15 books to read before you die!!!!!! or something

My friend Vicki who is a facebook addict sent me this link (here is her profile pic, thinking this may give an indication to what she likes) and I thought it was brilliant.  Basically what you do is this;

The rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.  Then show your friends and they can tell you how much they love them to or if they think they are crap.

Here were my answers, in no particular order, so must get reviewing these.

1.  Persuasion – Jane Austen

2. A Room with a View – E M Forster

3.  English Passengers – Matthew Kneale

4. Suite Francaise – Irene Nemirovsky

5. Star of the Sea – Joseph O Connor

6. Penmarric or the Wheel of Fortune (I dont know)  –  Susan Howatch

7. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

8. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

9. Vernon God Little  – DBC Pierre

10. Jonathan Coe – The Rotters Club

11. Ghosts of Spain – Giles Tremlett

12. The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

13. Daughter of Fortune – Isabelle Allende

14.The City of Falling Angels – John Berendt

15. Have forgotten the final one that I woke up this morning thinking about – know that is cheating.

Now add your list or come up with other amazing titles of lists we could do, am thinking of best holiday/location books, historical novels, etc.  Then we can have hours of fun debate about them without having to go to a book club with boring people reading books you hate (Anne Enright – The Gathering = depressing)

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23 Comments

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23 responses to “15 books to read before you die!!!!!! or something

  1. Charlotte Gillam

    ok here goes
    1. Doris Lessing – The Diaries of Jane Somers
    2. Emily Bronte – Wuthering Heights
    3. Muriel Spark – The Girls of Slender Means
    4. Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre
    5. Virginia Woolf – To the Lighthouse
    6. Edith Nesbit – The Railway Children
    7. Marcel Proust – À la recherche du temps perdu
    8. Sylvia Plath – The Bell Jar
    9. Alice Munro – Too Much Happiness
    10. Iris Murdoch – The Nice and the Good
    11. David Foster Wallace – Infinite Jest (haven’t actually finished it, despite starting 5 years ago – but I definitely plan on reading it before I die! Perhaps that could be another list ’15 books I WILL read before I die’)
    12. Something by Joyce Carol Oats uummm – Wonderland
    13. Jean Rhys – Wide Sargasso Sea
    14. Simone de Beauvoire – Mandarins
    15. Already! oh dear. What about Shirley Hughes? – Dogger, or the one with the boy and his stone called Bonting. His mum makes it a stripy swimming costume!

    Love the blog Kerry!

    • Thank you. Yours are all very clever. Would go with the classics and Jean Rhys and Plath but havent read any of the others. Does reading How Proust Can Change your Life count? The Railway Children??? I thought Tom´s Midnight Garden was great until I read it again last year.

      • Charlotte Gillam

        I didn’t mean to be too earnest but they all hit the spot for me. I loved How Proust can change your Life and also listening to this http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00548wx
        I read the first chapter of the Railway Children to the boys a while ago, they fidgeted a lot and looked generally unimpressed. That’s as close as I’ve got to rereading it since finishing it under my sisters bed and crying because I wanted to go on reading it forever.
        I imagine that a few on the list would disappoint now if I went back to them (Woolf, I’m looking at you!) but they are all books that have stayed with me, a right place right time kind of thing.

    • Michèle Moolchan

      Just noticed, and happy to see, that there’s someone else here who enjoys reading Muriel Spark’s work. I’ve got The Bachelors on my list.

  2. Vicki Gowans

    Thought I should post my list as it was the inspiration for Kerry’s! My list however was “Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you”, a list of 15 to read before I die would probably be very different…

    1. Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson
    2. The Wheel of Fortune – Susan Howatch
    3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
    4. The Winter Bear – Ruth Craft & Erik Blegvad
    5. Blackberry Wine – Joanne Harris
    6. Stranger with my Face – Lois Duncan
    7. The Time Travellers Wife – Audrey Neffenegger
    8. Midnight is a Lonely Place – Barbara Erskine
    9. The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett
    10. Down Under – Bill Bryson
    11. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling
    12. Making History – Stephen Fry
    13. A Month in the Country – JL Carr
    14. The Silver Pigs – Lindsey Davis
    15. Behind the Scenes at the Museum – Kate Atkinson

    • Thank you. Found bill Bryson a bit annoying . Obviously love no.2, going to read it again after going to Worms Head. Also like no 12 and 15 a lot. What is the Alan Bennet one like? Have been listening to his diaries.

