the movie or even if you're not, the book is 10x more hard-hitting and gritty than the film so be warned.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
You might notice a theme here with what kind of books I like to read, but it wouldn't feel right if I didn't give this book a mention. Stieg Larsson's Millennium series is one of my most favourite book series ever but the first book in particular is my favourite for many many reasons. The Millennium series is a psychological thriller trilogy which focuses on two very different yet very similar main characters - Mikael Blomkvist (a journalist and publisher of a political magazine, Millennium) and Lisbeth Salander (a troubled individual who is a researcher/computer hacker). The story essentially follows both of their personal lives until they inevitably meet each other in the most unpredictable way. Again, this series has been made into a very popular Swedish film trilogy and this first book in particular was also re-adapted into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Daniel Craig and my bae, Rooney Mara. I like both film adaptations and I think they stay very true to the original story so if films are more your thing, definitely check both of them out. This book is worth reading though especially if you like those gritty, ugly stories I seem to. The original Swedish title of this book translated to English as "Men Who Hate Women" and I think that title suits this story so much more. Whilst it is without a doubt a thriller novel in every sense of the genre, it also confidently tackles the injustice of some legal systems, sexual exploitation, rape, and politics of money, journalism and personal privacy in such clever ways and I can't recommend it enough if you haven't picked it up already.

And there you have it! This first instalment of My Favourite Books series portrays my more sinister interests which should probably be a cause for concern, but I do love a good book that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I will do more posts talking in detail about more fiction and some factual reads too so if you're a fan of a good book, keep your eyes peeled for more.

- A.
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