Each month, we host Facebook Friday Recommendations online. You can get personalized recommendations — all you need to do is find our Facebook Friday post and comment with two or three books or authors you like, and we’ll help you find your next great read! Here are the recommendations from May 2017.
Request: My favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut. I loved “Cat’s Cradle.” I recently finished the “Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood and I am currently obsessed with Elena Ferrante’s The Neapolitan Novels.
Recommendation: Howdy! Nice choices! Vonnegut fans should check out Douglas Adams (“Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and the Dirk Gently series), Christopher Moore (“Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal” is a good place to start), and Tom Robbins who has been described as a more profane Vonnegut. “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” is one of Robbins many entertaining novels. George Saunders’ collections of short fiction (“Tenth of December,” “Pastoralia,” “In Persuasion Nation”) are essential, and particularly so for anyone who adores Vonnegut.
“The Natural Way of Things” by Charlotte Wood is, like “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a disturbing, near-future dystopian novel in which women are oppressed. “Archetype” by M.D. Waters is suspenseful science fiction in which women’s fertility and reproduction are monitored and regulated.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s “Anju and Sudha” novels should appeal to fans of Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels. Both are leisurely and moving and tell of the intense friendships between strong and ambition women struggling to overcome the limitations of gender and circumstance. The Wednesday novels by Meg Waite Clayton is another character-driven and moving series following the stories of the friendships between strong women.
Request: Hello! I’ve loved Lisa Genova’s books (“Still Alice,” “Love Anthony,” etc.), I read and liked “The Circle” recently, and Jodi Picoult’s “Small Great Things,” and also “The Storyteller.” Also Sue Monk Kidd‘s books. Thank you!
Recommendation: Hello! Fans of Lisa Genova are likely to enjoy the novels of Elin Hilderbrand. “The Echo Maker” by Richard Powers is, like “Still Alice,” a moving novel about a character that develops a brain disease. Since you enjoyed “The Circle,” I recommend checking out everything else by Dave Eggers. “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” is a great place to start.
“Run” by Ann Patchett is a bittersweet novel in which tragedy forces characters to confront complex issues, and is worth checking out for fans of “Small Great Things.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, like Sue Monk Kidd, writes reflective and atmospheric memoirs of women. “Eat, Pay, Love” is Gilbert’s most popular work. Kim Edwards shares Kidd’s penchant for strong female protagonists who are spurred to self-discovery by an important event. And Elinor Lipman shares Kidd’s ability to write domestic and psychological fiction that provides insights into family dynamics.
Recommendation: Hello! “Girl in the Blue Coat” by Monica Hesse tells the story of young women and the trials the face as they try to survive in Nazi-occupied Europe. “Yankee Doodle Gals” by Amy Nathan offers fans of “Code Name Verity” true stories of female American pilots. While it’s nonfiction, it offers many of the same pleasures.
The Enola Holmes mysteries by Nancy Springer is geared to readers a bit younger than those of “The Agency,” but it shares its rich descriptions and Victorian setting. Kathleen Baldwin’s Stranje House novels offers a boarding house setting where girls learn spycraft.
“The Lie Tree” by Frances Hardinge is a creepy, imaginative historical fantasy featuring a spirited heroine and cutting commentary on sexism and is likely to appeal to fans of “The Cure for Dreaming.”
Request: Anything like the “Book of Polly,” “Roanoke Girls,” “The Girl Before,” “The River at Night” etc. I would appreciate any recommendations you suggest. Like family sagas that span time as well. Thank you in advance!! TGIF.
Recommendation: A book that similar to “Book of Polly” that includes three generations of Texans as they discover the strength of family bonds is “The Cotton Queen” by Pamela Morsi. For darker books about family secrets, you should try “Winter’s Bone” by Daniel Woodrell or “The Weight of Blood” by our local author Laura McHugh. Happy reading!!!
Request: Recently I’ve been loving Jonathan Auxier’s books (“Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes“, “The Night Gardener“, and “Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard.”) I’ve been reading them with my 9-year-old son, and they’ll be a tough act to follow up when we’re done!
