These are the books that kept me up late into the night, kept me company during long bus rides and rekindled my dream of becoming published some day.
1. Jaded – A.J. Kiesling
At a time when my faith was floundering, I picked up this book from my stash and read. Talk about a godsend. This was timely.
Experienced journalist, Kiesling explores the true meaning of church and community and offers hope to those who’ve been hurt , disappointed and offended by “the church”. Filled with paradigm-shifting truths.
2. The War is Over – Andrew Wommack
If I ever become a bible teacher, I want to be as simple as Andrew Wommack. His writing style complements his teaching – easy to read, easy to follow and easy to believe.
In this book, Wommack reassures Christians of God’s love for man and His finished work on the cross. Emphasis on finished. Over and over again, Wommack drives home the point that God’s favor and acceptance isn’t something to be labored for, but rather something that is already given to every believer. Just believe and drink freely.
Writing and Craft
3. On Writing Well – William Zinsser
I really hope I get to meet Mr. Zinsser before he dies. I would like to tell him how much his book has improved my writing. I want to let him know that I’m now one of his biggest advocates, regularly recommending this book to anyone who cares to handle a pen. I loved this book and I think it goes side by side with Mr. King’s On Writing.
Simplicity is the bedrock of all good writing. That and consistent practice. That is the lesson running through the soul of this book. It’s a handbook every writer should have and reference occasionally as it covers nearly every facet of non-fiction writing – Sports writing, Comedy, Review and Critique writing, Memoirs, Conducting interviews, Travel writing and so on. The list is exhaustive. Get this book.
Psychology and Social Science
4. Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
I loved reading this book. The subject matter has a certain universal appeal. And the treatment the author gave it is engaging. It just didn’t have that OMG factor that I got from Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine last year.
5. How Laziness Saved My Life – Okechukwu Ofili
I’d heard some good things about the book. Debonairs bookstore even listed it among their bestsellers once. So it was only a matter of time before I got my hands on a copy.
Not bad for a Malcolm Gladwell wannabe. That might sound like damning praise but when you consider that Malcolm Gladwell has spawned a slew of big thinkers and a whole new genre of social science writers, you realize it’s not. Ofili’s personality comes through in the book and there are a few interesting ideas in here. It’s just that the research backing it up is measly. Nevertheless, had a good time reading it.
6. Made to Stick – Chip and Dan Heath
7. Think! – Edward de Bono
8. David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell is the master of the art of presenting BIG IDEAs and unintuitive thinking in social science. His bestseller – The Tipping point- is still being referenced in marketing circles today. David and Goliath may not attain such epic status but it’s a compulsory read nonetheless.
David and Goliath is a study in the tenacity of the underdog. Mr. Gladwell in his usual style, weaves tale after tale of disadvantaged people surmounting great odds and rising to the peak of their profession. As is now regular practise, Gladwell has gotten a lot of flak for the way he uses research and statistics in defending his ideas. But that is beside the point. His stories and his ideas are, if nothing else, fascinating. A good read.
9. The DarkTower I – Stephen King
10. Percy Jackson I – Rick Riordan
11. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
12. A Visit From The Goon Squad – Jeniffer Egan
13. Brief Encounters – Ben Fountain
14. Inferno – Dan Brown
This year involved a lot of firsts for me. This was my first Dan Brown book. It was about time I saw what all the hype was about. And boy, did I find out. This book took off like a hurricane from the first chapter and didn’t let up till the final 3 pages.
Our protagonist, Robert Langdon, wakes up with amnesia to find himself in the middle of an international cat and mouse game involving terrorists, secret government agencies and …let’s just say to say more would ruin the plot.
From what I hear, this is his weakest book so far, so I think I’m in for a treat with his other novels.
15. Seven Wonders – Adam Christopher
16. Crystal Rain – Tobias S. Buckell
17. The Emperor’s Soul – Brandon Sanderson
My first Sanderson novel. This is the book that spoiled me for other others. Sanderson’s style, intricate magic systems and clever worldbuilding hit all the right notes within my brain. This novellete drove me into a Brandon Sanderson frenzy. Ironically, the book is just a little over a 100 pages but, Damn!
A master forger is entrapped to restore the soul of the emperor of the kingdom. She must do this while imprisoned, under threat of death by skeletal warriors and so many other complications.
18. The Rithmatist – Brandon Sanderson
19. Steel Heart – Brandon Sanderson
My best book of 2013, hands down. There was a point in Steelheart where I put the e-reader down, pumped my fist in a “hell yeah” gesture and spent the next five minutes basking in the images flowing through my mind. Such was the thrill of reading this book. This is superhero fiction unlike anything you’ve ever read.
20. Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson
21. Mitosis (A Reckoners Story) – Brandon Sanderson
22. Well of Ascension – Brandon Sanderson
23. Hero of the Ages – Brandon Sanderson
24. Alloy of Law – Brandon Sanderson
25. Old Man’s War – John Scalzi
26. Ghost Brigades – John Scalzi
27.The Fall of Five – Pittacus Lore