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if you could only read two books again....

(42 Posts)
brizzledrizzle Wed 13-Jun-18 20:17:20

Which two would they be? One fiction and one non-fiction.

I would have said A Town like Alice as that was my favourite book but I've recently read that again after a long gap.

For non-fiction, that's hard - I think it'd have to be a book by John Lister-Kaye, perhaps Nature Child.

HarrietSchulenberg Wed 13-Jun-18 20:27:24

Willa Cather's My Antonià is the book I come back to time and time again. I feel the need to read it when my head clamoyrs and I need a sense of space, and those prairie images give me what I crave.
I don't really have a non-fiction go-to book but I dip into Churchill's Wizards from time to time.

pallisers Wed 13-Jun-18 20:27:52

I loved A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute had such great plots.

Non fiction would probably be Far From The Tree by Andrew Solomon - really fascinating. Although at the same time (teen years) I read A Town Like Alice I also read In Cold Blood and was gripped.

Fiction, probably Middlemarch or Last Chronicle of Barsetshire - although Gilead by Marianne Robinson would come a close second.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Wed 13-Jun-18 20:37:22

Non-fiction would be Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian - it's a cookery book, but with so much to dip into.

Fiction - I'm going to cheat and have the whole of Stephen King's 'Dark Tower' series. If I get told off for this, I'll have 'Ballet Shoes' as it is just pure comfort in book form and it always makes me happy.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Wed 13-Jun-18 20:37:56

Love 'A Town like Alice' but it would be lower down the list.

InfiniteCurve Wed 13-Jun-18 21:18:30

Non fiction : Women behind the wire,the story of women prisoners of the Japanese by Lavinia Warner.(about the women interned in the Far East in WW2)
Because it is just so inspiring.

Fiction: that's so difficult .I'm tempted to have The Children of Green Knowe but it's so short,and though I love it I probably don't need to actually read it...
Think I'd have The Riddle Master of Hed by Patricia McKillip - which is the first of a trilogy but I think the trilogy is now published as a single book - so I'll have that.(particularly if Remus can have the whole Dark Tower series!)

StarbucksSmarterSister Wed 13-Jun-18 21:37:47

The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott.

Non fiction is much harder. The two that immediately spring to mind are The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn and A life in Secrets by Sarah Helms, both of are brilliant but about very grim subjects.

So I think I'd choose The Making of The Middle Sea by Corian Broodbent because it would keep me going for a long time.

tobee Thu 14-Jun-18 01:07:00

So you mean as if we'd never read them? I think Diary of a Provincial Lady for fiction (all 5 volumes). And either The Right Stuff, The Beauty and the Sorrow or Pegasus Bridge or Band of Brothers for non fiction. Can't choose.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Thu 14-Jun-18 01:10:04

Candide by Voltaire

Collected essays of Audre Lorde - A Burst of Light or a collated edition with more essays.
But I would be sad not to also have In Search of our Mothers' Gardens by Alice Walker.

waycat Thu 14-Jun-18 12:14:35

What an awful question to have to ponder!
Just two books........

I think for non-fiction (which I very rarely read) it would have to Blood And Sand by Frank Gardner - brilliant account of his life as a BBC Middle East reporter, subsequent shooting in Saudi Arabia and his re-hab afterwards. It is wonderfully written, so much so that at times I felt as if I was being made privy to some of his most personal and intimate moments whilst recovering from the shooting. At no time was it maudlin or full of self-pity. He simply told it as it was.

Fiction is much harder, because I am an avid fiction fan, mainly crime, thriller and adventure, but I’m not adverse to the odd bit of supernatural now and again.

If I was really forced to choose just one fiction book, I think it would have to be Haunted Ground by Erin Hall. A murder mystery debut novel from a little known author, centring around bog bodies in Ireland and the lives of an American pathologist and an Irish archaeologist, who come together to investigate what turn out to be more than just old bodies in bogs. Fascinating forensic detail which has obviously been meticulously researched, and a love story sub plot which has the reader simply longing for things to work out.
It is a four book series, and I’ve just started book two.

waycat Thu 14-Jun-18 12:24:43

Sorry, that should be Erin Hart not Hall!

