Seeking fiction recommendations--what's your favorite?
August 28, 2019 1:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for books to read!

Normally I have an elaborate system of weights and pulleys that helps me decide what I want to read next, but I'm sick of that. I like 99% percent of the books I read and I will read things from any genre. So why not Ask Metafilter? Tell me your favorite fiction book and I'll read it!
posted by zeusianfog to Writing & Language (32 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Last fiction book I read and really enjoyed was Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty
posted by Balthamos at 2:24 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]

Seven Blades in Black (Amazon Link) by Sam Sykes.

Fantasy Magic Gunslinger takes on the world. Great mix of adventure, action, humour and swearing. Also, Jeff.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 2:27 PM on August 28

I just finished rereading Practical Magic, which I absolutely adore.
posted by skycrashesdown at 2:33 PM on August 28

Station Eleven
posted by sacrifix at 2:38 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]

Since you said favorite, I’ll just name one: The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham.
posted by FencingGal at 2:55 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]

The Caine Mutiny!

It's not at all my usual genre of book, as I'm a real swords & spells nerd, but weirdly my favourite.
posted by euphoria066 at 3:17 PM on August 28

My favorite book of all is Dracula.

My favorite book I've read so far this year is A Conspiracy of Truths by Alexandra Rowland.

And, because I recommend her work at every feasible opportunity, I will also mention The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge, because it is just so good.
posted by darchildre at 3:38 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]

I recently read the hell out of and 100% enjoyed two trilogies:

1. The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer, which is a heavily stylized and somewhat nonlinear sci-fi exploration of a strange phenomenon and a handful of point-of-view characters somewhere on Earth, with some mild body horror elements and interesting examinations of character perspective and identity, and

2. The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin, which is a heavily stylized and somewhat nonlinear fantasy exploration of a immanently catastrophic geological scenario and a handful of point-of-view characters somewhere on maybe? future? Earth, with some mild body horror elements and interesting examinations of character perspective and identity.

They otherwise have essentially nothing in common but both are very good. Former is more Cronenbergian, latter is more in the socially-conscious vibe of e.g. Butler or Le Guin.
posted by cortex at 3:41 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]

Sorry, there's no way I can pick just one:

Delta Wedding - Eudora Welty
Sometimes a Great Notion - Ken Kesey
The Living - Annie Dillard
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell - Susanna Clarke
Moominpappa at Sea - Tove Jansson (a kids' book that is probably better appreciated by adults)
posted by Redstart at 3:45 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]

I will nominate two recent SFF books/series that I think need more attention (fair disclosure, the authors are friends of each other and Internet acquaintances of mine, but I would recommend them heartily based on quality alone):

The Waters of Time series by Erica H. Smith, now four books and counting: employees of a near-future time travel company and the things that happen to them in the 22nd century-present, 18th-century England and proto-America, 17th-century (forgotten the exact dates) Netherlands and Malaysia, WWII France and more. Tea, art, literature, sex, religion, politics, you name it. Exquisite writing, characterization and plotting, now waiting on the edge of my seat for book five.

Ryswyck by L.D. Inman: students at a fantasy military school become pivotal in an ongoing war, taking on issues of courtesy, honor, tactics, friendship, boundaries and more in the process. Not quite like anything else I've read.
posted by huimangm at 4:39 PM on August 28

If you want something immersive, challenging and interesting, try King Hereafter by Dorothy Dunnett, which is about the (now-disproven) theory that the historical king MacBeth was also the historical Viking leader Thorfinn, and how that happened. It's incredibly well-written but also dense with historical and literary allusions, and occasionally heartbreaking.

It's also a one-off, if Dunnett's other series put you off.
posted by suelac at 5:05 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]

Have you read Dickens as an adult (or, more specifically, without having it assigned to you in a class you didn't enjoy)? If you haven't, try Little Dorrit, which is a funny, sad, frequently infuriating book that also felt very modern to me.
posted by Polycarp at 5:07 PM on August 28

I really loved Kate Atkinson's A God In Ruins.
posted by Chairboy at 5:09 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was the most recent book I loved enough to hug on finishing it.
posted by Flannery Culp at 5:17 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]

Written On The Body by Jeanette Winterson
posted by kyrademon at 5:18 PM on August 28

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is a book that has stayed with me. One of my all-time favorites.

