Inspiring books- which books are just must reads?

(50 Posts)
yummymummy345 Sun 02-Oct-11 15:24:17

As the title suggests- what have been the most inspiring/life changing books you have read? busy mum of 2 but now finding time to start reading.

Just reading 'the road less travelled' very good read...

isbizz Tue 11-Oct-11 20:10:26

Agree with nearly all of BsshBossh, and some of my own would include
'The Road' and 'All the Pretty Horses' by Cormac McCarthy
'Freedom' by Jonathan Franzen
'The English Patient' by Michael Ondaatje
Love of 7 Dolls by Paul Gallico (very old but still so relevant and deceptively profound)
'A Prayer for Owen Meany' by John Irving (hillarious and very sad)
Almost all by Rose Tremain,
Almost all by Angela Carter
and finally, a naturalist book, 'The Wild Places' by Robert Macfarlane which made me see Great Britain in such a new way and made me want to leave my family for a fortnight to go on a long walk - alone!

tartanfrump Wed 12-Oct-11 09:56:01

Totally agree re Testament of Youth - read it in my teens and it's had a lifelong influence on my interests - politics, poetry, the first world war, women's ishoos..

Other lifechanging reads include Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels and Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban - just for sheer power of the writing and the complete worlds they create. Couldn't get either of them out of my mind for weeks.
And just for loveliness of storytelling, A Scots Quair by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
and Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier - books to take you through life!

minimuffin Wed 12-Oct-11 13:30:26

You just beat me to Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels - I just thought it was one of the most beautifully written, moving books. Then I read The Winter Vault by her recently and hated the style of it, it felt like a big banging-on-and-on diatribe thinly disguised as a novel. So disappointed, it made me wonder if I should re-read Fugitive Pieces - read it about 10 years ago and if it's in the same style I would have much less time for it now. Have you read it tartan?

Lots of novels by Colette - read them in my late teens and loved them.

Also the Map of Love by Adhaf Soueif

grannyscalpay Wed 12-Oct-11 17:58:00

All of Carol Shields books! Nobody does the minutiae of daily life and how ordinary people think like Carol, sadly lost to cancer several years ago.

DontNickMyMilk Wed 12-Oct-11 20:31:31

Am really getting into Dorothy Koomson and can highly recommend "Marshmallows for Breakfast". A really engaging read and when I'd finished it, turned to hubby and said "Now THAT was a good book!" He then went and bought me a load more last Christmas. I'm working my way through them, but Marshmallows is the best so far. Another of her books, "My Best Friend's Girl" was a Richard & Judy book club one. Good book but prefer Marshmallows. Her books are an easy read, not too heavy, but not as fluffy and predictable as some of the chick-lit out there. Don't get me wrong, I like a bit of chick-lit, but these are better.

eatyourveg Wed 12-Oct-11 20:39:09

DontNickMyMilk goodnight beautiful is her best imo.

DontNickMyMilk Wed 12-Oct-11 21:04:22

eatyourveg I haven't read that one yet. <goes to check whether its in the pile of ones not read...> No, not got that one, must prime DH for Christmas list. I've enjoyed them all so far.

I do like it when I find an author I like, although I've found I've gone off Nick Parsons. Loved the early stuff, got most of them, didn't really like My Favourite Wife, not bothered since.

eatyourveg Wed 12-Oct-11 21:40:56

Only got 3 DKs Haven't liked the look of anything other than goodnight beautiful, marshmallows and best friend's girl. the ice cream one sounded boring. I think I read the best one first and nothing has yet matched it. Definitely one for the xmas list tho I've seen it in plenty of charity shops so you could get it for less than the price of a postage stamp.

Gloriousconfusion Thu 13-Oct-11 11:57:30

Yes, I loved Crime and Punishment, and The Little Prince.
A Thousand Splendid Suns - enlightening about the way of life in Afghanistan and very moving. A Short History of Tractors in the Ukraine was hilarious and I recently re-read Wuthering Heights after 55 years - enjoyed it much more the second time around. And Snow by Orhan Pamuk was brilliant

Stripy1 Thu 13-Oct-11 12:39:12

Its got to be - Susan Jeffers, Feel the fear and do it anyway. This should really be given out in the Bounty packs you get in the Maternity wards!

If it wasn't for this book I'd have never started my own business. www.thestripycompany.co.uk

yummymummy345 Tue 08-Nov-11 22:59:06

I have just ordered - 'Down and out in Paris and London' together with 'The blood of others' ....all of your suggestions should keep me going for sometime .....thanks again

dearheart Wed 09-Nov-11 18:37:01

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry - just breathtakingly good.

Vanity Fair by William Thackery - fabulous fabulous novel.

I've just recommended A Fine Balance on another thread (looking for books with a sad ending). It's such a wonderful book.

yummymummy345 Mon 19-Dec-11 22:04:41

Another 2 books ordered- thanks guys

helpmabob Mon 19-Dec-11 22:24:12

Beloved by Toni Morrison (haunting and unforgettable)
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman (a short story that I will never forget)
Ray Bradbury in particular his short stories
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
To Kill A Mockingbird
Anna Karenina
Jennie by Paul Galico

there are more but those were the first that came to mind

IndigoBell Tue 20-Dec-11 13:21:25
IndigoBell Tue 20-Dec-11 13:23:24
yummymummy345 Sun 29-Jan-12 21:28:45

Any others? think 'call the midwfe' would have been a brilliant book to read...

yummymummy345 Sun 29-Jan-12 21:30:57

Jennifer worth also wrote 'Shadows of the workhouse:The drama of postwar life in London'

GreatExpectations2012 Mon 30-Jan-12 16:58:36

Just finished Call the Midwife, it was fabulous. I need to work through some of my huge pile before I invest in her other books. Highly recommend that one though.

yummymummy345 Sun 10-Mar-13 19:45:39

Thought I would bump the thread again, wonder if there are any other titles, mainly non-fiction which are must reads? Just read 'Nothing to Envy' Barbara Demick- brilliant & fascinating read. Freakonmics as suggested here also really good read.

lizzyhum Mon 11-Mar-13 16:28:40

Have you read "How to be a Woman" by Caitlin Moran? Very, very funny.

Also enjoyed Jeanette Winterson's autobiography "Why be Happy when you can be Normal?"

yummymummy345 Wed 13-Mar-13 19:22:41

Hi lizzy no I haven't read either of those, thank you- will look into

MrsTwgtwf Wed 13-Mar-13 19:26:14

Watching with interest, and identifying my own top picks - this may take some time....

babybarrister Wed 13-Mar-13 19:31:23

Truth - Emile Zola

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