by Lee Cross
Could you read one book a day for seven days?… Would you like to try?
It can be done! Here’s my picks for tackling seven in seven:
(1) Perfume: The Story of a Murderer – Patrick Sueskind: Start with something very nearly unique and genuinely a classic to whet your appetite for the rest of the week. A thriller about one man’s obsession with a world most people fail to even notice.
It’s addictive reading and coming in shy of 300 pages, a great place to start your week, especially if you’ve never ‘one and done’ before. This book will prove that you can and more importantly show that you won’t sacrifice any enjoyment by doing so.
(2) The Men Who Stare At Goats – Jon Ronson: Non-fiction comedy, which I dare you not to read in a day. My advice to you, read this book in a WIFI free zone because you’re going to want to start sourcing information straight way, Ronson’s writing is that engaging.
Again it’s south of the 300 page mark, so you’re not going to have skip lunch but you probably will because you’ll be enjoying the ride that much.
(Note: Don’t worry if you saw the movie and hated it, I did too, they couldn’t be more polar)
(3) Rising Phoenix – Kyle Mills: I suppose you could call this airport fiction. This is light, this is trashy and you’ve read the story a dozen times before, the main characters are classically clichéd and straight from the crime writer’s handbook, in short – it does exactly what you expect it to do.
A great book for a hangover day and at 400ish pages it will tax your resolve but Mills has just enough skill to keep you turning them over until the end.
(4) Slade House – David Mitchell: Fantasy / Magic Realism. Set in the ‘Cloud Atlas’ Universe, this book is a little gem that stays on point and on topic throughout. Basically a series of interconnected short stories set around a common theme…in other words, David Mitchell 101 and that man has skills.
Not much more than 200 pages, it’s a cracking little read for an afternoon with a few pints of beer or a chilled bottle of wine.
(5) The Game – Neil Strauss: Non-fiction, I’d call it a comedy, others would say a critique and some a ‘how to’ guide.
Ever been chatted up in a bar? Or wanted to chat someone up in a bar? …This is the science behind it.
Basically it’s 500 pages of crap. I laughed from the beginning to the end, it’s light, easy to read and will make you think twice about what you say (or what’s said to you) to people in bars.
(6) The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman: Adult / Contemporary fairy tale. Some authors write stories about the world, Gaiman writes worlds filled with organic stories of their own.
Less than 200 pages, this is the shortest book on my list but possibly the most difficult to finish in a day because you’re not going to want to put it down. It’s simply beautiful, you’ll read the same line five times over and it will be like a collage of colour in your mind.
(7) The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams: FantSci. Start your week with a classic – end your week with a classic.
The page count doesn’t matter at this stage… you’re Arthur Dent! You’ve travelled to more places, worlds and realities in one week than a person with a passport could hope to visit in a dozen lifetimes.
Take the last step… learn the meaning of life, the universe and everything.
Afterword: If you do decide to try ‘7 in 7’ and go with your own list my advice to you is threefold-
- Don’t read serial titles by the same author, I tried this, you get used to their style and it fatigues you; no matter how good the writing, you’re reading half a million words, you’ll want a change.
- Avoid translated books (I know I have one above but every rule has exceptions), sentences don’t always make the jump easily into English and it will trip your reading momentum.
- Switch between genres from day to day; keep your mind guessing, keep you mind learning, keep your mind wanting more.