In the November 2019 newsletter, I asked our readers what books or book series they have the most success recommending to others.

Here were their responses:

Sue: My step mom and I never found common ground. We now read all the same books, I suggested James Patterson and I have the series I do not lend or share to anyone but I have with her. I appreciate that she can better afford the books and keeps my book collection going. We have now Nora Roberts, and Debbie Macomber as our shared books. I find a book at the thrift store I don’t read it first I give it to her and then I get it back and it goes into my collection. I haven’t started the Nick Petrie books but sure want to give them a try. I love the Lee Child books. I have lots of crime stories I enjoy that I think are too gruesome to share but I may introduce my mom to the Eve Duncan series. I love your newsletter every month and it keeps me looking and trying new books. It like a private exclusive club.

Sam: My most successful dissemination of a book actually went on a sort of chain. The book was The Exile by Allan Folsom. I’d read it and thought it was fantastic and really wanted to get others to read it. Some months later, my local library was having a used book sale and I saw the paperback version of this book. It was going for 50 cents, so I figured: how can I go wrong? I gave the book to my boss at the time to read. The next day he came to work and I noticed he didn’t have the book with him (he always had a book with him). I asked him what happened. He was a bit chagrined and told me that the night before he was doing some work around the house and his wife found the book, started reading it and then wouldn’t give it back to him. So she read it in a few days, then boss took it back. By that time I happened to be going on vacation. So while I was gone, he gave it to another co-worker to read. Once she was done, his wife asked for it back and she gave it to three other people she worked with to read. All concerned gave the book rave reviews. I then gave it to another co-worker to read. Just a month ago, I was discussing books with a different co-worker and asked her if she’d read this one. She hadn’t, so I gave it to her. Oh, I also got my mother to read it. By my count, I believe that’s nine people. I found the most successful action in this was having the physical book to hand to people. I don’t know how many times I’ve recommended totally awesome books to people that they never read. I think that’s the key difference.

April: I’ve had the most success recommending the Doc Ford series by Randy Wayne White. Seems like nobody in my area was aware of these books, though they are of course hugely successful. Everyone who has tried them. love them.
May try the Harry Bosch series again. Enjoyed them, but they seemed to be so similar after a while that I quit reading.

Vickie: Since I’m forever recommending books to people with different interests, this is hard to answer. Probably the most is Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game for science fiction fans. For mystery lovers, probably Maisie Dobbs and her series by Jacqueline Winspear. For classic fantasy, it would be the Narnia series. For modern fantasy it would probably be the Discovery of Witches series. Classic science fiction could be any Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, or Anne McCaffrey. Humorous science fiction – Douglas Adams. Humorous fantasy – Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. Classic mystery – Agatha Christie’s Murder of Roger Ackroyd or And Then There Were None. Currently for thrillers I recommend David Baldacci’s Amos Decker series. Classic literature is Jane Austen, but Alexandre Dumas is also high on the list.

Recommend any one book? Hard to do since my friends and acquaintences have varied tastes.

kat: i love the andy carpenter series and recommend them to my friends

its good for dog lovers and mystery readers

Chris: The most success I’ve had in recommending a book series is when I would tell fellow herb lovers about Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles mysteries. I’ve had no luck, however, telling people about the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. At first I thought I was just terrible describing those particular books but then I realized that only certain groups of people will like them and I just wasn’t running into them. I learned that herbies who like to read mysteries tend to enjoy hearing about the China Bayles books (about a former lawyer who solves murders in her small home town while running her herb shop). In general, I usually don’t recommend books anymore unless I’m really sure that the person may be receptive. Otherwise, I feel like my excitement over a book or book series may come across as being pushy!

Joyce: I would like to recommend David Colacci who reads the Donna Leon series among others. The main character is Guido Brunetti who is a lifelong resident of Venice, Italy and a policeman. Love the series, right up there with Louise Penny’s Three Pines series.

Jeanne: The best book we have read and passed on to others, probable bought and given out at lease 20 is “The Professor” by Robert Bailey. All most everyone calls and thanks us for this book. It is actually the first book in a trilogy and many go on and read all three books.