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Thu 14-Jun-18 18:58:21

Agh. I just remembered The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. I'm afraid it's goodbye, Madhur!

CanIhavedessertfirst Sat 16-Jun-18 22:39:11

I don't really read non-fiction books, but I recently read and loved eat up by Ruby Tandoh, which is a collection of food related memories, recipes and an anti diet book that gives tips on learning to enjoy food. It's just a really lovely and well written book.

Fiction is haaaaaard! There are so many books I'd class as my favourite, but I think Marian Keyes' Rachel's Holiday would probably just edge it. I absolutely love that book!

BlackAmericanoNoSugar Sat 16-Jun-18 22:50:31

Non fiction: A Place of my Own by Michael Pollan. I love his writing style and it's so calming that I sometimes re-read it when my life is chaotic.

Fiction: There are so many contenders, and I read a lot of different genres. If I could choose a series of books it would be the Revelation Space series by Alastair Reynolds, but if it had to be a stand-alone book then it would be Ain't She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Yes, it is chick lit, but I fell madly in love with the male protagonist so I can't help myself.

SequinsOnEverything Sat 16-Jun-18 22:58:15

I think I would go for Little Women and then a Bill Bryson book, possibly Down Under or Mother Tongue.

Loonoon Fri 29-Jun-18 00:13:01

fiction - The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Strauss. In a lifetime of reading fantasy fiction, this is the most beautifully realised alternate world story I have ever read. It has a perfect narrative arc and characters that have stayed with me for decades.

Non fiction - Kleinian Theory - a Contemporary Perspective edited by Catalina Bronstein. Technically this is a text book, I came across in when studying for my Masters but it often reads like a novel or memoir and shines a bright light into the mysteries of relationships and personal dynamics.

OCSock Sat 30-Jun-18 21:38:47

Non fiction: The Knowledge, which is a guide to the basic technological skills needed in a post apocalyptic world.

Fiction is harder, but I think I'd pick a complete Shakepeare volume.

MercedesDeMonteChristo Tue 03-Jul-18 20:50:02

The Count of Monte Christo for my fiction. I love everything about it and just have the fondest memories of reading it. Senor Vivo and the Coco Lord by Louis de Bernieres is my other one but if I can only have one I'll take the Count.

I do read a lot of non fiction too and I think for pure joy in her writing style I might pick The Return of Martin Guerre by Natalie Zemon Davies. It would be a tough choice between this and The Whisperers by Orlando Figes.

Being cheeky can I have Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov too. Fictionalised but based on fact and first hand experience so straddles the two.

Chrisinthemorning Tue 03-Jul-18 21:11:24

Fiction- can I have Lord of the Rings? Even though it’s technically 3 books not 1.
I rarely read non fiction but agree with a pp- Bill Bryson- would have to be Small Island

Thesearepearls Tue 03-Jul-18 21:20:28

On the non-fiction side I would unhesitatingly plump for Paul Theroux - Dark Star Safari - it's his journey from Cairo to Cape Town. It's absolutely amazing. I would quite like Stalingrad but I think the fascination with that (which has lasted through several reads) might fail over time. And there's always A History of Western Philosophy which I have kept by the bath since I was an undergraduate. It's actually hilarious a fact that escapes most people - so I conclude I must be a bit odd.

The fiction side is harder - something to read and reread - not many novels could possibly stand up to that. I think it would probably be a Shakespeare play. I have an enduring love of the late plays but I would probably just go for Hamlet. It's a play I haven't read enough and I'm sure it will last me.

Oldagepensioner Tue 03-Jul-18 21:25:27

Watership Down, how I loved that book.

Delia Smith How to Cook

LadyGAgain Wed 04-Jul-18 21:22:06

Kane and Abel - Jeffrey Archer and Gone with the Wind are my 2 absolute faves but this is so hard!!

Non-fiction - Gweilo by Martin Booth the BBC correspondent who grew up in Hong Kong. Fascinating. And I'd second a previous poster who said Blood and Sand by Frank Gardener.

Katinkka Wed 04-Jul-18 21:53:05

Adrian mole!

Katinkka Wed 04-Jul-18 21:53:17

And Jane eyre

furandchandeliers Wed 04-Jul-18 21:59:07

Red tent and The handmaids tale

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