At the beginning of this campaign I decided to run a survey, asking you all about the last truly great book you read. The aim of this was to demonstrate that there are so many books and genres out there, and that there is literally something for everyone, with any kind of taste – whether you’re into fantasy, romance, magic, psychology, scouting, there is always something to suit you.
A secondary aim of this was to remind the respondents why they loved these books and to hopefully inspire them to either read them again, or to go in search of similar material to experience the same sensations they’d felt whilst reading their recommended book.
To encourage those of us who do not read regularly to take up the activity on a regular basis, we need to demonstrate that it’s going to be enjoyable for them, no matter what their interests.
Here are 5 of my favourite responses from the survey:
Imajica – Clive Barker
Dark Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction
“Well, I can’t tell you why it “was” but I can tell you why it “is”! I am still in the process of slowly digesting Imajica by Clive Barker, it’s a hefty, 1000-and-something page novel that takes you on an epic adventure through other “Dominions” attached to our own here on Earth. I’ve read other novels by Barker (he is one of my favourite authors) and none truly capture his particular brand of erotic-horror/fantasy better than this one. I say erotic-horror, because desire and fear are so intrinsically linked within his stories, and they all focus on the very material, physical connection we have with our flesh and our bodies. In “Imajica”, Barker creates worlds that the characters travel through, and by travelling discover more of themselves and their past. It touches on some theories of re-incarnation, past-lives and memory and the monsters they find really speak to your subconscious fears in a unique, spine-tingling way. I don’t know if this book has changed me yet, but it has truly submerged me in it’s weird and wonderful world!”
Recommended by Ivana
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
Contemporary, Mystery, Literary Fiction, Classics
“The book was well-written (the language was literary and beautiful), the characters and plot were engaging, the setting was appealing and the narrative structure was interesting. It was a well-crafted and well-written book (that’s a bit of a rarity these days, I’d say). I am confident I will re-read it: because it does not rely exclusively on the plot, there are many technical and creative elements to the text making it as exciting to re-read as it was to read the first time. It gave me plenty to think about, but because of subject matter and execution. I have recommended it to friends with a similar literary taste, and they have also enjoyed it (read slowly because they didn’t want it to end). I couldn’t pick up another book for a few days afterwards because it gave me so much to think about, and upon emerging from the book hangover, I immediately sought out more books by the same author.
Not sure if this is relevant, but I read the book on my Kindle because I was traveling at the time, so luggage restrictions. The physical copy has a nice feel to it, however (I like how floppy the paperback edition is), and I will be purchasing it in the future to add to my library.”
Recommended by Veronika
Delirium – Lauren Oliver
Young Adult, Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
“Oliver used brilliant techniques to draw me in to her book and not want to put it down, even in the “filler” chapters. The book is based around a girl named Lena who conforms to the norms of society without question, until she meets the love interest of the book who turns her world absolutely upside down. Oliver manages to capture the feeling of first love, whilst at the same time creating action and rebellion to keep Lena’s story going.”
Recommended by Emily
The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
Fiction, animals, contemporary
“The whole story was from a dog’s point of view based on the latest canine neurophysiology/behavioural psychology. It helped me appreciate the symbiotic relationship man has with dogs. The subtext involves formula one car racing, which I used to loathe before I read this book, but here it forms a powerful metaphor for life’s challenges. The narrative voice presented authentically and overall was an entertaining enjoyable read that resonated long after completing it.”
Recommended by Vesna
My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
Fiction, Drama, Family, Chick Lit
“Read this when I was 16 and still one of my all-time favourites. Very few books (and even movies) bring me to tears, and this writer has a way to drawing out those emotions in you. The book also faces some really tough moral issues that leaves the reader empathetic towards all the characters because you have no idea which character is the one to root for. Great book especially for siblings (and especially sisters) who literally survive off of each other and deal with the same family.”
Recommended by Veronica
There were so many more responses, each of them inspiring. Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey, and for sharing your love of the written word!
Have you read any of these books? Or do you have some great book recommendations of your own? Comment below and let us know! Our survey is still open, feel free to take it by clicking the link on this blog’s Submissions page 🙂