Book recommendations

Discussion in 'General Books' started by Firiath, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. Firiath

    Firiath Halfling barbarian

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    I'm posting this thread because I wanted to ask for book recommendations that don't necessarily have to be fantasy books, and I thought it might make sense to start a thread for these kinds of things, where anyone could ask for recommendations.


    So, the thing is, I'm reading a lot of PhD-related stuff and I'm getting really tired of it. I still have plenty of books to read at home, including fantasy books, but all of those are fairly long and I know I don't/won't have the energy or concentration to read them (and enjoy them as much as I'd like to), so what I'm looking for is more of a pleasant read.

    It doesn't matter which genre, or whether fiction or non-fiction. I'd like something that is easy to read - that doesn't mean children's literature, or dumb books (like Fifty Shades of Grey - just my opinion), but books that I can read while my brain is in a kind of energy saver mode (so please no James Joyce). If they make me think, or affect me somehow, sure, that's perfectly fine, but I don't want to have to use my brain too much. :p
    Also, I don't want to start a series - I'm sure many fantasy books on my to-read list would be 'pleasant' to read, but most of them are part of a series, so I'd like to exclude those.
    And I'm not a big fan of poetry.

    Doesn't matter what I usually read - just hit me. :D
     
  2. Tamago

    Tamago Lord-Commander of Anakin's Kingsguard

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    While reading this, I thought I might as well recommend a book I didn't like, but that's both easy to read and meaningful, so to say (it's not stupid at all). I'm talking about The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato. I read this book last summer, I think (or has it been longer than that?) and I remember not liking it too much, but still appreciating the story and the possible meaning behind the respective story. It's quite an easy-read, and the book isn't too long either. I didn't like Ernesto Sabato's style, but that's purely subjective. I fancy a type of style that somehow suggests the author's great love or hate towards his own writing, but that he couldn't but transform his own words into magical sentences, so to speak. I found Sabato void of something I like to find in a literary style, but that might have been only me and my little (actually huge) inside demons. I would still recommend it in this case, as I think it does fit your description, and it is perhaps something you are looking for.
    I don't know about the English translation, it might be better than the Romanian translation (which I didn't fancy with). I think this is perhaps one sort of book that loses very much by translation, though I am not so sure about it. You could check it out.

    I'm also thinking about recommending All the names and Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago. Even though I wouldn't say Saramago's works are ”really easy to read”, I would say that they are not hard to read at all -they are extremely enjoyable, and I ought to say that I believe his style to be quite unique, in a sort of way. I like the way he juggles with words, but what's more important... his works have a sort of hidden depth that one cannot but love. I strongly, quite imperiously recommend Saramago's works. I've read only those two (actually, I am still reading Death with Interruptions and I find it magnifico), I think his works are worth a try. And if you do try them, care to tell me about it. I find his ideas very interesting, and I believe he is sort of a... reputed writer.

    Saramago's works are sort of profound, I believe, so they might actually solicit your brain in terms of thinking and truly wondering about what he's saying... hmm, perhaps I should recommend you Mario Vargas Llosa's works. This is my ex's favourite author, to tell the truth -I've read Who killed Palomino Molero? by him and though this is supposed to be one of his weakest novels, I found it well written and very interesting, though it wasn't hard to get through (it) at all. I'd say it's an easy read.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
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  3. Firiath

    Firiath Halfling barbarian

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    Thank you for these recommendations! All four of these sound like books I'd have never discovered on my own (or considered as books to look into), and I'm especially intrigued by "Death with Interruptions". I'm still accepting more recommendations, but for now this is on the top of my list. :)
     
  4. Tamago

    Tamago Lord-Commander of Anakin's Kingsguard

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    I'm glad you found my recommendations useful. I think I might have some more recommendations to make, but I'll save those for later.

    Do check out Death with Interruptions! I just finished it this evening and I found it extraordinary. Well, I do like the author's style, but I'm ready to gamble my honour on this one. It's really interesting! :)
     
  5. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    I'd offer up As Simple As Snow, by Gregory Galloway... it's marketed for YA, but it's good enough for grownups. I love when an unreliable narrator is used to tell a story, in the case of As Simple As Snow it's a teenage boy. Most times you know when his hormones and inexperience have gotten the best of him, and his perspective is skewed... so the reader is sort of forced to draw different conclusions as the story goes along. The ending is mysterious and depending on what you've read into the storytelling, it's either hopeful and even magical... but it could also be tragic and a bit sinister.
    The other book you might really enjoy, is The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, by Erik Larson... it's nonfiction, but fashioned in such a way that it feels like fiction. And it's very disturbing in parts.
     
  6. Firiath

    Firiath Halfling barbarian

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    Very disturbing sounds good :spiningdemon: I'm curious in what way it might be disturbing, but I don't want to spoil anything for me. Both are now on my to-read list, and I can't say which one of them I'd like to read first, as a magical-hopeful and tragic-sinister ending also sounds very appealing. ;) Thanks!
     
