Need book suggestions for myself. I'm picky! - Mothering Forums
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Books, Music, and Media > Need book suggestions for myself. I'm picky!
beanma's Avatar beanma 12:45 PM 08-18-2011

So, I'm great at picking out kids' books at the library, but I seem to strike out more often than not in the adult section. I'm fairly picky. I want it to be well written, but easy to read, and not depressing. I like most genres. Somehow fantasy works better for me as a kids book (liked HP once the kids got into it), but I'm open to it in an adult read.

 

I like Barbara Kingsolver a lot, but I've read all hers.

 

I liked Water for Elephants a lot, but found the next one (Ape House?) by Sara Gruen to be less than engrossing.

 

I read the Time Travelers wife and found it very compelling, but I ended up really not liking it. I found inconsistencies that really, really bothered me and the whole thing was too depressing for me.

 

I just read Outlander and the follow-up, but they didn't really do it for me, either. I did find them engrossing in parts, but they were a little too much in the bodice-ripper genre for me.

 

I do like some mysteries. I've enjoyed Kate Atkinson (hoping to snag her new one at the library when the 50 people in front of me get done with it). I liked some of Alexander McCall Smith's #1 Ladies Detective Agency books, but then they started getting a little samey and I got bored of them. I'm reading a Betsy Thornton Arizona mystery right now and they're okay, but not something that I really get sucked into.

 

I slogged through Love in the Time of Cholera and hated it. I found it pretty misogynistic. 

 

I just finished Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and thought the first half of the book moved pretty slow. The second half started getting better, but I don't feel compelled to run out and get the next one. I might get around to reading it sometime, though. I was worried it might be too grim for me. I'm okay with some violence as long as there's ultimately some sort of positive resolution.

 

So there—all my pickiness is laid bare. I'd like something to get really sucked into. I don't want to work at it, though. I want it to be a page turner.  I want a book that I can't put down.  Got any recommendations for me?



hildare's Avatar hildare 02:03 PM 08-18-2011

i just started grossman's the magicians.  the reviews are stellar.  it's fantasy and sort of harry potter-esque, but more adult, and i have found it awesome so far (but i'm only on page 44).  there's a sequel that just came out this month that has been a hot topic of discussion on some of the library forums i look at.

 

some libraries have access to a database called novelist, where you can find recommendations based on what you like-- some libraries also have a catalog that lets you see other people's recommendations.  i use novelist sometimes to pick things but most often i put things on hold that i've seen reviewed somewhere or else i browse the new/popular section and look at the reviews on the back then read the description if it seems worthwhile. 

 

my taste is likewise picky, and i do like and dislike some of what you mentioned.  do you like margaret atwood?  she's absolutely my favorite modern author.

neil gaiman?  his stuff is pretty good too.


ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 02:45 PM 08-18-2011
I like a few of the books you mention, especially Kate Atkinson. A few suggestions:

While I was gone by Sue ******

The Weight of Water By Anita Shreve (warning, it does have a tragedy involving a child, so it is depressing)

The Secret River by Kate Grenville

Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg

Mysteries by Barbara Vine



beanma's Avatar beanma 05:30 PM 08-18-2011

This is great. I'm so glad I asked. I haven't read much Margaret Atwood. I'll have to pick up something at the library. Any suggestions?

 

ollyoxenfree, some of the ones you mention look good, too. I have a love/hate relationship with Anita Shreve. I really liked one of hers, Light on Snow, but was ready to murder her after The Last Time We Met. That one left me feeling really betrayed and I've shied away from her ever since.


A&A's Avatar A&A 05:58 PM 08-18-2011

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. 


purslaine's Avatar purslaine 07:34 PM 08-18-2011

The Thirteenth Tale - Diane  Setterfield

 

 


Traci mom23boys's Avatar Traci mom23boys 12:13 AM 08-19-2011

The Birth House- Ami McKay

One Thousand White Women- Jim Fergus

Into the Forest- Jean Hegland

The Handmaid's Tale- Margaret Atwood

Pope Joan- Donna Woolfolk Cross

Bitter Grounds-Sandra Benitz

I love YA genre too, have you read *The Hunger Games* series? Read it immediately, if you haven't already. I also enjoyed *Ship Breaker*, *The Book Thief*, The *Shiver* Trilogy, and *Birthmarked*. Barbara Kingsolver is probably my favorite author as well, hopefully some of these will grab you like they did me.

