Can anyone help if I say what I DON'T like? I don't know what I want!(32 Posts)
I really struggle with finding adult fiction that I like, I don't really know where to start, and there's so much crap to wade through. Give me a good YA novel and I'll be happy, but I can't help feeling I ought to grow up at some point...
I recently read When God Was A Rabbit which I enjoyed, but am currently reading three separate books which I've stalled on - The Snow Child (didn't get very far, seemed slow - but might pick that one back up) My Dear, I Wanted To Tell You (not massively in the mood for this at the moment - bit depressing) and The Hundred Year Old Man... (Started off good, very funny, but got a bit drudgy and political in the middle and I don't know half of the big events or important people it's referencing and I feel like I should, so it makes me feel stupid )
What should I try next? I don't really know what I want from a book which I think doesn't help! I know what I don't want.
- Revenge stories
- Overly political/conspiracy based type things
- Swords and sorcery type fantasy, or other supernatural things, like vampires etc, especially if the story relies heavily on the fact they are vampires, or whatever.
- (Bit petty ) Characters who have bizarre names. I don't mind one or two, but I have trouble remembering names at the best of times, so if everyone is called Lefilder and Beflox and Cannington then I'm going to lose track of who's who.
- Inane love stories - I like reading about love/relationships, but I want it to be a good one, not a one-dimensional thing, and no abuse if it isn't going to be called out as abuse, either.
- Historical stuff (anything set before the 20th century) and especially that kind of "classic" narrative. I really have to be in the mood for it and it will put me off.
- Scary stories that are going to stop me from sleeping at night, or anything with totally unnecessary gratuitous violence.
I like interesting/well-developed relationships between characters, and plot twists, and humour. I like worldbuilding, or something set in the real world but done well, so you can imagine the place even if you've never been there.
Have you done Divergent by Veronica Roth?
It's YA... (no one should have to grow up!)
But if you really want adult...
Girl with the Pearl Earring.... it is historical but not written years ago, you might like it? It's only 200 pages or so
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Room by Emma Donoghue
Before I go to sleep by SJ Watson
The uncommon reader - short but funny and might just chime with your current state of mind.
Crimson china -modern fiction set in UK - was a MN giveaway
Memoirs of a Geisha
Try any of the shorter not so well known ones by Daphne Du Murier.
How about - Rules of Civility by Amor Towles? Set in 1930s New York - glamorous, witty, clever novel. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Or Night Waking by Sarah Moss - set on a remote Scottish island - a family with two children - modern day. Intelligent and witty - it was a MN Bookclub choice earlier in the year. I liked it.
I don't think you'd like the novel I've just finished - revolves around revenge and a very twisted horrible marriage. But it was very good - Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
Jeffrey Eugenides - The Marriage Plot - another good one, but did take quite a while to get into. Worth it though.
The language of flowers is very good and I liked the When God was a rabbit and struggled with my dear. I'm about to read the 100 year old man and suspect ill feel the same!
try Clare Chambers
some of them are teen books - you can tell by the covers as a rule. They're ok, but the adult ones are fab, great plots & characters & plenty of humour
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky. An amazing read.
Try 'Baggage' by Emily Barr. Very different plot - couldn't put it down.
Also Douglas Kennedy - especially 'The Big Picture' and 'The Woman in the Fifith'.
Ooh, loads! Thank you
Rabbit, 100 year old man is funny, I'm hoping it picks up again.
The Trouble with Keeping Mum by Rosie Wallace is a great story, funny, sad, interesting, entertaining.
I second Perks of a Wallflower, fab. Also The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time is brilliant, it's by Mark Haddon. Also the Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater, that's YA but very good.
The Rotters Club by Jonathan Coe. I always hesitate to recommend it in case people don't like it, because it's one of my favourite books ever. But it combines coming of age story (appeals to your YA sensibilities) with genuinely gut-wrenching love story(ies), plus it's very funny.
