30 votes

Recommend me a book that _________.

Top level comments should fill in the blank with some sort of descriptor identifying a kind of book you would like suggestions for. Be as generic or specific as you want.

Replies can then recommend books to that individual.

Examples of what I'm thinking for top level posts, in case my description was unclear:

  • Recommend me a book that will make me cry.
  • Recommend me a book with a great twist.
  • Recommend me a book that deals with loss.
  • Recommend me a book about the fall of the Roman Empire.
  • Recommend me a book with a main character in her 80s.
  • Recommend me a book to help me learn PHP.

80 comments

  1. [6]
    CALICO Link
    Recommend me a sci-fi book (or series) with elements of Brain-Computer Interfaces, Artificial General Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Colonization of the Solar System, and the impact of Climate...

    Recommend me a sci-fi book (or series) with elements of Brain-Computer Interfaces, Artificial General Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Colonization of the Solar System, and the impact of Climate Change (environmental & geopolitical), where the plot isn't entirely focused on just one of those things, takes place in the near-future (50–150 years), and was published this millennium, please.

    6 votes
    1. [3]
      spit-evil-olive-tips Link Parent
      Daemon and its sequel Freedom(tm) by Daniel Suarez Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton - stretching your criteria a bit because most of it takes place in the 2300s and involves...

      Daemon and its sequel Freedom(tm) by Daniel Suarez

      Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton - stretching your criteria a bit because most of it takes place in the 2300s and involves colonization of the whole galaxy, not just the solar system.

      7 votes
      1. CALICO Link Parent
        I think I might actually have a copy of Daemon in my physical library, but haven't read it yet; I think I picked it up at a flea market and it just hadn't made it into my backlog. Will definitely...

        I think I might actually have a copy of Daemon in my physical library, but haven't read it yet; I think I picked it up at a flea market and it just hadn't made it into my backlog. Will definitely be moving it up!

        I have read all of the Commonwealth Saga however, as well as the Void Trilogy by Hamilton. I really love his stuff and can't recommend him enough for fans of space opera!

        4 votes
      2. NoblePath Link Parent
        Just finished fallen dragon. While not directly related to the post, that hamilton guy is really swell.

        Just finished fallen dragon. While not directly related to the post, that hamilton guy is really swell.

        2 votes
    2. [2]
      dnaq Link Parent
      Nexus by Raamez Naan, and it’s sequel Crux.

      Nexus by Raamez Naan, and it’s sequel Crux.

      3 votes
      1. CALICO Link Parent
        Will definitely be checking these out, thanks!

        Will definitely be checking these out, thanks!

  2. [8]
    mundane_and_naive Link
    Recommend me a sci-fi story that's not about space expansion and military technology.

    Recommend me a sci-fi story that's not about space expansion and military technology.

    4 votes
    1. spctrvl Link Parent
      Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson. It's a fun, self aware cyberpunk satire released in 1992, with a near future setting that is amazingly prescient with regard to issues currently afflicting society,...

      Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson. It's a fun, self aware cyberpunk satire released in 1992, with a near future setting that is amazingly prescient with regard to issues currently afflicting society, particularly memetic viruses, social atomization and post-rational sects.

      8 votes
    2. jamfox Link Parent
      "The Stone Gods" by Jeanette Winterson or "Perpendicular World" by Kir Bulychev?

      "The Stone Gods" by Jeanette Winterson or "Perpendicular World" by Kir Bulychev?

      4 votes
    3. aymm Link Parent
      Year Zero or After on bei Rob Reid, although the latter reads a bit.. weird. Head On by John Scalzi

      Year Zero or After on bei Rob Reid, although the latter reads a bit.. weird.

      Head On by John Scalzi

      3 votes
    4. [2]
      NoblePath (edited ) Link Parent
      Any number of phil dick books fit this. Start woth do androids dream of electric sheep. While on the edge of scifi, in the name of the rose is very good. I assume you've read the classics like...

      Any number of phil dick books fit this. Start woth do androids dream of electric sheep.

      While on the edge of scifi, in the name of the rose is very good.

      I assume you've read the classics like neuromancer.

      Edit: a more recent entry is the lifecycle of software objects by chiang.

      2 votes
      1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
        That's "Philip K. Dick" for those of us who aren't on quite such familiar terms with him. ;)

        Any number of phil dick books fit this.

        That's "Philip K. Dick" for those of us who aren't on quite such familiar terms with him. ;)

        4 votes
    5. gpl Link Parent
      The hot book right now it seems is The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu. I read it and it was compelling enough to make me want to read the next one. It didn't live up to the hype, but that's not...

      The hot book right now it seems is The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu. I read it and it was compelling enough to make me want to read the next one. It didn't live up to the hype, but that's not really the book's fault - it was still a really, really good read.

