It’s always a good idea to expand reading horizons, so I’ve put together a list of 25 books in 8 different genres so you can be inspired to read something new! I love reading new books in new genres, so I have a lot on my mind.
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Outlander by Diana Gabaldon* – Claire Randall travels back in time from 1946 to 1743 in the Scottish highlands. She struggles to find her place in a more brutal time and place. Or this is the ultimate time travelling romance. The time period is interesting to read about, but it’s the relationship between Claire and Jamie that really carries the book.
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier* – Chevalier written books based on artwork, each novel tells the story of how that artwork came to be. In this book she tells the story of Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer. Griet is hired as a servant in Vermeer’s household and is pulled into the artist’s life and his painting. It’s a quiet little book that lets us into 1660’s history and gives a painting a new backstory. There is also a beautiful movie based on the book starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth.
Pillars of Earth by Ken Follett* – This story of the building of a cathedral in twelfth century England is epic and far-reaching. Reading this books is an undertaking, but very much worth it. Follett manages to describe characters I’m sure you will care deeply about and will want to follow through all 1000 pages. From the bishop to the master builder, they all have fascinating stories to tell.
Longbourn by Jo Baker*– This one is for the Austen fan, and is all about the servants at Longbourn in Pride and Prejudice. It follows the housemaid Sarah as she washes petticoats full of mud after Elizabeth walks to see her sister. I really enjoyed this book as it gave a second view on the story I know so well. It does lose some of the story in the second half, but it’s still well worth a read!
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling* – Okay. I know most people who are reading book blogs have read Harry Potter, but if you haven’t and fantasy is a genre you want to break into, start here. The Harry Potter books tells a heartbreaking tale of survival, friendship, love and hope. It has fascinating characters where (most of) the evil ones aren’t all bad, while the good guys aren’t perfect. It has wild adventures and magic hidden right under the surface of our daily life.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman* – Gaiman is the master of urban fantasy, of other worlds hiding just underneath the surface of ours. And in Neverwhere that land is underneath the streets of London, an intricate network of places, people, marketplaces and mysteries, all connected to the London tube system. Richard gets dragged into this invisible world of danger after a single act of kindness and have to face that not everything is as it seems.
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman* – This is a hilariously funny book about the end of the world. Actually the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner. Heaven and hell are fighting, earth is the battlefield, the four horsemen are riding and someone has misplaced the Antichrist.
The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson* – Many traditional fantasy books have mostly male heroes, which I think is one of the reasons I fell so completely in love with the awesome heroines of this epic fantasy series. It has heroes as well of course, but it’s the apprentice Vin that captured me. Sanderson has a way of introducing characters that you expect one thing of and slowly building them into something else entirely. A Mistborn novel is never boring! Besides the new edition book covers are so pretty and looks great on the shelf.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr* – This is a beautifully written book about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France during World War II. It’s not a romance, but rather a look on how war can change a person’s path, but not who they fundamentally are.
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro* – This novel takes place over only six days in 1956, as the butler Stevens takes a road trip through the West Countries. It’s a story of memory, loss and the choices we make. It’s also a novel that looks at a fading English way of living, of class differences and of how one man defines himself within that.
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson* – This book can only be described as a lyrical and poetic crime novel. The year is 1954 and a local fisherman is found dead, and so begins a story going back several years, through the American treatment of the Japanese population during World War 2, their removal and return, about love found and lost, and about a close knit community on an island off the Washington coast where you have to depend on others for survival. This is a book that stayed with me long after I’d finished reading it.
1984 by George Orwell* – This is the classic science fiction or dystopian novel. Published in 1949, the book gives a nightmarish view into the imagined future of 1984. In 1984 the world lives by the idea “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength”. Everyone is being watched at all times, the Party is the only truth and the Thought police knows what you are thinking.
The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey* – This thriller takes the idea of morality and ethics, and applies them to a world where most people don’t have the opportunity to care. Carey takes a set of characters that aren’t all that likable and makes you care for them. The story has plenty of twists and turns, and never gives you what you expect.
