My Favourite Books

A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

My favourite book! A Fine Balance‘); ?> is an epic story, packed with Indian atmsophere. It is an amazing book, which is gripping all the way through. The complex plot combines with amazing characters to produce the most heart wrenching scenes I have ever read. Perfection in book form!


Blindness – Jose Saramago

Saramago’s writing style isn’t for everyone, but once you’ve got used to it you’ll be completely sucked in to this scary story of a global blindness epidemic. Blindness‘); ?> is fast paced and horrifying – it makes me want to move to the country and become self-sufficent!

Fingersmith – Sarah Waters

As many of you know, a good plot is what I value the most in a book – Fingersmith‘); ?> has the best plot I’ve ever found! The twists in this book are outstanding, but when combined with Gothic atmosphere the result is fantastic.

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Ingenious Pain – Andrew Miller

Ingenious Pain ‘); ?>is a book which deserves much more recognition than it currently gets. The book focuses on a man who can’t feel any pain and deals with some interesting questions about the importance of suffering. As with all my favourites it has a great plot too!

 


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Duncton Wood – William Horwood

Dunction Wood‘); ?> is a love story like no other. It has been a long time since I read this book, but the memories of those moles always brings a smile to my face. Fantastic adventure story!


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The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveller\’s Wife‘); ?> is the best romance book in existence! I don’t think I’ve cried more when reading a book.


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His Dark Materials Trilogy – Phillip Pullman

His Dark Materials Trilogy‘); ?> is the most imaginative set of stories I’ve ever read. I loved the complex plot, the fast paced adventure and the theological debate.


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The Clan of the Cave Bear – Jean Auel
The Clan of the Cave Bear ‘); ?> is the best historical fiction book I’ve ever read. It is the moving story of an orphaned girl who is rescued by a Neanderthal clan, ruled by traditions and taboos.  As well as having a fantastic plot this book also gives great insight for what life was like for early humans.

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Z for Zachariah – Robert O’Brien
Z for Zachariah‘); ?> was my first dystopian novel and led to my love for this genre. I hesitate to recommend it now, as I’m not sure I’d enjoy it as much as I did then. I really must re-read it one day to see if I still love it, but I’m scared to ruin those special memories!

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The Bonesetter’s Daughter – Amy Tan
I love most of Amy Tan’s books, but I think The Bonesetter\’s Daughter‘); ?> is my favourite. I love the mother-daughter relationships in her books and the Chinese mythology makes this one even more special.

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Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
I love Murakami’s inventiveness. I have enjoyed every one of his books so far, but I think Kafka on the Shore‘); ?> tops the list at the moment.

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Out – Natsuo Kirino
Out‘); ?> is my favourite thriller. Not only does it have a fast paced, complex plot, but it also raises many interesting questions about the loyalty of friends.

Ghost Written – David Mitchell

Ghost Written‘); ?> is very different to anything else I’ve read. David Mitchell is another author that has never disappointed me. I love his blend of the English/Japanese story telling and his ability to utilise many different writing styles in the same book is amazing.

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Random Acts of Heroic Love – Danny Scheinmann

Random Acts of Heroic Love‘); ?> is an amazing tale of love and loss. Have the tissues handy as this book will make you cry!

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The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games‘); ?> is a fast paced story which I recommend to everyone I meet. Once you’ve picked it up, you won’t be able to put it down!


Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants‘); ?> is a superbly plotted book about life in a circus. I loved the twist in the end too!

Are any of these books your favourites too?


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68 Comments

  1. claire says:

    I’ve only read The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, and His Dark Materials, and all of them are only okay with me. Well, actually, I liked the love story aspect of TTTW but the writing annoyed me in some parts. With Amy Tan, I felt THe Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God’s Wife were her strongest books, both of which I loved. As for Pullman, I only liked the first book, the second not so much, and then I really didn’t like the third book of His Dark Materials at all. I’m on the opposite camp: I’m with Narnia all the way. :)

    Jose Saramago I really love but haven’t gotten around to Blindness yet. Have been meaning to read that and A Fine Balance for sometime. I’ve a feeling we’ll agree on those two. :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, I loved The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God’s Wife too – I really could have picked any of them, but for some reason this one sprang to mind first.

      I am discovering that our book tastes overlap, but don’t always match. I’ve just finished De Niro’s Game and thought it was just OK, nothing special.

      I’m sure you’ll love A Fine Balance and Blindness though!

  2. claire says:

    P.S. Forgot about Kafka on the Shore. That one I really enjoyed!

