What are your "must read" books?

(117 Posts)
kunoichi Wed 30-Jan-13 11:41:06

Having read through the BBC and Guardian top 100 books lists, I must admit that I find some of them boring or difficult to read. Many seem to be books people feel should be read, rather than those we may want to read because they are so enjoyable.

This year I'm taking part in the 50 books challenge and I'd love to know which books Mumsnetters would most heartily recommend across all genres, both contemporary and historical.

Some of my own all-time favourites are:

Shadow of the Wind
Memoirs of a Geisha
The Time Travellers Wife
The Lovely Bones
A Little Princess

I'll probably read The Snow Child next, but would welcome any suggestions for what I should put on my Kindle to read this year!

fl0b0t Wed 30-Jan-13 11:48:29

Oooh I've read some great books recently. Anything my Patrick Gale, Johnathan Tropper or Lionel Schriver goes down well with me!

Novia Wed 30-Jan-13 11:54:38

Just finished The Snow Child - I quite enjoyed it actually, it wasn't what I expected.

I have some firm favourites which I've read over and over again. My must reads would be:

The Poisonwood Bible
The Red Tent
Captain Correlli's Mandolin
The Eyre Affair (and all the sequels)
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Cloud Atlas
The Other Boleyn Girl
To Kill a Mockingbird
Memoirs of a Geisha
Sense and Sensibility

I shall follow this thread with interest to see if I can get some other tips...!

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Wed 30-Jan-13 11:56:55

My favourite book is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

I liked The Lovely Bones
I couldn't get into The Time Travellers Wife
I have Memoirs of a Geisha on my bookcase to read

I think i need to buy Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel now though.

I love a list....

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
God of Small things, by Arundhati Roy
Intimacy, by Hanif Kureshi
The book of Dave, by Will Self
Outliers or What the dog saw, by Malcolm Gladwell

Thewhingingdefective Wed 30-Jan-13 12:01:01

Most things already mentioned smile

A thousand splendid suns - Khaled Hosseini
Rebecca - Du Maurier
The Road - Cormac McCarthy (bleak as heck)
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. - Mark Haddon

Novia Wed 30-Jan-13 12:01:06

Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel was excellent - far better than Wolfhall IMHO!

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Wed 30-Jan-13 12:02:37

I like all of Philippa Gregory's Tudor books.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Wed 30-Jan-13 12:03:28

I haven't read Wolfhall but i think i need to read Bring Up The Bodies, it won another award last night!

Novia Wed 30-Jan-13 12:07:18

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey - I don't think it's obligatory, but it's probably better to read Wolfhall first if you can as Bring Up The Bodies is the second in a planned 3-part series... I think I'd have been a little confused about Cromwell without the background of the first book.

FaceLikeAPickledOnion Wed 30-Jan-13 12:15:50

Mitch Albom - Tuesdays with Morrie, The five people you meet in heaven

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Wed 30-Jan-13 12:15:51

Thanks Novia

I'll get it first then.

Kyrptonite Wed 30-Jan-13 12:18:59

The Shadow of The Wind
Room
The Book Thief
The one Alison weir wrote about Jane grey
Goodnight Mister Tom blush

Kyrptonite Wed 30-Jan-13 12:19:17

Oh and the kite runner and a thousand splendid suns

Absy Wed 30-Jan-13 12:29:08

I HATE that BBc list. It's so inconsistent e.g. "Hamlet" and "the Complete Works of Shakespeare" - if someone's read the second, they've read the first AND the complete works of Shakespeare is not A book. It's a lot of books, and plays, and poems. And there's too much Jane Austen.

I would recommend:
- The Plague (Albert Camus)
- Anna Karenina
- Disgrace (JM Coetzee)
- Beloved (Toni Morrison)
- Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas)

For historical, I would highly recommend the Pianist by Wladislaw Szpilman (which the movie was based on). It was written just after the war, and is very immediate.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 30-Jan-13 12:31:13

the whinging If you think The Road is bleak, try Blood Meridian. Jesus. That is one depressing book.

I love "Any Human Heart", "A Fine Balance" and "House of Sand and Fog"

MarianForrester Wed 30-Jan-13 12:47:51

Watching this for ideas!

Mine are:

A Lost Lady by Willa Cather. Just so well written

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

The Great Gatsby

A Laodicean by Thomas Hardy

First Love by Turgenev

Madame Bovary

Anna Karenina

kunoichi Wed 30-Jan-13 12:54:29

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey - Memoirs of a Geisha is amazing, read it before you watch the film (it's far superior).

Thewhingingdefective - I've had The Curious Incident on my bookshelf for ages, I'd almost forgotten about it!

kunoichi Wed 30-Jan-13 13:16:28

Absy, I totally agree! There's way to much Jacqueline Wilson in there too, especially in the 101-200 range =/

ninjanurse Wed 30-Jan-13 13:22:21

A Town like Alice - Nevil Shute
My dear, I wanted to tell you - Louisa Young

upinthehills Wed 30-Jan-13 13:23:49

I loved the Poisonwood bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

Also, more light hearted, enjoyed all the Tales of the City books - so easy to read by really enjoyable - they are being dramatised on radio 4 atm.

DoItToJulia Wed 30-Jan-13 13:23:59

Oh, I can't get on with Wolf Hall. Bought both Bring Up The Bodies and Wolfhall to read now I am on maternity leave.

Must reads for me are:

The Poisonwood Bible, or anything by Barbara Kingsolver for that matter.

1984 George Orwell
The Hnadmaids Tale, Margaret Attwood
Oryx and Crake and The Year of The Flood, Atwood again

I have recently enjoyed The American Wife by Curtis Sittingfeld.

I bet there are more. I might be back!

upinthehills Wed 30-Jan-13 13:24:12

Also a big fan or Anne Tyler, don't think she wrote a bad book..

Shanghaidiva Wed 30-Jan-13 13:25:13

A lot of the ones already mentioned and

Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis
Cutting for Stone - Verghese
anything by Jonathan Coe
anything by Margaret Atwood
Birdsong - Faulks

Isabeller Wed 30-Jan-13 13:30:21

Absolutely love last four on your list so will have to get the first one now!

Just read The Snow Child - vg (title reminded me of Miss Smilla's feeling for Snow, also vg but v different)

Recently enjoyed
One Moment, One Morning
The Two Week Wait

Would add my vote to
Curious Incident
Lovely Bones
Tuesdays with Morrie
5 People

Have enjoyed and might well reread
Never Let Me Go
Cloud Atlas
Making History (Stephen Fry novel)
Gaining Ground (possibly dated but significant part of my feminist education)

Would seriously recommend The Stand by Stephen King which I wouldn't have gone anywhere near if not nagged by DP.

I'm getting out my diary now to write down lots of titles from this thread grin

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