Recommended ReadsRecommended Reads 2000

Are you looking for some good novels to read? Try our list featuring some of the year's best books. Titles marked are literary prize winners.

Emotionally weird Kate Atkinson
Mother and daughter take refuge in mouldering house of their ancestors
The Blind assassin Margaret Atwood
3 interwoven narratives: the memoir of 82-year-old Iris Chase, whose sister, Laura, was the author of a novel, The Blind Assassin, and died tragically just after the end of the war when she drove her car off a bridge. Then there is the story of Laura's novel, a romance between a wealthy girl and a leftist on the run, and the third strand, the science fiction stories these two lovers invent
The Hiding place Trezza Azzopardi
The story of Dolores, the daughter of a family of Maltese immigrants whose feckless father, Frankie Gauci, is deeply enmeshed in gambling and the tightly-knit world of the Maltese Mafia
What the body remembers Shauna Singh Baldwin
Powerful novel set in Indian village at the time of Partition
Love, etc Julian Barnes
Revisits the three main characters of his 1991 novel Talking it over
A Hole in the earth Robert Bausch
An involving story about a male midlife crisis
The Feast of love Charles Baxter
Collection of vignettes set in a coffee shop
Ravelstein Saul Bellow
Close friend of professor sets out to write his biography
If I told you once Judy Budnitz
Four generations of women from one fated family
Bones: an Irene Kelly mystery Jan Burke
Irene Kelly is on the trail of a serial killer
The Biographer's tale A S Byatt
Research student becomes obsessed by biographer and his reverence for fact
The Keepers of truth Michael Collins
set in a dying industrial town and narrated by Bill, a young journalist working for the local paper
Making love to the minor poets of Chicago James Conrad
Very well reviewed debut set among Chicago academics
Miss Wyoming Douglas Coupland
Tale of child star, victim of pushy mother, now mired in bad movies
Being dead Jim Crace
Crace's depiction of the sea-shore landscape, and the integration into it of two decaying corpses, is an imaginative tour de force
By the shore Galaxy Craze
Set in the early Eighties, in a rambling, converted schoolhouse on the English coast, By the shore describes 12-year-old May's efforts to make sense of her mother Lucy's confusing relationships, and her own place in the grown-up world she is both drawn to and afraid of
The tale of Murasaki Liza Dalby
Based on fragments of the original 11th century work combined with a portrait of the original writer
House of leaves Mark Z Danielewski
Hailed as the literary equivalent to The Blair Witch Project - a scholarly, gothic fiction
Fred & Edie Jill Dawson
Compelling, based on the true story of Edith Thompson and her young lover Freddy Bywaters and the murder of Edith's husband in 1922
City of God E.L. Doctorow
New York and a religious mystery and crisis
The Danish girl David Ebershoff
Fact based tale of a woman whose artist husband turns out to be a woman
The Case of the pederast's wife Clare Elfman
Doctor treats Constance Wilde, wife of Oscar
Sunset over chocolate mountains Susan Elderkin
A tale of misfits who move to Arizona; Theobald, his eventual adored daughter, Josephine, two passionate Slovakian lovers and others
Three pretty widows Barbara Else
Aftermath of man's death has repercussions for 3 women
What are you like? Anne Enright
Twins Rose and Maria grow up ignorant about who they are and where they come from
A Dangerous vine Barbara Ewing
Margaret and her sister Elizabeth were named after the English princesses. But Elizabeth is dead and Margaret is searching out for life and its meaning. She embarks on a Māori degree and enters a world of colour, passion and even violence
Under the skin Michel Faber
This taut tale seems at first to be about a strange woman who picks up hitchhikers … but this otherworldly novel is a different sort of roadtrip altogether
Bridget Jones: The edge of reason Helen Fielding
