5 Hot Books I Loved Reading

Hot books to read

If you want to be a great writer then you need to read widely.

If you’re a writer, there is only one way to procrastinate which will help you improve your writing skills. By reading.

Although reading won’t stop your bum from taking on the shape of your writing chair’s seat so plenty of walking, squats and lunges are recommended for active procrastination.

I have a life long love of learning starting with Miffy and Ladybird books then moving on to Enid Blyton adventures before finally reading just about everything and anything.

I read blogs, newspapers, magazines and brochures if there’s nothing else to hand.

I read travel books, poetry, memoirs, biographies,  auto-biographies, business books, self development books and novels.

I go through phases with fiction but I studied french and english literature at school and love thrillers, mysteries, historical fiction, drama, modern literature, african literature and family sagas. Anything as long as it has a powerful story and arresting characters.

Read widely and read often. Then get back to your writing.

Because reading will only help improve your writing if you keep writing.

5 Hot Books I Loved

Hot Books to readThe Lonely Polygamist: A Novel by Brady Udall

This is a surprising novel about family, love and the ties that bind us.

If you’ve ever wondered how anyone ends up with four wives, 25 children and a girlfriend this book will tell you.

The polygamist hero Golden who’s got himself into this fine mess is at once tragic, romantic and loveable. His story will make you laugh and cry.


Hot Books to readYear of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks

Set in England during the plague. One village is isolated to present the disease spreading, left alone to cope with the terror, the sick and the dying.

It’s a brutal account with lots of gory bits but this poignant and powerful story will grip you.



Hot Books to readThe Charming Quirks of Others: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel by Alexander McCall Smith

If you haven’t read any of Alexander McCall Smith’s books start with The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series which is set in Botswana.

The Isabel Dalhousie series is set in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In this book, the seventh novel featuring Scottish philosopher and woman of means Isabel Dalhousie, Isabel fears her younger boyfriend and father of their baby is having an affair. But is he and if so how will Isabel deal with it?

Hot Books to readNaked in Dangerous Places by Cash Peters
I chose this when looking for travel books because it had naked in the title like my Naked Travel Stories.

English radio presenter Cash Peters gets his big break in Hollywood when he’s given his own reality-adventure TV show.

The premise was simple: ‘Let’s dump this guy in an unfamiliar culture in a faraway land with no money and no place to stay and leave him to fall back on his own resources.’ One of my favorite genres is funny travel books and Cash Peters delivers. I don’t think he gets naked though!

Hot Books to readOne Day by David Nicholls
Emma and Dex meet at graduation in 1998 and this novel followers the two characters on the same day over 20 years.

It’s a quietly absorbing book about how we change and grow.

Want to Read More Hot Books?

If you need more book recommendations check out my reading list for many more hot books to read. I keep updating it when I’ve read a great new book.

What hot books have you read lately? Please share below. I’m always looking for book recommendations.

Photo: Horia Varlan

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  1. Tess The Bold Life August 2, 2011 at 11:59 am - Reply

    The travel book you mention sounds great. I have Farnoosh Brock’s new book on motivation on my Kindle just about half way through it. I also read an old book of Depaak Chopra’s on fear last week. Love reading. My name is Tess and I’m a bookaholic!

    • Annabel Candy August 2, 2011 at 2:22 pm - Reply

      Hi Tess, lol, me too. Sounds like you’re a personal development bookaholic!

  2. Sandra / Always Well Within August 2, 2011 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    How do you find time to read, Annabel? I’m amazed. I thoroughly enjoyed your descriptions of these books. Though I haven’t read fiction for eons these sound enticing. I’m a non-fiction kind of gal.

    I recently read You Are Not Your Brain, The 4-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life by Jeffrey Schwartz, M. D. and Rebecca Gladding, M. D. This is a really helpful book. I reviewed it on my blog and there seems to be a high interest in it. Next up for me is Rebel Buddha by Ponlop Rinpoche.

