A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it

Well, if I’m ever going to fulfil my childhood dream of having a Beauty and the Beast library in my home, I really need to build up my book collection (and win the lotto).

Yup, while other little girls were dreaming of being princesses and marrying beautiful boys, I was dreaming of libraries…

Don’t get me wrong, I have a pretty big collection as it is, but I haven’t bought a book in about five months due mainly to the fact that everything on the shelves seems to be crap.

I miss reading.

Anna Karenina killed me.

So I’m asking you, my dear readers, to recommend some good reads to me.

You should note that for no reason other than eccentricity, I do not read the following….

  • Books set in Africa
  • Books set in Asia
  • Books set in South America
  • Books set in Australia
  • Books set during times of war
  • Books set in Russia or other areas of Eastern Europe
  • Pretentious books by know-it-all authors (I’m looking at you Elegance of a Hedgehog)
  • Sci-fi or alien-related books (myth and magic is fine by me).
  • Sappy love stories (although I am partial to a nice romantic plot ….damn you Twilight, you addictive feck! Note to Steph: Learn to write.)
  • Oh and I don’t like reading about people with emotional problems or intellectual disabilities (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is SO overrated.)

EDIT: NotRuairi suggested I name some books I actually LIKE to help you guys out with your recommendations, which makes a lot of sense!
Some of my favourite books
(and don’t necessarily limit yourself to these genres) include To Kill A Mockingbird, We Need To Talk About Kevin, The Secret History, The Thirteenth Tale, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Pride and Prejudice, Hitchhikers Guide, The Time Traveller’s Wife, Harry Potter Series….OH and I love books with twists and turns and mysteries (but not specifically crime novels).


Filed under Books, Movies

55 responses to “A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it

  1. you could read the incredibly talennted mr. Ripley 😀
    it´s a book, where you´ve to fight, but I love to struggle with my books 😀
    Oh and : I dream of a library too! A really big one !!

  2. Ah for…I was GOING to recommend any of the Erast Fandorin mysteries by Boris Akunin because I’m absolutely loving them at the minute, although one is set in Russia, one in Turkey BUT there is one that starts off in Paris and mostly takes place on a cruise ship. It’s called Murder on the Leviathan and if you like it, you may even overcome your aversion to Russian-set books because they’re REALLY GREAT DAMMIT!

  3. I’m reading a wonderful book at the moment called Halting State by Charles Stross, about an investigation into the robbery of a bank in a computer game in the near future. And it’s based just in the UK.

    Vernon God Little is a masterpiece too. Lord Of The Flies, if you’re looking for an older classic. I don’t know if House Of Leaves would be quite to your tastes, but it is possibly the best book ever written.

    Can you mention some books you do like? That might help too.

  4. Zakerius

    That’s a long list of don’t-read’s but I have some that fit which I really enjoyed reading:
    – The Colour Of Magic, by Terry Pratchett
    (and then read all of the other Discworld books, I can lend ’em to you)
    – Survivor, by Chuck Palahniuk
    – Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson

  5. The Great Gatsby, always a winner. It’s set in times of war but, Atonement is much better than the film!
    That library is the stuff of fairytales, I want it too!

  6. Oh I second the Terry Pratchett recommendation, the Discworld series is FANTASTIC!

  7. The latest book I’ve read is The Beach… man that book is freaky! It’s really good, though it’s set in Thailand which is in Asia which is a no-go on your extensive list… but it’s a great book. Much much much better than the film.

  8. As soon as this damn leaving cert is over, i’m going to become an avid reader. i do love reading, but with school, study and blogging i really have no time for it. when 22nd june comes it will be straight to the library for me! x

  9. Jasper Fforde novels are great. Shades of Grey is the latest – It’s set in an alternative world where society is divided by who can see what colours. It’s an odd one but a good one.

  10. Oh! Oh! AND YES MAN! Read Yes Man. It. Is. Hilarious. Don’t judge it by the Jim Carrey film. The book is 150% different to it. It’s a wonderful read.

