Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Bout of Books Challenge: If You Like X, Try Y

First day of finals, I am trying to both grade and write tests, so of course a thunderstorm is moving in and giving me a migraine.  Time for a sanity break.

Here is my entry for Bout of Books Challenge: If You Like X, Try Y
Sorry it is kind of lame ... I am waiting for the meds to kick in so that I can think again.

1) If you liked The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, then try 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, and vice versa.

They are both epistolary novels set after World War II, though the former is fiction and the latter is a collection of real letters. They share some interesting points of reference.

I greatly enjoyed both and, for that matter, like novels/books about the experiences of ordinary people during and after WWII, so if you have any suggestions I am interested in hearing them.

However, I do want point out that I have read Connie Willis's Blackout/All Clear and *loathed* them!  I adored To Say Nothing of the Dog, which was more of a slapstick kind of book, so I could ignore the rather, um, creative geography. But Blackout/All Clear was supposed to be a serious examination of events during the war with the time travel thing overlain on top. I ranted about this previously (Books that Made you NUTS ! The Connie Willis Edition), but to sum up ... the author's nonexistent grasp of London's geography, coupled with the to stupid to live main characters and the mangling of historic events - it was too much for me to cope with. Plus, if the book had been shorter, I imagine that more people would have noticed the gigantic plot holes that you could have driven a tank through.  Her prose is lively and vivid - so it is easy to overlook problems and I actually managed to make it through Blackout with some optimism intact, but All Clear took everything that was wrong in Blackout and amped it up to eleven.

Oh - sorry - rant off.

2) If you like cozy mysteries with a nice sense of the ridiculous, then try the Meg Langslow 'Bird' mysteries by Donna Andrews. The first one is Murder with Peacock, which is in a diary style format, but the rest of the books in the series are not. The first several books in the series made me laugh out loud at several points, while the more recent books (it is up to 15 or 16? books at this point), though less pure fun, are still comfort reads for me when I am feeling down.  There is large cast of characters that keeps things fresh.

3) If you liked Ready Player One by Ernest Cline try some early Neal Stephenson, before he went totally verbose ... like Snow Crash, The Diamond Age or Zodiac.

4) If you liked The Shadowy Horses and other books by Susanna Kearsley, try books by Barbara Michaels, such as Ammie, Come Home, Be Buried in the Rain and House of Many Shadows. 

5) Then if you like Barbara Michaels - try Elizabeth Peters. It's the same author, but her Peters books are straight up mysteries, like
Crocodile on the Sandbank and the Vicki Bliss books.

Well, time for more grading, sigh.

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