  3. Sandy says:

    Inspired by your 1 year anniversary and your events, I have started working on mine that is coming up at the end of October. I just started compiling my top 10 list of all time. What a task! I’m having to reach deep down to determine what makes a top 10 book? How did I feel when I finished it? If I loved it 10 years ago, would I love it now? I would love to re-read some of these, just to see if my tastes change.

    I will have to ear mark this page, because I know that if you loved it, it has passed the test! Thank you for introducing me to RAHL!!!!

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, I really struggled to write this list too. It started out as a top ten, but then became a top 20 – I couldn’t manage that, so left it as 16! I look forward to seeing your list. I left a few of the books I loved from 10 years ago in, but would love to know if I would still enjoyed them today.

  4. Kirsty says:

    Ghostwritten by David Mitchell is definitely high-up on my list, as is Fingersmith. But my absolute favourite contemporary novel is one I see in your header picture: The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber. In fact, I must re-read it soon.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kirsty, I still haven’t read The Crimson Petal and the White – I really must get round to it soon. Thank you for recommending it!

      1. Kirsty says:

        Oh you must, it’s completely brilliant!

  5. Simon S says:

    The Time Travellers Wife is definately in my top 40. I loved Kafka on the Shore though have not read any Murakami since which I should address.

    Have seen Water for Elephants everywhere (even Tel Aviv) and never quite been sure if would like it, now will give it a go!

    1. Jackie says:

      Simon, I’m sure you’ll love Water for Elephants – I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

  6. Beth F says:

    I don’t play favorites! But I loved Time Traveler’s Wife, I liked much of His Dark Materials (the ending bothered me), wasn’t that much of a Clan of the Cave Bear fan (the anthropologist in me had issues), loved Bonesetter’s Daughter, loved Hunger Games. I haven’t read the others (yes, I know . . . . )

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, How can you not play favourites?! I’m sorry to hear that you weren’t a fan of Cave Bear. I loved the story and the historical detail. I know nothing about this period of history, so would have been unaware of any inaccuracies, but I thought it seemed really well researched.

  7. kimbofo says:

    Ahhh, thanks for reminding me about Duncton Wood — I read that as a teen and loved it. Have you read Watership Down — same premise but with rabbits?

    I also love Robert C. O’Brien. Did you ever read The Silver Crown? Honestly, as a kid I read that at least a dozen times and it never failed to disappoint. Z for Zachariah was superb; I read a piece about it recently which pointed out that the narrator was raped by the man in the space suit, and I went WTF? That went waaaaaaaaay over my head when I read it as a kid.

    1. Jackie says:

      kimbofo, I haven’t read The Silver Crown, in fact I’d never heard of it before. I just went to look it up and discovered that Robert O’Brien wrote Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh. That was one of my favourite childhood books too! I’m going to have to get hold of a copy of The Silver Crown now. I really hope that I still love his writing.

      I never thought of the mechanics of the rape before – I missed that too!

      I haven’t read Watership Down. It is one of those things I always think I should do, but never get round to it.

  8. Rebecca Cox says:

    I have put all the one’s I haven’t read on my list because I LOVED all the one’s I have read. Water for Elephants, The Time Traveler’s Wife and Clan of the Cave Bears are all on my Keeper shelf. The Bonesetter’s Daughter I loved as well. I have Random Acts of Heroic Love on my coffee table waiting in line to read and I just ordered A Fine Balance from Paperbackswap which was on my reminder list. So good to find someone who loves the same type books so I can trust your recommendations!!!

    Rebecca aka: ccq

    1. Jackie says:

      Rebecca, I’m sure you’ll love Random Acts of Heroic Love, but some of the others are very different in style to the others you mention. I’d love to know what you think of them, so do come back and let me know when you’ve read them.

  9. Stephanie says:

    I really enjoyed both The Time Traveler’s Wife and Water for Elephants. Some of the others you mentioned are on my TBR list, including Fingersmith, which I can’t wait to read!

    1. Jackie says:

      Stephanie, I am sure you’ll love Fingersmith – it is so clever!

  10. Heidi says:

    I have read Bonesetter’s Daughter and Fingersmith just this year. I enjoyed them both. I loved how Tan wrote the image of the their house at the edge of cliff and the thought that ghosts of relatives were down at the bottom. I honestly never heard of Sarah Waters before I started reading book blogs. Which of her books was your next favorite? I am trying to decide which to read next. Little Stranger doesn’t seem to be the way to go…… people seem divided on it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Heidi, I have to admit that I have only read Fingersmith and Little Stranger. I know that I will love all her books, so want to save some for a rainy day! I have also watched most of them on TV, so am waiting a short while for the memory of the story to fade a little bit. I have heard that Little Stranger is the weakest of her books (I still thought it was quite good) so I don’t think you can go wrong whichever you chose. I hope you enjoy them!

