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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.


bishbashboosh Tue 24-Dec-13 21:56:46

I've read 100s this year and 376 yet to go on my kindle

I loved perfect by Rachel Joyce. It was good when I wAs reading it but haunted me for days afterwards

The vanishing act of Esme Lennox

Shutter island

The handmaids take

If nice and men

I also loved small island and all of Victoria hislops books

But I'm in love with lots of books

LumpySpacePrincessOhMyGlob Tue 24-Dec-13 21:31:32

Forgot to add reasons. Dorothy Dunnett is amazing! her books sing. Go read her. Now.

Chocolat always evokes a certain feeling, I read it coming up to Easter most years. It's like an old friend.

Sherlock Holmes, the short stories are great, I was given this book when I was 18 odd teenager and have been reading it for years

Wuthering Heights. A book about complete assholes being assholes, but beautifully bleak and perfect for January.

The Goblet of Fire because I bloody love the Harry Potter Books and this is when they started to get really good.

LumpySpacePrincessOhMyGlob Tue 24-Dec-13 21:23:48

Couldn't whittle it down, books are so personal. But, the 5 books I love and read again and again are...

the Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett

Chocolat by Joanne Harris

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontes

The Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

Louise1956 Tue 24-Dec-13 18:46:33

I don't think any books MUST be read. And people's tastes are so different I couldn't list 5 books I think everyone else must read. but five books I really love are:

pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - I love the characters and the humour
An Autobiography by Agatha Christie - fascinating, especially about her childhood and youth
three Men In A Boat by Jerome K. Jerome - funniest book ever
Our Village by Mary Russell Mitford - fascinating essays about country life 200 years ago - a portrait of a vanished world
1066 And All That by W.R. Seller and R.J. yeatman - best history book ever.

revivingsnowshower Tue 24-Dec-13 17:32:32

I'm just going to post some of my 5 favourites
The Charioteer by Mary Renault beautifully written and very romantic love story that happens to be about 2 gay men. I read this as a teenager and it changed the way I think about gay people.
The Godfather captures the fear and awe inspired by the Don. He is one of the great characters in modern fiction. It depicts that world so clearly.
Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian can I have this whole series? The sea, the sky, the sea, the sky etc
Venetia by Georgette Heyer ok not world changing, but it is a really good historical romance with wonderful period detail
The no 1 ladies detective agency by Alexander Macall Smith its lighthearted but he is writing something about human decency and the good side of Africa, so often forgotten when we see tragedies in the news.
I had to leave out PG Wodehouse and Neville Shute and Tony Hillerman and Terry Pratchatt but anyway I couldn't decide which of their books I liked best x

JennyOfOldstones Fri 20-Dec-13 16:18:06

Posted then went back to check if anyone had the same five as me, if they had I would have proposed marriage. Although one other person likes Martin Chuzzlewit, worth exchanging emails for, I think....

JennyOfOldstones Fri 20-Dec-13 16:02:44

Been working on my top five for years.....

To Kill a Mockingbird (popular for a reason)
Martin Chuzzlewit (for Mr Pecksniff)
Lord of the Flies (horrible and wonderful)
The Blind Assassin (beautiful writing)
Midnights Children (fantastic idea, well executed)

<changes name to post another five>

Allalonenow Wed 11-Dec-13 22:19:31

Some wonderful books mentioned on this thread, here are some of my favourites:
This Thing of Darkness ~ Harry Thompson
A Suitable Boy ~ Vikram Seth
An Instance of the Fingerpost ~ Iain Pears
Clara ~ Janice Galloway
Suite Francaise ~ Irene Nemirovsky

All grab the reader by the throat and pull them into an alternative world, often harrowing or heartbreaking, sometimes humorous, always thought provoking.

ZombiePenguin Wed 11-Dec-13 21:34:47


I love The Summer Book. I didn't like Tove Jannson's children books but that book was very clever and interesting.

AphraBane Wed 11-Dec-13 20:56:25

Pride and Prejudice (Austen) and
Rape of the Fair Country (Alexander Cordell) contrast and complement each other rather well, showing opposite ends of 19th century society - the harsh, deadly reality of industrialisation without which the refined world of manners would not have been able to exist.

Into the Silence (Wade Davies) - a non-fiction account of the impact of World War One and the subsequent attempts to climb Everest in the early 1920s. A beautifully drawn essay (OK, a very long essay) on the long-term tragedy of war, with amazingly thorough research.

Ulysses (Joyce) - that would be my Desert Island book. You can open it at any point and start reading (preferably out loud) and just delight in the sheer pleasure of language.

Buddenbrooks (Thomas Mann). An amazing study of decline and fall at the family level - but also ultimately the end of empire.

HowGoodIsThat Wed 11-Dec-13 20:56:01

I Capture The Castle - everything you need to know about love in all its guises - the good bits and the bad.

In This House of Brede - meditations on why life need to be rigorously examined and tested, and a masterly insight into women

Slaughterhouse 5 - war, what is it good for.....

