General Question

occ's avatar

Can you recommend a good book?

Asked by occ (4173points) April 26th, 2007
I'm going to mexico to sit on the beach for three days and I need a really engrossing book. literary pop-fiction that isn't too erudite, but still really good. Something in the genre of The Kite Runner, Middlesex, The Corrections... Something I don't want to put down, but don't have to feel trashy about reading. And not too labor-intensive--this is the beach, after all, so no james joyce or kafka. Ideas?
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28 Answers

sjg102379's avatar
Geek Love by Katherine Dunne, maybe?
JCS's avatar
Seems like everyone can't stop talking about The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño. He is a Chilean who later claimed Mexico City as his homeland and it takes place in D.F.
JCS's avatar
that's supposed to read Bolano but with a ene (squiggly) over the n
gailcalled's avatar
Books by kate Atkinson: Behind the Scenes at the Museum Doubleday, 1995 Human Croquet Doubleday, 1997 Abandonment Nick Hern Books, 2000 Emotionally Weird Doubleday, 2000 Not the End of the World Doubleday, 2002 Case Histories Doubleday, 2004 One Good Turn Doubleday, 2006
gailcalled's avatar
Not the a collectiion of short stories that can be read separately but have a unifying thread that is satisfying. Novels should be read, if possible, in chronological order. (Tilde in Boldaño over "n" showed up, BTW).
gailcalled's avatar
(I spoke too soon).
gailcalled's avatar
(Nope. There it is.??)
gailcalled's avatar
Source for meta great books; many variations; Sci-fi, pretentious, award-winning, etc.
sarahsugs's avatar
I just finished the Persian Boy by Mary Renault - absolutely page-turning and fun. Don't be turned off by the fact that it takes place in ancient times! Seriously!
sarahsugs's avatar
Also the Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. A great memoir and fast-read.
sarahsugs's avatar
I like Louise Erdrich too...The Painted Drum, The Master Butcher's Singing Club.
andrew's avatar
Geek Love is great, just finished that. Also The Secret History by Donna Tartt (think A Separate Peace meets Columbo on crack).
andrew's avatar
Also, if you want a change of pace and were (daring enough) to try "sci-fi", I'd recommend Ursula Le Guin.
sarahsugs's avatar
Yes, Ursula Le Guin is amazing! My favorite is The Left Hand of Darkness.
finkelitis's avatar
Here are three that are almost impossible to put down: Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathon Lethem, Arabian Days and Nights by Naguib Mahfouz, and The River Why, by David James Duncan. All really fun, engrossing books that are substantial without being heavy.
sarahsugs's avatar
Also The Brothers K, by David James Duncan. I laughed AND cried.
darwinsbulldog's avatar
`The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay` is a little long for a beach weekend, but it was a lot of fun. `Midnight's Children` by Salman Rushdie and 'Blood Meridian' by Cormac McCarthy are the books I think of when people say engrossing, but Rushdie's is much more beachy and much less depressing and is still an amazing story.
ajl's avatar
ajl's avatar
also Four Spirits;
ava's avatar
The Secret History by Donna Tart, and Fear of Flying by Erica Jong(hilarious and quite sexy!).
occ's avatar
I ended up bringing the new barbara kingsolver book:
occ's avatar
animal, vegetable, miracle. it was really good despite the cheesy title.
occ's avatar
thanks for all these other great recommendations--I can't wait to read 'em.
Jill_E's avatar

I just read Eat, Pray and Love. Very great book about this woman's journey after a heartbreak. I heard they will make a movie out of it with Julia Roberts.

mteutsch's avatar

James Baldwin’s Another Country or Ernest Gaines’ A Lesson Before Dying.

garnerwoods's avatar

Usually I will find out what book famous people has read, what are their favorite books, hope that any book which bring influence on them, will bring good influence on me too.. also, as famous n successful people combined with their experience, I’m sure they have better taste on their choice too.

Stephen King’s Favorite:
This Book Will Save Your Life by A. M. Homes
Saturday by Ian McEwan
The Mad Cook of Pymatuning: A Novel by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Tenderness of Wolves: A Novel by Stef Penney
When Will There Be Good News?: A Novel by Kate Atkinson

J.K. Rowling’s Favorite:
The Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Skellig by David Almond
The Woman Who Walked into Doors by Roddy Doyle

Jeffrey Eugenides, author, Pulitzer prize winner
“Herzog,” by Saul Bellow
“Love in a Fallen City,” by Eileen Chang
“The Lay of the Land,” by Richard Ford

Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite:
White Oleander by Janet Fitch
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

For complete list visit

littlewoodenhorse's avatar

Dont be put off by its size, It is a book you simply wont be able to put down; ‘Shantaram’ by Gregory David Roberts. It will come in very handy if your flights get delayed on the way home. It engrossed me totally during a 60 hour journey of missed connections from London to Sydney.

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