  11. softdrink says:

    I’ve read A Fine Balance, Fingersmith, His Dark Materials, Kafka on the Shore, TTTW, The Hunger Games and Water for Elephants. A Fine Balance was a bit depressing, but otherwise I enjoyed the rest!

    I’m currently fish-sitting for a coworker. The fish’s name is Oshima, in honor of Kafka on the Shore. And because we don’t know if the fish is male or female.

    1. Jackie says:

      softdrink, I agree that A Fine Balance is depressing, but I still think about it a lot. Not many books remain with me so vividly, so long after reading.

      I love the fact a fish is named Oshima! Your co-worker has great taste!

  12. Andreea says:

    Great list! I will have to check out some of these books!

    1. Jackie says:

      Andreea, I hope you enjoy any books you decide to read.

  13. Steph says:

    I have only read a few of the books on your list: The Time Traveler’s Wife (which you know I was pretty lukewarm about) and 2/3 of the His Dark Materials series (and I really enjoyed the first 2 books, so I’m not sure why I have never gotten around to the last one!). I am hoping to read The Hunger Games soon (it’s waiting for us at the library), and while I’ve read one Saramago, I haven’t read Blindness yet (though I own it). Also, I have a copy of Like Water for Elephants that I will read one of these days! And I want to read some Murakami and Sarah Waters too!

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, I am sure you’ll love Murakami and Sarah Waters and look forward to your thoughts on The Hunger Games (I’m not so sure you’ll like that one!) Have fun reading my favourites!

  14. Annabel says:

    Blindness – Yes! His dark materials too – not sure it would be in my top 20, but close, ditto Water for Elephants – that book was fabulous. Some super choices, and more to check out! You can’t beat a good recommendation.

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, It is great to hear that you agree with a few of my choices – I’d love to see what your list looks like!

      1. Annabel says:

        One day I hope to make time to read the Rohinton Mistry – I have it in my piles somewhere!

  15. Diane says:

    I was just looking at A Fine balance on my shelves this am (still unread). I did love:

    The Bonesetter’s Daughter; Water for Elephants; Blindness; and The Fingersmith. I’ll have to jot down some of your other titles…LOL

    1. Jackie says:

      Diane, Go on – pick it up! I’m sure you’ll enjoy A Fine Balance!

  16. Amy says:

    I am not familiar with many of these books! But that just means I have some titles for my TBR to look forward to! I did love Blindness…it seems a little wierd to apply “love” to this book but it made me think about so many things, feel so many feelings and it’s so beautifully written. My favorite Amy Tan will always be The Joy Luck Club, I justy loved it. The Time Traveler’s Wife was good but not a favorite of mine and some of Water for Elephants really troubled me. I am very untrigued about Kafka on the shore, have wanted to read that for a while and Ingenious Pain I suppose because I have a lot of pain so not being able to feel pain amazes me lol!

    This is such a great post, Jackie!

    1. Jackie says:

      Amy, You are right – it is weird to love a book which is so depressing, but I love books that affect your emotions. I enjoy being completely absorbed in a story and if I still think about it a long time after I’ve read it then it must be a powerful book. I hope you decide to pick up Ingenious Pain as I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

  17. Oh! I’ve been planning on doing one of these posts for ages!! Of your list, I loved A Fine Balance. I never thought a book about tailors could move me so deeply, and completely captivate me. Rohinton Mistry obviously knew better. I’ve read two of his other books (Family Matters and Such A Long Journey) as well, and thought they were amazing as well, albeit not as incredible as A Fine Balance.

    Fingersmith is one I read recently, and I loved its twists. It was a page turner, and I enjoyed turning each and every page, to see what surprise each page had in store for me. It’s been one of my favourite reads this year.

    His Dark Materials is on my “re-read” shelf, just because I loved the trilogy. Read the three books in two days, and wanted to re-read it immediately. I haven’t been tempted by Lyra’s Oxford, nor have I read anything else by Pullman, but, I have been contemplating reading the Lockhart series. Have you read that?

    You know how I feel about The Time Traveler’s Wife, so I’m not going to dwell on that…. no point, really :)

    Ohhh… and I’ve just finished The Joy Luck Club, so Kafka On The Shore is up next. Out is up soon after, so… I really hope I enjoy both as much as you did.

