Monday, March 29, 2010

Jim will tell you what to read

by Jim

A few days back, John Warner, one of the commentators for The Tournament of Books, offered up a service. If you listed the last five books you had read, he would tell you what you should read next.

It sprang from a discussion about how we decide to choose what we read when we each know darn well that we’ll never get through every book out there. So a lot of folks stick with what they expect to like and might miss out on some great reads.

Unable to turn down something like this, I listed the last five books I had read (that weren’t work related). Warner suggested I read Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon. I groaned a bit since I had read a collection of Chaon’s short stories a few years back and was underwhelmed. I wouldn’t have picked his new novel up on my own without the recommendation, but I grabbed it that night and finished it this weekend. It’s a literary whodunit that is enervating and upsetting, beautiful and bleak. I loved it.

All of this said, the Tournament of Books commentators and readers seem to have a distinct literary fiction bias. The proportion of readers who included Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask in their past five was very telling (which is not an insult—it was in mine!). Knowing that we have readers who write across genres and for very different target audiences, I’d love to try to recreate Warner’s experiment here and see what the results are. What I’ll try to do (and I have no idea how this will work in practice) is recommend a little outside the box. Maybe an adult novel to someone whose last five reads were YA. Or a thriller to someone who skews more romantic. Or maybe there’s another book just like the ones you list that I’ll think you absolutely have to read. I will try to recommend only books that I have read but may have to turn it over to colleagues or our readers if I feel stumped. So let’s see if this works: just promise that you’ll let me know if and when you actually read the book—y’all can find my email address!

Update: A little confusion--sorry for my lack of clarity! Post the titles in the comments, and I'll give the recommendation there. You should email me if you read the book and/or want to chat about my choice!

111 comments:

  1. Wait, do you want us to post our books here and email you with the results? Or email you with the books and the results?

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  2. What a great idea! Thanks for doing this!

    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
    Paula Spencer by Roddy Doyle
    Shannon by Frank Delaney
    Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
    Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

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  3. Thanks for pointing out the confusion, Tracy. Included an updated note that I hope clears things up!

    And taking a cue from the wonderful spookiness of two of your books, Joan, might I suggest an oldie but a goodie: Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

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  4. My last 5 books: Wake by Lisa McMann, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout and Still Alice by Lisa Genova.

    Also, no need to recommend The Dead-Tossed Waves because I already plan on reading that ASAP - I LOVED The Forest of Hands and Teeth!

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  5. Sounds like fun!

    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
    Songs Without Words by Ann Packer
    Marcello In the Real World by Francisco Stork
    The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin (couldn't resist. I was a big babysitter's club fan back in the day!)
    Time Of My Life by Alison Winn-Scotch

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  6. Oh, why not...

    BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver
    BALL DON'T LIE by Matt De La Pena
    WE WERE HERE by Matt De La Pena
    GOTH GIRL RISING by Barry Lyga
    EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer

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  7. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
    From a Whisper to a Scream by Charles de Lint
    The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
    Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
    Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

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  8. Okay, here goes:

    Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles
    Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
    Never Tell A Lie - Hallie Ephron
    Storm Born - Richelle Mead
    Mademoiselle Boleyn - Robin Maxwell

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  9. Kristi, I love that you support our books! My suggestion: Peter Cameron's Someday This Pain Will be Useful to You.

    Melissa, the Diaz novel is one of my favorites. Did you love it? Something that mixes the coming-of-age and literary threads you have going on: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

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  10. This sounds like fun, thanks for doing it!

    Red Harvest, Dashiell Hammett
    The Help, Kathryn Stockett
    A Coffin For Dimitrios, Eric Ambler
    Black Rain, Graham Brown
    The Watchman, Robert Crais.

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  11. I don't know that I'm doing a great job of recommending against genre here, but Bryan, my pick: Tyrell by Coe Booth.

    And you people are FAST! Readerly Person, this one might be a little out there, but Kindred by Octavia Butler.

