Novels between chick lit and highbrow

(69 Posts)
DoItTooJulia Mon 06-Jan-14 19:59:07

I hate chick lit and stuff that's too highbrow too, so what do I read?

I love Atwood, Kingsolver, Barnes, Allende. I don't mind a historical novel, never really ventured into fantasy, but I like a ripping good read!

Help!

ItsATIARA Tue 14-Jan-14 18:06:36

Dorothy L Sayers (middlebrow Agatha Christie)
John Le Carre (truly great writer)
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (Susannah Clarke)
Neil Gaiman perhaps?

overtheHillsandcomingtostay Tue 14-Jan-14 17:54:48

Oh yes Barbara Trapido - is 'Juggling' ? one of hers?

overtheHillsandcomingtostay Tue 14-Jan-14 17:53:14

For me anything by Anita Shreve (left of middle ground!) but
definitely Patrick Gale (in the middle!) and William Trevor (right of middle ground). Definitely agree about Carol Shields esp. The Stone
Diaries.
Very grateful for loads of suggestions: I will try Sue Gee next.

wiltingfast Mon 13-Jan-14 21:13:49

Any of the Rabbit books by John Updike?

Have you tried 1Q84? V intruiging, really enjoyed it.

timtam23 Sun 12-Jan-14 23:03:35

Barbara Trapido?
I liked "Sex and Stravinsky" and "Frankie and Stankie"

Eucalyptus - Murray Bail

Trumpet - Jackie Kay
Also, Red Dust Road - the true story of Jackie Kay's journey to find her father in Nigeria

Non-fiction - I have read and re-read all of Dervla Murphy's travel books

ShanghaiDiva Sat 11-Jan-14 05:00:19

Maggie o'farell
Kate Atkinson
Jonathan Coe
Philip hensher
David lodge
Where d'you go Bernadette
May we be forgiven
Cutting for stone
Little bee
Unexpected lessons in love
Marriage material
Atonement
Big brother

DuchessofMalfi Sat 11-Jan-14 04:49:52

Has anyone mentioned A M Homes? I'm reading May We Be Forgiven atm. Nearly finished it. It's certainly not chick-lit, but is very readable, very dark and satirical. I'm enjoying it a lot. Very quirky.

januarysunsetfire Fri 10-Jan-14 22:42:53

Seconding The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - and Perfect by the same author is very touching.

Lisa Jewell - not all are 'highbrow' but her recent The House We Grew Up In is a real personal favourite of mine.

littlerach Thu 09-Jan-14 21:31:35

Margaret Forster, Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Tyler, Ann Pratchet, Doris Lessing.

marilynmonroe Wed 08-Jan-14 18:48:28

We read where'd you go Bernadette by Maria semple. V good

Also read silent wife by Asa Harrison

I'm nearly finished the goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Loving it so much I don't want it too end even though its a huge book!

Good behavior by Molly Keane v funny.

Beautiful ruins by Jess Walters. A lovely love story set in America and Italy.

Non fiction

Mitford sisters by Mary Novell

Maggie and me by Damian Barr

Misadventures by Sylvia smith.

BranchingOut Wed 08-Jan-14 18:32:47

Noting some of these reads for hol next week.

Alfonso1 Wed 08-Jan-14 11:44:30

Natascha Solomons - Mr Rosenblums list and The gallery of vanished husbands

Liane Moriarty - The husbands secret and What Alice forgot

doittoo Eleanor rocked didn't she! The BBC4 series on the She Wolves was fantastic...watch it if you didn't.

KurriKurri Tue 07-Jan-14 22:00:12

Things I've read fairly recently that fit your criteria :-

This Thing if Darkness - Harry Thompson (brilliant book, I found it fascinating)

The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

Affinity - Sarah Waters

The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga

The Blue Afternoon - William Boyd

The Thirteenth Tale - Diana Setterfield - real page turner (but was recently on TV so you may have seen it)

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Tue 07-Jan-14 21:27:42

Penelope Lively, certainly. Margaret Forster is also really good. Keeping the World Away and Shadow Baby are my favourites, I've read them both several times.

