Book Recommendations?

superjars wrote:

I've been tackling Mistborn: Final Empire at a friends behest and am really liking what Brandon Sandersen has to offer. I especially love his take on a magic system. I'm a sucker for a unique magic system and his Allomancy is just that. I can't wait to find out about the 9th, 10th and 11th metals...

Everyone who enjoys fantasy should give this a read at some point, if you haven't already (it is entirely possible that I am just behind).

I have read everything of his except for his Wheel of Time books and they have all been good.

LeapingGnome wrote:
superjars wrote:

I've been tackling Mistborn: Final Empire at a friends behest and am really liking what Brandon Sandersen has to offer. I especially love his take on a magic system. I'm a sucker for a unique magic system and his Allomancy is just that. I can't wait to find out about the 9th, 10th and 11th metals...

Everyone who enjoys fantasy should give this a read at some point, if you haven't already (it is entirely possible that I am just behind).

I have read everything of his except for his Wheel of Time books and they have all been good.

I haven't read everything he has written (and I think it may be impossible to do because of just how much he writes) but I have enjoyed everything I have read. The Mistborn trilogy is fantastic though.

Just need to say thanks to the folks who mentioned Leviathan Wakes. I haven't read a novel for a couple months, which is crazy for me, but now I'm loving this one.

I've been enjoying Infection: Alaskan Undead Apocalypse, and its sequel, Containment. Ignore the goofy cover art and rather eye rolling titles of the books. I've enjoyed the fact that there's a lot more character study than zombie-smashing, and the fact that our protagonist often freezes up and requires saving is a refreshing change of pace. There's no "mowing down" of zombies here, and there's a lot of flashing back to trauma, nightmares, etc. There's no "bad-asses" here, just a messed-up group of survivors with a few stand-out moments and lot of believable characters. I also like the fact that the author isn't afraid to let the characters have some genuine moments of happiness here and there.

Rykin wrote:

and I think it may be impossible to do because of just how much he writes

Then you're not reading enough. He's written about 20 books, right? As a reference point, the average American reads four books a year. Many of us read ten times that or more. Go for it! You could be done his output in six months if you do one a week or so.

It was mostly a joke. Still I see him popping up in my Track New Books emails like once a month because he has a new short or has contributed to anthology or something. I think I have actually read everything of his that I have any interest in reading. I have no interest in his YA series or The Wheel of Time stuff or his video game adaptation of Infinity Blade.

Ah, okay, sorry. I'm always trying to get people to read more.

Finished Killing Floor, my first--and last--Jack Reacher book. Little too macho for me.

Puce Moose wrote:

I've been enjoying Infection: Alaskan Undead Apocalypse, and its sequel, Containment. Ignore the goofy cover art and rather eye rolling titles of the books. I've enjoyed the fact that there's a lot more character study than zombie-smashing, and the fact that our protagonist often freezes up and requires saving is a refreshing change of pace. There's no "mowing down" of zombies here, and there's a lot of flashing back to trauma, nightmares, etc. There's no "bad-asses" here, just a messed-up group of survivors with a few stand-out moments and lot of believable characters. I also like the fact that the author isn't afraid to let the characters have some genuine moments of happiness here and there.

Thanks for the heads up. It was for sale really cheap on sony store.

Forgive me if I've already mentioned this, but Manel Louriero's Apocalypse Z: The beginning of the end was a good read. I'm very dubious of most zombie fiction, although I really loved Max Brook's oral history. This is like that, one person's journal and first person account of the zed apocalypse. It worked for me and I can't wait for the rest of them to be translated into English.

gravity wrote:

Oso, how deep do you want to go on the Bayesian stuff? I can give some recommendations for books for introduction to practical Bayesian inference if you want something a bit more meaty than Silver's book (which I'm about halfway through right now).

I'd like to hear them. I was considering reading Silver, but as math student I'm a bit tired of good books on mathematical subjects that stay away from more in-depth desciptions. (BTW I've read lengthy review of recent book, Theorem that wouldn't die, or something similarly named and it seemed like a good overview of the history of the theorem, but again, didn't want to dive into something written for non-technical readers only.)

