OPINION: My top 10 favourite books.

A while ago, an article was posted where Slipknot/Stone Sour frontman, and world-renowned author and fellow book lover, Corey Taylor gave a list of his top ten favourite books. Like most of these things it got me a-thinkin’ and a-tinkerin’ about my own ‘top ten’ list. I do read an awful lot — maybe more than most people — and, very much with music, I like to keep my mind open and try to read everything I possibly can. However this list is really trying to pull a rabbit out of the hat with this one as I’m trying to really think about my favourite books whilst I know that it changes with time. Without further ado — and me going on — let’s begin!

(Please note: Click on the images if you want to enlarge them.)

  1. mr-contestMatthew ReillyContest (2001, Pan Macmillan)

Despite this being Matthew Reilly’s first novel the story surrounding it (and how it came to publication) is quite astonishing really. When Reilly sent this off to different publishers around the world nobody, and I mean NOBODY, wanted it. I’ve re and re-read this throughout the years and still can’t understand it. This is the actual background info from Matthew’s Wikipedia page: 

“It was rejected by every major publisher in Australia, leading Reilly to self-publish 1,000 copies using a bank loan. Reilly was discovered when Cate Paterson, a commissioning editor from Pan Macmillan, found a self-published copy of Contest in a bookstore. Pan Macmillan signed Reilly to a two-book deal.”

It’s incredulous to think about it, but then again it’s also a matter of ‘what ifs’: what if a publisher had picked it up? What if Cate hadn’t gone into that particular bookstore and saw a copy on the shelf? What if, what if, what if?

  1. tony-iommiTony IommiIron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell With Black Sabbath (2011, Simon and Schuster)

I’m trying to think of a decent enough memoir to include here, because variation is key here, and the only one I can think of is Tony Iommi’s memoir which was released six years ago now. Not only does it detail his life and times with Black Sabbath (both with Ozzy, Ronnie James Dio, and the Ozzy again) – the real meat and potatoes of this book – it also details some of his solo work and the band that was formed with DioHeaven And Hell, and some information around his personal life. It’s quite an interesting and exciting read if you’re obviously a fan of Black Sabbath and Heaven And Hell, and also to get some background information on some of the albums he made. Of course there are other memoirs out there — even one by Ozzy titled I Am Ozzy — and I understand it’s all about personal taste, but for me this is my favourite so far. 

  1. stephen-e-ambrose-d-dayStephen E. AmbroseD-Day June 6, 1944: The Climatic Battle of World War II (1994, newer edition 2002, Simon & Schuster UK)

This was one of the first historical books that I picked up (post-school and everything) where I really enjoyed it. I found that the information was presented well and that the overall book was well-written, definitely not too heavy which is to my liking. I’ve probably re-read this multiple times. 

  1. stieg-larsson-the-millenium-seriesStieg LarssonThe Millennium Series (2008 – 2017, Norstedts Förlag)

Larrson’s The Millenium series was my first set of books that were written by an author who wasn’t English, but rather Swedish, and it was also my first introduction to Scandinavian literature. Although David Lagercrantz has now written a fourth book in the series, with the fifth coming out this year, I really do like the original trilogy. 

  1. manda-scott-boudica-seriesManda ScottThe Boudica Series (2003 – 2006, Bantam)

Possibly the four best books written about the English warrior queen, Scott writes about in her such amazing detail. I have re and re-read them throughout the years (was the last book really released 10 years ago!?) and I could not make this list without at least mentioning one of the books, so why not throw in the other three? 

  1. niall-fergusonNiall FergusonThe War of The World (2009, Penguin)

I remember back when I was in college I saw this being advertised on one of those boards that you see at Watford Junction. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you travel on public transport a lot and, back in those days, it was how I got to college. I became interested as I could see it was non-fiction book and, as I’ve stated above, I like to keep my mind open when it comes to reading books. This is perhaps one of the best, most complex non-fiction books I have ever read; it is so well-written and every page is laden with facts. I have read other non-fiction books, another you will see just down below, but this is perhaps on par with that one.

  1. ir-knotsIan RankinKnots and Crosses (New edition 2008, Orion)

Like Stephen King, Ian Rankin’s John Rebus novels were some of the books that I first picked up when I began reading as a hobby. When I always read a new Rankin/Rebus novel, it always feel like I’m greeting an old friend.

  1. ag-caesarAdrian GoldsworthyCaesar (2007, Orion)

Much like The War of the World, this is another fantastic non-fiction book which is presented and written-well with the facts about the famous Roman Julius Caesar. It is a lengthy read and crammed with fact so much so that, halfway through reading it, I took a break and then came back to it.

  1. conn-iggulden-wolf-of-the-plainsConn IgguldenWolf Of The Plain (published in America as Genghis: Birth of An Empire) (2010, Harper)

Although I fell in love with Conqueror series, Iggulden’s series on Genghis Khan would eventually make go on and read about him some more. Of course this is historical fiction and Iggulden has taken some liberties with the story, but still this is a fantastic start to the series. 

  1. stephen-king-insomniaStephen KingInsomnia (1994, new edition 2011, Viking/Hodder & Stoughton)

I could list any Stephen King book here as my favourite as every book he’s written (and will write) are completely awesome. Insomnia is one of those books that, throughout the years and several re-reads later, I’ve come to fully appreciate it. King’s books are always a journey — whether they are short or long reads — and he has this genuine ability to make you fall in love with the characters. It follows the story of Ralph Roberts whose wife has recently died from cancer and the anti- and pro-life discussions, with two bald doctors. Saying that here sounds really weird, but when you read it (and if you do), I hope you’ll understand.


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