What are your "must read" books?

(117 Posts)
kunoichi Wed 30-Jan-13 11:41:06

Having read through the BBC and Guardian top 100 books lists, I must admit that I find some of them boring or difficult to read. Many seem to be books people feel should be read, rather than those we may want to read because they are so enjoyable.

This year I'm taking part in the 50 books challenge and I'd love to know which books Mumsnetters would most heartily recommend across all genres, both contemporary and historical.

Some of my own all-time favourites are:

Shadow of the Wind
Memoirs of a Geisha
The Time Travellers Wife
The Lovely Bones
A Little Princess

I'll probably read The Snow Child next, but would welcome any suggestions for what I should put on my Kindle to read this year!

fl0b0t Wed 30-Jan-13 11:48:29

Oooh I've read some great books recently. Anything my Patrick Gale, Johnathan Tropper or Lionel Schriver goes down well with me!

Novia Wed 30-Jan-13 11:54:38

Just finished The Snow Child - I quite enjoyed it actually, it wasn't what I expected.

I have some firm favourites which I've read over and over again. My must reads would be:

The Poisonwood Bible
The Red Tent
Captain Correlli's Mandolin
The Eyre Affair (and all the sequels)
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Cloud Atlas
The Other Boleyn Girl
To Kill a Mockingbird
Memoirs of a Geisha
Sense and Sensibility

I shall follow this thread with interest to see if I can get some other tips...!

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Wed 30-Jan-13 11:56:55

My favourite book is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

I liked The Lovely Bones
I couldn't get into The Time Travellers Wife
I have Memoirs of a Geisha on my bookcase to read

I think i need to buy Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel now though.

I love a list....

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
God of Small things, by Arundhati Roy
Intimacy, by Hanif Kureshi
The book of Dave, by Will Self
Outliers or What the dog saw, by Malcolm Gladwell

Thewhingingdefective Wed 30-Jan-13 12:01:01

Most things already mentioned smile

A thousand splendid suns - Khaled Hosseini
Rebecca - Du Maurier
The Road - Cormac McCarthy (bleak as heck)
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. - Mark Haddon

Novia Wed 30-Jan-13 12:01:06

Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel was excellent - far better than Wolfhall IMHO!

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Wed 30-Jan-13 12:02:37

I like all of Philippa Gregory's Tudor books.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Wed 30-Jan-13 12:03:28

I haven't read Wolfhall but i think i need to read Bring Up The Bodies, it won another award last night!

Novia Wed 30-Jan-13 12:07:18

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey - I don't think it's obligatory, but it's probably better to read Wolfhall first if you can as Bring Up The Bodies is the second in a planned 3-part series... I think I'd have been a little confused about Cromwell without the background of the first book.

FaceLikeAPickledOnion Wed 30-Jan-13 12:15:50

Mitch Albom - Tuesdays with Morrie, The five people you meet in heaven

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Wed 30-Jan-13 12:15:51

Thanks Novia

I'll get it first then.

Kyrptonite Wed 30-Jan-13 12:18:59

The Shadow of The Wind
The Book Thief
The one Alison weir wrote about Jane grey
Goodnight Mister Tom blush

Kyrptonite Wed 30-Jan-13 12:19:17

Oh and the kite runner and a thousand splendid suns

Absy Wed 30-Jan-13 12:29:08

I HATE that BBc list. It's so inconsistent e.g. "Hamlet" and "the Complete Works of Shakespeare" - if someone's read the second, they've read the first AND the complete works of Shakespeare is not A book. It's a lot of books, and plays, and poems. And there's too much Jane Austen.

I would recommend:
- The Plague (Albert Camus)
- Anna Karenina
- Disgrace (JM Coetzee)
- Beloved (Toni Morrison)
- Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas)

For historical, I would highly recommend the Pianist by Wladislaw Szpilman (which the movie was based on). It was written just after the war, and is very immediate.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 30-Jan-13 12:31:13

the whinging If you think The Road is bleak, try Blood Meridian. Jesus. That is one depressing book.

I love "Any Human Heart", "A Fine Balance" and "House of Sand and Fog"

MarianForrester Wed 30-Jan-13 12:47:51

Watching this for ideas!

