The books I loved reading this year were:
Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
An oldie but a goody. It’s all about the back-story with Clarke. Seemingly pacific aliens come to earth. They slowly infiltrate into society even though no one really seems to know why they’ve come, where they’re from, or what their intentions are. That’s all I’ll say about it otherwise I’d give too much away, and Arthur C. Clarke has a great tale to tell.
Chaos by James Gleick
If you’re into game theory, weather patterns, and anything to do with why chaos seems random yet ordered, then this is the first book you should read. It talks about modern scientific theory and gives you all kinds of biographical details that make an otherwise dry read, fun. Laws and theories that seem mind-boggling are explained in such a way that when I finished the book, I felt like I might be able to not only read but maybe even understand Einstein’s book on Relativity and Newton’s Principia.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
I know this is cheating because I haven’t yet finished it, but I started it in 2011 so I think it counts. It is overwhelming with prose at its highest form. If you write, you have to read Tolstoy – full stop, no excuses. He is the father of the modern novel and for good reason. It took me a long time to start reading this book because I’d heard it was boring with too many characters to keep track of. But I disagree with that assessment; despite the many characters, there is much to discover in the uniqueness of each. My advice would be to let the words flow over you while reading and don’t panic with the amount of characters and events. I’d even recommend reading a few pages on Wikipedia about the Napoleonic era and the Crimean war, and then you’re set for a whopping epic that will not disappoint.