Book recommendation illustration

(Eleanor Klock/Daily Emerald)

Picking a new book is like picking from an all-you-can-eat buffet; but, while starved, readers may not know which of the many selections will satisfy their craving. Based on anonymous book recommendation requests collected in the Daily Emerald’s  “What Should I Read Next?” Google form, these are some catered book recommendations that should be added to any reader’s shelves.

"A book that will make me look smart in public, but is actually good"

Classics are the go-to for looking intelligent because they are intimidating, but that  is also their downfall, and can deter readers from picking one up. Try “The History of Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

This book earned the title of “Best Book Ever” for a reason. It follows Don Quixote, a man who mistakes himself for an errant knight, due to reading many chivalric romance books. The book details his journey fighting dragons and saving damsels in distress when, in actuality, it is all in his head.

“The History of Don Quixote” is hilarious.The plotline is soaked in madness, danger and love which creates a social commentary that relates to modern day issues — like feminism.

"A book with LGBTQ+ representation, but their sexual orientation isn't the only plotline"

Give “Memorial” by Bryan Washington a read. The story follows long-term partners, Mike, a Japanese-American chef, and Benson, a Black daycare teacher, whose once fiery relationship is now sizzling to ash.

Right as the two begin to reevaluate if they should continue their relationship, Mike gets a call that his father, who he hasn't spoken to in years, has terminal cancer. As Mike leaves for Japan, his mother is flying to Texas to visit him, which leaves Benson and her in a roommate situation. The book explains all of these different relationships from conception to conclusion. This is a very heartwarming and valuable story that perfectly crafts relationships, grief, anger and the different types of love.

"A horror book that will make me check under my bed (also no Stephen King)"

*Slowly puts down “It” by King* Sometimes horror books pick from the same landfill of recycled ideas, so the scary elements are no longer frightening.. However, if readers are in the market for investing in a nightlight and want a heart-racing novel, try “The Creeper” by Tania Carver.

Suzanne Perry wakes up from a nightmare in which someone was in her bedroom watching her, touching her and taunting her. She is relieved that it was all a dream — until she finds a Polaroid picture on her window of her sleeping. Carver teases readers with a common fear — a stranger in your home — creating a bone-chilling novel.

“A book with a HUGE plot twist”

Pick up a copy of “The Snowman” by Jo Nesbo. It has a standard thriller plotline; a serial killer on the loose who, once he murders a woman, leaves a signature snowman in their front yard to alert police that they have struck again.

The plot twist will have the reader's jaws dropping, hearts doing cartwheels and butts on the edges of their seats. The last few chapters feel as if Nesbo seats readers in a swivel chair and spins them in circles until he abruptly stops them. Just as readers think their vision is cleared and they can see the whole picture, he spins them around once more until they're facing a corner of the room they haven’t seen, revealing even more information.

“Something to get me out of my reading slump”

Short story collections are like dipping your toe into the sea on a summer day; readers are just testing out the water — which is the perfect solution for escaping a reading slump.

“The Secret Lives of Church Girls” by Deesh Philyaw explores four generations of Black women and girls. The nine stories describe their different experiences of finding out who they want to be in the world. Philyaw’s plotlines serve as appetizers; they sample the complex  identities, relationships and families using bite-size narratives, and just as readers are hungry for more, the chapter ends. Each short story in this book could easily be its own full-length novel, and the characters and plotlines are well-crafted, which will leave readers remembering why they love reading.