      2 votes
    6. Macil (edited ) Link Parent
      Permutation City by Greg Egan. It's a sci-fi book that starts off in a world where mind-uploading is a thing, and explores a range of possibilities from there. It really altered my expectations'...

      Permutation City by Greg Egan. It's a sci-fi book that starts off in a world where mind-uploading is a thing, and explores a range of possibilities from there. It really altered my expectations' limits on how the future and our understanding of the world can possibly go. The book Diaspora by Greg Egan isn't a sequel, but it's great and follows up on a lot of similar ideas as Permutation City.

      (Bonus: if you've also read the unrelated but excellent classic Fire Upon The Deep, which you should, and you want some brilliantly deranged continuation/explanation to Permutation City, then you're in luck. I feel like this writer gets the big concept of Permutation City even better than the original author and expands on it.)

      2 votes
  3. [5]
    vivaria Link
    Recommend me a book in the "slice of life" genre that made you feel feelings. Ideally contemporary, and applicable to a... Western perspective? (There's a time and place to expand my worldview but...

    Recommend me a book in the "slice of life" genre that made you feel feelings. Ideally contemporary, and applicable to a... Western perspective? (There's a time and place to expand my worldview but not right now, if that's okay.) I don't normally read books... in general... but I recently gave "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara a go out of the blue and tore through it. I don't think I've ever read a book that big!

    I think it's my favorite genre in any medium. Movies, TV shows, anime, etc. Anything that reflects a little on bits and pieces of life that make it worth living. It's like a window into what could be! A way to get the gears turning in my own head for the directions my life could go in. Daydreaming from scratch is hard, so I dig captivating stories for fuel.

    4 votes
    1. cumulonimbus Link Parent
      i think Room Temperature by Nicholson Baker is one of my favorite examples of slice of life stuff. it may sound a bit overwhelming, but imagine when something reminds you of something that...

      i think Room Temperature by Nicholson Baker is one of my favorite examples of slice of life stuff. it may sound a bit overwhelming, but imagine when something reminds you of something that happened in your past, and then you think about the emotions and other tangential memories related to that initial memory, and instead of getting distracted by having to keep going about your day, you could follow all those tangents to their conclusions. that's a very clunky way of describing how i feel reading some of his writing. what i really love about it though is how earnest it is. the main character just loves all the odd little details of life. it also helps that he seems to have an unlimited vocabulary when it comes to physically describing things. woof, didn't mean to write so much. check his early stuff out, before he got maybe a little too weird!

      4 votes
    2. krg Link Parent
      Alice Munro might fit this bill. Maybe also Elsewhere, California, which I mostly read because it's set in West Covina, which is whereabouts I was raised.

      Alice Munro might fit this bill. Maybe also Elsewhere, California, which I mostly read because it's set in West Covina, which is whereabouts I was raised.

      2 votes
    3. Catt Link Parent
      Insignificant Others by Stephen McCauley I found this randomly at the library one day and just really like the main character. Lots of little things people think and do that feel pretty grounded.

      Insignificant Others by Stephen McCauley

      I found this randomly at the library one day and just really like the main character. Lots of little things people think and do that feel pretty grounded.

      2 votes
    4. doctorsleez Link Parent
      How about giving 'Normal People' by Sally Mooney a read? Mooney writes with beautiful intention along descriptive paragraphs to draw you further into the book every minute of the way. A novel...

      How about giving 'Normal People' by Sally Mooney a read?

      Mooney writes with beautiful intention along descriptive paragraphs to draw you further into the book every minute of the way. A novel exhibiting two lives entangled with their surroundings. I couldn't put this book down.

      1 vote
  4. [9]
    kfwyre Link
    Recommend me a book that will help me feel hopeful.

    Recommend me a book that will help me feel hopeful.

    3 votes
    1. krg Link Parent
      Pilgrim at Tinker Creek might be your ticket.

      Pilgrim at Tinker Creek might be your ticket.

      3 votes
    2. [6]
      doug3465 Link Parent
      Can I ask what you are not hopeful about? Perhaps Melinda Gates' new book Moment of Lift which sure made me feel hopeful about certain issues, mostly gender equality and charitable efforts. By the...

      Can I ask what you are not hopeful about? Perhaps Melinda Gates' new book Moment of Lift which sure made me feel hopeful about certain issues, mostly gender equality and charitable efforts.

      By the way, love this post!

      3 votes
      1. [5]
        kfwyre Link Parent
        I'm a public school teacher in the US, and I'm burning out of the career. I do not view a job in education as sustainable for me in the long-term, so I recently made the decision to transition to...

        I'm a public school teacher in the US, and I'm burning out of the career. I do not view a job in education as sustainable for me in the long-term, so I recently made the decision to transition to a new career in the coming years. It's heartbreaking but necessary. I don't feel like I'm giving up on my dream so much as I feel like I've had the dream slowly drained from me. I now feel obligated to leave because there isn't any dream left, and that's not fair to me nor to my students.

