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Favourite books poll?

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sorry to be pedantic :o but the Secret Seven were Peter, Janet, Jack, Pam, Barbara, Colin, George and they had a dog called Scamper who wasn't one of the seven. DIck and Timmy (and another George) were in the Famous Five. Haven't a clue where you got Jane from! Although you're maybe thinking of those learn to read books with Dick and Dora and Peter and Jane? Can't bear to see my childhood friends not remembered properly....although it wasn't that long ago I was reading them so I have no excuse! :D


But I totally agree the Secret Seven were great books.....although I loved all Enid Blyton's mystery books, I can't believe I forgot to give her a mention in my top ten! a revision is coming soon...!


Good grief, errr, my fond memories, although fond, are not quite as good as I had thought!

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My top ten books:

Persuasion - Jane Austen

Cold Comfort Farm - Sella Gibbons

Middlemarch - George Eliot

Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

Old St Paul's - Harrison Ainsworth

They Were Defeated - Rose Macaulay

Possession - A.S.Byatt

Atonement - Ian McKewan

In the Place of Falling Leaves - Tim Pears

The Secret History - Donna Tartt

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For the most part I'm choosing my 10 based on what I've reread or recommended to others.


Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

I just reread this recently when I fell ill while on vacation. It was just as delightful the second time around.


And Then There were None - Agatha Christie

My Mom got me hooked on Agatha Christie- I read and reread her novels all through middle school.


Cat's Eye - Margaret Atwood

I devoured this book, and recommended it to anyone who would listen. Margaret Atwood certainly remembers what adolescence was like.


The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

Beautifully subtle writing.


The Diving-Bell and the Butterly - Jean-Dominique Bauby

Here's my non-fiction choice. I read this book once when it first came out but still reflect on it frequently. Life is short...


To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

I graduated high school without having read this but have savored it several times since.


A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

This was a sobering education regarding the US entanglement in Vietnam. I'm not a big fan of his other books but this story really stuck with me.


The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver

I revelled in Kingsolver's writing and in the story - I had a serious case of the post-book-blues after finishing this...


Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

I don't need to see the movie, Golden's descriptions were so vivid, I've already seen it.


The Shipping News - Annie Proulx

Quoyle's transformation is wonderful to witness. :)

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Hummmm. A top ten is tough to think of, and if I wrote this tomorrow it would be different, but (in no order)


1. Girlfriend in a coma - Douglas Coupland

2. Master and Commander - Patrick o'brian

3. Roughing It - Mark Twain

4. guards guards - Terry Pratchett

5. Tales of the city - Armisted Maupin

6. Mani - Patrick Leigh fermor

7. Lord of the rings - Tolkien

8. Watchmen - Alan Moore

9. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

10. Heart of Darkness - Conrad


I think those books could keep me quite happy for a while.

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I actually wrote this yesterday thinking I was logged in and was mighty peeved to see I wasn't and had the whole thing disappear! LOL But all is not lost as I now have my trusty notebook which will hopefully allow me to choose a different bunch from yesterday. I, too, have a different list after I have read a book. Often I am horrible at remembering plots (including movie ones) and this could be the main reason why. Also, I hope no-one sends rotten tomatoes my way, as I like a few books that a lot of people hated. Here goes (in no particualr order):


1) Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

I know most people are tired of hearing about him and his DaVinci Code. I have yet to read that one, but found A & D to be a thoroughly thrilling read!


2) The Red Room by Nicci French

One of my all time favourite mystery writers. I always feel like I am travelling with the characters and find these books very hard to put down.


3) Piece of Cake by Derek Robinson

For anyone who watched the series (maybe on BBC?) back in the early 80's, they were based on this book. Derek uses an immense amount of sarcasm and Brit humour. I have raved about this one to many people, but can be a tough sell as it's about a fighter team during World War II.


4) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I know, many people didn't like this one either. It's the one book in a very long time that has actually made me cry. I loved the premise and have recommended it to quite a fw closet readers.


5) The Long Rain by Peter Gadol

Sent to me for the RABCK Sweepstakes on Bookcrossing and came highly recommended bu it's previous readers. It now comes highly recommended by me as well.


6) Lazy Bones by Mark Billingham

What a glorious Mystery Thriller writer! Recently discovered and raved over to all who love this genre.


7) 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

I just love her letters! I read this in one sitting while I only meant to read the first letter written.


8) Monkeewrench by P.J. Tracy

An absolutely divine thriller by this mother/daughter combination.


9) Honeymoon by James Patterson

The mastermind has done it again. Thoroughly engaging from beginning to end. (Although I thought he had written another romance when I first picked it up!)


