I need suggestions for library books
July 2, 2012 12:10 PM   Subscribe

Help me pick out what books to check out from the library next. (Snowflake details inside.)

Howdy Hive Mind,

I'm taking a trip to the library later this week, and I need some ideas for library books to check out. Here is a partial list of books I have liked in the past:

-The Lost City of Z
-The Hunger Games Series
-Under the Banner of Heaven
-Memoirs of a Geisha
-Bel Canto
-A Visit from the Goon Squad
-The Game of Throne Series
-The Sex Lives of Cannibals
-Kosher Chinese

I am definitely interested in reading in fiction or non-fiction. I like YA literature, but I would like to stay away from mystery, romance, and horror.

I will be visiting a fairly large DC library, so they will probably have a copy or two of whatever you have in mind.

Thanks for your suggestions, Hive Mind!
posted by emilynoa to Writing & Language (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
- Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
- Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
- Arcadia by Lauren Groff
- Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo
- Ape House by Sara Gruen
-The Sharing Knife series by Lois McMaster Bujold (actually I prefer her Vorkosigan series, but it is science fiction, which you don't mention liking; the Sharing Knife series is fantasy-ish)
- A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
- Triangle by Katharine Weber
- The World According to Garp by John Irving
- Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
posted by Kriesa at 12:24 PM on July 2, 2012

You may want to check out GoodReads. It's a great site -- once you rate some titles you've enjoyed in the past, it will (mighty accurately, if I do say so myself) recommend books that are right up your literary alley.
posted by Falwless at 12:28 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Looks to me like you'd be into Teenage Girl Deals with Extinction Level Event Lit. The Age of Miracles, a litfic take on the subject, came out last week and was highly anticipated, so it may not be available. Life As We Knew It, a YA take, has two sequels and I liked it more, though YMMV.
posted by gnomeloaf at 12:29 PM on July 2, 2012

If you liked Bel Canto have you read Ann Patchett's other work?

You have a couple travelogue/memoir things in there. Have you ever read T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom or the Lawrence of Arabia: The Authorised Biography of T. E. Lawrence by Jeremy Wilson?

There is also a Metafilter group on GoodReads.
posted by Wretch729 at 12:29 PM on July 2, 2012

If you liked A Visit from the Goon Squad you might like Super Sad True Love Story-- set in NYC, written in the last couple years, great plot, interesting narrative voice(s).

If you liked Under the Banner of Heaven and similar journalistic non-fiction, try Postville- a Clash of Cultures in the Heartland of America-- really interesting take on a surprising diverse farm town in Iowa.

And if you like Game of Thrones, try Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss-- another epic fantasy quest type book. Part one of what's sure to be many.

Also seconding Goodreads!
posted by juliaem at 12:31 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can very much recommend the Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones books ... except that I can also guarantee you won't find a single available copy, no matter how large the library. (The NYPL, for example.) You're going to need to reserve A Game of Thrones, the first book in the series, then wait for months. If the books sound like they're at all what you might be interested in, buy the first four from Amazon; $20 for 4,000 pages is cheap.
posted by ylee at 12:32 PM on July 2, 2012

Oh, I'm an idiot and misread your list. Ignore what I wrote above, please!
posted by ylee at 12:33 PM on July 2, 2012

Oh and a comment on Kriesa's Bujold recomendation- I love love love Bujold but found the Sharing knnife books were not my favorite (the whole dynamic between the protagonists was off-putting to me, but it could just be me. Her fivefold pathway books (Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls, and The Hallowed Hunt) are better fantasy IMHO.
posted by Wretch729 at 12:33 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I also liked Prep and can recommend I Am Charlotte Simmons and The Secret History if you're in a campus novel mood.
posted by jabes at 12:37 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

oh and also Skippy Dies.
posted by jabes at 12:38 PM on July 2, 2012

In line with The Hunger Games I would recommend Divergent. There are two books so far of a 3 book series. Everyone that I have had read them has loved them.

Nthing Goodreads. Not only do they make great suggestions based on your likes and dislikes, I find it very helpful to go through when I am considering starting something new, and reading the synopsis and reviews. Although I will say that those "star rating" of some books can be misleading. I have read some awful books because they were rated highly on Goodreads, then gone through and read the reviews later to find that the kinds of people that gave positive reviews were obviously not my type.

I also really liked the Fever series.
posted by Quincy at 12:57 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you get a chance, try to ask someone at the library for suggestions. Many library workers are trained in readers' advisory, which is the art of answering questions like these.
posted by box at 1:41 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks for your help everyone! I will definitely check out Goodreads. :)

@ juliaem I have read Super Sad True Love Story and The Name of the Wind-- I liked both a whole lot.
posted by emilynoa at 4:46 PM on July 2, 2012

Another really amazing, dense-in-the-best-way, smart, engrossing YA trilogy is the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. The first book is The Knife of Never Letting Go, and it's definitely worth putting on hold if it's checked out!
posted by itsamermaid at 5:02 PM on July 2, 2012

What do you like about those books? More specifically, what are the last TWO OR THREE good books you read and what specifically did you like about them? Plot? Setting? Tone? Characters/Character development?
posted by 1000monkeys at 5:46 PM on July 2, 2012

Seconding box's suggestion to as a librarian. If you're going to a fairly large library, as you mentioned, ask where the Reader's Advisory librarian is and talk to them. They'll not only be able to give you good suggestions for books that are available, they'll *love* that you're even asking and by happy to help you.

Personally, I'd recommend:
Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Columbine by Dave Cullen

Might seem like a random list but I'm basing it on what I know people who have liked the books you listed also liked -- including myself for the ones I've read. I'm not the biggest fan of Jon Krakauer, but the people I know who love his books, love ALL of his books pretty much.

Good luck! Let us know what you decide on, too. :-)
posted by INTPLibrarian at 6:14 PM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Based on your list I can almost (not quite but almost) bet that the book you're hungry for is Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
posted by Mchelly at 8:20 PM on July 2, 2012

Prep reminded me a bit of Special Topics in Calamity Physics and The Secret History (the narrators are outsiders at elite schools) and, oddly, of The Last Werewolf (similar narrator/tone).
posted by zoetrope at 8:29 AM on July 3, 2012

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