      • Vicki Gowans

        It is a novella all about the Queen and her reading choices. Utterly brilliant and very amusing. One of the best things I have read in a long time. It can be read in one sitting, but is so delightful you will want to read it again and again. Alan Bennett is a genius 🙂

      • Michèle Moolchan

        The Uncommon Reader is a great little book!

        As for Bill Bryson I do agree that he can be a tad annoying but must say that I really enjoyed Mother Tongue. And, speaking of language, alos loved Eat, Shoots and Leaves by L. Truss.

  3. That website looks great, it even has stuff on the Spanish Civil War that I am going to listen to.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00548wx

  4. Michèle Moolchan

    Hey Kerry, definitely with you on English Passengers and Daughter of Fortune.

  5. Michèle Moolchan

    A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
    Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
    Small Island – Andrea Levy
    A House for Mr Biswas – V.S. Naipaul
    The Woodlanders – Thomas Hardy
    The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
    Middlemarch – George Eliot
    The Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri
    White Teeth – Zadie Smith
    Oscar and Lucinda – Peter Carey
    Enduring Love – Ian McEwan
    The Barchester Chronicles – Anthony Trollope
    Eva Luna – Isabel Allende
    The Bachelors – Muriel Spark
    The Detective Morse books – Colin Dexter

  6. Why have we never discussed books before? Some great choices and a good mix of classics and contemporary fiction. A Fine Balance is fantastic, but so traumatic that I have never got round to reading it again. Not so keen on White Teeth or Oscar and Lucinda. I don´t think Eva Luna is Allende´s best novel, I prefer all the rest. Marty in the Woodlanders is great! Never read V.S. Naipul, might have to give him a whirl.

  7. Sophie

    Okay, I took a while to get going – wasted precious minutes – then I got into my stride and 15 books were up before I had even started and missed Larkin… missed Angela Carter (who I love, particularly Nights at the Circus) but for the honesty of the rules of the game, here are my 15 in the order they came out of my brain…
    Songlines
    A Room with a View
    My Family and Other Animals
    The Pillowman
    Unbearable Lightness of Being
    Lord of the Flies
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Song of Soloman
    The Golden Notebook
    A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters
    The Bell Jar
    Hamlet
    Fantastic Mr Fox
    Where the Wild Things Are
    Any Human Heart
    And, Kerry, I know you are going to be throwing your toys out of the pram over quite a few of them… he he!

    • No, I am not particularly upset by them although, didnt really find no. 10 very interesting. I like the Bell Jar a lot and want to read The Golden Notebook as the Faulks on Fiction thing was very interesting on that. Karl loves Where the Wild Things Are too, I was never read it as a child so it doesn’t mean the same to me. Any Human Heart was a latest charity shop purchase that I couldn’t fit in my bag so will read that next time in the UK. 2. is great. I am getting a feminist/depressing theme going on with some of these! Suzanne is going to do hers and they fit into that genre too.

      I like the bearable lightness of being, it got the Digested Read treatment and I was listening to it on the podcast. It is very funny but quite critical.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/audio/2010/jan/08/unbearable-lightness-being-milan-kundera

  8. Giuliana

    1. Doris Lessing-The Fifth Child and sequel, Ben in the World,both short
    2.Nicholas Jose. Avenue of Eternal Peace, or anything else
    3.Neal Stephenson-The Diamond Age, or anything by this genius.
    4. Ken McLeod. The Execution Channel, or anything(Scottish lefty sci fi zoologist).
    5.Tolstoy. Resurrection.
    6.Inga Clendinnen. Dancing with Strangers.
    7.Ray Parkin. The Sword and the Blossom, and others.
    8.Martin Booth. Hiroshima Joe.
    9.Liz Williams. Nine Layers of Sky.
    10. Mary E. Charnas. Walk to the End of the World and sequels.
    11.Suzanne Doria Russell. The Sparrow and sequels.
    12.D.H.Lawrence. Lady Chatterley’s Lover
    13. Jules Romains. The Body’s Rapture.
    14.Arthur Upfield. Bony and the Black Virgin.
    15. James Bardon. Revolution by Night.

