Bookworm Friday: Five Books Recommendations from Wojciech Kałucki
In this series, we ask our William Hill colleagues to share their favorite book recommendations and tell us what specifically they learned from them. Today we present five recommendations from Wojciech Kałucki. Have a good read!
On a daily basis, Wojciech is a Senior Software Engineer in Kóki Monsters team in Sportsbook. He said: Working on the Cashout solution is an excellent opportunity for me to learn from others and face new challenges. When it comes to my hobbies, the sport has been a long-running passion of mine. I trained judo for over 14 years, and even though my competing days are over, I still like watching live sports.
I’m immensely enjoying the fact that the available technology is slowly catching up to our imagination, allowing us to enjoy continuously better book adaptations on film. However, I still believe that books are the best platform for people to share good stories and connect over the things they like. Fantasy and Science Fiction were always my favorite genres. I hope that my book recommendations will give the die-hard fantasy fans something new to pick up and convince those who usually shy away from fiction to try something new.
1. Sir Terry, Pratchett Going Postal
It was my great pleasure to see Discworld novels pop up in previous book recommendations. Discworld has to be the highest level of fiction. It does everything that great fiction does—but then makes us laugh too.
Discworld is story, humor, and philosophy all in one. Nowhere else have I been made to laugh so much while being forced to think so much, all while being given a wonderful plot.
Going Postal tells the story of conman Moist Von Lipwig. He leads a successful career in crime until he found himself with a noose tightly around his neck, dropping through a trapdoor, and falling into...a government job? When he wakes up from his unsuccessful hanging, he is offered an ultimatum. He will either accept a job as Ankh-Morpork’s Postmaster General or repeat the hanging process, this time with guaranteed success. However, getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again will require Moist to use every dirty trick up his sleeve. It indeed requires a con artist to run a successful government agency.
2. Sir Terry, Pratchett Reaper Man
The Discworld novels are filled with great characters, but in my opinion, the personification of Death is the best one. Death is a reoccurring character appearing in almost all novels, always speaking in the distinctive SMALL CAPS letters. Sir Terry Pratchett often uses him to explore the problems of human existence.
In this book, Death fascination with humanity is questioned by his upper management, and he finds himself fired from the position for developing an unnecessary personality. In exchange for his loyal service, he is given a small measure of a human lifetime and is allowed to keep his horse Blinky. Over the course of this book, Death will experience what it truly means to be human, feeling sadness, joy, and the unfair inevitability of death.
I think the best testament to the power of literature is the fact that Sir Terry Pratchett himself got letters from sick fans, people who were on the brink of passing, saying that when/if they cross to the other side and meet the Grim Reaper, they hope that he will be like the character from his books.
3. Jim Butcher, Dresden Files
The Dresden Files is a series of urban fantasy/ detective mystery novels following the adventures of the wizard-detective Harry Dresden. The action is placed in modern-day Chicago, in which all creatures of legends are real. The first books in the series start small with Harry solving various paranormal cases as a “consulting wizard” for the Chicago Police Department, quickly shifting from the noir detective setting into an epic fantasy world.
These books are the definition of addictive page-turners. Once you start reading them, I have zero doubts that you won’t be able to put them down. Jim Butcher has mastered the art of mystery and plot setup. While I often have a hard time enjoying thrillers when I correctly guess “whodunit” mid-book, the Dresden Files puzzles never cease to amaze me. When it comes to the plot setup, the novels resemble your favorite TV shows in which smaller or bigger plot points lead to big payoffs, important character moments, and grand finales.
If you decide to pick up this series, you will be quickly charmed by the nail-biting adventures of Harry Dresden, his snarky humor, and a rich cast of well-realized characters. Trust me, it is definitely worth your time.
4. Brandon Sanderson, The Final Empire (Mistborn 1)
The best elevator pitch for this book would be “Fantasy Ocean’s Eleven.”
If you love the heist movie genre as much as the author, you will be amazed at how well the idea of a thief crew trying to achieve the impossible task works in this book. The book is set in a broken, divided world in which the Skaa slaves work to maintain the lavish lives of the nobility, reigned by the immortal Lord Ruler. This time you won’t see casinos being robbed. One of the protagonists will gather an elite crew of thieves to achieve not just the greatest heist in history but also the downfall of a divine despot.
An action-driven plot, great world-building, compelling characters, and unique approach to magic make the Final Empire a grand first entry to the Mistborn series. It is also a good example of how fantasy can blend many themes and discuss complex issues such as slavery and class-based societies.
5. Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game
In a future version of Earth, humanity is endangered by the alien enemy seeking to destroy human life. The war with the Formics has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway almost as long. In preparation for the next alien invasion, young geniuses, including Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, are placed in military facilities playing increasingly difficult simulated war games in zero gravity. Will Ender prove himself as a worthy leader, or will the “Game” break him? You will have to see for yourself. One of the notorious achievements of this novel is that it keeps you so invested in the story that you will be blind-sighted to one of the best plot twists in Science Fiction.