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  12. Eric Moore29/3/10 1:43 PM

    Dead Matter by Anton Strout
    Sourcery by Terry Pratchett
    The Taint and Other Novellas by Brian Lumley
    The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    Abarat by Clive Barker

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  13. Robert Harris' FATHERLAND
    Marya Hornbacher's WASTED
    Aidan Chambers' POSTCARDS FROM NO MAN'S LAND
    Dorothy Dunnet's RACE OF SCORPIONS
    Kate Long's BAD MOTHER'S HANDBOOK

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  14. Hmmm, the last five books I read were all over the place:

    Soulless, Gail Carriger
    Fire, Kristin Cashore
    The Maze Runner, James Dashner
    Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty, Jody Elizabeth Gehrman
    Percy Jackson book 4, Rick Riorden

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  15. Jim - thanks for the book recommendation. I'm going to get it this week and I'll let you know how it goes! :)

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  16. Tracy, I'm tempted to throw a male author into the mix, but instead I'm going to go with a straight-up thriller that I love: Sweetheart by Chelsea Caine. (p.s. Hope you loved Storm Born--Richelle's one of mine!)

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  17. @ DGLM

    Great suggestion - so great that I've already read it and loved it - three times. :)

    Am I cool enough to merit another recommendation? Pleeeeeeease?

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  18. Whoo! This is fun and nervewracking at the same time! Okay, Jenn, a novella for you: Disquiet by Julia Leigh.

    Mary, you get a suggestion of one of my all-time favorite YA novels: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

    and I'm glad I'm on the right track Readerly! Try The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.

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  19. Haven't read this one - will check it out and let you know how it goes. Thanks!

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  20. This is a delightful idea.

    My last five:

    Unwind, Neal Shusterman
    The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
    Bringing Home the Birkin, Michael Tonello
    The Maze Runner, James Dashner
    Best Friends Forever, Jennifer Weiner (guilty pleasure!)

    I am a voracious reader but am stuck with a small budget and a crappy library system, so a personal recommendation is extremely welcome!

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  21. Beating the Babushka by Tim Maleeny

    King Aroo 1950-1952 (newspaper comic strip collection) by Jack Kent

    Sally's In the Alley by Norbert Davis

    Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

    The Uncomfortable Dead by Subcomandante Marcos and Paco Ignacio Taibo II

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  22. Wow Aimee--that's such a down the middle blend of light fun and dystopian YA that I got stuck for a second. But then I thought of a super-fun novel that's also dark and spooky: have you read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke?

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  23. Whoops--I almost missed you, Tere. I was leaning toward some Francesca Lia Block, but you're already a YA writer, so...The City & The City by China Mieville.

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  24. I'm not Jim, but Aimee, based on your last five, I think you should read BONES OF FAERIE by Jannie Lee Simner next!

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  25. And yikes, Michael, are you trying to stump me? Let's see: this might be a reach, but I'm going with The Fan Man by William Kotzwinkle (and not just because I love his last name).

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  26. Ha, I know. I try to strike a balance, so I don't end up totally depressed or completely enveloped in frivolity. :) I am actually a few chapters into Jonathan Strange--my mother gave me The Magicians for christmas, and passed along the bookstore's reccomendation for J Strange also, so here I am.

    I do read a lot (usually 2 or 3 books a week) and over a lot of styles. If you have another rec, I would be glad to know! I am going to check out the other titles mentioned above as well.

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  27. Curse you, iPhone keyboard--I can spell, really.

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  28. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
    Contact by Carl Sagan
    Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
    Mercy by Jodi Picoult
    Please Stop Laughing At Me by Jodee Blanco

    This should be interesting. :)

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  29. I also almost missed you, Eric! I think the comments are coming in out of order. Or perhaps I'm just scattered. This is almost harder with people you know. I'm torn between two for you, so I'm just going to go with both. The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes which is perhaps more comedic than the recent titles but fairly in line, and then a teen novel that a lot of people here have already mentioned (and which I adore): The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

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  30. Alrighty, Aimee, glad to know I was in the right field since it's a book you're already reading! Will try to go a little further afield. Have you read ORYX AND CRAKE by Margaret Atwood?

    And what Saundra said! :) I haven't read that book, but Saundra's a new client and a wonderful writer, so I'll second her choice.

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  31. Thanks for the suggestion, Jim!

    I'll likely pick it up tomorrow when I go to B&N to get my copy of Succubus Shadows (I'm a big fan of Richelle's work)

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  32. Ha! You know what, Tania? You already are mixing fiction and nonfiction; sci-fi and women's fiction. So rather than try to identify a theme, I'm just going to give a shout out to a book I complete and totally love and would recommend to anyone: This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper.