  11. I was going to recommend We need to talk about Kevin (which my mother just read and hated, but which is a great book). Cloud Atlas is excellent, a really unusal mix of styles and genres with lots of twists, a little pretentious in it’s story arc, but is really great. I loved Possesion, but people who’ve studied it in college hated it. Don’t judge it by the awful movie that was make from it with Gwenyth Palthrow. Kind of love story, kind of history, kind of love letters, and a little bit of literacy mystery too. The world according to garp is excellent too, or lots (but not all) of John Irving books.

    Happy reading!
    Or just cheat and listen to audiobooks like me…it’s not that I’m too lazy, it just means I can work and enjoy books at the same time!

  12. there’s a book that came to mind as I started reading your post…”Natural Flights of the Human Mind” by Clare Morrall. Also the unbearable lightness of being, but it’s in eastern europe…

    There are books based in Egypt but that’s in Africa…

  13. I have a few books i would reccomend…first, have you ever read a book of Cecelia Ahern?I really like her books…Each one has a different subject and they are quite interesting in terms of imagination and writing.Then, i love Agatha Christie’s books, but i see that you are not really into crime and such things…You should also try “Eat Pray Love” and “Memoirs of a Geisha”…well, the last one has the action in Japan but i assure you it is one of the most beautiful books, in my opinion.Now i am trying to read “Brida” by Paul Coehlo…very intersting, actually full of facts about the strange life of a girl who wants to know more about magic.But not the Harry Potter kind of magic, it is really unique and never heard of.I myself started Anna Karenina and stopped at page 100 and something.Gotta finish it…but, well…Oh, and another book that might be an interesting read could be “Maitreyi”.On the other hand, the action is situated in India.Uhm…Sherlock Holmes is a great book.Really.Haven’t seen the movie but the book is great.I love all those awkard cases and it is funny sometimes…I think i’ll stop here…

  14. Ciara

    “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Tool, hilariously wonderful . “The Life of Pi” if you haven’t already, although some people hate it. Anything by Kurt Vonnegut, its not really scifi, really its not. Make an exception and read “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez. Try Orphan Pamuk’s “The Black Book” if you’re ok with being confused. A quickie could be “The Orange Girl” by Jostein Gaarder, you’ll have it finished in a day. You could try “Mrs Dalloway”, I loved it but people find it trying. If not “Mrs. Dalloway” then “The Hours” which is way better than the film. But the main recommendation, and I can’t overstate how great this book is, “The People of Paper” by Salvador Plascencia. Its fantastic. Seriously. A bit hard to find though. Its even printed in an original way. Excellent.

    P.S. I have extremely limited access to english books at the moment so I’m reading Moby Dick and liking it. It might be because I’ve nothing else to read though…..

  15. I’m a sucker for crime novels! The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy are a good read if you haven’t read them already. I’m after ordering a few Nicholas Sparks books even though they might fall under the sappy love stories category. Play.com is the best I think for books! They have everything!

  16. emily cross

    aw you’re not alone – i wanted a ‘Mr. Darcy Library’ from pride and prejudice! Although Neil Gaiman’s looks pretty cool too: http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Gaiman-Library.jpg

    If you want a few lists, drop by the fill-in-the-gaps blog (which is basically books we’re meant to read but never got round to) http://fillinthegaps100.blogspot.com/

    Maybe some of the lists might inspire you, mine has mixture of classic fantasy, literature, tbr etc.

    I highly recommend the bookthief (favourite book ever), Never let me go, Gargoyle, and the gift (part of pellinor book series; fantasy) as good books

  17. girlfromthehills

    Would definitely recommend the Millennium Trilogy by Steig Larssons – first book Girl with a Dragon Tattoo.

  18. Suz

    “Sophies World”….a bit heavy – but so magical! PS. I’m moving house in Gorey and have located your copy of “Special Topics in Calamity Physics”! I’ve owed it back to you for like 3 years….SO SORRY! Will bring it up to Dublin and we must arrange a rendezvous!

  19. Erin lent a me a really good crime novel at the weekend and I read it during my shift on Saturday. Yes, that’s right. I READ A WHOLE BOOK IN A MATTER OF HOURS. That hasn’t happened in years. It was called The Mark by Jason Pinter and it’s part of a series. If you’re looking for something with twists and turns…

  20. Hey why don’t you try reading something by Linwood Barclay. All his books are full of twists and turns. He’s a pretty new author too. I think he only has brought three books out. I have read two of them and I read them both in a day 🙂 hope this helps.

