I have recently become in charge of staff recommendations. Right now the theme is children's books. We have been collecting books for foster children, so all of the staff recs have been kids' books.
I chose Last Chance Texaco by Brent Hartinger, which is about teen-agers in 'the system'. They've been in foster care and group homes, so it's been an appropriate book for the book drive. Plus it's a good read.
The book drive is ending, so the staff rec bay needs to change. I have some choices. The staff members could just give me a book or two that they really like, no theme. Or I can choose a theme. I could do Dads and Grads. (snore.) I could do Good Beach Reads, which would be great if we had weather that resembled anything close to WARM. (Maybe in August.) I had the idea of having staff members choose a book they would like to receive as a gift. That's a thought. Another idea is a book they wish they'd have written. (not that they are all writers, but I have a feeling that most if not all of them have ideas of what is a brilliant and creatively written book.)
I have a few I might recommend. One that I think is skillful and cleverly written is I, the Divine: A Novel in First Chapters, by Rabih Alameddine. It's written as though the protagonist was writing her autobiography, and she can't decide how to start, so each chapter begins at a different place in her life, some are chronological, some start with significant events in her life, one is even in another language. Each chapter ends kind of abruptly, though after reading the entire thing the reader gets a good feel for the protagonist and her life. I loved this book (and wish I'd thought of the idea).
Another book I loved is The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. A 13 year old girl is murdered, and she tells her own story from heaven. SO good. (It's also consistently popular, so I probably won't recommend it, as so many people have heard of it and/or read it.)
And then there's Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife by Sam Savage. Firmin is a rat living in a bookstore who subsists on books. He reads them and he eats them. "At first I just ate, happily gnawing and chewing, guided by the dictates of taste. But soon I began to read here and there around the edges of my meals. And as time passed I read more and chewed less until finally I was spending almost all my waking hours reading and chewed only on the margins. And oh, how I then regretted those dreadful holes! In some cases, where there were no other copies, I have had to wait years to fill in the gaps. I am not proud of this."
I read an interview of Maurice Sendak and he was asked what was the best compliment he'd ever received. He said he'd received a letter from a mother of a child who said that her child loved his book so much that he ate it. It doesn't get better than that.
Choices! What would YOU recommend?