Recommendations, Please

I’m sure all of you have heard of #bookstagram.  Maybe you haven’t and you need to take a ride through Instagram’s latest craze.  At least it feels like a craze (maybe a revolution), but then can anything really compete with #catstagram? Just put stagram on anything you love and you’ll have the same followers as a Michael’s craft store or a Hobby Lobby if you’re of a religious breed.  Funny thing is, every Michaels that I’ve ever hoarded beads in has always been near a “bible store,” but this is the south, so there’s that.

Anyway, #bookstagram has a new community that’s not on Instagram, but this new app called “Litsy.”  The bookish account, “Crimebythebook” posted about it on her profile and I joined. It’s like a mix of Goodreads and “Bookish Instagram Community” AKA people who wear large-button sweaters, ballet flats even in the edge of winter, and have figured out how to foam milk into designs in their coffee OR they spend an absurd amount of money on fancy coffee in big white mugs every year.  Seriously, this community could fund your local coffee joint with one thud of cash.

Unfortunately, Goodreads, Litsy, Instagram, or “” has not led me to any good choices lately.  Instagram has far too many fan girls reading the third book in a  YA series.  Goodreads can get really intense, especially if you have a big personality, with big feels about books. People can get real heated on there. Litsy is too new to really be advantageous. WhatshouldIreadnext just hasn’t really promoted the kind of read I need at the moment.

This is where you come in.

Guys, I didn’t read a book in April.  Don’t get me wrong, I read seven thousand and twenty-two essays, articles, short stories, poems, and academically, or globally relevant short form pieces to share with my students, but not one book.  Me, who has run a book blog for almost six years.  I did not read a book.

I need recommendations.

I need something that will pull me in and not let go, but not in the mystery way.  I need writing that sucks you dry.   I need a Milk & Honey feeling but in novel form (maybe no doodles of vaginas though.  My students showed me that one and it was a weird day).  I’m currently reading about the historical and cultural significance of rain and I need a little fiction on the side.  I like a touch of romance, but I don’t want to read any books that have the words “full throttle” or have pink covers with large red font in a cursive.  I like to problem solve, but I don’t want crime.  I just want something that will touch the human spirit, but hasn’t been a NY Times Best Seller.

I’m starting to think I’m asking too much, BUT here are a few of my favorite books:

  1. Lark & Termite – Jayne Anne Phillips
  2. The Woman Warrior – Maxine Hong Kingston
  3. The Tsar of Love and Techno – Anthony Marra
  4. Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
  5. Hold Your Own – Kate Tempest
  6. Paint It Black – Janet Fitch
  7. Summer Sisters – Judy Blume
  8. The Enchanted – Rene Denfeld
  9. All the things by Louise Gluck
  10. All the things by Tiffanie DeBartolo

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34 thoughts on “Recommendations, Please

  1. Amanda says:

    Ooh, my favorite! :) I highly recommend Perla by Carolina de Robertis. Beautiful, beautiful story about the children of Argentina’s Disappeared. Also Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff (it’s YA but it just about broke my heart). And The Glittering World by Robert Levy and Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley Beaulieu. Both are categorized as fantasy, but Glittering World was less about the fantasy aspect and more about questioning everything you know. Twelve Kings ended up being one of the highest rated books I reviewed last year. Epic fantasy is not my thing, but this book was amazing. Think Arabian Nights with a heroine that could give Buffy a run for her money. He does SUCH a good job with the worldbuilding.

    • Cassie says:

      I am so excited to scour the used bookstore for all of these tomorrow! I’ve heard great things about Brooklyn Burning. And sometimes you just need a good fantasy read. Thank you, thank you, dear!

  2. eugeniofouz says:

    Well, I share the book I am restarting today, Tres tristes tigres written by Guillermo Cabrera Infante. I have had a problem -pages reedited and missing pages-with a cheap edition I bought years ago. Last Friday I got a new edition to reread from page 1. The book is a game. Lots of characters talking about the Cuban nights. There is a mannerist way of language, usages of informal conversations, jargons and so. The good thing about the book is the trap in it. Once you are in, you want to keep on reading. It is a labyrinth. It reminds me a bit that classic “Tristram Shandy” written centuries ago by Sterne. There is a blank page, a blotted page in black, drawings, italics, phone conversations, metalanguage, etcetera.
    It is a challenge.
    Best regards, Cassie

    • Cassie says:

      This does sound like a challenge. Is it trite, do you think, or really well done? When Goon Squad did some of those things I hated it. It does sound riveting though. Is it like House of Leaves by Danielewski?

  3. whisperinggums says:

    Lark and termite! I’ve never read this, but I remember someone once recommending it for my face-to-face reading group. It never got selected, and I haven’t heard of it again and there, you mention it!

    But, I have read a couple of books you love, “Their eyes were watching God” and “The woman warrior”. Question is, what can I recommend as I’d want to recommend Aussies and I don’t know how easy they are to find. OR, have you read any MJ Hyland? This is how, or Carry me down. She’s a British writer who spent her childhood in Australia, and I think was an exchange student in the US.

    • Cassie says:

      I used to work at Dymocks in Belconnen and I can order from there, recommend away, dear. I will look up MJ Hyland. Sounds really familiar.

      • whisperinggums says:

        Oh, now you’ll be sorry. Have you read Carrie Tiffany’s Everyman’s rules for scientific living? A few years old now, but a real treasure. Or Joan London’s Gilgamesh? More recently, I thought Fiona McFarlane’s The night guest was really clever at keeping you thinking. Oh, and Gillian Mears’ Foals bread, and Michelle de Kretser’s Questions of travel.

      • Cassie says:

        Me too. I love a good short story so a novella is a perfect blend of novel and short story. And they do so much in such a short amount of time.

  4. eugeniofouz says:

    Cassie, “Tres tristes tigres” is not vulgar at all. It is fun. It deals with the tropical people idiosyncrasy. The topics are love and literature in capital letters. I have just read only around 140 pages but it is great. This book is one of the books I wanted to finish. A Spanish journalist, Juan Cruz (@cosmejuan) well known in Spain, convinced us to read it.
    “Brooklyn Follies” gives you the sensation of reading a report on a newspaper, a long report. That was my impression. I loved a character there who reminded me Lord Henry Wotton (The Picture of Dorian Gray, O Wilde). I think you will love this novel. I did.

    • Cassie says:

      Now both of these are going on the list. I love Wilde and I think anything recommended by a journalist has to be interesting sine they’ve read so much. Thank you!

  5. Peter says:

    A few of my favorites:
    Main Street — Sinclair Lewis
    Space — James Michener
    Sister Carrie and The Financier — Theodore Dreiser

  6. Sue says:

    Have you read any Diana Athill? I love her. I read a Sci Fi book recently that was really different and great, Planetfall by Emma Newman. Great writer! And an oldie but a good one, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis is also sci-fi but just great writing. Good luck!


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