Recommend a book

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Recommend a book

Postby Pixel » Tue Oct 16, 2007 6:07 pm UTC

Read something amazing that you want to share? Share it here.

My recommendation: Crooked Little Vein: A Novel by Warren Ellis

Ok, this one is going to be interesting to describe. Here goes:

"Down and out failure of a P.I. gets hired by the heroin-addicted Chief of Staff to the President of the United States to find the secret alternate mind-controlling U.S. Constitution, which was traded to a prostitute by a former president. He teams up with a polyamorous sidekick Trix, whom he meets at a meeting of Godzilla fetishists."

From there things get weird...

Let me make this clear, this book is fucked up. Anyone who has read Ellis' "Transmetropolitan" comics will instantly recognize the same writing style here. The book is twisted, bizarre, disturbing, and incredibly compelling. It held me rapt, even when I was deeply disturbed by what I was reading. And in the end, it tells a damn good story and has a lot of good things to say on the subject of what is and isn't "mainstream" in the world.

SO if you want a good mindfuck with amazing writing, go read this.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby no-genius » Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:04 pm UTC

'VALIS' by Philip K Dick. This book is weird. It's not so much science-fiction as philosophy fiction? I don't want to spoil anything, but there are some very satisfying plot twists. If you've read 'a scanner darkly', Valis is in a similar style to this - it even quotes a page of scanner darkly.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Jesse » Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:07 pm UTC

'Hope and Memory' by Tzvetan Todorov.

A look back on Totalitarianism in the Twentieth Century that is written beautifully, and isn't ashamed to be critical of Soviet Russia as well as Nazi Germany, while not trying to demonise them either. It is an open and honest attempt to understand why this occurred, and how to prevent it ever happening again. An amazing book.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:28 am UTC

Illusions by Richard Bach

It's short, it's good, it's full of stuff like
Illusions by Richard Bach wrote:The simplest questions are the most profound.
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Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Narsil » Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:58 am UTC

Haunted, by Chuck Pahlaniuk

I put this up here because it's the only book I've read lately that's made me feel much of anything. In short, the book is a satire of human existance and an exploration of the forces and demons we all carry with us and can undo us all. It's a collection of short stories tied together by the overarching story of various people that have answered the call for a writer's retreat.

Warning, this book is very fucked up. I just put it down after reaching the halfway point (A sordid little tale called "The Nightmare Box") and I really don't know that I can pick it up again. It's just that difficult to read. It's so emotionally taxing, and there's a tale in there for everyone. While they are all affecting and devastating, I think each person will have one story that will hurt more than any other.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Freyja » Fri Oct 19, 2007 5:14 pm UTC

"Parable of the Sower", by Octavia E. Butler. I can't think of any other book that's had such a profound effect on me. The characters are well done (the protagonist is especially well developed) and the setting is amazing. It's a rather depressing dystopian tale, but if you can make it through "Sower" and then move on to the sequel, "Parable of the Talents", you're in for a damn good ending. Seriously.

And i'm breaking a rule here and recommending one other book- simply for enjoyment rather than a profound experience. Ian McEwan's "Atonement" is wonderful. Most of his other work just drags on, but "Atonement" is gold.

Edit: Correction of a misspelling. I is a bad English tutor...
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Alisto » Fri Oct 19, 2007 6:04 pm UTC

Freyja wrote:"Parable of the Sower", by Octavia E. Butler.


Everything she said goes for me, too. I like to sum up the books as such: "They will destroy every bit of faith you have ever had in humanity, and by the end restore it ten-fold." And that goes for each individual book. One is not a cliff-hanger into the next; both books feel complete in themselves.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby une see » Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:00 pm UTC

Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. A John Updike quote as printed on the back cover of the version I have, "Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." It's a beautiful book, filled with wondrous images, and quite funny as well. Humbert Humbert is possibly one of my favorite fictional characters of all time, and of course...the way Nabokov writes! Anyway, I recommend it to anyone. Absolutely one of my favorites.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby bbctol » Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:03 pm UTC

une see wrote:Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. A John Updike quote as printed on the back cover of the version I have, "Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." It's a beautiful book, filled with wondrous images, and quite funny as well. Humbert Humbert is possibly one of my favorite fictional characters of all time, and of course...the way Nabokov writes! Anyway, I recommend it to anyone. Absolutely one of my favorites.


