Throwback Thursday this week unveils the Top 5 of my 5-star reads so far for 2014 and showcases two of my favorite books of all time (the “throwbacks” for this Thursday-see what I did there?!!).
#5 The Martian by Andy Weir
I love science fiction but there is a reason I didn’t rush right out to see Gravity when it hit theaters: this book. No way could that movie be a better story than The Martian.
Mark Watney is an astronaut, one of the first to ever walk on Mars. Then a freak dust storm rips his suit and hurls him into a nightmare. Sure that he is dead and his body unrecoverable, his crew abandons the mission and leaves him behind to return to Earth. In the meantime, Mark is alive! Now he is stranded on Mars with no way to communicate with Earth; but no matter because his food will run out before any kind of rescue mission could save him.
This is where the book turns into a nail biting, race against the odds to save Mark and bring him home. Remember the TV show MacGyver? Mark Watney could give him a run for his money for sheer ingenuity and using whatever he can find to cobble together some of the nuttiest things that may actually work to get him off that red rock. The cast of characters is slim so we can focus on Mark but they are all excellently written. There are also a few info dumps and some mathy/sciency places that I couldn’t follow but no worries, this book is so good it should be, WILL be the next Hollywood blockbuster.
#4 Help for the Haunted by John Searles
I just reviewed this book on July 28th. So scary-but it was all in my mind! Searles takes familiar paranormal props like dolls and lets the readers imagination paint itself a spooky picture that is far scarier than if he had written ‘BOO, scary doll’ on the page!
#3 Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Verity is my #1 favorite book I have read for the first time this year. Wein gives us a story ripped from the past. 1943, a British spy parachutes into France and is captured by the Gestapo. The pilot crashes and the twist is they are women and best friends. So many twists & turns as the story shifts from the perspective of the spy to the pilot. The spy is tortured (graphically at times) and forced to give up military secrets. The pilot is trying to get out of France alive and get back to England, and saving the spy if she can. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried in a few places. This is a fiction book but I honestly believed every word of it actually happened. Wein is one of my new favorite authors and has another book out similar to this one called Rose Under Fire that tells a similar story about a captured American in a Nazi concentration camp. Heavy subject matter in both books but Wein writes the tightrope between good & evil very well. Highly recommended!!
#2 Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
I re-read Lonesome Dove every two or three years. There is a movie, haven’t watched it. The book is enough. It is a very simple story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. They don’t give Pulitzer Prizes for ‘simple’ so when you open this book you will get more than you bargained for. There are relationships, death, love, larger than life characters, heroes, and flawed people doing the best they can. If it was just the story of a cattle drive it’s a good book-Lonesome Dove is a GREAT book.
#1 To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
If Lonesome Dove is a GREAT book-Mockingbird is more greater! Another Pulitzer winner, it is on the surface a simple book, but deep down it is so complex I will take me a hundred readings to even have a small hint of all the nuances & bits that make up the story. Scout, Jem & Dil along with Atticus & Boo Radley are the most perfectly drawn characters I’ve ever read. No need for ten paragraphs, with just a sentence or two, Harper Lee conveys all we need to know about these folks. This book is so good and touched me so deeply, I can’t even write a coherent reason for you to read it. It is the first and only book I have ever, and I mean EVER, read for the first time and immediately turned back to page one and started all over again. There is just something about it that, I don’t know, just let me say this: trust me, go get a copy and read it.
So there we have it-the Top 5 of my 5-star reads so far for 2014. It’s only July so we shall see in December if there are any changes in the lineup! I’m working on a list of my 2-star reads just to give some perspective; that will be on the blog next week. Tomorrow is Friday Funday-stop back for some ideas for fun books to read over the weekend!!