Book Recommendations?

Tanglebones wrote:
NathanialG wrote:

China Mieville does Moby Dick:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/034...
Excerpt:
http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/04/r...

Again? The Scar was also China Mieville does Moby Dick :P

I thought The Scar was China Mieville does Treasure Island.

Having made it through that over 1,000 page beast, I wanted to read something a little smaller. So I have no idea why I started David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest.

Because it's one of the best books ever written?

And doesn't he have a comic book coming out as well--Dial H For Hero?

NathanialG wrote:

China Mieville does Moby Dick:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/034...
Excerpt:
http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/04/r...

Ahh I've been meaning to pre-order this. Though, I'm a little burnt out on Mieville after re-reading "Perdido Street Station" and then immediately following it up with the mediocre "Kraken"

Radical Ans wrote:
NathanialG wrote:

China Mieville does Moby Dick:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/034...
Excerpt:
http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/04/r...

Ahh I've been meaning to pre-order this. Though, I'm a little burnt out on Mieville after re-reading "Perdido Street Station" and then immediately following it up with the mediocre "Kraken"

I liked Kraken. There was some great word play in that book if nothing else. "Squid pro quo", "that's perspicacity, not paranoia"

NathanialG wrote:
Radical Ans wrote:
NathanialG wrote:

China Mieville does Moby Dick:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/034...
Excerpt:
http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/04/r...

Ahh I've been meaning to pre-order this. Though, I'm a little burnt out on Mieville after re-reading "Perdido Street Station" and then immediately following it up with the mediocre "Kraken"

I liked Kraken. There was some great word play in that book if nothing else. "Squid pro quo", "that's perspicacity, not paranoia"

Billy wasn't a terribly engaging main character, but the rest of the cast more than made up for that, particularly Wati.

While I liked Kraken, I'd say The City and The City and Embassytown are my favorite Mievilles.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Trashie wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:

If you liked The Stand or The Dark Tower or supernatural post-apocalyptic fiction in general, you'd probably like The Passage by Justin Cronin.

Spoiler:

I hated it.

Reading this right now. Granted, I'm only 100+ pages in but so far, I'm enjoying it. As a parent, I found first chapter almost unbearably sad. Hopefully, it doesn't get bogged down like the King works above so often do.

The first 100 pages or so are really engaging, and the first chapter is fantastic. Sadly, the story takes a sharp turn in a very, very different (and lousy) direction shortly thereafter.

Having now hit this turn, I'm still enjoying it. The pace definitely changes and the overwhelming sense of dread from the first 200 pages is gone.

Spoiler:

Specifically, I find the world-building is very engaging. How do the survivors cope and more interestingly, why? How does Amy tie back into the Time After? Also, I'm glad we've moved on from the King stand-by of establishing characters with deep back stories only to have them killed off dramatically.

I still have 300+ pages to go so there's plenty of time for things to get spoiled yet.

Different topic: anyone read Mongoliad yet?

I just finished Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow. Great biography, that dovetailed nicely with the same author's biography of Hamilton. It was a very open, honest appraisal of Washington that mixed praise for his great honor, diplomacy and wartime successes with clear-eyed views of his temper, turbulent relationship with slavery, partisan warring with Jefferson and the Republicans, and obsession with personal finances.

Trashie wrote:

I still have 300+ pages to go so there's plenty of time for things to get spoiled yet.

If you're still engaged, you're probably safe.

Spoiler:

My wife and I read the book together, and I told her that if the book had started with the post-apocalyptic world and characters that I wouldn't have started the book at all. The book pretty much lost me after it skips ahead in time and never become something I was interested in.

There were a lot of things I didn't like. The world-building felt weak, but the biggest thing was that I didn't like any of the characters. I had really liked Wolgast and Amy in the first part of the book, but in the later parts I didn't find anyone who I connected with. And Alicia is one of the most annoying characters I've ever read in a book. Ugh.

I'm glad you're enjoying it. I know a lot of people who really loved the book, and I'm sincere when I say that I think a lot of people here at GWJ would like it. It just wasn't a book that worked for me.