    • Annabel Candy August 2, 2011 at 7:52 pm - Reply

      Hi Sandra, I read heaps! My preferred means of procrastination hence the excuse that it’s good for my writing:) I’ve probably read about 20 books in the last 6 months. These are just the very best ones. Some were average.

      Love all the recommendations from you. Looks like you’re a bookaholic too. I don’t read too much personal development these days but I used to! I think they helped me get sorted:) I’ll check out your review of Taking Control of Your Life and Rebel Buddha sounds totally intriguing.

      • Dave August 3, 2011 at 6:23 am

        Heh… I get through 3 or 4 a week, a lot of fiction, but I have a largish stack of technical books which I use continuously for reference. For those, I’m not quite how to determine whether I have “read” them. For some I’ve taken up listing the chapters on a task list, and as I know I’ve “finished” a chapter, I check it out. All hinging on what “finish” means of course.

        Probably helps I can rip through fiction *really* fast.

  3. Suellen August 2, 2011 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Hi Annabel,

    Thanks for the recommendations. I haven’t read any of these so will add to my list.

    Some of my favourite fiction reads this year:

    Lionel Shriver – So Much For That
    – love Lionel’s writing style, great character development
    – story about consequence of putting things off and putting up instead of following our dreams

    Sue Miller – Lost in the Forest
    – $2 bargain from Borders closing down sale
    – surprisingly good read.
    – Love, death, families, growing up and acceptance

    Fiona McGregor – Indelible Ink
    – fabulous story about a women approaching 60 who decides to do what she wants instead of what everyone expects of her.

    Have you read any of these? If not, I will post them up to you :)

    • Annabel Candy August 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm - Reply

      Hi Suellen, brilliant thank you:) I loved We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver but haven’t read So Much For That or any of the other books you mention.

      (10 mins later)

      I’m so excited, I’ve ordered all three from my library so no need to send them to me. You can lend your copies to some other bookaholics:)

      My local library is incredible! If they don’t have a book in stock they will even order it for me. No wonder I love Australia – we have fab weather and books galore:)

  4. Suellen August 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Hope you enjoy them!

    Let me know what you think of them. The character in indelible ink reminded me very much of a mutual acquaintance of ours – interested to see if you pick it.

    I thought One Day looked familiar and found it on my bookshelf! Must’ve read it a while ago – I do remember it now.

    Happy reading

  5. Robin Dickinson August 2, 2011 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    Like you, Annabel, I share a love of reading and always have several on the go. No TV helps. ;) My tastes are wide and varied, but I am especially fond of history, biographies, the classics and poetry. I’m currently reading a biography on Picasso and finding it very inspiring. I’m also working my way through my first biography in French! :)

    • Annabel Candy August 3, 2011 at 7:59 am - Reply

      Hi Robin, ah, I think Picasso had a long and interesting life. That will be a good one. I haven’t read anything in french for a while so well done. I barely watch TV either. Books are better;)

  6. Bradley August 3, 2011 at 12:20 am - Reply

    I just finished Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I really liked it. My wife did too. I think one of my all time fav’s is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

    I am a slow reader, so I don’t have the opportunity to read as many books as I would like. Those two books hit right in my sweet spot of being under 350 pages!

    • Annabel Candy August 3, 2011 at 8:00 am - Reply

      Hi Bradley, I’ve read and enjoyed both of those. Paul Coelho is amazing. I enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love but it didn’t make it onto my unmissable books list. The pray section got a bit dull!

  7. Rita Vail August 3, 2011 at 12:56 am - Reply

    I’m reading Oaxaca Journal by Oliver Sacks. It combines all my favorite subjects – botany, history, culture and travel.

    • Annabel Candy August 3, 2011 at 8:01 am - Reply

      Hi Rita, that’s definitely one I need to read. Thanks for the recommendation:)

  8. Jodi August 3, 2011 at 7:09 am - Reply

    Great list Annabel. Yet some more to add to my growing ‘to read list!
    I particularly love One day – did you know they have made a movie based on this? Releasing soon I think – so I’d better get to reading it, the books are always so much better.

