Book recommendations

Jormungander
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Book recommendations

I suppose that there aren't any book threads in the arts sub-forum, so let me start one:

I recently finished an amazing book and thought that this sub-forum would be a good place to mention it. I finished "Dragon's Egg" by Robert Forward. It is very hard science fiction. I never liked scifi that had anthropomorphic aliens in it. Aliens that are just slightly altered humans just seem so wrong. Forward has thought up a race of truly "alien" aliens and has wrote an book detailing this fictional race's rise from barbarism to advanced civilization. The author, Robert Forward, has a physics doctorate and wrote this book, in part, as a primer on neutron star physics. This is the kind of book that is so good that I stayed up too late finishing it last night and missed a bit of sleep. I still have that 'too little sleep and too much coffee' headache. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in science fiction that has a emphasis on the "science." The only caveats are that Forward is bad at writing dialog, the book starts off poorly while it is only dealing with humans and only picks up part way through when it focuses on the strange environment and lives of alien beings. It gets better and better the further you get into it until (if you are like me) you won't want to put it down.

I also recommend "Flatland" to anyone wanting to read about truely alien beings. "Flatland" was written in the nineteenth century, so it is in the public domain. A free and entirely legal copy of it exists here:

http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/~banchoff/Flatland/

This book is half exploration of life constrained by different dimensions that we are used to and half satire against oppressive parts of British culture. It makes for a great read.

 

So, I guess I've started the ball rolling here. Does anyone have recommendations for good books? I've been meaning to get back into reading for fun and I could use a few good recommendations. Feel free to use this thread to post any book recommendations or comments.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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Vastet
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My favourite author is R.A.

My favourite author is R.A. Salvatore. His battle sequences are second to none, and he always manages to combine the perfect match of intrigue, comedy, character & development, setting, action, and everything else you could ask for.

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1984Animal FarmOedipus

1984

Animal Farm

Oedipus Trilogies

Medea (ancient Greek play)

Plato's "Allegory of the cave"

Plato's "Apology"

Billy Bud

God Delusion, Richard Dawkins

Letter To A Christian Nation, Sam Harris

God The Failed Hypothesis, Victor J. Stenger

Infidel. Ayaan Hirsi Ali

 

To name a few.

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That book list is really heavy, Captain.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Vastet wrote:My favourite

Vastet wrote:
My favourite author is R.A. Salvatore. His battle sequences are second to none, and he always manages to combine the perfect match of intrigue, comedy, character & development, setting, action, and everything else you could ask for.

I read a bunch of his books. I read so many books from him and authors very much like him in highschool that I'm still burned out on their whole genre. I don't know if I'll ever get back into it.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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:3

 Reading the last Codex Alera right now.

 

Thanks Jim Butcher.


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Dur... it's on the wish list...

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


Vastet
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Jormungander wrote:Vastet

Jormungander wrote:

Vastet wrote:
My favourite author is R.A. Salvatore. His battle sequences are second to none, and he always manages to combine the perfect match of intrigue, comedy, character & development, setting, action, and everything else you could ask for.

I read a bunch of his books. I read so many books from him and authors very much like him in highschool that I'm still burned out on their whole genre. I don't know if I'll ever get back into it.

Can you recall any of their names? I go through one or two of Salvatore's series every year or two, but it's always nice to read something completely new.

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Vastet wrote:My favourite

Vastet wrote:
My favourite author is R.A. Salvatore.
There is literally no accounting for taste.  Sticking out tongue

I recommend anything by Steven Erikson.   

Margaret Atwood is a favourite fiction author of mine.  I especially like The Handmaid's Tale, The Blind Assassin and Oryx and Crake.

Two interesting books are The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett and the sequel World Without End.  Of interest is the fact that they are historical novels and the first revolves around the building of a cathedral in Kingsbridge, England in the 12th century.

Germs, Guns and Steel, by Jared Diamond is at least an interesting book, even if criticisms of it are fair.  It recounts a history of homo sapiens sapiens from 13,000 years ago to the near-present.