I am really enjoying The Black Company books. I just finished the second book Shadows Linger. They're a great listen in the car but are much too short for my liking I drove 12+ hours since Monday which is more than an entire Black Company book. I have a hard time accepting the ridiculous cost of audiobooks but I'm burning through these much faster than my credits accumulate.

kaostheory wrote:

I am really enjoying The Black Company books. I just finished the second book Shadows Linger. They're a great listen in the car but are much too short for my liking I drove 12+ hours since Monday which is more than an entire Black Company book. I have a hard time accepting the ridiculous cost of audiobooks but I'm burning through these much faster than my credits accumulate.

Yup, the 2 credits/month plan went from indulgence to mandatory expense in one weeks commute.

kaostheory wrote:

I am really enjoying The Black Company books. I just finished the second book Shadows Linger. They're a great listen in the car but are much too short for my liking I drove 12+ hours since Monday which is more than an entire Black Company book. I have a hard time accepting the ridiculous cost of audiobooks but I'm burning through these much faster than my credits accumulate.

Glad we are seeing so much Glen Cook love lately. I can also just lend you the books after the third one. I am missing 2 and 3.

His Garrett PI books are pretty good too. Much more lighthearted and humorous than the serious Black Company. They are basically detective novels in a fantasy setting. I recommend them and if you like the first one or two they are pretty much all the same tone so worth getting the rest.

LeapingGnome wrote:

His Garrett PI books are pretty good too. Much more lighthearted and humorous than the serious Black Company. They are basically detective novels in a fantasy setting. I recommend them and if you like the first one or two they are pretty much all the same tone so worth getting the rest.

The first 6 have recently been re-published in new omnibus collections (Introducing Garrett PI and Garrett Takes the Case). I've been having trouble finding 7-9 to continue reading. The more recent ones are usually available, but Deadly Quicksilver Lies seems to be somewhat rare.

Reading a truly impressive YA novel: Paulo Bacigalupi's The Drowned Cities. In a post environmental and civil collapse, The Atlantic seaboard south of Boston is a war zone of competing warlords and militia groups. Civilization still exists in China and the Northeast US, but Washington DC is a battleground of militias fighting over scavenge since the Chinese peacekeepers withdrew.

The author is doing a really, really good job of telling a story while showing kids what life is like in Iraq or Central Africa, but this time it is happening to people that look like they do. Ever since I noticed that one of the militia leaders is Lt. Sayles, I can't help but see this as a version of "Men with Guns" for kids. I think it is brilliant, but possibly too rough and brutal to be really popular. Jingoist patriots and Fundamentalist religious folks would probably call this one of the "I hate Amercia and everything is our fault" works by the leftist elite. But I don't think that is the point. I think, besides telling a good story, he's trying to show the rational outcomes of ideology trumping rational action. I think he's also trying to make horrors like child soldiers in Uganda or the Central African Republic and Iraqi civilians facing violence from both side around the Green Zone in Baghdad into something that they can empathize with. "There but for the grace of gaia go I" or something to that effect.

In any case, I'm not done with the book yet. It might make some sense to read Shipbreaker, another novel written in this same future first, but that isn't really necessary. There is one character: Tool, a bioengineered human-wolf hybrid super-soldier (the books are less sci-fi than this makes it sound) who connects the two stories. But if you haven't read Bacigalupi and are intrigued by post-peak oil future eco-catastophe stories check out any of his work from the short stories in Pump Six, to the amazingly awesome Windup Girl, to Shipbreaker to The Drowned Cities.

The Dragons of Babel by Swanwick is awesome. It's in the same folk-fantasy steampunk world of some of his earlier work, and he hits character, setting, plot, and dialogue really well. It gets deep and twisty quickly, and has some great con artistry. The Name of the Wind, or the Lies of Lock Lamorra fans (Rothfuss and Lynch) will enjoy this. It's also hundreds of pages shorter.

On a personal note, Swanwick won my heart when, within the first 5 pages, he uses the best language I've ever seen to describe something dirty.

Spoiler:

Masturbation.

Squee9 wrote:

The Dragons of Babel by Swanwick is awesome. It's in the same folk-fantasy steampunk world of some of his earlier work, and he hits character, setting, plot, and dialogue really well. It gets deep and twisty quickly, and has some great con artistry. The Name of the Wind, or the Lies of Lock Lamorra fans (Rothfuss and Lynch) will enjoy this. It's also hundreds of pages shorter.

