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Author Topic: Book recommendations?  (Read 4757 times)
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Tebunker
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« on: September 13, 2006, 02:14:59 AM »

I just finished "Freakanomics",and I'm about to start reading Bill Bryson's, " A Walk in the Woods", but I spent a good 45 minutes in Barnes and Noble trying to find something to read and didn't see a thing. So anyone have any good recommendations? i don't care what kind of book or where it is from just throw it out there.
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2006, 02:42:38 AM »

Theodore Roszak's' Flicker.  Great, great novel about concerning the investigation of a conspiracy involving a cult fillmmaker from the 20s and 30s.  Roszak clearly has an immense love of film in all of it's forms and manages to make some pretty remarkable statements about about film's more sensationalistic tendencies while still writing an excellent thriller.  Perhaps most startling is how ahead of his time Roszak was- the book was written in the early 90s before ADD-riddled tendencies of music video directors like Michael Bay and McG started dominating film technique.  Probably the best novel I've read this year.

Also, Richard Morgan's Takashi Kovacs novels, starting with Altered Carbon.  Morgan is adept at spanning multple genres with this series that is equal parts sci-fi and noir. 
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« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2006, 07:30:17 AM »

If you're up for a simple, fun adventure read set in an urban fantasy, Jum Butcher has a good series called The Dresden Files about a modern day wizard plying his trade in chicago.  It's part fantasy, part film noir, and part classic adventure.  There's no nuanced and deep plots of theories on the meaning of life, just fun simple reads for those days that you just want to unwind.
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« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2006, 12:49:20 PM »

I'd recommend The Necroscope.
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« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2006, 06:27:30 PM »

The Three Muskateers. Unabridged.  Pure brilliance.
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« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2006, 06:42:32 PM »

Keep the recommendations coming. I'm currently reading Neal Stephonsons (sp) Snow Crash. It's a great cyberpunk type book, but better than Gibson ever wrote. His other novel Necronomicon was great as well. Also highly recommended is Neil Gaimon's American Gods.
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« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2006, 09:34:00 PM »

Off the top of my head:

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

On the Beach by Nevil Shute

Jennifer Government by Max Barry

Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2006, 09:37:54 PM »

If you liked Freakonomics, you will like Thomas Friedman's the World is Flat.  It's a not too preachy view of the 21st century to date.  Make sure you get the updated version though.
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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2006, 09:50:40 PM »

Snow crash is excellent! I'd also recommend the Hyperion series of 2 books - a sci fi canterbury tales
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2006, 02:20:36 AM »

I'll put in recommendations for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon and pretty much anything by Haruki Murakami.  Black Swan Green by David Mitchell was excellent.  Richard Russo writes some great drama mixed with tragic comedy and I think that Straight Man may be my favorite of his.  I also just read Replay by Ken Grimwood and it was very interesting. 
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2006, 02:48:49 AM »

Another vote for The Three Musketeers.  It's really a fun book.  I got the small-size hardcover edition from Barnes & Noble and feel very classy when I read it.

Another fun adventure book is Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa.  I've been reading it in small bits (like The Three Musketeers) because I don't want it to end.

If you're in the mood for nonfiction, check out Decoding the Universe, a short and snappy overview of information theory.  Ok, the book is a lot more interesting than I just made it sound.

For a page-turner, get something by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child: I liked Riptide, The  Ice Limit, or better yet The Relic and its successors.

Dan Simmons' Hyperion books are really good storytelling, as already mentioned.  For some lighter SF/fantasy, track down Leo Frankowski's The Cross-Time Engineer and its 4 sequels.  Ignore everything after Lord Conrad's Lady and pretty much any other book he's ever written.
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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2006, 02:51:07 AM »

Quote from: Tebunker on September 13, 2006, 02:14:59 AM

I just finished "Freakanomics",and I'm about to start reading Bill Bryson's, " A Walk in the Woods", but I spent a good 45 minutes in Barnes and Noble trying to find something to read and didn't see a thing. So anyone have any good recommendations? i don't care what kind of book or where it is from just throw it out there.

