First off-excuse my battered books. They are well read and well loved. Kindles are nice and all - and I use mine frequently, they are perfect for travel - but when possible, I am all about the paperback. Just the feel of a book in your hand; turning physical pages; that slightly unpleasant, nostalgic, old book smell... Yes, I'm old skool.
I've listed some of my top tomes for lazy reading days. I'm not really a holiday-romance reader at heart; perhaps these aren't automatic choices for lazing by the pool, but they are books I have read again and again. None of them are skinny, they'll take some dedicated reading time, but I'd bet my bottom dollar you'll be hooked by chapter two.
The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss - this is unabashed fantasy at its finest. Mr. BK calls this Harry Potter for grown ups (though, I would argue, HP is the bomb whatever age you are)! It's a beautifully written novel; an old fashioned adventure, in a gorgeously detailed fantasy world - but without the Game of Thrones too-many-characters-for-my-brain situation. The sequel is a cracker too - I am eagerly awaiting book three. Even if this isn't your usual genre, this is one to try out.
Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts - probably my favourite book of all time. Writing so beautiful that I laughed out loud and shed genuine tears, this is an absolute triumph. Based loosely on the author's own life and experience of India, this is an incredible adventure through the highs and lows of Indian culture, slums, business and black market. If you read one book this year-make it this one. I'm about a third of the way through the sequel at the moment, and so far it's continuing in the same excellent vein.
The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton - first off - this book is enormous. A doorstop if there ever was one. If you're tight for suitcase space, this is one for the Kindle. This is a clever, slick, 19th century style novel set in Victorian New Zealand. The book is narrated in keeping with the time - often with a character appraisal including physical and moral characteristics accompanying each person we are introduced to. The plot is gripping, with great twists, and a really satisfying conclusion. The book deals with the concept of destiny and fortune, but again with a strong detective-esque feel. It takes a little getting into, due to the old fashioned style (unless you're a dedicated classic novel reader) but it's completely worth the initial effort.
Cormoran Strike Series, Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) - if you love a good murder mystery, these books will be right up your street. A really compelling trilogy with great characters, and (as you would expect from Ms. Rowling) each one is a total page-turner. Sure, the deaths are pretty grim, but if you're in to foul-mouthed, brilliant, ex-forces private detectives (who isn't, amirite?), this one's for you.
Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - this book is an absolute triumph. Essentially at heart a love story, this book also meticulously scrutinises attitudes to race, personal identity, and loneliness. It's set between Nigeria, the USA and Britain, and really brings to life living in another, strange culture. It may just change how you look at our familiar culture to boot.
What are your all-time favourite books? I'd love to know!