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...

Anything by Jane Austen - not life-changing but too good to miss.
Try Douglas Coupland - Girlfriend In A Corner or Life After God, maybe.
Skellig by David Almond is a children's book but absolutely beautiful and encourages us to view people/the world in a slightly different way.
I really liked Tuesdays With Morrie, though lots of people on here hate it.

Landoni112 Tue 04-Oct-11 19:46:50

All quiet on the western front.
Only just read it, although was familiar with the name....was amazing! Best book I have read for a v long time....

babycham42 Tue 04-Oct-11 19:48:39

"Down and Out in Paris and London" George Orwell

smileitssunny Wed 05-Oct-11 15:27:33

I've just finished 'Major Pettigrew's Last Stand' by Helen Simonson - LOVED it! different to the books I usually read. I'd love to hear if anyone else has read it, and what they thought?

ClaudiaSchiffer Thu 06-Oct-11 00:06:17

I'm reading that right now smileitssunny! About 1/3 way through and enjoying it. Not sure I'm LOVING it though, although I'm rather dipping in and out which isn't great. I need to get a concentrated go at it <eyes children resentfully>

smileitssunny Thu 06-Oct-11 16:55:50

I don't know Claudia I also was able to put it down and come back to it, but I really really liked it even though it wasn't 'unputdownable'. It just seemed to be such an interesting view of the English culture... and I was really rooting for the Major all the way through, despite his idiosyncracies (sp?).

Glad it's not just me who occasionally feels resentful of the children - why won't DD just go to sleep?? She said she was tired! Grr.

yummymummy345 Thu 06-Oct-11 19:18:52

Ah thanks for replying- will look out for those, few hours reading (once you get a chance!) and your perspective can change quite radically I find ......

yummymummy345 Fri 07-Oct-11 16:52:31

any others out there?

Conflugenglugen Fri 07-Oct-11 17:34:28

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy - the style takes a bit of getting used to, but it shook me to the core
Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Not life changing but a brilliant read is I heard the owl call my name by Margaret Craven. Just read it again this week, 20 years after I first read it. I love it.

BsshBossh Fri 07-Oct-11 19:46:17

Too many to mention, but scanning my bookshelves as I type this:

Thought provoking: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Intense, brooding, gripping: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Complex, meaty, intellectual: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Beautifully written, exquisite characterisation, one of the few books to have made me cry: Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
Surreal: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Laugh out loud hilarious: She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Authors that generally inspire me for a variety of reasons:
All the above
Margaret Atwood
Kiran Desai
David Mitchell
Carol Shields
Ian McEwan
Paul Auster
Isabella Allende
William Gibson

Oh and so many more!

Willabywallaby Sun 09-Oct-11 18:18:25

I'm trying to get inspiration for my choice for my book club, just ordered 'She's come undone'!

Bucharest Sun 09-Oct-11 18:27:05

Testament of Youth- Vera Brittain
All Quiet on the Western Front EM Remarque
The Little Prince
The Blood of Others Simone de Beauvoir
Gone to Soldiers Marge Piercy

All books which I read in my youth but have recently re-read, and maintain that the world would be a better place if everyone was made to read them when they were teenagers...

AuraofDora Sun 09-Oct-11 18:34:47

nice to see All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque getting a mention amazing book, know it well
reading Orlando by Virginia Woolf just now, not totally into it yet..
Finished Herzog by SaulBellow, not overwhelmed..
recently finished a very interesting book on artists Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler, Stanley Spencer - cant remember title sorry, compelling biogs and interesting time
What sort of books do you like OP? Has to be fiction?

Oh yes, yes, yes to The Little Prince - gorgeous book.

yummymummy345 Mon 10-Oct-11 10:17:45

Apart from reading Psychology at uni, I have been very lazy when it comes to reading but now need to make time for it.... Loads of interests just dont know where to start with the books, so thought I would post. so thanks for all of your replies

minsmum Mon 10-Oct-11 10:24:39

I know this much is true- Wally Lamb

HappyDoll Tue 11-Oct-11 16:19:59

Stuart - A life backwards by Alexander Masters certainly altered my perspective on many things for a time.

strandednomore Tue 11-Oct-11 18:17:59

Most of Primo Levi - in particular If This is a Man
And because I am going to see him tonight at the Literary Festival (and because it's brilliant) - Joe Simpson's Touching the Void.

leatherlover Tue 11-Oct-11 18:21:16

Could be lifechanging depending on your viewpoint but
The Reconnection by Eric Pearl..fascinating...
Most things by the Dalai Lama..
Veronika decides to die by Paulo Coehlo.
Must read rather than lifechanging:
Wild swans by Jung Chang,
Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics
and for pure escapism anything written by Wilbur Smith but particularly his Egyptian series -River God, Birds of Prey and Warlock.
Finally one of my recent favourites....Pride, Predjudice and Zombies -a very clever horror take on Jane Austen's Pride and Predjudice published by Quirk Classics..http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pride-Prejudice-Zombies-Romance-now-Ultraviolent/dp/1594743347

I love P&P with Zombies - it's an absolute hoot. You can also get Sense And Sensibility And Seamonsters. And Touching The Void is another good read.

I really didn't like Wild Swans - I thought it was v badly written and irritating - but I know that most people love it.

I Love Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. It's not inspring though, very dark for it's time and it's depiction of how not everyone wants the American Dream and the white picket fence, but they feel that they have to pretend they do.

Love The Kite Runner, The Help, One Day, Therese Racquin, The Little Stranger, The Collector.

Oh and i second Jeffrey Eugenides - The Virgin Suicides is so beautifully written, i was spellbound.

Yes to The Virgin Suicides, which is brilliant. I liked Middlesex but those white dressed virgins are the best!

Shudder at The Collector - good but scary.

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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