Mine are:

A Lost Lady by Willa Cather. Just so well written

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

The Great Gatsby

A Laodicean by Thomas Hardy

First Love by Turgenev

Madame Bovary

Anna Karenina

kunoichi Wed 30-Jan-13 12:54:29

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey - Memoirs of a Geisha is amazing, read it before you watch the film (it's far superior).

Thewhingingdefective - I've had The Curious Incident on my bookshelf for ages, I'd almost forgotten about it!

kunoichi Wed 30-Jan-13 13:16:28

Absy, I totally agree! There's way to much Jacqueline Wilson in there too, especially in the 101-200 range =/

ninjanurse Wed 30-Jan-13 13:22:21

A Town like Alice - Nevil Shute
My dear, I wanted to tell you - Louisa Young

upinthehills Wed 30-Jan-13 13:23:49

I loved the Poisonwood bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

Also, more light hearted, enjoyed all the Tales of the City books - so easy to read by really enjoyable - they are being dramatised on radio 4 atm.

DoItToJulia Wed 30-Jan-13 13:23:59

Oh, I can't get on with Wolf Hall. Bought both Bring Up The Bodies and Wolfhall to read now I am on maternity leave.

Must reads for me are:

The Poisonwood Bible, or anything by Barbara Kingsolver for that matter.

1984 George Orwell
The Hnadmaids Tale, Margaret Attwood
Oryx and Crake and The Year of The Flood, Atwood again

I have recently enjoyed The American Wife by Curtis Sittingfeld.

I bet there are more. I might be back!

upinthehills Wed 30-Jan-13 13:24:12

Also a big fan or Anne Tyler, don't think she wrote a bad book..

Shanghaidiva Wed 30-Jan-13 13:25:13

A lot of the ones already mentioned and

Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis
Cutting for Stone - Verghese
anything by Jonathan Coe
anything by Margaret Atwood
Birdsong - Faulks

Isabeller Wed 30-Jan-13 13:30:21

Absolutely love last four on your list so will have to get the first one now!

Just read The Snow Child - vg (title reminded me of Miss Smilla's feeling for Snow, also vg but v different)

Recently enjoyed
One Moment, One Morning
The Two Week Wait

Would add my vote to
Curious Incident
Lovely Bones
Tuesdays with Morrie
5 People

Have enjoyed and might well reread
Never Let Me Go
Cloud Atlas
Making History (Stephen Fry novel)
Gaining Ground (possibly dated but significant part of my feminist education)

Would seriously recommend The Stand by Stephen King which I wouldn't have gone anywhere near if not nagged by DP.

I'm getting out my diary now to write down lots of titles from this thread grin

rainbowriver Wed 30-Jan-13 13:40:34

I seem to read books and then forget them, read Memoirs of a Geisha years ago and loved it but forgot about it until reading this post.

Favourites I can think of which stand out are:

IT - Stephen King
The Stand - Stephen King
Lord of the Rings
The boy in the striped pyjamas

Also recently read The Girl on the landing and Dark Matter but have forgotten the authors. Loved both of those books.

Tried the read the Kite Runner but thought it was awful.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Wed 30-Jan-13 14:00:23

Oh yes I loved Room!

Thewhingingdefective Wed 30-Jan-13 14:03:34

Richman - I did start reading Blood Meridian but found it horrible and stopped. He is a cracking writer though.

I am going to add a few of these suggestions to my 50 for this year I think.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Wed 30-Jan-13 16:59:12

Is that the 2003 BBC list? Some of the books are timeless, some are ones which were popular at the time and may not actually stand the test of time.

Some of my must-read books include Rebecca, Iris Murdoch's The Bell, Thomas Hardy's The Woodlanders and Nevil Shute's Pied Piper.

Lots of other suggestions, looking forward to adding them to my list of ones to read.

highlandcoo Wed 30-Jan-13 19:52:00

A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

The Observations - Jane Harris

Bel Canto - Ann Patchett

Espedair Street - Iain Banks

Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson

The Old Wives' Tale - Arnold Bennett

and Pride and Prejudice is an obvious choice I know .. but it's still great

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Wed 30-Jan-13 21:55:39

Also I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb.

MarianForrester Wed 30-Jan-13 22:42:36

Oh, and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Solzhenitsyn .

