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What's the best "random" book you've ever read?

(49 Posts)
MrsMuddle Sat 25-Jul-09 19:58:58

By random, I mean one that you pick up in a charity shop or one that someone gives you, by an author you're not familiar with.

I recently picked up The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I'd never read anything by her, and because the book cost 10p at a scout jumble sale, I wasn't expecting it to be such a great read. I've now ordered another couple of books by her.

I love it when a book exceeds your expectations.

jollydiane Sat 25-Jul-09 20:12:42

A planet for the President. Very funny and scarily believable. I just went into the library and was looking for a Ben Elton book and my eye saw Alistair Beaton's.

canttouchthis Sat 25-Jul-09 20:24:17

Carrie Fisher - 'The Best Awful'

janeite Sat 25-Jul-09 20:58:10

'This Thing Of Darkness' about Darwin's voyage to Tierra del Fuego. It was a pound in a cheapo bookshop and was brilliant.

donnie Sun 26-Jul-09 16:35:28

I read 'This book will change your life' by A M Holmes last year when I found it in our hotel room on holiday. It was fantastic and I recommended it to everyone!

BeckyBendyLegs Sun 26-Jul-09 18:49:27

The World According to Garp. I was 20 and a student in Amsterdam (it was 1993) and I found a copy of it on my Dutch boyfriend's bookshelf and started reading it. I read about two chapters and then forgot who it was by and spent the next couple of years trying to find it (the days before amazon searches). I was so happy when I found it, bought it and finished it off and loved it!

GirlsAreLoud Sun 26-Jul-09 18:54:05

Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris, picked it up in a Red Cross bookshop for no reason really and have loved him ever since. The Easter Bunny scene still has me crying with laughter and has the same effect on everyone I've leant it to.

cookielove Sun 26-Jul-09 18:56:25

"The curious incident of the dog in the night time" - Mark Haddon was given it as a present random book but quite good

troutpout Sun 26-Jul-09 20:43:51

Someone gave me
The Guernsey literary and potato peel society
recently. Never heard of it or the authors
Loved it

freyski Sun 26-Jul-09 20:50:09

To be soneone - Louise Voss. I found it on a bus when on holiday in Spain. I would have never chosen it but really enjoyed it.

TitsalinaBumsquash Sun 26-Jul-09 20:52:27

Bright young things i think its called, i picked that up becuase it had a pretty cover, i really like it.

paisleyleaf Mon 27-Jul-09 17:19:24

The Republic of Trees by Sam Taylor
You've probably all heard of/read it, but I hadn't

claricebeansmum Mon 27-Jul-09 17:27:45


When we were given it there was no hype about it and we were a bi hmm and being given a cartoon book...but bloomin' brilliant book.

Posey Mon 27-Jul-09 20:45:26

Under the skin by Michael Faber. Brilliant, and I would never have chosen it in a bookshop (it was in a holiday cottage we rented).
Also The House of Sleep by Jonathan Coe. It started a long and happy relationship (I have read all his stuff and look out for anything he writes)

frasersmummy Mon 27-Jul-09 20:49:45

name to a face by Robert Goddard

I finished my girly book on holiday and pinched this off hubby ..he said it was quite good

It was riveting and there started my obsession with Robert Goddard

cyteen Mon 27-Jul-09 20:52:18

Alice In Bed, by Cathleen Schine. My mum completely randomly bought this for me when I was around 12. I've never heard of the author before or since but it is a brilliant book, about a girl who develops some sort of immobilising chronic disease in her hips and how she deals with the effect on her life. Alice is such a fantastic character: sarky, moody, difficult but funny about it, doesn't put up with any shit and continues to pursue several sexual liaisons while laid up in hospital. It was a real eye-opener for me as an unworldly almost-teen, that you don't stop being who you are if you become disabled blush Great book, really recommend it to anyone.

MrsMuddle Tue 28-Jul-09 21:03:36

Some really interesting books on this thread. I'll keep a look out for them.

LightShinesInTheDarkness Tue 28-Jul-09 22:56:01

A vote for 'Under the Skin' - its a great read.

I found 'The Memory Keeper's Daughter' left behind at a hotel in Greece. Read it on the sun lounger in a couple of days and thoroughly enjoyed it.

BrigitBigKnickers Tue 28-Jul-09 23:27:35

"Under the skin" is totally wierd but enthralling.

Freyski "To be someone" is one of the best books I have read in the last few years.

Tortington Tue 28-Jul-09 23:29:55

on holiday in reps tent - it was brian lumley the necrescope

infact dh and i couldnt wait to get home to buy the next book

janeite Wed 29-Jul-09 19:43:35

I also read The Memory Keepr's Daughter after finding it left behind in Greece - bloomin' hated it though!

K999 Wed 29-Jul-09 19:45:16

A History of Tractors in Ukranian...sounds totally weird but hilarious! Cant remember who wrote it though!!

Pruneurs Wed 29-Jul-09 19:58:43

Fab thread.
Matthew Fitt, But'n'Ben-A-Go-Go - got it at Edinburgh airport because I needed change for the bus. Scots cyberpunk - v funny (bit niche, though).

MovingOutOfBlighty Wed 29-Jul-09 20:03:41

Am I allowed to tell you about the worst random book left behind at the resort I stayed in in March.

"The Sins of Lord Easterbrook" by ?

It was f*cking awful sub-Mills and Boon thing and yet strangely I finished it in a day. blush

Best one was 'Damages' by ?

Antdamm Thu 30-Jul-09 10:14:25

Bought a load of books from a discount bookstore - got home to find a book that I hadn't picked or paid for in my bag blush Think it was the checkout assistant. I dithered about wondering whether to take it back or not.

Anyway, the book was Wicker - Kevin Guilfoyle?? It was brilliant. In the end, I kept it blush

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