Ever since I joined Audible, I’ve been listening to books non stop. I love to read but hardly ever get the time, so by listening to them I get to multitask. I listen whilst I cook, do the housework, commute to work, run, do my makeup… you get the idea!
My bookcase is full of novels that I have wanted to read for ages and even though I have the hard copies, I’m working my way through them on my Ipod now. I used to stick to crime dramas but after so many, they all start to blur into one. Now my tastes are far more eclectic and I love nothing more than getting lost in an epic tale, the sort that captures your imagination, creates a whole world around you and makes you feel like you’re actually going to miss the characters by the end of the story.
Set against the backdrop of World War II, this follows two Jewish cousins as they attempt to set America ablaze with their comic book creation ‘The Escapist’. The story weaves fiction with true events and is written in such a beautiful prose.
It’s sometimes a fantastical adventure that brings a smile to your face, at other times a heartbreakingly real depiction of the era that will move you to tears. I loved how the tale gave little glimpses into the history of comic books and their artwork. It created plenty of dinner table talk with Mr F who loves comics (he met Stan Lee last year… I’m pretty sure he thought that was better than our wedding!).
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.
The wonderful (partially) true story of an escaped Australian convict and drug addict who flees to India. It’s probably the most moving, poetic tale I have ever read, truly epic. I can’t even begin to describe the story to you – there is action, romance, adventure, a journey of self discovery, science, religion, philosophy, violence… practically every topic you can think of, all rolled into one. But it works, oh how it works! You live and breathe India through his words, such is his way of describing all of it’s wonderful quirks.
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.
This is my latest listen and it took me about 4 or 5 chapters to really get into it, but it’s worth perservering. The story is set in the 19th Century, where English magic exists but hasn’t been seen or practised for centuries. A prophecy tells of two magicians who will return magic to England and it’s here we meet the characters from the title.
The Farseers Trilogy (first book: Assassin’s Apprentice) by Robin Hobb.
I listened to the first couple of the Game of Thrones books last year, but had to stop when I realised I was about to go beyond the latest tv series. I Googled alternatives and discovered the Farseers Trilogy. It has a lot of similarities and parallels to GOT, but focuses on one main character, Fitz, the Assasin’s Apprentice of the title. This is a fantasy adventure that you can become totally immersed in. I found it a bit lighter than GOT (with much less death for a start!) and it was great to be able to read the whole trilogy back to back and know that I’d get all the answers I was looking for by the end. If you need something to fill the void until GOT returns, this will do it!
… in between all these epics, I need a bit of light relief! I recently discovered the author Liane Moriarty and have been working through her books ever since. What Alice Forgot is my pick of the bunch. Her observations of the everyday things that people say and do is what made these so engaging for me and the conclusion is never quite what you expected.
So there you have it – my first Epic Reads post!
Next on my list is Of Bees and Mist, which is another magical adventure from my bookcase that I never got around to reading.