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Books on the literary end of the scale...

(98 Posts)
DoItTooJulia Sat 14-Jan-17 11:57:14

I'm after books to read that are more literary than chick lit.

I don't mind popular, I like a bloody good story, don't mind historical. I don't actually know if I am describing my tastes well (I don't need 'showy' books iyswim, but I just don't want to read trash).

I find working through things like booker long lists too hit and miss.

I've recently read: Sebastian Faulks where my heart used to beat it was ok. I enjoyed Bel Canto and liked Paula McClains the rising sun. I've got The surgeon of crowthorne lined up and Wilkie Collins Woman in White but after that I'm stuck.

Any ideas?

HamletsSister Sat 14-Jan-17 13:33:03

Try "His Bloody Project". Booker shortlisted and, in my opinion, superb. Really stays with you and makes you think. Very cleverly written.

Am reading the winner right now, "The Sellout" and it is funny, nasty and an uncomfortable read but, undoubtedly, brilliant.

I think both are excellent.

DoItTooJulia Sat 14-Jan-17 13:45:49

Thanks Hamlets I'm putting them in my Amazon basket-I have a birthday coming up and I prefer DH to buy books that I want.

And I've noticed that the Paula McClain book is actually called Circling the Sun!

ShatnersBassoon Sat 14-Jan-17 13:50:01

Have you read 'I Capture the Castle' by Dodie Smith? It's a quality, classic book, but not highbrow.

dovesong Sat 14-Jan-17 13:53:03

Bookseller here! Kate Atkinson, behind the scenes at the museum. the new Julian Barnes book. All the light we cannot see by Anthony doerr. The Elena Ferrante books. The new chris cleave book. Anything by Patrick Gale. All very readable but quality writing.

Allalonenow Sat 14-Jan-17 13:59:01

As you enjoyed Bel Canto, you might also like State of Wonder.

I've recently enjoyed The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman.

DoItTooJulia Sat 14-Jan-17 14:02:32

I have A God in Ruins in my to read pile, but need the first one (it's in my basket, ready for DH!).

More great suggestions, all going in the basket.

I find Julian Barnes a bit hit and miss too, although I thought Arthur and George was fabulous.

Thanks all

HamletsSister Sat 14-Jan-17 14:22:30

Oh, and a book in translation, "The Reader on the 6.27" utterly absorbing, funny and heart-warming.

DoItTooJulia Sat 14-Jan-17 14:34:38

Oh, I like the sound of that Hamlets.

I'm all for unusual, translation, whatever, just not life wasting drivel!

SatsukiKusakabe Sat 14-Jan-17 15:02:10

This year so far I've read All The Light We Cannot See, The Essex Serpent, Golden Hill and His Bloody Project all historical, literary without being tiresome or indulgent, all good reads.

ChessieFL Sat 14-Jan-17 15:04:23

The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard. The first in the series is The Light Years.

DoItTooJulia Sat 14-Jan-17 16:23:12

I've tried to get on with the cazalet books but can't. I've hung onto them, thinking I may not have been in the right head space, so maybe I'll dig them back out.

That's 2 recommendations each for His Bloody Project and All the Light We Cannot See - must be good!

SatsukiKusakabe Sat 14-Jan-17 16:26:47

I found the cazalets dull I'm afraid, but a lot of people love them and I hoped to.

highlandcoo Sat 14-Jan-17 16:53:16

I think we have similar reading tastes OP.

YY to His Bloody Project, Life After Life and State of Wonder.

One of my favourites is The Observations by Jane Harris, and if you enjoy that you will there's also Gillespie and I by the same author.

And, also historical, look at Rose Tremain. Restoration and Music and Silence are particularly good.

And Sarah Waters - try Fingersmith and The Paying Guests

You could also try the Shardlake novels by CJ Sansom if you're open to a bit of Tudor crime.

