Book Recommendations?

We do have a Dresden thread, when you get caught up guys. Although we use spoiler tags pretty well too.

If you liked* any of Cherie Priest's previous steampunk novels, her latest, The Inexplicables, is probably her best yet. It follows a young drug addict/dealer who enters Seattle looking to find work with the notorious drug lord who rules Seattle, only to find that the blighted city is facing a problem larger than the mindless zombies who roam the streets.

Namely, the lack of mindless zombies roaming the streets. The "rotters" have started mysteriously disappearing, and no one knows how or where they are disappearing to, or what it will mean for the future of Seattle

*[size=8]if you didn't, you hate fun[/size]

tboon wrote:
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?

Err, I think that's the attraction. Actually, doesn't this describe like 99% of genre fiction regardless of quality?

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.)

It does shift in perspective around book 11 or thereabouts. The first few books are very much a noir style with some magic thrown in but as Dresden levels up in the books it's becoming more and more high fantasy. Not necessarily a bad thing (though my brother would disagree) but it certainly is happening.

And tboon, the formula is still around. If you didn't like the first six books I'd say the series just isn't for you and you should move on. There's no reason everyone has to like every geeky thing out there and you gave it more than a good shot.

bnpederson wrote:

And tboon, the formula is still around. If you didn't like the first six books I'd say the series just isn't for you and you should move on. There's no reason everyone has to like every geeky thing out there and you gave it more than a good shot.

Fair enough, thanks for the heads up.

kazooka wrote:

Err, I think that's the attraction. Actually, doesn't this describe like 99% of genre fiction regardless of quality?

Not sure I agree, but my issue is that the formula seldom varies from book to book in the series (as far as I got in it). I don't hate them by any means, they just don't seem like they are for me.

I noticed that Overdrive has added Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie in audiobook form to their collection. Is that something that relies on his older books, or is it OK to read on it's own to see if I like him before I go back to read the First Law trilogy for?

MannishBoy wrote:

I noticed that Overdrive has added Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie in audiobook form to their collection. Is that something that relies on his older books, or is it OK to read on it's own to see if I like him before I go back to read the First Law trilogy for?

It's a standalone story.

Gravey wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

I noticed that Overdrive has added Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie in audiobook form to their collection. Is that something that relies on his older books, or is it OK to read on it's own to see if I like him before I go back to read the First Law trilogy for?

It's a standalone story.

Sounds good. I'd just seen that it was in the same world so wanted to ask. I'll queue it up.

The Passage and The Twelve are both great. Highly recommended. Fair warning though, it's a trilogy and book 3 isn't coming until 2014.

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.
Oso wrote:
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.

I just saw the plot summary for Spook Country and I am intrigued. But let me say that at one point during my read of "Pattern Recognition" that I had a nagging suspicion that there was a greater narrative arc hiding in the shadows. Without giving any spoilers can you indicate whether there is a payoff for the entire trilogy?

tboon wrote:
bnpederson wrote:

And tboon, the formula is still around. If you didn't like the first six books I'd say the series just isn't for you and you should move on. There's no reason everyone has to like every geeky thing out there and you gave it more than a good shot.

Fair enough, thanks for the heads up.

kazooka wrote:

Err, I think that's the attraction. Actually, doesn't this describe like 99% of genre fiction regardless of quality?

Not sure I agree, but my issue is that the formula seldom varies from book to book in the series (as far as I got in it). I don't hate them by any means, they just don't seem like they are for me.

Yeah the formula is still pretty much the same. I thought that Butcher wasn't good at creating or describing the world and establishing the rules for Dresden. On the other hand, the plotting, internal monologue, and action are all really good. I actually thought the world building was markedly better in Codex Alera, and he's definitely improved as a writer. But if you weren't still interested after 6 books, then bnpederson has it right and it probably isn't for you.

FYI: Joe Abercrombie is doing an AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit right now.

http://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comm...

RooneyFan wrote:
Oso wrote:
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.

I just saw the plot summary for Spook Country and I am intrigued. But let me say that at one point during my read of "Pattern Recognition" that I had a nagging suspicion that there was a greater narrative arc hiding in the shadows. Without giving any spoilers can you indicate whether there is a payoff for the entire trilogy?

There is payoff, but the books are very loosely connected. Gibson himself mentioned that he didn't originally intend to include Bigend in Spook Country, but Node Magazine was just too "Bigendish" not to. I guess I'd say they are all worth reading on their own and there are subtle but real thematic and character threads that tie them all together. In the end though, they are more like discrete novels than a series.

