Fiction recs for a picky reader

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Fiction recs for a picky reader

1katemcangus
dec 15, 2020, 12:33pm

I am a librarian and I've never had more trouble finding fiction for someone than I have for my husband. He reads mostly non-fiction, but is finding that he needs more of a mental break that non-fiction can provide right now.

His favorite fiction read was Let the Great World Spin by Collum McCann (the first and last successful recommendation I made to him). His most recently enjoyed book was Long Bright River by Liz Moore. He's read and enjoyed all of Pat Conry's novels. He's read any fiction book having to do with baseball.

His interests include: sports (esp. hockey and baseball), professional wrestling, the Olympics, stadium financing, rock music, and Russian.

We have tried and he has shot down:
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Secret History by Donna Tartt
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

My next rec is Ian McEwan or John Irving unless anyone has any suggestions.

2karenb
Redigerat: dec 15, 2020, 1:18pm

How does he feel about genre fiction? (ETA: I'm thinking mysteries and science fiction/fantasy.)

3TWaits
dec 15, 2020, 1:41pm

4lesmel
dec 15, 2020, 1:45pm

5edparks
dec 15, 2020, 1:53pm

>THE ART OF FIELDING by Chad Harbach.
THE BROTHERS K by David James Duncan.

6TheFlamingoReads
dec 15, 2020, 3:30pm

>1 katemcangus: "The Sojourn" by Andrew Krivak. It takes place during WWI in Europe. While it doesn't exactly fall under his preferences, it's an incredible book about survival and perseverance.

7Capybara_99
Redigerat: dec 15, 2020, 8:09pm

Has he read "The Cactus League" The Cactus League by Emily Nemens -- one of those stories/novel hybrids. Recent, so he could have missed it. Baseball in the spring in Arizona from a variety of perspectives.

I haven't read "Utopia Avenue" Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell about a rock band, but it could be worth a shot.

8katemcangus
dec 15, 2020, 5:29pm

>2 karenb: Yes, I can't believe I failed to mention this: he won't consider sci-fi or fantasy. He is missing out, obviously.

9katemcangus
dec 15, 2020, 5:31pm

>5 edparks: He read & loved The Art of Fielding, but I'd never heard of The Brothers K. Thanks for the rec!

10katemcangus
dec 15, 2020, 5:33pm

>6 TheFlamingoReads: I'll pass this along to him, thanks!

11katemcangus
dec 15, 2020, 5:35pm

>7 Capybara_99: I totally missed The Cactus League, which might be perfect, thanks! And the Mitchell looks promising as well. I didn't even think to consider him since my husband doesn't do sci-fi/fantasy. Good call!

12katemcangus
dec 15, 2020, 5:35pm

>4 lesmel: Thanks, I'll pass these along, too!

13AnnieMod
dec 15, 2020, 6:29pm

Grisham's Calico Joe? I know you said that he had read almost everything about baseball but Grisham is not an author you will look at for this kind of a book so... maybe?

Absurdistan (technically SF but... it does not really read as one - it is more of an allegory/satire than a straight SF novel) may also work based on his interest in Russian - depending on what exactly his interest is of course...

What exactly interests him in Russian? Maybe this is a direction we can explore :)

14mvblair
dec 15, 2020, 7:34pm

>1 katemcangus: I am not a sports fan, but I absolutely loved Pitching Around Fidel. It was a history and travelogue about sports in Cuba. It had a bit of Olympics, plenty of boxing and baseball, and gave a wonderful feel. The writing was so smooth and easy-to-read. I also enjoyed Kill the Ámpaya, which is a collection of short fiction. It was a lot of fun to read.

15reb922
dec 15, 2020, 7:53pm

Maybe The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay or a Edward Rutherford book if he has any interest in any of the locations his books are about. Also the Jack Whyte King Arthur books were amazing they are written like historical fiction no fantasy or magic.

16ORTeacher
Redigerat: dec 15, 2020, 10:46pm

Not fiction, but certainly as readable as fiction, I would assume that he has read The Boy's in the Boat by Daniel James Brown?
Something also lighthearted and non-fiction is just about anything by Bill Bryson, especially In a Sunburned Country.

17karenb
dec 16, 2020, 1:52am

If he liked the WP Kinsella baseball fiction, you know that Kinsella wrote non-baseball fiction too? They're older but good, if you can find them.

