Books which return to you, long after the event

(41 Posts)
anonymosity Thu 28-Mar-13 00:20:02

At the moment its the Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Society, the island, the protagonist - flitting back into my head nearly 2 yrs after reading the book.

Anyone else have this with a recent / not so recent reading? That its made a deeper imprint than other books?

DuchessofMalfi Thu 28-Mar-13 05:47:04

Strangely it's another book about Guernsey that returns often to my thoughts - The Book of Ebenezer le Page by G B Edwards. I read it a long time ago, and it's due a re-read soon.

A more recent read that I still think about is The Reader by Bernhard Schlink.

anonymosity Thu 28-Mar-13 15:17:59

Ah, I've not heard of the Ebenezer one previously. Thank you for sharing Duchess, I shall investigate.

gailforce1 Thu 28-Mar-13 17:37:01

Yes, thank you Duchess I am now going to reserve the G B Edwards book from the library.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Thu 04-Apr-13 19:51:53

Sometimes I remember just a phrase or a scene, and can't remember which book it's from. Then, years later I re-read the book and think "Oh, that's where it was!".

Does anybody else have this happen to them?

anonymosity Fri 05-Apr-13 18:12:34

I do have just a phrase or a scene thing - but I usually remember where its from. Its like a literary deja-vu.

TheFoosa Sat 06-Apr-13 13:19:48

American Psycho, unfortunately

Zamboni Sat 06-Apr-13 13:21:42

I love that book OP.

I have lots that stay with me, I read books I love over and over. There's an image in Douglas Kennedy's The Woman In The Fifth that haunts me though!

FarelyKnuts Sat 06-Apr-13 13:25:26

I often think it is that a book comes along at just the right time in your life to kind of "resonate" with you and where you are at.
I remember reading Paulina Simmonds "Tully" and it really staying with me, long after reading it and still to this day and yet it not having at all the same impact on others I enthusiastically recommended it to.

FarelyKnuts Sat 06-Apr-13 13:27:27

Also along those lines was Bryce Courtnays book about his son with haemophelia (name escapes me right now).

littlebitofthislittlebitofthat Sat 06-Apr-13 13:28:18

Charlie st Cloud

Zamboni, I loved Douglas Kennedy's "The Woman in the Fifth". What is the image that haunts you?

Not a book, but a short story by Ray Bradbury about a child who lives on a planet where it rains all day every day. The first sunny spell of her lifetime is forecast, but some bullies lock her in a cupboard so she misses it.

kiwigirl42 Sat 06-Apr-13 14:05:10

I'm just this minute about to open The Book of Ebenezer le Page and read it!

I keep thinking about 'The Grapes of Wrath' - one of the best books I've ever read.
'I heard the Owl call my Name' stayed with me a long time as a teenager.

The story is called 'All Summer in a Day' and the text is here if anyone wants to read it.

I first read it when I was a similar age to the girl in the story, but it has stayed with me since.

You'll laugh at me, because I've only just finished it, and I realise that completely contradicts the thread title, but I think The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing will be with me for a long time - it was so unusual, very intense and quite disturbing in its portrayal of the complete breakdown of a marriage and life in Southern Africa around 60-70 years ago.

I actually shuddered in parts, re-read whole sections with shock expression. A gritty and ultimately tragic story. Not uplifting in any sense, but utterly absorbing.

anonymosity Sat 06-Apr-13 19:18:20

Thanks for posting the story ThreeBeeOneGee, I really want to read that one.

Zamboni Sat 06-Apr-13 20:35:50

cheapskate it's the image of the neighbour dead on the filthy toilet with the brush in his mouth. <shudder>

I adore Douglas Kennedy. Have read all of his books. A Special Relationship is a fantastic book. Not for pregnant women or parents of babies though.

Sunnywithshowers Sat 06-Apr-13 20:52:06

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman.

The last line is haunting.

The Road. I sometimes wake up thinking about it.

highlandcoo Sat 06-Apr-13 21:57:12

kiwigirl I've just read The Grapes of Wrath for my book club and thought it was superb.

I'd read it as a teenager and could hardly remember a thing about it , except for the very powerful last scene which had stayed with me for over thirty years.

It is an absolute classic which everyone should read IMO.

Thanks, Zamboni. I have read 2 of his books, if I remember rightly, the other one had a plot twist where an adult with autism remembered every word of a conversation. I enjoyed both very much and they were so different! Will definitely read A Special Relationship on your recommendation.

anonymosity Sun 07-Apr-13 15:13:48

I read Grapes of Wrath when I was about 12, for school and I think its part of the curriculum locally for the 16 yr olds now. Definitely an American classic. I remember really enjoying Of Mice & Men around the same age but not being so enamoured of Cannary Row.

