I always know when I have read a good book.  I know by the simple fact that I can’t pick up another book for a little while.  I want to hold onto the characters and let them stay with me for longer.  I’m a little sad that the book is finished.  And I contemplate starting a book club just so that I can talk about it.  

books that have stayed with me

Some of the best books stay with you, you never forget them.  And this is my list of ultimate favourites.

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P.S I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

I read this book years ago.  Long before the movie came out and I have read everything by Cecelia Ahern ever since.  I laughed and cried whilst reading P.S I Love You.  And even though the movie is never quite the same, I love that too.  It introduced Gerard Butler to my life, and for that I will always be grateful.

Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mates. But not Holly and Gerry. Childhood sweethearts,no one could imagine them without each other.

Until the unthinkable happens. Gerry’s death devastates Holly. But Gerry has left her a bundle of notes, one for each of the months after his death, guiding Holly into her new life, each note signed ‘PS, I Love You’.

As the notes are gradually opened, the man who knows Holly better than anyone sets out to teach her that life goes on. With some help from her friends, and her noisy and loving family, Holly finds herself laughing, crying, singing, dancing – and being braver than ever before.

Life is for living, she realises – but it always helps if there’s an angel watching over you.


Goodnight Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson

I can’t even think about this book without getting goosebumps.  Dorothy Koomson is one of my favourite authors, but this book in particular will always stay with me.  I challenge you to read it without crying.  I sobbed.  And reading is really tricky when you are sobbing!

Nova Kumalisi would do anything for her closest friend, Mal Wacken. She owes him her life. So, when he asked her to be the surrogate mother for him and his wife, in spite of her fears about how it would alter their friendship, Nova agreed.

Eight years later, Nova is bringing up their son alone, and she and Mal don’t speak. Months into the pregnancy, Mal’s wife changed her mind about the surrogacy agreement. Already suspicious of how close Nova and Mal were, Stephanie realised her strained marriage was in serious trouble when she found a text from her husband to Nova, saying, ‘Goodnight, Beautiful’. She asked Mal to cut all ties with his closest friend and unborn child.

Now, seven-year-old Leo is critically ill and Nova, despite her anger and hurt, wants Mal to have the chance to know his son before it’s too late. Will it take a tragedy to remind them how much they mean to each other?


Room by Emma Donoghue

I read this one quite recently as it was recommended to me by Amy Treasure and Hayley McLean. Wow.  This book appealed to me on so may levels.  The psychological aspect was really interesting and thought provoking.  Some chapters I found myself holding my breath with the suspense.  It really is an amazing book.  One of those ones that I really wanted to talk to people about after I had read it.

Jack is five. He lives with his Ma. They live in a single, locked room. They don’t have the key.

Jack and Ma are prisoners.


We Need to talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

I nearly gave up with this book.  It’s a slow burner.  It is also an incredibly hard read. Definitely not an easy subject matter.  It makes you feel uncomfortable.  Once you get past the slow beginning it gets you hooked and it is full of suspense and plot twists.  It raises lots of questions about motherhood, about nature verses nurture, about good verses evil.  It’s a book I will never forget.  

Eva never really wanted to be a mother; certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who tried to befriend him. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her absent husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.


The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Another gripping and at times uncomfortable read.  Again it is not a subject matter we like to think about.  But this book was so clever in the way that the story was told and I will never forget Susie Salmon.

My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer.


Life of Pi by Yann Martel

If you haven’t heard of this book I guess you have been living under a rock.  I have never read anything like this book.  It has a genre of its own!  An incredible story vividly told.  I always hated zoos.  I thought they were cruel and unnecessary.  This book taught me so much and completely changed my views. From zoology, to religion, to survival, this book is amazing.  The film is pretty good too.  Who doesn’t jump when they first see Richard Parker on the boat?

One boy, one boat, one tiger . . .

After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years.


Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes

Is there anything that Marian Keyes writes that isn’t brilliant?  I chose this one because it’s the first book I read that introduced me to the fabulous Walsh family.  Five sisters, each with their own book, and a family mad as a box of frogs that you will absolutely fall in love with.   Marian Keyes is another author who has me laughing on one page and crying on the next.

Anna Walsh is covered in bandages and lying in her parents’ Good Front Room. She’s dreaming of leaving Dublin and returning to New York.

To her home. To her job. And most of all to her husband Aidan.

Unfortunately, her family have other ideas. She’s staying put. And Aidan? Well he’s refusing to even take her calls.
What has pushed Anna so far from everything that she loves? Is she the only one who can put it all right? And if not, who is?


Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult

Each and every one of Jodi Picoult’s books have made me think.  They have challenged my view points and taught me something.  They make you question what you would do in the situation.  And they are always page turners.  I chose this one as I think the ending will always stay with me.  I will never forget my husband running upstairs to see what was wrong when I shouted in shock!

Charlotte O’Keefe’s beautiful, much-longed-for, adored daughter Willow is born with osteogenesis imperfecta – a very severe form of brittle bone disease. If she slips on a crisp packet she could break both her legs, and spend six months in a half body cast. After years of caring for Willow, her family faces financial disaster. Then Charlotte is offered a lifeline. She could sue her obstetrician for wrongful birth – for not having diagnosed Willow’s condition early enough in the pregnancy to be able to abort the child. The payout could secure Willow’s future. But to get it would mean Charlotte suing her best friend. And standing up in court to declare that she would have preferred that Willow had never been born . . .


The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain

This is a page turner.  A brilliant story that will keep you guessing and shock you until the end.  I still don’t know how I feel about Noelle.  But I know that I haven’t forgotten her.

I don’t know how to tell you what I did.

Would you read a letter never meant to be opened? Would you want to know secrets never meant to be told? Or should a woman’s mistakes stay buried?

An unfinished letter was hidden amongst Tara and Emerson’s best friend’s things after her suicide. Noelle was the woman they entrusted to deliver their precious babies into the world, a beloved friend.

Her suicide shocked them both. But her legacy could destroy them. For her letter reveals a terrible secret that challenges everything they thought they knew. Taking them on a journey that will irrevocably change their own lives – and the life of a desperate stranger – forever.


Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson

This book is so gripping.  Mainly because you just don’t know who to trust.  I read it in record time because I couldn’t handle the suspense.  It’s no surprise that this is now a movie.

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love – all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.


Incidentally 6 out of 10 of my favourite books were made into films after I read them.  I think I may have missed my calling.  If you want to know what books would make a good film, I’m your girl!

And just to finish off with…

books that stay with you



Books that have stayed with me

You might also like my reading list for seven year olds…

Brilliant books for 7 year olds






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Claire Kirby

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