1. David Simon- Homicide
This year was the year I became aware of the works of David Simon. I decided to pick up season 1 of The Wire (another list, trust me) and I have to tell you, I hate myself for not getting into it sooner, the band wagon is certainly on a roll but I heard it was good so I thought I would check it out. So after watching The Wire I thought I would try out some of the literature and my god! What a brilliant writer David Simon is. Homicide is basically an eye witness account from Simon during a year with the Baltimore Homicide Unit. The book is a brilliant insight into the work of the Homicide Unit. It's hard, it's moving and my god you don't want to put it down. If you are a fan of Police non fiction or a fan of The Wire, I demand you read this book. You will find yourself getting attached to the people and wanting more.
2.Chris Salewicz- Redemption Song the Definitive Biography of Joe Strummer
I am a massive fan of Joe Strummer. I am a massive fan of The Clash, they are my all time favourite band and Strummer to me is probably the best songwriter and social commentator we have ever seen. I guess this choice and mild review is a bit biased but this is a great book for Clash fans or anyone who likes music biographies. Even if you are not too sure, it's just an interesting read. I learnt a lot from this book, not only about Strummer but about myself. I also found out some interesting stories and facts that really made me laugh, cry and everything in between. A touching and true book. This doesn't totally brown nose Strummer, it shows all the good aspects and the few bad aspects of Strummer's life and career. A great book for Strummer fans but chances are, you knew about this book already!
3. Michael Smith- The Giro Playboy
Smith has been labeled "the Hunter. S. Thmpson of Hartlepool" and from this brilliant piece of what I call "indie literature" I can see why. Smith basically talks about his life when he had no money and he was getting fucked up most nights. It's a genuinely funny read and the style of writing is original and genuine. The book is also illustrated by Smith himself and all in all, it's a great package. It has a great D.I.Y appeal. I loved this book from start to finish. I can't really explain why I loved this book but I did. Smith also did a lot of programmes for BBC4. This is where I became aware of Michael Smith and damn am I glad I read this book. It's a witty, brutally honest book with a touch of dark humour in places. It demonstrates how no matter what your situation, you will always have a story to tell. Just fucking read it!
4. David Peace- The Damned United
OK I admit it! I did see the film first. I was interested in seeing how the film compared to the book and from both experiences, both are as enjoyable as each other. Nothing really I can say about this book really. It's a great book if you like Brian Clough and football in general. Even if you are fan of neither this book is funny and you can't help feeling sorry for Cloughie. I even love the way it keeps changing the period of the book from before Leeds and and to his days at Leeds. If you have seen the film, watch the book, it's just as good if not better. I think you will find yourself trying to do a Cloughie impression whenever he talks in the book.... wait.... I'm the only one?
5. Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons- The Watchmen
Finally I bring you the book (well, graphic novel) that I have most recently finished. The Watchmen! Now I won't make out I'm a massive fan of The Watchmen because in all honesty, I have only really been interested in that part of popular culture for a few months. I had heard a lot of good things about this graphic novel after the film came out so I thought I would do the best thing and read the novel first and then watch the film and all I can say is, I was blown away. The novel for me though is the best version. It's an amazing read and it's nice to see the dark and mental side of the super hero. It also seems like a great piece of commentry for what was going in the worls at the time f its release. I can see why it gets the acclaim it has. It was enjoyable from start to finish and from a design point of view... I haven't come across a nicer comic ever. This is one of the first and definitely not the last graphic novels/ comics I have read. Brilliant.
So there you have it! A nice little run down of the 5 best things I have read this year. There are more books but I couldn't be bothered doing a top 10... I think I have bored you enough already! If you would like to discuss my choices feel free to in the comments or get in touch with me direct also if you want to know some oher good suggestions get in touch. Would also be nice to hear your thoughts on the best reads this year! This could even help with your presents?