The Summer Book - beautiful writing, the link across generations - the particular relationship between those at the end of life and those at the beginning

Albert Speer: His Battle with the Truth - masterly dissection of the time but more so the man - if you want to talk of the human condition both the subject and the author will teach you a great deal.

<bows out.

CinnamonPorridge Wed 11-Dec-13 20:39:04

maybe I throw the Handmaid's Tale in instead of Der Plan von der Abschaffung...

CinnamonPorridge Wed 11-Dec-13 20:37:45

Smilla's sense of snow

Der Plan von der Abschaffung des Dunkels (I don't think it's been translated into English, same author, Peter Høeg)

The picture of Dorian Gray

One hundred years of solitude

High Fidelity

ZombiePenguin Wed 11-Dec-13 20:33:29

Of Mice and Men
The Handmaid's Tale
Thirteen Reasons Why
Behind The Scenes At The Museum

drudgetrudy Wed 11-Dec-13 20:10:51

Ooops SOUTH Riding

bimblebee Wed 11-Dec-13 10:01:24

Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Wasp Factory - Ian Banks
The Collector - John Fowles
1984 - George Orwell

drudgetrudy Tue 10-Dec-13 20:20:07

The children's Book AS Byatt
A whistling Woman- AS Byatt
Pride and Prejudice
Wuthering Heights

The Women's Room Marilyn French
+ lots more
Honorable mention to Easr Riding. Winifred Holtby

highlandcoo Sun 01-Dec-13 00:45:41

OK, so obviously picking only five is very hard! I've gone for books that I love, and would read time and again, and I think that's because I find myself feeling really involved with one or more of the central characters.

Espedair Street - Iain Banks

A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

The Observations - Jane Harris

The Old Wives' Tale - Arnold Bennett

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

FuckyNell Sat 30-Nov-13 23:35:10

The green mile - Stephen king

All quiet western front

Grapes of wrath

Wild swans

The tiger who came to tea

MrFranklyShankly Sat 30-Nov-13 23:23:32

1) Catcher in the rye - JD Salinger

2) Angela's ashes - Frank McCourt

3) The Wasp Factory - Ian Banks

4) Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

5) The Butcher Boy - Patrick McCabe

Lucelulu Fri 29-Nov-13 23:54:07

Madame Bovary
Because whenever I fret about my lot I remember Emma on her taxi ride and how it all went

Rabbit, run (and subsequent books) Richard Ford
Beautiful language, reflective and not so reflective life

The Master and Marguerita, Bulgakov
Biting, extraordinary grim scary transcendent

Franny and Zooey J D Salinger
No idea why it's stayed with me for years and years after a single reading but it has

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Hunter S Thompson
A reminder not to be so reductive

God that was hard - down from 12

AnneWentworth Fri 29-Nov-13 11:41:16

This is so hard. I had five planned and then I read the thread.

As my name suggests, I must have Persuasion by Austen. Because when you have a down day, doubting the power of love, or just craving escape you can open chapter 23 and the words "you pierce my soul" make you exclaim out loud and positivity is restored.

Goodnight Mister Tom, again because it restores your faith in humankind and introduces mental illness, grief etc to a young audience in a beautiful way.

So glad Louis de Bernieres was mentioned by at least one person. I saw that they picked the trilogy but if pushed to pick just one I would pick Señor Vivo and the Coco Lord. It shows determination and courage in the face of some of the most awful events and still manages to be funny.

The English German Girl - I am going out on a limb and saying I prefer this to The Book Thief (Holocaust) theme. It is beautiful, devastating and well researched. I read a lot of Holocaust related literature both fiction and non fiction and this is just amazing. Every single person should read this.

Around the World in Eighty Days - fantastic writing, a great yarn and bringing the world to people in 1872. For all of Fogg's flaws I find it an inspiring read to get up and do something.

I could easily add Wuthering Heights (my favourite - but following the rules), Frankenstein and To the Lighthouse (I struggle with Woolf until I just get to a point where she has written a sentence that just turns it all upside down).

Tallaween Fri 29-Nov-13 00:28:03

Mort - because death scares me, but not if he likes cats.

Othello - because Shakespeare, and I adore Iago, he is the best worst.

Billy - I cried, it was just so fucking awful and sad

We Need to Talk About Kevin - because I love an unreliable protagonist, I have read this again and again.

Gobbolino the Witches Cat - A kids book, I know, but it was my favourite as a very little girl. We should all strive for the life we want rather than accepting the life we're born in to.

Dededum Mon 25-Nov-13 21:32:36

Oh yes - Jonathan Livingstone Bach by Richard Bach, loved it in my 20's. Must read it again.

TodaysAGoodDay Sun 24-Nov-13 22:40:11

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach- just beautiful.

Mists of Avalon by Marian Bradley - the best telling of the Arthurian legends IMO.

Strangers by Dean Koontz - the first really long book I never wanted to end.

The Girl of the Sea of Cortez by Peter Benchley - please read this book, it's magnificent.

Spanish Steps, Travels with my Donkey by Tim Moore - a true story of a man's 500 mile pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela with a (very reluctant and stubborn) donkey called Shinto. Amazing, hilarious, inspirational and deeply heart-warming.

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