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A book that has made you think long after you have finished reading it

(156 Posts)
StephLP Thu 29-Apr-21 20:58:29

We all have them - those books that stay with you. Mine would be Tuesday's With Morrie by Mitch Albom, The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

simtib Thu 29-Apr-21 21:10:42

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini still makes me shudder whenever I think of it. How could people be so horrid.

Mapleleaf Thu 29-Apr-21 22:04:55

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks.

Casdon Thu 29-Apr-21 22:27:06

I did Pincher Martin by William Golding for A level, and it’s stuck with me.

Sago Thu 29-Apr-21 22:41:17

The Pilgramage by Paulo Coehlo.
I envy such faith and marvel at the extraordinary experiences.
I would love to meet him.

Dinahmo Thu 29-Apr-21 22:41:47

Mot just one book but (m)any of those published by Virago. Back in the eighties the building in which I worked had a library in the basement. Th librarian stacked circular stands with Virago books. The authors were mainly women from the turn of the 19th century and early part of the 20th and I hadn't heard of most of them. One that I really enjoyed was My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin. It was made into a film with Judy Davis and Sam Neill and is about a young woman from an impoverished Australian farm.

I found them interesting because they were about similar struggles to those that women have today - careers, husbands and families and friends. It surprised me how little things have really changed.

Urmstongran Thu 29-Apr-21 22:55:19

Oh hands down - this one.
It was a novel I read about 4y ago. Written in 2015 it was on the Man Booker shortlist.

I felt bereft when I finished it as if I’d lost some of my best friends.
I kept thinking about it for days afterwards.

Everyone (bar none) who I recommended it to agreed it was the most brilliant book they’d read in a long long time.

Urmstongran Thu 29-Apr-21 22:57:24

Apologies for the poor grammar at the end. It’s late & I’m tired is my excuse.


janeainsworth Thu 29-Apr-21 23:05:16

I remember My Brilliant Career too, Dinahmo.

The Group by Mary McCarthy and The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell both made a great impression on me.

Ro60 Fri 30-Apr-21 01:27:05

The title of your thread brought two books to mind. So what a surprise to see two of the authors in the thread already!

Th e Alchemist - Paul Coehlo
The First Phone call from Heaven - Mitch Albom

Savvy Fri 30-Apr-21 02:39:38

The Poison Principle by Gail Bell. It's a true story of what the author discovers when she traces her family history.

The Handmaids Tail by Margaret Atwood. I first read it not long after it was published. Brilliantly insightful.

I'm part way through Death At Intervals by Jose Saramago, it's interesting reading, but hard going. Not because of the content, but because the book is very badly laid out, some punctuation and paragraphs wouldn't go amiss.

Pantglas2 Fri 30-Apr-21 06:19:50

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell was a huge eye opener for me in terms of learning about slavery in the US.

Although set as a romantic novel in many respects, the underlying foundation of the lives of the main characters and the reversal of fortune was powerful.

It became a gateway for educating myself on the whole history of the slave trade and abolition especially here in the Uk and led me to travel to see some of the places involved in Africa and America.

Sara1954 Fri 30-Apr-21 06:31:19

I still recommend The Road to Wigan Pier to people, it made a big impression on me,
Also, about forty years ago, I read The Women’s Room by Marilyn French, at the time it made a massive impression on me, probably the first novel of that genre I read.

grandMattie Fri 30-Apr-21 06:50:27

So many...
The Handmaid’s Tale/The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
The Timetraveller’s Wife - Audrey Nieffneker
We Must Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver
My Brilliant Carer - Miles Franklin
and many more.
I particularly enjoyed most of them because of the original premise of the novel, which was then brilliantly followed up and finished in a timely fashion. So many books meander then the author gets bored with the story and just doesn’t know how to finish.
On another note - remember the “Whiteoak” books?

grandMattie Fri 30-Apr-21 06:53:33

Oh and “The Female Eunuch” which was banned in Australia where I was living at the time. I was sent a copy by an acquaintance and read it with all the gullibility and idealism of an extremely naive 20 year old.

vampirequeen Fri 30-Apr-21 07:28:14

The Handmaids Tale. I read many years ago then watched the USA start to change into Gilead (esp in the Trump years). Hopefully things will change back now.