A revelation to me in my teens, but still relevant, I think

ladydepp Wed 30-Jan-13 22:53:50

I love many of those mentioned, but other favourites are:

1000 autumns of Jacob de Zoet
Song of Achilles
Quarantine by Jim Crace
Regeneration by Pat Barker

Will try to think of some more!

TheOriginalLadyFT Sat 02-Feb-13 17:18:32

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively - I read it as a teenager and it just had huge resonance somehow and I've re-read it many times since and still find it a great book

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks always leaves me feeling deeply moved for days afterwards

I thought Wolf Hall was just a towering work of genius, the use of language was incredible; AS Byatt's Possession for the same reason

For a lighter read, Jilly Cooper's Riders, Rivals, Polo trilogy always makes me laugh, even though some of it is very anthropomorphic

Tiggy114 Sat 02-Feb-13 18:01:54

Alot of the above but also:
We need to talk about kevin
Silence of the lambs
Girl with the dragon tattoo (all 3)
Any sarah waters books

Tiggy114 Sat 02-Feb-13 18:02:45

Ooo and any sherlock Holmes. The short stories are particularly gripping.

alanyoung Sat 02-Feb-13 20:01:33

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. It gives you a great insight into life in medieval times, so when your little ones come to study this period in history you will have many of the answers at your fingertips.

Shybairns Sat 02-Feb-13 20:15:52

In no particular order (and possibly mis spelt):

Gone With the Wind,

Captain Correlli's Mandolin

The Horse Whisperer


Memoirs of a Giesha,

Jane Eyre

Jean Auel's series - Clan of the Cave Bear

The DaVinci Code

Life of Pi

Philippa Gregory's tudor books

Good night Mister Tom,

Jilly Cooper's - Riders, Polo

CheungFun Sat 02-Feb-13 20:22:37

I think my favourite books that I have read and re-read are

The Children of the Earth Series by Jean M Auel - Well researched books set in the pre-historic times.

Anything by Bill Bryson

Wild Swans by Jung Chang

The Girl With the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (enjoyed all books by this author)
The Collector by John Fowles - one of the creepiest books I've ever read that takes you into the mind of a stalker.

Chocolat by Joanne Harris (enjoy all of her books)

Fatal Shore by Ribert Hughes - fascinating read about how Australia was colonised.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - about an American family who go to the Congo as missionaries, very very interesting and tells the story from different characters views.

The Millenium Series by Steig Larsson

Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist - story of a little boy who befriends a vampire girl, not a typical vampire story and was very moving.

Dissolution and the Shardlake series by CJ Sanson about Matthew Shardlake a hunchback lawyer set in the medieval times.

Anything by Lionel Shriver, she seems to be able to cut straight to the point on any subject.

The Acid House by Irvine Welsh, sick but funny!

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Feb-13 20:27:22

Down and out in Paris and London,and,
The Day of the Triffids

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Feb-13 20:29:21

On the Beach

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Feb-13 20:32:15

If this is a man by Primo Levi

pootlebug Sat 02-Feb-13 20:37:45

If anyone is feeling strapped for cash, Life of Pi and The hundred year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared are both great reads and both 20p for the kindle edition.

Also love most things by Barbara Kingsolver. And Ben Goldacre's Bad Science and Bad Pharma.

minsmum Sat 02-Feb-13 20:45:01

Very small squeak do you have any idea where I can get a copy of If this is a man. I have been trying to find one for ages

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Feb-13 20:51:22

I ordered mine years and years ago through a bookshop - and I can't even remember which bookshop it was.

So I'm no help there,I'm afraid minsmum. Sorry.

I tend to look on e-bay generally for hard to track down books,so perhaps keep trying that?

Samu2 Sat 02-Feb-13 23:19:04

The Stand- Stephen King
The Magician's Assistant- Ann Patchett
11/22/63- Stephen King
Wool- Huge Howey
Life as we knew it- Susan Pfeffer
Daddy Long Legs- Jean Webster

notnowImreading Sat 02-Feb-13 23:31:08

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Possession by A S Byatt
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Howard's End by E M Forster
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I think I read them all before I was 16 and have been re-reading them ever since. Nothing quite overtakes the books of your youth.

pointythings Mon 04-Feb-13 22:04:17

How many am I allowed? grin

Anyway, here goes:

T.H White - The Once and Future King
Tim Powers - The Anubis Gates
Louis de Bernieres - The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts
Stephen King - Duma Key
Daphne du Maurier - Frenchman's Creek
Sylvia Plath - The Bell Jar
J.R.R. Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings
Keith Roberts - Pavane
Jack Vance - the Demon Princes series (5 books)
Dorothy Sayers - Busman's Honeymoon
Diana Wynne Jones - Hexwood
Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre, but also
Jean Rhys - Wide Sargasso Sea (these two should be read as a pair, IMO)
Terry Pratchett - Night Watch
Tanith Lee - Night's Master

I know it's a weird mix...

