HW Assignment: Prompt Response 1

With this assignment we were supposed to answer a few reader advisory questions using NoveList or some other RA tool. For those of you who don’t know what NoveList is, it’s FANTASTIC. You can access it through your local public library (note: not all public libraries have it) and you can use it to get reading recommendations! It’s seriously so awesome. I’m definitely going to be using it from now on!


1. I am looking for a book by Laurell K. Hamilton. I just read the third book in the Anita Blake series and I can’t figure out which one comes next!

There are so many books in the Anita Blake series so I understand your confusion! I looked on Novelist for you just to be sure—it looks like the next book in the series is “The Lunatic Café”.

2. What have I read recently? Well, I just finished this great book by Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer. I really liked the way it was written, you know, the way she used language. I wouldn’t mind something a bit faster paced though.

I’ve got a few great choices for you—all faster paced with a wonderful use of language. If you’re interested in reading about China right around the time of the Boxer Rebellion, I would recommend “Yellow Emperor’s Cure” by Kunal Basu. It’s about a surgeon searching for a cure for his father and he ends up falling in love along the way. It’s dramatic and definitely fast-paced but still with a lot of detail. If you’re in the mood for something funnier, I would recommend “The Plot Against America” by Phillip Roth. This is an alternative history where Lindbergh becomes president instead of FDR and he actually ends up making an accord with Hitler. It’s suspenseful and very character-driven with writing that is both lyrical and witty at the same time. But if you’re interested in sticking with the ecological themes from “Prodigal Summer”, I would recommend “Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood—it’s the first book in her MaddAddam trilogy and it has wonderful world-building. It’s set in an apocalyptic world that is both thought-provoking and a little disturbing.

3. I like reading books set in different countries. I just read one set in China, could you help me find one set in Japan? No, not modern – historical. I like it when the author describes it so much it feels like I was there!

I’ve got three great choices for you. First, I would recommend “The Teahouse Fire” by Ellis Avery. It’s set in 19th century Japan and is about a young American girl who is adopted by a tea master. This book gives a lot of cool information about Japanese tea ceremonies. This book is a moving coming-of-age story. My next recommendation is also set in the 19th century, but instead of looking at Japan’s traditions, it focuses on some of the modernization that occurred during that time. The book is based on real events with very descriptive writing. My last recommendation, “Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden, is set during WWII. It’s a rags-to-riches story about a girl who is sold into slavery and her journey as she becomes a Japanese geisha. This book is very atmospheric and the writing has a lot of detail.

4. I read this great mystery by Elizabeth George called Well-Schooled in Murder and I loved it. Then my dentist said that if I liked mysteries I would probably like John Sandford, but boy was he creepy I couldn’t finish it! Do you have any suggestions?

You should try “NYPD Red” by James Patterson. This book is about a detective who is investigating several crimes that happen to coincide with the arrival of a bunch of celebrities. It’s suspenseful and dramatic without being disturbing. If you’re looking for a little dark humor, I would suggest “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” by Michael Chabon. Instead of Israel, Alaska is the homeland for Jews and we follow two policemen as they investigate the death of a heroin-addicted chess prodigy. The writing style is a little different than you might be used to, but it’s still descriptive and suspenseful. If you’re looking for a classic, you can’t go wrong with Wilkie Collins. I would recommend “The Woman in White”. Our main character sees a woman dressed all in white on a moonlit night seemingly in distress on the streets of London. He has to find out what was wrong with her and that leads us on this psychologically thrilling journey. It’s atmospheric and Gothic without being disturbing.

5. My husband has really gotten into zombies lately. He’s already read The Walking Dead and World War Z, is there anything else you can recommend?

Of course! First, I would recommend “The Zombie Autopsies” by Steven C. Schlozman. This book is about a doctor and his staff who have isolated themselves on an island in order to find a cure for the zombie epidemic that has taken over. While there, however, they start to fall victim to the disease themselves. This book is written like a diary and has a lot of dark humor in it. If he’s interested in reading a graphic novel, I would really recommend “Rot & Ruin” by Jonathan Maberry. It’s about four friend who are travelling through the Sierra Nevada mountains while trying to stay ahead of zombie hordes that are after them. This graphic novel is seriously action-packed and has great world-building. If he has any interest in steampunk, I would recommend “Boneshaker” by Cherie Priest. While trying to build a machine, an inventor accidently releases a deadly gas that turns people into zombies. Years later, his teenage son tries to repair the family’s reputation. This book is atmospheric and suspenseful while maintaining a fast pace.

How do you find books to read?

I’m pretty active in the book blogging community so I get a lot of book recommendations and ideas from blogs that I follow. If I’m really stuck, I’ll take a look at Goodreads lists related to authors that I know I enjoy. Of course, I always make sure to be aware of when one of my autoread authors has a new book coming out as well. Now that I’ve discovered Novelist though, I’ll definitely be using it a lot to help me find new books to read!

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9 thoughts on “HW Assignment: Prompt Response 1

    1. I’ll have to look into fantastic fiction and pay more attention to Epic Reads! I’m still getting the hang of Novelist, but last night I compiled a list of book recs for my husband and probably had a little too much fun with it haha.

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  1. I like the suggestion of Woman in White for someone looking for a book like Well-Schooled in Murder. It would give the reader something a little different to read, but it has the same tone and psychological focus.

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  2. Ashley, I love your website! I really hope to be able to do something like this when I finish school. I really like using Novelist too, but I had some trouble with the speed. This was likely because San Angelo has possibly the worst internet ever. If there is rain sometimes you can’t even access it from home. I have been lucky in this house, as I am able to get access most of the time. I can’t wait to get to use the Novelist again soon and find some books for my husband. He is always asking me for similar titles to the books that he reads. I was not really sure on the question with the Prodigal Summer but I also offered a suspenseful book hoping that may be more fast paced. Thanks for sharing your blog. I am going to follow it!

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    1. Thank you so much! I had a little trouble with Novelist’s speed as well, but luckily it wasn’t too bad for me. Right after I finished the assignment, I actually did use Novelist to find some book recommendations for my husband! He loved the John Cleaver series by Dan Wells and was looking for something similar. I was able to recommend Dean Koontz’s Odd series and so far he’s loving it!

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