Summer reading list is sorted

When it comes to summer holidays, you have to be covered. Sunscreen, insurance, funds… and a book!

I usually skimp on the first three (factor 15; basic; just enough) but I never compromise on reading material. Of course, getting your holiday book right takes a bit of research, otherwise you’ll be left desperately scanning the backpages of bestsellers in an airport, trying to see past the marketeer’s blurb and buddy-buddy reviews. Just because a book has shifted truckloads of copies doesn’t mean spit.

If you find yourself facing the dilemma of what to read during your annual vacation, then fret not. Recently, I helped the Irish Examiner newspaper conduct a survey to find the best book ever written. Compiling the results was almost as dramatic as some of the novels that made our Top 100 Best Books Ever. So, instead of asking your friends to suggest a great book and/or leaving it to the last minute and purchasing The Latest Big Thing in Publishing, use the Top 100 below as your essential reading list and choose accordingly…


1) Harry Potter by JK Rowling Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher's_Stone_Book_Cover

2) The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien*

3) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

4) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

5) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

6) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

7) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

8) Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

9) A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin

10) The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien*Hobbit_cover

11) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson*

12) A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

13) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

14) Catch-22 by Joseph Heller*

15) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

16) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

17) The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

18) Room by Emma Donoghue*

19) The Road by Cormac McCarthy*

20) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green 200px-The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

21) The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

22) Strumpet City by James Plunkett

23) All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

24) Life of Pi by Yann Martel*

25) Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

26) Ulysses by James Joyce

27) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

28) Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

29) Wild Swans by Jung Chang

30) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy Anna-Karenina

31) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

32) We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

33) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

34) Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

35) The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown*

36) The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

37) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

38) Dune by Frank Herbert

39) The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

40) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn gone-girl

41) Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

42) The Secret History by Donna Tartt

43) The Help by Kathryn Stockett

44) That They May Face the Rising Sun by John McGahern

45) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas*

46) The World According to Garp by John Irving

47) The Wasp Factory by Iain M Banks

48) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

49) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

50) Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt AngelasAshes

51) Divergent by Veronica Roth

52) Animal Farm by George Orwell*

53) High Fidelity by Nick Hornby*

54) Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

55) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams*

56) The Mammy by Brendan O’Carroll*

57) The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson*

58) My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

59) The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

60) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll*Alice's_Adventures_in_Wonderland_-_Carroll,_Robinson_-_S001_-_Cover

61) Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

62) The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

63) Passion Play by Conal Creedon*

64) A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

65) The Stand by Stephen King*

66) PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

67) The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

68) A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson*

69) Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

70) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes Me-Before-You-Jojo-Moyes-Cover-195x300

71) The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith

72) Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy

73) Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer

74) The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

75) Matilda by Roald Dahl*

76) Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

77) East of Eden by John Steinbeck

78) Amongst Women by John McGahern

79) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

80) The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt goldfinch

81) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon*

82) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

83) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

84) The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

85) The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

86) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

87) The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

88) The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

89) Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

90) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby divingbell

91) Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

92) Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell*

93) Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

94) Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

95) The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

96) The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien

97) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

98) The Shining by Stephen King*

99) An Unsung Hero by Michael Smith

100) Fall of Giants by Ken Follett  Fall_of_Giants


Yes, the list caused controversy. Yes, it’s no lesson in objectivity. But it’s the perfect place to find out what else to take with you on your hols.

As well as your sunscreen, of course!

Read more here





* Read by me

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