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  33. This is such a great idea! Congratulations on managing to reply to everyone's offering, Jim. That's astounding dedication!

    Soulless, Gail Carriger
    These Old Shades, Georgette Heyer
    Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
    Stolen, Lucy Christopher
    The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga

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  34. Jim, I have not read that yet, though I have enjoyed the other Margaret Atwood books I've read. I will definitely check it out. And I have already added Saundra's recommendation and Shadowed Summer to my kindle. Thanks a million!

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  35. I read pretty much everything, so here goes my last five:

    Outlander
    American Gods
    I, Robot
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
    Shutter Island

    And I'm currently reading:

    A Game of Thrones

    And the next book on my list was:

    Noble House

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  36. I'm actually about 40 pages into Never Let Me Go right now, Sangu! You're getting a recommendation for a series of three novellas, the first of which alone is worth the price of admission: Little Kingdoms by Steven Millhauser.

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  37. This is fun, reading people's recent reads and your recommendations. Here are mine:

    The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

    The Ever Breath by Julianna Baggott

    Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

    Click Here by Denise Vega

    Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

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  38. Anonymous, I had actually made the decision not to recommend any titles from the agency (which feels a little cheap and easy). I am going to break my rule on this one, though, and recommend Jacqueline Carey's KUSHIEL'S SCION. Jacqueline's not one of my clients, and I read her as a fan, so it doesn't feel too sleazy to me just this once!

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  39. Jenn, you may have already read this, but I finally got around to it this weekend and was so hugely charmed that I want to recommend it to someone: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.

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  40. brilliant idea

    1. thirteen reasons why by jay asher
    2. wintergirls by laurie halse anderson
    3. love you, hate you, miss you by elizabeth scott
    4. the basic eight by daniel handler
    5. the lovely bones by alice sebold

    (i know there's a lot of YA there but i'm actually 24)

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  41. There's no age limit on YA, CS!! But if you want to read something more "adult," might I recommend HOME LAND by Sam Lipsyte?

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  42. Thanks so much! I'm off to Amazon as you read this. :)

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  43. I'll definitely try that out and let you know how it goes!

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  44. That's a great match for me because I have in fact read it recently and really loved it. I'm impressed at the wide range of reading lists people are throwing at you and how quickly you are able to respond with a recommendation. I've marked down a couple other titles I'm now wanting to look into.

    (CS, I'm not Jim but I'm familiar with all the books you listed and recently read two others that might be right up your alley if you haven't already read them: By the Time You Read This I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters, and All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab, which I'm in the middle of right now and enjoying so far.)

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  45. Thanks for the recommendation, Jim! Just Amazon-ed the novellas (ha! created a verb!) and they sound fantastic. I love discovering new things to read, so I think this post was a stroke of pure genius.

    Never Let Me Go is amazing. If you're 40 pages in, you probably haven't hit the 'revelation' yet, but I expect you might know it already because of how the novel is marketed. Whether or not you know what's coming, it's an amazing novel in terms of character, emotion and the amazing subtlety Ishiguro employs in fleshing out his dystopian future. I look forward to Millhauser and I really hope you enjoy Ishiguro!

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  46. Glad I'm on the right track, Jenn. Let me try again with something COMPLETELY different: Firmin by Sam Savage.

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  47. This is cool.

    1. Almost finished with Uglies
    2. The Silver Phoenix
    3. The Forest of Hands and Teeth
    4. The Giver
    5. Catching Fire

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  48. Awesome. I'm going to cheat and tell the the last five I read that I actually liked. Some have underwhelmed me and I wouldn't want you to choose based on that!

    I have broad tastes so I'm curious...

    FEED by M.T. Anderson
    WIDE SARAGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys
    FOREST BORN by Shannon Hale
    WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead
    THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner

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  49. Wow, this looks like so much fun. I've finished these recently:

    Cathy Yardley - Turning Japanese
    Life as We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer
    American Gods - Neil Gaiman
    Plague of Memory - S.L. Viehl
    The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan

    I'm a slow reader with eclectic tastes, so it will be interesting if you can find something. Oh and Octavia Butler is my favorite sci-fi author so the Kindred is a great recommendation. =)

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  50. Awesome idea, and thanks to Jennifer for directing me here:

    KILLING FLOOR by Lee Child
    THE PERSUADER by Lee Child
    THE FIRST RULE by Robert Crais
    CHASING DARKNESS by Robert Crais
    9 DRAGONS by Michael Connelly

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  51. I just looked up info on Firmin and it sounds right up my alley. I'm heading to the library this week and will check it out and follow up with my thoughts once I finish. Thank you!!

