Book recommendations, or, why I’m not terribly good at giving them to most girls

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters, What's On the Bookshelf?

If you hadn’t gathered by the name of the blog, my name, or the little cartoon, I’m a girl.

And I read constantly.

I’ve been asked on numerous occasions, “Gee, Beth, you like to read. What would you suggest that I/my daughter read?” by girls, usually a couple of years younger than I (or geared for girls younger than I).

“Well,” I ask, “what do[es] you/she like to read?”

Inevitably the answer is “Nothing” or “Twilight/Gossip Girl.”

“Urm,” says I, “I liked to read Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin Series when I was a freshman in high school. Y’know, Napoleonic war stuff.”

“What else did you like?” they ask, hoping for something that does not feature small print, and a ship of the line on the cover.

“Ray Bradbury. Um, historical mysteries. Not really much girly stuff. I did read Meg Cabot in middle school, though. Maybe that?”

7 thoughts on “Book recommendations, or, why I’m not terribly good at giving them to most girls

  1. You’ve read all 20 vols of the A/M series?! WoWza! I’m in the process of reading them myself at the moment. I bought them on a book-a-month plan (their well made, genuine leather) and I’ve finished six. Easy to read but more a history nuts cup of tea I should think.

    Anyway, a suggestion for your female friends. Piers Anthony’s A Spell for Chameleon is the type of thing guys and girls would enjoy. Any of Xanth book, actually. But I’d start with Spell as it’s the first in the series. Nor is it expensive to try. Only $7.99 at Amazon.

    I think I shall enjoy your posts. I was looking for a place to subscribe, but couldn’t find one.


  2. Not exactly your normal list, no, but the less people recommending Twilight the better 🙂

    I need to get back to reading the Aubury/Maturin series myself. I had started it, got half way through the fifth book and then moved houses. The book got packed away and I never got around to finishing it.

    Strange, really, because Master and Commander the movie is one of my all time favourites.

    I have read through the land side counterpart of A/M a number of times though, the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell. It is up over 20 books now, following the exploits of a Napoleonic era British rifleman.

    Both series though heavily influence my fantasy writing. Something a little different to the norm…


  3. Yeah, I was reading Joseph Conrad for fun in high school. I’m sure it depends on the individual, but I’d push a kid for something out of the mainstream and a bit challenging.


  4. I read all of the A/M books between my freshman and sophomore years of high school (maybe into the beginning of junior year, I can’t remember). Somewhere in the mix I read all of the Hornblower books, too. 🙂 I’ve been attempting to reread them, but I find I get to book 7 and life takes over. Patrick O’Brian is my favorite author.

    Master and Commander is one of my favorite movies as well (and the reason why I read the books/became interested in the period).

    I find that the A/M books influence my work, too (even when I’m working on fantasy/sci fi). With something that well written, its hard not to have an influence!

    I have yet to read the Sharpe books, but I’ve meant to. Embarrassingly, I haven’t read any of Cornwell’s books.

    Yarnspnr: Thanks for the recommendation! I haven’t read any of his books yet. Also, there are two orange icons up above the header. I think those are the RSS Feeds for Posts and Comments.


  5. Nothing like movies of adventure on the high seas in the Age of Sail, at least as long as they are historically accurate.

    I’ve only read the Sharpe series by Cornwell, none of his other stuff. It is a lot more coarse and gritty than O’Brien, though generally an easier read.

    They were also adapted (loosely in some cases) into a series of TV shows, staring a younger Sean Bean as Sharpe.


  6. Nice to meet another avid reader. I have to admit I’m into mostly non-fiction history books, but since I write fantasy, I’ve read a lot of them too. When I read a fiction book it must be very detailed in its description. Much like the A/M series is. The deeper, the better. Good luck with you airman writing. I’ll keep my eye on you. If you need a critique, let me know.


    1. Thanks for your encouragement!
      I’ve recently started to read more non-fiction, both history and biographies/memoirs. They’re very interesting; I’m currently reading Stephen E. Ambrose’s Band of Brothers.


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