    5.Liz Williams. The Poison Master, or anything else.
    6.Suzy McKee Charnas. -Walk to the end of the World. hard core feminist sci fi.
    7.Tolstoy. Resurrection.
    8.Inga Clendinnen. Dancing with Strangers.
    9.Mary Doria Russell. The Sparrow and Children of God. anthropological sci fi/ Jesuits in Space-understandably not everyones cup of tea.
    10. Martin Booth, Hiroshima Joe.
    11. James Bardon. Revolution by Night.
    12. D.H.Lawrence. The Lost Girl.
    13. Ray Parkin. The Sword and the Blossom.

  9. Giuliana

    sorry about the repetition here. something disappeared and then popped back when no longer needed and i haven’t got the hang of the editing here yet. dreadful after what i say about lack of good editing. And somewhere in there I’d have slipped A. Andreyev-Novel with Cocaine but couldn’t remember how to spell author’s name. Chilling but unfortunately unforgettable and not unrelated to the Tolstoy, who/to whom he does refer to, wistfully. Its very short and says a lot.

  10. Pingback: A great Jane Eyre rip off? Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca | Rotten Books

  11. Carol Jepson

    In no particular order

    Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
    Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
    War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
    Shame – Salman Rushdie
    Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
    A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
    Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being – oops forgotten his name
    The Lacuna – Barbara Kingsolver
    Christ Stopped at Eboli – Primo Levi
    The Worst Journey in the World – Apsley Cherry-Garrard
    Far From the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
    Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens
    Fatty Batter – Michael Simkins
    The Beauty and the Sorrow – Michael Englund

    I like long books as, being from Yorkshire, I think you get more value for your money and feel short-changed when a book ends too soon! I have read all the Bronte and Austen books several times – good to read these old friends when you aren’t very well. I used to hate Dickens when he was serialised on Sunday afternoons and all those daft names used to get on my nerves but I really love him now and it was difficult to pick just one. A Fine Balance is just so amazing and manages to be sad and uplifting at the same time. I read all the Hardys and War and Peace a very long time ago so don’t know if I’d still love them now but think I would.
    The Michael Englund book is about lots of different people in different places during World War One and gives you a totally different
    perspective on the war.
    Fatty Batter is a book for cricket lovers and the worst journey is an amazing account of an expedition to the South Pole.
    I thought Wolf Hall was amazingly well written and I ended up really liking Thomas Wolsey which surprised me – hope sequel doesn’t disappoint but waiting for paperback – not just Yorkshire thrift though – find hardbacks too heavy for slouching around reading.
    The Primo Levi book is a fascinating insight into rural Italy under Mussolini and the film was great too if you don’t want to read the book.
    The Lacuna is a real epic like The Poisonwood Bible and I learned a lot about what was happening in the USA and Mexico at that time. It’s fictional but Trotsky, Friday Kahlo and Diego Rivera are woven into the story.

    • Thanks Carol, lots to be thinking about there. I like 1, 2, 5, 6, 8 (Milan Kundera!) and 12. The rest I either haven’t read, which is quite embarrassing re War and Peace, although I do have it to listen to as an audio book but is this cheating, or I wasn’t mad keen such as the Lacuna. Am re-reading the Poisonwood Bible again for my book group and loving it. A Fine Balance is an amazing book, but so traumatic that I don’t think I can read it for another 20 years at least. Would like to read the Primo Levi one. Wolf Hall I thought was overrated but will probably still read the sequel when it appears in a charity shop near me! The cricket one sounds strange, are you a cricket fan?

  12. Carol Jepson

    I love cricket but think it’s a really funny book even if you don’t – but I could be wrong about that. Just realised I put Thomas Wolsey not Cromwell – actually didn’t like Wolsey at all! I’m now thinking that the Levi book might be by Carlo Levi who is no relation to Primo but this is what happens when you have to think off the top of your head – or maybe I’ve just got a bad memory. I like audiobooks sometimes -eg Samuel Pepys Diaries – never managed to read them but thought Kenneth Brannagh did a good job. Top audio book was Richard Burton reading Under Milkwood – what a great voice

  13. Ha, ha, yes just thought for some reason you liked Wolsey being as he is in it at the start! I thought it was all too sympathetic to Cromwell being as she obviously had to make lots of things up due to lack of information. The Pepys diaries sound good, might have to get hold of them.

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