Speaking of math-related books that tread that middle ground well, Singh's Code Book (1999) that I'm reading half as historical companion to my crypto course, half as a follow-up to Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, is a great and clever read, at least up till public key chapter I'm starting right now.

Oso wrote:

Forgive me if I've already mentioned this, but Manel Louriero's Apocalypse Z: The beginning of the end was a good read. I'm very dubious of most zombie fiction, although I really loved Max Brook's oral history. This is like that, one person's journal and first person account of the zed apocalypse. It worked for me and I can't wait for the rest of them to be translated into English.

I read that also recently and enjoyed it.

Bonnonon wrote:
Puce Moose wrote:

I've been enjoying Infection: Alaskan Undead Apocalypse, and its sequel, Containment. Ignore the goofy cover art and rather eye rolling titles of the books. I've enjoyed the fact that there's a lot more character study than zombie-smashing, and the fact that our protagonist often freezes up and requires saving is a refreshing change of pace. There's no "mowing down" of zombies here, and there's a lot of flashing back to trauma, nightmares, etc. There's no "bad-asses" here, just a messed-up group of survivors with a few stand-out moments and lot of believable characters. I also like the fact that the author isn't afraid to let the characters have some genuine moments of happiness here and there.

Thanks for the heads up. It was for sale really cheap on sony store.

Yeah it is 3.99 on the Amazon kindle store. Great price. I definitely have to shy away from recommendations where the Kindle price is higher then the paperback price.

Robear wrote:

Ah, okay, sorry. I'm always trying to get people to read more. :-)

On that note, what are anyone's new year reading resolutions? A book a month? A book a week? Branch out to a new genre? Listen to more book podcasts? (Library Police is really good, even if you don't generally read horror books, which are a favorite genre of the hosts. And this guy named trichy is one of the co-hosts.)

I want to remember to track my books on Goodreads this year, and am setting a modest goal of two books a month. I want to catch up on my read-through of Laurie R. King's Sherlock Holmes series (Pirate King and Garment of Shadows), a few more Vorkosigian books, and a few more Discworld books. I've also been thinking about reading a few more of the Booker prize nominees after enjoying Cloud Atlas earlier this year.

UCRC wrote:
gravity wrote:

Oso, how deep do you want to go on the Bayesian stuff? I can give some recommendations for books for introduction to practical Bayesian inference if you want something a bit more meaty than Silver's book (which I'm about halfway through right now).

I'd like to hear them. I was considering reading Silver, but as math student I'm a bit tired of good books on mathematical subjects that stay away from more in-depth desciptions. (BTW I've read lengthy review of recent book, Theorem that wouldn't die, or something similarly named and it seemed like a good overview of the history of the theorem, but again, didn't want to dive into something written for non-technical readers only.)

Ok, I'm assuming you want something more practical then? I'm not a strong enough mathematician to be looking at books focused on proofs, so my recommendations fall on the practice side. There's not much out there that's middle ground and not practice-based on Bayesian stuff yet. Maybe "The Monty Hall Problem," which I haven't read yet.

The best intro book I've found which is less mathematical is "Doing Bayesian Data Analysis: A Tutorial with R and BUGS" by Kruschke. It came out a little late for me, but I've looked through it and it's the book I wish I had when I was starting to learn Bayesian stats. I personally got a lot out of "Bayesian Ideas and Data Analysis: An Introduction for Scientists and Statisticians" by Christensen et al. It's got a fair amount of math, but few proofs. That one might be right up your alley.

The most comprehensive book that might appeal to you as a math student is Gelman, Carlin, and Stern's "Bayesian Data Analysis," which is pretty much the go-to book in the field. It covers a wide range of applications. A last good one that I can recommend very highly is Gelman and Hill's "Data Analysis Using Regression and Multilevel/Hierarchical Models." It's focused on building up an understanding of linear regression, but once you get to multilevel models (which is the second half of the book) you're in Bayesian land.

gravity wrote:
UCRC wrote:
gravity wrote:

Oso, how deep do you want to go on the Bayesian stuff? I can give some recommendations for books for introduction to practical Bayesian inference if you want something a bit more meaty than Silver's book (which I'm about halfway through right now).

