Wanted: One Good Book

Please, please, someone, anyone, everyone, give me a book recommendation.  The last few books I’ve read have ranged from a struggle to unenjoyable.  I can’t quite put my finger on why.  I know part of it is my fault – I’ve had a couple of poor choices lately, books I knew going in I wouldn’t love.

I started The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in an attempt to fulfill an online book club goal.  I don’t think I made it even halfway through.  I read Naked Heat, part of the Heat Series the TV show is based on.  My expectations were not high for this one – so it wasn’t much of a disappointment.  I got about halfway through Baking Cakes in Kigali, but got sick of the simplistic speaking pattern of the characters.  I read My Name is Memory, but I didn’t care about the characters, and although I enjoyed the more historic bits, I had to force myself through the present day storyline.  I somewhat enjoyed The Winter Sea, but it still didn’t pull me in, didn’t make me salivate.

Yes, salivate.  Because that’s what a good book does to me.  A book I love makes me hate to put it down, makes me think about it at work and long to get back to it, makes me want to stay up long past my bedtime, and yes, makes extra saliva gather in my mouth, because my unconscious mind forgets to regulate body functions like swallowing.  I long for that moment when you realize you have 50 pages until the end, and you look up at the clock and it’s midnight, and you say, “Screw it, I’m finishing it tonight.”  I used to read books like that all the time.  What the hell happened?

I sat down this afternoon with a glass of wine and my latest read.  I’m on Chapter 3 of East of the Sun, by Julia Gregson, and I really hope I enjoy it. I have a few other books on the shelf, waiting, but honestly, at this point, I’m doubting my judgement.

So, please, recommend a good book.  One with characters that drag you in by the hair and a plot that glues you to the wall with gravity as it spins around you.

I’ve read the Hunger Games books, and I enjoyed them, but I don’t want any more YA dystopian.  Please no Nicholas Sparks, no Janet Evanovich, no Harry Potter.  No Fifty Shades of Grey.

Categories: Random | Tags: , | 21 Comments

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21 thoughts on “Wanted: One Good Book

  1. Try White Tiger by Aravind Adiga – It takes you there with a character you want to hate but can’t seem to. I read it in two days while on vacation. I liked especially because Adiga chose to take a big risk in his writing style and pulled it off with apparent ease.
    If you would like a nice enlightening art and poetry book you can try mine – 5 Pillars of the Gypsy – it goes very well with a glass of Wine!~ 😉
    Happy Reading !

    • Hmm…reading the book description of White Tiger on GoodReads, it *really* doesn’t seem like something I would be interested in. But I guess that’s kind of been my problem lately, huh? Thanks, I’ll add it to the Maybe List!

  2. yeltnuh

    Before I could try to think of a book for you, I need one thing: the title of a “droolable” book, please.

    • Yeah, I probably should have included that. I love almost all Linda Howard books, but more for the action/humor than for the romance. Loved Shopgirl by Steve Martin, The History of Love, Moloka’i, The Help, House of Leaves. And I love a good narrative non-fiction – Eat Pray Love, The Guinea Pig Diaries, An Embarrassment of Mangoes, Plenty Enough Suck to Go Around.

      • yeltnuh

        Hmmm. Have you ever tried mystery or fantasy? How about short fiction? I might be able to help with those categories; otherwise, I will leave the recommendations to others. 🙂

  3. Dave Miller

    “To Kill a Mockingbird”, one of my all time favorites. Also, a couple that are tough to get into but well worth it are “Lust for Life,” and “The Agony and the Ecstacy.” After you get into these, you won’t be able to put them down. They will give you better perspective on their art.

  4. How about “A Land More Kind than Home” by Wiley Cash (fiction, set in WNC – fantastic!) or “The Rules of Inheritance” by Claire Bidwell Smith (non-fiction, memoir, I cannot put it down) or “No One is Here Except All of Us” by Ramona Ausubel (fiction based on a true-story, set in WW2, fascinating!), The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (nonfiction, I found this book extremely interesting, even the science bits). On my list: “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” by Jenny Lawson, “Night Swim” by Jessica Keener, The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth (had this recommended by lots of folks that like Hunger Games). I’ve read lots of great books lately – good luck! And let me know if you end up reading any of them!

