« Another Book Swap | Main | Guest Blogger: Trevor Johnson »


Crime and Punishment, because it's on your list twice and is a cracking read.

To be honest, I've read all but five, and I don't think you'll like any of them.

Hello, Scott: First of all, thanks for your postcard, it was very commented at home.
I also recommend you read "Crime and punishment", it’s amazing; I enjoyed "Pride and Prejudice" very much and a number of others in your list, like "The secret garden", "One hundred years of solitude" (thirty or so years ago), “Gone with the wind” (same), and more recently, "The blind assassin". Any way, time changes your perception: sometimes to re-read is dangerous.
And, please, avoid "The kindly ones" and "The pillars of earth".
Beatriz (from Madrid, Spain)

Good spot, Chris, I have taken one of them off in case I end up having to read it twice.

Rachel, O ye of little faith!

Beatriz, you are more than welcome, and thanks for the tips.

I read The Other Hand recently and loved it. I also loved The Kite Runner. Thought The Bell Jar was great. Room is good. Enjoyed Small Island. Nineteen Eighty-Four was ok from what I can remember.

That's the order I would recommend them in, although I might swap The Other Hand and The Kite Runner.

But you might hate all of them. I hated Jane Austen.

I think I've read 3 of those, I don't think I'm in a hurry to read the rest.
Having recently endured The Catcher In The Rye, I don't think I feel obliged to read anybody's "must read" list any more.

Fab post. You'd be a shoo-in for the 'I've never read...' drinking game (as would I, sadly).

I'll fess up to never having read Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility OR Emma. I hope the three-fer earns me extra points.

And as for a recommended read, Middlesex is astounding - genuinely quite wonderful.

I'm 'guilty' of not reading most of these despite a degree in English Lit. I value a great story over a book's supposed 'worth'. My favourite have-read on your list would be 'I Capture the Castle' which I adored.

Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five goes on any list of classic novels. It's painfully funny.

The Godfather is fucking spectacular. I only read it last year but it went straight into my top five books.

If you've been away from novels for a while, Holes is a good warm-up. YA writing that doesn't patronize, and brings you right along. Then, whatever else you're going to read, then, maybe, crack open Ulysses. My copy sits on the shelf, mocking my fear of it.

LB, I have read S5 and enjoyed it immensely.

MB, I hate Catcher in the Rye.

Books I wouldn't recommend on account of never having been able to finish them (and it's a rare book which defeats me) are: Ulysses, Star of the Sea & The Ned Kelly book.

I am a huge fan of 19thc lit, but am guessing you aren't I may be wrong about that... I love all the 19th tomes on your list, but would REALLY recommend Bleak House & Jane Eyre.
Jude the Obscure is my least favourite Hardy, so so bleak and utterly preposterous, so you haven't missed anything there.

Bleak books I would suggest you read include The Bell Jar, for it's honest appraisal of insanity, & The Handmaid's Tale, a brilliantly dark dystopic vision. MA at her finest.

However my biggest recommend would be The Kite Runner. Heartbreakingly sad, and graphically shocking, but it's a book that really stays with you.

And if you've just reached the point of slashing your wrists, I thoroughly recommend Winnie the Pooh to cheer you up.

It's dopey not to have read Moby Dick!! you idiot!!
Also Anna Karenina is a very unexpected book, from the first scene where Stiva wakes up feeling all cheerful, realises he's sleeping on the sofa, tries to remember why and then suddenly recollects he's been shagging the nanny
i think you would like it.
There aren't that many others on that list that I think you would love

Emma - I now want to read Anna Karenina IMMEDIATELY.

I've read about 23 of these, several because I had to for English degree. I'd go for The Inheritors (William Golding) and Huckleberry Finn but as they're not on the list you've probably read them.

I wouldn't bother with On Chesil Beach. You just want to slap the couple, hard. But at least it's short.

Forget Finkler but I loved Lord Of The Flies and Far From The Madding Crowd

I am loving this, people, please keep them coming.

I know I will like some of these, I just haven't got round to them yet. That's my problem most of the time.

I've never read Middlemarch. I never will. Attempted several times and was bored.

Oh, and in terms of recommendations from your list, Bonfire of the Vanities is very, very good. Though I preferred Man In Full, another of Wolfe's works.

I also loved The Finkler Question, but then I would.

90% of that list is either stuff I haven't read either, or stuff that bored me to tears.


A Town Like Alice, Cold Comfort Farm, and I Capture the Castle are three of my very favourite books. Swallows and Amazons is also a huge favourite. I also adore Good Omens, but I suspect the Pratchett aspect makes you wary.

I did once love Nineteen Eighty-Four, but then my dreadful GCSE English teacher put me right off it by breaking it down far too much.

The Count of Monte Cristo is FUN.

Middlemarch has brains and heart in spades.

Jane Eyre also rollicking.

The Little Prince will take you about 10 minutes so you might as well tick it off.

I am a big Margaret Attwood fan and would also recommend Orys and Crake (sorry to add to the list); have to admit to having read P&P many times, for the sheer delight of the language - so tongue in cheek; also agree that I Capture the Castle is wonderful...The Bell Jar is every girl's (well mine anyway) sort of coming of age read; agree re On Chesil Beach - bloody annoying altogether. Also had an English Lit teacher who never agreed with my interpretations of stuff and just told me I was wrong! Hey ho - I still manage to read heaps of good books ... Good luck Scott!

Oh and Dune? Jesus. It might be ace for all I know but I've read some of Frank Herbert's other stuff and frankly it's too long to take the risk.

One of these stands alone...Anna Karenina. It has everything--pathos, humor, unforgettable characters. In my all-time top 2. Must read!

There's lots on your list I haven't read, but I did read and really loved Middlemarch and Jane Eyre, as well as Anna Karenina, among others. I have been trying to read Ulysses since October and it is taking me SO LONG and it is SO HARD to figure out what in the world is going on! But I am on page 964 and I refuse to give up now.

I'd go for Holes, Middlesex, Anna Karenina, the Regeneration trilogy (or at least the first one) and A Town Like Alice as a matter of urgency. I wouldn't bother with Ulysses, The Golden Notebook, Lake Wobegon Days, On Chesil Beach. I loved Middlemarch, A Suitable Boy and Vanity Fair but that might just be my big book fetish coming out. Life's too short for The Blind Assassin - I got the so-called 'twist' within about 3 chapters - and I thought The Line Of Beauty was one of the most charmless things I'd ever read.

Holes and A Suitable Boy, oh DO! The Godfather isn't half as good as the movie.

I've read 55 and most of these before the age of 20, but then I was stuck away in a Fenland boarding school until 18. I'd go for Love in the Time of Cholera and the Handmaid's Tale. Also Holes and Anna Karenina. One of my favourites though is A Suitable Boy.

The Kite Runner is the only book I've ever read where I've wanted to put out my own eyes so I didnt'have to read another ending as cheesy and as contrived that one. It was a reasonable book up until then.

2666 is a worthy book, but I think you need some history with Bolaño before - The Savage Detectives is the best.

Anna Karenina is a work of absolute genius, no doubt.

And The Godfather is a great book, despite the film being a classic also. It was Puzo's novel that coined the phrase in the first place.

Scott you got to read Dracula today!!!!!!

The comments to this entry are closed.