Wednesday, October 7, 2015

53 Books You Can't Put Down

I've had this list on my computer desktop for months. I don't even remember where it came from. I've never taken the time to actually go through it. Besides, it's not like I don't have enough reading material. As we speak, I have 174 book samples just waiting to be purchased and read. Some of those are on this list. Forced sedentarianism  (okay, so I made up this word---but it really says it all) has given me time to catch up on all those Ted Talks, layout processes, Apple Keynotes and tons of blog reading. Reading anything about books is always at the top of my list. I certainly don't want to miss a thing! After all, y'all, people come to me for book recommendations!

My criteria these days for putting a book on my "sample" (actually, my "to be read") list is one of these three reasons:
1. The book comes highly recommended from another bibliophile who I respect. Maybe respect isn't quite the word. Let's change that to another bibliophile whose recommendations I trust---knowing we share similar tastes and interests in books (Connie, Stephanie, Sandy, Chrissy).

2. The book has 4.5 stars on Amazon with at least 100 ratings.

3. The book is by one of my favorite authors. In that case, I don't care about the ratings. But, I do beware of books that come out right before Christmas. Usually, the author is meeting a deadline. I've found that those books often are not their best work.

Currently, I'm reading Orphan #8. This one came recommended by Chrissy. It's really good so far. I love books around the turn of the century or the early part of the 1900's. It's about a little girl in an orphanage who is used for medical experimentation. It seems downright barbaric that something like this could happen. There's one twist in the book that I was not happy about, but I guess the author wants to keep you guessing.

Here's the list with a few comments from me. The ones in green I have downloaded to my sample list. The ones in blue are those I've already read.

53 Books you can’t put down:
Never Let Me Go---Kazuo Ishiguro
Safekeeping---Jessamyn Hope
The Book of Night Women---Marlon James
The Time Traveler’s Wife---Audrey Niffenegger (saw this movie, so won't bother with the book. I liked it really well.)
11/22/63---Stephen King (I’ve always loved Stephen King---until IT. I quit reading for a decade and have just within the last 5 years---started up again. I forgot what a genius he is. Add Mr. Mercedes to your list).
Who Asked You---Terry McMillan
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time---Mark Haddon
Circle of Friends---Maeve Binchy (I read this in the 1980’s).
Legend---Marie Lu (another series---I’m not ready to tackle)
Season of Storms---Susanna Kearsley
Thirteen Reasons Why---Jay Asher
Dark Places---Gillian Flynn (personally, I thought Sharp Objects was better)
Ready Player One---Ernest Cline (sci-fi)
Zone One---Colson Whitehead
Maybe Someday---Colleen Hoover
The Orenda---Joseph Boyden
Luckiest Girl Alive---Jessica Knoll
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe---Benjamin Alire Saenz
All the Light We Cannot See—Anthony Doerr (I haven’t met too many WWII sagas that I did not like).
Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven---Susan Jane Gilman
The Lying Game---Sara Shepard
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World---Haruki Murakami
Think of a Number---John Verdon
Heart of Darkness---Joseph Conrad (I read this in highschool and don’t really remember much about it. I might have to read it again).
Reconstructing Amelia---Kimberly McCreight (so very good with many twists).
Salvage the Bones---Jesmyn Ward
The New York Trilogy---Paul Auster
And the Sea Will Tell---Vincent Bugliosi
Kindred---Octavia E. Butler
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo---Stieg Larsson (you really should read the other two in the series---all excellent)
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August---Claire North
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer---Michelle Hodkin
Devil in a Blue Dress---Walter Mosley
Life as We Knew it---Susan Beth Pfeffer
Midnight’s Children---Salman Rushdie
Rosemary’s Baby---Ira Levin (read this in the 70’s---creepy)
Eleanor & Park---Rainbow Rowell
Shantaram---Gregory David Roberts
Native Son---Richard Wright
The Secret History---Donna Tartt
The Name of the Wind---Patrick Rothfuss
Daughter of Smoke & Bone---Laini Taylor
A Piece of Cake---Cupcake Brown
And Then There Were None---Agatha Christie (I started reading AC in the 7th grade. I'm not sure how I discovered her as my mother did not read AC. I remember feeling all grown up carrying around The Murder of Roger Acroyd! I always loved them---but haven’t read any in years)
Heart-Shaped Box---Joe Hill
Seraphina---Rachel Hartman
Blasphemy---Sherman Alexie
Crime and Punishment---Fyodor Dostoevsky (another I feel like I’ve read in highschool, but can’t really remember)
The Light of the World---Elizabeth Alexander
I Am Pilgrim---Terry Hayes
Consequences---Aleatha Romig
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close---Johathan Safran Foer
The Mountain Story---Lori Lansens
The Last Time We Say Goodbye---Cynthia Hand
Things You Won’t Say---Sarah Pekkanen
A Fall of Marigolds---Susan Meissner (this one is so good---goes back and forth in time---another style I love)
The Boston Girl---Anita Diamant
First Frost---Sarah Addison Allen
The Book of Unknown Americans---Cristina Henriquez
Before I Go---Colleen Oakley
Inside the O’Briens---Lisa Genova (just go this for book club).
Landline---Rainbow Rowell
Yes Please---Amy Poehler (this has turned up on many lists. I just might have to read it).
The Girl on the Train---Paula Hawkins (very good, but I didn’t really get all the hubbub).
Pride and Prejudice---Jane Austen (another that I think I read in highschool, but can’t really remember---it’s free, so I downloaded to my Kindle)
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand---Helen Simonson
Jane Eyre---Charlotte Bronte (loved, loved, loved it in highschool---should read it again. Wuthering Heights by Emily, her sister is my ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOK! Oh Heathcliff! This one wasn't on the list---I put it there.
The Sugar Queen---Sarah Addison Allen
Anne of Windy Poplars---L.M. Montgomery
Outlander---Diana Gabaldon’s (this has been on my list for awhile---I really need to get to it)
Arabella---Georgette Heyer
Fifty Shades of Grey---E L James (not sure why this is on the list. I read the first one because I wanted to be in the know. Pretty disturbing and not particularly well written---as if I'm the one to judge as the author laughs all the way to the bank!
A Spool of Blue Thread---Anne Tyler

