Books on my radar – a growing TBR list!

Last week I wrote about Likewise, an app designed to recommend books, podcasts, TV shows and movies. Today I tried it out and came up with these titles to add to my TBR list. A general comment about the app: the more books you recommend, the more refined the results. Using it for the first time was a little tough because the book suggestions they gave me were based on the sixteen books I said I liked. I had to do a little work to find the titles below, but I’m happy with the list. I did plenty of recommending as I went along and that generated better suggestions.

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz (2012)

Finalist for the 2012 National Book Award

On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In a New Jersey laundry room, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness–and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses.

In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, these stories lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that “the half-life of love is forever.”

Normal People by Sally Rooney (2019)

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation—awkward but electrifying—something life changing begins.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Normal People is the story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find that they can’t.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle (2021)

Where do you see yourself in five years? Dannie Kohan lives her life by the numbers. She is nothing like her lifelong best friend—the wild, whimsical, believes-in-fate Bella. Her meticulous planning seems to have paid off after she nails the most important job interview of her career and accepts her boyfriend’s marriage proposal in one fell swoop, falling asleep completely content.

But when she awakens, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. Dannie spends one hour exactly five years in the future before she wakes again in her own home on the brink of midnight—but it is one hour she cannot shake. In Five Years is an unforgettable love story, but it is not the one you’re expecting.

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby (2020)

A husband, a father, a son, a business owner…And the best getaway driver east of the Mississippi.

Beauregard “Bug” Montage is an honest mechanic, a loving husband, and a hard-working dad. Bug knows there’s no future in the man he used to be: known from the hills of North Carolina to the beaches of Florida as the best wheelman on the East Coast.

He thought he’d left all that behind him, but as his carefully built new life begins to crumble, he finds himself drawn inexorably back into a world of blood and bullets. When a smooth-talking former associate comes calling with a can’t-miss jewelry store heist, Bug feels he has no choice but to get back in the driver’s seat. And Bug is at his best where the scent of gasoline mixes with the smell of fear.

Haunted by the ghost of who he used to be and the father who disappeared when he needed him most, Bug must find a way to navigate this blacktop wasteland…or die trying.

Like Ocean’s Eleven meets Drive, with a Southern noir twist, S. A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland is a searing, operatic story of a man pushed to his limits by poverty, race, and his own former life of crime.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (2012)

Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce?

It’s the early 1980s. In American colleges, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels. As Madeleine studies the age-old motivations of the human heart, real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes—the charismatic and intense Leonard Bankhead, and her old friend the mystically inclined Mitchell Grammaticus. As all three of them face life in the real world they will have to reevaluate everything they have learned. Jeffrey Eugenides creates a new kind of contemporary love story in “his most powerful novel yet” (Newsweek).

(Book blurbs from Amazon)

Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your list? Leave a comment!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

52 thoughts on “Books on my radar – a growing TBR list!

  1. This is a great TBR list, Barb. Currently my reading needle has been stuck on classics of all kinds. One of my bookclubs is reading Bronte’s Villette, I just finished Canadian Classic, In Search of April Raintree and I just began Hemmingway’s Short Story collection, The Snows of Kilimanjaro. I hope to emerge soon to resume some more current day reading! Thank you for the recommendations!

    1. Hi Donna – well I love the classics and will be returning to them on and off in the coming months. I love Hemingway but I haven’t read The Snows of Kilimanjaro. I also haven’t read a lot of the Bronte sisters – maybe I’ll look into those. I’ll be reading And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie in a couple weeks. A classic mystery! Thank you for all your support 🙂

    1. Oh I’ve been in that spot a few times too. I’ll let you know how I like Normal People. I’m not really a bandwagon person so I’m not afraid to say I don’t like a book. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. That’s great that the app is working for you! I still have the homepage for it pulled up on my phone, not yet having decided whether or not I have the time to put forth the effort. I might just go from blog buddies’ recommendations instead. 🙂

  3. I really enjoyed Normal People. I’d like to read more from Sally Rooney. I know she has a recently published novel. The Marriage Plot is on one of my bookshelves along with over three hundred other books I need to read. 🙂

  4. I haven’t read any of these, but sounds like you have some reading fun ahead of you. My kindle is bulging. I told myself I have to read two books for every one I purchase. Lol. It’s hard!

  5. These are great suggestions, Barbara. The Sally Rooney one was already on my radar.

    So many books I want to read…half way through East of Eden right now and I’m enjoying it. Steinbeck sets the bar high for other writers! 🙂

  6. I don’t think I want this app – as it is, I can’t keep up with all the books on my TBR. But then again, the app sounds like a great way to find good books. Of those you listed here, I’ve only read Normal People, and I found it depressing and sad, unlike the book’s description. Yet I hear many liked it. Now, I’m off to order In Five Years because the premise is so enticing!
    Lastly, are you the one who recommended This Is Happiness by Niall Williams? Perhaps not, but I recommend it to you highly. VERY different; the writing is so incredible that I stop every page or so to save a quote to share with my creative writing classes….

    1. OMG I have not heard about this book, but thank you for recommending This Is Happiness. I’m going to remember that. I understand your dis-interest in the app. I’m a tentative user, but I do like seeing what new books are out there. Thank you for stopping by, Pam. 🙂

      1. I just sent This Is Happiness as a gift to a friend who just turned 80 (going on 18) and has Irish in his blood. And recommended to another friend for his all-male book club. But truly, whatever the sex, the book is an amazing read. ❤

  7. Last thing I need is more temptation! So I’d better stay clear of that app…
    Ive read Normal People and was not as enraptured by it as many other readers seemed to be. I wonder if I’m in the wrong age group to appreciate first love…..

    1. Hi there, Booker Talk. I’ve just read two other bloggers’ comments that did not like Normal People, so you are not alone. I will let you know. I mentioned to another blogging friend that I’m not afraid to say I don’t like a book. Still, I’m curious. Thank you for stopping by!

  8. Thank you for offering top-tier books for our reading pleasure. If I add more books to my TBR list, I will never get my next book written. Ha!

    I agree with the commenter above: “the last thing I need is more temptation! So I’d better stay clear of that app!” 😀

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