Thursday, December 15, 2016

I Can’t Believe I’m Saying This, But I Need Book Recommendations


My reading tastes are kind of eclectic. It can be difficult for me to find good books about topics that interest me. I thought I’d ask you guys for help because the book blogosphere knows everything about books. Let me know if you have recommendations for books in these categories.


In 2017, I want to read . . .



1. Classic children’s books. “Children’s” can mean anything from picture books to young adult. If you have kids, which classic stories would you want them to read?


2. Non-dense fantasy. Fantasy is a genre I struggle with. I’ve never been able to finish Lord of the Rings or a Brandon Sanderson book because I can’t make myself care enough about the plot or characters to get through the dense worldbuilding. I like V.E. Schwab’s fantasy books. If I like those, what else should I read? Something quirky and violent.


3. Books set during the bubonic plague. Fiction or nonfiction. I want to know what life was like in the 14th century. I’m especially interested in European religions during this time. I want to know about the flagellant movement, the massacre of the Jews, and the Catholic Church’s reaction to the plague. (This doesn't sound morbid at all, does it?)


4. Newbery winners. This award has been around since the 1920s, so there are many winners. I’ve already read a bunch of them, and I have a bunch more to go. Help me prioritize. Some of my favorites are The Twenty-One Balloons, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Bridge to Terabithia, The Giver, Holes, and Walk Two Moons.


5. Fiction about ancient people. Like, really ancient. Neanderthals or early humans. I already have The Clan of the Cave Bear.


6. Novels-in-verse. Every modern novel-in-verse I’ve read has been written by Ellen Hopkins. It’s time to expand my horizons. Who are some other authors who write really good novels-in-verse?


7. #OwnVoices graphic novels. I’m especially interested in memoirs, but fiction is okay, too.


8. Children’s stories from non-English-speaking places. I’m looking for English translations of traditional children’s stories from around the world. Is there an anthology of these stories somewhere?


9. Horror recent releases. I spent 2016 reading classic horror and didn’t pay much attention to recent horror. What are some good scary books that have come out in the past few years?


10. Nonfiction about old religions. I want to know about old religions, preferably ones that are obscure or no longer practiced. I’d also read fiction about old religions if it’s well-researched.


11. Nonfiction wilderness survival stories or travel stories. Well-written true stories about people who have done extreme things. Books like Wild by Cheryl Strayed or the survival stuff that Jon Krakauer writes.


12. Nonfiction about royalty behaving badly. Maybe I’ve watched too much Game of Thrones, but I want to know about real life royal scandals and murders. Real life is always more twisted than fiction, right?


13. Young adult books set in the 1940s and 1950s. I'd rather not have the books be about WWII, though. I've already read a ton of those. I'm interested in how teenagers lived during these decades.


14. LGBT young adult books. No "coming out" stories or romances. I'm trying to find books about teens who happen to be LGBT but are doing something unrelated to sexuality. Do those books exist?


15. Young adult books from small presses. I want to support small presses. Which ones are the best for YA? 



Thanks for your help!






43 comments:

  1. 1. James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl), The Fantastic Mr. Fox (Roald Dahl), The Westing Game (Ellen Raskin)

    4. The Westing Game (Ellen Raskin)

    11. Into the Wild (Jon Krakauer)
    (You might have read this already.)

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    1. Thanks! I read the Krakauer book a few years ago. I had the Roald Dahl books read to me as a kid, but I definitely need to read them myself. I added The Westing Game to my list.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. I am no help tp be honest but hope to see if you get any recs for #12!

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    1. Thanks! I’m hoping people have good recs for that category, too.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  3. Following Elliptical Man's format:

    1. Heidi (Johanna Spyri), which could also kinda work for #8; Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)

    2. "Guards, Guards! (Terry Pratchett), "The Blue Sword" (Robin McKinley

    3 and 5. No recs, but I'd love to hear about what you find. (I really like books about epidemics ...)

