My best reads in 2010

1. The Hunger Games trilogy – Suzanne Collins
(Well, technically I’ve only read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire so far and both were brilliant. So good that I’m willing to get my copy of Mockingjay at full price. Having previously worked in a bargain bookstore, this is big.)
2. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series – Ann Brashares
3. The Library of Shadows – Mikkel Birkegaard
4. Un Lun Dun – China Miéville
5. Temeraire – Naomi Novik

What about you? I could use some recommendations for the next reading year. 🙂


100 Killer Thrillers

This list of recommended thrillers was recently compiled by NPR. Bold are the ones I’ve read, italics are the one I want to read. I’m not much of a thriller fan, evidently. What I find interesting about this list is the number of books I see in it that I had no idea are thrillers. I thought books like No Country for Old Men and The Count of Monte Cristo fall under the literary fiction/literature genres.

* 1. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
* 2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
* 3. Kiss the Girls, by James Patterson
* 4. The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum
* 5. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
* 6. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
* 7. The Shining, by Stephen King

* 8. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
* 9. The Hunt tor Red October, by Tom Clancy
* 10. The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

* 11. Dracula, by Bram Stoker
* 12. The Stand, by Stephen King
* 13. The Bone Collector, by Jeffery Deaver
* 14. Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton
* 15. Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown
* 16. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
* 17. The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton
* 18. Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane
* 19. The Day of the Jackal, by Frederick Forsyth
* 20. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier

* 21. Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett
* 22. It, by Stephen King
* 23. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
* 24. The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson
* 25. Jaws, by Peter Benchley
* 26. The Alienist, by Caleb Carr
* 27. Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris
* 28. Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow
* 29. The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett
* 30. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, by Stieg Larsson

* 31. No Country For Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy
* 32. Gone Baby Gone, by Dennis Lehane
* 33. Gorky Park, by Martin Cruz Smith
* 34. Rosemary’s Baby, by Ira Levin
* 35. Subterranean, by James Rollins
* 36. Clear and Present Danger, by Tom Clancy
* 37. Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King
* 38. Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane
* 39. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, by John Le Carre
* 40. The Poet, by Michael Connelly

* 41. The Boys from Brazil, by Ira Levin
* 42. Cape Fear, by John MacDonald
* 43. The Bride Collector, by Ted Dekker
* 44. Pet Sematary, by Stephen King
* 45. Dead Zone, by Stephen King
* 46. The Manchurian Candidate, by Richard Condon
* 47. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John Le Carre
* 48. The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith
* 49. Tell No One, by Harlan Coben
* 50. Consent to Kill, by Vince Flynn

* 51. The 39 Steps, by John Buchan
* 52. Blowback, by Brad Thor
* 53. The Children of Men, by P.D. James
* 54. 61 Hours, by Lee Child
* 55. Marathon Man, by William Goldman
* 56. The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins
* 57. 206 Bones, by Kathy Reichs
* 58. Psycho, by Robert Bloch
* 59. The Killing Floor, by Lee Child
* 60. Rules of Prey, by John Sandford

* 61. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
* 62. In the Woods, by Tana French
* 63. Shogun, by James Clavell
* 64. The Relic, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
* 65. Intensity, by Dean Koontz
* 66. Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming
* 67. Metzger’s Dog, by Thomas Perry
* 68. Timeline, by Michael Crichton
* 69. Contact, by Carl Sagan
* 70. What the Dead Know, by Laura Lippman

* 71. The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
* 72. The Cabinet of Curiosities, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
* 73. Charm School, by Nelson DeMille
* 74. Feed, by Mira Grant
* 75. Gone Tomorrow, by Lee Child
* 76. Darkly Dreaming Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay
* 77. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
* 78. The First Deadly Sin, by Lawrence Sanders
* 79. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
* 80. The Brotherhood of the Rose, by David Morrell

* 81. Primal Fear, by William Diehl
* 82. The Templar Legacy, by Steve Berry
* 82. The Hard Way, by Lee Child [tie]
* 84. The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper
* 85. Six Days of the Condor, by James Grady
* 86. Fail-Safe, by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler
* 87. Strangers on a Train, by Patricia Highsmith
* 88. The Eight, by Katherine Neville
* 89. The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown
* 90. Goldfinger, by Ian Fleming

* 91. Bangkok 8, by John Burdett
* 92. The Kill Artist, by Daniel Silva
* 93. Hardball, by Sara Paretsky
* 94. The Club Dumas, by Arturo Perez-Reverte
* 95. The Deep Blue Good-by, by John MacDonald
* 96. The Monkey’s Raincoat, by Robert Crais
* 96. Berlin Game, by Len Deighton [tie]
* 98. A Simple Plan, by Scott Smith
* 99. Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith
* 100. Heartsick, by Chelsea Cain

50 Worthwhile Chick Lit Novels

List taken from this link; visit the site for synopsis of all 50 titles. I’m not sure if some of the books listed qualify as chick lit. However, I find this a pretty good list of chick lit titles. If you’re looking to delve into this genre, pick any book from this list for a start.