On a personal note, Swanwick won my heart when, within the first 5 pages, he uses the best language I've ever seen to describe something dirty.

Spoiler:

Masturbation.

Nice rec, thanks. It sucks that the first book in the same world, Iron Dragon's Daughter, is not available on the Kindle.

I think I'm going to pick up [em]The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland[/em] now, after reading this post by the author.

Wow. Yeah. Sounds great. Put it on my library list.

Hypatian wrote:

I think I'm going to pick up [em]The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland[/em] now, after reading this post by the author.

I think I'm going to do the same. That was a great link, Hypatian.

Railsea is sounding really good.
http://www.npr.org/2012/05/10/152206...

While the Nikki Heat (Castle TV series tie in) books have been good beach reading, I can't say the same for the new Derrick Storm novel. Don't waste your time unless you really like light technothriller fare that is heavy on convention and light on substance.

Oso wrote:

While the Nikki Heat (Castle TV series tie in) books have been good beach reading, I can't say the same for the new Derrick Storm novel. Don't waste your time unless you really like light technothriller fare that is heavy on convention and light on substance.

Thanks. I saw a commercial during Castle this week and was curious. Oh well.

Bill Harris had a glowing recommendation of Last Call which I promptly added to my list of books to read.

I'm reading a book right now that is a must-read for anyone who is interested in history. Or human nature.

It's titled Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, and it's one of the most interesting non-fiction books I've ever read. Prior to starting this book, I vaguely knew about Prohibition, but also assumed that because it lasted a relatively short time, it was inconsequential.

Boy, was I wrong. Totally, totally wrong.

Women's suffrage? That happened as a build-up to the Prohibition amendent. Income tax? The same--that 40% of federal revenue obtained from liquor taxes needed to be replaced before the Prohibition amendment could be passed.

It's absolutely incredible how many things we take for granted today happened because of Prohibition. Even the 12-mile territorial limit was initially enacted because of Prohibition.

Reading about how Prohibition shaped history makes for utterly fascinating reading. Plus, the wording of the 18th Amendment made getting around the amendment into a challenging strategy game. There were three exceptions: hard cider (so farmers who were vehemently in favor of Prohibition could still get drunk off their asses on cider year-round), sacramental wine (boy, a lot of people suddenly became Catholics), and "medicinal purposes" (the AMA had declared alcohol to be of absolutely no value in treating any condition in 1917, but miraculously, in 1921, they suddenly discovered plenty of conditions that alcohol improved).

Like I said, it's fascinating reading, and on almost every page I see something that blows my mind. It's also incredibly well-written and thorough.

If you've enjoyed any of the books that I've recommended in the past, then go purchase this immediately. You won't be sorry.

Sounds awesome. I used to be hard core about nonfiction, which means I only read the original scientific articles. Recreational reading was fiction only, mostly fantasy and scifi. Over the last couple of years books like Uncommon Carriers, and authors like my boy J Diamond have changed my mind.

I'll have to give last call a shot.

I'm enjoying the absolute hell out of David Weinberger's Too Big to Know.

I've used his "Everything is Miscellaneous" in my information architecture class for years, so I'm a fan, but I'm really pleased with how this one is coming together.

He's writing about how our concepts of knowledge and the media we use to communicate develop in concert. So our existing ideas of knowledge is shaped around books. The idea that really jumped out at me today was:

To think that knowledge itself is shaped like books is to marvel that a rock fits so well into its hole in the ground.
Gravey wrote:
Hypatian wrote:

I think I'm going to pick up [em]The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland[/em] now, after reading this post by the author.

I think I'm going to do the same. That was a great link, Hypatian.

I agree. I wish more authors thought like this person. Today's trend seems to be toward simpler and less complex. A challenging book is a joy to read!

superjars wrote:
Gravey wrote:
Hypatian wrote:

I think I'm going to pick up [em]The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland[/em] now, after reading this post by the author.

I think I'm going to do the same. That was a great link, Hypatian.

I agree. I wish more authors thought like this person. Today's trend seems to be toward simpler and less complex. A challenging book is a joy to read!

Also, she's really nice IRL - her husband went to high school with one of my college best friends.

Tangle is name-dropping again! Lock the thread!

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Tangle is name-dropping again! Lock the thread!

I got mad knowing-people skills