Reading List for Writers, Travelers and Parents

An 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 favorites.

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

The Writer’s Guide, Irina Dunn
Great beginners guide for Aussies and Kiwis getting into any type of writing.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss
On punctuation and grammar but an interesting linguistic read.

“Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott

On Writing, Stephen King

Gotham Writers’ Workshop Writing Fiction Excellent stuff.

The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile, Noah Lukeman
Tackles everything you need to know to make sure your manuscript doesn’t end up languishing in the slush pile.

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 and writes thoughtfully about her escapades.

Swahili For The Broken-Hearted and The Wrong Way Home, Peter Moore
Read a great interview with Peter Moore about travel and writing here.

Naked in Dangerous Places, Cash Peters

The Flame Trees of Thika, Elspeth Huxley – Set in Kenya from 1912 onwards,a classic book every travel writer should read.

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

Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl
And all his other books too. Personally I think he’s the best writer ever:)

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.

Mrs. Armitage, Queen of the Road, Quentin Blake

Reading List for Preteens

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 Alexander McCall Smith has a whole series for you. Alexander (I don’t think he’ll mind if we call him that) is a gifted story teller, as good as Roald Dahl. His stories play out slowly and his characters win their way into your heart despite their faults. Alexander has some other series which I love too although Precious Ramotswe from The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency can never be topped. Did I mention that all the stories are philosophical and funny? Well, they are! Alexander also emailed me once to tell me about the books he’s writing now and new ones that are soon to be published.
“Thanks for your generous remarks on Twitter.” @McCallSmith
I’d love to score an interview with him for you soon.

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 black book, Ian rankin

The lonely polygamist, Brady Udall
This novel has touched me more than any other book in 2011. It’s about the things we do that get us to the place we are now, about family and the ties that bind us.

Room, Emma Domicile

Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks

The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy

The Vintner’s Luck, Elizabeth Knox

Reading List of True Stories

The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger
Compelling non-fiction.

Couldn’t Keep It To Myself, Wally Lamb and the women of York Correctional Institution
Tragic memoirs by women who are in jail.

Twenty Chickens For A Saddle
, Robyn Scott
Amazing memoir of a childhood in Botswana surrounded by a smart, eccentric family.

Reading List for Thinkers

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

Siddhartha, Herman Hesse

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

Reading List For Business

Cash, Customers and Ads That Sell, Bradley Sugars

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath

(Or anything by) Seth Godin

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. Don’t forget to subscribe by email now or to the RSS Feed, if you haven’t already, so you don’t miss out.

Good luck with all your plans!

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  1. thethoughthole June 4, 2009 at 2:17 pm - Reply

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

  2. Molly Kelash June 5, 2009 at 4:17 am - Reply

    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….

  3. Big Andy June 6, 2009 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    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. Annabel Candy June 7, 2009 at 8:38 am - Reply

    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. psychologyofsuccess July 23, 2009 at 6:26 am - Reply

    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!!!!

  6. psychologyofsuccess July 23, 2009 at 6:29 am - Reply

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

  7. Travis July 24, 2009 at 1:21 am - Reply

    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.

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