In Need Of Something New

In anticipation of an upcoming flight, I decided to load my Kindle with new books to read. After spending the past three hours scrolling, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t know how to narrow searches.

First off, I want free, or under five dollars. If I’m going to spend more than that on an author I don’t know yet, I want a real book. I don’t understand high Kindle prices when there is so little cost to produce one. No printing, no distribution. You pay for the brand, not the content, with those higher prices. But if you type in ‘free Kindle books’ you get thousands to scroll through.

Then, on top of cheap, I want quality. But if you narrow the search to three stars and above, it still leaves thousands, including thousands that have a four-star review of one.

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And finally, I want books with strong settings. I want settings that provide conflict and depth for the characters. Settings that are so well written they become characters. I don’t necessarily mean settings like the wilderness where a character is pitted against rock falls and snow storms. It could be a city if it’s written strongly enough. Though I do prefer nature.

Books I’ve read that fit this, that come immediately to mind, are those like Ellie Griffith’s The Crossing Places. Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child. Mary Emerick’s The Geography of Water, which I absolutely loved. The non-fiction Coming Into the Country by John McPhee.

Then there are those series I loved that the authors seem to have walked away from as it’s been so long since anything new came out. PJ Parrish’s Louis Kincaid series. Jonathan King’s Max Freeman series. Sarah Stewart Taylor’s Sweeney series.

As a huge reader, I could spend the rest of the night listing books.

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The problem is, if I go to Kindle books, type in ‘fiction with strong settings’ I get lists of innocent Amish girls thrust into the world, or lusty lairds in highlands. Did I mention that while I have nothing against romance, I don’t personally read much in the genre? Oh, I used to. The gothics so popular in the 1970s – Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart and Barbara Michaels. But not so much now.

Maybe, looking over this post, my problem isn’t how to narrow searches. Maybe I’m too picky. Either way, it’s getting late and I have to get up early. So I’m walking away from Amazon and wandering over here. Any favorite books to share? Any favorite authors? And if you don’t mind, please share why you like those books. I’d love a long list of new reading material.

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21 thoughts on “In Need Of Something New

  1. Oh man… that would be hard for me, since most of my favourite books are ones that you told me about and several others would not interest you. The rest are German…
    I am sure there are lots of people who can help you with this though!

    • I don’t mind a little romance, but I like something left to the imagination. And sci-fy and fantasy are also favorites. My son got me hooked on the Wheel of Time series, and I’m currently waiting for the next Expanse book to show up. I think sometimes narrowing down by genre simply means you end up with thousands to scroll through rather than millions – but you’re right, it does help!

      • In that case, try kate daniels series, by Ilona Andrews… i’m not sure about the costs. of the books they are best sellers the setting is described beautifully and the character development is very good. I think i gave the first book a 3 or 4 star rating, but the rest got a 5. There is also the circle trilogy by Nora Roberts, a little out of date, but they are very good. For your son, i’d recommend ‘the forbidden game’ trilogy by L. J. Smith, which is something i read a few times back in high school and enjoyed. if you want more i can go back to my library… ah, Jim butcher. harry dresden series. the first book wasn’t all that good, but like the Kate daniels, the rest got high ratings.

  2. Have you read Jeanne Matthews’ books? Mysteries set all over the world — her protagonist is a Native American who is a cultural anthropologist. There’s always a connection to indigenous people and the local political/cultural setting (as well as the physical setting). Her writing is terrific (high quality) and she has the ability to make you laugh without crossing into what always seems to me to be “trying-too-hard-comedy” (although I wouldn’t call her books “humorous”). Don’t know the price, but I don’t think you’d be disappointed. Oh, I happen to know that she’s been to the places she writes about, so the settings are not only strong, but accurate!

    • I have read her books – she got me interested when talking with her at one of the author panels we were at. And I noticed that witty humor translates over into real life, too!

    • I have read Pam Beason – the first couple. I admit to losing a little interest when she moved to locales beyond the mountains. But good writing, well developed characters, and interesting settings.

  3. Most of the books on my list are older ones but are still on my list of favorites.
    The Last Report on the Mircles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich
    The Time Keeper and The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
    The Time Travlers Wife by Audrey Nefenegger
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    And for all around good humor and mystery two books by Fannie Flagg. The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion and Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man.

  4. Hello Lisa! Sounds like a very familiar problem! I am constantly going through this, and of late have decided to read or reread classical authors I didn’t enjoy in my younger years. Read all of L M Montgomery in a gulp and enjoyed it. I’m now reading H G Wells’ Ann Veronica, very gripping. I could send you my own books if you are interested. Both are for children, set in India — one is an adventure set in an archaeological dig, and a one a fantasy from Ramayana times. I don’t know if they’ll pass your bar, but would love to see if they do! Write to me if you’d like a free pdf or mobi file.

  5. Have you read Anne McCaffrey’s series The Dragon riders of Pern? Her books are amazing and she has tons of them. You’ll also see that her son Todd took over the series with her assistance in the beginning and now on his own as she has passed. She has a huge following as well.
    With what you describe it was the first that came to mind. Good luck!

    • Thanks. From all the recommendations, I’m getting a long list compiled. And re-reading ‘The Geography of Water’. I’d forgotten how lyrical that writing is.

  6. Here is a website that I find helpful for finding “read-alikes.” It is called Novelist.

    http://web.b.ebscohost.com.sled.idm.oclc.org/novelist/search/novbasic?vid=0&sid=8d23550b-f0b7-470d-95a0-5e663dadc711%40sessionmgr101

    In my bookgroup and we just read “Brit-Marie” was here. Everybody loved it! The character development was made me like it. Google it.

    Just read To The Bright Edge of the World also by Eowyn Ivey (Snow Child). And it was good, very well researched and talk about setting!

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