Absolute must read:  Crossing the Rubicon
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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2006, 03:21:11 PM »

"Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman"

 nod  Yup, anything by them... now help my memory out:  is that the one about the Apocalypse?  If not, then that one too, lol!   Also what is the name of the one about raising demons?  Something like Raising Demons even - oh my gawd, I get more pitiful every day that passes! 

And yes, Snow Crash was super!  There is a semi-similar work by Tad Williams about an artificial cyber-type  world that people get lost in.  The first one was fantastic, but I believe I didnt finish the series because of my poor memory - if I cant read both or all three back to back, I can't remember anything about the characters and it is too frustrating.  Then again, after the first, maybe the other(s) sucked!

Sorry I cant add any actual titles, since these were either library books or I've lent them out.  I assume the hugely educated and refined folks at this forum will fill in the blanks... now if I could only carrry you all around in my head every day, lol!
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2006, 10:25:39 PM »

Quote from: mytocles on September 14, 2006, 03:21:11 PM

"Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman"

 nod  Yup, anything by them... now help my memory out:  is that the one about the Apocalypse?  If not, then that one too, lol!   Also what is the name of the one about raising demons?  Something like Raising Demons even - oh my gawd, I get more pitiful every day that passes!

Good Omens It's about an angel and demon joining forces to stop the coming apocalypse.

I don't know the one about demons, but it reminds me of a couple of great Christopher Moore books: Practical Demonkeeping and its pseudo-sequel, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove.
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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2006, 01:44:49 AM »

"The Last Dive: A Father and Son's Fatal Descent into the Ocean's Depths" by Bernie Chowdhury.  If you can get past the overly long and descriptive title, it is the story of extreme scuba diving, a mysterious U-Boat wreck off the coast of NJ and a father and son diving team and their ultimate fiasco.  Its the kind of nonfiction I love.  True to life events and lots of things that I didn't know before I picked up the book.   
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« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2006, 03:22:16 PM »

Quote from: Turtle on September 13, 2006, 07:30:17 AM

If you're up for a simple, fun adventure read set in an urban fantasy, Jum Butcher has a good series called The Dresden Files about a modern day wizard plying his trade in chicago.  It's part fantasy, part film noir, and part classic adventure.  There's no nuanced and deep plots of theories on the meaning of life, just fun simple reads for those days that you just want to unwind.

Somewhat along those same lines is Tad Williams' fantastic "War of the Flowers".  It's about an everyday joe that gets sucked into an alternate 'fantasy' world.  Just started it for the second time, and would highly recommend it. 
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« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2006, 03:43:27 PM »

I'll second the War of the Flowers recommendation.  One of the nice things is that it's a self contained story- no multi-volume epic reading needed to get the whole tale. 
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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2006, 07:25:47 PM »

Song of Ice and Fire

Robin Hobb

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« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2006, 02:29:58 AM »

well if you're really into reading and have sometime to kill, then I recommend "The Wheel of Time" by Robert Jordan. There are currently 11 books in the series and they are big... If you like Fantasy then this is the series for you...
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« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2006, 03:32:56 AM »

Quote from: Briko on September 17, 2006, 02:29:58 AM

well if you're really into reading and have sometime to kill, then I recommend "The Wheel of Time" by Robert Jordan. There are currently 11 books in the series and they are big... If you like Fantasy then this is the series for you...


:tugs on braids and smoothes skirt:
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« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2006, 04:44:26 AM »

Quote from: Briko on September 17, 2006, 02:29:58 AM

well if you're really into reading and have sometime to kill, then I recommend "The Wheel of Time" by Robert Jordan. There are currently 11 books in the series and they are big... If you like Fantasy then this is the series for you...


