Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Book Experiment

I have always liked books about romance. I'm not such a fan of Harlequin romances, but throw in a good murder mystery and I'm happy to see the girl get the guy. They can be classics, contemporary or something in between... everything from Jane Austin to Stephanie Meyer, women's lit was my mainstay for a long time.

I don't really remember what set it off, but I started to get sick of the old routine: Innocent woman, bad boy... they hate each other, and then the love each other and live happily ever after. So, last summer I tried something new, a mystery. I liked it, and so I read more by the same author. I liked it too. Then I read a different genre and I loved it too. A few more books after that, and a light bulb went off: there are whole lotta great books out there that don't involve finding your one true love.

That's when I started an experiment. I didn't ask anybody to suggest a book to me, but every time somebody told me about a book they liked, I added it to a list and made a point of reading it. When I read all my friends' recommendations, I started taking strangers' advice. If I read a recommendation from an article or blog, I added it to the list. When Amazon made suggestions to me, based on my wishlist or purchasing history, I looked at them long and hard.

There was a while there when Amazon was sending me a package every week, and over time, I've read them all. Surprisingly, I only found two books that I actively disliked. Most were pretty good. There were a few books that I had to take a few attempts at, but ultimately ended up to be good reads. And there were a few books, which I normally never would have read, that I absolutely loved.

The only problem is, I'm out of books and out of suggestions. I stopped buying books in January when I decided to get my finances under control, and I no longer have a stockpile of books waiting to be read. It's making me a little crazy, so it's time to put in an order.

I'm looking for some good reads. I've tapped out my local friends and family, and even Amazon's suggestion software seems to be stuck in a rut (I think I confused it by reading such a wide variation).

All that's to say that if you've got any recommendations, I'd be happy if you'd throw them my way.


  1. I can do that. When it isn't two in the morning :) I can't sleep, I should read a book! I will do it tomorrow, er later today.

  2. I was like just like you (one sided): the book had to involve a murder for me to read it or it had to be about a historic mystery. I got tired of all these kind of books. I now love reading stories about women (no matter if they find the guy or not), travel journals. I never read love stories but I absolutely LOVED, really loved PS I Love You (I hated the movie) and the last one I loved is Summer Lightning by an Australian author. I hardly ever buy books as I don't have the space to keep them so I borrow them from the library. I hope you find some inspiration soon:)

  3. The Art of Driving in the Rain is one of my favorites. I forget who it's written by, but it's the voice of the dog.

    I've also read all of Nelson DeMille. Love him!

    P.S. Nice to meet you! and the first visit, we have so much in common. I can't keep books around, I read them so fast!

  4. Thanks for the suggestions! I actually liked the PS I Love You movie, but I hadn't read the book yet. That usually makes a big difference. I'll look into that, and Summer Lightning.

    Thanks for stopping by, Dawn!

    The Art of Driving in the Rain was good, wasn't it? The first chapter had me in tears, and it only got better from there. I'll have to look into Nelson DeMille. Don't think I've heard of him before.

    As for the debate between borrowing from the library or buying books, I've always bought. I have a weird phobia of library books (I imagine that their pages are smeared in people's toe jam). However, I've got no qualms about buying used.... go figure.

    This actually works out, though, because I've always dreamed of having a library room in my house. Some people want media rooms; I want a library. When I finish my basement, it's going to be wall to wall books.

    PS - I hope you got some sleep, RR.

  5. A couple that I've read recently and look like they don't fit in your regular reading list but might be worth a try.
    Under the Banner of Heavan by Jon Krakauer
    Bang Crunch Stories by Neil Smith
    The Pact, Jodi Picoult
    Another Day in the Frontal Lobe by Katrina Firlik

    I'm kod of all over the place with what I read.

  6. "Little Bee" by Chris Cleave and "The Help" by I forget what her name is. Both utterly FABULOUS.

  7. Thanks to Linlah and the Zadge! I'll look those up as well.