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Thread: Books to buy
16-07-2011, 09:09 AM #1
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- Jun 2011
Books to buy
To go alongside the book thread of what people are reading, I thought it may be useful to have a thread with recommendations and why.
I've just bought Layer Cake in the Amazon Kindle sale for 99p, and so far it is 1000 times better than the movie (as most books are)
Anyone have any other recommendations? Especially from the Kindle sale :)
16-07-2011, 09:33 AM #2
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- Jun 2011
Catcher in the Rye. Thought it would be one of those really inaccessible literary art character profiles that tends towards the abstract but actually, it's not, mostly because the prose isn't too sophisticated and the character is a fairly grounded 16 yo kid that is somewhat easy to relate to! Thought it was rather fascinating.
16-07-2011, 10:29 AM #3
16-07-2011, 10:42 AM #4
This does definitely not belong in this subsection.
16-07-2011, 11:43 AM #5
Nope it doesn't.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Its having its 10th anniversary this year i think, anyway really surprising Modern Fantasy. The mythos of the gods and the war between the old gods and the new gods is quite a clever concept and it really is a very good one to.
17-07-2011, 09:48 AM #6
As for recommendations: -
Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' Starts off a little slow but becomes a real page turner once you sink into it. It's a pretty harrowing story, but well worth reading.
JG Ballard 'Cocaine Nights'. Ballard is an interesting writer in that he was initially classed as a Sci-fi writer, but overtime the literary establishment transmogrified their perception of him into that of one of England's great contemporary writers. TBH though I'm not so much sure it's a case that they changed their perception, as much as Ballard actually changed the direction of contemporary fiction, through novels such as 'Crash' & 'High rise' as well as short story compilations like 'Vermilion Sands' (all highly recommended BTW). Cocaine Nights is probably one of his more grounded novels, but nevertheless it taps into something hidden beneath the surface that makes for a compelling read.
Phil K. Dick 'A Scanner Darkly'. Like all Dicks work, it embraces a madness, but it is quite a moving story in many ways.
Umberto Eco 'Foucault's Pendulum' a great big slab of a book that puts the trash Dan Brown writes to shame, whilst demonstrating the inherent danger of conspiracies.
Italo Calvino 'If on a winters night a traveller' not so much a novel as a literary experience, but never the less cleverly done and one that you'll never forget.
'The Dying Earth' series by Jack Vance (there's a compilation out there). Nothing insightful, just a damn good series of stories with some great characters set in a far future (Cugel is one of the great rapscallions & Chun the Unavoidable one of the great horrors) where the sun is fading and the world has returned to an age of mysticism & magic. Gary Gygax half inched Vances magic system when he came up with D&D, but in the world of Vance there is no saving throw Vs ' The Excellent Prismatic Spray' or 'The Spell of Forlorn Encystment'.
Also it's worth noting that there are quite a lot of free classics available at the amazon kindle store.
17-07-2011, 11:44 PM #7
Now that I'm older and have read at least a partial synopsis of Foucault's Pendulum, I think he was probably ripping off some of that book. But it was a fun conversation to have had. Reading the book is still on my to do list.
18-07-2011, 03:41 AM #8
17-07-2011, 12:09 AM #9
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It's absurdly long (about 1200 pages, I think), and hard to get into, but the scale is so incredible and it's the source of so many cliches that it simply demands to be read.
Then after that, read The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. It's a much shorter book that could be (somewhat inaccurately) summarised as 'The Count of Monte Cristo in space'. It's that and so much more. One of the best sci-fi novels out there.
Also, I tend to put a mini-review/recommendation alongside what book I'm reading in the other thread, as do other people, so it's probably worth paying attention over there as well.
17-07-2011, 08:30 AM #10
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- Jun 2011
Just had a read up regarding The Stars My Destination - ordered! No Kindle version, but I like to have a few paperbacks too :)
18-07-2011, 12:10 AM #11
It's a slab of a book and it really goes all over the shop, but that whole allure of the 'magic key' that unlocks everything/makes clear the opaque is definitely part of it. I think because as a species we are heavily orientated towards pattern recognition, the idea of there being a hidden order to things possesses an almost irresistible appeal, and our imaginations can run wild at the prospect of what form that imagined order takes.