The Martian by Andy Weir* – After an accident astronaut Mark Watney gets left on Mars and must fight to survive, get contact with Earth and make it home alive. This book is filled with interesting tidbits about the science of space travel and life on a different planet. It’s also surprisingly funny. Mark’s narration tells the tragic tale with humor, wit and dorkyness. And it totally works for me.
Yes please by Amy Poehler* – I listened to the audiobook version of this book. It’s read by Amy Poehler herself, with guests stepping in to read with her. I love this book and listen to it again and again. I think Poehler really hit something in me, and it’s difficult to write something clear on why you should read it, because my own reasons are so personal. The reasons I have to love this book, aren’t the reasons you would have. But there is a big possibility that you will love it if you give it a chance, so give it a try.
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer* – Into Thin Air tells the story of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster that killed 8 people. Jon Krakauer was on the mountain when it happened and tells the deeply personal story of what happened. One of the interesting things about reading the book is to follow how he strives for objectivity, but because it is so personal to him, he doesn’t quite manage. It’s more his story than an accurate account of what happened. He says that it is as accurate as he could make it from his remembrance and in talking to others, but that there are some things that no one will know. There is also an interesting epilogue to the edition I read where he discussed the controversy about the book after it was published. It’s a harrowing book, but well worth the read.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed* – Cheryl Strayed thought she’d lost everything, and in an attempt to regain herself, she decided to hike the more than 1000 miles long Pacific Crest Trail alone. She had no hiking experience, only her own strong will to carry her forward. I love this book and how Strayed describes both her physical and emotional journey.
Just Kids by Patti Smith* – Just Kids tells the story of Patti Smith’s early life, living in the artist’s world in New York with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. It’s an inspirational read about following creative pursuits as well as a personal account of Mapplethorpe’s life and death. Every sentence reads like a line out of a poem.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer – This is a twist on the classic fairytale Cinderella. Only in this dystopian version Cinderella is Cinder; half human, half cyborg living in a future Beijing and working as a mechanic. The Lunar people of the Moon is poised for invasion, a disease plagues the world and of course there is a ball and a handsome prince. Cinder tries to uncover her past and help the ones she cares about, while Prince Kai mourns his father and tries to save his people. I never thought I would love a book about a cyborg Cinderella this much, it’s really good. The next books follows different fairy tale characters.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan* – This book tells the story of two people named Will Grayson, about their life, how they meet and their separate struggles and successes. John Green and David Levithan write well together and they write alternating chapters about their own Will. It’s one of the truly good YA novels that treats the teenagers within it seriously, and gives them space to grow.
We were Liars by E. Lockhart* – This book is all about secrets, suspense and growing horror. I won’t tell you how it ends, but you should read to find out. Cadence has spent every summer of her life on her family’s private island, with family and her group of friends: the Liars. But something happened last summer. Cadence can’t remember, but now everything is different and no one will tell her why.
I love British detective novels, so much that I wrote a whole post on it here. If that’s your thing head over for some tips. If not here is one great series that’s more of a thriller:
The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver* – Deaver’s detective Lincoln Rhyme is a genius in the field of forensics, but has given up on police work after an accident left him in a wheelchair. In this first book of the series he is brought back into the life of a detective by a serial killer that challenges him personally. He gets help from Amelia Sachs, a police detective and throws himself into the case. The cases are focused on forensic work and evidence, and the partnership between Amelia Sachs and Lincoln Rhyme is really great.
Lumberjanes by by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke A. Allen* – Not everything is as it seems at girls summer camp. You will love the girls at this summer camp, they are all unique and interesting. And they have great adventures trying to earn all their badges, while solving the mystery about the camp itself.
Ms Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona* – Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City, until she gains extraordinary powers. Kamala is trying to be everything: a good daughter, a good Muslim, a good friend, a great superhero. Can Ms Marvel be everything?
Sandman* by Neil Gaiman (Author), Sam Kieth , Mike Dringenberg , Malcolm Jones III
How about you? I’m always looking to read something new, so hit me with your recommendations please!
Get more recommendations at ModernMrsDarcy’s monthly link-up.