  7. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    The book is set in Chicago, circa 1893, intertwining the true tales of Daniel H. Burnham, the architect behind the 1893 World's Fair, and Dr.H.H. Holmes, the serial killer who lured his victims to their deaths in his elaborately constructed "Murder Castle."
    The Devil in the White City, is historical nonfiction told in an almost whimsical way... in fact there were times I had to remind myself that "holy shit this isn't fiction, this really happened and it wasn't all that long ago". The book covers a transitional time in American History, wherein young women are leaving their family farms and rural towns for the 'big city'.
    We're all familiar with the legend of Jack the Ripper... well let me tell you, old Jack was a schoolboy compared to H.H. Holmes. Until I read The Devil in the White City, I had not even heard of H.H. Holmes... relatively little is known about him, but that he murdered at least 22 people, most were young women just arriving in Chicago to find work at the World's Fair. Some criminologists who specialize in serial killers figure H.H. Holmes may have murdered as many as 100 people, perhaps more. Making him America's most prolific serial killer... that almost nobody has heard of.
    I don't want to emphasize the serial killer side of the story too much, the book is actually more involved in the life of Daniel H. Burnham, a brilliant architect and engineer, and his life and those around him who built this incredible facade of a city 'White City', which hosted the World's Fair just before the turn of the century. It's a strange juxtaposition between this amazing beehive of activity and commotion, and a man who appears to be a successful businessman, but is a monster, murdering young women, that makes the book so intriguing.

    Btw, Leonardo DiCaprio purchased the film rights to the book... so, hopefully it will be made into a movie soon.:)
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
  8. Herald Of Woe

    Herald Of Woe Scourge of the seven seas

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    I'd recommend the Burton and Swinburne series by Mark Hodder they have a very steampunk vibe, they are set in an alternate history Victorian England and feature some famous people and characters from the age and are a cracking good read. So far the books released are The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon, The Secret of Abu El Yezdi and the newest one The Return of the Discontinued Man will be released this year :)
     
  9. Firiath

    Firiath Halfling barbarian

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    I added "The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack" to my to-read list - this is definitely something I've never read before, and it sounds like fun!

    btw, I read @Tamago's recommendation "Death with Interruptions" last weekend, and I liked it! I finished it in a couple of days, and it's been a long time since I read a whole book in less than a couple of weeks. So that's got to mean something :D
    And now back to reading my academic stuff, until my next weekend off. :p
     
  10. Tamago

    Tamago Lord-Commander of Anakin's Kingsguard

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    I'm glad if you liked it. I'd also recommend Blindness by the same author; it's not quite the same as Death with Interruptions, and Blindness is somehow gruesome and terribly affecting, but after reading the book I thought to myself: I feel this is the type of book anyone should at least try and read it. The things that are metaphorically or not presented there are... troublesome, on many levels.
    Somehow, one of the beauties kept by Saramago's works is that whether you take them as metaphors or not, they are still thrilling. I love that.
     
  11. Herald Of Woe

    Herald Of Woe Scourge of the seven seas

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    YAY. Let me know what you think :)
     
  12. Firiath

    Firiath Halfling barbarian

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    I'll be on vacation for a bit longer than a week, and I'm looking for something to read. Although I still have some of your recommendations on my to-read list, I want to use my time off to read some more fantasy or sci-fi, maybe start a series that's been on my list for ages.
    Now I'm torn between the following books:
    • Belgarath the Sorcerer (David Eddings)
    • Mistborn (Brandon Sanderson)
    • Sword of Truth (Terry Goodkind)
    • Hyperion (Dan Simmons)
    • The Martian (Andy Weir)
    Any comments, ideas, or other recommendations?
     
  13. Pinkduckie

    Pinkduckie Member

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    I really liked the Sword of Truth but I've seen plenty of people who hated it. I get the impression it's a series you'll either love or hate.

    I liked the mistborn series as well altough the last book wasn't great. The magic system is unique and interesting I just didn't like what he did with the story in the last book.

    I don't know the other 3 books so can't say anything about them.
     
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  14. Firiath

    Firiath Halfling barbarian

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    Still helps, thank you! The Sword of Truth series might be something to check out after my vacation, so I won't be stuck with it in case I won't like it :D
    The Mistborn series has moved up on my list now. Even if the last book isn't as good as the other ones (wasn't that also the case with ASoIaF?), I'll have to read the first one first anyway, so that won't be much of a problem. :p
     
  15. Pinkduckie

    Pinkduckie Member

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    I didn't read ASoIaF. Somewhere in the series G. Martin introduces new characters and I still did not manage to get past that book. :oops:
     
  16. JNK

    JNK King of tards

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    Eddigns stuff is kinda old.... if you are more used to dynamic writing of "new generation" fantasy if could be a bit how should I put it... slow?

    Mistborn - a definitive GO, as any other Sanderson book... if you see that name, just grab the book!

    Sword of truth - fairly derivative (siters look like aes sedai, there are also dark sisters... just like black ajah, the use of collar to subdue wizards is totally like a'dam ... and more stuff like that) , but nice read, except "Soul of the Fire" pissed me off a lot by introducing bunch of new unnecessary characters... like one boy (do not recall his name), who was throughout the series, annoyed at the end and died like a moron :D

    Hyperion - totally awesome!!!


    No clue about "The Martian"

    Hope that helps
     
  17. Yuzu Dragon

    Yuzu Dragon New Member

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    I just joined this forum in the hopes of getting some recommendations also please. I don't want anything with sexual violence in it. I'm a fan of Tolkien, JK Rowling and the Landover series by Terry Brooks, to give an example of my tastes. Thank you all.
     
  18. Pinkduckie

    Pinkduckie Member

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    I'd say you can pick up any epic fantasy you find in a bookstore. Since you don't want anything too dark I'd say try

    The sword of truth series by Terry Goodkind
    The wheel of time series by Robert Jordan
    Terry Brooks has multiple books about the Shannara universe
    Any book from Robert Sanderson should be fine (I prefer mistborn and the stormlight archive)

    Some of my favorites are:
    Temeraire by Naomi Novik
    The black magician trilogy by Trudi Cannavan

    Since you aren't really asking something specific I think you'd better go to goodreads.com and look for some fantasy novels that seem interesting :)