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie won the Booker of Bookers for a reason.
posted by peacheater at 5:36 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed the "Memory Man" series of books by David Baldacci.

You say you like almost everything, so you might want to at least read reviews of the "Borrowed World" series by Franklin Horton. It's about preppers but I found it interesting from the standpoint of looking at the many assumptions (or dependencies if you will) surrounding our normal daily life.

I also found Daemon and Freedom books by Daniel Suarez books to be engaging.
posted by forthright at 6:20 PM on August 28

The best book I've read recently was Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. It's the story of the First Son (his mom is president) and a British prince who go from enemies to lovers, and the complications that ensue. It's just delightful and I enjoyed the hell out of it.
posted by mogget at 6:40 PM on August 28

It will surprise no one who knows me to learn that I keep track of what I've read in spreadsheets.

The best things I've read this year:

Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell. I just love his work generally.

The final volume of Martha Wells' award-winning Murderbot novellas. Seriously, these are some great SF. The first one is All Systems Red.

Magic for Liars, by Sarah Gailey. Murder mystery in a magic school; it's like adult Harry Potter, but way better.

Last year (2018), my favorites were probably Sing, Unburied, Sing (Jesmyn Ward) and The Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehead).

I know you said fiction, but also:

Spies in the Family, by Eva Dillon. Dillon's father Paul was a CIA officer who ran, among other, TOPHAT, the most highly placed Soviet source the US ever had. TOPHAT was concerned the Kremlin might rush to war out of fear the west was outpacing the east, and he sought to prevent that by sharing secrets with us. He took no compensation. That alone is pretty fascinating, but her perspective of growing up with a spy for a dad is pretty great, PLUS she found and collaborated with TOPHAT's son (now a US citizen) so as to include memories of their family life as well. It's pretty great all around.

Heavy, by Kiese Laymon. Every good thing you've read about this is true.
posted by uberchet at 7:00 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]

(Mogget, my wife just read that, and loved it too.)
posted by uberchet at 7:00 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]

Lagoon by Dr. Nnedi Okorafor

Amazing blend of characters, cities, animals, creatures, aliens, spirits, and much much more.
posted by nickggully at 7:03 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante is the book I've been recommending of late. So, so good.
posted by SisterHavana at 7:06 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]

Latest novel that I really loved was Morvern Callar by Alan Warner. I'd seen the Lynne Ramsay/Samantha Morton film in university and hadn't cared about it much, but I happened to buy the novel at random a few months ago and have already read it twice.

Also, I misheard my wife saying the title the other day and now we're planning to name a kitten Muffin Crawler.
posted by Beardman at 7:25 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]

McTeague, by Frank Norris, which I can't believe hasn't been made into a movie by the Coen Bros.
posted by Miss T.Horn at 8:10 PM on August 28

Little, Big by John Crowley is my favorite book right next to 100 Years of Solitude and the Riddle Master of Hed trilogy by Patricia Mckillip.

Every single thing Martha Wells has ever written is what I have read lately and loved. Just adored. Can’t believe I didn’t find them earlier. I will say though that while everyone is raving about Murderbot - and don’t get me wrong, they are excellent - I actually loved the Raksura books more.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:42 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]

Becky Chambers’s Wayfarers series (Amazon)
posted by Syllepsis at 9:50 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]

The most important fiction writer in the world to me is Olga Tokarczuk. If you want to give her work a try, Primeval and Other Times is a great place to start.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:15 PM on August 28

(There's a well-regarded film adaptation of Morvern Caller as well, from 2002, starring Samantha Morton and Kathleen McDermott.)
posted by uberchet at 6:09 AM on August 29

The Orphan's Tales - In the Night Garden is the most beautiful book I've ever read. It manages to be both direct and achingly lovely.
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:54 AM on August 29

I have lost count of the number of times I've read Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel.

Same with Three Farmers on their Way to a Dance, by Richard Powers.

And I am pretty sure that this will eventually be the case with Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward.
posted by janey47 at 1:11 PM on August 30

Every heart a doorway by Seanan McGuire.
posted by Margalo Epps at 2:31 PM on September 3

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