MannishBoy wrote:
Gravey wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

I noticed that Overdrive has added Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie in audiobook form to their collection. Is that something that relies on his older books, or is it OK to read on it's own to see if I like him before I go back to read the First Law trilogy for?

It's a standalone story.

Sounds good. I'd just seen that it was in the same world so wanted to ask. I'll queue it up.

I would read the First Law series before reading anything else though, there are a bunch of call backs as you go along.

NathanialG wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:
Gravey wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

I noticed that Overdrive has added Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie in audiobook form to their collection. Is that something that relies on his older books, or is it OK to read on it's own to see if I like him before I go back to read the First Law trilogy for?

It's a standalone story.

Sounds good. I'd just seen that it was in the same world so wanted to ask. I'll queue it up.

I would read the First Law series before reading anything else though, there are a bunch of call backs as you go along.

But I don't have free access to the audiobooks of those...

MannishBoy wrote:
Gravey wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

I noticed that Overdrive has added Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie in audiobook form to their collection. Is that something that relies on his older books, or is it OK to read on it's own to see if I like him before I go back to read the First Law trilogy for?

It's a standalone story.

Sounds good. I'd just seen that it was in the same world so wanted to ask. I'll queue it up.

FWIW, Best Served Cold is the only one of his books I didn't care for. YMMV, of course, but I wouldn't give up on him if you don't like it.

MannishBoy wrote:
Gravey wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

I noticed that Overdrive has added Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie in audiobook form to their collection. Is that something that relies on his older books, or is it OK to read on it's own to see if I like him before I go back to read the First Law trilogy for?

It's a standalone story.

Sounds good. I'd just seen that it was in the same world so wanted to ask. I'll queue it up.

FWIW, Best Served Cold is the only one of his books I didn't care for. YMMV, of course, but I wouldn't give up on him if you don't like it.

Just finished The Information. Great book, though the chapter on quantum computing was sort of spotty.

wordsmythe wrote:

Just finished The Information. Great book, though the chapter on quantum computing was sort of spotty.

I liked it as well. I'm queuing up this one as a follow-up.

Oso wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Just finished The Information. Great book, though the chapter on quantum computing was sort of spotty.

I liked it as well. I'm queuing up this one as a follow-up.

Next on my list is probably Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Ol' Kirk Battle keeps pushing this stuff at me, and I eat it up.

I've been wondering whether I should start considering Joe Abercrombie as one of these people who transcends genre writing. I'm not sure if I've made up my mind, but Red Country is definitely a strong case. A couple of snippets I highlighted:

"Comes to be everything reminds you of something past. Somewhere past. Someone. Yourself, maybe, how you were. The now gets faiter and the past more and more real. The future worn down to but a nub."

"You stick a bunch of drunken murderers together, ain't long before some turn to thieving, and then to lying, and then to bad language, and pretty soon to sobriety, raising families and making an honest living."

In some ways he reminds me of all the early twentieth century American dudes we all read in high school: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck and all that. But I'm not an English major, so I'm out of my depth when I make these comparisons.

Oso's going to read "The Logician and the Engineer" next, for those who don't want to follow the link just to get a title. :-/

Robear wrote:

Oso's going to read "The Logician and the Engineer" next, for those who don't want to follow the link just to get a title. :-/

Erp, sorry. In my head it was just "That book about Boole and Shannon."

I understand. It's been a rough week for me. Didn't mean to annoy.

The New York Times Notable Books of 2012 list came out last week. How many have you read? (I know that GWJ seems to skew toward genre fiction and thrillers, which are likely to be mostly absent from the list.)

I've read half of one of the books on the list (Alif the Unseen. Review to follow when I've finished it. But I'm enjoying it so far). And have not heard of many of the authors. Not sure if that makes me illiterate, or just uninterested in the type of book that makes it on to that sort of list.

Haven't read any, but Sweet Tooth is on the list. That's gotten great reviews.

Double post for truthiness!

Katy wrote:

The New York Times Notable Books of 2012 list came out last week. How many have you read?

I have read two and abandoned one. I really liked Salvage the Bones. I believe it won the 2011 National Book Award. The book follows a poor family in southern Louisiana just before Hurricane Katrina hits.

I also read Shine Shine Shine . This one didn't grab me as much as it was just so weird. It was shelved in the science fiction section but it seemed like more of a really quirky love story that happened to involve an astronaut.

All of the glowing reviews from many sources couldn't get me to finish (or even get halfway through) Carry the One . At the beginning of the book, there is a wedding and a car accident where a young girl is killed. Supposedly, the people involved in the accident always "carry" the girl with them but I found most of the characters to be self-centered jerks.

Not a one but, The Black Count by Tom Reiss sounds very interesting.

There was an NPR review of that that was very favorable.