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Re: Recommend a book

Postby xenuphobia » Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:43 am UTC

House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski

A complex, layered, beautiful work that manages to be by turns deleriously romantic and really freaking scary.

On the lowest level, it's the account of a famed photographer and his family in a house that's mysteriously larger on the inside than it is on the outside.

On a slightly higher level, it is a film, constructed from footage taken on cameras distributed throughout the house by the photographer/filmmaker/protagonist of the lower story.

Higher than that it's a critique of this film (that never existed, with fabricated references and footnotes) by a blind man, constructing the entire thing out of whole cloth.

Higher than that it's notes written on this entire work by a guy who finds it, by some weird coincidence, after the blind author's death. Strange things start happening to him after he begins to read this, and he leaves extensive notes in the margins accounting what happened to him.

The book is like an ogre (or an onion, if you prefer) - there's always something sitting just below the surface, something watching you as you read it, and you get the distinct sense of this from the book. Not only does it have this complex layered structure, towards the middle and end of the book Danielewski starts playing with the layouts and traditional form of the novel. Text, instead of moving from the top to the bottom of the page, becomes enclosed in boxes, flowing in and around itself, with multiple things happening in each area. It leaves you chasing footnotes and flipping back between pages in an attempt to absorb it all.

Frankly, it's one of those things that have to be experienced. Head down to your local book-o-mart and plop down the $20 for this book. You will not regret it.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Malice » Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:37 pm UTC

Drive, don't run, to your nearest bookseller, find, buy, and read as soon as possible the brilliant novel "Clown Girl" by Monica Drake. It comes highly recommended by me and also Chuck Palahniuk (they learned to write together). It's a stunningly well-written novel about a girl living in a bad part of town, struggling to balance the needs of monetary survival with her desire to create clown art. It's hilarious (when was the last time you read a book featuring slapstick comedy?), sad, moving, fascinating, and totally original. Did I mention brilliant?
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby MetaJoke » Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:27 pm UTC

Jhereg (first book in the vlad taltos series) by Stephen Brust

Fantasy. Series is life, from the perspective of a mid-level gangster/assassin. Who also happens to be a human, which puts him in the minority. Could go on about this, but ... just trust me. If you like fantasy and see this, read it. I've lent my copy out about ten times, and never had anyone tell me anything other then 'you got the rest of the series?' when i get it back. The narrative is told with a lot of sarcastic/ironic commentary.

Coldfire trilogy by Celia S. Friedman

Fantasy, but... different. Mildly intillgent, and thought provoking. Human colony on a world where subconscious thoughts can have a very real effect, and the night can bring your fears to life.

Altered carbon by Richard Morgan
Scifi/cyberpunk. Nanotech and a better understanding of biology mean your personality and memories are saved to a cortical stack, that can be recovered after your death and uploaded into a new body. Being digitized is the number one way to travel from world to world. Main character is a former Envoy- the top soldiers, trained primarily in pattern recognition and psychology.

Evergence trilogy by sean williams and shane dix
Scifi, out of print, but great series. While delivering a powerful AI to her government, Morgan Roche runs into a genetically engineered soldier, who has no memories of who he is. This is decent, and has a lot of questions about trust and identity.

Singularity Sky by Charles Stross
Scifi
At some point in the near future, an AI known as the Eschaton is developed, and hyper evolves before anyone knows it's there. Deciding for its own reasons to intervene with human development, it scatters nine tenths of Earths population across the galaxy, leaving them on worlds light years apart, with cornucopia machines and three commandments:

I am the Eschaton. I am not your god.
I am descended from you, and exist in your future.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Rodan » Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:10 am UTC

Which Lie Did I tell? by William Goldman (e. g. the Princess Bride scribe)
If you have any interest at all in movies or writing, it's really good. It's filled with anecdotes, scripts, and tips and such.
Good stuff.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby d33p » Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:15 am UTC

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.
An everyday bloke learns his place in the world through the Taoist teachings of a telepathic gorilla. Seriously - it's incredible. Never have I felt so connected.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Angelene » Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:06 am UTC

The Road by Cormac McCarthy because you will read it in one sitting and will want to read it again.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby bookgrunt » Mon Dec 03, 2007 9:05 pm UTC

I absolutely love Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, and Dune by Frank Herbert. Those are my "everyone must read these" books.

