This week's Booking Through Thursday is:
If a friend asks you to recommend a really good book—good writing, good
characters, good story—but with no other qualifications … what would you
I'm sorry, but there is absolutely no way I can settle for just 'good' as a descriptor - there are so many different kinds of books. I'm going to be a bit of a rebel and go through a few categories here:
Vaguely historical drama: The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber and Fingersmith by Sarah Waters are both absolutely wonderful and very thought-provoking.
Fantasy: Anything in the middle-range (chronologically) of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series - most of them from Mort (1987) through to Carpe Jugulum (1998) have endless rereading appeal for me. I find his very first novels are too much parody and too little substance, and the later ones are too much like a straightforward novel to take many repeated readings. That middle range for me is the perfect balance.
Historical mystery: Ellis Peters' Cadfael series, and C J Sansom's Shardlake series. The Unquiet Bones is amazing too.
Modern thriller: Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy (of which I'm currently reading the second novel) is great so far - gripping, intense and very clever.
'Real' historical novels (as in written a couple of hundred years ago+): Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray and all of Charlotte Brontë's novels are so poignant in their sense of human nature, as is Jane Austen's Persuasion. If you're looking for something lighter, Austen's other novels or Henry Fielding's works are perfect for an amusing social critique.
I'm sure there are infinitely more amazing books that I've missed off here, but those are the main ones off the top of my head. If you have any recommendations please let me know below - I'm always excited to find new novels!