As with 2020, I'm starting the year with a list of books that I'm delighted to recommend. These seem to be popular articles with the types of readers I love hearing from!
One of the big filters I've applied is that I've chosen books that many people may not be aware of. So: nothing from Lee Child or Malcolm Gladwell, or anything of that nature.
And yeah, there's a lot here in the time travel or time travel-adjacent genre. I guess it's a kink.
Unhappenings by Edward Aubry
This book is like a good friend that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I read it three times in the course of a month. As soon I finished it, I started re-reading it. I never do that. While I was re-reading it on my own, I also read it out-loud to my wife. Its plot, relationships, and emotional entanglements, are rich and marvelously complex.
Replay by Ken Grimwood
This book is one of the OGs of the modern time travel genre. It's a relatively simple plot, executed well. Unlike many other time travel-related books, the actions of the protagonist were somewhat relatable. Its ending was much better, and more poignant, than I expected.
Bump Time Origin by Doug J Cooper
Bump Time Origin and its sequel Bump Time Meridian are entertaining, so long as you suspend your disbelief. They are premised on an interesting time travel conceit.
The Price of Time by Tim Tigner
This is like a thriller, with the premise that a small group of people have access to technology that prevents ageing. This doesn't stop them from dying in accidents, however...
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
A woman finds herself in a place that is between life and death. It is a library with many books. Within each book is a different version of herself, living different lives based on different decisions she's made. Reading this book feels like going through a type of therapy. (Bibliotherapy, to be precise...)
How to Stop Time by Matt Haig
This book tells the story of a man who ages more slowly than the rest of us. Once he becomes an adolescent, he starts to age about 1 year for every 20 years he lives. This has some benefits, and also many challenges.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
This book was entertaining and charming. I've read that Ryan Reynolds has been slated to play the protagonist in the movie version of this book.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
In my mind, the Hunger Games novels are associated with the Twilight novels. That's unfair, because the original Hunger Games books were extremely well-written and thought-provoking. I wasn't expecting much from this book, since I don't tend to like prequels, especially one that tries to tell the origin story of President Snow. But Collins succeeds. It rings far more true than Anakin Skywalker turning into Darth Vader in the Star Wars prequels, for instance. I wish she spent more time working on the final chapter, but it's satisfying nonetheless.
Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick by David Wong (aka Jason Pargin)
David Wong (aka Jason Pargin) makes me laugh. This is a sequel to Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits. And despite the title and the nature of many of the other books on this list, it doesn't involve time travel of any sort.
To get a sense of Wong's humour, the first three minutes of the video below are representative. (In case you wonder, the video he talks about, the complaints he received, and the existence of a "shirt-cocking community" on Youtube, are entirely fabricated.)
A Good Marriage, by Stephen King – a novella featured in Full Dark, No Stars
While her husband is out of town, his wife of 27 years tidies their garage and discovers something that suggests he might be linked to a local serial killer. I read this story a few years ago, and it haunted me for a long time.