    7. Marbles (Ellen Forney)

    10. God is Not One (Stephen Prothero), which is about modern religions, but I hope might be interesting to you still. It includes a chapter about Yoruba, which I had never read about before.

    11. A Walk in the Woods (Bill Bryson), Endurance (Alfred Lansing) - highly recommended, Adrift (Steven Callhan)

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    1. Thanks! I just looked up God is Not One, and it sounds perfect! I read Heidi and Narnia as a kid, but I need to reread them. A Walk In The Woods is on my list. I’ll have to check out the others.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  4. In the royalty behaving badly category, Sex With Kings and Sex With The Queen by Eleanor Herman are books about royal infidelity and are really fun reads!

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    1. YES! Thank you so much! That’s exactly what I’m looking for. I added them to the list.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  5. Oh no! You don't like Brandon Sanderson?? *cries* Have you read his YA series Steelheart and The Rithmatist?


    I was so happy to see you got a copy of The Unintentional Time Traveler. Thanks for supporting small presses!
    For #14, I recommend The Marauders' Island by Tristan J. Tarwater. The protagonist is hinted at being bisexual or a lesbian, but it's not an important part of the story at all. This book has very positive LGBTQ rep! :)

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    1. I’ve only tried Sanderson’s adult fantasy, and I couldn’t get through it. His YA books would probably be more manageable for me.

      Thanks for reviewing The Unintentional Time Traveler. More blogs need to review books from small presses.

      I’ll check out The Marauders’ Island. It sounds exactly like what I’m looking for.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  6. Oooh, oooh, oooh! *Drops everything to work up a bunch of lists for you.* I'm supposed to be making dinner, but I will be back with suggestions for 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 14, and maybe 15. I really love the specificity of your requests!

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    1. LOL, I hope you got dinner made. The specificity probably comes from years of doing academic research. I know exactly what I need to read, but finding it is challenging.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  7. Brace yourself.

    1. Classic Children's Books
    Disclaimer: While I loved all these books, I haven't re-read many as an adult, so I'm not sure how they hold up.

    Kate Seredy: The Good Master and The Singing Tree
    Beverly Cleary's books
    The Long Secret (sequel to Harriet the Spy)
    Understood Betsy
    Heidi
    Trumpet of the Swan and Charlotte's Web (but not, I think, Stuart Little)
    the Anne of Green Gables books
    the Willoughby Chase books
    Little Women and Eight Cousins
    Holes
    Nightjohn
    Edward Eager's books
    E. Nesbit's books
    The Secret Garden and The Little Princess
    The Witch of Blackbird Pond
    The Hobbit
    E. L. Konigsburg's books
    Lassie Come Home
    the Paddington books
    Watership Down
    The Rescuers

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    1. Thank you! I loved Beverly Cleary and The Hobbit when I was younger. I had Heidi and Charlotte’s Web read to me when I was a kid, but I should read them for myself. I love Holes and Watership Down. The Witch of Blackbird Pond is on my TBR shelf right now. I’ll look up the rest.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  8. 2. Non-dense fantasy

    Robin LaFevers' His Fair Assassin series, which also talks about pre-Christian religion in northern France of the 1400s

    Graceling series
    Girl of Fire and Thorns series
    Poison by Bridget Zinn
    Margaret Whalen Turner's Attolia series
    The Scorpio Races
    Song of Sorcery
    Good Omens
    American Gods
    the City Watch sub series from the Discworld novels

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    1. Thank you! His Fair Assassin sounds perfect. People have recommended The Scorpio Races and American Gods to me a zillion times. That’s probably a hint that I should read them. I haven’t heard of most of the others on your list, which shows how little I know about fantasy.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  9. My favorite Newberys, besides the ones you mentioned, are below. Some of these are also classics, of course, or cross over into one of your other categories.

