Tuesday, June 8, 2021

I Want More: Thirteen Unique Reading Experiences I Wish I Could Replicate

Is it just me? Or does everyone look for books like the books we just read and loved? 

It’s a difficult path to take. Too much like a book we just finished and the new book feels like a rip-off. Too different and it’s unsatisfying. 

And some books are so novel that it seems almost impossible to find another book with the same qualities.

Here are some books that I have loved in the past, but are so unique that I’ve never found their like. I’ve listed them below, along with the qualities I loved about each, a combination of qualities I’ve never been able to find again, (except, to a certain extent, in other books by the same author).


The Gold Bug Variations by Richard Powers. Romance + science + dual timelines.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Mystery + college students + evil in ordinary people.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. Old age + reflection + acceptance of the rough parts of life.

Watership Down by Richard Adana. Animals as distinct and genuine characters - sloppy sentimentality.

The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman. Observations of life + pictures + philosophy.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. Western philosophy + memoir + zen + travel.

The World is Not Enough by Zoe Oldenbourg. Historical fiction + careful research + genuine characters with voices and actions that are remarkably different from us today.

Possession by A. S. Byatt. Romance + poetry + dual timelines. 

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Short vignettes + the pain of growing up + Hispanic culture.

Encyclopedia of Ordinary Life by Amy Krause Rosenthal. Novel format + memoir.

A Year in Japan by Kate T. Williamson. Travel + Japan + illustrations.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. Zaniness + romance + unpredictability.

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré. Strong girl/woman + unique voice + poetic language.


Have you read any of these?

Do you have any recommendations for me?


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

29 comments:

  1. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance tence was an excellent read!

    My post: https://lydiaschoch.com/top-ten-tuesday-books-i-loved-that-made-me-want-more-books-like-them/

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    1. Lydia, you may be the very first person to agree with me on that book.

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  2. I've read (and enjoyed) 4 from your list: Gilead, The Secret History, House on Mango Street and The Wind Up-Girl Chronicle.

    I can quickly come up with a couple of unique and recommended ones: The Convenience Store Woman, An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good and If Cats Disappeared from the World.

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    1. I have to look for the two you recommended that I haven't read, Diane.

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  3. Great list! I've heard so many good things about Possession.

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    1. Oddly, almost everyone I know that has read (or tried to read) this book based on my recommendation has given up. Maybe it's the sort of story that you have to find on your own.

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  4. I"ve read a couple of them but there are others that look really good. I know what you mean about a special book that really hits you -- for me, one of those was "People of the Book." "Broken for You" and "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt" are two others that come to mind. And "All the Light You Cannot See."

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    1. I will look for Broken for You, Jeanie. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  5. You have a wide variety here. I love that you have found so many different books to want more of.

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  6. Great list! I love how you added the distinct characteristics of each book that you loved.

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    1. It seems like I might be able to find more of what I want if I can figure out why I want it.

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  7. I'm glad to see the Girl with the Louding Voice on here. I am waiting for the audio book from my library.

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    1. I've been touting it so much since I read it. I hope I haven't oversold it.

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  8. Other than WATERSHIP DOWN, I haven't read any of these. WATERSHIP DOWN was a long time ago for me, so I honestly can't even remember what it was about (other than the rabbits)!

    Happy TTT!

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    1. I read Watership Down when it first came out, and I reread it with my book group a few years ago. A great read!

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  9. It's always bittersweet when you can't find a book with similar qualities. On one hand, it's great that a book can be so unique and outstanding that nothing else compares! On the other hand, it does make it difficult to recreate those feelings from reading a particular book again. I haven't read any of these, but I do hope you're able to find some recommendations!

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  10. The Secret History is a book I've fancied reading for a long time now but still haven't got around to it yet. It sounds intriguing though, I really must try to read it soon.

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  11. What a great list. I love "Possession", have read "Watership Down" (so sad), read "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt but not "The Secret History" (will have to tackle that). "Gilead" is on my TBR list since last month (thanks to Oprah, can't wait to start it). But yeah, the all sound very different from other writings.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT earlier.

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    1. It's great when others' lists of favorites encourages us to read them, too.

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  12. My beloved Wind-Up Bird is on here I see. I thought his Killing Commendatore was very similar in tone and feel.

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  13. There are interesting reads! Got to check them out!

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  14. I (cautiously) recommend the following: for more like Watership Down, try Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien or The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett. For more like The Girl With The Louding Voice, try The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. TNT

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  15. Can't wait to read The Girl with the Louding Voice!

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I love to hear what you think.