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  52. Hey Jim! This is cool.

    My last five:

    THE CROSSING by Cormac McCarthy
    SCARLETT FEVER by Maureen Johnson
    SLOUCHING TOWARDS BETHLEHAM by Joan Didion
    GONE by Lisa McMann
    BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

    and I'm currently reading THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES.

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  53. I put Purple Hibiscus on hold at the NYPL! Looking forward to it. I have a lot of mixed feelings about Oscar Wao. The story is actually really beautiful and I loved the characters, but the footnotes were painful. I call it an epic novel for the ADD. My brain works a bit more linear, so it was a challenge for me to adjust to this novel :-)

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  54. Can I still play?

    I skew heavily toward fantasy as you'll no doubt notice (I swear I read other stuff, too!)

    SOULLESS Gail Carriger
    CATCHING FIRE Suzanne Collins
    THE AFFINITY BRIDGE George Mann
    KINDRED IN DEATH J.D. Robb
    HERO OF AGES Brandon Sanderson

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  55. Alrighty, let's do this. BleeBonn, I'm tempted to recommend you get Carrie's next book, The Dead Tossed Waves. But that's cheating! :) Instead, I'm going to recommend a beautifully strange YA novel: The Hanged Man by Francesca Lia Block.

    Liesl, you totally threw me with Wide Sargasso Sea mixed in with teen titles, so I'm going for a very adult book that has that sort of mysterious feel of some of the YA titles you mention: Cocaine Nights by J.G. Ballard.

    Shawntelle, I say what I said to some other folks before: this is harder when you know the person! So I'm gonna go out on a limb with my suggestion for you. Less outwardly fantastical than most of the titles you mention, but something about it feels right: Out by Natsuo Kirino.

    And Todd, you've got some masters of thriller writing in there. A lot of my clients know that there's one thriller writer I recommend more than any other. And that's Charlie Huston. Check out Caught Stealing. And if you love it as much as I do, it launches a whole trilogy of amazing.

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  56. Alright, I'm game.

    "Graceling" - Kristin Cashore
    "Hunger Games" - Suzanne Collins
    "Blue Diablo" -- Ann Aguirre
    "Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side" - Beth Fantaskey
    "My Soul to Take" - Rachel Vincent

    Those are the last five books I finished. I'm also currently reading two more:
    "The Doomsday Key" - James Rollins
    "Her Vampire Husband" - Michele Hauf

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  57. Leonore, you work here! :) Alrighty--I'll take your mix of YA and adult literary and give you a literary coming of age story that I love: The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi.

    And Rabia, how would you feel about a young adult recommendation? I give you Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.

    Melissa, Purple Hibiscus is MUCH more straightforward than Oscar Wao. Hope you love it!

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  58. Oh, Tura Lura, it's like you're daring me to break my rules and recommend one of my own clients. But I will stay strong! By recommending a book by the friend of a client: Kat Richardson's Greywalker.

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  59. Hold Tight by Harlan Coben
    Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas
    Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger
    Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
    Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

    (The last two may throw a wrench in the plan since I reread the Austen canon every year, but these are the last five books I've read.)

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  60. "I was leaning toward some Francesca Lia Block, but you're already a YA writer, so...The City & The City by China Mieville."

    Love FLB's books, and Mieville's Un Lun Dun is in my tbr list. You're good at this. ;)

    Thanks, Jim!

    ~Tere

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  61. You folks come up with the coolest ideas for your blog! My last five books were:
    SKIN HUNGER by Kathleen Duey
    FADE by Lisa McMann
    GONE by Michael Grant
    CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins
    PROTECTOR OF THE SMALL: FIRST TEST by Tamora Pierce

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  62. I've been wanting to read Kat Richardson's books for a while now (more so since I've had the opportunity to talk with her on Twitter), so I think that's probably a good choice. ^_-

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  63. Hmm...Peggy. A thriller, a romance, an epistolary novel, and some Austen. I'm gonna go 19th Century on you and recommend Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant. Read it before the movie comes out next year!

