Sometimes a proper book suggestion is just the kick in the butt you need to dive into a new book. The top row are all books I've read and enjoyed very much. I'll be attacking the books on the bottom row this Spring!
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Blood, dirt, extreme violence, and gritty gangs. This book is one of those that deeply effects the reader and leaves you dumbstruck upon the closing of the cover. Cormac McCarthy will shock you and entertain you all at the same time.
The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster
If you've ever read a Paul Auster piece you'll notice similarities between plots. This one, however, becomes a very different beast quickly. It's a gripping narrative of loss, imagination, mystery and a bit of self-discovery mixed in. What is life other than illusion if not shared with others?
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) by George R.R. Martin
The book that started it all! This is the first installment of the still-growing fantasy saga. Winter is, in fact, coming(!) and the kingdoms for far too long have relished in summer splendors. War creeps towards all seven kingdoms and the lives of families are woven into tales ripe with mystery, intrigue, death, romance, and much, much more.
The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
I've recently shared my thoughts on this book. It still stands, this is a masterfully crafted read about the terrifying cholera outbreak in London. Steven Johnson is a thorough man, having done his research and presenting it in a gripping fashion alongside his narrative. He conveys to the reader a detailed painting of what, how, who, while presenting the ecology of infectious disease. Here is a link to a previous post on The Ghost Map.
Now I can't speak directly to the following 4 books, but here's what others are saying.
The Kingdom of Rarities by Eric Dinerstein
"The well-traveled Mr. Dinerstein presents vivid case studies on the world's least common creatures, from a red hummingbird stranded on Robinson Crusoe Island off the coast of Chile to a cryptic forest-dwelling bovine in Vietnam . . . gripping." -The Wall Street Journal
“Unforgettable…a pulse-racing epic of endurance set against an exceedingly bizarre Arctic backdrop…[Sides’] descriptions of the physical challenges the men face and the eerie landscape that surrounds them are masterful. As De Long and his crew attempt to save themselves, the story grows in suspense and psychological complexity…More strange and fantastic turns follow, involving uncharted and uninhabited lands, and it pains me that I cannot describe them without spoiling the pleasure of those who have not yet read In the Kingdom of Ice. Sides’ book is a masterful work of history and storytelling.” -The Los Angeles Times
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
John Le Carre's internationally famous hero, British Secret Service Agent George Smiley, has a world-class problem. He has discovered a mole--a Soviet double agent who has managed to burrow his way up to the highest level of British Intelligence. Under the direction of Karla, Smiley's equivalent in the Soviet Union, the agent has already blown some of the most vital secret operations and most productive networks. Now-how can Smiley use a lifetime's worth of espionage skills to ferret out a spy who possesses them as well? -From the Publisher
Roman Disasters by Jerry Toner
"Accessible in style, wide-ranging in scope, and innovative in its combination of ancient sources and relevant modern scholarship, Toner’s book constitutes an excellent and long-overdue survey of Roman disasters generally, as well as offering insightful analyses of an array of topics, from Roman attitudes towards maritime risk to early Christian notions of divine causation." -Greg Aldrete, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay