At 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 Instructables.com. 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
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