10) The First Two Shopaholic books by Sophie Kinsella

I am very much embarrassed to add these to the list. But, if you have read them, then you know how I feel, I bet. I don't normally like Chic Lit, but these were something else. I know people like the main character, and she shows me how they would be if they took it to the extreme. I laughed almost all the way through these....and I know that's a good sign.

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I have just completed my list by adding An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan, and The Testimony of Taliesin Jones by Rhidian Brook.


Although I have read many wonderful books that I'd be happy to recommend to others, the ones on my list are special because they have been infuential in some way in my life. A few I happily read time and time again, others I would find more difficult to re-read, but I still regard them as favourites.

I hope this isn't my definitive list, I'd like to think I will read more books that will have that kind of impact on me...maybe I'll start one next week!

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I disappear from the internet for a few days and this happens! Wow....


Well I think this is going to take a lot of thinking about.... And I'm glad a series can count as one choice - I seem to read nothing but series'!


Now its time to go and think for a bit....

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I have NO idea what my top ten favourite books are. I have like a squillion books that I read over and over again, how am I gonna narrow it down to 10??? I'll be back in a while....

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Grammath, apologies are now needed for Smith and Kerouac!




Please accept my humble, heartfelt, grovelling and frankly pathetic apologies. I owe you both very large drinks, even though you, Jack, have been dead for 35 years, I'll find a way.


My fault for being too honest in my editing.


Abby, your list had a book called "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal" by Christopher Moore. I love this title, but have never heard of the book. Tell me more...and there are so many others that I'm kicking myself for not including that others have nominated now, too.

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Watership Down - Richard Adams

Character - Ferdinand Bordewijk

Crime and Punishmen - Fyodor Dostoyevski

The Day of the Jackal - Frederick Forsyth

The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett

The Chronicles of Narnia (series) - C.S. Lewis

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

Dead Famous - Ben Elton

Girl With a Pearl Earring - Tracy Chevalier

Sleepers - Lorenzo Carcaterra


With deepest apologies to Charles Dickens, George Orwell, John Fowles, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Roald Dahl, Umberto Eco, Mark Haddon, Arthur Golden, Margaret Atwood, Stephen Fry, Sebastian Faulks, Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, A.A. Milne, Leon Uris, Jules Verne, Anna Sewell and many Dutch authors who also wrote absolutely stunning books.

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Abby, your list had a book called "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal" by Christopher Moore. I love this title, but have never heard of the book. Tell me more...and there are so many others that I'm kicking myself for not including that others have nominated now, too.


here are some recent reviews, including a very brief one by me:



if you would like to join the bookray, let me know and I'll either add you to one of the two I started, or I'll start a new bookray.

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I am

Finder of what's lost

Listener to things ignored

truth-seeking, life-loving, star-grabbing

electric goddess, joyful and alive


Clearly one man's truth is another's excuse to kick people out. I am sorry if you were offended by my bluntness, I thought it was important to drag the group back from the edge of the cliff that leads only to Pseud's Corner. So, electric goddess, maybe the trick is to be more joyful and respect my right to have an opinion too.

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The Best Democracy Money can Buy - Greg Palast

Marcovaldo - Italo Calvino

The Stainless Steel Rat - Harry Harrison

The Princess Bride - William Goldman

The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco

Il Barone Rampante (The baron in the trees) - Italo Calvino

The Snow Leopard - Peter Matthiessen

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek - Annie Dillard

"If This is a Man" and "The Truce" - Primo Levi

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America - Bill Bryson


You can take me away now....

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I have thought about this for many days now, and here are the books that just won't go away....


Anna Karenina -Tolstoy

Great Expectations -Dickens

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush - Eric Newby

Into the Heart of Borneo -Redmond O' Hanlon

A Handful of Dust -Evelyn Waugh

A New Path to the Waterfall -Raymond Carver

The Collected Poems of Andrew Marvell

Don Juan -Lord Byron

Thucydides-The Peloponnesian War


and Agatha Christie - An Autobiography (my "comfort" book!)

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Ok let's see how this turns out.....


Harry Potter Series - JKRowling

Mort - Terry Pratchett

Bridget Jones' Diary (I & II) - Helen Fielding

Diary of an Ordinary Woman - Maragaret Forster

Postcards From No-Man's Land - Aidan Chambers

Angels and Demons - Dan Brown

Princess Diaries - Meg Cabot

I Capture The Castle - Dodie Smith

The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgsons Bennet


Eeeeeek.....only one more......???