    • That’s a long list! I’ll make my way through reading the descriptions of these and add them to my list – I knew I could count on you! 🙂

  5. Ha ha! You should have asked me this yesterday at lunch! Here’s my list, including those I have downloaded but haven’t read yet, and those I have read and liked (the ones I liked have an * beside them).

    The Columbus Affair — Steve Berry
    The Invitation — Anne Cherian
    The Red Book — Deborah Kogan
    The Expats — Chris Pavone (this one should appeal to us!)
    In the Garden of Beasts — Erik Larson * — terrific book about the U.S. ambassador to Germany when Hitler came into power.
    The Breach — Patrick Lee * — this is science fiction-y, and there are two sequels I also read. I liked them if a little implausible.
    Defending Jacob — William Landay * — disturbing subject matter but engrossing
    Catherine the Great — Robert K. Massie * — I think I told you I read this before we went to St. Petersburg. Fascinating history lesson. He also wrote an excellent best-seller about the Romanovs and another about Peter the Great.
    The Marriage Plot — Jeffrey Eugenides * — not for everyone, but he’s a good writer
    11/22/63 — Stephen King * — excellent book about preventing the assassination of JFK
    Maine — J. Courney Sullivan * — really good read
    Unsaid — Neil Abramson * — loved this book, and I love this writer
    Lost in Shangri-La — Michael Zuckoff — Forgot I had this — I need to read it!
    Life, on the Line — Grant Achatz * – Interesting memoir about a famous chef who has cancer, loses his tongue (and sense of taste) and still is successful in the culinary field
    Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother — Amy Chua * — I was alternately fascinated and disgusted by this memoir.
    The Tortilla Curtain — T.C. Boyle * — One of my all-time favorite books
    A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius * — Dave Eggers — another one of my all-time favorite books — I acutally love everything he writes, too. Also recommend Zeitoun, about a Syrian-American immigrant after Hurricane Katrina.
    Still Alice — Lisa Genova * — best fiction book about early-onset Alzheimer’s. My book club loved it.
    I like most of Barbara Delinksy’s books and Jodi Picoult’s books, although the last two by both of them weren’t my favorites.

    • And another long list! I read a sample of The Marriage Plot and based on that and some of the reviews I read, that’s not going on the list. I’ll take a look at the others you mentioned. And (in reference to your other comment) I’ve been dying to read State of Wonder. I did enjoy Bel Canto, and I’ve heard good things about SoW. Maybe you could lend it to me? I need to figure out the kindle lending system…

  6. And I forgot State of Wonder by Ann Patchett * — absolutely engrossing. One of her earlier books I also loved was Bel Canto.

  7. Bel Canto was one of the ones I was going to recommend and State of Wonder is on my list! Some other books I’ve read and really enjoyed are:
    The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli
    The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
    Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji
    The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman
    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
    What Is the What by Dave Eggers
    Currently I am reading Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh, but it is too early to make any recommendations!
    Hope this helps . . .

    • Ugh – I *hated* Snow Flower. But you know, I don’t think I’ve ever read Dave Eggers, so I might need to look into his stuff. Will also be looking into others on this list – thanks!

  8. I also really enjoyed Bel Canto, and To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all-time favourites (also “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald).
    I recommend the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith. Beautifully written, great characters, and compelling storylines!

    • From what I understand, No 1 Ladies’ Det Agency is written in a similar style as Baking Cakes in Kigali, so I don’t think I can read that series. I haven’t read (or re-read) any classics lately, I’ve really been in the mood for more contemporary novels. But maybe a classic is just what I need! 🙂

  9. RFAN

    How about Shantaram by Greogry David Roberts?

  10. Megan

    The Dome by Stephen King….I dont normally like him, but this one is not about horror or scary its more psychological.

  11. anonymous

    One word: Discworld.
    Consult your local library.

  12. After seeing Cloud Atlas, I really want to read the book. Might be one you’d enjoy . . .

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