Even avid readers can have dry spells, endlessly searching for something good to read. Getting reading recommendations from friends is an option, but you might have vastly different tastes. Another option is to let the robots at Amazon tell you what to read (and buy), but we hope it hasn’t come to that yet.

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What if you could get reading recommendations from someone whose only vested interest was to make you happy, someone well-read, and non-judgmental, someone with more charm than a robot, and who wouldn’t be crushed if you rejected their bookish advice? In fact, this service is as close as your nearest device.

The My Librarian team ( at Multnomah County Library lives to hear about what you love to read, and happily creates customized booklists. Even better, you can interact with us online, so you won’t have to see our sad librarian faces if we get it wrong. Visit to get in touch.

Recently, a reader raved about “Where The Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens and she requested more novels with descriptive writing, great characters and aspects of murder-mystery and coming-of-age.

Here’s our librarian’s response:

I’m right with you on “Where The Crawdads Sing!” I loved it and I’m delighted to make some suggestions in hopes of uncovering another gem.

Owens’s novel is atmospheric, with slow-building, page-turning tension. I just finished a novel that I would describe similarly — “Lights All Night Long” by Lydia Fitzpatrick. It also involves a murder mystery and a bittersweet coming of age story, but the setting and circumstances are completely different.

Russian teen Ilya is given the opportunity of a lifetime when he is accepted into an American exchange program. He’d always envisioned coming to the U.S. with his brother Vladimir, but as Ilya’s dreams are coming true, Vladimir finds himself in a Russian jail, accused of murder.

A strong sense of place, great descriptive writing and a focus on the natural world are also evident in Eowyn Ivey’s “The Snow Child.” More magical than emotionally intense, it’s about a childless couple homesteading in the brutal landscape of 1920s Alaska. They discover an odd little girl living in the wilderness who appears to have stepped straight out of a fairy tale.

It can be hard to bounce back from a brilliant read, but I hope you find something here to spark your interest.

Recommended Reading


“Love Poems for Married People” by John Kenney

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Based on the author’s hugely popular New Yorker piece, this poetry collection is a poignant and laugh-out-loud funny look at the reality of married life. Don’t worry if you’re not typically a poetry reader, Kenney’s writing is accessible and easy to read. He covers anything from the foibles of parenthood, to the grind of daily life, to the lack of spark in the bedroom. One titled “Are you in the mood?” goes like this: “I am./ Let’s put the kids down./ Have a light dinner./ Shower./ Maybe not drink so much./ And do that thing I would rather do with you than anyone else./ Lie in bed and look at our iPhones.”

“Modern Love,” revised and updated by Daniel Jones (Ed.)

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This collection from the New York Times “Modern Love” column got a revised and updated edition this past year to coincide with the TV series starring Tina Fey, Andy Garcia, Anne Hathaway, Catherine Keener and other A-list stars. Those familiar with the previous edition can still enjoy old favorites along with fresh new additions. Anyone entirely new to “Modern Love” can experience 15 years of stories about love, connection and relationships.

Andy Northrup is an adult services librarian at Eugene Public Library.

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