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...

Becoming by Michelle Obama has sold more than 11.5 million copies around the world. Covering Obama's life story, from childhood to the White House and beyond, it's an inspiring look at a life as a daughter, lawyer, wife, mother and First Lady.

If Becoming leaves you wanting to read more about the Obama White House, The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes should be your next stop. Rhodes was Barack Obama's speech writer before becoming a policy maker and a close collaborator of the president. The World As It Is not only takes you into some of the most historic moments of a landmark presidency, but also into a story of partnership and friendship.

Beck Dorey-Stein's From the Corner of the Oval Office is another look at the Obama White House, this time through the eyes of a stenographer. From stories of endless travel across the US for political events to office romances to deciding whether or not – as a non-political appointee – to work in Donald Trump’s White House, From the Corner of the Oval Office is an exciting and poignant read.

If you want to step away from politics but desire a memoir as inspirational as Becoming, then try Tara Westover's Educated. In the book, Westover describes her childhood in a survivalist family and how she decided to go against her loved ones to pursue education. It’s a book you'll be talking about for years afterwards. 

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

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo effortlessly weaves together the stories of multiple people across different time periods, generations and locations. At its core it's about relationships: those between mothers and daughters, between friends, between lovers, and between exes. The novel, told in a distinctive style that falls somewhere between prose and poetry, won the Booker Prize for fiction.

Like Evaristo's novel, Diana Evans' Ordinary People is about a varied cast of characters grappling with life decisions big and small. It follows two couples in London, and is an emotional and intelligent look at parenthood, identity, sex and ageing.

For those that loved Evaristo's look at who we are when we're alone, and how unexpected love can transform us, try Sara Baume's Spill Simmer Falter Wither. It's the story of 57-year-old Ray and a misfit dog, One Eye. Both man and dog are used to being alone and unloved, but in each other they find a strange companionship. As the seasons change, their relationship grows until a savage act forces them to take to the road. 

If you loved Big Sky by Kate Atkinson...

Kate Atkinson's Big Sky is the fifth novel in the author's Jackson Brodie series, which is about a former soldier and policeman turned private detective, who is still haunted by a tragic childhood. Big Sky sees him take on a seemingly straightforward case – gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife. But the case takes him back into the path of someone from his past.

For fans of troubled detectives, try Abir Mukherjee's Wyndham and Banerjee series, which begins with A Rising Man. Set in post-First World War Calcutta, the books follow British detective Sam Wyndham, who moves to India to escape his demons. There, he and police sergeant Surendranath Banerjee solve murders across the city and contend with an India that is in a state of flux, as a movement against colonisation rises up.

If you're after something that looks at how childhood catastrophe and secrets can reverberate through the decades, pick up Eve Chase's Black Rabbit Hall. Split between two timelines, it revolves around the house of the title which is home to the four Alton children. Years later, Lorna and her fiancé are searching for a wedding venue, and Lorna is drawn to a beautiful crumbling old house she hazily remembers from her childhood. 

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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