Don't do it!  Or just read books two-six and then never think of them again.  The first one was cliched to death (admittedly on purpose) and the later books... I suggest you just go to Barnes and Noble and read the last chapter of each and you will be all caught up.  Unfortunately the series will probably never be finished.

There is plenty of good epic fantasy out there.  Too much to go wasting your time on this series.  As much fun as I had with my "Winter of WoT" I would never reccomend them to anybody.
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« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2006, 09:25:54 PM »

Robert Jordon's Wheel of Time is _EXCELLENT_.  There are a couple of meandering books that he lost favor for, and I hate how he's trying to write another 20 books in this world. I really hope he finishes the Rand time before he kicks the bucket, and if he wants to write more he can start a parallel, prequel or some other "Age".

Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth is amazing; I know Gratch wouldn't recommend it beyond book 2 or 3, but the later ones actually fill out the main character a lot more. I am 2 books from the end of whats out and there is a few more books on the way.

Brian Lumley's Necroscope series is all about ESPionage during the cold war (British vs. Russian ESP agents) and thier discovery of Vampires (a symbiotic parasite) and it covers their origins. It is DEFINITELY one of the best vampire series I've ever read. I recommend the first series only though; I didn't enjoy the second one nearly as much.
1.) Necroscope
2.) Vamphyri
3.) 3.) The Source
4.) Deadspeak
5.) Deadspawn

Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Tomas Covenant has a new series coming out. If you haven't read the First or Second chronicles, then you should. Some really remarkable storytelling in those books. (there are two series of 3, and he just wrote a new one recently).

Tad Williams Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is a terrific series of fantasy novels. It starts with The Dragonbone Chair, carries through The Stone of Farewell and finishes with 1650 pages in To Green Angel Tower An amazing story worth the money for the 4 paperbacks or 3 hardcovers.

edit : added links
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« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2006, 09:45:08 PM »

Quote from: Purge on September 17, 2006, 09:25:54 PM

Another great fantasy series is the Sword of Truth; I know Gratch wouldn't recommend it beyond book 2 or 3, but the later ones actually fill out the main character a lot more. I am 2 books from the end of whats out ( www.terrygoodkind.com ) and there is a few more books out IIRC.

Actually, I'd strongly recommend it up to book 5 (Soul of the Fire), and would tentatively suggest book 6.  I was a huge fan of them up until that point (as my handle testifies), but I think it degenerated into a preachy mess after that.

One other series I'd highly recommend is Greg Keyes' Kingdom of Thorn & Bone series.  Currently at 3 books (The Briar King, The Charnel Prince, & The Blood Knight), and they just keep getting stronger as the story progresses.  A fantastic series with a well developed world, great characters, and some wonderful political intrigue.  It's not nearly on the level as, say, GRRM's Song of Ice and Fire series, but there aren't really any that are.

Quote
Tad Williams (mentioned above) also has a terrific series of fantasy novels. The series is called Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, and starts with "The Dragonbone Chair" IIRC. An amazing story. It's worth the money for the 4 paperbacks or 3 hardcovers.

This is going to be my next series after I finish re-reading 'War of the Flowers'.  i've been meaning to ask if it's any good, so I'm glad to hear some positive feedback about it.   icon_smile
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« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2006, 11:32:07 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on September 17, 2006, 09:45:08 PM

This is going to be my next series after I finish re-reading 'War of the Flowers'.  i've been meaning to ask if it's any good, so I'm glad to hear some positive feedback about it.   icon_smile

Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn remains my favorite fantasy series to this day and most still consider it Tad Williams' best work.  FWIW, George RR Martin has cited MS&T as one of his inspirations for Song of Ice & Fire. 
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« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2006, 12:05:41 AM »

Quote from: Briko on September 17, 2006, 02:29:58 AM

well if you're really into reading and have sometime to kill, then I recommend "The Wheel of Time" by Robert Jordan. There are currently 11 books in the series and they are big... If you like Fantasy then this is the series for you...