Stargirl - Jerry Spinelli (Isn't that the coolest name ever?)

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the princess bride william goldman (it's got everything)

marathon man " " (if only for "Szell was candy")

rumpole (any) john mortimer (always brings a smile)

red dragon thomas harris (1st and best Lector)

to kill a mockingbird harper lee (true classic)

name of the rose umberto eco (modern classic)

87th precinct ed mcbain (best procedurals)

bill bryson (any) (same as rumpole)

presumed innocent scott turow (genre defining)

1 of the 2 i bought yesterday (live in hope!)


better post this before i change my mind (again)

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I've had a good long think about this now, my first list had 19 items, so had to edit that down a bit... :o Here's my ten favourites (today!) in no particular order:


Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

I got into reading these years ago and still love them. They’re mostly nice easy reads to me now because I’ve read them all a few times (and some more than a few!) I love all the characters (especially Sam Vimes), and can’t wait until Going Postal comes out in paperback. :D


Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

An absolutely amazing series of books. But I can’t wait until they finally get finished! It’s been going on so long now that I have to reread the whole lot each time a new one comes out. I only started around the time book eight came out, so I can’t imagine how impatient people who’ve read them from the start must be…


Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein

I have to say I preferred the films to the books which is unusual for me, but the books absolutely blew me away! I plan to reread them at some point this year, and hope they’ll be an easier read not that I’m a bit older!


The Riftwar/Empire series by Raymond E Feist

I was given the Empire Trilogy for Christmas last year, and remember having finished them by New Year. They reminded me of both Lord of the Rings and Wheel of Time, but are much easier to read. I’d highly recommend them to everyone – even those who don’t usually read fantasy fiction. The Riftwar series is much longer, and is made of various trilogies etc (have a look on Amazon for more details) and is set over two worlds (one being the “Empire” of the other books). Riftwar has a slightly different style of writing, but is just as good, if not better!


Redemption of Althalus by David and Leigh Eddings

I got given this for Christmas a few years ago and loved it. I’ve always meant to read their books, but somehow have never got round to it. The writing style is a little odd, I don’t know why, but there’s something about it that makes it stand out. But whatever it is, it works.


Jayne Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

This was the first “classic” I read, and sadly the only one I have enjoyed. I’m a sucker for period dramas on TV (the BBC do the best adaptations IMO), and have seen Pride and Prejudice (Mr Darcy in the lake…), Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and listened to a few more on audio books, but for some reason I just can’t get more than a few chapters into the books without getting bored!


What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge

This was a book I must have first read in junior school, and at the time I thought it was wonderful – probably one of the first books I reread! Even now I still go back to it occasionally!


The Last Lighthouse Keeper by Alan Titchmarsh

A lovely story with a nice happy ending. One of those ones you can curl up with when you’re feeling sad and it’ll leave you with a warm mushy feeling inside.


The Tower and the Hive series by Anne McCaffrey

This was one of the first science fiction series I read, and I seem to remember only picking it up in the library because I thought the cover looked nice and I’d run out of Discworld books to read! A must-read for all Sci-Fi fans, as are the prequels – the Pegasus trilogy.


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

I first found the Harry Potter books just as Prisoner of Azkaban came out, and I absolutely loved them (despite being a little bit too old!). At the time I felt that each book was getting better and better, but Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix just didn’t live up to my expectations. To be honest I’m not sure the next two are going to be all that great either, although I will read them as I’m curious as to what happens to the characters!


That was a very long post :o time to go rest my poor fingers...

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It's fascinating to read through everyone's lists and spot old favourites cropping up in different places and in unfamiliar company.


REALLY glad it's not me who's got the job of compiling them all into a definitive list though.


Good Luck, Guys!

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Here's my list of favourite books:


1. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

2. The Trial - Franz Kafka

3. Women In Love - D.H.Lawrence

4. Music and Silence - Rose Tremain

5. Ring of Bright Water - Gavin Maxwell

6. My Family and Other Animals - Gerald Durrell

7. Galactic Pot Healer - Philip K. Dick

8. England's Dreaming - Jon Savage

9. The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler

10. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

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Difficult to choose, and not something to ponder for too long. In no order then:


Orwell................... 1984

Ira Levin............... The Boys From Brazil

Pat Barker............. Regeneration

Simon Beavoir........ Stalingrad

Conrad ............... Heart of Darkness

Wolf .................... To the Lighthouse

Goulding ............... Lord of the Flies

Jonathan Swift....... Waterland and Ever After

Penelope Lively...... The Photograph

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