Literary matchmaking

literary matchmaking 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 Sheri, Heather, and Jessica.


Love: The Book Thief, Life of Pi, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Jayber Crow, Poisonwood Bible
Disappointment: Flight Behavior
Last read: Help for the Haunted

My picks: 

Mainstream: State of Wonder
Eccentric: The Silver Linings Playbook
Quirky: The Rosie Project

I chose State of Wonder because it has the sweep and strong plot of some of your favorites. Curious Incident brought Silver Linings Playbook to mind, as both are told from unusual perspectives. The Rosie Project has the charm of Guernsey (although it’s a little racier), and is told from the perspective of someone with Asperger’s–a cousin to Curious Incident.


Love: Until I Find You, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Harry Potter
Don’t like: anything by Jodi Picoult
Last read: The Spark
Currently: Crossing to Safety and Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun

My picks: 

Mainstream: Meet the Austins
Eccentric: A Test of Wills
Nonfiction: The Remedy

Madeleine L’Engle and John Irving share similar styles, so I chose Meet the Austins, but any of her works would do. A Test of Wills has the complex plot and mysterious elements of your favorites, but in a different genre.

The Remedy (which is on my nightstand, but I haven’t yet read it) sounds to me like this year’s version of Henrietta Lacks, combining mystery, history, biography, literature, and science to tell the true story of the quest to cure tuberculosis.  


Love: White Oleander, Cutting for Stone, Unbroken
Didn’t love: The Paris Wife
Last read: The Paradox of Choice, An Everlasting Meal, Glitter and Glue

My picks: 

Mainstream: The Language of Flowers
Modern classic: The Poisonwood Bible
Eccentric: The Time in Between

White Oleander brings The Language of Flowers immediately to mind, as the plots are similar. Likewise, Cutting for Stone reminds me of The Poisonwood Bible, although it’s not quite a “read-alike.”

The Time in Between is an offbeat pick. I chose it because it covers World War II from a completely different perspective than Zamp’s: it’s a fictional account of a Spanish couturier who goes undercover as an Allied spy during World War II.

(You know what? I didn’t love The Paris Wife either.)

How did I do? What books would YOU recommend to these readers? 

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  1. Amy says:

    Is it crazy that reading (again) so many other people’s likes and dislikes when it comes to books makes it easier for me to stand fully behind my own preferences. The more I see people disliking things I also disliked, or loving some of the same books as me, but hating others I enjoyed makes it so much more obvious to me that we are all a little bit different, and what I like and don’t is what makes me who I am. Thanks for doing this – it’s been such a fun series to read!

  2. Molly says:

    Anne, I love reading your suggestions for other people based on their past likes and dislikes. I am confused by your use of the word “eccentric” though. Some of the books you recommend as eccentric seam rather mainstream to me so I wonder if you are classifying titles this way for a reason other than the traditional definition?

    • Anne says:

      Ha! You’re right, I use that same word in different ways. You caught me. 🙂 Sometimes I mean “will only appeal to a select few” and sometimes I mean “an odd choice, given the books you say you love, but work with me here.” I can’t stop myself!

  3. Heather says:

    Thanks for the recommendations! I will definitely put them on my to read list. I think that the book I’m most excited to read is Remedy from the three that you chose for me. I really enjoy non-fiction stories that are educational. I just finished The Astronaut’s Guide To Life on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield and I loved it! Just like Amy said above it is nice to see what others like or dislike that I have felt the same way about. I’ve gotten many good suggestions from the literary matchmaking! Thank you!

  4. Anne says:

    Oh, The Rosie Project was charmingly quirky! The more I read about the Potato Peel book, the more I think I’d like to try it. Thank goodness for reviews….that title’s so darn clunky. 🙂 I gotta get past the G name.

  5. Jessica says:

    Oh, thanks for the recs! I absolutely loved The Poisonwood Bible (and all of Kingsolver books really). I will check out the other two. I generally really like historical fiction so I’m excited about the time in between, which I hadn’t hear of! Thanks again.

    • Anne says:

      I closed the comments because they kept pouring in and as much as I love making matches, I don’t want to make people wait until 2034 for the right book! 🙂

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