Reading lists

What to read after the books everyone is talking about

You've finished the big hits of the past couple of years, and now you want more of the same. Thankfully, we have just the recommendations for you.

Books to try based on your last read
Mica Murphy/Penguin

There's a thought we all have after we've finished a great book. Sometimes it pops into our minds minutes after we’ve put our last read down, other times it occurs to us days or weeks later. 

The thought is this: "I want a book EXACTLY like that, but different."

Finding that book can be difficult. You might not want to pick up something by the same author straight away, you might not even want to stay within that same genre. What you want is something that makes you feel like that book did, that shares a similar character type or setting or writing style.

So, instead of leaving you to the hands of an algorithm, we've come to help. Here, we've picked some of the biggest books from the last few years – books the chances are you may have read and loved – and suggested what you might read next.

If you loved Grown Ups by Marian Keyes...

Marian Keyes' Grown Ups showcased her trademark wit and ability to pinpoint the things that draw a group of people together or pull them apart. Grown Ups focused on the Casey family, whose outwardly perfect lives were upended when secrets begin to be revealed.

For something with the humour of Keyes' book, try Nina Stibbe's Reasons to be Cheerful. The novel is about teenager Lizzie Vogel who wants independence from her alcoholic, nymphomaniacal, novel-writing mother, and to grow up. Reasons to be Cheerful won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction.

If you want something about secrets that have the ability to change everything, then after Grown Ups your next read should be Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies. Moriarty's novel begins as single mum Jane moves to a picturesque coastal town where everyone seems wealthy and happy. But, like in Grown Ups, it's only a matter of time before home truths threaten to wreck the peaceful facade, with dire consequences.

If you're after something which shares the warmth of Keyes' book, Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy is there for you. The 1990 novel is about inseparable friends Benny Hogan and Eve Malone, who move to Dublin for university and fall in with a new group of friends. What follows is love, passion, heartache, tragedy and independence. 

If you loved Becoming by Michelle Obama...

If you loved Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo...

If you loved Big Sky by Kate Atkinson...

If you loved Expectation by Anna Hope...

Anna Hope's Expectation is the story of what happens when you suddenly realise you've grown up, and your life is nothing like what you imagined when you were a bright-eyed 20-something. As young women, Hannah, Cate and Lissa are inseparable. Ten years later, they're facing flailing careers and faltering marriages, and each lives a life another craves. 

If you like stories of complicated friendships between women, read Zadie Smith's Swing Time, which begins with two young girls who both dream of being dancers. In their 20s, their friendship - always complicated - falls apart, but is never forgotten. Cinematic and filled with music, Swing Time is an energetic and thoughtful novel.

For something that explores a mentor/mentee relationship between two women, try Meg Wolitzer's The Female Persuasion. When Greer Kadetsky, a shy college student, meets Faith Frank, an influential and glamorous figure from the women's movement, it sets her life on a new path. The Female Persuasion is about ambition, and what we can achieve when someone notices the spark within us. 

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