GregHorrorShow: The Books Of 2010

I decided to structure things a little differently this year with regards to my end of year round ups.

Games and TV will be getting the full awards treatment but for Books, Films and Music I think an overall list of my favourites would be better suited as, unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to dedicate to them as much as I’d have liked.

So to kick off the awards season here are ten books, in no particular order, I’d recommend that I read this year:

Zombie Survival Guide – Max Brooks

Max Brooks brings us this handbook to help out in the event of a Zombie apocalypse. It’s written as a serious guide, which lends it a surreal but fairly scary feel.

Playing through Dead Nation and watching The Walking Dead have made me glad I own a copy of this… y’know just in case 😉

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Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers is the latest book from New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell here puts forward a compelling argument for children born at the ‘wrong’ time of year being overlooked as less intelligent than their counterparts, when really it’s a lack of maturity that is the problem.

He discusses the knock on effect this can have. Interesting stuff.

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Homicide: A Year On The Streets – David Simon

This is one hell of a book, both in terms of size and tone.

The ficitonalised account of a real life journalist’s year as part of the Baltimore Police Department’s homicide unit. Harrowing and depressing at times – the life of a murder detective has never been so laid bare. One of the best books I’ve ever read. A must read.

FULL REVIEW

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The Strain – Guillermo Del Toro

The book begins with a plane landing at JFK Airport then shutting down completely on the runway and this is a novel that doesn’t let up from the start.

Upon investigation every passenger is dead with no sign of struggle. Creepy much?

The book follows Dr. Eph Goodweather of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) as he tries to work out what the hell is going on.

FULL REVIEW

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Gentlemen Of The Road – Michael Chabon

The story of an African and a German, both Jewish, who are road travelling bandits around the year 950AD stands alone in both tone and good old fashioned story telling.

Gentlemen Of The Road is the kind of book I’d expect my father or grandfather to have read as a child – it’s written in a very traditional style and this certainly lends some character to the proceedings.

FULL REVIEW

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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

Set in Sweden and telling the story of Mikael Blomkvist, a publisher at Millenium magazine, and Lisbeth Salander, a private investigator, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a great piece of storytelling.

The pacing is superb and Stieg Larsson creates some wonderfully believable characters. Not just the main characters either – the entire supporting cast seems to be very well thought out.

There is plenty going on here alongside the good old fashioned murder mystery. Once this book got going I could not put it down.

FULL REVIEW

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Gone Tomorrow – Lee Child

Lee Child’s writing style is wonderfully laid back and easy to read – I always find his books a great experience and ‘Gone Tomorrow’ is no different.

Telling the story of Reacher’s direct involvement in a political/government plot, ‘Gone Tomorrow’ opens in spectacular style and rarely lets up.

FULL REVIEW

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By The Light Of The Moon – Dean Koontz

I’m a big fan of Dean Koontz and for me this supernatural thriller is up there with his best work.

Telling the story of Dylan O’Conner and his brother Shep, Koontz explores an interesting path of deception and intrigue. The characters are thrown in at the deep end along with the reader and it’s great to be along for the ride.

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Dead Space Martyr – B.K Evenson

A prequel to the video game Dead Space was something I was always likely to pick up having loved the game.

This didn’t disappoint as Evenson immersed us in the world of Dead Space and created a great set of characters around an existing universe. In fact some of the characters come direct from the game’s folklore.

If you liked the game you should pick this up, definitely a great read and Evenson does a brilliant job of giving everything that Dead Space ‘feel.’

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The Way Of Shadows – Brent Weeks

I stumbled across this in the bookstore and thought it looked quite cool. I think it helped that I was fresh off the back of playing Assassin’s Creed II so was in the right frame of mind.

I finally got round to reading it earlier in the year and thoroughly enjoyed it. The origin story of a young street rat who is desperate to train as an assassin and the tale of what happens when he gets what he wished for.

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So there you go – a few recommendations for you.

Let me know what you’ve read this year in the comments, I’m always looking for new books to read!

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Homicide – David Simon (Book)

I can safely say that ‘Homicide’ is one of the most stunning books I’ve ever read.

Telling the true life story of Baltimore Sun reporter David Simon’s time spent undercover with the Baltimore Police Dept, the book is both fascinating and darkly sinister.

Homicide is written like a work of fiction – sometimes it’s easy to forget this isn’t just a story. The book takes us on a journey with the entire department. Simon worked so closely with the men that he got a real insight into how things went down.

The humour is mainly black as you’d expect, with jokes often arriving during dark moments. It’s well known that humour often occurs for the police (and similar professions) in the most dire of circumstances.

The spirit of the department rises and falls as the year progresses and there are some great cases involved, as well as some that leave you feeling hollow – knowing that someone actually got off a charge they blatantly committed.

One problem people may have is that it doesn’t pull any punches. You will be taking a look into a terrible world and some people may not have the stomach for it – I’ll be honest there were times I felt sad at what my fellow humans were capable of. 😦 But on the flip side the cops in the homicide department were all doing their best to try and clean up the streets.

It’s quite a weighty tome and took me a long time to get through but Homicide is a book you should read if you have any interest in the police or forensics.

Even if you don’t this could be read as if it’s a piece of fiction and thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a brilliant insight into the workings of a homicide department and I would recommend this to anyone.

Rating 10/10

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