 

~traci

a fellow picky reader :)


ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 07:31 AM 08-19-2011


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

This is great. I'm so glad I asked. I haven't read much Margaret Atwood. I'll have to pick up something at the library. Any suggestions?

 

ollyoxenfree, some of the ones you mention look good, too. I have a love/hate relationship with Anita Shreve. I really liked one of hers, Light on Snow, but was ready to murder her after The Last Time We Met. That one left me feeling really betrayed and I've shied away from her ever since.


Yes, I think Shreve can be really inconsistent. I haven't read Light on Snow. The character of Thomas in The Last Time We Met also appears in The Weight of Water but I'm pretty sure that The Weight of Water was written first. It's better than TLTWM. I recommended it because she writes 2 storylines, a fictional treatment of a real-life murder/tragedy in New England in the ?1800s? and a modern storyline about 2 couples on a sailboat, with one of the women researching the past tragedy. It was intriguing, especially if you like the mystery genre but want something a little different from a rote who-done-it or serial killer thriller. 

 

I'll be interested in hildare's response, but in the meantime, Atwood books that I've enjoyed are The Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace, and a little less is The Robber Bride.  I haven't read her most recent books, but they get great reviews. 

 

A few more suggestions: 

 

The Pianoman's Daughter by Timothy Findlay

 

P.D. James writes "thinking" mysteries, especially her earlier Dalgliesh stories and Innocent Blood, a standalone that explores issues of identity and parent-child relationships. 

 

Peter Dickinson's adult mysteries are excellent (he's also a terrific YA author). I highly recommend Some Deaths Before Dying and The Yellow Room Conspiracy. 

 

Maybe the Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley? I've only read the first, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, mostly because I didn't like the main character (and the plot holes), but it seems that people who like Alexander McCall Smith also like these books. 

 

Linwood Barclay's mysteries are very readable page-turners, probably more so than anything else I've suggested. 

 

 


Altair's Avatar Altair 08:15 AM 08-19-2011

What about The Game of Thrones series that is currently on HBO?  I'm hooked, there's a lot of books, create combo of historical fiction-ish and fantasy. 


ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 08:41 AM 08-19-2011

 

OT a little, but I meant to mention this before. BBC has done a television mini-series production of the Jackson Brodie books by Kate Atkinson. Brodie is played by the actor who played Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films. I've seen him in a few other productions and I think the casting is fairly good. I've been looking out for the series, but I don't think it's been broadcast in North America yet. 

 

 


beanma's Avatar beanma 11:25 AM 08-19-2011

These are great. I'm going to have to take this with me to the library next time I go!


beanma's Avatar beanma 11:26 AM 08-19-2011

Oh, and thanks for the BBC Kate Atkinson Lucius Malfoy tip. I'm off to google now...


beanma's Avatar beanma 11:29 AM 08-19-2011
hildare's Avatar hildare 01:10 PM 08-19-2011

yay!  i love this thread. 

the margaret atwood-- blind assassin, alias grace, the robber bride, handmaid's tale (which if you never read it, it's a classic, not a happy book but powerful).  the new stuff is weird, and disturbing, and i love it!  oryx and crake and then the year of the flood.  oryx and crake kind of sets the stage for year of the flood, it's not a sequel per se, but some overlap of concept and character.

a prof i know used year of the flood for an english environmental lit class, so now i view it through that lens also (and he also didn't use oryx with or before it).  tbh, though, i did have to process the new stuff a little before i embraced it. 


raksmama's Avatar raksmama 11:55 AM 08-20-2011

Have you read anything by Isabel Allende? I loved all her books. Some of my favourites are:

House of the Spirts

Eva Luna

Zorro

Island Beneath the Sea

Ines of my Soul

 

 There is a site called Literature Map http://www.literature-map.com/ where you can type in an author you like and they recommend other authors that are similar. I don’t always agree to their  choices,but it is still helpful. According to the site Isabel Allende's style a is similar to Barbara Kingsolver's.


mommy212's Avatar mommy212 12:38 PM 08-20-2011

Another Island Beneath the Sea recommendation- excellent book, but has topics like rape/violence- not too graphic, but present (not for your kids lol). The Mists of Avalon by Marrion Zimmer Bradley is a really fun to read book taken from the King Arthur legend. I also love Lisa See and Amy Tan in general. I also just read Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon and really liked it- found it engrossing and a page-turner.


raksmama's Avatar raksmama 03:11 PM 08-20-2011

Oh yes, Amy Tan! I love her too!

