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Ten On Tuesday

Last summer we had a Ten On Tuesday topic for 10 books you wanted to read over the summer. That was fun but we had no way of knowing if any of those books were actually good reads. Therefore, with a little prodding from Ruth, this week’s topic is 10 Books You Would Recommend to a Friend.

Before I start my list, though, I want to tell you about why I usually like a book. I went to a library conference a few years ago and attended a lecture by Nancy Pearl. She is a well known reader’s advisory expert and she said that people read for 4 major things: character, language, story or setting. As she explained the concept behind this I quickly realized that I am someone who reads for the setting. I want descriptions. I want to feel like I’m actually in the book. If someone in the book I’m reading is in the desert I am going to feel thirsty.  If someone in the book is cold, I’ll grab a blanket. Hungry, I’m going to want a snack. You get the idea, right? I also enjoy good character development, interesting language, and an intriguing plot but my overriding attraction to a book is going to be based on a great setting. I truly believe that the books that become blockbusters are the ones that include all 4 attractions because they will then have universal appeal. Okay, enough explaining, let’s get on with list.

  1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Pass the peanuts.
  2. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Sad but sweet and not at all what you’d expect from the title.
  3. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Dale and Hannah and I have all read this and we all loved it.
  4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Has anyone not read this yet? If you haven’t then read it now before the movie comes out in August.
  5. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Vampires. Need I say more?
  6. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. A great Gothic novel with a shocking plot twist.
  7. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I probably wouldn’t recommend this to a man but it’s a wonderful story.
  8. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I swear I could hear and smell the fire in Smyrna.
  9. The Little Friend by Donna Tartt. Break out the sweet tea while you read this one.
  10. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. I don’t care for Science Fiction at all but this is a fabulous books.

As a librarian, I recommend books to people every day.  As an avid reader, I would highly recommend any one of these books to a friend.

This Post Has 39 Comments

  1. Ah, that makes a lot of sense. I read for character, language, and story more than setting myself. My favorites all have really strong interesting characters and are relatively light on the description.

  2. so many things to add to my reading list. The Help is sitting on my table to be started as soon as I finish Winner of the National Book Award. I can’t wait to start it.

  3. Interesting. I’ve read only two on your list, “The Help” (which I didn’t like although I’m unable to explain why not) and “The Red Tent.” Diamant lives here on Cape Ann in the summer and is frequently spotted around and about. Have you liked any of her subsequent books?

  4. 1,3,4,7, and 8 were great reads! I am putting the rest on my list.

    Nancy Pearl’s observation is interesting. I’m not sure which of the four I would prioritize, but most often I think it is character.

  5. Thanks for the suggestions – I’ve read “The Help” and “Water for Elephants” and enjoy both immensely. I’ve made a list of the rest and am off to the local library. 🙂

  6. Great list… I have read five of them. I just downloaded a few sample on my Nook of your other suggestions. My favorite author of late is Kate Morton. I have read all three of her books. Her latest is The Distant Hours…fantastic book and I could not put it down!!! Thanks for the great list.

  7. Wow, I’ve read every single one of these! Great list. Can’t wait to start my summer reading – just finished “Someone Knows My Name” by Lawrence Hill…a worthy read.

  8. I think it is also interesting that only one book out of the ten on your list was written by a man. Do you think that the author’s “voice” may contribute to your enjoying of the book as well?

  9. Ooooh, I’m going to be checking out suggestions from everyone. My reading shelf is a little thin at the moment. Just finished “True Compass” by Edward Kennedy. It was very interesting, and well written.

  10. Great list … can’t wait to hop on the library website & add some of them to my hold list! Loved The Help, Water for Elephants, and Glass Castle. Hmmmmm, I wonder who recommended those to me? Hehe! I read for character and setting, never really gave it a thought before though. Learn something new every day 😉 Thanks for another great topic, Carole!

