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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!

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?

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