Chapter 5 - Read This
Often I have customers who come in looking for recommendations because they've just read a book they really enjoyed. I try to narrow my recommendations down by asking what about the mentioned book they liked. Was it the time period (World War II is a big one), was it the style of writing (more of the same author), or was it the plot (coming of age, comes to mind). When I have a clue I then give recommendations that might fit the need. I usually offer several books and ask the customer to read the synopsis to see if it sounds like something they'd like.
Sometimes my recommendations scratch the itch and sometimes honestly, they cannot and I just scratch my head! But, as I do read a lot, I have found some tried and true matches for those books people have enjoyed. Below are some of my book to book and author to author recommendations.
If you enjoyed Pachinko by Min Jin Lee or Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, I think you'd probably like Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim. This is a relatively new (December, 2021) book which is about a young woman in Occupied Korea who is training to be a courtesan (Korean equivalent of a geisha). It spans many decades and is a good and enlightening read.
If you have read The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi and would like a similar book I'd recommend either Thrity Umrigar's newest book Honor or Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. All these books are about women striving for success and survival in male dominated cultures.
Science fiction and fantasy readers who like J.D. Robb's futuristic detective Eve Dallas (think Naked in Death and 52 others) might get into The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. Mostly novellas with a full size book also, the Murderbot is a droid who has hacked its own government module and refers to itself as Murderbot. It too solves futuristic murders. Or maybe try the Jim Butcher series about a wizard, Harry Dresden, who also helps to solve murders. The first book in the series in Storm Front.
For customers who prefer an action series like the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child, I recommend The Presidential Agent series by W.E.B. Griffin or Vince Flynn's Mitch Rap series. If you prefer international heroes try the Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva (a personal favorite). As these series are ongoing you might have to hit a used bookstore to find the first one in the series.
And finally for the World War II lovers - if you like Heather Morris's Tattooist of Auschwitz, try Cilka's Journey by her, The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith, or The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. If you liked The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer try The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy of The Girl From the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat.
This just scratches the surface of my recommendations. Do you have any books you'd recommend which fit into these categories? Please share!