    And Larissa, I'm going out on a limb again on this one and recommend a very unusual but very fun adult novel: Big Machine by Victor Lavalle. It slips in and out of the fantastical, is a hodgepodge of literary styles, and really pushes boundaries while exploring some similar themes to novels you've listed here.

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  64. I would love to go back and read the suggestions in the comments but wanted to put my list here first. Here are the recent books I enjoyed:

    1. Let the Great World Spin
    2. Catching Fire
    3. In The Woods
    4. Leviathan
    5. Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z

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  65. Oh, I'm so excited! I looked up Big Machine and it sounds really interesting. I am looking forward to reading it. Thanks!

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  66. No, I haven't read Geek Love but will get it now. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  67. Nancy here. So little time, so many great books. This sounds like a great idea & I'm open to reading new things. Here's my last five:

    The Endless Forest - Sara Donati
    Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult
    Santa Olivia - Jacqueline Carey
    Why We Suck - Denis Leary
    Succubus Blues - Richelle Mead

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  68. I got really confused trying to match your recs with the original list so I'm going to print out the comments page at the end of the day to get a better idea.

    So many books I haven't read and so exciting to find out about them.

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  69. Thank you for the recommendation. While I flip flop across the genres you did spot my weakness for off beat fiction with humor/satire. The closest I found to my taste in literary fiction has been Animal Farm. I hated Kotzwinkle's Doctor Rat, but Fan Man sounds much more likely to appeal to me. I look forward to reading it. Thank you.

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  70. Hi, Jim,

    I love this little experiment! Here are mine. I'm a genre reader:

    Winterkill by C.J. Box
    Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs
    Three Weeks to Say Goodbye by C.J. Box
    Careless in Red by Elizabeth George
    Death in Holy Orders by P.D. James

    Thanks so much!

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  71. Oh drat. My last comment didn't post. Nancy, I recommended a strange little novel called American Desert by Percival Everett. Your willingness to read dark fantasy combined with Denis Leary's humor led me there.

    Michael, you will either love or hate The Fan Man. There is no in between. But give it some time. The first few pages felt like nails on a chalkboard when I started, but now I look back and still chuckle just remembering certain scenes.

    And Paula, you do know what you like! Not going TOO far astray, how would you feel about giving Dennis Lehane a shot? A Drink before the War is fantastic. His titles get less genre as he continues, but he was a procedural master before he started going in different directions.

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  72. Too lazy to check for myself but of all the books mentioned in the last five read list, has any book been mentioned by more than one reader? So much for the idea we all are reading today's "Bestsellers".

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  73. Yat-Yee, I double recommend Geek Love!

    It can be a little... weird at times, but the story is unforgettable. Bought her novel Truck, hoping for something similar, but Geek Love is definitely one of a kind!

    ~Tere

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  74. Forest of Hands & Teeth- Carrie Ryan
    Anita Blake Series- Laurel K Hamilton
    Sookie Stackhouse Series- Charlaine Harris
    The Thirteenth Tale- Diane Setterfield
    The Sword of Truth Series- Terry Goodkind

    (I included whole series seeing as how if I only listed the last 5 books they would have all been by Terry Goodkind.)

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  75. Michael, there are a few books that several folks have mentioned, but of them, a lot of them seem to be books represented by DGLM, so I think that might be a readership thing more than anything else! Also, two young adult authors that came up a lot: Laurie Halse Anderson and Suzanne Collins. No complaints from me as I actually also recommended books by both of them! Maybe next week my post will be about the findings of this little survey when I have some more time to sit back and see how it all played out.

    And Tara, this is a stretch, but it's deeply rooted in the fantastical, and I totally think you should give it a shot (cause it's fab): The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami.

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  76. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  77. Hope it's not to late to post my little list! Here they are ...

    Tethered by Amy Mackinnon
    Lips Touch by Laini Taylor
    The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    Shutter Island by Dennis Lahane
    When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

    Looking forward to your recommendation, Jim!