    • Annabel Candy August 3, 2011 at 8:03 am - Reply

      Hi Jodi, yes, I noticed they’re making it into a movie. That’s a whole new debate – should you read the book, see the film or do both and if so in what order?!

  9. Cate August 3, 2011 at 8:31 am - Reply

    Hi Annabel,
    you all sound like such serious readers! Like you, though, I will read anything that comes to hand. My preference, however, is for children’s and YA books (I reckon the writing is much tighter, and far more entertaining).
    Current favourite is Reckless by Cornelia Funke (the first para made me read it five times before I could move on, it was so powerful).
    I’m also rather fond of Bernard Cornwell’s novels and am eagerly awaiting the next in his Uhtred series (Saxons and Vikings) – definitely not intended for young readers. All time fave author (if I ignore CS Lewis [which is hard to do] or Shakespeare, or Chaucer…) is Terry Pratchett and his immensely clever and delightfully funny Discworld novels. Oh, and everybody should read Magic Beach by Alison Lester. I’ll stop now, hey, ’cause I could go on and on and on…
    Cate :)

    • Annabel Candy August 3, 2011 at 9:09 am - Reply

      Hi Cate, funny you should mention Cornelia Funke. I love her Inkheart series and so did my oldest son. My younger one (aged 10) would probably enjoy them soon. I just ordered a book by Bernard Cornwell and hooray, I’ve never heard of Alison Lester or Magic Beach, that sounds right up my street:) Thank you so much for sharing these!

      • Cate August 3, 2011 at 10:46 am

        I should mention that Alison Lester is a brilliant Australian author / illustrator and that Magic Beach is a (fabulous) picture book – but, yes, I think you would love it, and it wouldn’t take too long to read – you just might find yourself going over and over it again and again.
        I also love the Inkheart series…

      • Annabel Candy August 5, 2011 at 11:42 am

        I’ll read it with my kids:)

  10. Sally Foley-Lewis August 3, 2011 at 9:10 am - Reply

    The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency would have to be a favourite in my collection.
    I also enjoy the works of Marion Keyes, Bill Bryson, Paulo Coelho and Jeremy Clarkson… quite a mix!

    • Annabel Candy August 5, 2011 at 11:43 am - Reply

      Hi Sally, I have to read Bill Bryson. I tried one once and wasn’t impressed but that was ages ago, I probably just wasn’t in the mood!

  11. Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living August 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    I noticed 4 out of the 5 are novels. Like Sandra, I prefer non-fiction and memoirs, especially travel memoirs. Every one seems to be talking about the Artists Way lately. Why is it so great for a writer? Wanted your opinion please?

    • Annabel Candy August 5, 2011 at 11:46 am - Reply

      Hi Sonia, love you put your name in the comments as well as your blog name:)

      I am reading a LOT of memoirs and travel books at the moment too. But I only read one that was good enough to make this list.

      The Artists Way is brilliant if you don’t know what to do with your life or you’ve got writer’s block. I wrote about it here:

      I think you’ve got it sorted though:)

  12. Leah McClellan August 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    These look good! Glad I saw your post on G+ just now. The Lonely Polygamist and the naked travel book sound especially interesting but so does One Day.

    I’m keeping these in mind though I want to finish Annabel by Kathleen Winter first. I started it in the library but had other stuff to read so I didn’t check it out. It’s really good so far.

    Thanks for the ideas! Always looking for something new to read and it’s so hard to choose.

    • Annabel Candy August 5, 2011 at 11:47 am - Reply

      Hi Leah, thanks so much for visiting from Google+ I’d better get on there again:) Is there really a book called Annabel?! That’s my name, I’d better read that one:)

      • Leah McClellan August 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm

        Oh that’s funny Annabel–I didn’t even make the connection with the names! It comes up quickly on Google/Amazon if you want to take a peek (not sure if a link will post in the comment section here).