    I would love it if you could check out my blog. I’m new 🙂


  21. Ida

    Oh, maybe you could read His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman if you haven’t read them. Or the Sherlock Holmes novels, they’re quite nice!

  22. OOHHH, I love recommending books!! Although you have a long list of “Don’ts” that eliminate some of my favs, here are a few that fit your liking:

    Caucasia by Danzy Senna
    The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
    Shadows of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen
    My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
    The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
    Christy by Catherine Marshall

    Ok, hope that helps you on your reading journey!!

  23. ’31 Songs’ by Nick Hornby…its all you’ll ever need..I can even post my copy to ypu if you like, cos I’m nice like that x

  24. Eve

    Hahahah what a long list of things not to be included! Haha. Well lets see. I absolutely loved the book called “I Capture the Castle.” It is set in England, so no worries!
    And this is a little out there, but “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” was very good as well.

  25. SileC

    ‘She’s Come Undone’ by Wally Lambe. Amazing.

  26. The Life of Pi is such a great book. Maybe something like Girl with a Pearl Earring or as mentioned the Steig Larsson trilogy? Im reading The Bookseller of Kabul at the moment…

  27. marie

    The end of Mr. Y
    It’s so good I can’t bring myself to finish it

  28. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    by Betty Smith

    It’s my all-time favorite book.

  29. if you´re really interested in understanding my writing you could use google Translator, some of my friends use it, and it´s pretty good.
    Or you can ask me for direct translation-> but it´s not that worldchanging 🙂

  30. dar

    Just read Foreign Tongue by Vanina Marsot. It’s about a French-American woman who moves to Paris after a bad breakup and gets a job translating a French erotic/romance novel. Its pretty good and I love the conversations about language.

  31. Random

    You should read the Memory Keepers Daughter! It’s such a beautifully written book.

  32. Hm, well what about some stuff by American writers? Do you like Salinger? You might like James Baldwin, who wrote about city life usually from the perspective of a young man who is gay and/or black.
    Hhah it’s funny that you should mention The ELegance of the Hedgehog, i literally just bought it today.
    A Great and Terrible beauty by Libba bray is great. It’s really good, though it really requires that you concentrate on it because it sucks you in. The heroine has such as distinct voice. The characters are real and painful and wonderful. It’s infused with Paradise lost .
    I know you said no Russia, but I’ve read Tolstoy and was not overjoyed, then moved on to Dostoyevsky and found him much more to my taste. Less war descriptions and broad strokes of characters, more Fitzgeraldesqe psychology .

    If you liked Jane Austen, I suggest reading more of her, and also Virginia Woolf. I particularly enjoy her essays ( which are somehow less complex than her stories) but her novels are also kind of awesome.
    For something quite intense, i would go for Ayn Rand.

    There’s a thriller I really liked, you’ve probably heard of it, it’s very popular lately, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

  33. Don’t know if someone already suggested it, but The Portrait of Dorian Gray! 😀

  34. Oh! and I agree with metrochica! Life of Pi is good 🙂

  35. I cannot tell you how much I love the novel Red Dog Red Dog by Patrick Laine, it is so amazing and gritty and beautiful. He is a canadian poet who just published his first novel, and I have to say a disturbingly harsh as this book is the prose is just so stunning…. I could go on for hours. Please try it, I promise you’ll love it.

  36. What’s that? An email? In HERMIA’S INBOX?! Never!

  37. Harriet

    The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

    it’s wonderful!

  38. If you want paranormal romance of a different kind, try Gena Showalter and Keri Arthur………..
    I suggest the earlier works of P.C cast like The Divine trilogy and the Poison Study Trilogy by Maria V. Snyder.
    I know, it seems as if I’m a sucker for trilogies, well here’s another one, by Trudi Canavan called the Black Magician Trilogy, It sounds lame but it’s great!
    The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra is a little more for young adults but everyone that I’ve known to read it has loved it.
    I would suggest Johanna Lindsey books but they Are romantic and a little sappy.
    Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite ever books and The Black Candle by Catherine Cookson is quite similar.