VerySmallSqueak Tue 05-Feb-13 09:15:31

I need to add another-

"Aftermath" by Roger Williams.

If you remember the Cold War,give it a go,but don't complain if it gives you nightmares.....

CoteDAzur Tue 05-Feb-13 09:19:28

Is this thread about books everyone has loved the most?

CoteDAzur Tue 05-Feb-13 09:21:35

I'm asking because OP says "Many (must-read lists) seem to be books people feel should be read, rather than those we may want to read because they are so enjoyable."

So are we talking about books everyone should read or is this another thread about books we have enjoyed?

sooperdooper Tue 05-Feb-13 15:11:05

My all time favourite books...

Beloved, Toni Morrison
Alias Grace, Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood
Wind Up bird Cronicles, Haruki Murakami
Life of Pit, Yann Martel (must see the film)
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

sooperdooper Tue 05-Feb-13 15:13:16

Lol, Pi - not Pit!?

anonymosity Wed 06-Feb-13 03:40:09

There is only one book that I genuinely feel I SHOULD read, to be honest. I've read excerpts / chapters for close study (years ago) but never the whole thing. Ullysses by Joyce.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 06-Feb-13 04:34:01

Why do you feel you should read it, anonymosity?

I have heard that the best way to deal with that book is a) devote a whole day to it and read it in one sitting, and b) read it aloud to yourself. Personally couldn't think of anything worse

BlueyDragon Wed 06-Feb-13 04:44:49

Try Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. It's sci-fi, but beautifully written and the themes it deals with are universal.

The Last Battle, by CS Lewis. I love the end, I know it's a Christian allegory but I love the sheer joy in the writing.

ripsishere Wed 06-Feb-13 04:52:12

A fine Balance
We need to talk about Kevin
The kite runner
Time travelers wife
The woman in black
Down and out in London and Paris - in fact all Orwell.
Those I've disliked include
The lovely bones
The life of Pi
Wolf Hall. i tried three time very hard to read it and failed.

daddyorchipsdaddyorchips Thu 07-Feb-13 17:11:40

East of Eden - John Steinbeck (my all time favourite)
Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout (if you haven't read her, do!)
Wonder - RJ Palacio
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
The Hundred Year Old Man... - Jonas Jonasson
His Dark Materials Trilogy - Philip Pullman
Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel

I could go on and on...

And I think that all children (and adults!) should read everything by Roald Dahl.

WhichIsBest Thu 07-Feb-13 17:15:44

I hated three of the books on your list of ones you liked OP, and haven't read the other two, so I won't recommend any for you!
We must be book-enemies. ;)

mailwoman Thu 07-Feb-13 17:18:59

The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill.

Strong theme and messes with your head about how you feel about the main character, I loved it.

ShirleyB25 Thu 07-Feb-13 20:51:54

So many fantastic books to read! I've enjoyed many already listed and would agree with reading anything by Rohinton Mistry who is an amazing author. I'd like to add:

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Kate Atkinson - Any books by her - superb thrillers

Trainspotting - Irvine Welsh

Mill on the Floss - George Eliot

Stepford Wives - Ira Levin

Patricia Highsmith - Great books of their time!

I'll keep an eye on this thread, as always looking for new authors/ ideas for which book to read next...

pointythings Thu 07-Feb-13 22:27:08

mailwoman -I love The Woodcutter. I think it's possibly one of Hill's best. I've read pretty much everything he's written, and on the whole I think that his Dalziel and Pascoe novels unfairly overshadow the rest of his work. I also love The Stranger House.

And I have to mention Minette Walters - she has written some great books. My favourites are The Dark Room (fabulous main character who doesn't take shit from anyone), Acid Row (which really should be dramatised for TV, the tension is incredible) and he Chameleon's Shadow.