John Fowles, Julian Barnes, Alice Thomas Ellis, Iris Murdoch (especially The Bell) would all be worth exploring.

Poppy Adam's The Behaviour of Moths is another favourite.

Happy reading smile

notnowImreading Tue 07-Jan-14 20:42:44

Oh, I've just thought of Patrick Gale. Try Notes from an Exhibition or A Perfectly Good Man.

Alternatively, Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day is sweet and funny.

DoItTooJulia Tue 07-Jan-14 20:26:49

I thought it was just me with the everyone is called Thomas thing!!!

Non fiction wise, I love a bit of popular science. I think it was Mary Roach's Stiff that I enjoyed, all about what happens to dead bodies.

I like historical science too. Galileo's Letters was good. I also quite like the history of religion and have read extensively about the Prophet Muhammad the beginnings of Christianity in Britain and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Quite an eclectic mix, but basically, I'll read anything if its good!

Random stuff have read recently:

Oliver Sacks - The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat (really interesting neuropsychology case studies)

New Bill Bryson (if you haven't, just read ALL his books, now!)

Kate Long - sort of above chick lit, well written, evocative of place, Mothers and Daughters was rather poignant

A Million Little Pieces - addiction memoir by James Frey

Ian Macewan is good as serious but eminently readable Booker type fiction

Daphne du Maurier's nice for an indulgent read

Hilary Mantel as above - once you get into the rhythm of Wolf Hall (and the fact EVERYONE is called Thomas!) it's great

Garcia Marquez

Any Khaled Hosseini or whatever he's called - Kite Runners, 1000 Splendid Suns (made me physically sick though) and the new one

Oops sorry you mentioned Julian Barnes in your OP. how about Isabel Losada For Tibet with Love - a nonfiction book suggestion based on your appreciation for Barbara Kingsolver.

Louise Doughty, particularly Apple Tree Yard. And have you read The Goldfinch by Donna Tart yet? Beautiful writing but easy to read- don't be put off by the length. Do you like Julian Barnes? David Mitchell?

Nonfiction is difficult to recommend as you don't mention your interests but I like popular science and can recommend Gulp by Mary Roach - it's about the alimentary canal, disgusting but hilarious, and the disgustingness isn't gratuitous. Also recommend the Epigenetics Revolution. And if you like cats, A Street Cat Named Bob is not exactly an intellectual heavyweight but is interesting and will make you smile.

Campaspe Tue 07-Jan-14 18:50:47

And both of Grace McCleen's novels.

Campaspe Tue 07-Jan-14 18:50:10

Another vote for Penelope Lively and SUsan Hill here.

Also Sue Gee.

DoItTooJulia Tue 07-Jan-14 18:14:48

Oh my word! Look at all of these responses!

There's plenty for me to trawl through here!

I really enjoyed the Amercan Wife. The Tractor one, not so much. It was ok, but readable!

I love 1984 (hence the bastardised nick name!) but have never read any of his other stuff, so will probably check out the NF one recommended above!

Thanks so much!

SarahAndFuckTheResolutions Tue 07-Jan-14 17:04:43

I quite liked The Innocents by Francesca Segal, which is a modern day interpretation of The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. It's set in the London Jewish community and it was a good read.

And I would highly recommend A Kind of Intimacy by Jenn Ashworth, it's very good. Annie moves into a new house and becomes more interested than she should be in her neighbours, with some terrible results. If you take just one of my recommendations, make it this one smile

Similar but not quite so good is Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach. Leila knows everything about Tess, even though they have never met, as she is about to take over her identity.

Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller might also fit the theme, it's well worth a read if you haven't already.

Crowler Tue 07-Jan-14 15:45:18

I loved the Paris Wife.

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