I'd like to hear them. I was considering reading Silver, but as math student I'm a bit tired of good books on mathematical subjects that stay away from more in-depth desciptions. (BTW I've read lengthy review of recent book, Theorem that wouldn't die, or something similarly named and it seemed like a good overview of the history of the theorem, but again, didn't want to dive into something written for non-technical readers only.)

Ok, I'm assuming you want something more practical then? I'm not a strong enough mathematician to be looking at books focused on proofs, so my recommendations fall on the practice side. There's not much out there that's middle ground and not practice-based on Bayesian stuff yet. Maybe "The Monty Hall Problem," which I haven't read yet.

The best intro book I've found which is less mathematical is "Doing Bayesian Data Analysis: A Tutorial with R and BUGS" by Kruschke. It came out a little late for me, but I've looked through it and it's the book I wish I had when I was starting to learn Bayesian stats. I personally got a lot out of "Bayesian Ideas and Data Analysis: An Introduction for Scientists and Statisticians" by Christensen et al. It's got a fair amount of math, but few proofs. That one might be right up your alley.

The most comprehensive book that might appeal to you as a math student is Gelman, Carlin, and Stern's "Bayesian Data Analysis," which is pretty much the go-to book in the field. It covers a wide range of applications. A last good one that I can recommend very highly is Gelman and Hill's "Data Analysis Using Regression and Multilevel/Hierarchical Models." It's focused on building up an understanding of linear regression, but once you get to multilevel models (which is the second half of the book) you're in Bayesian land.

Thanks Gravity, I'll put these on the list. Honestly, I doubt I'll have time to devote to them before summer, but I really appreciate the recommendation. I'll likely buy them for our library's collection, so thanks again.

Katy wrote:
Robear wrote:

Ah, okay, sorry. I'm always trying to get people to read more. :-)

On that note, what are anyone's new year reading resolutions? A book a month? A book a week? Branch out to a new genre? Listen to more book podcasts? (Library Police is really good, even if you don't generally read horror books, which are a favorite genre of the hosts. And this guy named trichy is one of the co-hosts.)

I want to remember to track my books on Goodreads this year, and am setting a modest goal of two books a month. I want to catch up on my read-through of Laurie R. King's Sherlock Holmes series (Pirate King and Garment of Shadows), a few more Vorkosigian books, and a few more Discworld books. I've also been thinking about reading a few more of the Booker prize nominees after enjoying Cloud Atlas earlier this year.

I am going to re-read more stuff from my personal library, which means I should be able to get through more books this year.

I'm also going to get all my books onto Goodreads. And finish categorizing/alphabetizing them. Of course this has been my goal for the past couple of years...

Robear wrote:

Ah, okay, sorry. I'm always trying to get people to read more. :-)

I need to read more but you know time and stuff

Looks like not counting graphic novels and short stories I read 11 books this year. That is down from 30 in 2011 Of course early 2011 is when I got my Kindle and I went a little crazy when I first got it. My gaming time has been up this year compared to last year though. Guess it all balances out.

I finished Leviathan Wakes, which was fantastic. In case any of its fans don't know, there are two pieces of short fiction in the same setting, as well as the sequel novel. I read The Butcher of Anderson Station today, and it was very short, but good.

Just bought the full sequel, Caliban's War. The third novel comes out summer 2013.

Malor wrote:

A couple months back, Ars Technica posted DRM be damned: How to protect your Amazon e-books from being deleted, which covers how to use Calibre to remove Amazon's DRM. This has worked very well for me, and it makes me much more willing to buy Amazon's e-books... previously, I mostly only did it when I was bored enough that I would find some other way to waste the money.

Amazon has several formats now, one of which is AZW3. Calibre's handling of these files is a bit buggy; it doesn't seem to have a reader for that format. If you double-click one, it treats it like a brand-new import, even though it's already in your library, so you can end up with 10 copies of the same book if you keep just double-clicking it and saying Yes on the popup, instead of No or Cancel.

