May 15

An Alternative To Dan Brown

Hands up anyone that’s purchased the latest Dan Brown novel, Inferno.

This kind of thing is a source of some debate amongst my friends and in our office, dividing the literary purists from those that are happy to grab a page turner to throw in the suitcase.

I’ve always been amongst the former but as I get older I’m happier to read books that I would have previously been far more snobbish about, as I think there’s a great value in the escapism offered and, much like cinema, a good book can come from any genre. Whilst it may lack credibility, popularity isn’t necessarily a mark of catering for the masses at the expense of quality.

Nevertheless, as someone looking ahead to a holiday in the coming weeks, I thought I’d suggest a number of books that I’ve recently enjoyed – and a couple that I am hugely looking forward to.

Firstly, I’ve just purchased Peter May‘s third part of his Lewis Trilogy: The Chess Men. The first two parts – The Black House and Lewis Man are both superb, so I have high hopes.

I’ve wanted to get stuck into George Smiley for a while, so I’ve gone back the the beginning and purchased Call for the Dead, the book that introduces the character.

I’ve been blasting through some David Baldacci in the last few weeks, to finish a few that I had lying about. It’s the equivalent of literary popcorn – and some are undoubtedly more engaging than others – but I’ve just finished Simple Genius and First Family. They’re OK if you want something light.

One of the books that I’ve enjoyed the most recently has been Leviathan – a Steampunk book aimed at young adults, based loosely on the facts leading up to the Great War. It’s the start of a trilogy and I have no doubt I’ll be picking up others.

Finally, I can’t recommend highly enough Gideon Defoe’s Pirates series. They seem to have attracted a few celebrity followers (Ardal O’Hanlon) and it’s easy to see why. They’re a little one dimensional by the time you reach book four (of five) but as a lighthearted summer read, they certainly hit the mark.

Oh and yes, I have bought Inferno, despite myself, having watched Angels & Demons again recently. Let’s be honest, at least it’s not 50 Shades of Grey…