Lock In - John Scalzi
- This was my favorite read this year. Anything apocalyptic/new global virus/etc. themed book typically rates at the top of my lists... "Lock In" combines a new viral disease that locks people into their brains... and robots... and a murder mystery! You can't go wrong here. A must read, even if you're not really into sci-fi. After reading this, go and read this prequel novella from the author that gives more in-depth background on the virus.
The Martian - Andy Weir
I read this over the holidays. My last book of the year. Amazing! It's a cross between Apollo 13 and Cast Away, set on Mars. As I was reading, I was thinking, this book has to be made into a movie... so after, I googled movie rights for this. Sure enough, it's going to be on the Big Screen November 25th starring Matt Damon and a laundry list of 'A List' movie stars.... it's gonna be big.... trust me. This book gets a little on the geeky side from time to time, but it ties into the story line nicely.
The Monument's Men - Robert M. Edsel
A real life treasure hunt! The biggest one in history. You'll be surprised how many of the world's art masterpieces you will recognize that otherwise would have been destroyed by the Nazi's. As with all books that are turned into movies, a lot of good stuff gets left out and changed. The movie was good, but the book is so much richer with stories from the WWII servicemen charged with saving the world's art masterpieces. You couldn't make some of these stories up. Great background stories on "The Monuments Men" too. A must for the history buff.
Twelve Years As A Slave - Solomon Northup
Some books you wish you could just unread. This is my oldest book to ever read, written in 1853. A true story told by Soloman Northup, a free black man that was kidnapped and sold into slavery. During the 12 years, Northup tells, in very graphic detail, the torture and cruelty of being a slave. But this book is also about hope and the human spirit. Just a warning, this book is much more graphic and detailed than the movie. I encourage you to read it though. It's simply incredible.
Wild: from Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed
Life do-over. Cheryl Strayed did that as she hiked 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Her mother died, her marriage was over, and had nothing to lose. This is a great self-discovery story packed with humor, reflecting solitude, and other incredible moments along her journey. Just saw the movie tonight. It follows pretty close to the book!
Old Man's War - John Scalzi
After "Lock In," I went on a search for Scalzi's other books. This was recommended to me by a friend. It did not disappoint. John Perry turns 75... and joins the army! If you read sci-fi, you have probably read this masterpiece. It's a must read if you like space travel, clones, aliens, and spaceships. You won't believe what happens when Perry joins the army... there a little bit of love story weaved in there too. Go read now!
Safe Haven - Nicholas Sparks
This is part of the program where you're probably saying to yourself, "really?" Todd just went from sci-fi to chick-lit?? Yes I did... I'm sure you'd find the same type of train wreck in my music playlists. Ha! Who doesn't like a good love story? Ok, so this was on my wife's bookshelf, and the ratings on goodreads were really high. So I gave it a shot, and loved it. The movie, however, sucked... just because it was so way off from the book.
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
This has been on my list for a really long time. Considered one of Hemingway's best novels. Sometimes I have a hard time with the 'masterpieces' of literature. I love books, but hard for me to get artsy with it. This book was brilliant! Loved the writing style, which I now know has been copied by a lot of the books I've read. Love the time period (The 20's,) loved the characters, and love the rolling story. Go read this classic.
If you're into finding great books, I love using Goodreads... it's like a social media app for readers that tracks your reads and offers great discussion. I also follow BuzzFeed Books. Lots of great book lists, and other fun articles.