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Can anyone recommend a really engaging, not too taxing read?

(40 Posts)
birdofthenorth Wed 09-Jan-13 08:05:07

I am embarrassed to admit that since I had DD two years ago the only books I have made it all the way through are One Day and the Cheryl Cole autobiography!! I have started several others but rarely make it past the first couple of chapters.

I am keen to sort it out especially now I have an iPad so can Kindle, but am in my second trimester of pregnancy now and knackered so not looking for anything mind-bending, but not potboiling rubbish.

I like stuff with an interesting social or political or gender element, strong characters, a good storyline and preferably modern in style. I am not a big fan of fantasy, silly romance, mystery or crime stuff. Can anyone recommend something I might like that is reall engaging from the start?

Many thanks in advance!

Gigondas Wed 09-Jan-13 08:06:47

Let me have a think

Ineedajob Wed 09-Jan-13 08:09:57

Try 'Cutting for Stone', sorry, I can't remember the author. A gem of a book, and very engaging. Fat though - I dont know if that's offputting for you right now. It's set in AFrica but is about a family hailing from Kerala in India. Sweeps across continents and subject but always a good yarn, and told with such heart. Wonderful book.

Gigondas Wed 09-Jan-13 08:10:55

The help- Kathryn stockett about racial issues in Deep South (now a film).

Lucretia grindle - the vanished daughter or villa in Trieste - I know you said no crime but this is much more about people in it than the crime plot line( one is what happened to kidnapped kid and why and other is about after effects of war).

Marian Keyes books better than most as I know they come under chick lit genre but the writing and themes better than most.

Gigondas Wed 09-Jan-13 08:11:55

Oh and capital- John lanchester - loads of different characters living on a street in central London. With lots of themes- aging, race , super wealth v poor etc

birdofthenorth Wed 09-Jan-13 08:18:14

Brilliant, thank you both. Someone actually gave me a hard copy of The Help and I'm ashamed to admit it's been gathering dust, so perhaps I should start there!

DuchessofMalfi Wed 09-Jan-13 10:11:41

The Help is good, bird - dust it off and give it a go smile

How about Me Before You by Jojo Moyes? It's an easy read, but with a strong story line.

I'm currently reading The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - another easy read and very engaging - you won't want to put it down.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - you may or may not like this one. It's an easy read, but does fall partly into the crime/mystery category. But it is very good. Worth a go.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain - a fictional retelling of Ernest Hemingway's first marriage. I loved it.

WaspFactory Wed 09-Jan-13 10:14:18

If you'd like to read a book about an outsider with a brilliant twist at the end, I'd recommend The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks grin

nomoreminibreaks Wed 09-Jan-13 10:18:45

I know it's not Shakespeare but I like the Dan Brown books. I recently read The Lost Symbol and it was exciting to read, not fluffy but didn't require much brain power.

or 50 shades of grey

Teahouse Wed 09-Jan-13 10:26:47

Try Young Adult fiction. There are some books for teens. Fantasy but the Eoin Colfer Artemis Fowl books I loved, and Harry Potter. I have dyslexia and find YAF perfect.

DoItToJulia Wed 09-Jan-13 10:28:20

The American Wife by Curtis Sittingfeld...brilliant. Do NOT google or read reviews before hand....keep the surprise!

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 09-Jan-13 11:36:38

I second books for young readers. Dianna Wynne Jones, Susan Cooper, Ursula Le Guin. Can't put them down.

I read Watership Down recently. So so so good.

WorkingtoohardMama Wed 09-Jan-13 11:42:53

Try Kate Morton, I love her books, can never put them down, house at riverton and the secret keeper are my favourites.

Her books always link characters from the present to characters from the past, if you like that sort of thing.

Doingfine Wed 09-Jan-13 13:16:21

The Thread, Victoria Hislop.
The Other Side of You, Salley Vickers.
Any book by Jodi Picoult


happybirthdayHiggs Wed 09-Jan-13 13:41:25

Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon.
It's the first of a series of seven books, so if you like it, there's plenty more where that came from PLUS it's just been signed for a mini series (a la Game of Thrones) so there will be the fun of watching it in a year or two. (Known as Outlander in the US)


The Merrily Watkins series of books by Phil Rickman. A female C of E vicar (who also happens to be the diocese's exorcist) with a stroppy teenage daughter and a chaotic love life.

tumbletumble Wed 09-Jan-13 19:55:39

Agree with Me Before You.

I also think Maggie O'Farrell might fit the bill.

birdofthenorth Wed 09-Jan-13 20:00:56

Thanks very much all, heaps if great sounding suggestions here!

I see The Perks of Being a Wallflower us cheap to download at the mo, can anyone recommend it?

Smudging Wed 09-Jan-13 20:18:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

harryhausen Wed 09-Jan-13 22:16:50

Try 'the truth about Melody Browne' by Lisa Jewell.

It's a suspense/intriguing story about a woman who gets hypnotised at a hypnotist show and wakes up the next day with fleeting 'memories' of another life. She sets off to find out what the hell is going on.

Not a hard read. Very intriguing. Satisfying ending.

sorryimlateagain Fri 11-Jan-13 10:25:33

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd - great book and theres a film of it too. Set in Sth Carolina in 1960s during civil rights movement. 14 yo motherless girl runs off from her father with her black maid. It's a fabulous story but an easy read.

The Host by Stephanie Meyer, who wrote the Twilight books. I loved this one. Less for teenagers if you don't like twilight (which I do blush). A film is being made of this too which I can't wait for.

I also enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy.

lynnh28 Fri 11-Jan-13 11:12:15

ive just finished 'Thoughtless' & 'Effortless' by SC Stephens,3rd book 'Reckless' is out 5th march, its a great story line smile

bluecat237 Thu 31-Jan-13 04:35:40

Read "Schizophrenic Rainbows" by Addison Maitland recently - was something I really got into - social lives of kids, but relayed in a really interesting way. Lots to think about - but also not taxing.

Stonefield Thu 31-Jan-13 04:45:56

I've just finished A Fault in our Stars by John Green, actually aimed at teens but he's a brilliant writer. Intelligent, funny and moving.

Also try This is where I leave you by Jonathan Tropper. Anything by him is excellent.

Oh and definitely Perks of being a wallflower, it's brilliant.

hellohoney Thu 31-Jan-13 05:13:31

Definitely check out Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon. Dark kind of chick-lit, easy read but brilliant. I read it on my kindle when I was in hospital following DS being born and finished it in one night, while baby slept on my chest. Great stuff.

GoLadyEdith Fri 01-Feb-13 19:24:20

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Alys, Always by Harriet Lane

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