1. Paper Towns - John Greene
Something quite easy to read, I enjoy coming of age novels. I got through it rather quickly, but enjoyed it nonetheless.
2. Shogun - James Clavell
Took me quite some time to read, but amazing book. I read a solid chunk(60-70%) whilst I was hoping around Japan, and went to some of the locations in the book which was really quite amazing.It also seemed to be quite historically accurate, however I feel that it just ends abruptly, but at peace. If travelling Japan I can't recommend it enough, but be warned, it is very, very long.
3. The Man in the High Castle - Phillip K. Dick
Advertisements for the television show is what got me interested in this, so I picked it up. Dick paints a really interesting world, and conveys how bleak life would have been. It was quite short, and not much really seemed to happen in the book, a few promising ideas, but it was more about individuals lives. I would have liked to see some of the different story arcs that are briefly introduced develop. I believe the television show expands on it.
4. Meditations - Marcus Aurelius
My first real look into philosophy. I enjoyed it, however I feel that I got about 40% of his message clearly, but a lot of it went over my head. I will be going back to it shortly. The stoic philosophy is really great, and there are many principles I will apply to my life.
5. Modern Romance - Aziz Ansari
Close to calling this 10/10. Ansari discusses the differences between dating today, and dating in the past(predominantly within a 50 year range). He interviews many people from all different age groups, and runs focus groups across various cities and countries. As someone who goes on plenty of dates, I found it a very interesting, insightful, and also entertaining book. I decided to pick it up after binge watching his TV show, Master of None, which I can also recommend.
In the book he also cites a plethora of studies and works alongside many academics from both social and cognitive sciences. He notes one study that is particularly interesting. I personally find that lots of younger people cannot converse in real life. The study argues that due to the use of texting and social media, where one can retype and think before they send, constructing many variations of what they wish to communicate, that the muscles in the brain used for spontaneous communication are not being developed properly.
6. The Year of Living Dangerously - Christopher Koch
I've developed a new habit since reading Shogun in Japan to read a book that resolves around the country I am traveling in, preferably about a foreigner in a strange land. I consulted r/books and was recommended The Year of Living Dangerously. It resolves around an Australian journalist working in Jakarta during the year 1965 (the year in which a failed coup occoured, followed by mass political purge). I really enjoyed it, however felt that the first two thirds of the book was stronger to the last. I also found the end a little rushed. I felt that the characters in the book were quite interesting, especially Billy Kwan, the sidekick of the story.
I'm looking forward to watching the film when I get home from 1982, starring Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, and Linda Hunt(whom won the Oscar for best supporting actor for her portrayal of Kwan).
7. The Old Man and the Sea
First foray into Hemmingway. Was surprisingly quite easy to read. It was enjoyable, however, I'm glad it was no longer than it was. The narrative suited a ~100 page book.
I'm quickly approaching my goal of 15 books by the end of the year. It helps being on holiday's as well as reading shorter books this week. In my search for a couple of shorter books I can do in a day, I chose the Old Man and the Sea, as well as Animal Farm, which I have been meaning to read.
I've picked up Dan Brown's Inferno for the journey home. I enjoyed The Lost Symbol when I read it several years ago, and pulp fiction is nice for flying.
8. Animal Farm - George Orwell
Great metaphor to Orwells view of the Soviet Union, thoroughly enjoyed it. Didn't find it predictable at the time, but the ending is obvious looking back.
9. Inferno - Dan Brown
Absolute rubbish. Maybe I only enjoyed The Lost Symbol because I was younger, but this was atrocious. It has good content and honestly and interesting plot line but the delivery was terrible. The twist was just plain dumb, and introduced several plot holes. The 180 by virtually every character at the end just didn't make sense. There were several introduced story arcs that were contradicted by "twists", that were never explained as to what they meant.
10. Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals
Great read. The stories are great, they're crude and won't be to a lot of people's taste but not everything is going to be The Notebook