    Number the Stars
    From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Franken....
    The Graveyard Book
    The Westing Game
    Bud, Not Buddy
    The Midwife's Apprenstice
    When You Reach Me
    Caddie Woodlawn
    The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper (one won)
    The Hero and the Crown
    DIcey's Song (part of the Tillerman Cycle by Cynthia Voigt)
    Criss Cross
    Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
    The One and Only Ivan
    Ginger Pye
    Strawberry GIrl
    Thimble Summer
    Adam of the Road
    Roller Skates
    Dead End in Norvelt
    The Crossover
    Last Stop on Market Street

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thank you! I read Number the Stars and Bud, Not Buddy in middle school. They were assigned reading. I read The One and Only Ivan, The Graveyard Book, and Last Stop on Market Street in grad school. The Crossover and Adam of the Road are high on my TBR list.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  10. 6. Novels in Verse

    All the Broken Pieces
    Witness. Also anything else by Karen Hesse
    Make Lemonade and sequels
    Love that Dog/Hate that Cat
    The Crossover/Booked
    Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Sister Went Crazy
    Inside Out and Back AGain
    Locomotion
    May B
    Rhyme Schemer

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    1. Thank you! I haven’t heard of most of these. I own Witness but haven’t read it yet. The Crossover is on my TBR list. Inside Out & Back Again is another one I want to read. I’ll look up the rest.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    2. I didn't love the last four on my list as much as the rest of them. Overall, they're all a lot tamer than Hopkins--more MG than YA. But honestly, I think that Creech, Hesse, and Alexander all write better poetry than Hopkins. Not that I know diddly squat about poetry.

      Delete
  11. 7. Own Voices Graphic Novels

    anything written by Gene Luen Yang
    Little White Duck
    March
    The Silence of our Friends
    To Dance
    Honor Girl
    Tomboy
    Persepolis
    Monster (I actually prefer the graphic novel version)
    El Deafo
    Lowriders in Space

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    1. Thank you! I love Gene Luen Yang. I own Persepolis and will probably read it during the DA Readathon. Honor Girl and March are on my TBR list. I didn’t know there was a graphic novel version of Monster. I’ve only read the original.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  12. Here's the ones I just had a few for-

    3--set during the Plague
    Year of Wonders
    Ghost Map

    NF Wilderness Adventures
    Winterdance and Guts
    Forever on the Mountain
    Touching the Void
    Young Men and Fire

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    1. Thank you! I just traded for Year Of Wonder and Guts, so they’ll be here soon. Ghost Map sounds perfect. Winterdance was my favorite book ever as a preteen. I used to carry it around with me everywhere. I’ll look up the rest.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    2. That's right, I THOUGHT you were the other Winterdance fan. Of the others, I think Touching the Void is the most dramatic, and Young Men & Fire the most unique.

      Delete
  13. YA set during the 1940s/50s
    What I Saw and How I Lied
    Starring Sally J. Friedman as Herself
    anything by Ruta Sepetys (Out of the Easy will avoid WWII entirely)
    Bat Six
    Aleutian Sparrow
    Breaking Stalin's Nose
    The Circuit (and sequels)
    King of the Mild Frontier
    Fatty Legs
    Snow Falling on Cedars

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    1. Thank you! I have a Ruta Sepetys book sitting on my TBR shelf right now. Snow Falling On Cedars is another one I just traded for, so it’s coming. Fatty Legs is on my TBR list. I just looked up King of the Mild Frontier, and it sound hilarious. I’ll check out the others.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  14. LGBQT YA
    Ask the Passengers
    Last Seen Leaving
    Gabi, A Girl in Pieces
    The Rest of Us Just Live Here
    Left Hand of Darkness (sci fi)
    Porcupine of Truth

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    1. Thank you! Ask The Passengers, Gabi, and The Rest Of Us Just Live Here have been recommended to me. I guess I should put them on the list. I’ve heard of the others, but I don’t know much about them.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    2. Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin, is one of my all time favorites. It's possible, I suppose, that it's no longer as mind-blowing, since gender fluidity is not as outlandish of a concept as when it was published, but the story is good for reasons beyond the thought experiment involved.

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  15. Now I'm wishing I'd starred all my very favorites. But I know that we don't always have the same taste, and I do recommend all of these. You're probably capable of checking on Goodreads or from your own book knowledge and working out which of these you'd like to try. Still, if you want more specificity or ranking, or have questions about any of these, let me know!

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    1. This was awesome! You pretty much made my 2017 reading list for me. I’m still in the process of looking them up on Goodreads.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  16. Holes by Louis Sachar is an amazing story that won the Newberry Award. It is actually a first in series, but I didn't know it until years after reading it, so apparently there is no need to read more than just the one if you so choose.
    I look forward to reaping the benefits of the answers that you receive for books written in verse.

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    1. Holes is one of my favorite middlegrade books. I wrote a massive paper on it last year where I analyzed its narrative structure.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  17. Looking for books is only the best thing ever. As SOON as I read your list, however, my mind blanked, and I can't think of ANY. I only have some YA Fantasy recs: I ADORE Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (in case you haven't read it) which is sassy and beautiful. I would also recommend The Arcana Chronicles. It a HIGHLY ADDICTING series!

    Aditi @ http://athousandwordsamillionbooks.blogspot.in/

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    1. LOL, my requests are a little strange, aren’t they? I haven’t read either of those fantasy series, so I’ll look them up.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  18. For #13, you MUST read Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor!


    And #3... Idk but I want to read those too, so please share! Or hell, maybe we need to just write them ourselves ;) I don't know if The Passion of Dolssa counts, it's a little pre-bubonic, like, 1241 I think. Into the Dim is even earlier, 12th Century I think. Legit giddy that I am not the only one fascinated by the plague though!

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    1. Thanks! Nora & Kettle is on the list. I also added The Passion of Dolssa. I’d never heard of that one before. C’mon, authors, where are all the plague books?

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  19. Non-English author children's books, you should then definitely check out Astrid Lindgren - her books are magical - and Anne Cath Vestly - whose books are set in the 60s and 70s and really showing a pre-cursor of the feminist movement, even though they are children's books (especially her Aurora series).
    Fantasy, you might want to try both the Red Rising (Pierce Brown) trilogy and the These Broken Stars trilogy (Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner). I really enjoyed Ashlyn Macnamara's "Destined for a King" which is historical / fantasy and with a little bit of romance as well.
    If you need precisions, let me know!!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. Thanks! I’ve heard of Red Rising and These Broken Stars, but the rest are new to me. I’ll head to Goodreads to look them up.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  20. I love horror, mountain expedition disasters, monsters, Tudors, zombies and stuff, and Indie authors so I figure I can offer a few ideas!

    modern horror-Jack Kilborn (Afraid), Michael Stephen Fuchs (Arisen), Nicholas Sansbury Smith, Bobby Adair, Rachel Aukes, Sarah Pinborough(Breeding Ground), ZA Recht, JG Faherty(Carnival of Fear), Matt Drabble (Abracadaver), Eli Constant (Dead Trees), Rhiannon Frater, JF Gonzalez (Survivor), Steven Jenkins, Rick Jones (The Valley), William Massa (Fear the Light), Ricky Sides (Claws), Joseph Talluto, Dirk Patton, JW Vohs, VM Zito (Return Man)

    NF survival-Chris Bonington, Graham Bowley, Jo Gambi, Nick Heil, Maurice Herzog, Lou Kasischke, Joe Simpson, Mike Trueman, Ed Viesturs, Ben Fogle,

    YA Indie-DelSheree Gladden, Suzy Turner, David Estes, RJ Crayton, Melissa Eskue Ousley, Joanne Brothwell, James Todd Cochrane, Kendra C Highley, Lindsey R Loucks, Isabella Modra, SLJ Shortt,

    The Tudors and The Borgias are good examples of royals behaving badly!

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    1. Thanks! It sounds like our reading tastes overlap a bit. I haven’t heard of most of these authors, so I’ll look them up.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete

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