Monday, December 28, 2015

Eimer's Best Reads of 2015


For whatever reason, I didn't read a lot of books this year. Boo freaking hoo, right? But, I did manage to squeeze out ten fantastic reads that I did, in fact, enjoy immensely.

Have a looksee won't you. I should note that most of these books weren't published in 2015 (with the exception to Mr. Clive Barker).

That said, I'm looking forward to a 2016 of more reading, more creativity and more cartoons. So wish me luck. In the meantime, please enjoy the list (with links to Amazon in case you want to purchase):

The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner
Buettner travels around the world from village to village interviewing these pockets areas where people live past 100 years old. The book is filled with a lot of great stories from fellow centenarians as well as tips and tactics to get you to 100 years old as well. So, what's the secret to longevity? Pretty much everything that you know you should be doing, but aren't doing it right now. (drinking more water, eating better, no meat, exercise, etc. etc.) Still it's a quick, entertaining read that will motivate you to do at least a little something to increase your chances at an extended life.

You're Next by Greg Hurwitz
Great suspense thriller. I couldn't put this book down. Hurwitz creates some interesting characters (both good and bad) and a creative plot, which moves along at rapid-fire speed. Again, very interesting storyline that had me guessing all the way until the end.  And, if you have kids, a couple very heart-breaking scenes that will crush the faint of heart. Not to be confused with the crappy home-invasion movie of the same name. But, that said, for some reason I tossed this into my book queue, which usually means that it's going to be made into some sort of movie or TV series. We will see.

When Advertising Tried Harder by Lawrence Dobrow
Good inspiration for all of those copywriters and art directors out there. Sure, the ideas are a bit dated, but the inspiration is totally there. I was completely motivated by this book. In fact, it empowered me to try to create something new, something fresh and something different at my current job. And it worked! If you're in the industry, you'll love the history and the stories behind some of the first, initial ground-breaking ad work. This is a great companion piece to Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull. Two different roads to creative excellence.

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
Very creative interesting sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, horror, thriller mash-up. Reminded me of a mix between HARRY POTTER meets MEN IN BLACK meets X-MEN - all told through a female heroine protagonist's point of view (or should I say two?) Extremely creative writing. Keeping track of the timeline really had to mess with O'Malley's mind, because he weaves this complicated story nicely. One fault, and a minor peace of criticism, was the James Bond-ish ending when the villain explains why he/she did it - while the main protagonist plots their escape. That said, don't let that little piece of negativity stop you from reading this book. Looking forward to checking out the second. Thumbs up all the way!

The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle
Had a chance to see T.C. Boyle do a reading in Ohio and was embarrassed when I realized I hadn't read any of his books. So, I picked up this on based on a recommendation from a friend (World's End is coming up). It's very bleak, dark book about California, droughts, illegal immigration and the haves and the have nots of our society. Boyle splits his story between an illegal immigrant who recently crossed the border struggling to survive as well as a well-to-do family living in a suburban, gated community in the California hills. It all starts with a car accident, then spins into a nicely woven, well-written story. Funny this book came out in 1995 because it's hitting on a lot of hot topics that are happening today in California that you currently see in the news. By no means is it a happy book, but it's an important one nonetheless.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children By Ransom Riggs
Very interesting, creative book. I read that Tim Burton was taking the directorial reins for the film version, which piqued my interest. This is right up Burton's alley with an outcast boy that's catapulted into crazy worlds, fantastical creatures, amazing lands and, of course, peculiar children. Looking forward to delving into the rest of the author's world as the kids track down ... oh, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself now aren't I? Very surprisingly good read.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
A boy crashes in a plane in Canada with only his hatchet to survive in the wild. Great quick read. Reminded me of the movie CASTAWAY, but for teens. Perfect young adult book for adventurous, outdoor-loving kids of all ages. You may even pick up some help if (and when) you ever get lost out in the wild. Check 'er out.

The Witches by Roald Dahl
Great book. Dahl loves to toe the political correctness line between wholesome and horrific and I love every minute of it. This is a perfect example of writing from the heart and not writing for everyone. My kids are eating up these books, which is why I'm revisiting these tasty little poisoned candies once again. Check it out. Fun quick read for young and old readers!

The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker
Barker enters familiar territory in this final(?) look at the world's most famous Hellraiser - Pinhead. As a fan of the author for 30+ years, I respect Barker's vivid, creative mind and storytelling ability. This book does not disappoint as he follows a band of misfits including a detective, a clairvoyant and other miscreants who toe line between good and evil who have a run-in with the fearsome cenobite, with disturbingly bloody results. From the first chapter, you know you're heading down a very dark road that will eventually take you into the bowels of hell. Great writing. Unique plot. Just a good solid unique work of horror fiction. Warning: this book is not for the squeamish. You've been warned, so be prepared.

Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
Another Dahl Classic. Just a fun read from start to finish, with a very quirky storyline that wouldn't have passed the PC police in today's time. You have to admire Dahl's go for broke writing style with no inhibitions whatsoever. I envy the guy. But in a good way. Enjoy!

Other Top Reads From Year's Past:

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