Reading List for Writers, Travelers and Parents

Ever-Growing Reading List

Of course this book list isn’t comprehensive, I’m just trying to get the ball rolling and I’ll be adding to this as I read more and rack my brain for those old favourites. If there’s anything I’ve missed, or that I need to read, please tell me. I spend so much time researching books and reading book reviews and I’d love to hear your thoughts. After all, word of mouth is always the best recommendation.

This is a list of books that I’ve read and that I’d heartily recommend. I have to say that I rely on my local library and garage sales for books. The Candy family always get each other new books for birthdays and Christmas, and if we’re going traveling I’ll buy some new books for everyone, but otherwise we use the library. Typically we borrow 60 books a week, for a family of five, and most of them get read too.

By the way, I’ve discovered some links to great author websites from doing this, and what a diverse bunch they are, but if I couldn’t find the author’s site I’ve provided a link somewhere so you can find out more if you wish. Forgive me for declaring this page an umlaut and accent free zone. I’m still trying to forgive myself and hope that I don’t feel the need to go back and add them. Happy reading!

Reading List for Writers

A Novel in a Year, Louise Doughty

The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron

Write Away: One Novelist’s Approach to Fiction, Elizabeth George (She makes it sound like hard work though)

Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss (On punctuation and grammar)

On Writing, Stephen King

Gotham Writers’ Workshop Writing Fiction Excellent stuff.

Reading List for Travelers

Undress Me Naked in the Temple of Heaven, Susan Jane Gilman

Dervla Murphy: Pick your destination, she’s been all over the place

Swahili For The Broken-Hearted, Peter Moore

Reading List for Parents (and the lucky children they read to)

Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl (and all his other books too)

Kaspar Prince of Cats, Michael Morpurgo

Captain Underpants, Dav Pilkey (If you’re a seven year old boy it doesn’t get much better than this)

Dr. Dog and Mummy Laid an Egg, Babette Cole

Each Peach, Pear, Plum, Alan & Janet Ahlberg

Miffy, Dick Bruna

Mister Magnolia, Quentin Blake

Pukunui, James Waerea and Pat Hohepa

Cleo the Cat, Caroline Mockford

Hairy Maclary, Lynley Dodd

Gordon’s Got a Snookie, Lisa Shanahan

The Great Pie Robbery and Other Mysteries, Richard Scarry. Excellent stories and brilliant illustrations. What more could you hope for? Characters don’t get any livelier than Lowly Worm, Huckle Cat and Bananas Gorilla.

Reading List for Preteens (If you’ve got kids the time will come when you need these)

Puberty boy, Geoff Price

Puberty girl, Shushann Movsessian

General Fiction Reading List

Enduring Love & Atonement, Ian McEwan

I Know This Much Is True, Wally Lamb

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith
(If you like this one, the prolific AMS has a whole series for you)

The Secret History, Donna Tartt

The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins

The Other Boleyn Girl, Phillipa Gregory

The Shipping News Annie Proulx

Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

Perfume, Patrick Suskind

Life of Pi, Yann Martel

Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Devil in a Blue Dress, Walter Mosley

The Vintner’s Luck Elizabeth Knox

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernières

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield

The Bride Stripped Bare, Nikki Gemmell

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Marina Lewycka
This book was rejected by agents and publishers over and over again before finally being published when the author was 57, and going on to win literary prizes. It’s a brilliant and witty read about immigrants in the UK. Her second novel, Two Caravans, is in the same vein. Love them.

The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger (Compelling non-fiction)

Reading List for Thinkers

Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered, Geoff Dyer

Siddhartha, Herman Hesse

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

Flow: Psychology of Happiness, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi


Cash, Customers and Ads That Sell, Bradley Sugars

There are so many great books and authors missing here, like Paddy Clarke, Isabel Allende, Graham Greene, Voltaire, Margaret Atwood, Faye Weldon, Doris Lessing to name but a few. Still, it’s a start and I hope there’ll be something new here to entertain you.

Thanks for reading, feel free to add your comments below.

Good luck with all your plans!



11 Responses

  1. On Writing by stephen king… DIG IT!
    Siddhartha… *drool*
    The Alchemist… *orgasm*

  2. Thanks for your great lists — I need to wade thru it and pick my summer reads!

    You cannot forget “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. It’s a book about the agonies and joys of writing and is hilarious. The other phenomenal short story writer, who must be mentioned, is Alice Munro, a national treasure in Canada….

    • Thanks M, this is great. I will add them to my reading list along with a few other recommendations from you. I’m getting through them slowly but surely.

      There is one small problem with reading all these excellent books. On one hand you think they’re amazing and they give you something to aspire to, but on the other hand you think that there’s no way you could even write anything even half as good and you want to give up there and then. Fortunately I read somewhere recently (if only I had made a note at the time) something about the forest being very quiet if only the best birds sang. So I will keep on writing, reading and most of all trying not to compare myself to others. Many thanks!

  3. Ive read a few of those….. Im thinking love in the time of cholera is probably my fave… I will chip in with my twopenneth…

    Remains of the day – Kazuo Ishiguru
    Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
    Captain Corelli – Louis De berniers
    French Liutenants Woman – John Fowls
    Lolita – Vladimir Nabakov
    Kite Runner
    Rabbit, Run – John Updike

    Errrr….. there are more to come im sure !

  4. Grand… I will add Captain Corelli and Kite Runner asap as I’ve read both and love them. The others will be added to my ever-lengthening reading list. They sound interesting… Lolita, isn’t that a bit fruity? Thanks, Big Andy.

  5. I found very informative. The article is professionally written and I feel like the author knows the subject very well. keep it that way.

  6. I just read an excellent book by Peter Charles Melman. It is about a Jewish man who is a former indentured servant, who joins the Confederate army after being accused of a terrible crime. Of which he did not commit., of course.

    I would have never thought I would read a book like that but it was awesome!!!!

  7. Oh yeah, it’s title is, “Landsman.”

  8. To be honest I’m unfamiliar with many of the works you’ve listed, but I’m always up for a good reading list! The general fiction list is spot on though, as many of those are not only entertaining reads, but provide quite a deal of food for thought afterwards.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: