Book Recommendations?

I finished The Rook the other night. It's a very strange, but very enjoyable book. It reads a bit like a fan fiction of a universe with which I'm not familiar. That's not to knock the quality of the writing, which is very good, there's just the sense that it's tapping into something larger and more established, with its own momentum and motivation. There's also a major shift in tone about halfway through the book, where it goes from being a dark, somewhat dystopian novel to transforming into something of a farce. You stop thinking of it as potentially a movie starring Michelle Dockery and more of it as potentially a movie directed by Simon Pegg. This is jarring for a minute, but it does both of them very well. O'Malley has a very droll sense of humor, and while I think he might want to reel it in a bit in future books, certain parts had me in stitches.

All this on top of the basic premise of the book, which is about something akin to a cross between the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the X-men.

It's a very conventional book, but in some ways it's also one of the stranger books I've read.

Gumbie wrote:

I need a good sci-fi or post apocalyptic book. Suggestions?

Spin, Robert Charles Wilson

I liked Dies the Fire. The next one wasn't so great. Have yet to read the third. I got a little tired of the "Yay Wicca!" stuff all the time. I prefered the Bearkiller chapters.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Gumbie wrote:

I need a good sci-fi or post apocalyptic book. Suggestions?

Spin, Robert Charles Wilson

I second that.

mortalgroove wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
Gumbie wrote:

I need a good sci-fi or post apocalyptic book. Suggestions?

Spin, Robert Charles Wilson

I second that.

I'll third.

Has anyone here read Roadside Picnic? Thoughts?

MacBrave wrote:
mortalgroove wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
Gumbie wrote:

I need a good sci-fi or post apocalyptic book. Suggestions?

Spin, Robert Charles Wilson

I second that.

I'll third.

Fourthed!

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Has anyone here read Roadside Picnic? Thoughts?

Yup. It's a great read. The story told in Stalker is in there, but there's more on the scientific, institutional side of it—the strangeness of the artifacts of the alien visit is rendered almost mundane. There's still a strong undercurrent of the unfathomable to it, but my impression of it now is that it's less of the creepy, cosmicistic unknowableness, and more of a "Well sh*t, we just don't know what any of this is." If an encounter with the unknown is horrifying in Lovecraft, and hopeful in Contact, it's just humbling in Roadside Picnic.

Now I'll have to re-read it to see if I'm off the mark in my remembering.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Has anyone here read Roadside Picnic? Thoughts?

I really enjoyed reading it!

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Has anyone here read Roadside Picnic? Thoughts?

The best first contact novel there is, in my humble opinion.

Back in the Communist times when the sci-fi was scarce here The Roadside Picnic was the best sci-fi I laid my eyes on. That and Stanislaw Lem's Return from the Stars. And it kept its place even for a long time after the iron curtain fell.

I am currently reading The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks. Sooooo good. All i want to do is restart a Skyrim game as a Thief and go straight to the Dark Brotherhood quest.

RooneyFan wrote:

I am currently reading The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks. Sooooo good. All i want to do is restart a Skyrim game as a Thief and go straight to the Dark Brotherhood quest.

I loved that series. Shadow's Edge got a bit raw, but the whole series is still a fun read.

Grenn wrote:
RooneyFan wrote:

I am currently reading The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks. Sooooo good. All i want to do is restart a Skyrim game as a Thief and go straight to the Dark Brotherhood quest.

I loved that series. Shadow's Edge got a bit raw, but the whole series is still a fun read.

I liked them. My elder son insisted I read them. He manages to take a story with all that magic and whatnot, but still keep it essentially about the people themselves. I like that. I hope he writes more in that world.

RooneyFan wrote:

I am currently reading The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks. Sooooo good. All i want to do is restart a Skyrim game as a Thief and go straight to the Dark Brotherhood quest.

Books have the same affect on me. Some themes make me want to play certain games. Reading a book on civilizations makes me want to play CIV IV, reading Game of Thrones made me want to play Skyrim and so on.

Break break

I just finished All the Devils are Here by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera. This is a broad overview of the housing crises in the United States. I've read three or four books on this subject and this was another excellent addition. I has a 10,000 feet POV instead of the more direct POV used in the others.

A few lessons:

1. Sometimes too little legislation/oversight is just as bad as too much.

2. The entire housing crises came about because people were trying to make money all while using "we want to make it easier for people to live the American dream" as a front. When it was all said and done, the level of home ownership pre-runup compared to post crash did not improve.

3. In my opinion, stay away from money managers, their number one motivation is to make money, in many cases, no matter the cost. One of the major Wall Street firms played ALL sides, making money by screwing everyone they dealt with and using insider information. This is why I LOVE index funds, but that's another book and subject.