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  78. Jim, I will get it the next time I make a trip to the book store. Stretches are good, they keep us limber. =)

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  79. Alrighty, Marie, I'm winding down for the day, but you caught me. :) I'm gonna recommend a novel that I thought was fabulous, but I'm going to include the caveat that opinion in the office was very, very split on this one. The book is The Invention of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld.

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  80. Thank you for suggesting Dennis Lehane, Jim! That's exactly the kind of stuff I love to read.

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  81. I'm in the thriller kind of mood so this sounds very interesting, thank you! :)

    Hey, I just realized that I have this book in my "to read" stack .... cool!

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  82. Oh, have I missed out?

    Baroness Orczy - The Scarlet Pimpernel
    Terry Pratchett - Unseen Academicals
    John Joseph Adams (ed) - The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
    Esther Friesner - Nobody's Princess
    Richard Adams - Watership Down

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  83. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
    by Jamie Ford
    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
    The Most Wanted by Jacqueline Mitchard
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett
    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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  84. Jenn- thanks for the extra recommendations! i'll be having a look for those soon too. :)

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  85. Red Claw by Philip Palmer
    The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott
    Repo Men by Eric Garcia
    Hellbound Hearts edited by Paul Kane
    Lets Go Play at the Adams by Mendal W. Johnson

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  86. Cool!

    GOING BOVINE Libba Bray
    LIAR Justine Larbalestier
    LEVIATHAN Scott Westerfeld
    THE IRON COUNCIL China Mieville
    AFTER DARK Haruki Murakami

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  87. Jim,

    I'm game for YA anytime. Incarceron sounds intriguing. I'm off to add it to my wishlist. Thanks!

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  88. This is a tremendous list of books and recommendations! I may be going for a long time off of this. But I'd like to throw my list in the ring, and hope for a rec for myself:

    1) Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (I liked the Time Traveler's wife, better, but this was also good).

    2) Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

    3) Moby Dick by Herman Melville

    4) The Crimson Petal and the White

    5) The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

    And I've just started reading The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst and have greatly enjoyed the first 100 pgs.

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  89. thanks for doing this!

    my latest five are:
    grand & humble - brent hartinger
    cracked up to be - courtney summers
    before i fall - lauren oliver
    stealing heaven - elizabeth scott
    north of beautiful - justina chen headley

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  90. Battle Royale by Koushon Takami
    Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Rioran
    Extras by Scott Westerfeld
    Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    Very interested to see what that will yield...

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  91. Hey kids,

    A few more came in last night. Let's get 'em.

    Emily, try The Alienist by Caleb Carr. It's historical, wonderful, and a super-fun read.

    Backfence, I'm excited about my recommendation for you: The Group by Mary McCarthy. I finally got around to reading it a month or two ago, and it's hugely delightful.

    Evilphilip, I almost stole a suggestion from another commenter and recommended Battle Royale, but that feels like cheating, so I'm going to go with Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (it's even printed in brown ink--it looks amazing).

    Danielle, have you read Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl yet? I think it might be a fit that captures some of the various threads running through your list.

    Caitlin, how fabulous is The Crimson Petal and the White? I can't believe I didn't recommend it to anyone...yet. But for you, I'll go with something else delightful: Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins.

    Ikw, how about one of my favorite young adult novels: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky?

    And last but not least, Delilah, you make me want to recommend something I already recommended and something by one of my own clients. But I'm holding strong and not giving in! So you get The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood.

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  92. Oooh, this is awesome. My last 5 were:

    Fallen by Lauren Kate
    Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
    Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
    Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
    Playing With Fire by Gena Showalter

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  93. Notes From No Man's Land / Eula Biss
    Truck Stop / Marc F. Wise and Bryan Di Salvatore
    Kill All Your Darlings / Luc Sante
    Dispatches / Michael Herr
    Dispatches / Michael Herr (yeah, twice)

    What's next, Jim?

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  94. I am interested in what you come up with Jim.

    Here are my last five fiction reads

    Dreamveil by Lynn Viehl
    Split Second by David Baldacci
    The Whole Truth by David Baldacci
    Sparhawk's Lady by Miranda Jarrett
    The Husband List by Victoria Alexander

    So, what's next?

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  95. Evilphilip, I almost stole a suggestion from another commenter and recommended Battle Royale, but that feels like cheating, so I'm going to go with Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (it's even printed in brown ink--it looks amazing).