18-07-2011, 01:17 PM #12though the talk is of it being 6 seasons, which although the book is hefty seems a tad extreme.
18-07-2011, 01:32 PM #13
Red/Green/Blue Mars are all fantastic books. Just finishing Blue Mars now, have enjoyed all 3 immensly, and they're all 700+ pages if you're looking for something that will keep you going for a while.
Also, anything by Matthew Reilly if you're into detailed* adventure/thriller/actiony books. Basically a summer blockbuster movie but in book form... and actually good.
*detailed in a slightly technical sense, e.g. Weapon names, area maps/schematics, etc.
Last edited by SeanybabeS; 15-01-2012 at 08:50 PM.
18-07-2011, 03:26 PM #14
I recommend http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/
Baen has long had their free library featuring a few token books per author as taste bud-whetters. They have also attached CDs to the inside of a lot of their hardcovers that included most of the featured author's back catalog up to that point. These discs and the e-books therein are licensed for free distribution and contain many books not available from the Baen free library.
The website linked above collects the contents of all of these CDs available to date, and therefore most of the Honorverse series by David Weber, most of the Eric Flint-led Assiti Shards (including the Ring of Fire/1632) series, the entire Miles Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold, and a good number of other books and series by the former authors as well as Mercedes Lackey, John Ringo, and David Drake.
These contain a lot of military sci-fi, space opera, popcorn sci-fi and fantasy, and alternate history books. The risk to enjoyment ratio is low. Baen e-books are always available in multiple formats for your consumption.
I'm a big-time continuity fan from my Marvel & DC comic book days, so I'm enjoying reading through the continuing Honorverse series. Several people have recommended the Vorkosigan books in other threads.
19-07-2011, 11:16 AM #15
Savage Wars of Peace by Max Boot. It's about the small conflicts the USA had engaged in since its establishment, and how America's power spread through those small wars. I read it in 2003, around the time when George Bush the Great declared the Second Iraqi War. It's just a causal reading, nothing even close to be academic, but definitely worth your spare time.
BTW, ebooks have been very popular in my city for years, but people prefer to read ebooks on cell phone than any dedicated ebook reader. I dont like reading ebook on mobile as mobile phones dont have a screen large enough for comfortable reading. Plus, I dont have a decent cell phone to do everything I want (too much money spent on PC). I always a Kindle too but warranty is not available here.
19-07-2011, 12:14 PM #16
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- Jun 2011
I'd recommend Toby Frost's Space Captain Smith series. It's a highly amusing parody of many sci-fi tropes, reminds me somewhat of Harry Harrison's Bill the Galactic Hero; if Bill were a British Victorian gent.
There's some free short stories on the site (written for Christmas, but hey)
19-07-2011, 12:47 PM #17
I am becoming a fan of Augusten Burroughs, so far I have read Dry: a Memoir & Running with Scissors.
Permanent Midnight was a great read, too. Depressing & weirdly funny.
If you're interested in music/subculture literature i can recommend Rip it Up & Start Again as well as From the Graveyard of the Arousal Industry and Why be something that you're not: Detroit Hardcore 1979-1985.
The best Comic Series i've read in the last years have been DMZ, Lucifer and Transmetropolitan. I'd probably recommend all of them although Lucifer was sluggish at times and I haven't finished Transmetropolitan yet.
20-07-2011, 08:43 PM #18
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- Jun 2011
Why are all the good books unavailable on Kindle - bah...
21-07-2011, 02:47 AM #19
There are a couple John Crowley books on Kindle that I have and love (I also have physical copies, which should say something about how much I cherish them). I'd recommend Little, Big (the best contemporary fantasy book I've ever read) and Novelties and Souveniers (his short story collection).
24-07-2011, 12:48 PM #20
This is a cool thread, lots of great recommendations. I'll be putting Foucault's Pendulum and the Mars trilogy on my to-read list.
Does anyone have any recommendations for good post-internet hard science sci-fi? I generally read a lot of fantasy (big fan of GRRM, currently reading Steven Erikson) but I have read Frank Herbert, Scott Card, Asimov and Clarke but somehow their works fail to captivate me. I think perhaps it's the lack of the current day technology that bothers me.
I would really like to get into some sci-fi but I have yet to find something that hooks me like fantasy does.