The Rotters Club is great. Especially resonant for me as I was a teenager in that era too. What a Carve Up is also excellent, especially if you like a bit of political/social content.
The Restraint of Beasts by Magnus Mills is good if you like black humour.
My favourite book last year was The Observations by Jane Harris. Set about a century ago but not a historical novel in the usual sense; quirky and engaging.
I can relate completely to your struggle to find books. When I was in my 30s I read most of Debborah Moggach, Jane Green and Adele Parks but now I am in my mid 40s, I find that they do not engage me as much as they used to. I really really loved Me Before You and would recommend it. I hate anything too highbrow - I just cannot read anything that has been nominated for a Book(er) Prize. I like to relax when reading and like witty books about relationships set in an environment I can relate to. I hate fantasy or science fiction books (but loved Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy). And any books that mention designer shoes or clothes do not hold my interest at all. I enjoyed One Day by David Nicholls and Sue Townsend. Occasionally I will come across a random book I love but am finding this more and more difficult. And the reviews on Amazon can be very misleading. Any suggestions would be welcome!
Wiseoldbird have you tried Anne Tyler? TBH she's not completely my cup of tea, but she does do pretty well-written relationship books.
at objecting to characters with funny names - I remember being a bit irritated at Game of Thrones for this. Calling the two lead females Cersei and Catelyn and expecting me to remember which one is which, referring to the treasurer sometimes as 'Petyr' and sometimes as 'Littlefinger'... not to mention expecting me to remember the plot significance of someone who was last mentioned 300 pages ago...! Did enjoy it though.
Just been over to my page at www.goodreads.com (which I really rate, good for book recommendations) for inspiration.
Have you ever read any Neil Gaiman? Anansi boys, or American Gods maybe?
And would you mind sharing what YA books you've enjoyed? I keep sidling over to the teenage section at the library and getting scared off by the Twilight overkill.
Another vote for The Rotters Club - and The Closed Circle, which very satisfyingly resolves all the unanswered questions in The Rotters Club.
William Boyd - Any Human Heart is fantastic as are most of his
Notes on an Exhibition
I'd second Patrick Gale's Notes from An Exhibition, and also recommend A Perfectly Good Man also by PG. Both very good novels.
I loved the hunger games trilogy! I couldn't put them down. Might be worth a try?
Oh yes, I love the Hitchhiker's Guide series, I read that as a teenager. And The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night Time was great too, and I loved One Day (even though the guy was a bit of an arse...)
I have read enough about Twilight to know that I'd hate it Young Adult fiction I have enjoyed are The Hunger Games, His Dark Materials, I'd have to really try to remember others I used to love the teenage section at the library but this was well before all the Twilight stuff so there was a better selection.
Off the top of my head, anything by Bali Rai (he writes stuff about Asian/English teens in inner city settings, everyday life stuff as well as "issues" and he did a great one about arranged marriages), Mallory Blackman, Philip Pullman's other stuff (although wasn't keen on the Ruby in the Smoke books) Things Not Seen (about a boy who wakes up one morning and is invisible, but less funny/childish - although there is humour - and more about science/working out how it happened and the everyday problems which would occur if you suddenly disappeared.) ... Argh, what else did I used to love?? The Georgia Nicholson books (although probably funnier if you are a teenager!) and I used to read anything about teenage pregnancy <hides four year old conceived at 19> the Mary Hooper books are good, the Megan series about a teenage mum and the book Amy about a girl who meets someone online who turns out to be older (v creepy) - sorry I've probably mixed up teen and YA fiction categories quite a bit. I also liked Nick Hornby although I'm not sure what category he fits into...
As a blanket recommendation anything on the Mark Reads website is worth a good go. (Look on the Suggestions page too.) Looking For Alaska is the only one I have read but haven't mentioned, I liked that too. And a friend keeps insisting I read Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines books.
I'd like to try Neil Gaiman too, though I wasn't sure if he'd be too sci-fi-y for me.
How about Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books? They're laugh out loud funny with really brilliant characters and eye candy plus romance but not too much of it.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.