Can anyone suggest some books for my niece, please?

(33 Posts)
MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Tue 27-Aug-13 13:15:30

She's just 18, a rather quiet and studious girl (she's lovely!) and she wants to find some new authors.

She's read a lot of Victorian literature, Dickens, Hardy, Brontes, etc, but wants to read something a bit more modern. No scifi, no horror, no fantasy.

She has enjoyed The Curious Incident, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Mr Pip, and a few others. I think she'd like to find a new author rather than individual books if that makes sense, although not necessarily a series.

Any suggestions would be fantastic, thank you. I'm planning to take her book shopping next week.

Clawdy Tue 27-Aug-13 13:42:15

I think she would love anything by Jane Gardam or Barbara Trapido.

ChimeForChange Tue 27-Aug-13 13:44:38

The 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

ChimeForChange Tue 27-Aug-13 13:46:59

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche - her third novel was released this year which I'm yet to read but Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus were great so I have high hopes!

ChimeForChange Tue 27-Aug-13 13:49:20

Khaled Hosseini - A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner. Both quite deep books, I laughed, smiled, cried! Very good

EstelleGetty Tue 27-Aug-13 13:56:44

If she's read Jane Eyre, she might well like Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. It was written in 1966, and is kind of a prequel to JE, written from the perspective of the first Mrs Rochester. It's a brilliantly told story. I read it when I was your DN's age, and it made me think a lot about women's rights, mental health and colonialism. Rhys's short stories (there are great collections called Smile, Please and Sleep it off, Lady) are fantastic.

For contemporary, she could look at Ian McEwan? I always find his books impossible to put down. They're usually such gripping stories, very elegantly written. Enduring Love, The Cement Garden and The Innocent are brilliant. His latest, Sweet Tooth, was very good too.

Amelie Nothomb's Fear and Trembling (1999), and The Life of Hunger (2004) are very good books I read when I was around 18 too. Beautifully written and lots of good stuff for a young woman to reflect on! Turning into my mum

MrsMongoose Tue 27-Aug-13 14:04:18

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green! Has been too of the New York Times Bestseller list for over a year, for good reason.

highlandcoo Tue 27-Aug-13 17:43:18

What about Rose Tremain? Music and Silence would be a good one to start with.

I love Ann Patchett, and would recommend Bel Canto and State of Wonder in particular.

Philip Hensher's The Northern Clemency, although set in Sheffield in the 70s, is reminiscent of a Victorian or Edwardian novel in its detailed exploration of character and setting . I really enjoyed it.

Also, Jonathan Coe is great. What A Carve Up! is a political satire which she might enjoy.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Tue 27-Aug-13 19:05:25

Fantastic! Thank you all so much, loads to look at there. I'll make a list and then we can have a good browse at the bookshop. Her mum isn't really a reader so I've 'adopted' this bit of my niece.

More suggestions would also be welcome smile

HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs Tue 27-Aug-13 19:22:56

Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth is a nice long read. Agree with Chime about Hosseini.

My 18 year old really enjoyed American Psycho recently, but it's not for everyone. She's also obsessed with The Great Gatsby and loves Nabakov too. Lolita is brilliant but dd really liked The Eye.

Liz Jensen

Geoffrey Eugenedes (sp?)

What's the Jonathon Coe one about the Birmingham bombing? That's good.

Kate Atkinson - Behind The Scenes at the Museum. She might like others of hers too, but I don't.

sykes Wed 28-Aug-13 11:17:24

I adored Isaac Bashevis Singer at her age.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Wed 28-Aug-13 12:02:27

More fantastic suggestions, thank you everyone. I'll do some googling and see what she might like.

I'm looking forward to bookshopping with her.

eddiemairswife Wed 28-Aug-13 12:14:37

remus Was it The Rotter's Club?

Ooh yes, that's it. It was good.

I love Margaret Attwood, particularly The Blind Assassin and The Robber Bride. Oryx & Crake and The Handmaid's Tale are a bit sci fi though.

Bippidee Wed 28-Aug-13 12:23:20

You could also try Scarlett Thomas, The End of Mr Y and popCo.

How about the Stieg Larsson books, or Jo Nesbo?

City of Thieves by David Benioff is a good read, as is Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann.

I know you said no fantasy, but you could try her on the Traveller books by John Twelve Hawks, not strictly fantasy, but an interesting idea.

Daemon and Freedom TM are also good reads, by Daniel Suarez.

If she's up for funny, then Ben Elton may be good too.

KurriKurri Wed 28-Aug-13 14:46:39

Has she tried some of the mid 20th century type of authors? - Evelyn Waugh, Kinsgley Amis, John Steinbeck (go for East of Eden first) Daphne Du Maurier, Nancy Mitford, maybe try someone like Willa Cather (My Antonia is a great book), Antonia White - (Frost in May)

Or a bit more recent Mary Wesley, Pat Barker, Donna Tartt,
or
A Suitable Boy
The Book Thief
Boy in Striped Pyjamas
The Help

Good list, Kurri.

Dd1 went through a massive Waugh phase aged about 15. She also enjoyed Daphne DM.

Pat Barker though, I have to disagree on. She's a decent enough writer, but so obsessed with sex and it becomes so, so tedious imho. smile

LulaPalooza Wed 28-Aug-13 15:00:34

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green is a nice book if she enjoyed The Curious Incident.

Edward Trencom's Nose by Giles Fenton is an odd but good book.

Most of Stephen Fry's books are good.

SorrelForbes Wed 28-Aug-13 15:02:30

Margaret Attwood?

Agree re: Jane Gardam! A Long Way from Verona especially.

Get her some virago books.....and Colette.

Roald Dahl's adult stories

Chaim Potok- Asher Lev, The Chosen, In the Beginning, Davita's Harp

Lynne Reid Banks- One More River, An End to Running, The L Shaped Room

Steig Larsson maybe?

Donna Tartt

Simone de Beauvoir- The Mandarins, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, She Came to Stay

Patrick Leigh Fermor

John Fowles- The Collector

A Little History of the World and The Story of Art by EH Gombrich

Mrs Arris goes to Paris and the Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank

The Road Less Travelled

The Moon and Sixpence

Nick Hornby

Cynthia Voigt

Sylvia Plath- Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, The Bell Jar

Jean Rhys- Quartet, After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie, and of course Wide Sargasso Sea

Mitford books- Hons and Rebels, Love in a Cold Climate, The Pursuit of Love, biographies and memoirs etc

Christiane F's book written by journalists

Huckleberry Finn- such a fantastic book. Just float away for an afternoon.

Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell

The House of Sleep

Isabel Miller- Patience and Sarah and she's written others too

Jane Bowles- Two Serious Ladies

Margaret Attwood- Cat's Eye

White Oleander perhaps

Lost Illusions- Balzac

A.S.Byatt- The Children's Book, Ragnarok, Still Life, The Virgin in the Garden (all the Frederica books)

A Home at the End of the World

Henri Murger- Scenes from the Latin Quarter

A Very Short Introduction- just pick the ones she vaguely likes the look of....

Far from the Tree- Andrew Solomon

Girl, Interrupted

The Company They Kept: Writers on Unforgettable Friendships (New York Review press)

Cities of the Interior- Anais Nin

The Secret Self: A Century of Short Stories by Women, edited by Hermione Lee

Sophie's Choice

The Reappearance of Sam Webber

Frost in May- Antonia White

The Red Flag: A History of Communism by David Priestland

The Fountain Overflows- Rebecca West (anything by her)

Maupassant, short stories (find a collection with Boule de Suif in)

Wild Heart: Natalie Clifford Barney and the Decadence of Literary Paris- Suzanne Rodriguez

I don't really read that much fiction anymore, so I've just been looking at my bookshelves and picking random titles that might appeal to anyone to put down! Don't know what kind of history your niece is interested in so haven't really put many history books down but I could recommend some if she has a general interest....and likewise if she wants some good biographies of random people grin

do come back and update us on your book haul! happy browsing!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now