Reader's Exchange

I couldn't possibly...

This is what the polite guest says to decline that second serving of something enjoyable--particularly if she/he suspects that supplies are limited.  Happily, this etiquette applies only to food. 

In the reading world, fiction fans are welcome and even encouraged to demand more, more, and still more of that favorite author or series.  And while authors shift into creative high gear to produce the next volume, someone has to offer delightful and engrossing alternatives.  Library and bookstore staffers are familiar with the "Who else should I read if I love ___?" question.  

Janet Evanovich is a frequent query.  Fans of the mystery series beginning with One for the Money admire Stephanie Plum's spirit and sassy dialogue and specifically request "something else that's just as funny."  Jennifer Crusie, Linda Barnes, Jane Heller, Lisa Scottoline are some appropriate leads for the Evanovich reader awaiting her next installment.    

Those names are frequently mentioned, but when the question came up earlier this week, these two also came to mind:  Mary Kay Andrews and Elinor Lipman.  Andrews is the pen name of a well-established writer of other successful mysteries.  Her Savannah Blues offers a murder with the bonus of lots of antiques and collectible lore, not to mention entertaining dialogue sprinkled with quirky Southern flavor.  Savannah Breeze would be a nice follow-up.

Elinor Lipman isn't a mystery author, but her characters do often have mysterious and enigmatic personalities.  Lipman's prose is first-rate, and she's a master of witty conversational exchanges.  I became a Lipman fan with The Pursuit of Alice Thrift.  Her latest, The Family Man, is also laced with dialogue that ranges from droll to laugh-out-loud funny.  The twenty-something Thalia definitely exhibits Plum-like bravado and spunk. 

We call these tips about similar authors "readalikes", but we admit that, when it comes to providing a 100% match for your unique favorite author, we couldn't possibly!


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