We asked our readers: What was the last book that you couldn't put down, that kept you up all night, that you couldn't stop recommending? We were delightfully surprised by the number of replies we received. Here are some of our favorites. We'll be posting more on a regular basis, so check back often. And if you'd like to submit your own recommendations, click here for instructions.
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Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
Recommended by: Keith Knuuti from Honolulu, Hawaii
Favorite author of all time: Depending on when you ask me, I have a number of different favorite authors. But right now my answer would be William Faulkner.
Favorite type of book: Genre fiction (science fiction, crime novels, etc.)
After avoiding the novel for a decade, one day I saw a used paperback copy of Jitterbug Perfume on the free shelf at the library and decided to give it a shot. I was hooked almost instantly. Robbins had created a world that I immersed myself in completely: the imaginary history of medieval Bohemia, the vital role of beets, the perfume experts, all wrapped up with sex, love, and immortality! I've gone back and reread the book a couple of times, and each time I end up recommending it to a new group of friends. Some people are interested in the love story, others in the immortality, others in the sense of smell, and a few lucky souls are convinced when I mention that beets play a prominent role. For what it's worth, I also resisted beets back in the 1980s, and now I love them, too!
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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Recommended by: Brenda Hooper from Kelseyville, California
Favorite author of all time: So many favorites, only one to choose! Probably Pat Conroy.
Favorite type of book: Literary fiction
The last book I loved would have to be The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. This book was such a poignant reminder of how quickly our lives can change and the good and bad ways we deal with that. But for me, more importantly, it was a reminder of how differently I read now that I'm in my 60s. I'm much more attuned to the subtleties of a book and the author's voice. Donna Tartt is a writer who makes me think my way through a book, and that makes it such a memorable experience. She expands my mind and I feel as though I'm following along. Her writing is vivid and a constant reminder of why I read and have such an addiction to books.
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The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Recommended by: Kathleen Stewart from Milwaukie, Oregon
Favorite author of all time: Laurie King (lately), Tim Egan, Jane Austen, Wallace Stegner
Favorite type of book: Historical, mysteries, time travel, strong women
The best book I've read lately was, without a doubt, The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. This book opened up truths that a fairly enlightened and worldly white girl from the Pacific Northwest never knew about. Sure, slavery was outlawed, but the absolutely horrendous actions that African Americans in the South endured during the 1900s needs to be required reading for every American. The author shares the true stories of four individuals and their flight from the South to "the warmth of other suns." It is a very readable book. I couldn't put it down and learned something from almost every page.