In my bookshop, we have a special bay that’s just for staff picks. At the moment it’s full of a selection of ‘summer reads’ recommended by everybody who works there, but usually it belongs to one person only. We get it for a month each, on rotation.
The other day, my manager informed me that my number had come up and the bay would be MINE for the month of October. I need to choose twenty-one titles that I think people would like to read, and write enthusiastic shelftalkers for each of them. So I made a list of titles I wanted to share with people…and then I discovered that it consisted of about fifteen SFF titles, a couple of lit fic titles of the kind that make you wonder what exactly it is about them that makes them not SFF, a couple of travel books, and The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (for which I have already written a killer shelftalker, incidentally). And I started thinking that maybe I should try reading outside my comfort zone a little bit before October comes.
So, I thought I’d ask for some help! If you’ve read anything unusual and interesting recently and thought to yourself ‘more people should read this book – if only it could be recommended in some prominent place in a very good station bookshop, or something’, now’s your chance to make it happen. Leave a comment below, message me, tweet at me, get in touch on facebook or whatever – just let me know the title and I’ll do the rest. I’ll let you know if your recommendation ends up going in my bay!
I can’t handle reading books that are intended to scare me (i.e. anything you might find in the Horror section), or books where spousal bereavement or terminal illnesses are a major part of the plot – otherwise I’m open to pretty much anything. Translated books are, as always, especially welcome.
Edit: thanks for the suggestions so far! Here’s what I’ve put on my Staff Picks reading list since this post went up:
– The Guest by Hwang Sok-yong, River of Fire by O Chonghui, Black Flower by Kim Young-ha – recommended by @londonkoreanist (one of these three, at least! Black Flower seems the most appealing right now, but I’ll see which I can get hold of!)
– Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb, translated by Len Rix – recommended by Ginny (looks great – also, I’ve never read a full-length work translated from Hungarian, only short stories)
– Is That a Fish in Your Ear by David Bellos and Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine – recommended by Dan (I read so little non-fiction, it’s a bit embarrassing)
– Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, recommended by David (I’m one of those people who has read Slaughterhouse 5 but nothing else by Vonnegut)
– The Year of the Hare, by Arto Paasilinna and The Spectre of Alexander Wolf, by Gaito Gazdanov, tr from Russian by Bryan Karetnyk – recommended by Ani, below!
– I also really want to have if on a winter’s night a traveller, but somebody else had it in their bay just a couple of months ago! Good taste, colleague.
Thanks, everybody! I really appreciate your input 🙂