TuftyFinch Thu 07-Feb-13 22:51:25

lots already mentioned but
Radcliffe Hall: The Well of Loneliness
Barry Hines: A Kestral for a Knave (Kes)
John Osborne: Look Back in Anger
Shelagh Delaney: A Taste of Honey
Kurt Vonnegut: Welcome to the Monkey House
and of course
Catcher in the Rye
Tess of the D'Ubervilles

anonymosity Fri 08-Feb-13 01:45:03

Tortoise - I feel like I should read it entirely because of the depth of artistry in its writing, the beauty of it all. Its phenomenally layered and poetic and clever. But it takes a lot out of me to read what I have read of it - and usually I opt for something a little easier. It doesn't have to be total schlock, but a bit easier is what I'd naturally go for.

mailwoman Fri 08-Feb-13 03:02:51

Pointythings The Woodcutter is fantastic. You're the first person I've known to have read it apart from DH, I gave it to him and then relived the book by making him tell me which part of the plot he'd got to!

Some really good suggestions for my next read in this thread

Snowfedup Fri 08-Feb-13 03:04:21

Oh good this just reminded me I read A discovery of witches and loved it then waited impatiently for the second book then promptly forgot all about it? Has anyone read it ? Hopeing it's as good as the first (it's the all souls trilogy)

Cooroo Fri 08-Feb-13 07:36:49

Oh my, no time to read through all these so will just add my ideas, off the top of my head:

Emma by Jane Austen
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushie
Cloud Atlas/anything by David Mitchell
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Anything by Mary Renault

Mentioned above that I loved:
Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Attwood
Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Tales of the City - lovely to revisit these

and lots that I can't think of now.

minsmum Sat 16-Feb-13 23:08:21

My local independent book shop has managed to track down If this is a man by Primo Levi. It should be in store on Monday. So that's a result

I have some sympathy with Cote's question. If this is a list of hearty recommends, should we not be seeing

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

in about one third of posts? It must be the most consistently enjoyed and recommended book I have ever come across. When I was reading it, I was carrying it in to work with me in case I got any spare moments. Not my general habit.

I did very much enjoy two classics that I recently re-read because they were on lists of worthiness:

To Kill a Mockingbird
Catch 22

If not now, then when - another vote for Primo Levi
The Glass Bead Game - Herman Hesse
(slightly adolescent choice, but...) Hunger - Knut Hamsun
History of Danish Dreams - erm, erm, um, Hoeg, Peter, is it?
Morte D'Arthur - Malory
Cancer Ward - Solzenitzyn
anything at all by Balzac, but if pushed, Cousin Bette
In praise of idleness - Isaiah Berlin
The Histories - Herodotus - for being so fabulously stupid
A Rebours - Huysmans
Woodstock - Walter Scott

ooh ooh and Katherine Mansfield, and Turgenev and Marquez, and Saki and Wodehouse...

These are things I love. Things I should read, well I too have fallen asleep over Ulysses a few times. I will try again <when I'm fecking 90 and have nothing left to lose>. Not.

BitBewildered Sat 16-Feb-13 23:44:04

I tend to find a new author and read them obsessively for a while; I read the whole of the Discworld series, Wodehouse, Sherlock Holmes, Charles Dickens, and various others in blocks. I also really enjoy reading Alan Bennett, Peter Carey, David Lodge, A S Byatt and Agatha Christie books.

Someone mentioned Jean Webster's Daddy Long Legs. Have read tgat book approximately once every five years since I was about 13, I'm 35. It's just lovely.

currybaby Sun 17-Feb-13 11:44:14

oh that's good to know novia. I'm currently trying to get into wolf hall so that i can read bring up the bodies after but i'm finding it pretty dry so far. Will keep going though!

honeyrose Sun 17-Feb-13 18:30:52

Just read Learn Love in a Week by Andrew Clover. Hilarious observational comedy about relationships. Seriously recommend it if you feel like a light yet engaging read. It's not wishy washy chick lit but real feel good funny book.
PS just went into my local Waterstones to buy a copy for my sister and it was sold out due to rave review in daily mail this weekend!