I imagine that you really like SciFi and right now I've taken to reading SciFi and have a special liking for Larry Niven (author of Ringworld, one of the most imaginative and well-written SciFi books of all time).  He is an amazing author.  I recommend picking up Protector and starting from there.

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Vastet
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Thomathy wrote:Vastet

Thomathy wrote:
Vastet wrote:
My favourite author is R.A. Salvatore.
There is literally no accounting for taste. :P

What do you have against him?

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I don't really like fiction

I don't really like fiction but if you like science fiction why don't you read Flow My Tears the Policeman Said by Philip K Dick. In my opinion science fiction is almost all bad and written by talentless hacks. There are only a few good names Jules Verne, Wells, Mary Shelley, Orwell, Huxley, HP Lovecraft and Philip K Dick. Douglas Adams' books were ok too I guess, maybe a couple others but most of it is just a bad rehash of something older.

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Vastet wrote:Thomathy

Vastet wrote:
Thomathy wrote:
Vastet wrote:
My favourite author is R.A. Salvatore.
There is literally no accounting for taste. :P
What do you have against him?
Mostly it's that the fantasy that he does write is formulaic ...incredibly so.  I just don't think he's a good author.  It's a matter of taste, hence my comment and the wagging-tongue smiley; there really is no accounting for taste -it's a subjective experience.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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:3

I agree with Thomathy here. I will also agree with Vastet about the battle sequences, but honestly I don't really care that much about those compared to intrigue of a good plot.

 

His books to me are just trying to lead from one fight to the next, because that seems to be the only place he finds his literary home.

 

 

Having read everything from song of fire and ice.. to codex alera, to feist's "magician" and the whole midkemia epic novels (30something of them now?) to jordan's books, and a number of others (including ringworld...discworld novels, kingdom for sale, etc etc) I personally find that usually authors excel in one or two areas and are best when they stay at home in those things. 

 

I enjoy great character development and a non-linear plot. I treasure genuine surprise in a story-something that catches me unaware and shakes my understanding of the world, characters, and story so far. I treasure even more a book that can keep me from developing a clear picture of that to be shaken, so I am left being directed as the book reveals...rather than looking down the path and trudging along it dutifully until the end.

 

 

Single minded characters are boring to me. Instead of characters, they are caricatures. I consider these creations to be a waste of my time to read. They draw no emotional attachment, and in fact often gain my dislike BECAUSE they are so single-purposed. Often I can just slap "plot device" on them and be done with it, because that is the only role they are capable of serving. This seems to be the most common problem in books I read, and I am labeling it simply lazy writing.
 

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Vastet
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I prefer a mix of static and

I prefer a mix of static and changing characters. Most of Salvatore's books use that. It feels more real, and helps me get in the setting. I also think he's matured a lot since he first started writing. At first his books did feel like a leadup to the end battle, but his independent and more recent books are where he excells, and it doesn't feel that way anymore. Just my opinion. Smiling

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Jormungander
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Vastet wrote:Jormungander

Vastet wrote:
Jormungander wrote:

I read a bunch of his books. I read so many books from him and authors very much like him in highschool that I'm still burned out on their whole genre. I don't know if I'll ever get back into it.

Can you recall any of their names? I go through one or two of Salvatore's series every year or two, but it's always nice to read something completely new.

He is an extremely generic DnD novel author. Read things written by the other licensed DnD authors and you will be getting almost the same thing. He does seem to be one of the best of them, but he is still just a pulp fantasy writer for Dungeons and Dragons. If you haven't, read some of Hickman and Weis's novels. Those are rather similar to Salvatore's books and are the start of the popularity growth of modern pulp fantasy. The Dragonlance series written by them was pretty good. But they suffer from the same problem that Salvatore does: they make mindless entertainment that is the book version of watching morning cartoons. It is entertaining and completely devoid of any form of literary merit or meaning. I'll bet that hordes of fantasy novel readers would disagree with me on that statement. But, as much as I enjoyed that genre, I consider it to be mindless pulp entertainment.