  39. Not fussy then, are we??

    Haha! I ‘m really fussy about what I read too. I recently read ‘the lake of dead languages’ by carol goodman – reminded me a bit of the secret history. If you like that I reckon you’d like this


  40. Oh gosh.

    The more I read your posts the more I’m convinced we are versions of the same person. My childhood dream was to have Belle’s library. And to achieve it on a smaller scale, I’m planning to have a ‘book room’, floor to ceiling shelves on four walls, whenever I own my own home.

    Anyway…. book recommendations.

    “The Interpretation of Murder” by Jed Rubenfeld. Twists, turns, mystery, and it meets all of your criteria. Which, by the way, are excellent and funny. I like how you don’t want books to be set anywhere outside mainland europe and the US. 🙂

    Peace xx

  41. Books you say. I got here as quick as I could.

    David Foster Wallace is phenomenal. Both of his essay collections (A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again and Consider the Lobster) are exceptionally interesting, well-written and funny. Infinite Jest is my favourite novel by a long whack, although it is 1,089 pages of small type (including 388 endnotes of even smaller type), which puts a lot of people off. Do not be put off. It will change you.

    Salinger’s been mentioned. Don’t start with Catcher, it’s much too Marmite–there’s a short-story collection called For Esme, With Love & Squalor which is warm and funny and tragic and just incredibly likeable.

    Atonement, if you haven’t read it. Chapter 8. My word.

    Craig Clevenger’s The Contortionist’s Handbook is cleverly plotted (twists and turns and mysteries up the wazoo) and vastly underrated.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say *anything* by Kurt Vonnegut (the fiction is uneven) but Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions and Timequake are excellent.

    Loads more. But I’ll stop.

  42. … except to say that Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is silly but entertaining, and has the most hilariously blatant product placement of any book I’ve ever read.

  43. AK

    Your list of types of books you don’t read covers most of the books that came into my mind so I won’t try advising (: but I’m delighted to hear that dreaming about having a library as a little girl is normal 😉
    BTW Eastern Europe is mainland Europe (: I feel hurt 😉

  44. christwithana

    ummm, Have you read The Book Thief? It’s kinda set during war, but its really good i swear!
    Haha this is super difficult for me cause everything you barred are like my favorites! Try The Scarlett Letter, there is a reason its a classic. Read it over the summer and lovedd it. My friend is addicted to Agatha Christie books; they’re mysteries, but I’ve never read them so you can tell how that goes. Have you tried The Hunger Games? It’s set in like, crazy America, haha. Huck Finn is always good, Great Gatsby, I thought Fahrenheit 451 was pretty good. Oh! If I Stay was a heartwrenching book in my opinion; and you could also try Crank and the like. I think I’ll comment again later when I’ve had a brain blast of good books…meaning when I phone up the bestie and yell for some new books to read (this happens quite often). Happy reading!

  45. christwithana

    Oh of course! Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Wicked, those are both really good. James Patterson books are good for thrillers. Harlan Coben books are pretty intense also. Okk, I’m done now(:

  46. Special Topics in Calamity Physics – I was going to suggest this. 🙂

    Here goes (imagine me twisting my head while I try to read the spine of the many books I own. they are in shelves to my immediate left, right behind me, and about two meters to my right. TRY to read because I’m too lazy to get up and get my glasses from my room hahaha)….The Weight of Water, Incantation, Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Corrections, The Rapture of Canaan, the Harry Potter books 🙂

  47. Clara

    Realize this is kinda late, but –
    Most recent book I read that was absolutely amazing is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It’s in the science fiction category, and I don’t often enjoy sci-fi, but I really loved this one. Give it a look. 🙂

    Also, anything by Sarah Dessen or Susane Colasanti. They’re pretty good books, too. My favourites by Dessen are The Truth About Forever and This Lullaby, and from Colasanti, Waiting For You. 🙂

  48. maria

    dunno if u can se this since it’s an older post but hey a girls gotta try when it comes to books. so i was going to recomend haruki murakami norwegan wood but since asia was on the not list… (damn- just read it. do it. you wont regret it) but then i thought of let me sing you gentle songs by linda olsson. oh and good omens -both neil gaiman AND terry pratchett. and if you haven’t read it t.h. white the sword in the stone. THE best arthurian story ever!

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