    Good thing you didn't. I own it. I also own the manga, the deluxe manga and both movies on DVD.

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  96. Thanks again for the suggestion, I asked my buddy at Tor to send me a copy of Boneshaker.

    -PiP

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  97. Oo, I hope I'm not too late!

    Epic, Conor Kostick
    Bloody Jack, L.A. Meyer
    The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
    Poison Study, Maria Snyder
    King Con, Stephen Cannell

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  98. Alrighty. Carolin, try The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Grof. Lush, lyrical, fantastical. It could be a fit.

    Fatcaster, you're tricky (or maybe I have recommendation fatigue!). I love Luc Sante's Low Life, but you've already read him. I'm going to take a lead from the fact that dark doesn't seem to be a problem and recommend Uzodinma Iweala's Beasts of No Nation.

    NinaP, I haven't had a chance to give many romance recommendations, so I'm going to bust one out for you: Bettina Krahn's The Marriage Test is delightful.

    And Clix, this might be a little bit of a shot in the dark, but I'm going for it. My recommendation: J.M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians.

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  99. Jim, I'm so glad I'm not too late!!! Or am I???

    The Shack - Wm Paul Young
    The Blood of Flowers - Anita Amirrezvani
    Sarah's Key - Tatiana De Rosnay
    Chez Moi - Agnes Desarthe
    Secrets of the Zona Rosa - Rosemary Daniell

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  100. Me too!

    The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman
    Go Tell It On The Mountain - James Baldwin
    The Women - TC Boyle
    The Road - Cormac McCarthy
    Run, River - Joan Didion

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  101. Thanks for busting out a romance recommendation for me, Jim. A copy of The Marriage Test is its way to me. How did you know I enjoy stories featuring Knight heroes?

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  102. This is interesting, since I am always wondering about what I should read next...and it seems like my kindle gets confused about what to recommend. My last 5 were:

    1. The Princess Bride - William Goldman
    2. Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson
    3. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
    4. A Reliable Wife - Robert Goolrick
    5. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown

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  103. Thank you, Jim! Beasts of No Nation it is. Low Life is already one of my keepers. Sometimes, dark leads to great writing. May I in turn suggest Wanderer, Sterling Hayden's autobiography? Thanks again.

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  104. Still open? If so:

    The Weight of Silence (Heather Gudenkauf)
    The Secret Sisters (Joni Rodgers)
    The Belly Dancer (Deanna Cameron)
    While I'm Falling (Laura Moriarty)
    Noah's Compass (Anne Tyler)

    Thanks for this, sounds like fun. Interested to hear what you suggest and see how it goes.

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  105. Great idea, Jim. :-D

    Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

    The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

    Skinwalker by Faith Hunter

    The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

    Blood Colony by Tananarive Due

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  106. Okay, I'm a sucker for this, so I'm going to offer choices for the four of you who popped by since my last visit.

    Lynn, I'm more confident in my recommendation to you than I have been in many others. Which either means I'm more off base, or I've really hit the nail on the head. You can let me know which if you give Gilead by Marilynne Robinson a read.

    Tess, you've got some seriously diverse titles there. How about Everyman by Philip Roth? He has his ups and downs, but I actually thought this late-career gem was truly underrated.

    JoAnn, this one is beating me up. I came up with a few titles off the top of my head, but I've already recommended them! So for the first time since I started, I'm throwing this one to guest recommender Miriam Goderich whose suggestion is Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock.

    Elizabeth, how do you feel about short stories? My recommendation: ZZ Packer's fab collection Drinking Coffee Elsewhere.

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  107. Argh, Demon Hunter. I thought I was done! :)Okay, I recommended this author before, but not this book: Fledgling by Octavia Butler.

    P.S. Hope you loved Carrie's book.

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  108. Hurray! Thank you, Jim - it sounds awesome!

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  109. Thanks Jim, I'll let you know!!!

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  110. I finally got around to reading The White Tiger, your suggestion for me, and I loved it! It reminded me a little of Ilustrado, by Miguel Syjuco. Anyway, thanks so much for the suggestion.

    - Rebecca

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  111. The last five books I loved:
    ONE DAY
    THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE
    THE SONG IS YOU, by ARTHUR PHILLIP
    THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY
    LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN

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