 

 


beanma's Avatar beanma 05:26 PM 08-20-2011

So many good recommendations. Y'all have got me going for the rest of the year. I lucked out today at the library and got the new Kate Atkinson (it was marked "recently returned" in the system). There are no renewals on it so I'll have to finish up the Betsy Thornton I'm reading and get cracking on Kate. Then I'll be going through this thread, marking 'em off one by one! Thanks so much!


beanma's Avatar beanma 12:06 PM 08-23-2011

Re: the Case Histories BBC series, I just got an alert from google to an article that says it will be shown on PBS in the fall.  http://www.britscene.com/2011/08/take-look-at-jason-isaacs-case-histories-coming-pbs-october/26310


ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 06:54 AM 08-24-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

Re: the Case Histories BBC series, I just got an alert from google to an article that says it will be shown on PBS in the fall.  http://www.britscene.com/2011/08/take-look-at-jason-isaacs-case-histories-coming-pbs-october/26310


Great! Thanks for the tip. I'll watch out for it. Hope you are enjoying Started Early, Took My Dog. 

 


beanma's Avatar beanma 08:17 AM 08-25-2011

I just finished it. It was pretty good, but I didn't like it as much as I've liked some of her other Jackson Brodie ones. It had all those different threads that tie together in the end, but seemed like it spent less time with Jackson and more with some of the other character's threads and I didn't find some of those other characters as appealing. There was some stuff in there that was news to me, too, that I didn't remember from the last book. I'm going to have to go back and look at that one and see if it was in there or if it was new in this book. It's been awhile since I read that one. This one was all in England and nothing in Scotland, too. I like the ones set in Scotland a lot. It definitely gets a thumbs up from me, but maybe the thumb isn't quite as high up as it was for the last one.


ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 09:22 AM 08-25-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

I just finished it. It was pretty good, but I didn't like it as much as I've liked some of her other Jackson Brodie ones. It had all those different threads that tie together in the end, but seemed like it spent less time with Jackson and more with some of the other character's threads and I didn't find some of those other characters as appealing. There was some stuff in there that was news to me, too, that I didn't remember from the last book. I'm going to have to go back and look at that one and see if it was in there or if it was new in this book. It's been awhile since I read that one. This one was all in England and nothing in Scotland, too. I like the ones set in Scotland a lot. It definitely gets a thumbs up from me, but maybe the thumb isn't quite as high up as it was for the last one.

 

Yeah, I agree that it wasn't as strong as her earlier books. Brodie seemed a little....weak or slow or clueless......not sure what is the right descriptor to use. Some of the actions/reactions of characters didn't really make sense to me. And I've never liked Julia. 


I also think that she relies too heavily on coincidence for her plots. It's the same criticism I have for Ian Rankin and a few others. 

 

Despite all my problems, I'd still read the next one, if there is a next one. I read an interview that she doesn't plan on re-visiting Brodie for awhile. Which is too bad, I'd like to know how that Africa-shaped birthmark storyline works out. 

 

 


BeachLove's Avatar BeachLove 07:35 PM 08-26-2011

I know it's an oldie, but Gone with the Wind is an enduring favorite of mine. It's long but oh, so readable. And sad!


tictipoe's Avatar tictipoe 06:04 AM 09-03-2011

maybe have a look at a bookfinding machine like here :

http://www.quinfin.com/booklists/reuse/14651/-1

 

it gives a few results you may like and try :

The Lovely Bones

Middlesex

The Book of Lost Things

The Time Traveler's Wife -- oups you read that :)  its ranked as the fourth best choice for you. but then - pickiness is difficult for statistics :)

The Joy Luck Club

Dragonriders of Pern

The Outlaws of Sherwood

and many more ...

 

if you visit quinfin with the link above - maybe see what changes if you hit the love this author for kingslover.

