In honour of this week's 25th Hay Festival, we decided to revisit the theme of favourite books, this time for adults rather than children's novels. Here are some of the VerseOne team's most cherished reads.
James, Account Manager—Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
Callum, Marketing Executive—Roses Are Red by James Patterson: "Roses are Red is my particular favourite as it introduces 'The Mastermind' a criminal that is recurring throughout the series, and Cross's most interesting foe. As his name suggests, The Mastermind is extremely intelligent, and somehow has intricate knowledge of Cross and his personal life, using this to tease and manipulate Cross all the way through the book. In this storyline, The Mastermind, although intelligent, starts as little more than a violent bank robber, although his character is expanded and built upon during the book and later novels. A main draw of the series is how human Patterson has made the lead protagonist. Rather than a law-abiding, to-the-letter all round good guy, Cross freely admits to wanting to physically hurt and kill The Mastermind, particularly when his family is endangered. Cross works with Kyle Craig, an FBI agent, and John Samspon, a fellow Washington PD cop and Cross's best friend, and Patterson uses these two very different relationships to showcase both sides of Cross's character. This book is followed by Violets are Blue, in which we learn the identity of The Mastermind, a plot twist that I was totally underprepared for."
William, Project Manager—Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson
Chris, Product Manager—Use of Weapons by Iain M Banks: "My original copy of Iain M Banks's Use of Weapons has been read so many times that I had to get a new one a couple of years ago. Given the society's near-Utopian existence, Bank's Culture novels tend to dwell on the edge cases—the areas where the super-power Culture interacts with less developed races. Use of Weapons follows this trend, detailing the exploits of a gun-for-hire and master-of-war called Zakalwe as he undertakes one more job for the Culture's shady Special Circumstances section.
"As the story in the present time unfolds, it is interspersed with counterpoint chapters detailing Zakalwe's earlier life: these chapters move forward in time, until the line of the present meets with the arc of the past in an explosive, shocking denouement. Whilst the skillfulness with which the tale is told would make the book worth reading on its own, there is no less pleasure in revisiting the novel. Because it is only once one knows the ending that one realises that there are many clues scattered throughout the text, and so subsequent re-readings provide a rich, but different, experience."
James, Marketing Executive—The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Nicky, Business Development Manager—The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
David, Developer—Look to Windward by Iain M Banks
Alan, Executive Chairman—Into Thin Air by John Krakauer