Hooking up with books.

The New York Times launched Match Book about six months ago as a weekly column. It is part of The New York Times Book Review and is designed to match readers with exactly the right book to read next. Along the way, they invite readers to email them with any and all book questions. For example, are you searching for an author you loved long ago but can’t remember the name of? Include in your question a thorough description of relevant reading habits and other reading details. Readers can be looking for the right book for any reason – the perfect present for someone, for work, their book group, a child, or for themselves. The column will connect readers with suggestions of books based on the information the readers have submitted.

The column runs every Tuesday online, and every other Sunday in the Book Review. One reader is selected each week and personalized book suggestions with explanations and descriptions are offered. Match Book is written by Nicole Lamy who has written about a wide variety of subjects – books, food, parenting, photography, dance and movies. She was the books editor for the Boston Globe, and has previously been an editor at The Harvard Review and the Boston Book Review.

In a recent post, Ms. Lamy wrote that she has received over 1,000 requests in her inbox since the column began in March. She is struggling to answer them all in full. She describes how she does her research, and she is so grateful that so many passionate readers are reaching out to her.

A couple of examples:

Dear Match Book: I’m Seeking Satirical, Semifantastical and Standout Literary Fiction……

Many of Kathryn Davis’s novels have what you are looking for: beautiful sentences, fantastical bona fides, surprise. Suspense rises from the first, pleasantly disorienting pages of her books. In “The Thin Place,” the backdrop is a rural New England town teeming with animals and with characters who drift between the natural world and a dream-like plane. In “Duplex,” on a typical, if futuristic, suburban block, robots and sorcerers mingle with ordinary people, and time and space are……… Read the rest of the question and Lamy’s response here.

Dear Match Book: Give Me Fictional Family Sagas, the Longer the Better…..

Your fondness for “The Forsythe Saga” reminded me of my childhood affection for R. F. Delderfield’s Swann family trilogy. Beginning with “God Is an Englishman,” it follows Adam Swann from his days as a young soldier in the British Army in 1857 through his marriage to steadfast, determined Henrietta, and their shaping of a dynastic business (Swann-on-Wheels!). My fat, mass-market paperback editions of the next books in the series, “Theirs Was the Kingdom” and “Give Us This Day” (which concludes when Adam is 87), feature a family tree……… Read the rest of the question and Lamy’s response here.

There are often suggestions for similar books to read in the back of books you might be reading but since the recommendations are from the same publisher, they are not as comprehensive as the lists Ms. Lamy produces. I think her column is fun to read even if I have already selected the books I want to read for the next three years. Reading the column over the past six months has exposed me to literary genres I was not familiar with, and authors I’d never heard of. It’s a wonderful addition to my reading life, and I hope to yours as well.


Header Graphic courtesy of https://www.nytimes.com/column/match-book