Book Recommendations?

billt721 wrote:
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.

Awesome, thanks!

Highly recommend Apocalypse Z, which is part of Amazon's daily deal here. Good zombie read with journal like entries.

tke364 wrote:

Highly recommend Apocalypse Z, which is part of Amazon's daily deal here. Good zombie read with journal like entries.

Was just going to come post the same thing. I've heard nothing but good things from my friends - very excited to give it a go!

I got all the Game of Thrones books for christmas and I just finished the first one. All the scheming and politics reminded me a lot of Dune but it wasn't quite up to the same standard. Having so many different character perspectives makes the pacing suffer in a few spots and I don't think you need them to tell a complicated story, it feels more like a crutch. Nevertheless I did enjoy it quite a bit. I'm going to start the next one and then maybe watch the TV show.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

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.

To answer myself, the book has delved more into what happened at Oakka and the Fractal System.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

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.

To answer myself, the book has delved more into what happened at Oakka and the Fractal System.

I found the second Uplift trilogy less enjoyable than the first, because it just seems weirder. The first trilogy is among my all time favorite science fiction ever. Of all of the scenarios of what life would be like if faster than light travel was possible, the Uplift universe seems by far the most likely and fleshed out.

kyrieee wrote:

I got all the Game of Thrones books for christmas and I just finished the first one. All the scheming and politics reminded me a lot of Dune but it wasn't quite up to the same standard. Having so many different character perspectives makes the pacing suffer in a few spots and I don't think you need them to tell a complicated story, it feels more like a crutch. Nevertheless I did enjoy it quite a bit. I'm going to start the next one and then maybe watch the TV show.

This only gets worse, peaking at book 4. Some of the character storylines are so good, you get excited when you see their name in bold at the start of a chapter. Other names make you sigh with frustration.

On a personal note, I'm almost finished with both Fall of Endymion (Hyperion 4) and Before They are Hanged (First Law 2).

Squee9 wrote:
kyrieee wrote:

I got all the Game of Thrones books for christmas and I just finished the first one. All the scheming and politics reminded me a lot of Dune but it wasn't quite up to the same standard. Having so many different character perspectives makes the pacing suffer in a few spots and I don't think you need them to tell a complicated story, it feels more like a crutch. Nevertheless I did enjoy it quite a bit. I'm going to start the next one and then maybe watch the TV show.

This only gets worse, peaking at book 4. Some of the character storylines are so good, you get excited when you see their name in bold at the start of a chapter. Other names make you sigh with frustration.

On a personal note, I'm almost finished with both Fall of Endymion (Hyperion 4) and Before They are Hanged (First Law 2).

And even worse by Dance with Dragons.

Warren Ellis' Gun Machine dropped last week.

It's good, a warped, pitch-black thriller that both parodies and revels in the violence of American culture.

I just finished Prince of Thorns and its sequel, King of Thorns. I almost stopped reading after the first 20 pages in disgust - a first person narrative by what appears at first glance to be a very despicable character is not something I'm generally interested in reading. Having read many good reviews though, I decided to stick with it. By the time I finished the second book a few days later, I can say without hesitation that it is some of the best fantasy I've read in many years. It's definitely not for everyone - it's dark, brutal, and very difficult to read in places (content-wise, the writing was excellent) - but if you have the stomach for it, it's rewarding in ways that I never expected and even now am not sure how to explain. I can't wait to re-read them after I've had more time to process them and before the third book comes out this fall. Also worth noting, even though it's a dreaded unfinished series (trilogy), each book is self-contained enough that you won't be left with Martin style cliffhangers.

Sheazy wrote:

I just finished Prince of Thorns and its sequel, King of Thorns. I almost stopped reading after the first 20 pages in disgust - a first person narrative by what appears at first glance to be a very despicable character is not something I'm generally interested in reading. Having read many good reviews though, I decided to stick with it. By the time I finished the second book a few days later, I can say without hesitation that it is some of the best fantasy I've read in many years. It's definitely not for everyone - it's dark, brutal, and very difficult to read in places (content-wise, the writing was excellent) - but if you have the stomach for it, it's rewarding in ways that I never expected and even now am not sure how to explain. I can't wait to re-read them after I've had more time to process them and before the third book comes out this fall. Also worth noting, even though it's a dreaded unfinished series (trilogy), each book is self-contained enough that you won't be left with Martin style cliffhangers.

I've added them both to my audible wishlist.

I read the sample a long time ago and never got around to buying the full version.

This is an audio recommendation, but seems like it fits either here or in the Podcast thread. So I'll cross-post it.

I used to listen to Pseudopod pretty regularly, and remember being really impressed by Jim Bihyeh's work. I recently remembered that they were part of a collection called Coyote Tales. I borrowed the audiobook from my library via OverDrive and am listening on my phone. The writing, the mood, the very specific Navajo angle, all work extremely well with Cayenne Chris Conroy's reading.

I'll be looking into Bihyeh's book Navajos Wear Nikes: A Reservation Life, too. (It's listed as by "Jim Kristofic", but I believe he's using both names.)

So War and Peace is really good. I would be curious to know how much George RR Martin took from it.

I read it while running mostly, and I want to see if I will run 1000 miles before I finally finish the book. According to Kindle, I am 1/5 through the book.

KingGorilla wrote:

So War and Peace is really good. I would be curious to know how much George RR Martin took from it.