(Too bad about the SF/fantasy: Michael Bishop's Brittle Innings was excellent.)

182wonderY
Redigerat: dec 16, 2020, 4:27am

>16 ORTeacher:. I was just coming by to also recommend The Boys in the Boat. A fascinating story well told.

I know the OP is asking for fiction, but there is so much entertaining non-fiction!

I can also recommend The Day the World Came to Town for a complex story admirably managed.

19andyl
Redigerat: dec 16, 2020, 9:50am

>8 katemcangus:

Even if it is a SF book with strong baseball content - Brittle Innings*

For music maybe Andrew Cartmel's The Vinyl Detective series. Sort of music related mystery(ish) books which are pretty light but set in the UK which might be a non-starter.

* Ha beaten to the punch by >17 karenb:

20JamesSanders
dec 16, 2020, 5:58am

Detta konto har stängts av för spammande.

21lorax
dec 16, 2020, 9:16am

Oh, Brittle Innings is so good. The fantastical elements aren't really what people who dislike fantasy think of when they say fantasy, so maybe it's worth a try anyway? I mean, Shoeless Joe is fantasy too, after all.

22-pilgrim-
dec 18, 2020, 12:17pm

How about some modern Russian fiction, like The Secret Book of the Werewolf by Viktor Pelevin? The setting is apparently urban fantasy, but really it is a satire on modern Russian life in the era when it was written i.e. the nineties.

And Russian werewolves are nothing like the Western concept of them, either in how they behave or in the "rules" of how they function. The fact the Russian for "werewolf" is also the slang for a certain type of criminal is relevant here.

23-pilgrim-
Redigerat: dec 18, 2020, 12:21pm

How about some modern Russian fiction, like The Sacred Book of the Werewolf by Viktor Pelevin? The setting is apparently urban fantasy, but really it is a satire on modern Russian life in the era when it was written i.e. the nineties.

And Russian werewolves are nothing like the Western concept of them, either in how they behave or in the "rules" of how they function. The fact the Russian for "werewolf" is also the slang for a certain type of criminal is relevant here.

Sasha Seriy is both a werewolf and a KGB officer.
A-hui is both a werefox and a virgin prostitute.

24dara85
dec 19, 2020, 2:12pm

Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley is the first mystery in the series and hockey is a prominent part of the story.

25markon
dec 22, 2020, 11:19pm

What about Born to run by Christopher McDougal? It's nonfiction, but it read like a novel to me.

26markon
dec 22, 2020, 11:22pm

What about Born to run by Christopher McDougal? It's nonfiction, but I found it fun & an easy read.

27mousymolly
dec 23, 2020, 12:14pm

He might enjoy Beartown by Fredrik Backman. It's about hockey, but has more depth than a sports book. If he liked Let the Great World Spin (one of my FAVORITE books) then I think it could be a good match :)

28ChrisWang
Redigerat: dec 23, 2020, 11:44pm

>1 katemcangus: A recent book (2020) is The Resisters by Gish Jen. It is a dystopian book in which a main character is a high school / college aged girl that has a great pitching arm. More on control than fast on speed.

29VernaW
dec 24, 2020, 12:01am

>15 reb922: I agree about Kavalier and Clay. Let us know if he tries it.

30VernaW
dec 24, 2020, 12:02am

Has he tried A Gentleman in Moscow? Historical fiction, fascinating characters.

31JessicaLane
Redigerat: jan 4, 9:51pm

I second A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. My finicky not-too-much-fiction-please husband loved it.

Perhaps something from one of these writers.

Ian McEwan

William Strong

Bill Bryson -- reads like fiction -- especially A Walk in the Woods and/or 1927 and/or The
Adventures of the Thunderbolt Kid

Winterdance by Gary Paulsen. Also literary non-fiction. Hysterically funny in parts.

Mary Doria Russo, not The Sparrow although I adore it but Doc or Dreamers of the Day?

Finally, how about Remains of the Day?

32Lynsey2
dec 24, 2020, 1:45pm

I also recommend A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. My husband loved this book as well and he tends to read nonfiction; history or politics.

33gmathis
jan 5, 12:20pm

The late Neil Peart from Rush wrote several books, including The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa ... non-fiction, but travelogues with a rock music "soundtrack," so to speak.