For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) we are asked to list ten books we read because they were recommended to us. Most of my recommendations these days come from reading other bloggers’ reviews and from comments left on my own blog – and while I’m grateful to everyone who has recommended a book I’ve gone on to enjoy, I would find it difficult to single out just a few of them. For the purpose of this Top Ten, then, I’ve chosen ten recommendations I received from other sources – some are recent and some are from years ago, some were successful recommendations and some weren’t.
1. Recommended by my mother
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
I think I was about sixteen when my mother persuaded me to try Gone with the Wind. I loved it and quickly went on to read more of the family sagas and sweeping historical novels she recommended, including The Thorn Birds, Roots, All the Rivers Run, The Far Pavilions and John Jakes’ North and South Trilogy.
2. Recommended by my father
My dad is not a big reader – and his reading tastes are very different from mine anyway – but Michael Moorcock’s fantasy novels were among the few books he did recommend to me and which, as a young teenager, I really enjoyed. His Elric stories were my favourites and I had fun rediscovering them a few years ago.
3. Recommended by my English teacher
This wasn’t a very successful recommendation. My teacher knew I had enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and recommended Mansfield Park next; unfortunately I found it very difficult to get into and it put me off reading anything else by Austen for years. I loved it on a recent re-read, which I suppose is proof that reading tastes can change over time. The same teacher had been much more successful with his recommendations of To Kill a Mockingbird and Animal Farm, by the way!
4. Recommended by Goodreads
This was a more recent recommendation; I spotted it in the “Readers Also Enjoyed” section on Goodreads after reading Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart. It wasn’t as good as the Stewart novel, but still an enjoyable Gothic romance.
5. Recommended by my sister
My sister loves reading as much as I do but we aren’t usually drawn to the same books. This was a book she read for her English Literature degree and she thought I would like it. She was right; it was one of my books of the year in 2013!
6. Recommended by Amazon
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
I don’t usually pay much attention to Amazon’s recommendations but that’s how I discovered Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, shortly after it was first published. I was browsing through the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section, clicked on the red cover and was so intrigued by the description that I ordered the book.
7. Recommended by my uncle
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
My uncle (another of the book lovers in our family) gave me Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder for my fifteenth birthday. When I told him I had loved it, he recommended Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, another book on philosophy. I found it an interesting read – although I’m sure I didn’t understand half of it – but I don’t think it’s the type of book I would choose to read today.
8. Recommended by a friend
This is the earliest recommendation on my list. I think I must have been ten years old when I noticed Watership Down on my best friend’s bookshelf; she told me it was her favourite book and Fiver was her favourite rabbit. It wasn’t long before I read it myself and it immediately became my favourite book too – although Bigwig was my favourite rabbit, not Fiver. I still loved it when I re-read the book as an adult a few years ago.
9. Recommended by Jo March
Actually, it was Lisa’s review that made me decide to read this book, but Jo March also reads it in Little Women. She is discovered in the attic “eating apples and crying over The Heir of Redclyffe”. After reading the book for myself I could understand why she was crying!
10. Recommended by…you?
Now it’s over to you. If you could recommend just one book to me, what would it be? Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned in this post and if so, what did you think of them? What’s the best book you’ve read based purely on someone else’s recommendation?