Everyone has book recommendations, I prowl Goodreads on and off for suggestions. I look for offbeat reads, I’m on a constant search for work that lurches into the unknown, and somehow manages to grip you. I know, I know, everything topic under the sun has been written before (This has been probed ad nauseam, but in a the best and least snotty way Here). I don’t have a type, when it comes to books, I will read anything as long as it doesn’t fall into a formula. The thing is, when you read the plot summary or the back cover, they usually do the book a disservice by making them appear less interesting than they are. You have to go a bit on faith.
Night Film by Marisha Pessl. I will admit to having a soft spot for noir. I’m not going to go into the plot. Hearing plot summary read aloud is a mood killer. But I will say this: the tone is perfect; reading it feels exactly like dipping your toe into darkness. I had that feeling straight from the beginning, and the feeling is rare for me. It comes only once in three blue moons.
As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann. Historical fiction, and the voice of the narrator is seductive and rich. You like him right off, and he makes everything he does, even polishing silver, sound interesting. This is not a common experience. In fact, I’ve experienced the opposite very often – I hate the narrator right away, even if the book is good, I have developed a visceral hatred that somewhat sours the experience. But in this case, because his voice is so charismatic, it draws you in and in and in.
Immortality by Milan Kundera. I did not add this to be a jerk. Kundera was probably an author that appeared somewhere on your college syllabus, and I’m sure there are layers of homework and analysis that could accompany reading this book. I’m adding this because when I read this book, I felt an inner lightness. Kundera writes to avoid linear plotlines. Let me just say that right off. But when you’re reading, you hardly care. You find yourself living in the moment, because the ideas and the nuances that he points out are just so fascinating.
The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton. I’ve written about this book before, and I’m still surprised at how she made this mammoth 849 page book into a fast read. There is a good mixtures of dialogue, history, and richness on every page. I didn’t care so much for the charting of the stars and celestial alignment, but that’s only because I found the rest of the material more interesting. Let me also point out that I personally do not care for gold mining in New Zealand as a conversation topic, but in the right hands, it can hold your attention.
Ready Player One, by Ernest Kline. 10,000 points for creativity. As a female, tomboy, and sister to a younger brother, I’ve sometimes wanted to poke my way into the mind of an adolescent gamer boy, and this does just that. This also has a good series of puzzles, a lot of it, incidentally involving 1980’s trivia, which you cannot predict. And for a book about gaming, there are strong female characters, which is something I did not expect.