OK -hit me with your three 'MUST-READ BEFORE YOU DIE' book recommendations in the replies. (Notifications at the ready...I'll make a list later)
Book mentions in this thread
by Cormac McCarthy
A Little Life
by Hanya Yanagihara"A little life, follows four college classmates --broke, adrift, and bouyed only by their friendship and ambition--as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. A hymn to brotherly bonds and a masterful depiction of love in the twenty-first century, Hanya Yanagihara's stunning novel is about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves." --Back cover
by Neal Shusterman"A timely, speculative thought experiment in perspective, privilege, and identity." —Kirkus "The conceit behind Shusterman’s latest is truly unique. While it exhibits the author’s usual storytelling aplomb, it also manages to delve into more serious and timely subject matter, such as racism, sexism, and homophobia. Despite these heavy topics, the story still moves at a lively pace and, thanks to a zany sci-fi twist, manages to pack in a few laughs as well." —Booklist All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it. Impossible though it seems, he’s been hit into another dimension—and keeps on bouncing through worlds that are almost-but-not-really his own. The changes start small, but they quickly spiral out of control as Ash slides into universes where he has everything he’s ever wanted, universes where society is stuck in the past…universes where he finds himself looking at life through entirely different eyes. And if he isn’t careful, the world he’s learning to see more clearly could blink out of existence… This high-concept novel from the National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of the Arc of a Scythe series tackles the most urgent themes of our time, making this a must-buy for readers who are starting to ask big questions about their own role in the universe.
The Kindly Ones
by Jonathan LittellDr Max Aue is a family man and owner of a lace factory in post-war France. He is an intellectual steeped in philosophy, literature, and classical music. He is also a former SS intelligence officer and cold-blooded assassin. He was an observer and then a participant in Nazi atrocities on the Eastern Front, he was present at the siege of Stalingrad, at the death camps, and finally caught up in the overthrow of the Nazis and the nightmarish fall of Berlin. His world was peopled by Eichmann, Himmler, Göring, Speer and, of course, Hitler himself. Max is looking back at his life with cool-eyed precision; he is speaking out now to set the record straight.
The Jolly Christmas Postman
by Allan AhlbergIt's Christmas Eve and the JOLLY POSTMAN is delivering greetings to various fairy-tale characters - there's a card for Baby Bear, a game appropriately called 'Beware' for Red Riding Hood from Mr Wolf, a get-well jigsaw for hospitalised Humpty Dumpty and three more surprise envelopes containing letters, cards, etc. Everyone's favourite postman keeps on peddling his bicycle up hill and down dale . . . and into everybody's hearts.
by Yaa GyasiTHE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER Selected for Granta's Best of Young American Novelists 2017 Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best First Book Shortlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader's wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel - the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself. Epic in its canvas and intimate in its portraits, Homegoing is a searing and profound debut from a masterly new writer.
The Lovely Bones
by Alice SeboldSusie Salmon is just like any other young girl. She wants to be beautiful, adores her charm bracelet and has a crush on a boy from school. There's one big difference though – Susie is dead. Now she can only observe while her family manage their grief in their different ways. Her father, Jack is obsessed with identifying the killer. Her mother, Abigail is desperate to create a different life for herself. And her sister, Lindsay is discovering the opposite sex with experiences that Susie will never know. Susie is desperate to help them and there might be a way of reaching them... Alice Sebold's novel The Lovely Bones is a unique coming-of-age tale that captured the hearts of readers throughout the world. Award-winning playwright Bryony Lavery has adapted it for this unforgettable play about life after loss.
A Prayer for Owen Meany
by John Irving'A work of genius' Independent 'Marvellously funny . . . What better entertainment is there than a serious book which makes you laugh?' Spectator 'If you care about something you have to protect it. If you're lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.' Eleven-year-old Owen Meany, playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire, hits a foul ball and kills his best friend's mother. Owen doesn't believe in accidents; he believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is both extraordinary and terrifying.
The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz ZafónThe international bestseller and modern classic - over 20 million copies sold worldwide 'Shadow is the real deal, a novel full of cheesy splendour and creaking trapdoors, a novel where even the subplots have subplots. One gorgeous read' STEPHEN KING 'An instant classic' DAILY TELEGRAPH The Shadow of the Wind is a stunning literary thriller in which the discovery of a forgotten book leads to a hunt for an elusive author who may or may not still be alive... Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the 'Cemetery of Lost Books', a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out 'The Shadow of the Wind' by Julian Carax. But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from the book, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax's work in order to burn them. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind... A SUNDAY TIMES bestseller and Richard & Judy book club choice.
The Little Prince
by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryWhen a pilot finds himself alone and stranded with a broken-down plane, a little prince is his only companion living on a strange deserted planet. Full of wisdom, humour and delight, this book while intended for children is also a favourite of adults for its quirkiness and insight.
Thief of Time
by Terry PratchettTime is a resource. Everyone knows it has to be managed. You mess with it at your peril. You can let it move fast or slowly but what you mustn't do is allow it to stop. On the Discworld time management is the job of the Monks of History, who store it and pump it from the places where it's wasted (like the underwater - how much time does a codfish need?) to places like cities, where there's never enough time. But the construction of the world's first truly accurate clock starts a race against, well, time for Lu Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd. Because it will stop time. And when time stands still, everything stops with it. Then, there really is no future.
The Good Women of China
by XinranFor eight groundbreaking years, Xinran presented a radio programme in China during which she invited women to call in and talk about themselves. Broadcast every evening, Words on the Night Breeze became famous through the country for its unflinching portrayal of what it meant to be a woman in modern China. Centuries of obedience to their fathers, husbands and sons, followed by years of political turmoil had made women terrified of talking openly about their feelings. Xinran won their trust and, through her compassion and ability to listen, became the first woman to hear their true stories. This unforgettable book is the story of how Xinran negotiated the minefield of restrictions imposed on Chinese journalists to reach out to women across the country. Through the vivid intimacy of her writing, the women's voices confide in the reader, sharing their deepest secrets for the first time. Their stories changed Xinran's understanding of China forever. Her book will reveal the lives of Chinese women to the West as never before.
Any Human Heart
by William BoydEvery life is both ordinary and extraordinary, but Logan Mountstuart's - lived from the beginning to the end of the twentieth century - contains more than its fair share of both. As a writer who finds inspiration with Hemingway in Paris and Virginia Woolf in London, as a spy recruited by Ian Fleming and betrayed in the war and as an art-dealer in '60s New York, Logan mixes with the movers and shakers of his times. But as a son, friend, lover and husband, he makes the same mistakes we all do in our search for happiness. Here, then, is the story of a life lived to the full - and a journey deep into a very human heart.
Star of the Sea
by Joseph O'ConnorIn the middle of the Atlantic Ocean during the summer of 1847, a boatload of Irish refugees heading for the promise of America is stalked by a killer in their ranks who seems bent on some kind of revenge, in a historical thriller by the author of Cowboys & Indians and The Salesman. Reprint. 50,000 first printing.