Bolded titles are the ones I’ve read. Titles struck through are ones that I read and did not like it. Italicised ones are books I would like to read.

Historical Fiction
1. Emma by Jane Austen.
2. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.
3. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory.
4. Atonement by Ian McEwan.
5. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
6. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.
7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
8. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
9. The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan.
10. Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence.

11. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos.
12. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote.
13. Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes.
14. Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes.
15. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann.
16. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
17. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin.
18. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
19. Summer Sisters: by Judy Blume.
20. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.
21. The Jane Austen Book Club: by Karen Joy Fowler.
22. Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes.
23. Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger.
24. The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank.
25. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller.

Pop Culture Phenomena
26. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding.
27. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger.
28. In Her Shoes: by Jennifer Weiner.
29. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus.
30. Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell.
31. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious.
32. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells.
33. Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar.
34. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.
35. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.

Social Commentary
36. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.
37. Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner.
38. Trading Up by Candace Bushnell.
39. Baby Proof by Emily Giffin.
40. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.
41. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.
42. L’Affaire by Diane Johnson.
43. Jemima J.: A Novel About Ugly Ducklings and Swans by Jane Green.
44. The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

45. The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein.
46. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.
47. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
48. Open House: by Elizabeth Berg.
49. Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding.
50. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult.

I’ve read 17 books from the list and want to read 5.

Puffin’s Best 70 Children’s Books

For children’s book publisher Puffin’s 70th anniversary they named their top 70 children’s books. The ones in bold are the ones I’ve read.

The Best Mischief and Mayhem
The Twits by Roald Dahl
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
The Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Dog by Jeremy Strong
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend

The Best Weepies
Watership Down by Richard Adams
The Truth about Leo by David Yelland
Two Weeks with the Queen by Morris Gleitzman
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

The Best to Cuddle-Up With
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis & Gwen Millward
Peepo! by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd

The Best Blood and Guts
The Enemy by Charlie Higson
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Being by Kevin Brooks
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Best Swashbucklers and Derring-Do
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andreae & Russell Ayto
Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior by Chris Bradford
Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green

The Best Heroes
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Young Bond: SilverFin by Charlie Higson
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Best Characters
Charlie and Lola: Excuse Me But That is My Book by Lauren Child
Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll & Jan Pienkowski
Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird & Helen Craig
Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs

The Best Sugar and Spice
Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories by Joyce Lankester Brisley
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
The Princess and the Pea by Lauren Child & Polly Borland

The Best Animals
Spy Dog by Andrew Cope
The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
Lionboy by Zizou Corder

The Best Friends and Family
Dizzy by Cathy Cassidy
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Family From One End Street by Eve Garnett
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

The Best Phizzwhizzers
The BFG by Roald Dahl
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

The Best War and Conflict
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Once by Morris Gleitzman
Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian
Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden

Stig of the Dump by Clive King
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Junk by Melvin Burgess

The Best Fantasy and Adventure
TimeRiders by Alex Scarrow
Dot Robot by Jason Bradbury
Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

The Best Weird and Wonderful
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Five Children and It by E Nesbitt
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

The Best Rhymes and Verse
Please Mrs Butler by Allan Ahlberg
Michael Rosen’s A-Z The best children’s poetry from Agard to Zephaniah
Talking Turkeys by Benjamin Zephaniah
Bad Bad Cats by Roger McGough

The Best Alternatives to Twilight
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

A List of Good Asian Books

In no particular order. Taken from here.

1. The Gift of Rain – Tan Twan Eng
2. Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet and Beyond – Pankaj Mishra
3. Silk Road – Colin Thubron
4. Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found – Suketu Mehta
5. Beijing Coma – Ma Jian
6. The Wasted Vigil – Nadeem Aslam
7. Burnt Shadows – Kamila Shamsie
8. In Other Rooms, Other Wonders – Daniyal Mueenuddin
9. The Temple-Goers – Aatish Taseer
10. The Harmony Silk Factory – Tash Aw
11. The Last Song of Dusk – Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi
12. The Inspector Chen Series – Qiu Xiaolong
13. The Glass Palace – Amitav Ghosh
14. Sacred Games – Vikram Chandra
15. Family Matters – Rohinton Mistry
16. The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai
17. The Golden Age – Tahmima Anam
18. Butcher and Bolt – David Loyn
19. Greetings from Bury Park: Race Religion and Rock and Roll – Sarfraz Mansoor
20. Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
21. Snow – Orhan Pamuk
22. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress – Dai Sijie
23. The White Moghuls – William Dalrymple
24. Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
25. White Tiger – Aravind Adiga
26. Descent into Chaos – Ahmed Rashid
27. Reading Lolita in Tehran – Azar Nafisi
28. China Road – Rob Gifford
29. Writing on the Wall: China and the West in the 21st Century – Will Hutton
30. God’s Terrorists – Charles Allen
31. Holy Warriors: A Journey into the Heart of Indian Fundamentalism – Edna Fernandes
32. Khandahar Cockney – James Fergusson
33. Brick Lane – Monica Ali
34. Persepolis: The Story of an Iranian Childhood – Marjane Satrapi
35. The Kite Runner – Khalid Hosseini
36. The Places in Between – Rory Stewart
37. The Vagrants – Yiyun Li
38. The Boat – Nam Le
39. Madwoman on the Bridge – Su Tong
40. Evening is the Whole Day – Preeta Samarasan
41. Once on the Shore – Paul Yoon
42. The Calligrapher’s Daughter – Eugenia Kim
43. The Assassin’s Song – MG Vassanji
44. Imperial Life in The Emerald City – Rajiv Chandrasekaran

