What I Read in 2016


2016 has been a very busy year for me. I've spent most of it panicking about school and when I have had time to finally relax, I've been writing my own book rather than reading. But when I do get around to reading, as rare as that may be (sadly) there is one particular author that I gravitate to, the wonderful Jon Ronson.

I got into Jon's books through Louis Tomlinson. He was seen holding a copy of The Psychopath Test when he left LAX at some point in 2015 and after that, I was desperate to read the book purely because the love of my life had been reading it. I was, from 2011-2015, the crazy One Direction lady so anything that Louis touched had to be mine. As it turns out, I made a good choice in asking for the Psychopath Test for Christmas.

The Psychopath Test is number two in my Jon Ronson top five. The book was an odd mixture of funny and terrifying, although the tale of Tony from Broadmoor was by far my favourite. Tony, who had committed GBH and was told by his fellow prisoners that if he told the prison's workers that he was insane, he would get sent to a 'cushy' prison instead, faked his mental illness by telling the workers that he had committed crimes that he had read about in books, such as in A Clockwork Orange or Ted Bundy's autobiography. Of course, he was believed and was sent to Broadmoor. I won't ruin the rest of the story for you. But all in all, it was a fantastic book that did leave me slightly relieved that there was no possible way I could be a psychopath, even if I did tick off a few things from the Hare checklist.

The second book I read this year was So You've Been Publicly Shamed which is at number one on my Jon Ronson top 5 list. The book was a real eye opener, especially as I live most of my life on social media. Justine Sacco's story was by far my favourite and since looking into her, I have made sure to never tweet anything that could be taken the wrong way. In my opinion, everyone who has some sort of online presence must read this book as it truly has made me cautious of everything I tweet or retweet.

The Men Who Stare At Goats was my third book of the year and I'm not going to lie, I never finished it. I didn't enjoy it as much as the other two, even after reading at least 100 pages. The themes within the book are ones that don't really interest me and, whilst the writing is excellent, I was so rarely picking it up that I just ended up putting it on my bookshelf and forgetting about it. You never know, I might pick it up again at some point.

Frank scrapes its way into my top five at number five. I read it in just over an hour on the night that I bought it after having watched the film a few months before. I had never really heard of Frank Sidebottom before watching the film which I admittedly only bought because Michael Fassbender is in it. But the book was great and did make me cry at one point, but then I am a massive softie. If you've seen the film then defiantly pick up a copy of the book too as it really gives a different perspective to what happened.

I recently finished Them and found myself never wanting it to end. The people and topics within the book are possibly more relevant now than when the book was published back in 2001. Jon's portrayal of Islamist extremist Omar Bakri was questionable at times, but I did find myself actually quite liking him by the end of the book. But my favourite segment of the book is all about Jon's involvement with Alex Jones (no, not the The One Show presenter) and the Bilderberg Group. It's a very long story that left me crying with laughter and on the edge of my seat at the same time.

But finally, on to the book that I am currently reading. I decided to not mix up my author choice and am now in the middle of Out Of The Ordinary after I came across it in a bookshop in Whitstable during the summer (that's also where I picked up Frank.) My friend described it as 'fucked up' after he spend our silent reading session at school reading the blurb. But the book is very different to any of Jon's other books, mainly because it focuses more on his life and his experiences than other peoples stories. It's far more autobiographical which I almost prefer as it gives some context to Jon's other books from around the same time frame.

The only other book that I read this year was by my friend Josh Fox. 140 Characters of Truth is an honest and heartbreaking Tweet-based book all about Josh's secret battle with depression. After having done the same thing for a few years, it really made me realise how different things can be when you take away the constant pressure to constantly be happy and positive on social media. Remember to always tell your friends you love them and appreciate them, yeah?

I've now only got two of Jon's books left to read on my bookshelf, Lost at Sea and What I Do. I am contemplating reading What I Do first and then leaving Lost At Sea for when I go to New York next October, but it does mean that I'm going to find another handful of books to read once I finish What I Do. I'm contemplating picking up The Looting Machine again after I bought it when I was doing NCS, either that or The Evolution of Everything which I also picked up when I was doing NCS.

If you have any books like Jon's that you would recommend then please let me know as I'm going to have to start reading books by a different author next year!

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