I read it while running mostly, and I want to see if I will run 1000 miles before I finally finish the book. According to Kindle, I am 1/5 through the book.

Treadmill, track, or by "read" do you mean "listen to"?

Or do you just bumrush your way down the sidewalk?

I admit to reading while walking, usually between the bus and home if I'm close to finishing a chapter.

Gravey wrote:

I admit to reading while walking, usually between the bus and home if I'm close to finishing a chapter.

You aren't the only one to do that.

Just finished When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler. Let me tell you, if you don't think you could handle repeatedly reading words like "thrust", "penetrate", and "rear area", avoid this book.

It was also co-written by two men (David Glantz and Jonathan House, if you're above snickering and actually want to know about the book), so the comedy sketch pretty much writes itself.

I've never played Warhammer but I'm currently loving the hell out of Eisenhorn. Dan Abnett should just write everything.

Seconded.

The conjunction of him and the Space Wolves in Prospero Burns was incredible for me.

This will be a tough one, but I think GWJ is a good place to ask: I'm looking for a good book about how computers work. Hey, it even feels stupid saying that.
I'm a young man and I had a PC my whole life which I guess is why I learned at very early age to take them for granted. Now I'm largely clueless about how computers came about (save for few stories about Turing/Colossus/van Neumann) and then became ubiquitous, how they are built and work. It's been nagging me more and more in recent months - I'm a mathematician, I know how to code and not understanding computers is weird. So I want both history and theory (preferably starting with Boolean logic, Shannon's papers, Turing machine and vacuum tubes, not with transistors), which is a tall order from a book so it's okay if you recommend few things to read concurrently.

edit: Tangentially, I've heard great things about Code, but that's not what I'm looking for - I want to start from hardware angle.

Try "How Computers Work" by Ron White. I've used it and it's very informative. Very visual. There's a companion book called "How Networks Work" that's a natural follow-on.

UCRC wrote:

This will be a tough one, but I think GWJ is a good place to ask: I'm looking for a good book about how computers work. Hey, it even feels stupid saying that.
I'm a young man and I had a PC my whole life which I guess is why I learned at very early age to take them for granted. Now I'm largely clueless about how computers came about (save for few stories about Turing/Colossus/van Neumann) and then became ubiquitous, how they are built and work. It's been nagging me more and more in recent months - I'm a mathematician, I know how to code and not understanding computers is weird. So I want both history and theory (preferably starting with Boolean logic, Shannon's papers, Turing machine and vacuum tubes, not with transistors), which is a tall order from a book so it's okay if you recommend few things to read concurrently.

edit: Tangentially, I've heard great things about Code, but that's not what I'm looking for - I want to start from hardware angle.

How deep into physical theory do you want to go? Basically, where do you want to sit on the axis between E&M and 'These components do things. These are the things they do?'

The Annotated Turing is pretty awesome. Not too much math and pretty good read, IIRC.

Dunno. I know my Maxwell equations just fine but try to stay away from them when possible For sure I want to know how do you do logical operations inside circuits etc. ("what do those transistors/vacuum tubes do?"), but in general i think I'm more interested in math theory and development of ideas that make it all possible (Turing machines) just sprinkled with a bit of physics.

tboon wrote:

The Annotated Turing is pretty awesome. Not too much math and pretty good read, IIRC.

Huge thanks!

UCRC wrote:

Dunno. I know my Maxwell equations just fine but try to stay away from them when possible For sure I want to know how do you do logical operations inside circuits etc. ("what do those transistors/vacuum tubes do?"), but in general i think I'm more interested in math theory and development of ideas that make it all possible (Turing machines) just sprinkled with a bit of physics.

Look at 'The Art of Electronics' by Horowitz and Hill. It's as close to the defining work on physical electronics as there is, and the math really isn't that bad. It dabbles in Boolean logic without getting excessive.

Well, I'll give it a look but I want to understand computers, not build one, so I can't guarantee I'll persist with it

UCRC wrote:

Well, I'll give it a look but I want to understand computers, not build one, so I can't guarantee I'll persist with it ;)

That's why I asked if you want to know what the components do. If you just want a hand wavy statement that all these components work and transistors/whatever are nifty, don't worry about it.

Gravey wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:

So War and Peace is really good. I would be curious to know how much George RR Martin took from it.

I read it while running mostly, and I want to see if I will run 1000 miles before I finally finish the book. According to Kindle, I am 1/5 through the book.

Treadmill, track, or by "read" do you mean "listen to"?

Or do you just bumrush your way down the sidewalk?

I admit to reading while walking, usually between the bus and home if I'm close to finishing a chapter.

Running on a treadmill or elliptical. I have considered audiobooks for the gym. But for whatever reason any music, or podcast, or comedy album I put in my ears is noise, but I can focus a bit more attention on reading a book.

Kindles and tablets make reading while running all the easier.

War and Peace is 1,500 pages which seems daunting. But it is well written, well translated, and has a lot of really engrossing stories to tell.

Miashara wrote:
UCRC wrote:

Well, I'll give it a look but I want to understand computers, not build one, so I can't guarantee I'll persist with it ;)

That's why I asked if you want to know what the components do. If you just want a hand wavy statement that all these components work and transistors/whatever are nifty, don't worry about it.

Yeah, but what I meant was that I want a demonstration, not instructions. (I'm the guy who always happily skipped exercise parts in math textbooks, even though they tell you not to.) I'll see which category book falls into.

edit: and thanks for Ron White recommendation, I'll give it a look.