My brother has just jetted of on holiday in Darwin and before he left he asked for some book recommendations.
He has been an occasional reader since school, but had not picked up a book for a while.
After I offered him some recommendations, he mentioned that he couldn’t be the only person looking for a great read and not knowing where to start.
And so, I have written up the below list of books to appeal to all readers – they’re books that I’ve enjoyed, or that I know have been widely loved. Of course, reading is very subjective, but if you’re just starting out, or stuck in a rut, hopefully these recommendations are a good place to begin.
The interrupted reader
Definition: The reader who loves books but has been too distracted by work/kids/lockdowns to pick one up recently. These readers need a book that will grab them and remind them of what they’ve been missing.
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
The ambitious reader
Definition: The reader who wants a little more from their reading experience. They don’t just want to be entertained, they’d prefer to be enlightened and challenged by the books they read. More interested in books that push boundaries of form, they are looking for poetic language and expansive concepts.
Apeirogon by Colum McCann
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The Milkman by Anna Burns
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sanders
Ulysses by James Joyce
To the Lighthouse by Sylvia Plath
The curious reader
Definition: The reader accustomed to picking up the latest must-read, but who has never moved far beyond contemporary fiction. They are interested in the classics, but feel overwhelmed deciding which ones to choose.
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The catch-up reader
Definition: The reader who feels they have missed out on all the books they ‘should have’ read – those that are often referenced either in conversation, on tv or in the media. They want to be able to nod along when someone refers to Mr Darcy or Jay Gatsby.
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Animal Farm or 1984 by George Orwell
Definition: The reader who wants to escape reality for a while and enter a different world, seeing through the eyes of different characters.
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Definition: These readers don’t care about fiction – they want to read gritty, confronting, fascinating real life stories.
This House of Grief by Helen Garner
The comedy-loving reader
Definition: The reader who wants a book that will make them laugh. It can be literary or general fiction, or even non-fiction, but it must be funny enough to force them to stifle a chuckle during their commute on the train.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
The historical fiction buff
Definition: The reader who wants to step back in time through the pages of a book, to experience the sights, smells and tastes of a time before, evoked by a skillful writer. It is history without the textbooks or boring voiceover.
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The emotional reader
Definition: The reader who loves a book that hollows them out and makes them cry for characters suffering from trauma and neglect. They love a book described as ‘harrowing’, and the relief of feeling wrung out, but ultimately hopeful, after they have finished the last page.
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
All That I Am by Anna Funder
Infinite Splendors by Sofie Laguna