 

I just remembered another book recommendation:

READ "DUNE"! GO AND READ IT RIGHT NOW!

I can't believe that I failed to mention that amazing novel when writing SciFi recommendations. Some people hate Herbert's writing style, but if you don't mind that, read his amazing novel. I've also wondered why the Muslims aren't pissed about Dune being an alegory for Muhammed and the Middle East.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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:o

Jormungander wrote:

Vastet wrote:
Jormungander wrote:

I read a bunch of his books. I read so many books from him and authors very much like him in highschool that I'm still burned out on their whole genre. I don't know if I'll ever get back into it.

Can you recall any of their names? I go through one or two of Salvatore's series every year or two, but it's always nice to read something completely new.

He is an extremely generic DnD novel author. Read things written by the other licensed DnD authors and you will be getting almost the same thing. He does seem to be one of the best of them, but he is still just a pulp fantasy writer for Dungeons and Dragons. If you haven't, read some of Hickman and Weis's novels. Those are rather similar to Salvatore's books and are the start of the popularity growth of modern pulp fantasy. The Dragonlance series written by them was pretty good. But they suffer from the same problem that Salvatore does: they make mindless entertainment that is the book version of watching morning cartoons. It is entertaining and completely devoid of any form of literary merit or meaning. I'll bet that hordes of fantasy novel readers would disagree with me on that statement. But, as much as I enjoyed that genre, I consider it to be mindless pulp entertainment.

 

I just remembered another book recommendation:

READ "DUNE"! GO AND READ IT RIGHT NOW!

I can't believe that I failed to mention that amazing novel when writing SciFi recommendations. Some people hate Herbert's writing style, but if you don't mind that, read his amazing novel. I've also wondered why the Muslims aren't pissed about Dune being an alegory for Muhammed and the Middle East.

 

I don't know if I would compare it to a saturday morning cartoon. While it does have that one-dimensionality a lot of the time, I don't think I can drop them that low. I agree entirely with the "episodic" feel as well.

 

I would say generic hollywood teen shows. There is the formula, and they don't deviate from the formula. They use it and plug in differing things into the slots. You know immediately who is good, bad, and "other".

 

Think of a high school generic shows. You have the main character, and then you toss up stock social groups easily recognizable that take no work in fleshing out, and throw in obvious conflicts between the main people and the "other" groups.

 

The rest is their antics in resolving it, before the next conflict over something different/same with different/same groups. Repeat ad infinitum. 

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Well his novels for DND are

Well his novels for DND are restricted by DND. Have you read Vector Prime written for Star Wars? Or his independent Demon Wars trilogy? They are far greater examples of his capabilities. I haven't read a single Forgotten Realms author who could touch Salvatore. I grant that his Forgotten Realms novels often seem lacking, but he must toe the line in any such books. Usually an authors best work is not found in a place not made from his or her own mind.

Still, he focus' more on community and religion and character flaws than science and critical thinking, so I can understand why those who want a more up to date setting would be turned off.

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I have only read his

I have only read his Forgotten Realms novels. Being forced to follow their formula probably did restrict him and force him to compromise quality in exchange for adhering to the premade setting. He does seem to be the best writer that Wizards of the Coast has. If he can work well within their narrow limitations, then he could be a genuenelly good author when working freely. Perhaps I'll read one of his independent books someday. I am rather sure that I am done with the pulp Wizards of the Coast licenced fiction though.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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The Coma- Alex GarlandThe

The Coma- Alex Garland

The Wanting Seed- Anthony Burgess

Animal Farm- George Orwell

The Fuck Up- Arthur Nersesian

Letter to a Christian Nation- Sam Harris

Atheist Universe- David Mills

Tao Te Ching- Lao Tzu

The Art of War- Sun Tzu

Richard Dawkins, all of them

 

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Im a necromancer yay Just

Im a necromancer yay

 

Just finished reading some books and i enjoyed them so i thought i would share.