I just finished Spin by Robert Charles Wilson. It's getting up there on my list; it's easily one of the best modern sci-fi books I have ever read.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Quixotess » Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:01 am UTC

Aaaargh...must restrain myself to one book at a time....aargh...

Okay, I'm going to have to go with The Double by Jose Saramago. A ordinary, somewhat pathetic history teacher named Tertuliano rents a B-level movie one night and discovers that one of the bit parts is played by a man who looks exactly like he does. Well, not *exactly.* Tertuliano does not have a beard like this guy, and he has a slightly different hairstyle, etc. Then he sees this old photograph of himself, taken the same year the movie was made...guess what?

Intense but playful at times (at one point a narrator's digression gives Tertuliano an idea about what to do next) dark, incredible. A haunting exploration of identity. Word of warning though: Jose Saramago doesn't like paragraph breaks very much, and despite the respectable amount of dialogue there is nary a quotation mark in sight.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Prole » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:38 am UTC

A wild sheep chase by Haruki Murakami.

An awfully strange book, but brilliantly written.

Also, Norwegian Wood (same author) is good too.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby no-genius » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:32 pm UTC

xenuphobia wrote:House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski...

yeah, that book is fucked up... 20 dollars? I paid 20 pounds! *sulks in the corner*

So, Ahm going tae recommend tae yes Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh, the radge.

If you can get past a book thats mostly written in a scottish accent, this is a great book. Some of its funny (like when Renton thinks the reason he's been unsuccessful with women is that he can't raise one eyebrow.), and some of it is sad. Oh, and there are a few drug references there (like, the whole book).
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby LDJosh » Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:36 pm UTC

Where the sidewalk ends by Shell Silverstein

What? I love that book.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby aion7 » Fri Dec 07, 2007 3:00 am UTC

MetaJoke wrote:Jhereg (first book in the vlad taltos series) by Stephen Brust

Fantasy. Series is life, from the perspective of a mid-level gangster/assassin. Who also happens to be a human, which puts him in the minority. Could go on about this, but ... just trust me. If you like fantasy and see this, read it. I've lent my copy out about ten times, and never had anyone tell me anything other then 'you got the rest of the series?' when i get it back. The narrative is told with a lot of sarcastic/ironic commentary.
[/i]

I second that. I loved those books.

I'll try to add one everyone hasn't read already, despite my wanting to add Orwell, Asimov, Bradbury, Tolkien, Dickens, or Poe.
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon was a great book. Combine a rich alternate history, fantastically deep characters, classic, gritty detective writing, and Yiddish interjections, into a well written novel and this is what you get. A must for fans of any of those genres.

Yes I called "Yiddish interjections" a genre. What are you gonna do about it?
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Aleril » Fri Dec 07, 2007 5:24 pm UTC

"The Stranger" is a must read by me, just because the main character is so unfeeling that is amazing to hear about him. Also, I love how Camus is able to impart simple Exisentalist truths so well within so few pages.

Also, I love Gatsby.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby d33p » Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:17 pm UTC

I too loved The Stranger; it's up there with Sartre's Age of Reason for excellent philosophical fiction.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Malice » Sat Dec 08, 2007 8:48 am UTC

I thought the Stranger was pretty good. But then, I read it in French.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Rodan » Sat Dec 08, 2007 5:18 pm UTC

I recommend Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, even though I haven't finished it yet.
It's sorta like Hitch-Hiker's Guide crossed with Life of Brian, with Neil Gaiman.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Angelene » Sat Dec 08, 2007 7:54 pm UTC

aion7 wrote:The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon was a great book. Combine a rich alternate history, fantastically deep characters, classic, gritty detective writing, and Yiddish interjections, into a well written novel and this is what you get. A must for fans of any of those genres.

Yes I called "Yiddish interjections" a genre. What are you gonna do about it?


Oooooooh, speaking of Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is, well, amazing.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby 22/7 » Sat Dec 08, 2007 8:00 pm UTC

I'm not sure I quite got The Stranger. I should really go back and read it over again. One that I read about a year ago and very much enjoyed was Bill Bryson's A Brief History of Nearly Everything.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Torvaun » Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:46 pm UTC

The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.
Think Tolkein + Jordan + Le Guin distilled into pure awesome.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Vellyr » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:37 am UTC

I'll recommend Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, the only book I've read that manages to be both hilarious and truly existential at the same time.