My personal additions to the list:

45. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
46. Chinese Cinderella – Adeline Yen Mah
47. The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures – Malba Tahan
48. Confessions of an Old Boy: The Dato’ Hamid Adventures – Kam Raslan
49. Empress Orchid – Anchee Min
50. Sing to the Dawn – Minfong Ho

Best 60 Books from Last 60 Years

The Times team has compiled its favourites to celebrate the Cheltenham Literary Festival anniversary. Do you agree?

1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell
1950 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe C. S. Lewis
1951 The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger

1952 Pigs Have Wings P. G. Wodehouse
1953 Casino Royale Ian Fleming
1954 Lord of the Flies William Golding
1955 Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
1956 The Hundred and One Dalmatians Dodie Smith
1957 Doctor Zhivago Boris Pasternak
1958 Our Man in Havana Graham Greene
1959 The Leopard Giuseppe di Lampedusa
1960 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
1961 Catch 22 Joseph Heller
1962 The Golden Notebook Doris Lessing
1963 The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath
1964 Funeral in Berlin Len Deighton
1965 Dune Frank Herbert
1966 Wide Sargasso Sea Jean Rhys
1967 Towards the End of the Morning Michael Frayn
1968 2001 Arthur C. Clarke
1969 The French Lieutenant’s Woman John Fowles
1970 Play it as it Lays Joan Didion
1971 Americana Don DeLillo
1972 Watership Down Richard Adams
1973 Crash J. G. Ballard
1974 Fear of Flying Erica Jong
1975 Salem’s Lot Stephen King
1976 Even Cowgirls get the Blues Tom Robbins
1977 A Scanner Darkly Philip K. Dick
1978 The World According to Garp John Irving
1979 Smiley’s People John le Carré
1980 Earthly Powers Anthony Burgess
1981 Lanark Alasdair Gray
1982 The House of the Spirits Isabel Allende
1983 Waterland Graham Swift
1984 Money Martin Amis
1985 Love in The Time of Cholera Gabriel Garcia Marquez
1986 Tourist Season Carl Hiaasen
1987 More Die of Heartbreak Saul Bellow
1988 Mother London Michael Moorcock
1989 Sexing the Cherry Jeannette Winterson
1990 Get Shorty Elmore Leonard
1991 The Famished Road Ben Okri
1992 The Secret History Donna Tartt
1993 Trainspotting Irvine Welsh
1994 How Late it Was, How Late James Kelman
1995 Northern Lights Philip Pullman
1996 Angela’s AshesFrank McCourt
1997 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone J. K. Rowling
1998 The Wind-up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami
1999 Disgrace J. M. Coetzee
2000 The Blind Assassin Margaret Atwood
2001 The Corrections Jonathan Franzen
2002 Atonement Ian McEwan
2003 The Time Traveler’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger
2004 The Line of Beauty Alan Hollinghurst
2005 Twilight Stephenie Meyer
2006 The Road Cormac McCarthy
2007 A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini
2008 Netherland Joseph O’Neill
2009 The Little Stranger Sarah Waters

Do I agree? I’m not sure Twilight is the best book of 2005 though it wasn’t a bad book for me… I read 10 books out of the 60 listed. Do I want to read the others? Hmm, not really!

For the Listless Bookworms

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’d know I love lists. Especially ones of books!

This site is the mother of all book lists! There’s a list called Books that Make You Re-Think Happiness and it’s a list of books that explores on the subject of happiness. Then there’s one called More Books… About Books! which is really about books that talk about books in general. I’d like a similar list for fiction, as in a list of fiction that has books as part of the plot, such as Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale.

This site is great if you like to read books on a specific subject and want to know what are the good titles. Saves you time searching around the bookstore or asking the retail exec at the shop, because it’s quite unlikely the employee would know what to recommend for genres s/he isn’t familiar with. That’s my pet peeve with customers at bookshops – asking for recommendations (unless it’s a genre I’m familiar with) or asking for books that deal with a specific subject. I had one asking me if we have a shelf where we just stock books only on vampires. -_-

Another whopper of a list is this 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. To help you along, some people created a spreadsheet for it! I love lists but I don’t think I want my reading to be dictated by something like this – I won’t be able to finish it anyway!

And on another site, there’s a list of books that you shouldn’t read. Which are:

* White Noise by Don DeLillo
* Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner
* One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
* The Road by Cormac McCarthy
* The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence
* On the Road by Jack Kerouac
* The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
* The USA Trilogy by John Dos Passos
* Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf
* A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

If you want to know why, read on here.

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