 

all of them by Conan Doyle about none other than sherlock holmes. 

a couple months ago I thought seeing as he is my favourite charicter of all time (mainly from the movies i have seen, not just the 2009 one) i should probably read the books. they are easily avalable on the web for free as they are over 100 years old by now so  most copyright is gone, at least i think so.... if not they are still easily avalable Everyone knows sherlock holmes but hardly anyone have read the books (from my experiance) and its a shame.

 

(links to wiki)

A Study in Scarlet - abit rough that have plenty facts changed in the second book, but still I enjoyed it

The Sign of the Four

The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Valley of Fear

 

Dispite there age they are still very good reads.

there are also 56 short stories if anyone cares

Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
All animals are equal.


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Hmm,  maybe I am unoriginal

Hmm,  maybe I am unoriginal to mention this book, but ... probably the reason I have joined this forum is somewhere within the book by Jose Saramago "The Gospel according to Jesus Christ".    

 


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I'm currently reading Simon

I'm currently reading Simon Green's Nightside series.

I don't think Salvatore was that bad btw. He came up with interesting characters which is what made him a bit famous. His latest work however shows he would have a talent as a romance novelist imo =p

I would reccomend http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Moon_Rising as a fun witty anti hero novel.

 

edit: if you enjoy fiction and have not yet read the sword of truth series, you are missing out.

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Both "Dragon's Egg" and

Both "Dragon's Egg" and "Starquake" are very good. So is one of his others, "Mission of Gravity." His style is somewhat dry, but his stories are good, and usually well-paced.

The best books I've read in a long time are "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman (as is the one he wrote with Terry Pratchett, 'Good Omens'), "The Drawing of the Dark," by Tim Powers, "The Book of the New Sun," by Gene Wolfe (very rich, very dense, and very literate), "Grendel," by John Gardner, and "The Song of Ice And Fire" books by George R.R. Martin. (These latter books are occasionally tedious, especially when describing feasts, but in some places, it actually works, as he is able to surprise you with story-changing events in the middle of a dry description of a celebration.)

Those are my suggestions, for now.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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I would also reccomend some

I would also reccomend some Fredric Brown. Here is a small sampling  from 1955 and can be found in "The best of Fredric Brown." Thanks to ebay (mostly) I own several of his works =)

 

IMAGINE ghosts, gods and devils.
Imagine hells and heavens, cities floating in the sky and cities sunken in the sea.
Unicorns and centaurs. Witches, warlocks, jinns and banshees.
Angels and harpies. Charms and incantations. Elementals, familiars,
demons.
Easy to imagine, all of those things: mankind has been imagining
them for thousands of years.
Imagine spaceships and the future.
Easy to imagine; the future is really coming and there'll be spaceships in it.
Is there then anything that's hard to imagine?
Of course there is.
Imagine a piece of matter and yourself inside it, yourself aware, thinking and therefore knowing you
exist, able to move that piece of matter that you're in, to make it sleep or wake, make love or walk
uphill.
Imagine a universe—infinite or not, as you wish to picture it—with a billion, billion, billion suns in it.
Imagine a blob of mud whirling madly around one of those suns.
Imagine yourself standing on that blob of mud, whirling with it, whirling through time and space to an
unknown destination. Imagine!
 

 

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


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Although I thought he didnt

Although I thought he didnt spend enough time exposing the WingNuttery of the Left.... and never once does the name Al Sharpton appear...and *How* can he write a book on this subject and not mention the name Jesse Ventura?...Still... I thought this was an awesome read, and I would imagine that many of you here will agree:

 

 http://www.amazon.com/Wingnuts-Lunatic-Fringe-Hijacking-America/dp/0984295119

 

Should John Avlon and myself ever find ourselves in the same place at the same time, He will be drinking for free...