What book should I read next?
January 30, 2014 6:18 PM   Subscribe

I need help deciding what book/books I should read next and I thought I'd query the hive mind! Details about recent favorites inside.

The last five books I loved were:
"On Beauty" by Zadie Smith for its provocative, insightful and witty prose.
"A Visit From The Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan for its effortless ability to weave together so many stories into a cohesive whole.
"Trouble on Triton" by Samuel Delany for its hilarious depiction of a naturally uptight conservative lost in a far-future heterotopia.
"John Henry Days" by Colson Whitehead for its fascinating, decade-spanning approach to its themes.
"No One Belongs Here More Than You" by Miranda July for its characters' vividly realized fantasy lives.
posted by zeusianfog to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like you love wide-thrown, long-spanning novels with a science fiction twist, so how about "Cloud Atlas"?
posted by xingcat at 6:26 PM on January 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

I read and loved #1 and #5, have loved other things by Whitehead and Delany. Based on this I think you're going to like the book I'm reading right now, "How should a person be?" by Sheila Heti, which is extremely well-written and frank about sex (like the Smith) and sort of offbeat/twee/thinky (like the July) and funny (like both the Smith and the July.) Enjoy!
posted by escabeche at 6:27 PM on January 30, 2014

A good one is Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi, it's a novel but almost more like a collection of short stories woven together. Her writing style is gorgeous. I also liked A Visit From the Goon Squad and No One Belongs Here More Than You so maybe we have similar tastes.
posted by everydayanewday at 6:29 PM on January 30, 2014

Oh and I forgot - I also suggest The Tenth of December by George Saunders, which actually is a collection of short stories.
posted by everydayanewday at 6:31 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Erasure, by Percival Everett
posted by janey47 at 6:53 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine
posted by gladly at 6:57 PM on January 30, 2014

I've only read 1, 2 and 4 but loved them all. Based on those books, I'd suggest:

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (this one may be a stretch based on your list - most of the works you listed are more modern in tone and feel - but it's a gorgeous book with a great mix of fantasy and history so it might click for you too)

and Seconding Cloud Atlas.
posted by Mchelly at 7:00 PM on January 30, 2014

I will point you in a general and fun direction for your next several reads. For the past ten years, each spring, themorningnews has hosted a tongue in cheek book prize competition called the Tournament of Books, ne The Rooster. Several of the books on your list have been featured in the past.

The link takes you to this year's list of finalists. All were published last year, but the website also links to past tournaments where you will find brief and lively reviews/synopses of the contenders.

There is a bit of a prejudice toward literary fiction, and there are always some heavy hitters like the booker or nba winner, but there are also some real gems and nice surprises.

I've read a few from this year already. If you want to skip that fun but still have your mind blown, try either Long Division or Hill William
posted by OHenryPacey at 7:49 PM on January 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. Like Jennifer Egan (and I recommend her other novels as well), he weaves together many disparate narratives and story lines into the driving plot of why Skippy died. Like his first book too, the characters and setting are deeply realized, and I love the energy and immersion into the boys boarding school.

Seconding A Super Sad True Love Story.

As for short stories, I love Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff for her gorgeous and thoughtful prose. Also, style and plot-wise Karen Russell's stories might be up your alley.
posted by book 'em dano at 12:56 AM on January 31, 2014

Oh and An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender, who is more well-known for her short stories. But this novel hits the quirky and surreal spot.
posted by book 'em dano at 1:02 AM on January 31, 2014

Many (well, more than a few) public libraries do web-based reader's advisory, and it is often open to people who live outside the library's service area. The Seattle Public Library's Your Next 5 Books is one such service.
posted by box at 4:33 AM on January 31, 2014

The Secret History. Absolutely gorgeous prose, and thoroughly engrossing.
posted by sarcasticah at 12:06 PM on January 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is experimental and smart, but it's still written in a very engaging style. It sounds like a perfect fit for you.
posted by libraritarian at 12:59 PM on January 31, 2014

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