VinoEsmeralda Sun 17-Feb-13 22:13:41

A few more to add that haven't been mentioned;

Das Parfum by Patrick Suskind
The island and The thread by Victoria Hislop
The vanishing by Tim Krabbe
Love live by Ray Kluun (don't be put of by the title)
The five people you meet in heaven- Mitch Albom ( or similar surname)
The century trilogy by Ken Follett
Books by Isabelle Allende

roselover Mon 18-Feb-13 20:58:09

I was given Diane Keaton's autobiography for Christmas - its soooo wonderful - so many interesting men in her life and a varied career from Annie Hall to The God Father (with liaisons with Al Pacino) - to kissing scenes with jack Nicolson that were life changing - plus like me she became a mother in later life - she adopted at 50 and 55 - its a story that is intertwined with that of her mother - I read it fast and then again slow - wonderful - other books that I loved were The THings They Carried - (who by?) - Brightness Falls by Jay Macinerny - all of his work I love - and Brother Of The More famous Jack by Barbra TRapido - Dorothy Parker Short Stories - always by my bedside -...plus JUlia Donalson (I have three year old twins) - I love her so much I kissed her when I nmet her last week at a signing!

elena83 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:32:48

the five people you meet in heaven -Mitch albom

Memoirs of a geisha

For something funny try David sedaris - Naked
It's one of the few books that literally had me laughing out loud

Ladame Thu 21-Feb-13 12:50:31

I’ve really enjoyed reading about your favourite books and have now got loads of Ideas for my kindle grin
My ‘must reads’ are :-
A Clergyman’s Daughter (Orwell) – Bleak and brilliant – hooked from first page.
The Post-Birthday World (Lionel Shriver) – I thought ‘Kevin’ was good, but this is fantastic. It’s one of those books when it is two in the morning and you’ve got to get up for work in five hours and you Just. Can’t. Put. It. Down.
A Little Learning (Caro Fraser) – If you’ve been married a long time – this will push your buttons! I’ve re-read this until it’s a bit crumbly.
The Caper Court Series (Caro Fraser again) – Series of books about norty lawyers and sex, betrayal and great court cases.
All Patricia Cornwell Kay Scarpetta books – Forensics, horrific serial killers, FBI profiling, the lot ... start with Postmortem and you’ll want to read the rest - simples!
All Marian Keyes – Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant writer, for example Rachel’s Holiday Single girl in New York having too much (dangerous) fun – funny, compassionate and dark ‘they tried to make me go to rehab ...’ Anybody Out There made me cry, really really cry, heartbreaking ...
Elizabeth George Inspector Lynley Mysteries - for all Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine/Minette Walters fans, these are fantastic twisty-turny mysteries, forget the boring tv series, the books are so much better and there are lots of them (sigh – heaven!!!).
All other Orwells (nuff said).

Hope you like some of these, and happy reading!!

bookluva Tue 26-Feb-13 19:15:08

I'm working my way through William Dalrymple at the moment - the best travel writing I've ever read. 'City of Djiins: a year in Delhi' is a good one to start with.

FakePlasticLobsters Tue 26-Feb-13 21:50:06

My must read books.

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.

The Stand, Insomnia and Rose Madder by Stephen King.

Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry* by Leanne Shapton.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.

Happenstance by Carol Sheilds.

The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger.

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.

Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple.

Persepolis by Marjane Sartrapi

Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust edited by Lyn Smith

And there are probably more when I think of them.

nevermindthecrocodiles Wed 27-Feb-13 09:06:01

Appointment With Venus
Gone With the Wind
The Book Theif
The Diary of Anne Fran
A Farewell to Arms
Brighton Rock
Mrs Dalloway
A Woman in Berlin
.....I could go on forever! Love a good list grin

jubileemum Thu 28-Feb-13 22:54:38

Anything by Victoria Hislop and Joanna Trollop

magimedi Sat 02-Mar-13 16:40:54

Lots of books mentioned above that I also love & won't repeat but I'd Like to add:

The Jewel in The Crown quartet by Paul Scott

The Map of Love Ahdaf Soueif

The Forsyte Saga - John Galsworthy.

The latter is probably the book I've re-read most times, it's always been my 'comfort' book when life is hard as it really takes me away.

Marking my place to come back later!