Also, the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin. I'm honestly surprised that the thread on these forums isn't more active, considering it's the most intelligent fantasy that I've ever read. It's primarily a tale of the political maneuverings of several rival families to secure the throne of the seven kingdoms. Ice zombies, dragons, shapechanging assassins, and necromancy all exist, but they're something 90% of the world is unaware of, and serve as an accent to the drama and not as the focus of it. Martin's writing style is also not to be missed, his plot and character development are absolutely masterful.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Lit_Rat » Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:04 pm UTC

Well as long as we're on the subject of magical realism...
Winter's tale by Mark Helprin is amazing. It should be a classic. Throw in two parts brilliant writing, one part deep writing, one part fantasy, one part new york city, a dash of romance and gang wars, and voila.
Also, read V for Vendetta. The comic book. That's right. It's awesome.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:13 pm UTC

John Dies at the End

It was initially a halloween story written by a guy who maintains a comedy site, and he kept adding to the story every halloween until it became an honest-to-God book. It was recently published, so you can actually find it in some bookstores, but it's also available online.

The book does an amazing job of alternating between being incredibly hilarious and completely fucked up, and it has become one of my favorite books.

When i previewed this post i noticed that my signature comes from this book.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby thejdawg » Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:54 pm UTC

Aleril wrote:"The Stranger" is a must read by me, just because the main character is so unfeeling that is amazing to hear about him.

For this reason, I had a hard time enjoying this book. I believe it was Vonnegut who said "Every character should want something, even if it's only a glass of water." As far as I can tell, Mersault has no desires, and little to no personality. How do you root for or against someone who has nothing to him? Moreover, how do you identify with him at all?


As per my recommendation, The Joke, by Milan Kundera. As a disclaimer, I've never read The Unbearable Likeness of Being, so I cannot comment on their similarities, which I'm sure there are many. As I've read more and more Kundera, I've found his plot lines are repetitive, but the way he writes is fantastic. He makes good sentences; I don't know how else to put it.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby thecommabandit » Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:36 pm UTC

1984 by George Orwell. It's a fascinating read. I started reading it with vastly different expectations than what I got, but I thoroughly enjoyed it even if the ending was a bit... disappointing. I don't blame you if you skim over and skip the texts taken from the political book, that was really boring, but the rest you have to pay attention to. It's worth it.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby The Chief » Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:57 pm UTC

People say I'm a horrible person. That's just not true; I have the heart of a young boy. I keep it on my desk.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Goofy-Boots » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:00 pm UTC

A Clockwork Orange. then go watch the movie =)

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby duaneb » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:31 pm UTC

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a story about an autistic child who embarks on a detective adventure. I highly recommend it.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Aleril » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:48 pm UTC

CaraInFrames wrote:
aion7 wrote:The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon was a great book. Combine a rich alternate history, fantastically deep characters, classic, gritty detective writing, and Yiddish interjections, into a well written novel and this is what you get. A must for fans of any of those genres.

Yes I called "Yiddish interjections" a genre. What are you gonna do about it?


Oooooooh, speaking of Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is, well, amazing.


And dont forget Werewolves In Their Youth.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby thejdawg » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:53 pm UTC

duaneb wrote:The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a story about an autistic child who embarks on a detective adventure. I highly recommend it.

Check out A Spot of Bother. Same author.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby pieaholicx » Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:52 pm UTC

Well, I can recommend two. First up is The Giver by Lois Lowry. It's a very short read, but an excellent take on the idea of a future "utopian" society. Leaves you with a lot of unanswered questions, but still good.

The other, Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. An excellent play, with only two acts. It's a very short, very dialog driven play, but in the same sense it's very good. Could be described as (stolen from the cover of the one I read), "a tragicomedy in two acts". Definitely an absurd play, and don't be surprised if it makes no sense the first time you read it.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Narsil » Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:20 pm UTC

pieaholicx wrote:Well, I can recommend two. First up is The Giver by Lois Lowry. It's a very short read, but an excellent take on the idea of a future "utopian" society. Leaves you with a lot of unanswered questions, but still good.

I wouldn't read this if you're over 12. After that, the book starts to seem very immature. Yes, at it's core there is a good story, but it's covered up by layers and layers of crap that aims squarely for the "young adult fiction" category.
Spoiler:
EsotericWombat wrote:MORE JUNK THAN YOUR BODY HAS ROOM FOR

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Oh... that.


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