I won't lie, I can't stand any of Robert Jordan's writing. When I really, really got into fantasy books I got a recommendation from then Gonegolder, Joel mathis, Georger R.R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones", I believe the warning was that the first 100 pages or so were hard to push through, but the last 1000 plus pages have been a joy to read.

I tried some Wheel of Time and it made think what tripe it was. I kinda liked Terry Brooks, but then again more rehashed crap... David Farland had an original story, but it seemed he was told to wrap it up too fast. So in short, if you're going to recommend fantasy, you better make sure it stands up to Songs of Ice and Fyre by Robert Martin, because I consider that the BEST fantasy series every fricking created.

If we go Sci-Fi, sorry but me and the wife both love Orson Scott Card and all of the Ender and Shadow books, so that's the standard there.

Just to give and update, the Bill Bryson book is top notch! Definately recommended, I almost want to plan an Appalaichan hike myself!
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« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2006, 01:04:47 AM »

I'm more than slightly biased, but have you ever checked into Robert E. Howard's Conan novels?  I recommended any of the originals with the Frank Frazetta artwork.  In some of the cases L. Sprague De Camp has completed his unfinished work or taken a different character and put Conan in instead, but I still strongly recommend it for testosterone rich action fantasy.  

Another lesser known but still very interesting character is Howard's Solomon Kane.  He is a Puritan swordsmen that fights pirates, ghosts, and witchcraft in England and beyond when his travels take him into Africa.  

Here's a collection of his stories in paperback.

http://www.amazon.com/Solomon-Kane-Robert-Howard-Library/dp/0671876953/sr=8-2/qid=1158540771/ref=pd_bbs_2/104-6281915-4773539?ie=UTF8&s=books


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« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2006, 03:26:57 PM »

Harry Turtledove's Videssos Cycle is a terrific series of novels. He also has a tremendous line of "alternative history" books. I've read the first four books (the first Videssos series). Terrific stuff.

Robert E. Vardeman's Cenotaph Road is an easy read and is pretty fun. I could never find books 5+.

Piers Anthony's Adept series and Bio of a Space Tyrant were influential when I first started getting into sci-fi / fantasy. The Xanth series is stupid, vulgar, crass and punny. It's all the reasons I talk to Knightshade Dragon.  :slywink:  I wouldn't go out of my way to read the 30+ novels in that collection, but if you see one at a garage sale for $0.25 it's a quarter well worth the laugh.  nod

The Adept series is a must-read; it is pretty universal. I found the Bio of a Space Tyrant a little slow as it is a political series more than an action series. I don't recall getting through all of them either.
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« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2006, 05:15:47 PM »

Thanks, Stiff! That was it, I knew someone would come through!  I forgot who wrote it, but I remember now that I see the name - story of my life, lol. 

Practical Demonkeeping and Good Omens are two that are brilliant, fun, hysterical... with some real "laugh out loud in the middle of the night" parts.

And I agree on Tad Williams, I love his writing - and don't forget his somewhat similar to "Watership Down" book - I believe the name is "Tailchaser" or "Tailchaser's Song" perhaps. And yes, it is CATS, meowww.  icon_lol
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« Reply #28 on: September 19, 2006, 07:53:47 PM »

Quote from: mytocles on September 19, 2006, 05:15:47 PM

"Tailchaser's Song"

Correct. A gold star for you, Myto. It was his first book. All of the posts I've put up lead off to the authors pages or links to their books.
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« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2006, 09:29:12 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on September 17, 2006, 11:32:07 PM

Quote from: Gratch on September 17, 2006, 09:45:08 PM

This is going to be my next series after I finish re-reading 'War of the Flowers'.  i've been meaning to ask if it's any good, so I'm glad to hear some positive feedback about it.   icon_smile

Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn remains my favorite fantasy series to this day and most still consider it Tad Williams' best work.  FWIW, George RR Martin has cited MS&T as one of his inspirations for Song of Ice & Fire. 

