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livelaughlove21's avatar

Reading for pleasure: any recommendations?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (15715points) January 15th, 2014

Now that I don’t have exams to study for and research papers to write (yay!), I’d like to start reading for pleasure, something I haven’t done since high school. Unfortunately, I only know one (yes, one) person that reads for pleasure and, unless I want to limit myself to Stephen King novels, I can’t rely on her for suggestions.

I want books that are fun to read and are also interesting in a “I-can’t-put-the-book-down” kind of way. I’m open to fiction or non-fiction, but nothing over 400 pages. I’m really interested in non-fiction books about serial killers – any suggestions? I also love books with a lot of twists and turns; the darker the better! I remember reading Go Ask Alice and The Child Called It and really enjoying them.

Don’t refrain from suggesting books that were written years ago, because I probably haven’t read it – nothing really old, though. I’m trying to find a copy of Flowers in the Attic because I’ve only seen the film and I hear the book is much juicer and more scandalous.

I’m open to anything aside from romance novels (I don’t mind romance, but no Fabio on the cover, please) and anything that I’ll need to use a dictionary to understand, but a synopsis of the books you suggest would be awesome.

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27 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

Flowers in the Attic is a good read, although disturbing in many ways, and it’s actually a series of books spanning generations, so since you’re interested I’d definately start there.

filmfann's avatar

Raymond Chandler wrote the Philip Marlow detective series, and a collection of 4 short stories, called “Trouble is My Business” is a wonderful read! I don’t remember enjoying a book so much.

Juels's avatar

I enjoyed the Mindjack series by Susan Kaye Quinn. Amazon currently has the first book Open Minds for free on Kindle.

zenvelo's avatar

Some really good current page turners:

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

Hild, by Nicola Griffith

If you really want to just escape into early noir, start reading all of Dashiell Hammett’s work. The Thin Man, The Maltese Falcon, etc.

gailcalled's avatar

The sequential novels about the Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell and the rest of the gang, “Wolf Hall” and “Bring up the Bodies,” by Hilary Mantel, are glittering and gripping novels. She won the Mann Booker awards for both books, an extraordinary achievement. More info

SomeoneElse's avatar

Start with ‘Double Whammy’ by Carl Hiaasen, and then just carry on with the other titles by this funny, clever writer. (An unsolicited testimonial if ever there was one.)

jaytkay's avatar

I kept running across mention of Neil Gaiman, and thought “hmmm, people love these books, I need to look into this.”

First I picked up Neverwhere. It was really engaging, I read it straight through over a weekend.

I liked it so much I plowed through American Gods the next weekend.

Goodreads – Neverwhere

Goodreads – American Gods

josie's avatar

It is longer than 400 pages, but if you can find a copy of Helter Skelter you should read it. It is about Charles Manson. Really creepy.

flutherother's avatar

The Iceman is worth reading if you like true accounts of serial killers.

janbb's avatar

“The Lat Runaway” by Tracy Chevalier is a treat. It’s about an English Quaker who gets involved with the Underground Railroad in 19th century Ohio.

flutherother's avatar

One of the strangest and most enjoyable books I’ve read in a while. Very dark, yet very funny – The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt.

gailcalled's avatar

Alk of the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. They should keep you busy until AARP celebrates your 50th birthday.

The 20 novels about the British Royal navy set during the Napoleonic era by Patrick O’Brian.–Maturin_series

I loved these. They saw me through chemo and radiation 17 years ago.

janbb's avatar

Of course – this is all like the blind men and the elephant. None of us know what kind of books you like to read.

Seek's avatar

This is one that I often leave out on the coffee table for light reading. It’s an encyclopaedic book that gives you the basic rundown of all the major female criminals, rabble-rousers, and serial killers. Everyone from Lizzie Borden to Aileen Wuornos.

It’s not 100% on the facts (most encyclopedic type books of this kind aren’t), but it’s a good way to get interested in a new person to research.

fundevogel's avatar

I propose House of Leaves. If I ever break my teeth I’m blaming this books and all the nights I spent grinding my teeth because of it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Here you go. This one will have you laughing and thinking or gross at the same time. I love this author, but he isn’t always consistent.
Amazon weenies let me try again. Try this.

muppetish's avatar

Give The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson a try. It’s about the 1893 World’s Fair when serial killer Dr. H.H. Holmes was at large. It is a fascinating and chilly read.

ibstubro's avatar

Authors that are fun and easy:
Robert B. Parker
Janet Evanovich

Just write about life:
Wally Lamb
Pete Dexter

Social satire:
Christopher Buckley

Amazing books:
Sometimes a Great Notion, Ken Kesey
The Shining, Steven King
Spooner, Pete Dexter

Many more, if you should like those.

Adagio's avatar

Cider with Rosie written by Laurie Lee.

JimTurner's avatar

Sherlock Holmes novels by Conan Doyle.

James Patterson’s ‘The Jester’ is a personal favorite.

Westerns by Zane Gray and Louis L ‘Amour.

SomeoneElse's avatar

@fundevogel I have struggled to read House of Leaves, and have had to restart it several times.
When I do finally get the end it had better be good!

fundevogel's avatar

@SomeoneElse You shouldn’t feel like you need to read it front to back. Read what you want in whatever order you want. You don’t need to read every scrap of text to complete it. It’s really up to you to determine how to read it and when you’ve finished.

The book is essentially “a house of leaves” a space defined by pages and ideas rather than geometry. In reading you are engaging an exploration of your own while simultaneously building that revolting house in the only space broad enough to hold it, a human mind. And this is why grind my teeth, I know that the House in my mind is just as malignantly endless and Navidsonesque if not more so than the one in the pages.

SomeoneElse's avatar

@fundevogel Aah, I get the picture. I think that the mixture of type faces, etc. threw me a bit. Thank you for the wise words.

fundevogel's avatar

Good luck next time you feel like giving it a go :)

livelaughlove21's avatar

Thanks for the suggestions, all!

I’m trying to decide which of these to buy for my Kindle first: The Green Mile by Stephen King, Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen, and Letters from the Looney Bin by Thatcher C. Nalley.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Scratch that. Decided to start with The Green Mile. I just started chapter 7 – boy, do I love short chapters. So far so good!

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