Since I started blogging about books, people that I know have often asked me to give book recommendations. This is both the hardest and best part about the last year, because a book recommendation is such a personal thing. A recommendation which is perfect for one person may flunk with the person standing next to them, and so it’s something I have been pondering hard the more I have been getting into my blog.
How do you know which book to recommend to someone else?
So far I have found that there are three main things to consider.
1)What sort of reading/ how much do they want to do?
This is a key point, because somebody who doesn’t consider themselves a reader is going to be instantly put off by a book that is 600 pages plus long, whereas somebody who is not familiar with old english isn’t going to appreciate Pride and Prejudice to start with (it took me a few go’s to really get into it as a teenager for this exact reason).
Suggesting a book for somebody which turns in to hard work is not going to give them joy – therefore finding out what sort of ‘voice’ somebody likes, and what sort of length of book they are interested in, has been important.
2) What genre’s do they like? Which other books have they enjoyed?
It’s all very well me saying that James Herriotts ‘All Creatures Great And Small’ is wonderful, but for a Sci-Fi lover that isn’t necessarily going to spike their interest. Knowing what people like is crucial in helping them find something that they are going to love.
Know your audience.
3) Give more than one suggestion
Book Recommendations are really hard, and personal. Try making a few different suggestions, based on different things that the other person is looking for. For example ‘If you are looking for something about spaceships in 1400’s Venice, I suggest X, but if you are more interested in historical accuracy, I suggest Y’. The odds of you plucking that one miraculous match from the air with only a few details are low – give them the choice. Find out how that went next time you talk, it’s always interesting seeing which one they went for.
And so, without further ado, here are my Book Recommendations for November 2021.
I love a good cosy read on a cold, dark evening, so as the nights are drawing in I want to recommend something good to curl up with. For Something Cosy I recommend ‘Chocolate Shoe and Wedding Blues’ by Trisha Ashley. The story has a strong Cinderella theme running without actually being a full-on retelling of the classic tale. I found the regular references to be fun and relevant, without being dusty in the way that some cinderella stories can become after you’ve heard a dozen or so.
I absolutely adore the relationship between Tansy and her Aunt Nan – they are such a wholesome pair with genuine affection pouring off the pages and into your lap. Their traditions, chatter and regard for each other are a delight on days where people just generally suck. Tansy is also a great lover of baking, which comes through strongly when you are reading it – prepare to salivate.
For something historical I want to recommend The Familiars by Stacey Hall, which is a retelling of the Pendle Witch Trials. I loved the exert at the end by the author about where she got the inspiration and information from to base her book on (the story itself is made up around the true events of the time). She describes the lure of history and the hole in the story that she was prompted to fill. After having read the book I was amazed by how accurate to the true tale the author remained while also having space to create the story that she has. The personal life of Fleetwood has many twists and turns, with her own very dire set of consequences looming just ahead of you at all times. Stacey Halls has done a marvelous job of writing true history into a fictional tale that evokes emotion and interest, with the plot building up steadily to an absolute pinnacle of tension. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and would strongly recommend it to any lovers of historical fiction, or simply after a good story.
With the winter pressures coming and the stress of Covid still prominant in everyone minds, the NHS is frequently hitting headlines, and not always for the best reasons. I implore everyone with an opinion on what it is like to work on the front line to read this memoir by Dr Adam Kay, and to hear what he says about hands on hopsital work.
Earlier in my career I had kept a similar diary of all of the ridiculous and outlandish things that had happened to me since I started working in care 12 years ago. There were the silly things that children said to me, the outrageously surreal moments inspired by the Determined Confused and the most earth-wrackingly hilarious moments I have ever been priviledged to witness, all played out in un-real-life.
This is the side of healthcare that Adam Kay brings to life with witty cynacism and wonderful storytelling. So much of what he wrote resonated deeply with my own experiences working in an acute hospital setting. He describes the dramas and the joys with a beautiful accuracy – It is hilarious, heart-breaking and one hell of a ride.
Don’t forget your local library, and please let me know what you thought of these recommendations by commenting, I’d love to hear your own suggestions 😀