4. The power of both fear and greed is amazing. This was a case of greed and man, the power of "we have to make a buck, no matter what" is something else. It lead to many irrational decisions and many VERY smart people saying REALLY stupid things like "The housing market will never go down" and "the possibility of this product losing money is almost zero". Very smart people convinced themselves that their models were reality and that someone those models could force reality to follow them, a total disconnect between the real market and excel spread sheets.

I highly recommend this book, if you have any interest in the subject, or economics, you should love this.

Tim

Penpal by Dathan Auerbach

In Penpal, a man investigates the seemingly unrelated bizarre, tragic, and horrific occurrences of his childhood in an attempt to finally understand them. Beginning with only fragments of his earliest years, you'll follow the narrator as he discovers that these strange and horrible events are actually part of a single terrifying story that has shaped the entirety of his life and the lives of those around him.

infromsea wrote:

A few lessons:

1. Sometimes too little legislation/oversight is just as bad as too much.

2. The entire housing crises came about because people were trying to make money all while using "we want to make it easier for people to live the American dream" as a front. When it was all said and done, the level of home ownership pre-runup compared to post crash did not improve.

3. In my opinion, stay away from money managers, their number one motivation is to make money, in many cases, no matter the cost. One of the major Wall Street firms played ALL sides, making money by screwing everyone they dealt with and using insider information. This is why I LOVE index funds, but that's another book and subject.

4. The power of both fear and greed is amazing. This was a case of greed and man, the power of "we have to make a buck, no matter what" is something else. It lead to many irrational decisions and many VERY smart people saying REALLY stupid things like "The housing market will never go down" and "the possibility of this product losing money is almost zero". Very smart people convinced themselves that their models were reality and that someone those models could force reality to follow them, a total disconnect between the real market and excel spread sheets.

None of those points are very insightful—they're all obviously correct, and self-evident if you think about the housing crash at all. Is it a particularly American thing then, the realization that "too little legislation" and "making money at the expense of everything else" are actually very bad things?

Is it a particularly American thing then, the realization that "too little legislation" and "making money at the expense of everything else" are actually very bad things?

For the last 30+ years, one party has been hard-selling that "greed is good" and that the regulatory structure is incredibly huge and inefficient. So it could be a surprise to some to find out that there are downsides to both, as incredible as that may seem.

I started in on John Nathan's Mishimia biography. It's the 1974 version, but with an updated preface.

I finished Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway today. Don't know where I found it or how it came to be in my possession, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Reminded me quite a bit of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon -- split timeline, quirky characters, interesting diversions, pithy turns of phrase -- which is always good in my book.

ColdForged wrote:

I finished Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway today. Don't know where I found it or how it came to be in my possession, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Reminded me quite a bit of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon -- split timeline, quirky characters, interesting diversions, pithy turns of phrase -- which is always good in my book.

His other novel, The Gone-Away World is worth a read, too.

Diving back into the Vorkosigan series, this time in recommended order. Quite a pleasure.

Really? That's how the First Law trilogy ends? Fer serious?!?

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Really? That's how the First Law trilogy ends? Fer serious?!?

It's been a bit since I read it, but I felt like that's how it should have ended. The whole series was pretty gritty and dark. I remember being kind of sad about it though. Great characters.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Really? That's how the First Law trilogy ends? Fer serious?!?

What were you disappointed by?

superjars wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

Really? That's how the First Law trilogy ends? Fer serious?!?

It's been a bit since I read it, but I felt like that's how it should have ended. The whole series was pretty gritty and dark. I remember being kind of sad about it though. Great characters.

Check out Red Country if you Enjoyed The First Law Trilogy.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Really? That's how the First Law trilogy ends? Fer serious?!?

Exactly how I felt.

I thought the ending was perfect, given the tone of the books. Resolution would have felt like a HUGE betrayal of all the investment I had in the series.

Haakon7 wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

Really? That's how the First Law trilogy ends? Fer serious?!?

Exactly how I felt.

I felt like this at first. After re-reading it though I felt like this:

Oso wrote:

I thought the ending was perfect, given the tone of the books. Resolution would have felt like a HUGE betrayal of all the investment I had in the series.

Shack70 wrote:
superjars wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

Really? That's how the First Law trilogy ends? Fer serious?!?

It's been a bit since I read it, but I felt like that's how it should have ended. The whole series was pretty gritty and dark. I remember being kind of sad about it though. Great characters.

Check out Red Country if you Enjoyed The First Law Trilogy.

This. Red Country is unbelievably good. And so funny.