More funny than its predecessor, especially when Bridget meets the real Mr arcy, Colin Firth
The Temple of optimism James Fleming
England 1788 where wife of scheming landowner falls for young neighbour
LadysmithGiles Foden
This detailed story of the Boer War, told from a variety of British, Dutch and African perspectives, is a chronicle of slaughter as well as a painfully aware narrative of love, death and family loyalty
The wild Esther Freud
Woman falls for her landlord who has three children and a wife elsewhere
The rising sun Douglas Galbraith
Scottish entrepreneurs push a road through infested swamps of Panama
Soul mountain Gao Xingjian
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2000
The Cabal and other stories Ellen Gilchrist
Short stories with plenty of warmth and wit
The Sooterkin Tom Gilling
1821 and seal-child born to Hobart woman
Bee season Myla Goldberg
The tale of a Jewish girl and her ability to spell which is overshadowed by the expectations of her father for her to do well
The many lives and secret sorrows of Josephine B. Sandra Gulland
Tales of passion, tales of woe
The first 2 parts of a trilogy of historical novels about the wife of Napoleon, Josephine
The binding chair Kathryn Harrison
Lives of two women intertwine in turn of the century Shanghai
Sick puppy Carl Hiaasen
Young idealist who hates littering vs a litterer/developer
The dress lodger Sheri Holman
Vivid picture of prostitution and medical science in Victorian England
Atomised Michel Houellebecq
Very black French tale about half brothers
American by blood Andrew Huebner
3 U.S. Army scouts leading an infantry column who arrive a day late to join General Custer at the Little Bighorn. They find the ruins of the Seventh Cavalry, a scene of horrific violence. Their mission to find and help clear the land of the Indian tribes turns into one of vengeance
When we were orphans Kazuo Ishiguro
Haunting tale of detective who is obsessed with the disappearance of his parents when he was a boy
Love in the land of Midas Kapka Kassabova
Lovers are unsuspecting links in chain of politics and power beginning during Greek Civil War
Waiting Ha Jin
Married doctor falls in love with nurse during the Cultural Revolution
Turlough Brian Keenan
A compelling account of Turlough O'Carolan, a 17th century blind harpist from the former hostage by the author of An Evil cradling
Sushi for beginners Marian Keyes
Strong characters, wit and a few twists and turns - a great read for summer
English passengers Matthew Kneale
Follows the journey of a Yorkshire vicar determined to prove that the Garden of Eden was originally located in Tasmania. Travelling with him is a surgeon attempting to confirm a more sinister thesis, the supremacy of the Saxon race
Interpreter of maladies Jhumpa Lahiri
Lahiri's beautifully observed characters range from an old woman living on the stairs of an apartment block in Calcutta to a young working girl in Boston swept off her feet by a handsome stranger
Mr Phillips John Lanchester
Day in the life of middle aged man who's just been fired
Crazy Benjamin Lebert
Bestselling German novel about a teenager's education in sex, drink & other pastimes
A gesture life Chang-rae Lee
Japanese man in New York tormented by wartime love for Korean comfort woman
In the fall Jeffrey Lent
Inter-racial relationship at end of civil war initiates family legacy of racism and war
Friends in high places Donna Leon
9th book in series featuring the Venetian detective Commissario Brunetti - Brunetti's apartment on the top floor of one of the city's oldest buildings has no planning permission and may therefore have to be pulled down
Motherless Brooklyn Jonathan Lethem
High energy imaginative tale of detective with Tourette's Syndrome
If only it were true Marc Levy
A man falls in love with the spirit of a comatose accident victim
The missing world Margot Livesey
A modern Rapunzel is imprisoned in a Highbury house after losing her memory
Morgan's run Colleen McCullough
'Undesirables' shipped from England to Australia in the 18thcentury.