I bagged finishing 'War of the Flowers' and just got started on 'Dragonbone Chair' last night.  Only got through about 75 pages, but it's certinaly got potential.
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« Reply #30 on: September 19, 2006, 09:52:38 PM »

Myto, we are just too much alike!  You are me, only older and female.  (That sounded better in my head)
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« Reply #31 on: September 20, 2006, 02:21:33 PM »

I'm sorry to hear that, Stiff! For your sake, lol!   If I had a memory I probably could come up with some more mutuallly admired books, but alas... (not to mention alack)

Now for the real Gold Star, unless it has already been named and I just didn't recognize it!  Does anyone remember the name of the (I think Tad Williams) book about the sort of cyber world that people got trapped in?  I believe it was a trilogy but I'm not even sure of that.  My mitochondria are still slacking off and my memory is no better, and probably a bit worse.  :icon_sad:  But at least the first one was stupendous, unique, intriguing, and compelling.

Okay I gave up! Could hardly remember enough to provide details to the clue-solvers... so I hit up Amazon for the answer: The series is Otherland and the first book is City of Golden Shadow - and it IS by Tad Williams - yay, me, lol!
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« Reply #32 on: September 20, 2006, 02:25:20 PM »

If you guys don't knock it off, I'm going to be reading nothing but Tad Williams for the next year.   icon_wink
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« Reply #33 on: September 20, 2006, 02:56:54 PM »

I couldn't get into the first book of William's Memory, etc. Maybe i should give it second shot.
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« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2006, 03:00:06 PM »

Quote from: Jag on September 20, 2006, 02:56:54 PM

I couldn't get into the first book of William's Memory, etc. Maybe i should give it second shot.

Takes a good 200 pages or so to get going.  I love those first 200 pages, but it turns a lot of people off. 
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« Reply #35 on: September 20, 2006, 04:31:19 PM »

The chinatown Death Cloud Peril.

It came out this summer and I picked it up then. Fantastically entertaining read about New York in the 1930s during which time a few pulp fiction writers get involved in a mystery right out of their own books. It involves everyone from the man who wrote "The Shadow" to H.P. Lovecraft to Ron Hubbard (yes, that one) and so forth. Wonderfully fun reading and the rug gets pulled out from under you with the sheer audacity of one character's true identity. I laughed my head clean off when I found out who it was. Great, fun book with a classic prose style.
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« Reply #36 on: September 20, 2006, 04:35:02 PM »

That sounds awesome.  Ordered.  Thanks for the link. 
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« Reply #37 on: September 20, 2006, 10:01:15 PM »

Quote from: whiteboyskim on September 20, 2006, 04:31:19 PM


Gotta get in on that!

Hello, Amazon.  I need to add another item to my already bloated order...
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« Reply #38 on: September 21, 2006, 02:02:06 AM »

Necromonicron
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« Reply #39 on: September 25, 2006, 03:38:23 PM »

Quote from: whiteboyskim on September 20, 2006, 04:31:19 PM

The chinatown Death Cloud Peril.

It came out this summer and I picked it up then. Fantastically entertaining read about New York in the 1930s during which time a few pulp fiction writers get involved in a mystery right out of their own books. It involves everyone from the man who wrote "The Shadow" to H.P. Lovecraft to Ron Hubbard (yes, that one) and so forth. Wonderfully fun reading and the rug gets pulled out from under you with the sheer audacity of one character's true identity. I laughed my head clean off when I found out who it was. Great, fun book with a classic prose style.

Started this yesterday and, after 50 pages, I really want to thank you for the recommendation.  I'm very impressed so far.  I'm almost suprised that the writing is so good- I was a bit nervous when I read that the author's background is in advertising since I'm not very fond of two other authors with a similar background (James Patterson and Ted Bell). 
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