Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Looking for Recommendations

Okay, yes, I'm crazy to do this because I already have so many books on my TBR/On My Shelf lists. But I'm always looking for new reads and I've been thinking about types of books that I'd be interested in reading. So, I came up with a few categories that I'd like your opinion on. Some of them are books that I'm interested in because I know that I'll like them and some of them are books that I'm interested in because I haven't read a lot of them before and am looking to expand my horizons. Look at all them and list as many or as few books as you'd like. Heck, have your friends visit my blog and give me their choices as well. I can't promise that I'll get to all of them in the next, oh, decade or so, but they'll be added to my TBR list all the same.

Books with Death as a character
He (or she) could be a main character, a secondary character, or even someone that just shows up. Any and all incarnations of Death are welcome.

Books by Scottish authors
I've recently gotten on a Scotland kick and would be interested in reading more about the country or just more books by authors who are Scottish.

Books by Irish authors
I'm Irish by descent but for some reason I've never really delved into books written by Irish authors. I love Irish music, but Irish books are something that I know nothing about.

YA books
I'm not a huge YA fan, but I'm curious to see what's out there. I have one rule though: no one, under any circumstances, will suggest Twilight. Ever.

Historical fiction
I've talked a few times about my dislike of historical fiction, mostly because I find that a lot of books set in the past are just crappy romances. Anyone who knows of any really good historical fiction novels that aren't all "Oh, I love Sir So-and-So" or "And then the handsome cowboy took me in his arms" is welcome to suggest any of their favorite books in this genre.

Canadian fiction
I'm a little ashamed to say that even though I live less than an hour away from my neighbor to the north, I've never read much by Canadian authors. Anyone have any suggestions?

Graphic novels
I don't mean manga (gods know I have enough manga-obsessed friends who could give me recommendations until my ears fall off) but actual graphic novels. I'm looking at getting into the genre but could use some guidance.

I follow a couple of blogs that read novels of this variety but (and don't tell them this) some of them have layouts that are so hard to read. I'm also not necessarily looking for hard-to-find books that hardcore steampunk fans know about; rather, I'm looking for books that are steampunk-ish that don't take a private detective to track down.

I'm a big sci-fi fan but I haven't given much time to fantasy novels. I'd prefer fantasy that isn't YA and I'm looking more for books that don't belong to a series that has a billion books in it. Urban fantasy is totally welcome.

LGBT fiction
I don't know why it's so hard for me to find books with LGBT themes but for some reason I can never find anything no matter how many websites I wade through. It doesn't matter if the books are more geared towards teens or adults, I'm just looking for good fiction in general. Erotica need not apply as it annoys me just as much as romance tends to.

Any and all help would be appreciated. If you have a great recommendation that goes contrary to the (hopefully) minimal restrictions that I've put in place, I'll give it a try if you can make a good case for it. The no-Twilight rule is non-negotiable though.




  1. I have two recommendations for you. The first is Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt. I really enjoyed this story. It is a tale with Death as a main characer. A great historical fiction book is The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett. It is described as historical romance, but there is not a lot of romance in it. It is set in Scotland in the 1500's and is a very good read. Hope that helps!

  2. I know you're a Gaiman fan but have you read his Sandman graphic novel series? If not, then do yourself a favour and get onto it!
    In terms of historical fiction (not old-old historical though) I cannot recommend Bryce Courtenay enough, he authored The Power of One and that's a winner, but I'd also recommend The Potato Factory (set in the early colony days of Australia when 95% of the pop. were Irish convicts) and Four Fires (a multi-generational story that is huge but absolutely amazing). All of those have lovestory elements but they are subplots and don't dominate the narrative at all.
    I'll be keeping an eye on this post because I'm sure I'll be able to get some new TBR titles out of this too!

  3. For historical fiction, I really enjoyed I, Mona Lisa which gives a fictional account of the life of the most recognizable face in the world: da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Ok, so granted this does have a love story in it, but the romance is not the point of this book. Hope you check it out!

    Also, be sure to check out my giveaway and enter if you're interested.


  4. Check out Tana French's Dublin Murder Mysteries... the start with In The Woods, which I thought was fantastic.

  5. YA: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan; The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

    Graphic Novels: Fables series by Bill Willingham; Watchmen by Alan Moore; V for Vendetta

    Fantasy: The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett; The House of Durrow Street by Galen Beckett

  6. I can give you a whole list of Scottish author suggestions although I might not have read all of them.

    Robert Lewis Stevenson (my favourite is Jekyll and Hyde).
    Lewis Grassic Gibbon (heard good and bad things about his most famous Sunset Song).
    James Hogg
    Walter Scott (I have the Waverly in my tbr pile).
    Muriel Spark.

    More modern fiction;

    Alexander McCall Smith
    Alasdair Gray (he also does the art work. Have read Lanark and highly recommend it).
    James Kelman (I read How Late it was how late and liked it)
    A. L. Kennedy
    Ali Smith


    Stuart MacBride (funny)
    Christopher Brookmyre (also funny but has it's dark side)
    Val McDermid
    Denise Mina

    Of course you've already read Ian Rankin and Irvine Welsh.

