This is a guest blog post by Hydaway ambassador and English teacher Dana Foley. Follow her on Instagram for more book recommendations and cute puppy pictures @illreadwhatsheread.
I’m the kind of person who will totally check out (little library humor there) what you’re reading. I used to go for the creepy side eye but now I flagrantly stare. I also will give random strangers book advice in book stores. Last confession: with books I own, I’m the monster who dog ears pages. My superpower is that I can read 5 books at a time, remembering plot lines, characters, and page numbers, but I never remember the title. Because of these talents, I am asked to recommend books. With that said, these are some go to authors and their genres that I recommend often. Want some more sage advice from a bibliophile? Never fear the young adult genre. Many of the novels that carry that stigma are some of the best I’ve read.
Are you interested in the environment and enjoy a good, sardonic, political satire? If so, look no further than the eclectic mysteries of Carl Hiassen. He has some recurring characters like the former Florida governor who now roams the Everglades helping the needy, but his books can be read as stand alones. If you read them in order, you get a little more out of them. Another reason he is one of my favorite recs is that he also writes some wickedly funny young adult novels that everyone can enjoy. As a family, we recently listened to Chomp on a road trip and kept cracking up.
Another solid mystery writer I like to recommend is Megan Miranda. She doubles up like Carl Hiassen as both a young adult and adult novelist and is active on social media promoting her books. In my English classroom, I can hardly keep her books on my shelf. These youngish readers love a good mystery with just a touch of debauchery. Ashley Elston, April Henry, Courtney Summers, and Megan Miranda fill my young adult reading needs. If you are a fan of the really messed up adult psychological thrillers go for the less well known Chevy Stevens as she has more novels than Gillian Flynn. She is Canadian so I did do some brushing up on my Canadian legal knowledge when I first started her novels. Lisa Gardner, Karin Slaughter and Laura Lippman round out my thriller go-tos.
Beach reads are always popular. I personally knock off about five on a trip. I’ll even read an entire book on the flight there and back. I like something lighter with a solid, satisfying ending. Sophie Kinsella (NOT the Shopaholic series), Elin Hilderbrand, and Sarah Pekkanen top my list. I was recently introduced to the salacious book called The Hating Game and LOVED it. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld and Andrea Dunlop writing a tantalizing tale. Go for paperback so you don’t freak out if you get splashed and you can leave it as most places have free lending libraries! Please though, don’t bring a library book. No one wants your sand spilling onto them.
While history class was never my thing, I love historical novels as they take me to another time and place. Novels of this genre tend to be heavier, so they enter my reading rotation less than my psychological thrillers. I can’t say I have a go-to author for this, but I do have novels that I prefer.
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan follows the turbulent relationships of Illinois native Frank Lloyd Wright. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain is another historical novel with a heavy emphasis on the romance of Ernest Hemingway. Sara Gruen has two stellar novels, the most well known being Water for Elephants, but At the Water’s Edge is an astronomical story set in Scotland with the backdrop of the Lochness Monster. If you want some real ins and outs of the wives of Henry the VIII, then Philippa Gregory is your girl. Crowned the Queen of Royal Fiction, her novels focus on the women of this era and get into the really gritty parts of angling to be queen. Finally, I want to add Alan Brennert’s two imagery filled novels entitles Honolulu and Moloka’i.
There are two series that I have read over and over and also have also repeated on audio. Harry Potter is the gift that keeps on giving in novel form and via the award winning narration. The other series is by the late Sue Grafton. Her Kinsey Millhone series ends at Y, as the author passed away last year which maybe be why many people saw “the alphabet ends in Y’ all over social media as a way to pay homage to this great American novelist.
That’s all for now, but please visit me @illreadwhatsheread for more suggestions! I recently live consulted a book club meeting for their next choice so I suppose I should change my official job title from Book Nerd to Book Consultant. Read on, readers.