Martha Peake Patrick McGrath
A Gothic style tale that ranges from the smugglers' coves of 1730s Cornwall to the "great squat toad" of London and across the Atlantic to the tumult of the American Revolution
No great mischief Alistair MacLeod
Superb novel about Nova Scotian family who emigrate from Scotland in 18th century
Harlequin Rex Owen Marshall
Men and women caught up by new disease which comes with the new millenium (NZ)
All quiet on the Orient Express Magnus Mills
Another exceptionally dry and witty work by the author of The Restraint of beasts
Becoming Madame Mao Anchee Min
Fictionalisation of the life of Mao's wife
Prisoner in a red-rose chain Jeffrey Moore
A young Montreal man is presented with a sort of template of the future by his uncle, a randomly selected page from an encyclopedia which he is told contain clues to his destiny
Norwegian wood Haruki Murakami
Tragic death of best friend has effect on passionate relationship of Japanese couple
Laura Blundy Julie Myerson
Unsettling love story set in Victorian London
Blonde Joyce Carol Oates
A remarkable book about the life of Marilyn Monroe
Back roads Tawni O'Dell
Honest good-natured tale of teenager constrained by family and small town
The Deposition of Father McGreevy Brian O'Doherty
Narrated by an Irish magazine editor, William Maginn, who becomes fascinated by the story of macabre goings-on in an isolated Irish village during the last war
Anil's ghost Michael Ondaatje
Told primarily through the eyes of a forensic pathologist who arrives in Colombo after an absence of 15 years spent in the calm lecture halls of Guy's Hospital and in Oklahoma
A Desert in Bohemia Jill Paton Walsh
The effects of communism on ordinary people in a small Eastern European town
Plain truth Jodi Picoult
The story of Amish people involved in a English lawsuit
Plowing the dark Richard Powers
Very well reviewed tale of artist working on virtual reality and Islamic militants
The Catalogue of men David Pownall
Imaginative historical tale of mystery man befriended by Shakespeare
The Curative Charlotte Randall
Set in the early part of the 19th century and is about a man who is sent to the notorious mental asylum, Bedlam (NZ author)
Four ways to be a woman Sue Reidy
New Zealand; four women of different types react to life
Anthropology and a hundred other stories Dan Rhodes
Sharp and witty short stories
The Looking glass Michele Roberts
Young maid becomes audience to the folk stories of her mistress
A History of insects Yvonne Roberts
1956 and child grows up in the British community in Pakistan
In a dry season Peter Robinson
Inspector Alan Banks is a music-loving, poetry-reading man at odds with his boss. A boy finds a skeleton, there is a murder hunt and a former resident of the village writes a first-person account of the events between 1941 and 1945 leading up to the murder
The Human stain Philip Roth
A wonderful picture of contemporary America commencing with American pastoral, continuing with I married a communist and finishing with The Human stain. A very individualistic picture of America since the war, confirming Philip Roth's status as an acute observer of the American 'dream'
The Abyssinian Jean-Christophe Rufin
Epic historical work about a young physician on a mission in 17th C. Abyssinia
The Forest Edward Rutherfurd
Explores the ancient character of the forest along England's southern coast
Capability's Eden Diana Saville
Landscape gardener discovers the perfect garden doesn't come easily
How the dead live Will Self
The rules of the afterlife are confusing and its purpose unclear in this nihilistic tale
An Equal music Vikram Seth
A triangular love story set against a backdrop of European musical capitals
The Realm of secondhand souls Sandra Shea
Young woman discovers strange powers after visiting secondhand clothes store
The Bronze horseman Paullina Simons
Love story of young woman and officer in 1941 Leningrad
Horse heaven Jane Smiley
Set in the world of thoroughbred racing
White teeth Zadie Smith
Excellent debut tracing the history of immigrants in Britain over 40 years (winner of Guardian First book award)
Aiding and abetting Muriel Spark
A fictional account of Lord Lucan, his impostor and a psychiatrist
Chang & Eng Darin Strauss
The life of Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker who married two sisters from North Carolina, settled down as farmers and fathered 21 children between them
The Man who wrote the book Erik Tarloff
Comedy about professor who writes erotica under a pseudonym
Charlotte D M Thomas
The White hotel author finds erotic subtext in the work and the life of Charlotte Bronte
The Season ticket Jonathan Tulloch
Two football supporters have to work out how to get the money for the season ticket
Gertrude and Claudius John Updike
The story of Hamlet's mother and stepfather pre-Hamlet (from the perspective of Gertrude)
Affinity Sarah Waters
A dark sensual tale about a lady prison visitor in Victorian London
The Forger Paul Watkins
Exciting tale of young American student who becomes involved with Resistance
Nineteen widows under ash Damien Wilkins
Interesting mother-daughter tale by talented NZ author
Black girl in Paris Shay Youngblood
Young black woman describes life in Paris hoping to meet James Baldwin