    PS: Despite having Cloud Atlas and Black Swan Green, I think Ghostwritten is the David Mitchell I really want to read. Oh well, all in good time.

    Thanks for this post – really enjoyed reading it… and oh, sorry for the long comment!

    1. Jackie says:

      anothercookiecrumbles, I haven’t read any of Rohinton Mistry’s other books – I’m saving them for a rainy day! It is great to know that they are good too.

      I have enjoyed all of David Mitchell’s books, so you can’t really go wrong reading any of them. Black Swan Green is very different from the others – I think I loved it more than most people as it was very reminiscent of my childhood. People who are older/younger/not from the UK don’t seem to appreciate it as much as I did.

      I hope you enjoy all my other favourites and don’t worry about the long comments – I love them!

    2. Jackie says:

      anothercookiecrumbles, I forgot to mention that I have read several of Pullman’s other books, but not enjoyed them. Ruby in the Smoke and the rest of that series were too light for me, but I think they are aimed at a younger audience.

  18. bookmagic says:

    I loved A Fine Balance- you should also try The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I love Amy Tan and I just recently read Out, that was excellent. I think more of her books have been translated so I may check them out sometime. Time Traveler’s Wife is on my tbr pile

    1. Jackie says:

      bookmagic, I have The God of Small Things in my TBR pile, so am pleased that you compare it to AFB.

      I look forward to reading more books by Natsuo Kirino too!

  19. mee says:

    Loved The Time Traveler’s Wife, all Amy Tan’s (though my fave is probably the Kitchen God’s Wife), most Murakami’s (except Kafka so far), Out, and I have a couple of those on my shelf. I’m really intrigued by A Fine Balance and Blindness as you have mentioned them as your favorite books a couple of times now. Anyway, any book that gets your vote would catch my attention ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      mee, I haven’t read many Murakami books, so I really need to read a few more. I hope you enjoy any of my favourites that you decide to pick up.

  20. Rebecca Reid says:

    I think we have different tastes (but I think I already knew that!). The books on this list that I have read I can’t call favorites. I’ve only read about three of Amy Tan’s but Joy Luck Club was definitely my favorite. Bonesetter’s Daughter did nothing for me.

    On the other hand, it is so much fun to see such a list! There are some I definitely want to read on that list!

    1. Jackie says:

      Rebecca, We don’t have the same taste in books, but I do think there is a lot of overlap. I hope you enjoy the next book you read from my list!

  21. Trish says:

    Fingersmith has the best plot you’ve ever found?! That’s fantastic since I just started it. :)

    Loved Kafka on the Shore, too. Definitely one of my favorite reads this year.

    1. Jackie says:

      Trish, I’m sure you’ll love The Fingersmith – I look forward to reading your review!

  22. Kathleen says:

    A Fine Balance is definitely on my list of favorites. The story moved me to tears and that is not easy to do. I also would have to say Clan of the Cave Bear ranks up there with books I have enjoyed the most. I just bought the book again recently at the used bookstore so I could reread it and the others…not sure what happened to my original copies since I read them so many years ago.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kathleen, I hope you manage to find the rest of your Cave Bear series. I’ve only recently discovered the books, so am reading them for the first time. They are amazing!

  23. Carrie K. says:

    I really need to read Fingersmith and A Fine Balance – both are on my TBR list. And I agree about The Hunger Games and Water for Elephants – both are outstanding.

    1. Jackie says:

      Carrie, It is nice to know that I’m not alone – enjoy Fingersmith and A Fine Balance!

  24. Kim says:

    I enjoyed Fingersmith this summer, it was perfect for a hectic week. I fondly remember the time I read A Time Traveler’s Wife. Several people have told me to A Fine Balance, I think it’s time to get a move on that!

    1. Jackie says:

      Kim, Make sure you have the tissues handy for A Fine Balance – it is a great story, but so sad!

  25. padma says:

    I’ve discovered your blog just recently, it’s splendid! I’ll surely visit regularly! The only book from your list that I’ve read is Fingersmith, I loved it! I have “Water for Elephants” on my shelf but somehow I coulnd’t get down to reading it, thanks for encouraging me! I also had The Time Traveller’s Wife but I thought that it’s not a book for me and sent it to someone via Bookmooch, maybe now I’ll try to mooch another copy;) Saramago is great, but I haven’t read Blindness. Oh, and you must read Watership Down, it’s one of my favourites!

