December 17, 2004

Books That're Wonderful

This is my recommended book list. I'll add and remove favourites from time to time. (Last updated, February 9 2005)


General Fiction
Kid's Books

Non Fiction

Sale of the Century: The Inside Story of the Second Russian Revolution - Chystia Freeland

All the David Attenborough BBC books - Trials of Life, Life on Earth, The Private Life of Plants, Birds, The Living Planet - read them, re-read them, love them. If you can possibly afford to, buy them.

The Holocaust - Martin Gilbert. Also, The Righteous, which is such an uplifting book. It's basically a book full of literally hundreds of stories of ordinary people taking extraordinary risks to help total strangers during the Holocaust. It's all true and all pretty humbling. Martin Gilbert in general is an absolutely outstanding history writer.

So is Alan Bullock, who wrote Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives

Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine by Jasper Becker


Frauen - German Women Recall The Third Reich by Alison Owings

Autobiography of a Geisha by Sayo Masuda

Change for the Better - the Story of Geogina Beyer as told to Cathy Casey

There's A Boy In Here by Judy Barron and Sean Barron. This is a book written by a mother and her autistic son about what it is like to grow up with an autistic child from both points of view. It's not a particularly brilliantly written book, but it is so interesting to read about what it is like to be inside an autistic child's head. It's a quickish read, so I'd encourage you to take a look.

General Fiction

Adam and Eve and Pinch Me by Ruth Rendell. This isn't a detective story, it's actually a very accurate and subtle exploration of various manifestations of OCD and schizophrenia. I really recommend it.

Life of Pi - Yann Martel. This is a book with a bizarre premise but once you dip your toe into the water you'll be hooked. I read it straight through propping my eyes open with my fingers. It's that good.

Most things by Marge Piercy

And most things by Margaret Drabble

The Skeleton Woman - A Romance by Renee. A NZ book set in the Hutt Valley. Very skilled writer. And she's written others, as well, that I have yet to investigate.

Breaking The Tongue by Vyvyane Loh


Agatha Christie. Particularly the Hercule Poirot ones, but really, any AC mystery is the work of a master.

Ruth Rendell, same thing.


Terry Pratchett

Frederick Pohl - in particular, Midas World and The Cool War.

HG Wells - The Time Machine

Jules Verne - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy. This is a great, powerful sf/socia commentary book. It's about a woman in a mental institution (probably in the 50's or 60's) who starts to experience a utopian future in parallel with her own dark present. It's just an amazing book. Read it.

Kid's Books

Enid Blyton. I don't care how out of date, Secret Seven, Famous Five (And Timmy!) are classics and will stay that way.

Winnie the Pooh - A. A. Milne

Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prarie)

What Katy Did - Susan Coolidge

Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

Books by Bill Peet and Dr. Suess.

Hardy Boys books by Franklin W. Dixon (thanks sokky!)

Trixie Belden books, by various authors including Julie Campbell and Kathryn Kenny (also, thanks sokky!)

Posted by phreq at December 17, 2004 01:53 PM | TrackBack

THe Trixie belden ones were written by a few people. I remember Julie Campbell and Katherine Kenny (sp?)

Posted by: sok at December 18, 2004 08:29 PM

The Trixie Beldens - Julie Campbell and Kathryn Kenny wrote most I think also Franklin W. Dixon wrote the Hardy Boys. I wonder if its ok that I know this stuff...

Posted by: sok at December 18, 2004 08:31 PM

Yay you love all the same kids books as me. One day would love to buy all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books so that I can read them again. I also have a hidden desire (hidden cos I know that it'll be really bad these days) to watch the Little House on the Prarie TV series. Saw it on DVD at Real Groovy the other day & was tempted but Jase was there to talk me out of it.

Posted by: chelle at January 6, 2005 09:02 PM

In Portugal the Trixie Belden Collection is denominaded Patricia, and was my favorite collection. Now I have 35 years old and I remember the time that I read the books of Patrícia in few hours.

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