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Can anyone help if I say what I DON'T like? I don't know what I want!

(32 Posts)
BertieBotts Tue 06-Nov-12 23:13:32

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 blush)

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 blush) 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.

Beamur Tue 13-Nov-12 22:00:35


vamosbebe Tue 13-Nov-12 21:55:35

I can't recommend Kate Atkinson enough. I've read Emotionally Weird countless times. Case Histories is incredible, but the sequels have left me a bit bored. Her early stuff is peerless. Hth

CarefulUpThere Tue 13-Nov-12 21:55:25

Cross post! Great minds and all that...

CarefulUpThere Tue 13-Nov-12 21:54:45

If you liked hitchhiker's try Jasper Fforde starting with Eyre Affair- it is funny, lots of puns and plots twists, strong female lead, realistic romance sub plot and is set in fab slightly alternative world where everyone is obsessed with books instead of football.

I've never found reading quite so much fun since graduating out of teenage section of library either...

Beamur Tue 13-Nov-12 21:47:13

Jasper Fforde - Thursday Next books. For grown ups but easy to read, quite funny, well plotted. You might like if you like Hitchhikers Guide type books - it's less sci fi, though but arguably tending towards fantasy. Set in Croydon in the 1980's so not historical, not scary and with a good solid love story at the heart of it. Def not highbrow.

Zoomania Tue 13-Nov-12 21:44:45

Jodie picoult? Great people stories with moral dilemmas and twists.

Time travellers wife by Audrey N something.....captivating clever and haunting love story which I think is a modern classic.

cubscout Tue 13-Nov-12 21:41:34

Have you tried any Anne Tyler? Beautifully captured relationships.

QueenofNightmares Tue 13-Nov-12 21:40:32

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.

BertieBotts Tue 13-Nov-12 21:32:00

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 grin Young Adult fiction I have enjoyed are The Hunger Games, His Dark Materials, I'd have to really try to remember others sad 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 blush <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.

Joiyuk Tue 13-Nov-12 18:15:20

I loved the hunger games trilogy! I couldn't put them down. Might be worth a try?

DuchessofMalfi Tue 13-Nov-12 18:14:42

I'd second Patrick Gale's Notes from An Exhibition, and also recommend A Perfectly Good Man also by PG. Both very good novels.

DorsetKnob Tue 13-Nov-12 18:05:22

Jonathan Coe
William Boyd - Any Human Heart is fantastic as are most of his
Notes on an Exhibition

hackmum Tue 13-Nov-12 17:55:16

Another vote for The Rotters Club - and The Closed Circle, which very satisfyingly resolves all the unanswered questions in The Rotters Club.

grin 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 (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.

LapinDeBois Tue 13-Nov-12 13:18:29

Wiseoldbird have you tried Anne Tyler? TBH she's not completely my cup of tea, but she does do pretty well-written relationship books.

WiseOldBird Tue 13-Nov-12 13:15:26

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!

Noren Tue 13-Nov-12 10:31:03

I quite enjoy Liane Moriarty.

highlandcoo Tue 13-Nov-12 09:49:28

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.

LapinDeBois Mon 12-Nov-12 22:20:52

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.

mystiquesonya Sun 11-Nov-12 14:10:13

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.

Wheelin Fri 09-Nov-12 18:08:00

The Trouble with Keeping Mum by Rosie Wallace is a great story, funny, sad, interesting, entertaining.

BertieBotts Thu 08-Nov-12 11:44:54

Ooh, loads! Thank you smile

Rabbit, 100 year old man is funny, I'm hoping it picks up again.

kenanddreary Thu 08-Nov-12 11:43:46

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'.

MimsyBorogroves Thu 08-Nov-12 10:58:32

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky. An amazing read.

Ponders Wed 07-Nov-12 21:33:25

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

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