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Ask a Book Buyer: Vegan Cookbooks, Tasmanian Authors, Horror Novels, and More

Ask a Book BuyerAt Powell's, our book buyers select all the new books in our vast inventory. If we need a book recommendation, we turn to our team of resident experts. Need a gift idea for a fan of vampire novels? Looking for a guide that will best demonstrate how to knit argyle socks? Need a book for a vegetarian who loves Radiohead and Flight of the Conchords? Email your question to We'll be posting personalized recommendations regularly.

Q: I am going to Tasmania in September and would love to read a good book by a Tasmanian author. Do you have any suggestions? –Dalma

A: I'd wholeheartedly recommend Richard Flanagan. All of his works are excellent, but my favorites are Gould's Book of Fish and The Sound of One Hand Clapping. –Shawn

Q: I have only a week left of my summer break and I am looking for a great book to read. My taste in books leans more towards nonfiction. Some of the books I've read recently that I've enjoyed include Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? by Mindy Kaling, and Girl Walks into a Bar by Rachel Dratch. As you can see, I enjoy humorous biographies. I also enjoy fiction. Some of my favorites include 11/22/63 and Joyland by Stephen King and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I want to find a book so good that I won't be able to put it down — something funny, compelling, and touching. Any recommendations? –Jorge

A: Some other great, funny literary voices: Jonathan Ames (What's Not to Love?), Kelly Oxford (Everything Is Perfect When You're a Liar), David Sedaris, and Sloane Crosley. –Kevin

You won't go wrong with Bossypants by Tina Fey. –Tom

Q: I absolutely loved The Turning short story collection by Tim Winton... Any suggestions on similar books I would enjoy? –Bill

A: Try some other Tim Winton (Cloudstreet, Breath) or Russell Banks, like The Angel on the Roof. –Kevin

Q: I always have a bit of trouble finding horror novels that interest me. I'm 22, so I'm not interested in teen fantasy stuff like Twilight or The Mortal Instruments or basically anything with an overbearing love triangle. The last three books I read were Fiend by Peter Stenson, The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, and House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I welcome your suggestions! –Mariah

A: Anything by Joe Hill. Start with Heart-Shaped Box or NOS4A2. Also: Benjamin Percy's Red Moon and Lauren Beukes's The Shining Girls. –Mary Jo

Try The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich. –Kevin

Q: My son recently decided to eat a vegan diet, and I don't know what to make for him! My dinners have always been more of the "meat and potatoes" variety, and since he's only 14 I want to be able to make him hearty dinners. Any suggestions for cookbooks that would satisfy a young man's appetite? –June

A: For your basic go-to-cookbook, try Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. For back to school, Vegan Lunch Box: 150 Amazing, Animal-Free Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love! by Jennifer McCann. And, of course, 14-year-old boys need cookies! Try Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Treats by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (all her vegan cookbooks are great) and Terry Hope Romero.

One more suggestion: Meatless Eats: Savory Vegetarian Dishes from around the World by It's mostly vegan, but a few recipes include some dairy. What makes this book awesome is that every recipe is presented as a tutorial, perfect for the family that wants to cook together. –Tracey

Q: I really enjoy dark picaresque novels and unreliable narrators. In particular, I recently read Merwin's translation of Lazarillo de Tormes, Dead Souls, and The Tunnel, all of which I totally loved. I also really enjoyed Kornél Esti, but I didn't think it was as perfect as the others. What would be some examples of serious but somewhat obscure literature in the same vein? –Jessica

A: Some ideas: Senselessness or The She-Devil in the Mirror by Horacio Castellanos Moya, The No World Concerto by A. G. Porta, Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin, and Delirium by Laura Restrepo. You may also enjoy the work of César Aira, Gonçalo Tavares, Roberto Bolaño, and Antonio Lobo Antunes. –Jeremy

Read more Ask a Book Buyer on PowellsBooks.Blog.


Books mentioned in this post

  1. What's Not To Love?
    New Trade Paper $15.95
  2. Everything Is Perfect When You're a Liar Used Hardcover $12.95
  3. Bossypants
    Used Trade Paper $8.50
  4. Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook
    Used Hardcover $14.95
  5. Vegan Lunch Box: 150 Amazing,...
    Used Trade Paper $9.50
  6. Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie...
    Used Trade Paper $12.50
  7. Meatless Eats: Savory Vegetarian... Sale Trade Paper $6.98
  8. Senselessness
    Used Trade Paper $10.95
  9. The She-Devil in the Mirror New Trade Paper $14.95
  10. No World Concerto Used Trade Paper $10.95
  11. Maidenhair Used Trade Paper $11.95
  12. Delirium (Vintage International) New Trade Paper $16.95
  13. The Shining Girls
    Sale Hardcover $10.98
  14. Red Moon
    Used Hardcover $9.95
  15. NOS4A2
    Used Hardcover $13.95
  16. Heart-Shaped Box Used Trade Paper $6.95
  17. The Angel on the Roof Used Trade Paper $2.95
  18. The Sound of One Hand Clapping Used Trade Paper $6.50
  19. Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in 12 Fish
    Used Trade Paper $6.50
  20. Kornel Esti New Trade Paper $16.95
  21. The Turning: Stories
    Used Trade Paper $6.95
  22. Ready Player One
    Used Trade Paper $8.00
  23. Joyland
    Used Trade Paper $6.95
  24. 11/22/63
    Used Trade Paper $13.50
  25. Girl Walks Into a Bar: Comedy... Used Trade Paper $10.95
  26. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?...
    Used Trade Paper $8.00
  27. Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A...
    Used Hardcover $8.50
  28. The Tunnel Used Trade Paper $9.00
  29. Dead Souls (Vintage Classics) Used Trade Paper $10.95
  30. The Orange Eats Creeps
    Used Trade Paper $10.50
  31. The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes Used Trade Paper $7.95
  32. House of Leaves: A Novel
    Used Trade Paper $11.00
  33. The Strain
    Used Trade Paper $6.00

  34. Cloudstreet New Trade Paper $18.00
  35. Breath
    Used Trade Paper $5.50

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