        I’m really liking Google+ I’ve been a dud on Twitter but G+ is great.

      • Annabel Candy August 5, 2011 at 12:16 pm

        I’ll find it Leah. Love the feedback on Google+. Just shared some Twitter tips on my other blog if you want to give it a go! It’s here: http://www.successfulblogging.com/twitter-for-bloggers/

  13. jonathanfigaro August 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    If anything. You should read George Orwell’s 1984. It’s a work of art. Well that an The Great Gatsby.

    • Annabel Candy August 5, 2011 at 11:48 am - Reply

      Hi Jonathan, I do like 1984 but haven’t read The Great Gatsby. Won’t be short of reading for the rest of the year with all these recommendations!

  14. The Last Resort by Douglas Rogers, a tragic/comic personal account of life in Zimbabwe in the last ten years or so about the farm invasions and the fate of the white farmers there. Fascinating!

    • Annabel Candy August 5, 2011 at 11:49 am - Reply

      Oooh Miss Footloose, yes I lived in Zim for a year so this will be great for me. Thank you!

  15. se7en August 3, 2011 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Oh look at number 2, that looks like just my sort of book!!! Off to grab it for my kindle… Gotta love kindles.
    Just lately read: The Help, loved it slow lilting words and a fast packed tale – a good balance. And Facing the Lion, about a guy who grew as a Masai in Kenya – quick read, very interesting. And Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy – brilliant, funny, she is a great and entertaining writer about a serious topic!!!

    • Annabel Candy August 5, 2011 at 11:50 am - Reply

      Hi Se7en, glad you found something interesting. Lenore sounds great. What could be better than being entertaining while tackling a serious topic?!

  16. shaz August 6, 2011 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    I think of myself as a readaholic because I read everything and always have. I remember being a teenager and reading the side of the milk carton as I ate my breakfast because my dad had the newspaper. One of the most memorable books I have ever read is “map of the world”. I can’t recall the author’s name but the book has haunted my thoughts for years. It is a book all mums should read. This is my first time on here but I’ll be back to see you again.

  17. Penelope J. August 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the recos. I’ve enjoyed Geraldine Brooks’ “Marsh” and “People of the Book” so will definitely for this one. Also, it’s a subject I enjoy reading about. As you say, if you want to be a good writer, then read books – lots of them.

    I’d call myself a book addict. Currently, I have about 60 unread books plus all the ones I want to reread. What I do is read, in this order, History, Mystery, World War I and II fiction, and then non-fiction.

    As someone mentioned, how do you find the time? I try to make the time to read every day, but with so many other things going on, it’s sometimes difficult. However, if I don’t read, I feel like something was missing from my life on that day and/or resent whatever took me away from it.

  18. JoAnna August 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the recommendations! I just added a couple of them to my GoodReads list!

    One I read recently that I really liked was The Last Season, which was about a backcountry NPS ranger who went missing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was fascinating!

  19. Harriet Cabelly August 12, 2011 at 11:59 am - Reply

    I lllloooovvvveeee books. My ‘niche’ books are memoirs. Love inspirational stories of people overcoming adversity and going on to do amazing things in their lives.
    Just finished a great one and quite unique – “Tolstoy and the Purple Chair”- the author reads a book-a-day for a year as she tries to deal with the death of her sister. She has great book suggestions too.

  20. Lana February 28, 2012 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    I always tell people that reading books is my only addiction. I can’t fall asleep if I don’t read, and it’s been that way since I was four.
    I am looking forward to reading some of the books you (and the other commenters) recommended.
    I grew up in Serbia, and our mandatory reading list in school was huge. I keep up with good foreign books, as well as the ones written in English.
    Right now I am reading John Irving’s book Until I Find You (I love me some John Irving:)
    One of my favorite books I read recently is the Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.
    One of the most powerful books I read in the last decade was Don’t Move by Margaret Mazzantini.
    I need to stop now, because I can just inundate your site with book titles:)

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