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Books That Must Be Read

Updated on September 26, 2008

To say I read a lot is probably an understatement. I'm that person who has at least four books on the go at any one time ... they all have their place ... before bed, travelling, Sunday afternoon easy reads, really hard work to read so need a break with an easy book books (you know the ones ... Bleak House or Middlemarch). I have even been called the most well read scientist (I have a biology degree and used to be a biology/science teacher) she had ever met by a previous boss.

A number of years ago, I realized that I was reading far too much contemporary or popular fiction and implemented an easy book (contemporary) - hard book (classic or non-fiction) rule. I even own a copy of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die by Peter Boxall ... no I have not gotten anywhere near 1001 but I'm trying!

As such, I am always getting asked for book recommendations, so I thought I would put the list together here to share ....

Now, about the list. It is basically contempory fiction that either blew my mind or seriously disturbed me (in both cases, the books are amazing and I can't shake them). I'm sure I've missed some (I'm trying to wrack my brain for the books I want to include, so the list may change and will probably grow larger) but I've got to 20, so I figure that's a good start. They're not in any particular order, although for a couple I have suggested that you read one before the other. I'll definitely be adding some classics later, but for now here goes:

20 Reading Recommendations

  1. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  2. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon (I actually wanted to quote lines from this book)
  3. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  4. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
  5. Under the Skin - Michel Faber
  6. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood (I would probably read this before Oryx and Crake, it's interesting to compare the 2 two)
  7. Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood
  8. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
  9. The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde (You could read Jane Eyre before this, not necessary but makes the book funnier)
  10. Enduring Love - Ian McEwan
  11. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
  12. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
  13. The Crow Road - Iain Banks
  14. We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver
  15. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
  16. The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
  17. The White Bone - Barbara Gowdy
  18. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
  19. The Celestine Prophecy - James Redfield (a bit out there at the end, but I really believe a lot of the early stuff)
  20. Bel Canto - Ann Patchett

I hope you enjoy this list and am definitely open to suggestions. I'm always on the lookout for my next great read.


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