There you have it. Let me know which ones you've read and consider that I MUST read.


  1. That's an interesting list - only a couple on there would appeal to me. I really want to get around to reading more of the classics. I have had this misconception that because they were written so long ago they would be hard to read, but when I do read them, that is usually not the case. I've not even been curious enough to read 50 Shades or the entire Twilight series once I've heard that the writing is sub-par.

  2. We seem to have similar tastes. I have read every Agatha Christie book but a long time ago now. I've only read the first Fifty Shades book and found it badly written and a repetitive and boring by the end, I had no desire to read anymore. Do read Pride and Prejudice again, it's such a wonderful book, I think I might try Wuthering Heights again as I was a teenager when I read it.

    1. Although Wuthering Heights is one of my all-time favorites, when I picked it for my book club a few years ago, they about stoned me! I just thought it was so romantic and beautifully written. I could just feel the breeze on the moors and smell the heather. I love books that really pull me in to the story---just like I'm there experiencing it too.

  3. That's a fascinating list: such variety! Curious Incident is a big favourite of mine. Heart of Darkness I did in my first year at university..might be time to go back and see what I find in it now. There's another one by Ira Levin which I liked much more than Rosemary's Baby: A Kiss Before Dying. Have you tried it?

  4. That's a great list Barbara! I recognise a few of them that I have read. I loved Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy, and have read it a couple of times. Loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the other 2 books! We really enjoyed the Swedish version of the films. Popping in from Julie's blog as I too am challenging myself to 300 blog comments in 30 days! I don't think I have visited your blog before.

  5. Such an interesting list! I have a very long list going that I'm going to read someday. I've read some of the ones on your list: Time Travelers Wife - read the book first, which made the movie so much more enjoyable. The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo - much too graphic for my tastes, so I didn't read the others. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - the comical twists in this book make it an enjoyable read. Pride & Prejudice.

    A couple of them are on my to-read list, too: Ready Player One, Seraphina.

  6. I've read the entire Dragon Tattoo series - very compelling and The Fifty Shades series - which I thought was *educational* but some of the most poorly written trash I'd ever read. Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre were my absolute favorites in high school/college - I wrote my senior thesis about the Bronte sisters. But the absolute BEST book on the list (well, out of what I've read anyway) is Outlander. And once I read the first book I was HOOKED and finished the series of eight and am now impatiently waiting for the author to finish writing the ninth book in the series. Seriously, this time last year I was living in Scotland and keeping company with a very dreamy red-head! Dinner, who needs it???


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