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'I would like a book'

Well yes, but what *sort* of book?  Genre?  Author? Colour even, I'd settle for colour?!  Is there no hint...?

This is a problem I have created for myself, of course.  If I had diligently kept records of which of my roughly 9,000 favorite books I had previously bought for my sister, then I would at least have some idea what books not to buy for her again. 

She has moved to a different continent twice recently, so there's a decent chance that if it's a book I bought for her over 10 years ago, she will no longer have it and has probably forgotten I bought it for her, AND YET.

But still.  Scrolling through book lists looking for books that are Not Old Favourites is proving something of a struggle.  I know she likes cosy mysteries, has some tolerance for historical fiction and fantasy,  likes good writing, but is not a hard-SF person....

I used to be moderately good at finding books that didn't prominently feature covers of muscly torsos and where the writeup didn't immediately tell you about the protagonists' amber hair, but I am having no luck today.  Perhaps tomorrow will be a better bookhunting day. 

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( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
heartofoshun
12th Dec, 2017 21:02 (UTC)
I used to be moderately good at finding books that didn't prominently feature covers of muscly torsos and where the writeup didn't immediately tell you about the protagonists' amber hair

I know those! The one's involving time-travel and set in Scotland! Read one, you've read 'em all!
bunn
12th Dec, 2017 21:19 (UTC)
I don't think I've ever read one, but I'm fairly sure they aren't my sister's cup of tea...
heartofoshun
12th Dec, 2017 21:24 (UTC)
They are certainly not mine either and there are a plethora of them!
louisedennis
12th Dec, 2017 21:06 (UTC)
fredbassett and lukadreaming run the Crime Review website. If she likes cosy mysteries maybe you can find something by paging through their recent reviews?
bunn
12th Dec, 2017 21:19 (UTC)
Worth a try - thanks!
bunn
13th Dec, 2017 21:50 (UTC)
That website is a godsend! Thankyou!
pixel39
13th Dec, 2017 15:32 (UTC)
Hmmm. I've recently just devoured the PC Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch--it's sort of a cosy mystery and sort of fantasy. Don't know if that's your sister's cup of tea, but I loved them.

FWIW, I'm definitely an Agatha Christie/Dorothy L. Sayers/Ngaio Marsh kind of girl as far as my mystery preferences go.
bunn
13th Dec, 2017 18:23 (UTC)
Ooh, thank you! I will look them up, got to be worth a try. My sister is also an Agatha Christie fan (I'm more of a Sayers fan myself)
alitheapipkin
14th Dec, 2017 10:26 (UTC)
I second the Ben Aaronovitch recommendation - they are really great and I've recommended them to a lot of people and have yet to find anyone who didn't enjoy them.
ladyofastolat
13th Dec, 2017 21:30 (UTC)
Welcome to the world of the librarian. "You're a librarian, aren't you," says random vague acquantance. "Can you recommend a book for my great-aunt / milkman / mother-in-law / nephew?" "What genres do they like? What interests do they have?" I ask, and, in the case of the nephew, "How old are they?" to which the answer is almost always along the lines of, "I have absolutely no idea. All I can tell you is that they are two-legged and sentient, and I think they can probably read. Now, recommend a book that will have them leaping around in transports of joy come the New Year."
bunn
13th Dec, 2017 21:50 (UTC)
Usually I don't care if relevant, I just shove Books I Enjoyed This Year at people who say 'I want a book' on the grounds that that way at least an author whose work I like gets money.

Unfortunately this year that has been mostly either spy fiction (which I know is not her thing) or Tolkien re-reads (she likes LOTR but that's hardly a new thing, and after some agonising I decided Beren & Luthien was not really complete enough to give to someone who isn't invested in the Silmarillion...)

Thankfully the Crime Review website Louise mentioned above seems to have several things that look like they might appeal (and at least don't feature muscled torsoes or amber hair*), so I have just thrown them at her head across the Atlantic, along with PC Peter Grant. She may not like them, but she might.

*Canadian Amazon seems to weight torsoes and hair more heavily than UK Amazon, at least based on the results I got by random browsing. I am reminded of the 'why are all these mugs so RUDE' quest** of a couple of years ago.

**I think the decorous mugs I finally found - possibly the only decorous mugs in Canada - have probably vanished into the abyss, as since then she has moved to Gibraltar, Devon and back to the other side of Canada again in the interim. And yet she still wants books! I suppose you can always give them away when you move.
louisedennis
14th Dec, 2017 10:36 (UTC)
I have to say I'm boggling a little at the concept that the PC Peter Grant books are cosy. They are more a cross between police procedural and supernatural horror, I would say. But maybe I'm under-estimating the amount of gore you get in your average cosy.
bunn
14th Dec, 2017 11:08 (UTC)
Too late! She'll have to risk the supernatural gore. Maybe I'll read one myself to find out exactly what I have inflicted on her :-D
anna_wing
22nd Dec, 2017 11:29 (UTC)
Vivan Shaw, "Strange Practice". Simultaneously urban fantasy and cosy mystery, set in London, with characters who are sensible and nice.
bunn
22nd Dec, 2017 11:48 (UTC)
Too late for Christmas, but much appreciated rec as my sister's birthday is in January!
bunn
7th Jan, 2018 19:07 (UTC)
... having looked at this properly now, it looks perfect and I think I'll read it myself! :-)
anna_wing
8th Jan, 2018 10:35 (UTC)
It's astonishingly good. And her first book,too (gnashes teeth with envy). She writes fanfic as well, as Coldhope on AO3.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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