The Next Best Book Club discussion

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Looking For Recommendations > please recommend connected stories, novel in stories

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message 1: by Eva (new)

Eva Hello everyone, I'm new here, so I don't know that I've put this message in the right "folder." I'd be interested in hearing from people who enjoy connected stories or novels in stories, like Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout or The Nightingales of Troy by Alice Fulton. I'd like to read more books along these lines because I really enjoyed the two above. Both these writers write like angels, and that is important to me. I like to be dazzled as well as moved, I guess. So -- bookheads of goodreads, please guide me! Thanks, Eva


message 2: by El (new)

El Eva wrote: "Hello everyone, I'm new here, so I don't know that I've put this message in the right "folder." I'd be interested in hearing from people who enjoy connected stories or novels in stories, like Oliv..."

Hi Eva, I'm not 100% sure what you're looking for, but I recently read The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue - it's a book of short stories, but they're all connected (told from different character points of view, etc.). I highly recommend that one.


message 3: by Eva (new)

Eva El wrote: "Eva wrote: "Hello everyone, I'm new here, so I don't know that I've put this message in the right "folder." I'd be interested in hearing from people who enjoy connected stories or novels in storie..."

Thanks, El. I'll add this to my list ... and actually buy it. (Buying books is a guilty pleasure.) I looked at the book on this site, and I see it's published by Algonquin. They do some might fine books (Robert Morgan, Lee Smith... others, too. Slipping my mind) I just read your excellent review of Faith Healer, and it sounds lovely and real and well-written. A find. The Nightingales of Troy is a recent enthusiasm because it's sometimes heart wrenching (without being sentimental) and sometimes very funny. The author paces things well, and the writing is a joy in itself, beautiful and deep. I also recently loved The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry for its ravishing language and bravery. Eva




message 4: by JSou (new)

JSou I would suggest picking up Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. It has six VERY different stories throughout, and finding out how they are all connected was fascinating.


message 5: by Eva (new)

Eva Thanks, Jessica. I just went to the book page and Cloud Atlas looks exactly like my type of read. I see it was a Booker prize nominee. I've noticed that some of the Booker prize winners are (in my opinion) disappointing, but I think that's true for all prizes. I've never heard of David Mitchell, so this is a discovery. I'll put it on my shelf. Eva


message 6: by Eva (new)

Eva Fiona wrote: "Prodigal Summer - Barbara Kingsolver - it is 3 different stories set in the same area, all related but each separate from the other."

Thanks, Fiona! (What a pretty name.) I've never read anything by Kingsolver, and this sounds like a great way to begin. Didn't know the book had that interwoven aspect. Onto my list it goes. Eva


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments I think John Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven would fall into this general category.


message 8: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10123 comments Mod
God Is Dead is written as separate stories but they are all interconnected.


message 9: by Dan (new)

Dan (theancientreader) If on a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino has the beginnings of several novels within the story and they're all brought together in an intriguing way at the end of the book.


message 10: by Eva (new)

Eva Susanna wrote: "I think John Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven would fall into this general category."

Thanks, I've never read that. I read The Red Pony back in grade school. Sad. But that might be the only Steinbeck I've tried. Good to have a classic on my list.


message 11: by Eva (new)

Eva Lori wrote: "God Is Dead is written as separate stories but they are all interconnected."

Thanks. I just looked it up, and it seems a sort of fable or allegory? Did you read it and like it? I usually enjoy realist fiction, but I'll give it a try if you think it's excellent.


message 12: by Eva (new)

Eva Dan wrote: "If on a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino has the beginnings of several novels within the story and they're all brought together in an intriguing way at the end of the book."

I've never read Calvino, and this sounds like a great way to begin. I never would have thought of this book. Thank you.


Abigail (42stitches) | 360 comments I thought of a few that I think are sort of like connected stories. If I recall rightly Alentejo Blue Fiction, was sort of like that. (I listened to an audio several years ago)And everything I have read by Maeve Binchy has been like that too. Evening ClassNights of Rain and Stars,Whitethorn Woods


message 14: by Erika (new)

Erika (erikareading) I've never read the books you mentioned so I'm not sure about this, but there are four connected stories in Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland.


message 15: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10123 comments Mod
Eva wrote: "Lori wrote: "God Is Dead is written as separate stories but they are all interconnected."

Thanks. I just looked it up, and it seems a sort of fable or allegory? Did you read it an..."