Branleuse Sun 03-Mar-13 11:29:43

Gone with the wind

the red tent


the chrysalids

jonathan livingston seagull

popflos Sun 03-Mar-13 14:28:43

good to see the book thief on this thread, fab book

i would add Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts as one of my greatest ever reads

normal mummsy reads this year i have enjoyed the night circus, and the Girl you Left behind by jojo moyes, and a handful of Nelson Demille

loved the millenium series, cant get in to the cryptonicum series, and have to fess up to reading all the Lee Child Reacher books! (except the latest one i am saving for next holiday, or duvet day maybe.. )

BadMissM Mon 04-Mar-13 21:04:56


The Color Purple, Alice Walker
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
Oranges are not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson
Wise Children/Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter
Emotionally Weird, Kate Atkinson
Skating to Antarctica, Jenny Diski

Most things by Margaret Atwood, most things by Barbara Vine

Haribojoe Fri 08-Mar-13 17:20:01

So many but the two that spring to mind for me are The Red Tent by Anita Diamanté and The Birth House by Amy McKay

Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, Simone De Beauvoir; The bluest Eye by Toni Morrison; The Road, Cormac McCarthy; the Handmaid's tale, Margaret Atwood; Surfacing, Margaret Atwood

Sunnymeg Wed 13-Mar-13 11:15:58

Middlemarch, I'm surprised no one has mentioned it before.
The Bronze Horseman although you have to be in a mood for misery, Paulinna Simoms
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella, when you feel like something light.
The Ladies Paradise by Emile Zola, The BBC series of The Paradise was based very loosely on this book.

hatchibombatour Mon 18-Mar-13 17:18:56

Marking my place!

Loads that people have already said, and I would add anything by Michelle Roberts, Peter Carey (esp Illywacker and Oscar & Lucinda, though was disappointed I couldn't get into his latest one at all), Before I Go to Sleep, The Help ... Can't think of any more right now but watching with interest.

tinytreefrog Thu 21-Mar-13 19:26:23

Im not sure I have normal female taste in books, but some of my favorites are;

the song of ice and fire series by George RR Martin, can't wait for the next installment!!!

Bernard Cornwalls warlord chronicals

1984 by George Orwell

Bernard Cornwalls warrior chronicals

Robin Hobbs assasin trillogy

and currently enjoying Robin Hobbs liveship traders trillogy.

Haitch30 Thu 21-Mar-13 22:39:09

I absolutely loved The Thirteenth Tale smile

Ioanna27 Thu 22-Aug-13 16:05:27

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

CoteDAzur Thu 22-Aug-13 18:16:14

What exactly do we mean by "Must Read"?

Just not sure after I saw someone nominate Sherlock Holmes stories as "must reads".

Cremolafoam Thu 22-Aug-13 19:18:12

Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
A History Of Love- Nicole Krauss
The Famished Road- Ben Okri
Capital- John Lanchester
Suite Francaise - Irene Nemerovsky
The Black Path- Åsa Larsson
The Leopard - Jo Nesbø
Stasiland- Anna Funder
The Red and The Black- Stendhal
The English Patient- Michael Ondaatje
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
Sarah's key- Tatiana De Rosnay
Essays in Love- Alain De Botton
So much for That- Lionel Shriver
And yes The Book Thiefgrin

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 24-Aug-13 19:12:26

Now I'm intrigued as to why Ioanna revived such an old thread and what she must have said the get deleted...smile

Books I have enjoyed recently include Song For Achilles, the Help and Tiger Hills but wouldn't say that any of them are must reads smile

Foosyerdoos Sat 24-Aug-13 19:28:57

Quite a few of my 'must reads' have already been mentioned -
The Stand
Lord of the Rings
The War of Don Emmuels Nether Parts ( and the other too in the trilogy)
Cold Comfort Farm

I would like to add -
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
Terms of Endearment ( or anything by Larry McMurtry)
Excession - Iain M Banks
Eon - Greg Bear
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
Red, Green and Blue Mars ( trilogy) - Kim Stanley Robinson

Foosyerdoos Sat 24-Aug-13 19:30:35

Two not too

apprenticemamma Sun 25-Aug-13 22:46:22


ColdfeetPinksocks Sun 25-Aug-13 22:51:05

Well since its being bumped...

Of mice and men
The Grapes of wrath (both John Steinbeck)

PoppyAmex Sun 25-Aug-13 22:55:05

"One hundred years of solitude" and "Love in times of cholera", Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In fact, most of his books.