I think what struck me was the trickle effect. The way they gradually removed women's rights until in the end they had none but it was done in a way that seemed not to be much of a problem at the time (esp to men) until all the rights had disappeared. Something that has been done in the past and will be done in the future. Not only to women but to any part of society that is deemed to be less important/dangerous.

haporthrosie Fri 30-Apr-21 07:41:33

Not counting Jilly Cooper? Almost anything by George Orwell. It's nice to see 'Wigan Pier' mentioned above. There are so many times when I find myself complaining then remember the lives he describes in that.
J.H. William's 'Elephant Bill,' about the part that elephants played in WWII: Williams forged a close relationship with a Burmese elephant trainer who'd developed his own method of using kindness to teach working elephants and in the '30s the two of them revolutionised the way things were done. When the Japanese invaded, the part these animals played was tremendously important - they were really like soldiers. I loved elephants, the people of Burma, and had incredible respect for our troops who served there before reading this, but it's now on a level I couldn't have imagined before. (A few years ago Vicky Croker told the story anew in 'Elephant Company' which is good but I prefer the original. The illustrations in Croker's version are magnificent though.) Philip Roth's 'Goodbye, Columbus' still haunts me with its feeling of empty materialism (it's either a very very short novel or a longish short story, I don't know, but imho it's a pity he's known for some of his other works rather than this.) And if this sounds virtue-signally please forgive me but 'The Diary of Anne Frank,' apart from its obviously heart-breaking origin, is so beautifully written and wise it's almost impossible to believe it was its author was so young. You can't help thinking what she could have gone on to achieve, but what she left is exquisite.

haporthrosie Fri 30-Apr-21 07:45:35

Sorry meant to write 'almost impossible to believe its author was so young.' Was trying to edit but didn't check closely enough before posting!

Susan56 Fri 30-Apr-21 08:12:50

Loved the Whiteoak’s books grandMattie!

dragonfly46 Fri 30-Apr-21 08:17:31

I will definitely read that one Urmston

janeainsworth Fri 30-Apr-21 08:19:58

One I’ve read in recent years that I couldn’t stop thinking about was Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. It’s fiction, but based on the heartbreaking story of children who in many cases were abducted into the Tennessee Children’s Home in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The owner, Georgia Tann, was finally charged with offences but died before she was brought to trial.

After the book was published, Lisa was contacted by several people who had been in the home as children. Along with a sociologist, Judy Christie, she organised reunions for long-lost siblings who had been separated as small children, and they wrote another book, Before and After which describes actual case histories.

Sara1954 Fri 30-Apr-21 08:37:44

I’ve put that on my wish list.

Urmstongran Fri 30-Apr-21 08:59:11

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed dragonfly and Sara1954!
Let me know (maybe by p.m.) what you think?
In paperback it’s 700 pages and I can honestly say it was so engrossing it was just BRILLIANT and when it ended I felt so flat. I missed all the characters as though they were friends. That’s what some of my real life friends said too.

In fact thinking about it I will re-read it this summer!

StephLP Fri 30-Apr-21 09:01:24

Ro60 - I haven't read The First Phone Call from Heaven. Thank you for your recommendation - I have enjoyed many other Mitch Albom books.

TerriBull Fri 30-Apr-21 09:25:54

For me those type of books are generally a tome, the first one I remember feeling bereft when I'd finished it was probably Gone with the Wind, I would have been 15 or so when I read that. Later on in my twenties I remember loving The Thorn Birds in a similar way.

Of late I would say these have stayed with me after I'd finished them, in no particular order, Star of The Sea, Joseph O'Connor, The Blind Assassin and Alias Grace Margaret Atwood, The Quincunx Charles Palliser, Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver, We had it so good Linda Grant, The Hearts Invisible Furies John Boyne, The Goldfinch Donna Tart, The Crimson Petal and The White Michel Faber. I've probably forgotten one or two, but I remember loving these books long after I'd finished them.

Urmston I've heard much about A Little Life, some loving it others finding it gruelling but I'm ever looking for that next special book to fall in love with............could this be one of those?