Not really a fable. Just the idea of God taking human form during a war in a middle eastern country, and what would happen if people discovered he had been killed. While I wouldnt say it was "excellent"... It certainly was an interesting read!


message 16: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (sianin) Eva:

This is a departure from the more serious literature recommended above but still fits your criteria of being separate stories that together make a novel. It is Canadian humour, written by a man who had a show on the radio called the Vinyl Cafe. Home from the Vinyl Cafe A year of stories There are several books that include his stories actually. So if you need something lighter that will tickle your funny bone....


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments Eva wrote: "Susanna wrote: "I think John Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven would fall into this general category."

Thanks, I've never read that. I read The Red Pony back in grade school. Sad...."


I was assigned The Red Pony four years (in a row!) in school, and The Pearl three. Blech. My mother gave me The Pastures of Heaven, Cannery Row, and Sweet Thursday (sequel to Cannery Row) to remove the bad taste from my mouth. I loved all of them.


message 18: by Eva (new)

Eva Lori wrote: "Eva wrote: "Lori wrote: "God Is Dead is written as separate stories but they are all interconnected."

Thanks. I just looked it up, and it seems a sort of fable or allegory? Did ..."


Okay! Interesting is all I ask. And there are so many ways a book can be interesting. "The fascination of what's difficult." I like books that offer a little resistance sometimes.


message 19: by Eva (new)

Eva Abigail wrote: "I thought of a few that I think are sort of like connected stories. If I recall rightly Alentejo Blue Fiction, was sort of like that. (I listened to an audio several years ago)And eve..."

I read Alentejo Blue, and I have to say I found it really lame! I have a Maeve Binchy on my shelf. Looking forward to trying it. It's set in a restaurant in Dublin, Quentin's.


message 20: by Eva (new)

Eva Shannon wrote: "Eva:

This is a departure from the more serious literature recommended above but still fits your criteria of being separate stories that together make a novel. It is Canadian humour, written by ..."


Thanks, Shannon! I will need this after the book I"m about to start next. I'll mention it because it's by a Canadian author, too. Marie-Claire Blais. It was published in 1966, called a masterpiece: A Season in the Life of Emmanuel. As you no doubt know, Blais was much talked about in the 1970s and 1980s, but I haven't heard anything about her work in years. Have you read any of her books? I never have, and I have this nice, first edition of the 1966 novella... so I thought I'd commit. I've heard it's a dark book, and The Vinyl Cafe sounds like the right antidote for afterwards. Thanks.




message 21: by Eva (new)

Eva Susanna wrote: "Eva wrote: "Susanna wrote: "I think John Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven would fall into this general category."

Thanks, I've never read that. I read The Red Pony back in grade s..."


I felt so sorry for that damn pony. It was kind of traumatizing. Steinbeck probably is under appreciated at the moment, and I'm a sucker for neglected authors.




message 22: by Eva (new)

Eva Erika wrote: "I've never read the books you mentioned so I'm not sure about this, but there are four connected stories in Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland."

I haven't read anything by him, so this will be a discovery. I looked up the book and it sounds different from my usual picks, which is great.




message 23: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Hearts in Atlantis is a set of three inter-connected novellas in one book. They aren't scary though, so don't let the name King turn you away.


Abigail (42stitches) | 360 comments
"I read Alentejo Blue, and I have to say I found it really lame! I have a Maeve Binchy on my shelf. Looking forward to trying it. It's set in a restaurant in Dublin, Quentin's."

Oh no. Maybe it was because of the audio...although I did like Brick Lane more. It's not the connected story kind of novel though...Better luck with the Binchy. Her stuff is quirky and pretty funny usually, but also very touching.


JG (Introverted Reader) I don't know exactly what kind of books you like, but Watch with Me by Wendell Berry is a collection of short stories about one man (possibly a family--it's been a while) living in a Southern farming community. From what I remember, they're pretty funny and touching.

If you like fantasy at all, all of Charles de Lint's Newford novels and short story collections are very loosely connected, in that they have a lot of recurring characters.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments The fourth year I was just resigned and grateful it was only The Red Pony again. I hated it, but not with the firey passion of a thousand burning suns, which was the way I hated The Pearl.


message 27: by Cait (new)

Cait Poytress (caitertot) | 604 comments Erika wrote: "I've never read the books you mentioned so I'm not sure about this, but there are four connected stories in Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland."

I love Douglas Coupland!



message 28: by Eva (new)

Eva Becky wrote: "Hearts in Atlantis is a set of three inter-connected novellas in one book. They aren't scary though, so don't let the name King turn you away. "

yeah, I don't want anything scary! I'm having a slow time with the last sixty pages of the book I'm reading right now simply because the events are so traumatizing. But I love the book. The Sacred Scripture by Irish author Sebastian Barry.




message 29: by Eva (new)

Eva Abigail wrote: "
"I read Alentejo Blue, and I have to say I found it really lame! I have a Maeve Binchy on my shelf. Looking forward to trying it. It's set in a restaurant in Dublin, Quentin's."