  7. Books with Death as a character
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is narrated by Death if you haven't read it already. Also, the Christopher Moore books have been recommended to me on several occasions and A Dirty Job is about Death (and from the sound of it, I think they're books you'd like). Every says they can be read out of order but I'm planning on starting at the beginning.

    Scottish authors
    Ian Rankin, Christopher Brookmyre and Linda Gillard.

    Irish authors
    Most the Irish authors I can think of are a bit girlie but you might like Ronan O'Brien.

    Historical fiction
    It depends on what era you're interested in? For Tudor I really like Philippa Gregory (they look a bit like romances but they're not) or C.J. Sansom. Sarah Waters will fit the bill for both historical and lesbian fiction.

    Canadian fiction
    I've just finished a book by a Canadian, Eutopia by David Nickle and I'll be writing the review shortly. The obvious choice is Douglas Coupland.

    If you can get hold of them, Thomas Emson writes good standalone urban fantasy. I'm afraid I quite like fantasy series with lots of books in them!

  8. I highly recommend The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky for the YA category. It's an amazing book. Another great YA book that deals with LGBT issues is Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters.

    As for fantasy, a recent author I've discovered and can recommend is A. Lee Martinez.

    I've just started reading Steampunk myself, and The Parasol Protectorate series is, in my opinion, brilliant. Cherie Priest's books and Scott Westerfield's Leviathan are supposed to be very good though I haven't read them myself, yet.

    Have fun book hunting!

  9. Oh, my favourite canadian author is Douglas Coupland. Will Ferguson is good too although his fiction is set in the US. I prefer his travel writing mind you.

    I haven't read that many historical fiction but my favourite is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

    When I was first recommended graphic novels I was given a list although I have yet to read them so I honestly can't say if they are good or not. V for Vendetta, The Preacher (series), The Sandman (series), The Watchmen, From Hell and Sin City. I'm sure there was more but this is all I remember.

    Kate Atkinson is an English author but most of her fiction is set in Scotland. Louise Welsh is the same. In fact most of hers are based in Glasgow. I've read Cutting Room. It was good but a little too dark even for me.

    John Connolly is one of my favourite Irish authors. His standalone book, Book of Lost Things, is one of my favourites. Plus his short stories, Nocturnes, were fantastic. Roddy Doyle is quite good. I liked The Commitments. Colm Toibin is also good. I loved Brooklyn. Then of course there is Eoin Colfer. Read the first few Artemis Fowl books which were quite good.

    I'm with Elle, most of my favourite fantasy belong in a series. Shockingly I can't think of any standalones.

  10. You. Guys. Are. Awesome.

    Seriously, I wasn't expecting this much of a response. Although, I guess I shouldn't be surprised considering you're all book bloggers.

    I don't have the time to respond to each of your choices individually but I will be putting together a post of all of your recommendations for either tomorrow or the day after and you can be sure that I'll be telling people to go and read your blogs. :)

    Thanks so much!

  11. Books with Death as a character -- I recommend "Death, a life" by George Pendle. I really liked it, although I don't know if I would recommend it for a reader who considers themselves to be religiously devout (they might consider it to be blasphemous).

    YA books -- so many to choose from! But, judging from what other things you read, you might like Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (who also writes fantasy for adults).

    Fantasy -- combining this, with books where Death is a main character, you could try Piers Anthony's On A Pale Horse.

  12. Death: A Life sounds right up my alley. I'm a self-confirmed godless heathen. :) Although, I guess I'm pretty devout in my Agnosticism. LOL

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  13. Okay. I have a ton.

    YA- Tahn by L.A. Kelly...The Dopple Ganger Chronicles (which is also a graphic novel) by G.P. Taylor...

    Historic Fiction- Hang A Thousand Trees By Ribbon by Ann Rinaldi...Stand of Glory by Tim Stafford...

    Fantasy/YA- The Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer (who is an Irish Author if that interests you)...I loved this series when I was a kid...Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul...I remember liking the first one a lot.

    And that's all I can think of...for now.

  14. I read the first Artemis Fowl book but I didn't continue on after that and I'm not sure why. I think it was because I was so immersed in Harry Potter and didn't want to get involved with another series until I'd finished the one I was on. Dunno.

    Great suggestions. I didn't read your review of Out of the Silent Planet because of the spoiler warning, but I'm adding that to my TBR as well.

  15. Woot! Good for you. It was really good. The whole series is pretty much about what makes a human a human. Crazy cool I think. You don't see or hear of many novels that go that deep into any kind of theological thinking.

  16. Oh and I meant STAMP of Glory. Sorry :/

  17. Also the spoiler really isn't that bad. I don't tell the ending. But I tell a few key points in the book.

  18. I still think I'll wait until after I read the book to read your review. I'm really curious about what you've said about it, but I don't want to influence my own reading of the book. I'm weird like that. I won't read a review of a movie or a book that I'm interested in until I've experienced it for myself.

  19. Oh great! Well I can't wait to hear you review on it :]