Sunday, 11 April 2010

Top Ten books you must read at least once

Random Ramblings have a new topic of top tens so me and chris put our heads together to come up with this list,

By Jess

1.Lord of the Rings, J.R.Tolkien

If anything just to say you have. I haven't read this and I doubt I ever will but Chris has and he's still proud – he should be.

2. Catcher in the Rye -J.D.Salinger

This is a real hate it or love it book, for example I loved it, Chris hated it. Sometimes books are like this and its good to know what side of the fence you sit on.

3.The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾ - Sue Townsend

This is an hilarious diary of poor Adrian as he struggles through school, friendships, the naughtiness his parents get up to and his love for Pandora. Honestly you wont regret it.

4. Wedlock - Wendy Moore

If you ever need reminding of exactly how far women really have come over the past 200 years then read this.

5. The Road - Cormac McCarthy

This book again seems to be a love it or hate it book but even most people that claim they hate it (Chris again) read it within a couple of days which says something about the power this book has.

and from Chris....

6.To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

The only book written by the reclusive Harper Lee this story chronicles the life of a family living in a small, backwards town in the US. Surrounded on all sides by ignorant, bigoted racism and prejudice two white children try to make sense of the world watched over by their loving father Atticus Finch; the town lawyer, who makes history when he chooses to represent a black man accused of raping and assaulting a local white woman. Atticus’s decision has far-reaching consequences for his family. A thrilling read that can teach genuine lessons. I wasn’t the same person after reading it.

7. Of Mice & Men - John Steinbeck

A famous tale of two ranchers in 30’s America trying to scrape a living in the midst of the depression. I absolutely love this book and was glad I had the opportunity to study it in school when I was a teenager. Put simply it is a tale of friendship and the hardships that we sometimes have to face. It is the only book I have ever read in one sitting. One of those rare books that stays with you after you’ve read it.

8. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

I have only just finished reading this book and must say it has jumped straight near the top of my favourite book list (please see my recent review) I won’t repeat myself here but I will say it is a wonderfully sad story about the journey of a young woman suffering from mental illness who eventually attempts suicide.

9.Notes from a Big Country - Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is my favourite author. I own many of his books and enjoy reading all of them. Asking me to pick out my favourite Bill Bryson book is never easy but, with a loaded gun pressed against my head, I would have to say this book pips the others at the post. It was actually the first Bryson book I ever read, I was introduced to him by my wife and have never looked back. I don’t have room in this brief space to highlight all the reasons why I love this work (I suspect an article on this very subject will appear here soon) but the book is unbearably funny, very true and full of Bryson’s unique brand of dry, sarcastic humour. A must-read for anyone with a sense of humour; I own three copies of this book just to ensure I am never without one!

10. The Illustrated Man - Ray Bradbury

This is a very well put together and imaginative series of science fiction short stories. Another fairly short book I only finished it about a week ago (I’ve been very lucky with books lately) full of original ideas and gripping tales. I often thought it fitted more neatly into the category of science fiction horror (some of the stories are quite frightening and violent) but this doesn’t mean I enjoyed it less. If you love sci-fi give this book a go.

So there you have our top ten.


  1. I am happy to say I have read 4 and a bit books on that list! Good idea! I might have to compile my own "must reads" :)

    Oh, and I must say, I love your blog so much! (and the fact that you are a couple doing it together is awesome), so I have linked your blog on mine:

    Keep up the good work!

  2. I haven't read Lord of the Rings, either. I'm trying to remember if I have read Catcher in the Rye or Catch 22? I recently started to slowly add to my own 100 Best Books and will have to put Kill a Mockingbird on it--forgot about that one. I'm intrigued by a couple of the others -- thanks!

  3. Hi folks, once again thanks for the comments! :o)

    @ Rachel: Which of the four from our list have you read? Thanks for the compliments and for adding us to your blog!

    @ Kim: You've obviously read so many books you've lost count! LOTR was very hard to get through but I managed it in the end! I hope you do pick up a few of the others we listed :o)

  4. Great list! I've read 2 (almost said 3 but I think I've only seen the Mice & Men movie) and want to check out some of the others. I didn't put LotR on my list but it is one of my all time beloved books. Chris, I'm curious as to why it was so arduous-- the fantasy genre or something else?

    I'm ashamed to say I've never read Catcher in the Rye (especially after it was on several lists) but I read a few pages last Tues at work and will read the book soon.

    I'm intrigued by 3 and 4-- definitely want to see how the worst hubby met his match. I love sci-fi so gotta read #10. Hope the library has these books.


  5. Hi Lesa

    I really did enjoy LOTR, there is no way someone like me would have even got halfway through it if I didn't like it. Sometimes I found it very hard going as I'm not a fast reader so I had convinced myself I'd be reading it for the next five years!

    The only thing that I didn't like about the book were the excessively lengthy descriptions of forests and landscape but other than that a complete masterpiece!


  6. Hi Jess and Chris. Good choices! You have several I have not heard of. I did consider The Road and Bradbury or Isaac Asimov. Completely forgot about Steinbeck! My choices morphed over the week and I finally posted just a little while ago.

  7. Hi Martha

    Funny you should mention Issac Asimov, I've got a copy of 'Foundation' upstairs that I am going to read soon. I've heard he's a great sci-fi writer!


  8. Me too, Chris! I have a copy of the Foundation trilogy that I've had for yrs and keep putting off reading it-- don't know why since I like sci-fi. For some reason in my mind I lump it in with War & Peace ect--- books I plan to read someday.

    When I read LoTR as an early teen I skipped lots of those nature descriptions. I'm am amazed that each time I reread it there is more to learn-- different things pop out that didn't before. Do you think you will ever reread it? It can get under your skin and become a beloved book if you aren't careful. ;)

    I considered Grapes of Wrath for my Steinbeck and might have included it if I hadn't divvied up with my co-bloggers.


  9. Hi Lesa

    If you like Sci-Fi you should definately give the Illustrated Man a try, its very impressive.

    If I'm perfectly honest I can't imagine myself re-reading LOTR purely because of the sheer size of it and there are so many great books out there I want to read. I am sure you are perfectly right about the details you can notice after another read and they do say 'never say never' so perhaps one day I will have another go but it won't be any time soon! lol


  10. I have read:

    The Catcher in the Rye
    The Bell Jar
    Adrian Mole
    To Kill a Mockingbird

    The bit was, The Lord of the Rings.

  11. It's such a pleasure whenever I see both of you have participated! I love the fact that it's a shared list between the two of you.
    I have not read #s 3,9,10. I will most definitely read #3, and will put the rest on my tbr list! :)

  12. I like your list! From all the books listed there, I've only read Catcher in the Rye, which I recently read and loved(!) and To Kill a Mockingbird. And I'd love to read The Bell Jar too. Sylvia Plath was such an interesting character.