"Blindness", Jose Saramago

Most of Wodehouse.

apprenticemamma Sun 25-Aug-13 22:59:37

Since I bumped it: the Book Thief, we need to talk about Kevin, Margaret Attwood cat's eye/handmaids tale, Cormack McCarthy The Road, The Personhood Bible. Classics: Lord of the Flies, 1984, Mayor of Casterbridge. So much more but these are the first round that spring to mind.

apprenticemamma Sun 25-Aug-13 23:00:11

I second the Steinbeck books also..smile

EstelleGetty Sun 25-Aug-13 23:00:38

I'm glad anybody's cried Zombie yet, I'm going to enjoy reading this thread!

My must-reads are:
Sleep it off, Lady (Jean Rhys)
Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys)
The Cement Garden (Ian McEwan)
Mythologies (Roland Barthes)
Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (MR James)
The Haunting (Shirley Jackson)
In Praise of Older Women (Stephen Wiesnewski)

mignonette Sun 25-Aug-13 23:00:42

The deletion was because of spamming. Several old book threads got bombed.

apprenticemamma Sun 25-Aug-13 23:02:32

oooooh and some John Irving esp A prayer for Owen meany, and Garp. And to kill a mocking bird. On a roll but must sleep ..

hyancinthblue Mon 26-Aug-13 11:04:15

snow child was a lovely book: would really recommend it even though its summer!

FranSanDisco Mon 26-Aug-13 11:19:31

A Fine Balance
The God of Small Things
The Kite Runner
The Long Song
Alias Grace

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 26-Aug-13 12:01:30

Forgot to say, if you think she oral thrush, a pharmacist should be able to diagnose and sell you something. Might be worth seeing if there is a pharmacy open in your area today smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 26-Aug-13 12:02:42

Whoops blush. Don't think I need to explain that my post was meant for another thread.

mrspaddy Mon 26-Aug-13 12:13:24

The Memory Keepers Daughter
The Light in the Window
The Help
An Evil Cradling
Forget you had a daughter
Memoirs of a Geisha also

Currently reding The Professor and the Housekeeper. Enjoying it.

PurpleGirly Mon 26-Aug-13 12:27:05

Ooh like this ...

The Magic Toyshop Angela Carter
Anything by Margaret Atwood
Mara and Dan by Doris Lessing
Five People You Meet in Heaven Mitch Albom
How I Live Now Meg Rosoff (now a film)
Lord of the Flies
To Kill a Mockingbird
All of the Shadow of the Wind books (in fact anything by Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
Northern Lights Trilogy
Lovely Bones
Through a Glass Darkly Jostein Gaarder (sobbed in a plane reading this!!)

My list is endless!! Good job I am an English teacher ...

NicholasTeakozy Mon 26-Aug-13 14:02:34

Many of my favourite books have been mentioned already, so as to not duplicate (unless this is a massive x-post) I'll add:-

Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. In fact, anything by him.
The Black Angel by John Connolly. Or start with Every Dead Thing and work your way through the series.
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Club by Ludovic Kennedy.
Ecstasy by Irvine Welsh.
All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.

VJONES1985 Thu 29-Aug-13 21:41:26

Hi all. This is my first post here.

My additions to this thread are-
To Kill A Mockingbird
His Dark Materials trilogy
A Song of Ice and Fire collection
A Clockwork Orange
Any Sherlock Holmes

Deffo going to read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies after seeing recommendations on here.

Bluelovesred Thu 29-Aug-13 21:54:00

Loving this!

Thousand splendid suns
Kite runner
Handmaids Tale
red Tent
Oryx and Crake
we nee to talk about Kevin
a Suitable Boy
The other Boleyn girl
Jude the Obscure
moll Flanders
the Woman in White

There's probably a lot more!

wibbleweed Mon 09-Sep-13 11:40:42

Just seen this thread so thought I'd add my list of 'must reads'

- Possession by A S Byatt
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck
- Germinal by Emile Zola
- The Kite runner by Khalid Hoseini
- The Little Stranger by Sarah Walters
- Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
- The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

littlemissnormal Mon 09-Sep-13 22:59:26

The only books that I love that I haven't seen mentioned here (Time Travellers wife, To Kill a Mockingbird and anything by Phillipa Gregory or Anne Weir my favourites) are

The Secret Life of Bees
One Day
When God was a Rabbit
Water for Elephants

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