 


beanma's Avatar beanma 08:40 AM 09-03-2011

thanks. looks like a cool website!


nstewart's Avatar nstewart 09:54 AM 09-03-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy212 View Post

Another Island Beneath the Sea recommendation- excellent book, but has topics like rape/violence- not too graphic, but present (not for your kids lol). The Mists of Avalon by Marrion Zimmer Bradley is a really fun to read book taken from the King Arthur legend. I also love Lisa See and Amy Tan in general. I also just read Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon and really liked it- found it engrossing and a page-turner.


I love this thread!

 

Yes to Mists of Avalon!  And the sequels as well!  They're a good, light read.

 

I also love Amy Tan.  The Bone Setter's Daughter was a good one that I've read recently.

 

For Margaret Atwood, I think that The Robber Bride and Cat Eye are my favs.  All her novels have something to offer.  I do agree with PP, some of the new stuff is a bit much, but I did still like Oryx and Crake by the end of the book.

 

More love for Canadian authors here...Timothy Findlay books.  I LOVED Pilgrim and Not Wanted on the Journey.  Pilgrim is about a man who cannot die and Not Wanted on the Journey is about the story of Noah (as in the arc) from the perspective of a cat.  Noah's wife is an alcoholic and one of Noah's sons actually marries Satan which is how Satan survives the flood.  Less "odd" and also very good is Spade Works.

 

No one has mentioned Leo Tolstoy yet!  I am a huge fan.  Anna Karenina is my fav book.  I also enjoy his short stories, especially "The Cossacks", "The Death of Ivan Illych", and "Happily Ever After".  You can usually find the short stories in an anthology.

 

 

 

 


swede's Avatar swede 05:27 PM 09-03-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by tictipoe View Post

maybe have a look at a bookfinding machine like here :

http://www.quinfin.com/booklists/reuse/14651/-1

 

it gives a few results you may like and try :

The Lovely Bones

Middlesex

The Book of Lost Things

The Time Traveler's Wife -- oups you read that :)  its ranked as the fourth best choice for you. but then - pickiness is difficult for statistics :)

The Joy Luck Club

Dragonriders of Pern

The Outlaws of Sherwood

and many more ...

 

if you visit quinfin with the link above - maybe see what changes if you hit the love this author for kingslover.

 




Here's another site where you can put in the author you love and it will give you suggestions:

 

http://www.literature-map.com/barbara+kingsolver.html


FarmerBeth's Avatar FarmerBeth 05:36 PM 09-03-2011

In the mystery category, Simon Beckett's books (Chemistry of Death, Written in Bone, forget the other).  Like a good cross between an older fashioned British mystery and CSI.  Orson Scott card has some pretty wicked fantasy and science fiction that bridges the gap for those that don't usually read that genre (Time Watch is an amazing "what if" alternative fiction concerning the timing of Columbus' discovery of America and the prevention of slavery).  I'm currently reading a very strange find from the library called "The Town that Forgot to Breathe" that reads like a Newfoundland horror.  It's by Kenneth Harvey and it's the most I've been caught up in a book for months.


Nicole730's Avatar Nicole730 07:37 PM 09-03-2011

Some of my favorites I didn't see mentioned:

 

Carry Me Home - Sandra Kring

The Help - Kathryn Stockett

Whistling in the Dark - Leslie Kagen

 


craftymum's Avatar craftymum 10:41 PM 09-03-2011

I can highly recommend CJ Sansom's Matthew Shardlake series. Absolutely brilliant historical mysteries, so good that I'm carefully rationing them out so that I don't finish the series too quickly. I really love these books and recommend them to everyone.

 

I also quite liked Rose Tremain's Trespass, which I read for our book club earlier in the year. The book is set in France and quite emotionally dark. I found some of it quite challenging.

 

I haven't been sleeping well and finished Andrea Levy's The Long Song in the small hours of this morning. I enjoyed it but I found some of the characters could have been filled out a little more. It made me want to read more Jamaican history.

 

I have The Warsaw Anagrams and Crimson China lined up on my Kindle to be read next.

 

I sometimes use www.whatshouldireadnext.com to help find my next book but considering I have 59 books on my to read list on goodreads, I haven't used it in a while :)

 

 


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