is my list of 20 books I recommend people read in their lifetime. They are in
no particular order except that in which I thought of them. How many have you
read? Please use the contact form and let me know.
House of the Spirits by Isabelle Allende.
few years after her sister, Rosa, dies, Clara Del Valle, a member of a
prominent family in Chile, marries Esteban Trueba, a self-made man, and goes to
live at his hacienda (country estate). Clara has psychic abilities which
delight some and alarm others. The destinies of the two families are entwined
as Chile goes through politically tumultuous times. Also a wonderful movie
starring Jeremy Irons, Antonio Banderas, Winona Ryder & Meryl Streep, which
is actually pretty close to the book. NOTE: The author is the widow of murdered
Chilean President Salvador Allende.
2. The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
House of Silk is the only Sherlock Holmes novel to be approved by the Conan
Doyle estate. Narrated as always by faithful colleague Dr Watson, the story
tells of international intrigue, opium dens and a sinister establishment of
great cruelty masquerading as decency. Best known as the creator of the
legendary TV character Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle,
Horowitz once again brings to life the legend that is Sherlock Holmes. It is a
great injustice that, were this book ever to be filmed, Jeremy Brett is not
alive to take up the mantle of Baker Street’s finest.
falling on Cedars by David Guterson
tale which brings to life the anti Japanese prejudice in the United States just
after the Second World War. A man has been murdered and a Japanese man is
brought to trial for the crime. But for crippled journalist Ishmael Chambers
this is no ordinary trial because the accused wife is his former love Hatsui.
Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
classic tale set in the impoverished Deep South in the 1930s. Lawyer Atticus
Finch endeavours to teach his two children Scout & Jem about the rights and
wrongs of racial prejudice and the story is evocatively told through the eyes
of innocent children. This is also a wonderful film starring the late Gregory
5. A Tale
of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
is a tale of hope and love set amid the turbulence of the French Revolution. It
tells the stories of people on both sides as they are exposed to political
forces they cannot always comprehend and ends with the supreme sacrifice of one
man to enable two people to love.
Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
by some as the blue print for the modern detective novel this is an absolute
must-read for fans of the genre. When a priceless gem stone is stolen a family
is drawn into intrigue, murder and deception in an attempt to discover the
culprit. Hints of early forensics and crime reconstruction techniques feature
as do love, ambition and an ancient Indian curse.
the Velvet by Sarah Waters
is the daughter of a Whitstable Oyster parlour owner. When she falls in love
with male impersonator Kitty Butler she is thrown into a world of betrayal,
sexual deviance and hardship. A tale of coming of age, emerging sexuality,
friendship and adventure await Nan and those whom her life touches.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre
Frenchman Edmund Dantes is arrested on his wedding day on trumped up charges.
During his period of incarceration he learns the names of those responsible and
sets about plotting a calculated revenge.
by Alan Garner
let the fact that this is a kid’s book stop you from reading else you will miss
ordinary children are drawn into a parallel world which needs help. They seek
to protect the treasures of Elidor, but back in our world this causes problems.
Guided by someone from Elidor they aim to seek out the means to save it from
Alienist by Caleb Carr
murder of a young male prostitute entices eminent Alienist Laszlo Kreizler into
the open. Assisted by a journalist friend (the narrator from whose POV the
story comes) Kreizler sets out to discover the identity of a cruel and ruthless
killer, but what he discovers along the way may prove shocking. Set in late 19th
century New York the city comes to life. No modern forensic science of course,
bar fingerprints, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the ride.
Trial by Franz Kafka
honest I’ve never been quite sure how to describe this book so I’ll let it
speak for itself and if anyone has any idea how to explain the plot please let
me know via the contact form.
Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
A tale of
forbidden love set in Australia. A young girl pines for the local priest Father
Ralph de Bricassart and there is no doubt he also harbours feelings for her,
but will they ever give into their destructive forbidden passion? This book was
made into a TV mini-series in the 1980s starring Rachel Ward, Bryan Brown and
by Daphne du Maurier
for its classic opening line “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
Rebecca is a classic Gothic romance. Widower Maxim de Winter meets and marries
a young girl in Monte Carlo. The never named second Mrs De Winter- from whose
POV the story is told - struggles to find her place in Cornish society. She is
haunted by the spectre of Maxim’s first wife & bullied by the monstrous
housekeeper Mrs Danvers can she come into her own as a shipwreck reveals
devastating secrets and finally blows apart her image of Max’s first “perfect”
14. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Professor Robert Langdon is summoned to Le Louvre to inspect a murder scene he
is drawn into an ancient mystery and quickly realises that people on his tail
will stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden. It’s an intriguing story &
way better than the movie.
Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
those books people say they’ll read, but never do.
student Raskolnikov murders an old woman moneylender. The book deals with his increasing guilt and
subsequent punishment for his actions. Many dark tones, but well written.
time for goodbye by Linwood Barclay
mystery where a young girl wakes up to find her family missing. The mystery of
what happened to them haunts her and when she reaches adulthood she tries to
solve the mystery despite impending danger. All the loose ends are perfectly
tied up and this is one that will stay with you long after you turn the final
by Danielle Steel
is sent to prison for the murder of his wife, Sam Walker’s three daughters are
separated and placed in institutions.
later a lawyer seeks to trace and reunite the Walker girls and his search
reveals what has happened in their lives during the interim. Kaleidoscope is
quite a harrowing story in places, but a well-told story of bittersweet sorrow,
regret and inability to forgive.
18. Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin
into the police with a demotion to Detective Sergeant, John Rebus
understandably has a chip on his shoulder. What makes it worse is that there
are discrepancies and potential corruption discovered at a police station where
Rebus worked thirty years before concerning an old murder case. Rebus’
colleagues called themselves the Saints and swore on something called the
Shadow Bible, but as the investigation progresses will it reveal Rebus to be a
saint or a sinner?
19. Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally
brought to life on screen by Spielberg in the epic movie Schinder’s List this
tells of a womanizing Nazi who turns saviour to thousands of Jews employed in
his Polish labour camp. Schindler’s moral courage and defiance against the established
order is a testament to the resilience and courage of the human spirit.
by Robert Harris
story imagining life under a Victorious Nazi regime. Nazi officer Xavier March
is drawn into a plot involving art theft and the assassination of the Fuhrer.
On the way he uncovers shocking truths about the war and the truth of the
Holocaust, only to be betrayed by one of his own. A well written story that
makes one rather glad for what really happened.
many of the above have YOU read? Use the contact form below to tell me and
suggest your own. I may well follow up this list with more recommendations at a