Can you recommend some well-written page turners?
October 16, 2021 10:15 AM   Subscribe

My mom likes well-written books that aren't too heavy. Previous question here.

I've bought her many books recommended in the 2018 question and a prior 2015 question. She's liked almost all of them and looks forward to my Christmas gifts every year. I have not been taking particular note of what's she's liked in the past couple of years, but I do remember she liked Eleanor Oliphant, A Gentleman in Moscow, and The House in the Cerulean Sea.
posted by Mavri to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Pillars of the Earth is a classic. A novel that covers a lifetime. Easy and enjoyable to read.

John Irving is highly regarded. His book A Prayer For Owen Meany is a contemporary classic
posted by jander03 at 10:32 AM on October 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

Has she read Sara Paretsky's VI Warshawski novels? They have a bit of a social justice bent to them, but are page turning mystery novels. I think they're excellent.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:32 AM on October 16, 2021 [4 favorites]

I'm currently reading Black Buck (link is to a review) and it's light and engaging.
posted by hoyland at 10:46 AM on October 16, 2021

Best answer: How about the new book from Amon Townes who wrote a Gentleman in Moscow, Lincoln Highway?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:57 AM on October 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

The author of The House in the Cerulean Sea has a new book out, Under the Whispering Door, and while it’s not connected to his other book it has a similar feel, I recommend it.
posted by lepus at 10:59 AM on October 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Maybe Richard Osman's Thursday Murder Club
posted by crocomancer at 12:30 PM on October 16, 2021 [5 favorites]

I recently got sucked into The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:10 PM on October 16, 2021

I just finished reading The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani and I loved it.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 1:35 PM on October 16, 2021

Liane Moriarty’s books are well written but not weighty.

Has she read Anne Tyler?
posted by Kriesa at 6:45 PM on October 16, 2021

A few possibilities:

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke and The Magicians by Lev Grossman are both exceptionally well-written fantasy novels.

Scott Turow taught creative writing at Stanford before going to law school, and his novels tend to be cleverly plotted legal thrillers written in excellent prose. Presumed Innocent is my favorite. (Warning: the legal case in question is about a sexually violent murder.)

Finally, pretty much any time anybody asks for a book recommendation of any sort, I suggest Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. It's witty, lighthearted, and sweet without being schmaltzy.
posted by yankeefog at 1:23 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Queens of Crime are a good go-to for this. Through 2020 I read all of Ngaio Marsh's detective novels for the first time - they're crime, but usually erring towards 'cosy crime' and she is both a good writer and someone with a big store of cultural capital, so there's a lot of bonus material hidden in the works about art, theatre, culture clashes, etc. Most set in the UK but some in New Zealand too for some overseas perspectives. I also sometimes have to go to the dictionary and look up a word she's using, so it's widened my vocabulary.

The real bonus is that if your mum likes them there's a very long back catalogue to work through, should see you through a few birthdays & xmases!
posted by AFII at 2:39 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Luigi's Freedom Ride is rather wonderful. I was unable to resist reading it in a single sitting.
posted by flabdablet at 7:58 AM on October 17, 2021

Although relatively unknown, Ross Lockridge's "Raintree County" is a splendid novel, beautifully written with many passages of prose that's as good as poetry. Read about it here.
posted by ragtimepiano at 2:03 PM on October 17, 2021

Best answer: Non-fiction: Maybe you should talk to someone by Lori Gotlieb

It has some racial tension, but it isn't super-heavy: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

A great modern novel about family: All adults here by Emma Straub

And for something that was delightful to read, but slightly different: Storm Glass by Jeff Wheeler. It's the first in a series. It takes place in another world, but isn't completely fantasy.
posted by hydra77 at 7:10 PM on October 17, 2021

I've just read, and thoroughly enjoyed, The Miracles of the Namiya General Store by Keigo Higashino. I agree completely with this review. I enjoy the author's clever, twisty crime novels; this shares their cleverness, plus it's beautifully constructed and it left me with a smile on my face.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:11 AM on October 18, 2021

Best answer: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Bachman
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
posted by yawper at 6:44 AM on October 18, 2021

I was also going to recommend Richard Osman's Thursday Murder Club. There is now a second in the series, The Man Who Died Twice. They are lots of fun, with great characters.
posted by ceejaytee at 8:22 AM on October 18, 2021

Seconding A Man Called Ove.
posted by hydra77 at 10:31 AM on October 18, 2021

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