Sell it Baby.
Okay. This question was posed to me: If you had to recommend 5 titles (of books) to SELL to someone what would they be?
Now this is a different question than: What are five books you would recommend? Selling books isn't easy, mostly because you're dealing with a stranger. The easiest thing to do is find out what they have liked in the past. It's also good to try and get some clue about a persons political/social inclination. No sex books for the nuns, 'kay? You also want to do a good job. You want them back. You want them to validate your weird sense of humor and bizarre taste in books. You should aim for something a little off the beaten track. Anyone can pick up books like, The Lovely Bones without a personal recommendation - it was all over the media.
Two books that fit the example of books that I would recommend but wouldn't necessarily sell to a total stranger: Blindness by Jose Saramago and/or The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell. These are fabulous books. However, they're not for everyone. If you're up for the emotional commitment of either - you should read them. You also should be a little open minded when reading The Sparrow there is some "questionable content" there.
This is a working list but I think these are a few contemporary novels that I would list:
1. The Bone People by Keri Hulme
2. Waiting by Ha Jin
3. The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett
4. Wicked: The Life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory MacGuire
5. The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel
6. Feast of Love by Charles Baxter
7. American Pastoral by Phillip Roth
Okay, so that's seven. Some may be eliminated after I think about it a bit more.
How about you, which novels would you list?
Off to battle delinquent plumbers, leaky faucets, and dead cars. L-O-V-E.