Like any sensible British reader, I have a Waterstones card. Books = points = more books. I can’t remember how I found it but it turns out that there’s a section on Waterstones’ website here dedicated to everything good and bookish including some handy hints about where to go when you’ve read something you love and want something similar or only have an inkling of what you fancy reading. I can’t say that they’re all super accurate, because in a lot of the cases, if I’ve read the lead book, I haven’t read any of the recommendations or vice versa. The ones where I have read more than one of the featured books, though, are pretty good…
For when you’re craving some sleuthing without the nightmares: COZY CRIME
I’ve mentioned roughly a thousand time on the blog how much of a wuss I am (and will do so again in a little while…sorry!). But seriously – I’m just not grown up enough for creeping through dark corridors, bangs and crashes when you least expect them and sinister serial killers. Not even a little bit. And YET I do love the following of clues, using logic and deduction and finding a killer. I don’t read a lot of cozy crime because I find the feel of them quite repetitive, even when they have a unique twist or are part of a series with a theme that I like, but I do really enjoy them when I do. I think that maybe they’re what I’d give as my “guilty pleasure”, if I had to pick one.
This is the only guide that I’m mentioning where I haven’t read any of the recommendations BUT I’ve read a few of Agatha Christie’s novels so I think that means I’m faintly comfortable talking about this sub-genre. The We Love… and Read Me First… spotlights both fall on Agatha Christie; The Murder at the Vicarage and Murder on the Orient Express. I haven’t read either but it’s nice to have some direction in the face of Christie’s epic bibliography!
Added to the wishlist: Dying in the Wool by Frances Brady – the first book in the Kate Shackleton mystery series features scandal against the backdrop of a Yorkshire village, with an amatuer investigator looking into the disappearance of a mill owner. I live in a Yorkshire village but am originally from Lancashire so I kind of love anything that tries to explain to the particularities of Yorkshire life to “outsiders”. The more fun stereotypes for me to throw at my Yorkshireman boyfriend, the better 😉
Lit Addicted Brit bonus recommendation: Ok, so the series isn’t spectacularly literary and I’ve only read two books in the series but if you like a few recipes sprinkled through your stories (because who doesn’t, really), the Hanna Swensen series by Joanne Fluke is kind of cute. Just don’t come back here when you’re full of cookies and on a sugar down. The first in the series is Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, which I did a teeny tiny review of here.
For when you’re craving some nightmares without the sleuthing: SPOOKY STORIES
Obviously I rarely fall into this category but I have found recently that I occasionally get struck by a fit of bravery and dare a ghost story. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill was my most recent indulgence, I think (reviewed here), and features in this guide as the We love… feature title. Excellent choice, Waterstones. I own The Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbert after seemingly forgetting how much of a complete wimp I am and downloading the eBook. I obviously haven’t read it yet because it looks SCARY but it’s nice to know that I have an endorsement of its quality should I ever find myself feeling courageous.
Added to the wishlist: Complete Ghost Stories by Charles Dickens – I don’t have a great deal of experience of Dickens’ writing (by which I mean that I’ve read A Christmas Carol and nothing else…) but this guide makes this collection sound packed full of gothic-y goodness.
Lit Addicted Brit bonus recommendation: I can’t believe I’m about to recommend it again after the many, many years it took me to face up to it but Dracula by Bram Stoker (reviewed here).