Literary matchmaking

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Answering the dreaded question "what do I read next?" by matching readers with the right books, one week at a time.

The details on this ongoing project, and the factors I’m taking to heart.

Readers told me 3 books they loved, 1 book they hated, and what they’re reading right now. In turn, I’m choosing 1 mainstream pick, 1 eccentric pick, and 1 YA/memoir/nonfiction pick for each reader. (Or more, if I can’t help myself.)

This week we’re choosing books for Grace and Moira.


Love: Eleanor & Park, Quiet, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Hate: The Icarus Girl
Recently: The Unbearable Lightness of Being (but I didn’t like it)

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

My picks: 

Breezy: Someday, Someday, Maybe
Eccentric: Parnassus on Wheels
YA-ish: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (at publication time, on sale for $2.99 for Kindle)
Perhaps: Introverts in the Church

Grace likes plucky females and isn’t afraid of serious reading. (I focused on the plucky, not the serious.)

Someday, Someday, Maybe feels like a modern cousin to Miss Pettigrew, while Parnassus is similar in feel. The first Flavia de Luce book features a precocious kid solving mysteries in the British countryside, circa 1950.

Introverts in the Church is a fascinating follow-up to Quiet (whose author makes a cameo to visit a California megachurch), and I recommend it if you have the tiniest bit of interest in religion or spirituality.


Love: The Graveyard Book, Winter Sea, Quiet, anything by Jane Austen or Elizabeth Peters
Hate: Wild
Last Read: Bread and Wine and The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

My picks: 

Austen-ish: North and South
Historical Fiction: Trinity 

Whimsical: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Nonfiction: The Kitchen Counter Cooking School or The Power of Habit

I haven’t read Winter Sea, but the fascinating description reminds me of Leon Uris’s books, especially Trinity. North and South is a perfect next step for the Janeite who ran out of Austen novels. I wouldn’t call The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland a Neil Gaiman read-alike, but it does start with the Green Wind appearing in a 12-year-old’s bedroom in Omaha.

Since Moira loves Quiet and Bread and Wine, a nonfiction recommendation is in order: The Kitchen Counter Cooking School is a foodie memoir, with recipes; The Power of Habit is a provocative exploration of why we do what we do.

How did I do? What books would YOU recommend to Grace and Moira? 

View all the literary matchmaking posts here.

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  1. Rachel says:

    This sounds fun! I’d like some recommendations. I loved the Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind, Bread and Wine and A Ring of Endless Light by Madeline L’Engle.

    I hated Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.

    I’m about to finish Written in my Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon

    • Susan says:

      The Sword of Truth series is my husband’s favorite. He also really enjoys the Game of Thrones and wants to read my copy of the Golem and the Jinni.

  2. Grace says:

    Oh my, I actually squealed with joy when I saw it was my turn today! Someday, Someday, Maybe and Parnassus on Wheels have both been on my to read list because I’ve seen you mention them in other posts, so now they’re going to be jumping to the front of line. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie sounds quite interesting, so I’ll be checking that one out as well. And I’ve actually already read Introverts in the Church, haha. It was good – very validating and encouraging as a fellow introvert. Thanks so much for the matchmaking!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I don’t know Moira or why she hated Wild (not that I think it’s amazing either) but if the concept intrigued her I enjoyed Called Again by Jennifer Pharr Davis who holds the fastest thru-hike time on the Appalachian Trail for women OR men! She is a Christian and attributes her success both on and off the trail to God and her grew support team of friends and family. I found her a more likable narrator than Cheryl Strayed personally in a similar memoir concept.

  4. Jennifer H says:

    I just started Panassas on Wheels. I love it so far. You haven’t “matched” me, but I got this book idea from one of your other matches, and for that, I say “thank you”.

  5. Kim says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a contribution to this piece, but I love this series and am so inspired by it. I’ve been taking suggestions and reading non-stop!!! Thanks so much!

  6. Moira says:

    I was so excited that it’s my turn today!! Thank you for so many good recommendations! I’ve had my eye on North and South and The Power of Habit for a while, but the others are all new to me and look so good. Off to track them all down…starting with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland 🙂
    And I’ll be adding Grace’s picks to my to-read list as well!

  7. Jillian Kay says:

    If you like hiking books but not Strayed I would try Into Thin Air, I Promise Not To Suffer, A Blistered Kind of Love, or The Seven Summits. I couldn’t stand Strayed but LOVE hiking books.

  8. Katie says:

    I cannot stop recommending dear Flavia. Like mysteries? Try Flavia. Like British schoolchildren? Definitely Flavia. Books set in the 1950s? Oh, Flavia! Chemistry? Obviously, Flavia. Don’t actually like reading at all? Flavia on audiobook (VERY well done; I’m not an auditory learner and much prefer to read than listen, but these are so well narrated. Bonus: you get to hear how many of the British names you’ve been mispronouncing in your head all this time.)

    Clearly I need to read some of the other books you keep recommending, too.

  9. Leah says:

    Oh my goodness, this sounds like SO much fun!

    I’m seconding the Flavia de Luce series & Someday Someday Maybe. If Grace hasn’t read Rowell’s other works, I HIGHLY recommend it, particularly Attachments (chock-full of late 90s goodness).

    As for Moira, I’d recommend Terry Pratchett & Diana Wynne Jones. Gaiman co-wrote Good Omens with Pratchett and had a beautiful friendship with Jones (the piece he wrote about her passing STILL breaks my heart). She might also enjoy John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things, Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle series, & Libba Bray’s The Diviners. Claire Legrand’s The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is wonderful as is Stephanie Burgis’s Kat, Incorrigible series.

    If she’s looking for something Gaiman-esque on the adult side, Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni is the way to go!

  10. Ann says:

    Oh no, I love Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

    Maybe you could “cheat” and watch the fantastic Daniel Day-Lewis movie. I love that too!!

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