Books I'd Recommend: Assorted
Updated: Dec 21, 2021
There are so many more genres and subgenres that I haven't described and it would take years to describe them all. Unfortunately, not only do I not have years to describe every genre and subgenre out there, but I do not commonly read every single genre and subgenre.
I do not read erotica and never will. Do not ask me for suggestions for these books.
I don't read horror. Though I don't mind a little bit of a scare, I don't like my book's pages dripping with gore and I don't appreciate a book that will keep me up at night.
I don't commonly read adult crime or mystery as they aren't really my cup of tea.
I enjoy good historical fiction but have found few that I would recommend to others or that I would read a second time through. It is not my favorite genre though I do want to experience more of it.
While my favorite series, The Lunar Chronicles is science fiction, the genre of science fiction does not generally appeal to me. I do not enjoy Star Wars or Star Trek and don't love books centered around aliens, time travel, or other science fiction elements. Not that I am opposed to reading these books and delving into the science fiction world to see if I can find other sci-fi books I enjoy. But in general, they aren't my favorite.
Most often, I prefer books with a dab of magic, a smidgen of romance, and a splash of action and adventure. I like good sword fights, well-developed characters (often ones who are funny), and plots that have me unable to put the book down. Despite not fitting into the fantasy category or any of the other genres previously described, the following books (which sit on my shelf labeled "action/adventure/historical fiction" that really should be corrected to "all the rest of the genres") have been books in the other genres that I have enjoyed.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Help is a historical fiction set in the time of the civil rights movement. There is a movie for "The Help" but, like most books, the book is better than the movie simply because it is written with so much more detail (though I do suggest watching the movie after reading the book as the movie is really good).
I often find historical fiction books can end up being boring but The Help is just NOT. I got The Help at the library book sale where it caught my eye because I knew there was a movie based on the book (though I had not watched it) and I picked it up. Funny story: there is almost always at least one copy of The Help in excellent condition at the Shasta library book sale so if you are ever in need of a copy of The Help you can come on by the Shasta Library on the first Saturday of the month.
The entire way through reading the book I was gripped. The book is hilarious and inspirational. The characters are well developed and make you wish the book was non-fiction so you could wrap them up in a hug and get to know them even more! Stockett illustrates what the world was like in this time period, teaching those who don't know what it's like to be discriminated against what it was like (and what it sometimes still is like) and the difference that one person can make. I never once felt like I was reading a book without action (even though I was reading a book without the physical action of sword fights and gunshots). I never once missed the excitement, magic, or mystery of fantasy books. I was totally taken by this book and would suggest it to everybody and anybody. It is probably one of my favorite stand-alone books.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
I read The Kite Runner for school. The fact that I read this book for school and yet would still put it on a list of book recommendations says a lot about the book. In fact, it really is all I should need to say about the book (particularly since I often read the first few pages of a school book, decided I didn't like it, and then faked my way through the rest of the unit on that book without reading any of the rest of it).
I actually picked this school book up from, you guessed it, the library book sale! I did so even before I needed to pick a book to read. Our teacher for Senior year of high school (which was when I read this book) had moved with the class just by chance from Sophomore year, to Junior year, and finally, to Senior year so he knew us well and we were prepped with the knowledge that we would need to choose a book to read and do some reports on towards the end of the year. I happened to spot two of the choices at the sale and chose this one. I rather enjoyed it.
The book follows two boys: one wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant. The story is heartbreaking and has many explicit references but I found it incredibly interesting particularly since I felt it revealed to me a culture that I had not explored before and of which I had little knowledge. It is books like these—beautifully written and heartbreaking enough to truly connect with the reader—that help uncultured people like myself to open their eyes to other cultures and experiences of others. I wish there were more books out there like this.
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
The DaVinci Code is a somewhat controversial book. I enjoyed it for the mystery and adventure. I loved reading about the character solving the puzzles in the book and though I very occasionally solved the puzzles before him, I was most often surprised by where his journey took him and interested to see how it all played out. I was constantly on the edge of my toes and even a little creeped out by the bad guys and the spooky empty buildings or alleyways the characters sometimes found themselves in. I am not usually drawn to spooky books but this book was spooky enough to be a good read but not so spooky I couldn't get to sleep at night.
The important thing to remember about this book (and where the conspiracy comes in) is that it is fiction. Brown writes about a history that never happens and dismantles the Bible and the Christian belief to do so. I enjoyed reading the book because I have a strong enough faith in my religion that I could see where the truth was and where Dan Brown had added fiction but my professor (in Biblical Ministries at Biola) recently pointed out that this book caused a lot of controversies when it was released due to the content. Dan Brown walks the line between fiction and non-fiction making it hard for some to see when something is false. Brown's books are fiction but he does include true elements about some of the buildings the characters visit and some of the paintings etc. that they work with. He clearly does his research. Nevertheless, there still has to be an interesting story to follow and the one he writes about the line of Christ is false. I encourage you to read the Bible and other Historical texts and information if you read this book so you can recognize for yourself what of Bown's book is true and what is false.
The book is, despite the controversy, incredibly good, well-written, and exciting to read.
Runners Up: Holes, American Chillers Series