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5 ONLY books that MUST be read.

(295 Posts)
Hullygully Wed 20-Nov-13 12:07:56

Any era, any genre.

No crap.


Orangesarenottheonlyfruit Wed 20-Nov-13 12:42:57

Emma, Austen because it is fabulous to have a heroine that isn't perfect but is likeable.
Mockingbird for all the reasons before.
Greenbanks by Dorothy Whipple, it's a simple seeming story but has much to say on the nature of human nature and the place of women.
The Blue Flower Penelope Fitzgerald's masterpiece. A book doesn't have to long to be almost perfect.
Little Dorrit / Martin Chuzzlewit Dickens's because they're a cracking read.
How to be a woman Caitlin Moran because it made me think.
Kingfisher's Catch Fire Rumer Godden because it speaks wise words about cultural relations and not condescending on another culture simply because they aren't as sophisticated.

Actually not sure about the last one, also considering The Pearl - Steinbeck amongst others.

Hullygully Wed 20-Nov-13 12:43:29

I've got one of yours, Dededum

It has survived the first two honings

SkullyAndBones Wed 20-Nov-13 12:44:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Orangesarenottheonlyfruit Wed 20-Nov-13 12:44:21

oh hell I can't count! Sorry! Lose Emma maybe....

LESuffolk Wed 20-Nov-13 12:45:35

Because I can re read them all and enjoy afresh. Because I luffs Bailey white w/ all my heart. She wrote about 'the silent waiting of spiders'. That is enough for me.

Dededum Wed 20-Nov-13 12:46:03

Hurrah, I feel I have won a prize!

Itsjustafleshwound Wed 20-Nov-13 12:46:45



hermioneweasley Wed 20-Nov-13 12:50:21

To Kill a Mockingbird. Because it is the best book ever written

Wonder. Because it is the contemporary heir to "mockingbird"

The Beauty Myth. Because we need to think about why women's worth is based on looks and taking up as little space as possible.

Pigs in Heaven (though was sorely tempted by the other Barbara Kingsolver mentioned, Poisonwood Bible) because it raises a real dilemma about family vs cultural identity.

The Golden Compass. A terrifying exploration of childhood and what it means to be human.

TheSmallPrint Wed 20-Nov-13 12:52:48

Has anyone mention 50 Shades yet? <runs and hides>

NCISaddict Wed 20-Nov-13 12:57:08

I really struggle with most peoples lists as I hate science fiction and dystopian fiction.
My favourites (today) are:
To kill a Mocking Bird
The Diary of a Provincial Lady- got me through three labours.
Notes from a Small Island Bill Bryson
Notes from a Big Country Bill Bryson
Little Women.

Reasons are because I have re read them and will do so again.

LittleBairn Wed 20-Nov-13 12:59:00

Pride and Prejucide by Jane Austen

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

Anne Franks Diary

The Mitfords Letters between 6 sisters

The King James Bible

CrocodileScream Wed 20-Nov-13 13:01:14

To Kill a Mockingbird
Important lesson about true bravery and challenging the status quo.

All quiet on the western front.
Because there are always two sides to a story and often there are no winners.

Lord of the Flies
Because humans will always turn on each other.

Goodnight Mr Tom
Because it is beautiful and I could live without it.

Twas the night before Christmas
Because it is magical.

LittleBairn Wed 20-Nov-13 13:01:39

herminoie I love Pigs in heaven too. I decided not to put down one of His Dark Materials just because you need all three together IMO.

Dededum Wed 20-Nov-13 13:01:59

I wonder how many people did To Kill a Mockingbird for O level / GCSE'S - I did, is that why so many people choose it?

Didn't choose Shakespeare because he is best when acted.

Think one has to include classics because they are books that challenge you

Dickens - Nicholas Nickeby (fab descriptions of places but not so much people)
Austen - love Emma but is that because I did it for A level so read it over and over.

And where is Lord of the Rings - Tolkein invented an entire language! Love it, a classic story of good and evil.

And totally off the wall;
Sebastian Bach - The Seagull - totally beautiful and great of an angst driven 18 year old.

ommmward Wed 20-Nov-13 13:02:16

Lord of the Rings, because it captures the spirit of epic so well

Dorothy Sayers Gaudy Night, because all of us are just a little bit in love with lord Peter Wimsey.

