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20 Books Everyone Should Read!


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- This thread is dedicated to drawing up a list of the BCF members' 'Top 20 Books EVERYBODY Should Read!'



The guidelines for picking and posting your list are as follows:

1. You are only to choose your top 5 books. No more, preferably no less.

2. Your choices can be from any genre you like, and for any reason you like.

3. This is not necessarily a 'favourites' thread - while you are more than welcome to list your 5 favourites as your choices,

the KEY idea here is to name the books you think EVERYBODY should read once.

4. Please note you are welcome to use your list from 2008 if you so choose.

5. A book series is counted as one choice. Name the series, rather than an individual book.


- Once enough posts have accumulated, I will list the top 20 here and update it on at least a weekly basis.


- Please feel free to discuss other peoples choices (in a constructive manner - people are allowed pick books for any reason, so don't start criticizing reasoning.)





Have fun! :P


Edited by Nollaig
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I shall go first:


1. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

2. The Picture Of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

3. His Dark Materials - Phillip Pullman

4. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

5. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee

Edited by Nollaig
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Heres my 5~:


1.Die for me~Karen Rose


2.The Curious Incident of the dog in the Night-Time~Mark Hadden


3.Deja Dead~Kathy Reichs


4.Dead Man's Foorsteps~Peter James


5.The Sleeping Doll~Jeffery Deaver

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The Stand (complete and unabridged edition) by Stephen King

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Plucker: An Illustrated Novel by Brom

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

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1. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

If you shift your attention away from breaking away from enviromental conditioning, you'll see that the surrounding women have their own little story that is not being told. In a way, the book deals with the life of women in general. Women being tied down by children and marriage, or being sexualized, and unable to really think for themselves. Showing in a way how women are second class citizens. Though these are Latino characters, this is something that all women deal with all over the world, and here you have Esperanza breaking away from this. And though you assume she does, look how at many women suffer from being stuck in that "traditional" woman role, for one to escape this enviroment and be a future inspiration to women of the same neighborhoods.


2. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Exposes society not only during that time, but it only shows how society hasn't changed and never will when it comes to class and what you have and don't have, and how a family struggles to survive not because of not having, but with being faced with prejuidice.


3. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

A different writing style and perspective that some readers aren't use to. This will get them out of their comfort zone.


4. Chronicles of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez


5. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

This is great book that touches on class, caste, and identity.

Edited by Ahsilet
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OK. This is interesting, very interesting.


It's a different list, I think, to the best books I've ever read.

It's certainly a different list to my favourite books.


So, what do I really think other people should read. Everyone should read. I think that means the book has to be readable. But it also has to be important, it has to have enough message for it to be essential that everyone should read it. It shouldn't, for me, just be entertaining fluff. It shouldn't be brilliant but difficult Russian literature, like The Master and Margarita. It probably shouldn't be post-modern comedy like At-Swim-Two-Birds. Actually, although I love the post-modern playing and think it makes for the best books, the ones that make you think, I really don't think it makes for really important books that are essential reading.


And, interestingly, it probably can be non-fiction.


So, therefore, I will start with


If This is a Man by Primo Levi (and The Truce as they come in a dual edition)


This, basically, is probably the single most insightful piece of writing that I've ever read. Deep, profound, compassionate, yet funny, along with being utterly brutal. It describes Levi's time in Auschwitz, and despite the bleak subject matter he keeps the touch light enough for you to want to keep reading


Catch-22 by Joseph Heller


This is the war novel, isn't it? The one that most describes the brutality and violence and horrors and utter stupidity of war. And it manages to be great fun, very funny and a great romp at the same time. Utterly worth reading.


To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee


Another of those books that manages to tell a vital moral in a brutal historical context, yet isn't preachy or naggy, and is instead beautifully written and very readable.


War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy


(provided you skip over the pointless and tedious philosophical explanations about how history works, which are redundant, annoying, and break the flow of the book)


Remarkably easy to read for such a legendarily long and difficult novel, actually an entertaining romp, mostly. But it also gives massive historical insight into the Napoleonic wars and into the hubris that great men acquire. It is actually probably as good as its reputation.


and lastly, it's hard - there's too much war and history and profundity in here already, and I want to include David Mitchell or Haruki Murukami or JG Ballard or Ismael Kadare, as they're basically my favourite writers, but there's nothing about their books that make them essential reading for others.


So instead, it's back to history and war and obscure eastern European stuff, I fear, with


The Bridge Over the Drina by Ivo Andric


This book tells a bunch of tales, almost like fairytales, woven around the existence of a bridge in Bosnia. It is fantastic, powerful, and wonderful, and within the book you also learn most of the history of how the Balkans became such a messed up mucked up part of the world. Genuinely brilliant.

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(are we still allowed to choose a series of books?)


Yup, I edited the guidelines to include that - always a series, rather than an individual title, to make it easier.


CJ Sansom - Sovereign

David Gibbins

Pam jenoff

Owen sheers - Resistance

Matthew Reilly - Seven ancient wonders / Six sacred stones


Could you please include titles if you want your 'votes' to be counted? Otherwise I can't really make a list. Thank you! :)



And, interestingly, it probably can be non-fiction.


all genres are welcome, and for any reason at all.


(Note: explanations/discussion of choices is also very welcome, I'm keeping track of the lists seperately, so constructive discussion of your own/other peoples choices is very much encouraged!)

Edited by Nollaig
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Mine would be:


1. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee

2. Betty Blue - Philippe Dijan

3. American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis

4. All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque

5. The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein

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Owen sheers - Resistance



I have this on my TBR pile! good to know its on your top five! Love CJ Sansom too


i really enjoyed resistance, clever writing. so easy to visualise the characters, scenery and settings. i think you will enjoy it. I have the house at riverton and the forgotten gardens on my TBC.

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