Recommendation: “The Boundless” by Kenneth Oppel is similar to these books-a young fellow who gets a bit more than he bargained for, in a world with magic. The setting of the traveling circus adds depth to the entire story, as well as interest to the characters.
If you guys are into mystery, try “Greenglass House” by Kate Milford. This one is another kiddo who doesn’t go looking for trouble, but it finds him pretty quickly. Milo (the main character) steps up to figure out the truth after several items go missing at his family’s inn.
Also a story with magic “A Snicker of Magic” by Natalie Lloyd takes place in Midnight Gulch where magic used to be common place but is no longer. 12 year old Felicity is a recent addition to the town thinks this might be place she and her mother (who has a wandering heart) might be able to settle down. Felicity is a ‘word collector’, someone who is sees words everywhere and in Midnight Gulch she sees new words every day-most exciting of which is ‘home’. To have a chance to stay in Midnight Gulch Felicity will have to break the curse on the town, bring back magic, and do something about her mom’s broken heart. Easy right?
Request: I’ve really enjoyed Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. Any recommendation for similar books?
Recommendation: Hi! The John Rain novels by Barry Eisler are about a loner with a strong moral code that causes him to operate outside the rules. Like the Jack Reacher novels, this series features a noir atmosphere, complex plots, and plenty of action.
The Earl Swagger novels by Stephen Hunter are for anyone that enjoys the story of a hero seeking justice by any means necessary. Again, plenty of plot, atmosphere, and action are in store. For another gritty, violent series, try the Quinn Colson novels by Ace Atkins.
Recommendation: Yes! “The Truth According to Us” by Annie Barrows is a wonderful tale about the Romeyn family. Narration follows Willa (a 12 year old who reads “War and Peace” for fun), Jottie (Willa’s aunt) who keeps everyone in line and runs the place and Layla a rich girl from the big city who rents a room with the family while working on a book about the town. Barrows describes the summer of 1938 in this little town so well you expect to set out your front door and onto the Romeyn’s front porch. The characters each have their own voice, opinions, and story to tell, yet it all comes together in one wonderful story.
Recommendation: For the part of you that enjoys biography, and a bit of history, there is Ivan Doig’s book “Heart Earth.” The narrator knows little of his mother — she passed away when he was 6. Later in life he discovers a stash of her letters and uses them to get to know her better. This is the prequel to his memoir “The House of Sky.”
In “The Cider House Rules” John Irving tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch, known in the community for many things (founder and director of an orphanage, ether addict and abortionist) and his favorite orphan, Homer. Like other Irving tales, this one is full of details into both the setting, and the characters and their relationships.
On the lighter side there is “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman. Ove is a recent widower who is settled into his quiet life when a family with two young daughters moves in next door and shakes things up. This novel explores the relationships between neighbors and friendships across generations.
Recommendation: What diverse interests you have! I’ll focus on three books I can give the best recommendations for.
Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House” is an intricately plotted Victorian classic, similar to “The Woman in White.” They both feature fully realized characters and wry humor.
If you liked the epic quality of “A Discovery of Witches” and the romantic interest between two people of different backgrounds, you may also like “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon.
A similar book to Roberts’ “Shantaram” is “The Second Life of Nick Mason” by Steve Hamilton. They both have a gritty mix of dangerous crimes, prison, and violence.
Recommendation: For funny books with great characters try anything written by Jennifer Cruise and Bob Mayer. I particularly enjoyed “Agnes and the Hitman.” When these authors team up the results are laugh-out-loud funny, while still having a solid plot line to support the characters you wish you knew in real life.
Authors that write with more drama, higher tension and a hint of military or law enforcement would be Don Winslow and Perry Thomas. Both have several series as well as standalone titles available.
For real life humor, Jennifer Lawson has a few titles to try, the first of which is “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened”. You might also enjoy “Bossy Pants” by Tina Fey
Join us on Facebook June 2 for our next Facebook Friday Recommendations!