Would someone like to reccomend a book to me?

Hey everyone.

I just finished Love in the Time of Cholera and liked it a lot. I hadn’t really read anything like it before. I want to read something similar - romantic, kind of weird, kind of off-kilter, and really well written. I don’t tend to like to read more than one book by an author in a row.

So, if you have any ideas for a non-Marquez but still similar book, I’d love to hear them.


I love loads of Marquez - 100 years of solitude is my fave, but he has a bunch of good stuff.

Another author I love is V. S. Naipaul - his Guerillas is brilliant and was my first read of his, but my latest (one of his earlier works) was great also - A House for Mr. Biswas


If you like the whole magic realism thing you should check out the grandaddy of its Latin American branch, Jorge Luis Borges. His collection of short stories called ‘Labyrinths’ is one of my favourite books and changed the way I thought.

One Hundred Years of Solitude is Marquez’s best. If you want non-Marquez, try some Salman Rushdie. Midnight’s Children is pretty good.

I would recommend pretty much any of the fiction of Umberto Eco–imo the finest current living writer, I might add.

In particular, go for Foucault’s Pendulum or The Name of the Rose. The rest are also fun reads ,but those two are his strongest, I think.

100 Years of Solitude is also my favorite Marquez, but it’s more broadly epic and much less romantic than Love in the Time of Cholera. Midnight’s Children, which I also really like, is sort of 100 Years of Solitude done for India instead of Colombia.

Labyrinths is a great book, but Borges is really a very cerebral writer, as opposed to being lush and romantic like Marquez in LitToC.

The closest match I can think of is Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I actually prefer another of Kundera’s books, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, but it’s not a single narrative.

You might also look at the comics work of Gilbert Hernandez, who was influenced by Marquez. Poison River is the best single volume of his work, in my opinion.

On a hunch/whim, I’m going to recommend The Master of Space and Time by Rudy Rucker. That said, Foucault’s Pendulum is pretty awesome.

Ever since I discovered Macolm Gladwell’s website, I find myself thinking, “The Honorable Malcolm Gladwell teaches that…”

You can now get the Complete Short Stories of Borges in paperback form, which I would recommend because some Borges can get dense, and having options is good. Straying from the Latin American authors, you might look at Einstein’s Dreams or Invisible Cities for a similar vibe. They’re both about what reality would be like with some twist, like if you lived at higher altitudes, time moved slower.

I’d recommend The Shadow Of The Wind, a sort of mystery romance bookhound thing set against the backdrop of the Spanish revolution. If you want that kind of ending.

If you want another kind of ending, try World’s End by T. C. Boyle. The ending is something of a gut-punch, but it does pay off the rest of the novel perfectly.

A Confederacy of Dunces. Nothing like it.

These books all come highly recommended by Amazon

If you like high seas adventure novels…

Ok, one more.
I found this biography of this inventor of peanuts to be an enlightening and highly erotic thriller.

On a less serious note, The Red Badge of Courage is pretty good.

Thanks for all the ideas! From what I can tell from reviews and Amazon descriptions, I think I want to read The Unbearable Lightness of Being first. I expect I’ll get to lots of these eventually, though. Borges seems especially interesting. I’ll start a thread when Lightness is done and tell y’all what I thought.

Second the Eco recommendations, I dug Baudolino as well and Name of the Rose is my most favoritest book evar!!1!

Wind-Up Bird Chronicles? Does that fall into the same group?

Haruki Murakami is a lot more laconic that Marquez carefully controlled chaos.

Go with 1000 years of solitude and the Eco / Borges recommendations. Those alone will take you some time.

Lightness is a wonderful, wonderful book. If you find a love for Kundera, pick up Laughable Loves, his collection of short stories. Quick, beautiful bedtime reading.

Wind-up Bird Chronicles is a good introduction to Murakami, at least for the experienced reader. If you like that, you should also be able to see the substance behind some of his “lighter” reads, like Norwegian Wood, which is my favourite.

If you like The Unbearable Lightness of Being, I’d recommend having a go at The Stranger, by Albert Camus. I know it’s a standard recommendation, but someone had to do it. The Joke by Milan Kundera is also pretty great. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of Tom Wolfe, which I recommend if you’re into New Journalism and investigative essays. Particularly The Painted Word, a discourse on how modern art has been defined more by its critics than by its artists, and Radical Chic, the story of what happened when Leonard Bernstein invited the Black Panthers for dinner … Really great stuff.

I’m reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex right now, and that’s pretty brilliant. A lot of wonderful, playful storytelling, and very colourful, strong characters. It also feels surprisingly honest.

Last recommendation: The best comic book/graphic novel ever written: Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. It’s about disappointment, and several generations worth of father-son relationships. It’s brutally honest and … just beautiful.

Power in the Blood by Greg Matthews.

Publisher’s Weekly: “This is a spellbinding, tragicomic, rip-snorting and deeply moving novel about three sibling orphans who are wrenchingly separated in 1869 and are accidentally, joyfully–but briefly–reunited 16 years later in Colorado. The trio–Clay, Zoe and Drew Dugan–board a westward-bound “orphan train” in upstate New York and disembark to meet foster parents in three different states. Clay later kills the farmhands who murder his kind foster parents and becomes a sheriff, then a bounty hunter. Zoe, brutally raped by her foster father, a strict farmer, gives birth to Omie, born with a strange blue birthmark across her face. Omie’s paranormal powers–she can foresee events, read minds, teleport objects and converse with spirits–will protect Zoe in her loveless marriage to Colorado mining magnate Leo Brannan, a politically ambitious monster who ditches Zoe for a gold-digging prostitute and who hires a transvestite assassin to deprive Zoe of her share of their fortune. Drew runs away from his foster father, a religious fanatic, is rescued by Apaches, and becomes a whorehouse attendant, then a bank robber. The siblings’ reunion leads to a bizarre train robbery, part of Zoe’s revenge on Leo.”

I have never read any historical/western like it. Part Dickens, part Berger, part Stephen King.



And they keep coming!

I started Lightness of Being today. I am certainly digging it so far, it seems exactly like what I was looking for.

I think I’ve read every one of Murakami’s books that’s available in English. He is indeed really good, and in my mind I do have him pretty near Marquez… but he’s not always such a romantic, you know? You can only read so much about easygoing dudes in their middle thirties who like to cook and enjoy jazz and own cats.