  11. Love sharing book thoughs Carole:
    Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. ANything by him: ANgle of Repose
    Beryl Markhams writings
    Barbara Kingsolver: Animal Kingdom, Bean TRees etc

    Currently readign MODOC an elephant story

  12. I loved the 13th Tale. That was a great twist at the end! Another good gothic read is A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick. I ran out of space to add it to my list 🙂

  13. Hmm…read three of these, own one more. Loved the comment on voice above– I definitely feel more drawn to books written by women. Have you noticed something odd in books by men– I read two in a row (the last was Cold Mountain) where a female character became a lifelong celibate after an intense coupling with the man she loved…whom she then lost tragically. Dream on /:)

  14. I agree with nearly every book on your list. I’m caught up in a reading spree at the moment and enjoying book after book. Great subject!

  15. great list – I’ve read a bunch of those. i will have to try “The Historian.” i went through a phase of vampire books, but they were mostly young adult! thanks for the great topic this week!

  16. LOVED The Help on audio book. The setting was definitely a character in the book and the readers dialect established that for me. I just bought Lacuna by Kingsolver. Your list is wonderful; I’ve either read several or have them on my shelf to read with exception to #9 and #10. Thank you for the suggestions. I’d like to suggest Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but this is a visual experience, so don’t make it an audio book.

  17. I have read all but The History of Love and The Sparrow, which I will have to check out. I would agree with all of them,

  18. Well, I’ve been putting off a trip to the library, cause I’m out of the loop, so now I have my list – thanks!

    Also, I was out of town and away from my computer and missed your anniversary last week. So, belated Happy Anniversary to you both. Sounds like you enjoyed it!

  19. Water for Elephants & The Historian are my faves on your list. But I AM bookmarking this page so I can read a few of them on there I haven’t touched yet (The History of Love).

  20. The only one on your list that I’ve read is #7 and I loved it. The story and characters in a book are very important to me but the setting is what sets some books apart as especially memorable. I remember reading the JP Beaumont books by JA Jance years ago and loving them and feeling like I was there, on the streets of Seattle with the detective. I met a friend who was from there and got such a kick hearing that the places that came alive in the pages really were exactly as I imagined them.

  21. I just put ‘The Thirteenth Tale’ on hold with my local library (how appropriate is that?!) after reading your list.
    You listed 2 I would list- The Help, and The Red Tent.
    Have you read The Moon Under Her Feet ? How about Mary Stewart’s Merlin books, The Crystal Cave, etc. ? Oldies but if you missed them somehow, then worth the adventure!

  22. Thank you, a great list to add to mine. I am currently reading Water for Elephants, just started it. And I have read The Glass Castle which after I finished it, seemed to stay with me for a while and I could not start another book right away. I guess, I like my books for the story and the characters. It’s going to be a great summer to read. Thanks for the topic this week.

  23. I adored The History of Love and each time I’ve read it (three times, I think), it’s left me with a huge smile on my face, both for the conclusion to the story and the unique structure of the ending. Love it. I really liked The Thirteenth Tale, too, and keep hoping the author will write something else, soon!

  24. Heh! I have read #1 – 9 of your books and heartily agree. Clearly, I must read #10. By Nancy Pearl’s definition, I read for character. If I don’t like the characters, the book is OVAH.

  25. oh wow – I’m so glad you’ve read – and loved – nicole krauss’ history of love. that is one of my all-time favorite books! you’ve given me a few new recommendations, too – thanks!

  26. What a great list, Carole! I love so many of the books that you’ve included (especially Middlesex, History of Love, The Little Friend, and The Red Tent!). I always trust the recommendations of librarians. . . so I’m adding a couple of others to my to-read list.

  27. I second Kathy’s suggestion of Crossing to Safety. Loved that book! And don’t forget The Liars’ Club. A must-read.

  28. Thanks so much for this list! I really enjoyed your list and others. I made a list for myself to check out several books. 🙂

  29. I had an idea for a 10 on Tuesday topic and wasn’t sure where I should share it with you (or as a more recent reader wasn’t sure if it had been done. 10 foods that you can no longer get that you wish would be brought back. (Think things like Tab…) The nostalgia foods of our childhood/young adult hood

  30. I also love The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell and its sequel Children of God. I love nonfiction. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is amazing and poignant.

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