I read a lot and I like lots of different things, and I like to have new things recommended to me. My friends and I often borrow each other’s books and we recommend things we’ve enjoyed. I also use the Emerald Street recommendations and have found some great books that way. For the last 18 months or so I’ve been working my way through the Agatha Christie Poirot series and Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone alphabet series. I’ve finished the Poirots (90% of them have exactly the same plot – someone is murdered, Poirot says “someone knows something which is a clue to who the murderer is. That person needs to come and tell me before the murderer kills them too,” then the person who knows the clue gets murdered, and then he works it all out) and I’m looking forward to the new Poirot by Sophie Hannah who is one of my favourite authors. And I’ve nearly finished, or at least caught up to the author, the Kinsey Millhone books, having started U is for Undertow this weekend. (I should say I have alternated other books along with the two crime series; I haven’t just been reading crime and nothing else for 18 months!)
So I’m getting to the end of two long series and I’m looking around for what to read next. Edinburgh libraries are offering personal reading recommendations to library account holders. I’m a very frequent user of Edinburgh libraries and I’ve never found them to be anything less than friendly, helpful and generally great to deal with. I’m always interested to see what other people would recommend to me so I thought it was worth signing up. I duly filled in the form detailing what I already like, and this week they sent me an email with six recommendations.
The recommendations are
- The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
- I Laughed, I Cried: One Woman, One Hundred Days, The Mother Of All Challenges by Viv Groskop
- Terra by Mitch Benn (Mitch used to perform in comedy routines in Edinburgh with Ian Kendall who some of my friends will remember from his days doing magic tricks in Old Orleans)
- The Room by Jonas Smith Karlsson
- Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun
- After Me Comes The Flood by Sarah Perry
All of those except one are completely new to me, and looking at the blurb, I might easily have passed them over, but I’ve added them to my library “to be reserved” list and I will give them a go. The last one, the Sarah Perry one, I bought for my Nook, I think because of an Emerald Street recommendation. I took it on holiday last year and despite having nothing else to do except lie on Ornos beach and read it, I could not get into it. I tried, I really did, but I think it was just too much literaryness and not enough story. The Goodreads page for After Me Comes the Flood is full of reviews praising the writing but even the most laudatory are pointing out that nothing happens. I usually do manage to finish books but I gave up on this one, bored out of my skull. Beautiful writing is all very well, but when nothing’s happening, I can’t be bothered to struggle through it. I might try it again one day, but not until I’ve read everything else I have!