Oh no. Maybe it w..."


From all I've heard, Brick Lane was a fine book. I suspect Alentejo Blue was written before it, failed to find a publisher, and was brought out after the success of Brick Lane. That happens sometimes. Just a guess.


Abigail (42stitches) | 360 comments "From all I've heard, Brick Lane was a fine book. I suspect Alentejo Blue was written before it, failed to find a publisher, and was brought out after the success of Brick Lane. That happens sometimes. Just a guess."

Lol...could be...


message 31: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Eva wrote: "Becky wrote: "Hearts in Atlantis is a set of three inter-connected novellas in one book. They aren't scary though, so don't let the name King turn you away. "

yeah, I don't want anything scary! I'm having a slow time with the last sixty pages of the book I'm reading right now simply because the events are so traumatizing. But I love the book. The Sacred Scripture by Irish author Sebastian Barry."


These are very different, and are guaranteed not to appeal to everyone, but I thought they were very good. (Of course I could be biased, as King is my favorite author.) :)


message 32: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 266 comments Hello Eva: I think you might enjoy "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents" by Julia Alvarez - it's divided in chapters but is really separate stories about a group of sisters from The Dominican who move to the Bronx and how they adapt and rebel against their immigrant parents.


message 33: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 489 comments I just finished reading The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. It's made up of several stories by 4 first generation Chinese American women and stories by their mothers. It was a great book.


message 34: by Bhumi (new)

Bhumi | 524 comments If you like these types of books, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a bunch of letters that come together to make a story.


message 35: by Petra (new)

Petra Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin has a novel within the novel. It's one of my favorite Atwood novels and I would recommend it if you like family saga type of books.


message 36: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Jessica wrote: "I would suggest picking up Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. It has six VERY different stories throughout, and finding out how they are all connected was fascinating."

Are you doing his PR??? :-)))) Very succesful job if you do.


message 37: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Eva wrote: "Fiona wrote: "Prodigal Summer - Barbara Kingsolver - it is 3 different stories set in the same area, all related but each separate from the other."

Thanks, Fiona! (What a pretty name.) I've neve..."


It is a great, wonderful story!!!




message 38: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Abigail wrote: "I thought of a few that I think are sort of like connected stories. If I recall rightly Alentejo Blue Fiction, was sort of like that. (I listened to an audio several years ago)And eve..."

I think Maeve Binchy would be a good choice too. That is actually the reason that I am suddenly comming to this thread...I am reading Whitethorn woods now and flew through it. Ready several of her books but loved most Quentins and Evening class.


message 39: by JSou (new)

JSou Haha! I'll push David Mitchell any chance I get!

See, I just got to do it again! :P




message 40: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (mrpixel) | 33 comments Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, a wonderful book of connected short stories. Tales of Native American family members in rural Dakotas. Excellent.

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, an amazing collection of short stories, but only really connected by theme, but beautiful.


message 41: by Pavel (new)

Pavel | 28 comments The Decameron and The Canterbury Talesare classics of this genre. I particulary enjoyed first one.


message 42: by Coalbanks (last edited Sep 24, 2009 05:01PM) (new)

Coalbanks | 186 comments Pavel.mirzoev wrote: "The Decameron and The Canterbury Talesare classics of this genre. I particulary enjoyed first one."

Argh! You beat me to the punch!
Several writers have spun off tales based on Canterbury Tales so they might qualify.
How about Steinbecks series : Tortilla Flat, Cannery Row, Sweet Thursday ?
Olivia Manning's Balkan Trilogy? Levant Trilogy?


message 43: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 266 comments Later, At the Bar by Rebecca Barry
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson


message 44: by PDXReader (new)

PDXReader The Plague of Doves A Novel, by Louise Erdrich seems to fit the bill.


message 45: by Coalbanks (new)

Coalbanks | 186 comments The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights
by Anonymous, Richard Francis Burton (Translator)



message 46: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 266 comments Hello Eva: I just had recommended to me Baldwin Street by Alvin Rakoff - stories all connected to the goings-on in a street in Toronto, Canada. It's apparently really good...


message 47: by Mary (new)

Mary (madamefifi) | 358 comments Some great suggestions here! May I add Await Your Reply, by Dan Chaon? It is three different stories about three different people, but their connection becomes clear in the end. plus it is beautifully written.


message 48: by Jensownzoo (new)

Jensownzoo | 338 comments I really enjoyed The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor.

Kissing in Manhattan is in my TBR pile.


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