Book Recommendations?

Finished The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain Banks. Really good Culture novel. After not really digging his last two SF books, this was a welcome return to form. If you like the Culture and Ship Minds nattering around, you will dig this. He still needs to figure out how to write an ending though.

Also, all you people lauding Leviathan Wakes, were not wrong. Really enjoying the heck out of it.

tboon wrote:

Finished The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain Banks. Really good Culture novel. After not really digging his last two SF books, this was a welcome return to form. If you like the Culture and Ship Minds nattering around, you will dig this. He still needs to figure out how to write an ending though.

Also, all you people lauding Leviathan Wakes, were not wrong. Really enjoying the heck out of it.

It's like we're brothers! Finished The Hydrogen Sonata, started Leviathan Wakes. Quick, what am I thinking?

Speaking of Banks, i just started Consider Phlebas. Early still but enjoying it so far.

ColdForged wrote:
tboon wrote:

Finished The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain Banks. Really good Culture novel. After not really digging his last two SF books, this was a welcome return to form. If you like the Culture and Ship Minds nattering around, you will dig this. He still needs to figure out how to write an ending though.

Also, all you people lauding Leviathan Wakes, were not wrong. Really enjoying the heck out of it.

It's like we're brothers! Finished The Hydrogen Sonata, started Leviathan Wakes. Quick, what am I thinking?

You should be ashamed! Thinking thoughts like that!

I'm a bit more than halfway through Joe Abercrombie's Red Country and he's continuing his string of improving as a writer w/ every book. Damn impressive, he is.

Glad to hear that. Looking forward to Red Country. I'm rereading Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin at the moment.

Oso wrote:

I'm a bit more than halfway through Joe Abercrombie's Red Country and he's continuing his string of improving as a writer w/ every book. Damn impressive, he is.

I have that waiting for me at home. I need to finish Dust of Dreams and I may end up reading the new Jim Butcher book first. But I am really looking forward to that.

Peacensunshine started a "what's on your wish list" thread over here. Here in this thread, I want to know what's on your book wish list specifically.

I want the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. And an enormous number of knitting books. And a big stack of Lois McMaster Bujold paperbacks, since I've only read pieces of the Vorkosigian series. And more time to read.

I just put 101 Classic Cookbooks, 501 Recipes on my wishlist after seeing a mention on Marion Nestle's blog.

I read mostly nonfiction, and here's what I've been reading lately: Cheap, about modern discount consumer culture, Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food, and Killer Stuff and Tons of Money: An Insider's Look at the World of Flea Markets, Antiques, and Collecting, which I'd recommend highly if you enjoy Pawn Stars or the Antiques Roadshow.

So many wonderful knitting books out now. I really like A Fine Fleece, but don't have enough time for all the great cable projects in it. There are so many I like out there that it's hard to single any more out. Lately I've been getting a lot of my patterns through knitting/sock clubs like Anne Hanson's or Janel Laidman's.

I recently finished this short post-apoc book (A Long Winter's Journey) and enjoyed it. I liked the protagonist and it handled the subject of mental illness with a defter hand than I expected. Worthy!

"I didn't know the end of the world had come until the following Tuesday."
Thus begins the tale of Jason Campbell, a young man institutionalized by depression for ten years in a private asylum built by the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright. When a deadly virus wipes out a large but ultimately unknown portion of the population, Jason and his fellow patients find themselves on their own with time running out.
Jason sets out to find help in nearby Uniontown accompanied by Calvin, a schizophrenic nearly out of medication, where they find the crisis to be worse than anyone could have guessed.

Puce Moose wrote:

I recently finished this short post-apoc book (A Long Winter's Journey) and enjoyed it. I liked the protagonist and it handled the subject of mental illness with a defter hand than I expected. Worthy!

"I didn't know the end of the world had come until the following Tuesday."
Thus begins the tale of Jason Campbell, a young man institutionalized by depression for ten years in a private asylum built by the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright. When a deadly virus wipes out a large but ultimately unknown portion of the population, Jason and his fellow patients find themselves on their own with time running out.
Jason sets out to find help in nearby Uniontown accompanied by Calvin, a schizophrenic nearly out of medication, where they find the crisis to be worse than anyone could have guessed.

Please tell me he talks to a voice in his head called "Hobbes".

Reading/Listening to William Gibsons "Pattern Recognition". Has me hooked. Something about his approach to the narrative that is almost entrancing. There just doesn't' seem to be a break. It flows and flows and flows.

I saw this on Scalzi's site. Locus, a trade publication/web site for SF and fantasy, is conducting a poll for the best novels (and short fiction) in each genre for the 20th and 21st (so far) centuries. Even if you don't want to participate in the poll, they have large lists of works for both categories that can also serve as recommendation ideas: 20th century and the 21st. The poll ends with November.

I am about halfway through Red Country and it is REALLY good. Abercrombie really captures the Western feel.

RooneyFan wrote:

Reading/Listening to William Gibsons "Pattern Recognition". Has me hooked. Something about his approach to the narrative that is almost entrancing. There just doesn't' seem to be a break. It flows and flows and flows.

If you like it, check out "Zero History" next. Another great read in a similar style.

Anyone reading "vN?" I picked it up on based on a review at Boing Boing (which are usually spot on) but it hasn't engaged me. Almost half way through and wondering if I should give up or blunder on. Same thing happened with "Empire City" - Boing Boing recommendation and I gave up about half-way through.

I just started, "Sun Tzu at Gettysburg" by Bevin Alexander and I'm enjoying it so far. Seems like a great pick up for anyone intrested in Sun Tzu applied to civil war history. It's also quite a reasonable length.

