"If You Liked" Reading Lists for Grown-Ups

Last week, someone on Facebook asked for a reading recommendation, and I wrote a list of titles so long I had to stop and ice my knuckles.  

No, not really. In fact, I just barely TOUCHED that comments section. Then a couple days ago, I saw the librarians at our library have posted the kind of "If you liked ____ , you might also like ____!" lists I sometimes find helpful. I thought: I will make some of those, too! It will be fun, oh so fun, and no one on Facebook need suffer if they aren't interested! So here we go:

IF YOU  LIKED

 

THE COVE by Ron Rash

The Cove is part mystery, and has a kind of gothic feeling to it. It takes place in North Carolina during WWII, and follows a brother and sister who have been shunned by their community because the neighbors think the family is cursed. 

THEN YOU MIGHT LIKE

 

MR. SPLITFOOT by Samantha Hunt 

This novel is creepy and unpredictable. The plot line switches between the childhood of Ruth and Nat, two foster children who meet in a less-than-ideal group home, and a later era, when Ruth is on a strange, fraught journey with her niece, Cora.  

SALVAGE THE BONES by Jesmyn Ward 

Ward does this thing where she gets four or five different lines of tension pulling the reader through the story. The setting is rural Mississippi, just before Katrina strikes. The characters are sympathetic and interesting. 

THE OUTLANDER by Gil Adamson

This novel is set in 1903 in the American west. I’ve never rooted so hard for a murderess.

 

IF YOU  LIKED

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STATE OF WONDER by Ann Patchett

This novel follows Dr. Marina Singh, who travels to the rain forest in Brazil to investigate the death of a coworker conducting research there.  

THEN YOU MIGHT LIKE

EUPHORIA by Lily King

This story is set in the 1930s. It’s about three anthropologists living near New Guinea and studying the native tribes there. The anthropologists uncover the secrets of the tribes they study, and the secrets of their own lives are revealed, too. The love plot line is heartbreaking and believable.

LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkinson

The structure of this story is unusual--it follows the life, or lives, really, of the main character, Ursula Todd. In the book, her life starts over and over again; when events or mistakes lead to the end of her life, it begins anew and an alternate path unfolds. The ending is one we’ve all wished for at one time or another.

 

IF YOU LIKED

 

 

WOOL by Hugh Howey
It’s a post-apocalyptic sci-fi story about human beings who live in an underground silo.

THEN YOU MIGHT LIKE

THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M.R. Carey

A post-apocalyptic story that moves along at a clip. It's about a girl who is . . . different. I liked the ending.

THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin

This novel has a rapid, tense, they're-coming-to-get-you story line. Perfect vacation book. At least, for people who like to read about a dark, monster-ridden, post-apocalyptic world during their vacations.

IF YOU  LIKED

THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH by Richard Flanagan 

This story follows a surgeon named Dorrigo Evans and his company of soldiers who suffer in a Japanese POW camp. Portions of the novel also take place in Australia before and after the war.

THEN YOU MIGHT LIKE

MATTERHORN by Karl Marlantes

This is a book about the Vietnam war, and I don’t think it could have been written if the author hadn’t experienced it himself. The descriptions are vivid. It kept me up at night.

NOTHING TO ENVY by Barbara Demick

This title is different from all the others on this list so far because it is nonfiction. This book follows the lives of citizens of North Korea who begin as true believers and end as defectors. They give accounts of the incredible and terrible circumstance of living in North Korea. It seems impossible that a regime such as this should exist in modern times. 

IF YOU LIKE SHORT STORIES HERE ARE SOME STRAIGHT UP RECOMMENDATIONS

ORIENTATION AND OTHER STORIES by Daniel Orozco

The range of topics Orozco covers --from temporary office workers to presidents in exile--is impressive and interesting. I'm a fan.

THE TENTH OF DECEMBER by George Saunders

This is a rare thing: a short story collection, with each story so good it is hard to put down.  There are some dystopian stories, some more traditional, all from really interesting points of view. I also laughed aloud now and then, speaking of rare.