My criteria these days for putting a book on my "sample" (actually, my "to be read") list is one of these three reasons:
1. The book comes highly recommended from another bibliophile who I respect. Maybe respect isn't quite the word. Let's change that to another bibliophile whose recommendations I trust---knowing we share similar tastes and interests in books (Connie, Stephanie, Sandy, Chrissy).
2. The book has 4.5 stars on Amazon with at least 100 ratings.
3. The book is by one of my favorite authors. In that case, I don't care about the ratings. But, I do beware of books that come out right before Christmas. Usually, the author is meeting a deadline. I've found that those books often are not their best work.
Currently, I'm reading Orphan #8. This one came recommended by Chrissy. It's really good so far. I love books around the turn of the century or the early part of the 1900's. It's about a little girl in an orphanage who is used for medical experimentation. It seems downright barbaric that something like this could happen. There's one twist in the book that I was not happy about, but I guess the author wants to keep you guessing.
Here's the list with a few comments from me. The ones in green I have downloaded to my sample list. The ones in blue are those I've already read.
53 Books you can’t put down:
Never Let Me Go---Kazuo Ishiguro
The Book of Night Women---Marlon James
The Time Traveler’s Wife---Audrey Niffenegger (saw this movie, so won't bother with the book. I liked it really well.)
11/22/63---Stephen King (I’ve always loved Stephen King---until IT. I quit reading for a decade and have just within the last 5 years---started up again. I forgot what a genius he is. Add Mr. Mercedes to your list).
Who Asked You---Terry McMillan
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time---Mark Haddon
Circle of Friends---Maeve Binchy (I read this in the 1980’s).
Legend---Marie Lu (another series---I’m not ready to tackle)
Season of Storms---Susanna Kearsley
Thirteen Reasons Why---Jay Asher
Dark Places---Gillian Flynn (personally, I thought Sharp Objects was better)
Ready Player One---Ernest Cline (sci-fi)
Zone One---Colson Whitehead
Maybe Someday---Colleen Hoover
The Orenda---Joseph Boyden
Luckiest Girl Alive---Jessica Knoll
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe---Benjamin Alire Saenz
All the Light We Cannot See—Anthony Doerr (I haven’t met too many WWII sagas that I did not like).
Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven---Susan Jane Gilman
The Lying Game---Sara Shepard
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World---Haruki Murakami
Think of a Number---John Verdon
Heart of Darkness---Joseph Conrad (I read this in highschool and don’t really remember much about it. I might have to read it again).
Reconstructing Amelia---Kimberly McCreight (so very good with many twists).
Salvage the Bones---Jesmyn Ward
The New York Trilogy---Paul Auster
And the Sea Will Tell---Vincent Bugliosi
Kindred---Octavia E. Butler
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo---Stieg Larsson (you really should read the other two in the series---all excellent)
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August---Claire North
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer---Michelle Hodkin
Devil in a Blue Dress---Walter Mosley
Life as We Knew it---Susan Beth Pfeffer
Midnight’s Children---Salman Rushdie
Rosemary’s Baby---Ira Levin (read this in the 70’s---creepy)
Eleanor & Park---Rainbow Rowell
Shantaram---Gregory David Roberts
Native Son---Richard Wright
The Secret History---Donna Tartt
The Name of the Wind---Patrick Rothfuss
Daughter of Smoke & Bone---Laini Taylor
A Piece of Cake---Cupcake Brown
And Then There Were None---Agatha Christie (I started reading AC in the 7th grade. I'm not sure how I discovered her as my mother did not read AC. I remember feeling all grown up carrying around The Murder of Roger Acroyd! I always loved them---but haven’t read any in years)
Heart-Shaped Box---Joe Hill
Crime and Punishment---Fyodor Dostoevsky (another I feel like I’ve read in highschool, but can’t really remember)
The Light of the World---Elizabeth Alexander
I Am Pilgrim---Terry Hayes
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close---Johathan Safran Foer
The Mountain Story---Lori Lansens
The Last Time We Say Goodbye---Cynthia Hand
Things You Won’t Say---Sarah Pekkanen
A Fall of Marigolds---Susan Meissner (this one is so good---goes back and forth in time---another style I love)
The Boston Girl---Anita Diamant
First Frost---Sarah Addison Allen
The Book of Unknown Americans---Cristina Henriquez
Before I Go---Colleen Oakley
Inside the O’Briens---Lisa Genova (just go this for book club).
Yes Please---Amy Poehler (this has turned up on many lists. I just might have to read it).
The Girl on the Train---Paula Hawkins (very good, but I didn’t really get all the hubbub).
Pride and Prejudice---Jane Austen (another that I think I read in highschool, but can’t really remember---it’s free, so I downloaded to my Kindle)
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand---Helen Simonson
Jane Eyre---Charlotte Bronte (loved, loved, loved it in highschool---should read it again. Wuthering Heights by Emily, her sister is my ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOK! Oh Heathcliff! This one wasn't on the list---I put it there.
The Sugar Queen---Sarah Addison Allen
Anne of Windy Poplars---L.M. Montgomery
Outlander---Diana Gabaldon’s (this has been on my list for awhile---I really need to get to it)
Fifty Shades of Grey---E L James (not sure why this is on the list. I read the first one because I wanted to be in the know. Pretty disturbing and not particularly well written---as if I'm the one to judge as the author laughs all the way to the bank!
A Spool of Blue Thread---Anne Tyler
There you have it. Let me know which ones you've read and consider that I MUST read.