DolomitesDonkey Tue 09-Apr-13 15:25:38

She's come undone and Swan Song.

I've had multiple well-thumbed copies of both. They'll always be with me.

juneau Tue 09-Apr-13 15:44:42

Oh I loved The Grapes of Wrath! I read it as a teenager, because I thought I should read something a bit 'improving' hmm and it completely blew me away - not a chore to read at all (at that age I thought anything considered a 'classic' would require a bit of effort).

There are lots of books that I still think about - Into the Darkest Corner, The Other Hand, Before I Say Goodbye, Happy Like Murderers (I wish this one didn't haunt me sad), The Hacienda, Auschwitz, and many more.

SucksFake Tue 09-Apr-13 21:23:22

FarelyKnuts, the Bryce Courtenay book is called April Fool's Day. AFAIR his son was born on April 1st. I read his book The Power of One when I was about 15. I loved it so much I wrote to him. And he wrote back, twice. I'm sure I still have the letters somewhere.

One book that stays with me is East of Eden, have read it about 3 times. Due a reread soon.

Also The Woodlanders, found it a very unhappy tale.

Orchid56 Tue 09-Apr-13 22:47:41

A Prayer For Owen Meany. John Irving. Wonderful

Recently finished Memoirs of A Geisha and I think it's going to stay in my mind a long time. It's subject matter is so unusual, yet the way the characters deal with their lot in life and the decisions they make can be applied universally.

BumgrapesofWrath Wed 10-Apr-13 14:19:25

A book I find myself thinking about a lot is Catch-22, even though I last read it 5 years ago. There are a few scenes in it that come back time and again...

ubik Tue 16-Apr-13 21:52:06


I once saw short gilm made by The Children's Film Foundation back in the 80's which had a similar storyline - I wonder if it was based on that short story? I think it was called The One Day Summer and the little girl was locked in te cupboard while the other children went out and enjoyed the flowers - I think this was meant to be post nuclear war, or I assumed that was the case.

PenelopeLane Wed 17-Apr-13 10:39:23

I think about Pigeon English as well, usually when cleaning the toilet and remembering how the main character liked going after it had been cleaned as it was like going on a cloud. It was such a good book.

Remains of the Day. It didn't stand out more than other good books at the time, but 7 years later I still think about the butler's attempts at banter.

LittleMissLucy Sat 20-Apr-13 22:50:55

Yes Juneau, I read Before I say Goodbye and it was so heart-wrenching. Also John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things. I wept.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. I read it about 6 months ago on foot of a rec on here. I just can't get it out of my head and don't think I ever will (in a good way)

tumbletumble Sun 21-Apr-13 19:07:34

The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell - I won't spoil it for anyone by describing it, but if you've read it you'll know which bit I mean.

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively - when her brother dies.

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene - the relationship between the priest and the lieutenant, and especially when the priest asks "the pain... does it last for long?... I've always been afraid of the pain...".

Love Story by Erich Segal - I know it's a bit corny, but I read it aged around 14 and it's always stayed with me.

Are we allowed poems? Not Waving But Drowning by Stevie Smith.

squoosh Tue 23-Apr-13 23:49:00

A Gun For Sale by Graham Greene - The very last pages, they are travelling back to London on the train and the last page of the book features a really moving description of a centuries old yet changing English countryside that just grabs at my heartstrings. I love to re-read it.

Fall on your Knees - Ann Marie MacDonald - all of it really, so bleak, so beautiful.

louisianablue2000 Wed 24-Apr-13 00:00:31

Agree about A Fine Balance.

For me it's probably 'Never Let Me Go'. And there's a bit in Middlemarch where two marriages are contrasted which always sticks with me. I read that 20 years ago and still remember it.

juneau Sat 27-Apr-13 13:49:11

A Fine Balance is one of the best books I've ever read.

wundawoman Sat 27-Apr-13 18:42:35

Les Miserable by Victor Hugo (all of it!!), Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, Chocolat by Joanne Harris, Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough, Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin. All great stories IMHO.

BestIsWest Sun 28-Apr-13 18:48:24

It was Grapes of Wrath for me too. I read it as a teenager and it's taken me 35 years to be able to read it again.

Never Let Me Go was another one which stayed with me for a long time even though I didn't particularly like it.

highlandcoo Sun 28-Apr-13 19:29:16

A Fine Balance is just excellent. A mixture of heartbreaking and uplifting writing.

However the scene which haunted me for years came from Sophie's Choice. The decision she was forced to make was unspeakably cruel sad

grabaspoon Sun 28-Apr-13 19:38:49

the monsters of templeton

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