If you are looking to go way deep in to a military strategy hole, I reccomend, "Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army", a fantastic book I recently finished. There's plenty of intense statistics and theory for people that like that kind of thing, and the author presents great evidence to support the argument that Alexander the Great won most of his battles before they even began.

I reccomend this only for people who are in to this kind of thing, Donald Engels really plunges in to the topic.

Thanks for the recommendation!

/adds Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army to his Amazon cart

Did someone here recommend Ben Bova's Privateers? I read it and was kinda of annoyed that the entire plot of the book was summarized on the back cover. Also I found the main character to be an annoying douchebag, and I can't tell if the author intended him that way or wanted him to be a capitalist champion Mary Sue. Anyway. The title is also misleading! He never had the backing of a government and his life of piracy lasted a whole chapter.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Did someone here recommend Ben Bova's Privateers? I read it and was kinda of annoyed that the entire plot of the book was summarized on the back cover. Also I found the main character to be an annoying douchebag, and I can't tell if the author intended him that way or wanted him to be a capitalist champion Mary Sue. Anyway. The title is also misleading! He never had the backing of a government and his life of piracy lasted a whole chapter. :lol:

Ben Bova, in my experience, is a much better editor than an author.

Trashie wrote:
RooneyFan wrote:

Reading/Listening to William Gibsons "Pattern Recognition". Has me hooked. Something about his approach to the narrative that is almost entrancing. There just doesn't' seem to be a break. It flows and flows and flows.

If you like it, check out "Zero History" next. Another great read in a similar style.

Don't forget about Spook Country. Gibson has written 3 novels in the Bigend series and Spook Country falls between Pattern Recognition and Zero History. While there is some overlap, there really isn't a penalty to reading them out of order or missing one, other than some inside jokes when main characters from one make cameos in the others.

Ben Bova's been big into Big Capitalism Saves The World for his entire career. It's no surprise.

It was over the top and I consider myself a capitalist.

tboon wrote:

Thanks for the recommendation!

/adds Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army to his Amazon cart

Moving Mountains by General Pagonis is a good one in that military logistics section as well. It's more of a personal memoir, with some old general waxing and waning, but it has some good moments in there. Pagonis was the guy that moved the US in to Saudi Arabia/Iraq and back for Desert Storm back.

Does that one talk about the guy who invented the chalk mark routing system, Squee?

Robear wrote:

Does that one talk about the guy who invented the chalk mark routing system, Squee?

I don't think so, although he goes on and on about communicating via 3x5 cards. There were a few useful tips though. My favorite was: if meetings are going on too long start holding them around tables with no chairs. People will get through it more quickly, and anyone who starts going off topic will be clued in by a crowd of awkward fidgeting.

Tanglebones wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

Did someone here recommend Ben Bova's Privateers? I read it and was kinda of annoyed that the entire plot of the book was summarized on the back cover. Also I found the main character to be an annoying douchebag, and I can't tell if the author intended him that way or wanted him to be a capitalist champion Mary Sue. Anyway. The title is also misleading! He never had the backing of a government and his life of piracy lasted a whole chapter. :lol:

Ben Bova, in my experience, is a much better editor than an author.

I got halfway through a Ben Bova book and put it down. I'll almost always finish out a book, but this just... wasn't good. I believe it was Jupiter.

I quite liked one of Bova's short stories about an alien infection. Maybe it's in the short story that his talent lies.

Finished Cold Days.

Butcher still has it. I tried to write more about this in my Goodreads review, but I failed to capture the essence of what I was trying to say. Butcher writes pulp that shouldn't be as good as it is. Consider this as a description of a book: "Smart-ass urban wizard with vampire half-brother hangs out with crazy-hot fairy queen." That's the back-cover blurb of over a million sh*tty genre fantasy novels.

Butcher makes it work. He's got great technique. He builds his silly excesses on top of an extremely disciplined foundation. A lot of writers try to use pop-culture references, smart-ass protagonists, magic, sex, or violence to cover up their storytelling shortcomings. They use hyperbole as their hook. Butcher uses these tools as decoration on top of an extremely disciplined and well-crafted plot structure. For example, if another writer tied to set a magical apocalyptic battle to the soundtrack of Queen's "We Will Rock You." I'd yawn and roll my eyes. ::Another hyperbolic author uses hyperbole:: Somehow Butcher gets me to hear the hum building off of Brian May's pickups right before the sweeping power-chord kicks off the guitar solo.

I'm going through the Dresden Files collection 7-12 right now and I can definitely tell a marked improvement in his writing from the 1-6 collection. You're not the only one I've read recommending Cold Days, so I'm happy to see that Butcher continues to improve. (I wouldn't really recommend 1-6 to friends. I wouldn't tell anyone to avoid it, but it's also not something I'd push on people.)

Scaphism wrote:

I'm going through the Dresden Files collection 7-12 right now and I can definitely tell a marked improvement in his writing from the 1-6 collection. You're not the only one I've read recommending Cold Days, so I'm happy to see that Butcher continues to improve. (I wouldn't really recommend 1-6 to friends. I wouldn't tell anyone to avoid it, but it's also not something I'd push on people.)

Really? Hmmm. I got through 6 and didn't care for them all that much. The formula for each seemed the same - 20% of the book: catch up/synopsis of the past, 60% of the book: things get worse and worse for Harry and NPC du jour, and when it doesn't seem possible to get worse, it does, the next 10% of the book: Harry decides to be a badass, final 10%: aftermath. Kind of got tired of it, frankly.

I did see progression in the writing, it just seemed that by book 6, even the though style had gotten better, the formula was still there. Do things get better from this perspective?