Diana Wynne jones, because of her moral clarity and because her female characters are SO likeable. Hard to pick just one book. Maybe hexwood, or else howls moving castle.

Jane Austen pride and prejudice. Because there is so much implicit back story behind each character.

Can't narrow down number five. Perhaps Steve augarde The Various, but it's a cheat because its the first of a trilogy. Magical and tragic and glorious.

SanityClause Wed 20-Nov-13 13:03:27

The Handmaid's Tale is my favourite work of fiction. I read a review where the reviewer said something along the lines of "people said it could never happen, and then it did, in Afghanistan".

I love Jane Austin for light reading. If I had to choose one, it would be Pride and Prejudice....or Persuasion....or Pride and Prejudice....but probably Persuasion.

I love anything by Barbara Kingsolver. Perhaps The Poisonwood Bible. She seems very knowledgeable about her subjects, and her books bring to life the way the big ishoos affect ordinary people.

Schindler's Ark. A really well researched book, about how even a real sleaze bag has it within them to do amazing good.

Poetry. I have an anthology from school called The World's Contracted Thus, which has loads of stuff from Milton and old Scottish ballads up to about the early '70s. Perhaps a more up to date one would be good, though.

SkullyAndBones Wed 20-Nov-13 13:04:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

heartichoke Wed 20-Nov-13 13:07:27

Too hard - there are so many more, but with only 5 (that have to be justified) ...

The Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck) - for grand, sweeping commentary on human nature & existence

The Good Earth (Buck) - for grand, sweeping commentary on human nature & existence

The Book Thief (Zusak) - for grand, sweeping... you get the gist

Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) - ditto

the archy and mehitabel omnibus (Marquis)- for comedy value

Dededum Wed 20-Nov-13 13:07:57


We did TKAMB and twelfth night. I think everyone did Shakespeare at my school 30 odd years ago. TKAMB is a good book but surprised how so many people choose it!

OneStepCloser Wed 20-Nov-13 13:10:58

I`m going to have to come back and forth to this, as I need time to think, but so far:-

To Kill a Mocking Bird - without doubt the best book ever,

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote, one book that blew my head as I ended up not knowing what to think, and why yet played my mind like an out of tune fiddle.

Now I`m toying with,

Animal Farm - loved this book at school, made me question life.

Pride and Predjudice, silly, but I love.

And then I struggle because I desperately want to say something like The Faraway Tree, bare with me, as it is one of my first memories of books when I was a child, I loved it, thought it was magical so therefore feel it should be on my list as it started my love of books and stories.

CrocodileScream Wed 20-Nov-13 13:11:24

Okay I change Night Before Christmas to The Book Thief.

BananaNotPeelingWell Wed 20-Nov-13 13:11:47

Therese Raquin by Zola - because it just goes to show your conscience will get you.

The Magus by John Fowles - it's surreal, it's about youth and love and it's clever.

The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald - beautifully written and 1000x better than any cinema offering (although I did quite like the Robert Redford version).

Rabbit, Run by John Updike - evoking 1950's America and the fact that the American dream wasn't so wonderful after all.

The Forgotten Highlander by Alistair Urquhart - incredible survival as a ww2 prisoner of war in Japan.

lifeisajumprope Wed 20-Nov-13 13:13:04

Rebecca - Dapnhe Du Maurier - Dark, gothic. Brilliant twist. Love the housekeeper who mirrors how awful Rebecca is and I love how Du Maurier never names the protagonist - mirroring how ordinary and sheepish she is compared to Rebecca (in her eyes)

Wuthering Heights - Bronte - Dark, gothic....there's a theme here....

Under the Dome - not usually an SK fan but I loved loved loved to hate the villain - end was a bit naff but the villain made up for it.

Animal farm - Orwell - One of the few books I read in school that I enjoyed - I think it appealed to my rage-against-the-machine-teenaged-heart at the time

The Hobbit - Tolkien - who doesn't like the Hobbit?

SkullyAndBones Wed 20-Nov-13 13:13:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HalleLouja Wed 20-Nov-13 13:14:41

In particular order

To Kill A Mockingbird - there is a reason we all read it at o-levels / GCSE. Its such a good book.

Birdsong - I really liked it when I read it. Very moving.

The Kite Runner - shocking but well written

Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver was well written and shocking about what's going to happen with global warming.

Need to think of a 5th and maybe rethink it properly when DD naps.

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