When I'm looking for something to read, the genre of a book doesn't really matter to me -- objective non-fiction, creative non-fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, westerns, family drama, romance, mysteries...I read it all -- but I most enjoy books that either create an interesting new world for me to explore or gracefully illuminate the mysteries of this world.
Last summer, I wrote a series of book recommendations for this blog, and a few of the books I included are some of my very favorites:
- The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope
- Light in August by William Faulkner
- Regeneration by Pat Barker
- Possession by A.S. Byatt
- The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
Nothing makes me happier than finishing a book and feeling like its author has such a rare insight into the workings of humanity that I've grown as a person for having read it. Off the top of my head, a few authors who are good for that sort of revelation are George Eliot, William Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy, Graham Greene, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. No surprise, they are among my top ten favorite authors.
In terms of the themes I love to read about, pretty much all of them can be grouped under "People Living Through Difficult Circumstances." Specific themes/subjects that I enjoy are polar exploration; the history of nuclear science (weapons and energy); the history of psychiatry, and related to that, the history of institutional living (mental hospitals, orphanages, prisons, etc.); American pioneers and especially pioneer women; fairy tales and fiction based on fairy tales (Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride is one of my favorite examples of this); military fiction and history (primarily World War I); Gothic mysteries and romances involving ominous men in ominous castles; and of course....creepy carnivals and sinister ministers.
If what I've shared here appeals to you and you'd like some personalized recommendations, please feel free to email me at email@example.com or tweet me @ReginaVoronaya