The Second Coming, John Niven
£5, Kindle Store, iBookstore
Fed up with the feculant state of the human race, God, a potty-mouthed pothead, sends Jesus (or JC) back to Earth to put the human race back in order. Reborn as a struggling, dope-smoking, beer-swilling musician, JC winds up on a TV talent show run by the ruthlesss, satanic Steven Stelfox to win over the nation in a bid to right the world from wrong and to most importantly live by one commandment – to "be nice". As ever, there's a price to pay for fame. What's not to love?
An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington, Karl Pilkington
£4, Kindle Store, iBookstore
What better place to read about the adventures of a xenophobic, adventurer/philosper/idiot than on your holidays? Sending someone who would rather spend a couple of weeks watching TV than surveying the wonders of the world to far-flung shores was never going be a comfortable ride, especially when his trip has been organised with maximum discomfort in mind. A tumultuous tale of exhaustion, irritation and anger unfolds as Karl finds himself forced to participate in bizarre and often intimidating cultures. He gets spat at, punched, compelled to eat fried toad and is burned by a fire-handling masseuse. And that's just day one.
Game of Thrones (A Song of ice and Fire), George R.R Martin
£4, Kindlestore, iBookstore
If you love a Lord of the Rings-style epic fantasy, this five-part tale of feuding families, war, sex, carnage, bloodshed, deception and the desperate pursuit of power – oh, and did we mention the woman who breast feeds dragons? – ticks all the high fantasy epic boxes. Set in the fictional land of Westeros, clans have lived and fought for generations until the Targaryens declare war, uniting the Seven Kingdoms under the Iron Throne, and that's when all the above stuff comes in. And did we mention the bit about the woman who breast feeds dragons? Bizarre.
A Little History of the World, Ernst Gombrich
£7, Kindle Store
Originally written for children in 1935, Gombrich's story charts the evolution of mankind from the Stone Age to the First World War - basically, the full span of human history – scattered with colourful descriptions of wars and conquests, grand works of art and the trials and tribulations of science. While it's not so much about dates and facts, there are vivid descriptions – Julius Caesar is described as "a thin-faced bald-man … whose weak and sickly body hid a shining intellect and a will of iron." All this is dusted with Gombrich's egalitarian, pacifist world view. But don't worry, it's adult enough to avoid being ribbed for reading a kid's book.
The girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
A story depicting finanical fraud and a powerful family's dark secret should sate your appetite for all things sinister. It begins with a Swedish company ripping off the government to fund a fake business in Russia. As the plot thickens, deceit and a missing – potentially murdered – family member take centre stage. As the investigation unfolds, it becomes apparent multiple acts of murder have taken place. This is where the girl with the tat comes in. As an angry punk hacker, she forms an incongruous relationship with the investigating journalist, which envelops into a tender love story. Awww. Is the moral not to trust a girl with a dragon tattoo? Read it and find out.