    1. Jackie says:

      padma, Thank you for commenting on my blog for the first time! I hope you enjoy Water for Elephants and I’ll make sure I get a copy of Watership Down soon!

  26. Claire says:

    I’ve read around half of your list and love them too (which doesn’t surprise me) so confident about the others. Blindness and Out are in my immediate TBR plans and I bought a copy of Ingenious Pain on your and another friend’s recommendations – did you know it is out of print? shocking. I look forward to reading it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, I’m sure you’ll love Out, but will be interested to see if you like Blindness. The writing style takes a bit of time to get used to!

      I can’t believe Ingenious Pain is out of print. Shocking! Hopefully word will start trickling out about how brilliant it is and it will be printed again.

  27. We have similar tastes, I just haven’t gotten around to reading most of these. I’ve read Clan, but that’s it. I have 5 of them on my TBR.

    1. Jackie says:

      Melissa, I hope you enjoy all 5 of them!

  28. Dan Holloway says:

    Wow, Jackie, that’s a wonderful selection. Ghostwritten and Kafka would definitely be right at the top. I’ll be absolutely fascinated whether you prefer Norwegian Wood to Kafka – Murakami’s books often form pairs I find, and these two I always think of together. For me Norwegian Wood is better, but maybe that’s the bit of me that’s still a student and loves the fact it’s a little bleak and a little, well, I won’t say anything because it’s still TBR

    Pulman I loved everything but the last page. I thought that sucked. And that’s where I thought he totally caved in and pandered to the young adult market by trying to make it all moral. And “the Republic of Heaven” has to be the worst last line of a book ever, though I must say, Murakami has some stinkers.(“After I left” from Less Than Zero is my all-time fave – and the one that most has the feel I tried for with my last page – well, was after Norwegian Wood last page with Less Than Zero punch at the end; I ended up with disjointed melodrama, probably). If will and Lyra had said sod the universe we’re gonna be together, THEN it would have been in my top 10. Can’t quite bring myself to forgive him (or maybe, again, that’s the Mahler-loving, Goethe-adoring student in me who still dreams of life as a scene from La Boheme).

    The one on this list I don’t know and will most definitely be checking out is Natsuo Kirino’s Out. The cover and your brief blurb have sold me on it already.

    1. Jackie says:

      Dan, I wish I could remember what was on the last page of the Pullman book – I’ll have to dig it out later, but I don’t remember having any problems with it.

      I think you’ll enjoy Out. I’d love to know your thoughts on it – please come back when you’ve read it!

  29. Melody says:

    Great list, Jackie! We share some similiar taste in books. :) I can’t wait to read Fingersmith as I’ve heard nothing but raves about this book!

    1. Jackie says:

      Melody, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad review for Fingersmith – I hope you enjoy it!

  30. Jenners says:

    Fantastic list!!! I loved “Water for Elephants” and I recently added “The Fingersmith” to my wish list after reading a review about it. I have “Z for Zachariah” on my list as I needed a Z title for the A to Z challenge and it sounded kind of good! And I want to try “Blindness” but I think I need to be well rested to do so! Wonderful list. .. I’m going to look into some of the others as well.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenners, I look forward to your thoughts on Z for Zachariah – I’d love to know if it is a good adult read.

  31. I loved several of these books! As you know, I recently finished Blindness and found it superb. I also loved A Fine Balance, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Water for Elephants, and The Hunger Games. And since you have such great taste in books, I may have to check out those other titles you mentioned!

    1. Jackie says:

      Heather, I hope that you enjoy any of the others you decide to read – I’m so pleased to learn that you enjoyed my favourites!

  32. megan says:

    Oh, I loved Water for Elephants, too!

    Time Traveler’s Wife is also at the top of my list (which I think I’ve mentioned here before). Am reading Her Fearful Symmetry at the moment, and while I don’t think it will be on my list of favourite books (though I’m only halfway through), am still enjoying it.

    I’ve also just borrowed A Fine Balance from the library, and can’t wait to dive right in – I love big, sprawling books that get you completely involved with the characters.

    1. Jackie says:

      megan, I’m about half way through Her Fearful Symmetry now and agree with you. It is a very good book, but I don’t think it will end up on my list of favourites.

      I hope you enjoy A Fine Balance.

  33. Michelle says:

    I love this. We have several of the same favourite books (His Dark Materials, The Time Traveller’s Wife, Fingersmith). I think I’ll do a post like this soon on my blog :)

  34. Sue says:

    A Fine Balance is my favorite, too. It’s SOooo great. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve recommended it to. I also loved Water for Elephants and look forward to reading all of these.

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