One of my many pleasures is to wander through the bookshelves in my home. "What shall I read today? This new one? Or perhaps a past love?"
Nine times out of ten, I choose a past love. I have particular favorites, ones I read every year. Jasper Fforde's 'Thursday Next' series is fantastic when I'm in the mood for a bit of silliness. 'Gospel' by Wilton Barnhardt is another favorite, one I wish more people would read when they have a need for throught-provoking prose and, yes, laughter.
With this blog, I will recommend books that I have always loved, and even some new ones that reading groups would enjoy.
I have worked in the book trade for 25+ years, and my most favorite aspect of the job has always been one-on-one recommending. If I love a good story, I will recommend it. If I have had a 'so-so' experience with a book, I will recommend it with reservations. Here's my best advice: When a bookseller puts a book into your hands, take it, go sit down, and start reading the first chapter. If it captures your interest, it's the book for you. However, not all books will do that. When I first started reading 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo', I put it down numerous times. But because I was warned about the huge backstory, I remained faithful to the story and once I hit a certain point, the story took off. I've been a fan of that series ever since.
So, trust your bookseller. Talk to one in person. Explore the stacks and ask for help when you need it. Don't be shy. We are here for you, as you are here for us.
One last word: Visit your local bookstore and library. Give them your business. Our cities and towns are in dire need of such places. We, the reading public, need to reconnect and step away from computers for just a few satisfying moments and get in touch with real books.