#AskPenguin

 

Sometimes it’s difficult to know which book to delve into next – so many books, so little time, as the saying goes. For many readers it's perhaps just a case of not being able to find the right book. This is why we love providing reading inspiration for anyone looking for their next read. Here we look back on some of our favourite, most specific requests, that had us racking our brains. 

Reader request: Religious turmoil, Protestant cellars, merchant halls, matins and wild boar.

We recommend: Why not pick up Q. Set in Reformation Europe, this is a deeply original novel that follows its two protagonists through a world of religious turmoil, intrigue and violence.

 

Reader request: Something with top lads dishing out high quality bants down the pub.

We recommend: When you want to feel like you’re trading stories with your mates at the local boozer, who else to turn to but Chaucer? The Canterbury Tales is full of the bawdy anecdotes, courtly romances and allegorical fables told by a group of pilgrims on their journey.

 

Reader request: A book that gives me a history lesson in a way that feels less like a course and more like a story. 

We recommend: Beloved, set in the late 1800s, is a powerful chronicle of slavery in America, and explores themes of guilt, pain, family relationships and the psychological burden of slavery.

Reader request: Any books featuring pipe smokers? Other than those concerning the fantastical exploits of the occupants of no. 221b Baker Street?

We recommend: For the trademark accessory, pick up Pietr the Latvian, the first book in Georges Simenon’s 75-novel-strong series. His pipe is just as much a part of Maigret as Sherlock Holmes’s deerstalker or Harry Potter’s lightning shaped scar.

 

 

Reader request: I’m in a positively foul mood at the moment. As angry as a kicked hornets nest but not in a position to vent or solve it productively. Book needed with beautiful language and dark humor please?

We recommend: Escape into The Mark and the Void, a darkly funny book about the deceptions carried out in the names of art, love and commerce. It’s also probably the funniest novel ever written about a financial crisis.

 

 

Reader request: A super interesting and easy to digest non-fiction book where I can learn about a whole new topic that I know little about. Currently enjoying Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd (about pathology).

We recommend: Non-fiction is enjoying a surge in popularity so there’s a whole wealth of books to dive into based on what you want to learn about. Spillover is an exhilarating account of how diseases such as AIDS, SARS and avian flu all began in animals before spilling over into humans. 

 

 

Reader request: I am off to Paris where I will be juggling entertaining my two Tween kids and looking after my mum who has broken her leg!!! Any ideas of a great book to unwind with?

We recommend: Perfect for when you’ve got quite a lot going on but need some alone time. Starting with a chance encounter between two children, The House in Paris is an eerie and atmospheric novel set over the course of a single day.

 

 

Reader request: As a prospective Middle and High school teacher I need to know more about teenagers. Could you recommend some books that's written from a teen's perspective and reflect the adolescent quite well? Thank you!

We recommend: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda which has been recently adapted into the film called Love, Simon, is a coming-of-age, coming out love story that feels both incredibly poignant, funny, and realistic.

 

 

Reader request: Something meta, disruptive, progressive, and yet poetic with some beautiful prose. A cant-put-downable cult classic, maybe a late bloomer. What is THAT book?

We recommend: When you want to find that elusive cult classic, Zami, described by Audre Lorde as a ‘biomythography’, is a coming of age story that’s subversive, surprising, punky, poetic and definitely deserving of cult classic status.

 

 

Reader request: I'm looking for some free time to be able to read my books. Any chance you'd know where I can find that?

We recommend: When you just want more time to be able to read all those books on your TBR pile, entrepreneur Sháá Wasmund’s Do Less, Get More is an essential guide to doing what you love, and letting go of the rest. 

 

 

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