The workaround I found was to convert it first to MOBI, and then read it from there. I'm not sure if that fixes double-clicking, but it certainly allows you to choose to read the MOBI version off the popup menu. So far, the conversion from AZW3 to MOBI has seemed flawless. This conversion is necessary anyway, because my Kindle DX won't handle AZW3 format. If I had Amazon send it over the wireless, they would convert it for me, but I download it to the computer, strip the DRM, and convert it myself.

I think Calibre makes my Kindle much more useful, and I try to donate once a year or so.

FYI: There is an updated (beta) version of the K4mobidedrm plugin available on Apprentice Alf's blog. 4.16 is linked now. I'm running 4.08 and it solved my AZW3 problems. They predict the fix will be rolled into a full update of the Calibre plugins this month some time.

Apprentice Alf's blog

Updated kindle plugin

Speaking of short stories set in the same world as novels I've loved, I just discovered today (while checking the progress on the new novel) that Steven Brust published a short story set in the same world as the Vlad books way back in 2011! I can't believe I missed it; it's called The Desecrator.

Take this also as a strong recommendation for the entire series.

There are also a bunch of free or cheap short stories by John Scalzi, many of which are set in his existing universes, including that of Old Man's War. I've enjoyed everything I've read by him - except The Sagan Diary, which I and some Amazon reviewers found completely unreadable.

Oso wrote:

Thanks Gravity, I'll put these on the list. Honestly, I doubt I'll have time to devote to them before summer, but I really appreciate the recommendation.

Same here. I'll be doing plenty of statistics courses this year (but I'm assuming it will be all frequentist approach), so it might come handy at some point.

I know it's been recommended here before, but just read Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, and now most of the way through Red Seas Under Red Skies.

Fantastic books!

Fun adventures, and just the right amount of humour running through Lamora's escapades. Reminds me a little of Jack Vance, Pratchett (with Lamora & co on the other side of the watch stories), Fritz Leiber but not just recreating any of those.

Yeah, I love the Locke Lamora books. I wish Lynch would write more, but I certainly understand why he doesn't. Crippling depression/anxiety makes it hard to work.

lostlobster wrote:

Yeah, I love the Locke Lamora books. I wish Lynch would write more, but I certainly understand why he doesn't. Crippling depression/anxiety makes it hard to work.

Sounds like he's making really good strides in dealing with them, from what he's written on LJ/twitter.

I'm reading Brin's 2nd Uplift trilogy. What I find odd is that the chapters about the Streaker crew reference events that occurred after Startide Rising at least as often as they reference Kithrup itself. I feel like I missed two books or at least 2 short stories about the visit to Oakka and the Fractal plane.

Update: started The Logician and the Engineer audiobook. Audio format worked well for the biographies of Boole and Shannon, but now that he's doing logic/algebra it is harder to maintain the thread while driving to work. REALLY like the book though. It's a perfect compromise between pleasure reading and a good introductory textbook.

Also started Simon Pegg's Nerd Do Well. Was sitting in the lobby of the Dr.'s office and wanted something lighter to read. Just finished the introduction to the US edition and it was stellar.

Has anyone read the Zahn Han Solo joint Scoundrels yet? I am so tempted. The occasional Star Wars novel, even a bad one, is comfort food to me.

Slumberland wrote:

Has anyone read the Zahn Han Solo joint Scoundrels yet? I am so tempted. The occasional Star Wars novel, even a bad one, is comfort food to me.

I'm ~1/2 way through right now. So far it's a fun caper story - much different than anything else he's done in this universe, but still enjoyable for all the reasons his SW books usually are. Anyway, if you like Zahn's other Star Wars books, you'll like this one.

Glad to hear you're enjoying the Lamora books, MikeSands! The release of Republic of Thieves gives me something to look forward to in perpetuity. Actually, I'm playing Dishonored now, and the city of Dunwall has a very Lamora-ish feel to it.

I read Ian Bogost's How to Do Things With Videogames a little while ago, and it was pretty interesting for a quick survey of examples of what video games (two words!) can do. It's "just" a collection of short essays, so it doesn't get anywhere as in-depth as Persuasive Games, but it's obviously broader in scope. A quick read and worth it, especially if you haven't read the earlier book. Full of great Bogostian metaphors (though he seems to have cooled on his use of the word "fungible").