ChessieFL Sat 14-Jan-17 17:35:47

I love The Cazalets but wouldn't life be boring if we all liked the same things!!

highlandcoo Sat 14-Jan-17 17:45:06

I love The Cazalets too Chessie but they're in a different category to my usual type of reading material. I wouldn't normally choose family sagas but The Cazalets are special grin I exclude the fifth book from that though unfortunately .. I didn't agree with how some characters developed at all. EJH should have left well alone.

DoItTooJulia Sat 14-Jan-17 18:15:02

I read Life After Life in the summer and enjoyed it.

I might buy His Bloody Project it's only £3.85.

I really enjoy Sarah Waters and have read them all now. My favourite was Affinity but enjoyed Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet too. I think we do have similar tastes high!

I have Rose TremainRestoration in my pile. It's been there a while, maybe I'll stop overlooking it. Maybe I should list my to read pile, see what you all liked/rated.

I also have some non fiction/popular science/fact fleshed out novels in my sights.

I enjoyed Galileos Daughter By Dava Sobel years ago and saw she has a couple of interesting books I'd not heard of so Longitude has made it into my basket.

highlandcoo Sat 14-Jan-17 18:19:58

Yes, unleash your TBR pile Julia!

Actually, that would make a great new thread. Mine is about 70-80 books high blush

DoItTooJulia Sat 14-Jan-17 19:13:05

I've had to cut mine down-I've had a huge reading drought, but since the summer, I've been reading again. So I thinned a lot out in an attempt to make sure I wasn't overwhelmed. So here goes

Apart from The Surgeon of Crowthorne and the woman in white

Madaddam (but it's been so long since I read the others I'm not sure if I need to read read then first)
Cazalets all of them
Restoration
A God in Ruins (need the first one)
Julian Barnes Flauberts Parrot
The Girl on the Train
The Book Thief
Allende The Infinite Plan
Katrina Bivald The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
Frederick Blackman Britt-Marie was Here
Irene Nemirovsky The Dogs and the Wolves
Miss Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children
Titus Groan by Mervin Peake
The Little Coffe Shop of Kabul

I have a few more that are dotted around and some in my wish list/basket. I'm given quite a lot of books and also my mum gets them from charity shops-she is great if she has a few books she knows in after or authors I like and she'll pick them up if she sees them.

It would make a good thread, because I'd love to see your TBR list!

DoItTooJulia Sat 14-Jan-17 19:14:07

I should say I'm typing on my phone-apologies for any typos/autocorrects/mistakes.

mugglebumthesecond Sat 14-Jan-17 19:17:01

Oh please do read his bloody project and also life after life and a god in ruins

I'm a huge fan of Donna Tartt the Goldfinch and the secret history

I am not into heavy reading for leisure but really enjoyed rebecca

VanderlyleGeek Sat 14-Jan-17 20:36:57

I've also liked Swing Time; Commonwealth; Lovers At The Chameleon Club: Paris 1932; and Grief Is The Thing With Feathers.

If you ever feel like books that are a bit odd and pomo, Heidi Julavits' are good.

PossumInAPearTree Sat 14-Jan-17 20:46:05

I was going to say The Goldfinch as well. Amazing writing. The book is massive, I got it on kindle and if I'd seen a physical book it may have put me off but don't let it. I was gutted to finish it.

CoteDAzur Sun 15-Jan-17 09:44:41

Cloud Atlas
The Luminaries
The Goldfinch
The Revenant
The North Water
This Thing Of Darkness
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (£1.29 on the Kindle just today)

DoItTooJulia Sun 15-Jan-17 10:15:07

Thanks Cote I read Johnathon Strange and Mr Norrell a few years ago and loved it. (I had a fabulous work colleague that was seriously into books and had an endless budget for books-she used to pass them onto me and I read some gems from her!)

I don't know if I read The Secret History too young but I didn't LOVE it, so I've never really seriously considered The Goldfinch maybe it's time?

I never got on with Hilary Mantel either-despite the many ticks in my boxes that she seems to offer.

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