Pat: most popular that both my sister and myself get other people interested in is heather graham’s krewe of hunters series. always convince them to read the j d robb in death books. we have numerous
authors that we always suggest they look into

Arin: I highly recommend the Jesse Stone series by Robert Parker. Taking place in a small northeastern town, it’s fun tracking the adventures of this terrific character. I thoroughly enjoyed the made-for-television series starring Tom Selleck before I knew about the Parker books, of which there are many more than what was televised.

Bev: I’m one of the new Jack Reacher fans, thanks to your plugs. I’m on ‘Gone Tomorrow ‘, and am devouring it. As far as getting someone to read an author, a friend of mine read the Eragon series due to my plugs, and enjoyed it tremendously, even though she goes for lighter fare as a rule. Two very exciting authors to read that write about paramilitary and government ops are Toby Neal and Fiona Quinn. You won’t be bored for a second. Now, back to Jack!

Bruce: The book series I have recommended is the Dave Robicheaux series by James Lee Burke, one of my favorite authors.

Chris: Narrators
Scott Brick has to be my favorite. His delivery is captivating to me. Thanks for your newsletter, I look forward to it every month.

Colette: I’ve recommended Rita Mae Brown to friends with positive results.

Denise: Hi, Graeme, I have recommended the Kate Burkholder series by Linda Castillo (former Amish who is now a Ohio police chief in an Amish county). Also, Margaret Mizushima’s Timber Creek K-9 mystery series. And a third recommendation-like the first two-that has successfully hooked my friends is Alex Kava’s Ryder Creed series. They’re really good and Creed and K-9 includes dogs and that is a hit.
Love Harry Bosch, John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers as well.

Tarana: BOYS IN THE BOAT – I guarantee no “older” woman (or her husband!) wanted to read this book – the subject matter was totally foreign to them and they were NOT interested. But as a former English teacher, I know how to be persuasive when it comes to books! So – I made all my friends read this book – kicking and screaming all the way!! Result? Every one thanked me profusely – and everyone’s book club put it on the calendar.

Toni: Love when this newsletter comes out! I listen to audiobooks and get most from the library. I do have an audible account but limit myself to my 1 book a month unless they’re having a sale. I may have heard about these 2 series from your newsletter but I have several friends who are now fans of Robert Bryndza’s Erika Foster series, Barbara Nickless’ Sidney Parnell Rose series, and Karen Slaughter’s Grant County and then Will Trent series. I love it when I fall in love with a series and I can go from one book to the other. I’ve done the Myron Bolitar series, which I read from your suggestion. LOVE IT!
For those that like something a little different, like vampires and demons, the Jeaniene Frost Night Huntress series is really good. It’s not about vampires but has vampires and other creatures in it.
I will pull the trigger on Harry Bosch and Jack Reacher one day as I love watching the series on Amazon! Thanks for the awesome newsletter!

James: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

I’ve recommended this book dozens of times (certainly more than 50), and I’ve given it as a gift at least a dozen times. Usually, I just tell people “It’s a dog story. It will change your life.”

I can’t remember a single time that I failed to hear back from these people, with thanks.

Linda: I have two book series that I have recommended and got equal amounts of success . One is “The Ladies of Covington” by Medlicott, a very mild person oriented series. It is set in the village of Covington and details the lives of the women and their friends. Everyone who has read these due to my recommendation loved them. Then, of course, I have recommended “The Mitch Rapp” series by Flynn/Mills. These two series are total opposites as far as reading, but both are excellent. One gives you a warm fuzzy feeling and the other keeps you on the edge of your seat. Regarding the “Gamache ” books by Penny , I loved that series but do agree with another reader that there were a few books that were not in the excellent category, but for the most part they were great. Again thank you for the newsletter and the new recommendations. Have a nice Thanksgiving.

Nancy: Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache

Order of Books » Newsletter » Reader Mailbag: Best Books To Recommend To Others