        It's funny that you mention Melinda Gates, because she's actually extremely relevant to my situation but probably not in the way that you're hoping. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is an absolute titan on the educational landscape of the US, and I would argue that many of the reforms they have supported have directly contributed to the toxic educational culture that has destroyed my love for this job.

        7 votes
        1. [2]
          ainar-g Link Parent
          I would love to hear more about this, but I will understand if it's too painful. Maybe there are publications you can recommend on the topic? Also, sorry about your enjoyment of the profession...

          The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is an absolute titan on the educational landscape of the US, and I would argue that many of the reforms they have supported have directly contributed to the toxic educational culture that has destroyed my love for this job.

          I would love to hear more about this, but I will understand if it's too painful. Maybe there are publications you can recommend on the topic?

          Also, sorry about your enjoyment of the profession being destroyed.

          3 votes
          1. kfwyre (edited ) Link Parent
            If you're wanting a high-level policy view of things, Diane Ravitch has two books that might interest you: The Death and Life of the Great American School System and Reign of Error. She's a bit of...

            If you're wanting a high-level policy view of things, Diane Ravitch has two books that might interest you: The Death and Life of the Great American School System and Reign of Error. She's a bit of a polemicist, but I appreciate the candor she brings to the conversation.

            As for a more on-the-ground view of things, I don't have a good book that captures the current experience of modern teaching, but I also tend not to read them. My Kindle is loaded up with education-related books that I've bought with the best of intentions but that I can't bring myself to actually sit down with. The demands of the career already consume large parts of time that should rightfully be considered my own. Thus, I find it hard to further immerse myself in the world of education as an act of leisure.

            That said, I was a teacher in low-income schools for the first decade of my career, and one of the things I wished I could help the world see was just how different the world of poverty is from the expectations of those who've never lived through it. There's a lot of ignorance on this topic, and some of it is by design, but I genuinely believe that most people who have never experienced or interfaced with poverty first-hand do not have an adequate frame of reference for it, and that textures their beliefs, usually against compassion.

            Wanting to change hearts and minds, and lacking the wherewithal to write something of substance myself, I found three books that, when read together, capture what I believe to be an honest snapshot of the grounds where poverty and education meet. Curiously enough, only one of them is directly related to education.

            The first is Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities. It was published in 1991, but I can assure you it is still relevant today. In fact, that's one of its most chilling qualities: that it has maintained its relevance so far beyond its initial publication. The issues it lists with low-income schools still persist, and he wrote the book long before the accountability culture that I decried in my other post took hold. The question I've gotten most from people who've read this book are "is it really that bad?" The answer is, unconditionally, yes.

            The second book is There Are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz. Also published in 1991, it too is sadly applicable to today. This one follows the story of two brothers as they grow up in poverty in Chicago. It covers their day-to-day lives, and while some stories of education are presented in the book, the main focus isn't on their schooling but on their life experiences. Where the first book captures the issues with schools, this captures the issues of communities and how they impact children. Your heart will break for the boys in this book, and it's important to remember that though their experiences are individual, the arcs and textures of their stories can be found in impoverished communities all across the country.

            With everything so terrible, why do people do it? Why do people teach in those schools? Why do they stay? Well, the answer is included in the third book: Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle. It is about a pastor who works with gang members to rebuild their lives. You do not need to be religious to appreciate the book, and I recommend it because it captures the interpersonal humanity that can make teaching worth it in spite of everything that's wrong with it. It's also a beautiful reminder of the power of healing and compassion. Teachers do what they do because it's for the students, just as this pastor does what he does for his community. It's an enriching read, and I'm just realizing now, an answer to my own original question in this topic: it is a book that will help you, and maybe me right now, feel hopeful.

            4 votes
        2. [2]
          doug3465 Link Parent
          I'm sorry to hear this. No books are coming to mind immediately but if I think of one I'll let you know. Well this is certainly news to me. What have been the reforms that are causing toxicity?

          I'm sorry to hear this. No books are coming to mind immediately but if I think of one I'll let you know.

          Well this is certainly news to me. What have been the reforms that are causing toxicity?

          1 vote
          1. kfwyre (edited ) Link Parent
            (Pinging @ainar-g for this, as they asked a similar question) The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has put a lot of money into the idea that we need to assess "teacher effectiveness." Whether this...

            (Pinging @ainar-g for this, as they asked a similar question)

            The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has put a lot of money into the idea that we need to assess "teacher effectiveness." Whether this comes from a benign but misguided altruism or whether it's instead a lever by which they are helping to implement "corporate reform" is still debated, but the outcome is the same regardless of the intent: they have systematically supported the idea that American education is in crisis because of teachers' skill levels.

            I won't be able to do full justice to how much of a misdirection this is, but I'll do my best to give at least a peek at why it's a transparently incorrect--quite possibly deliberately ignorant--way to address the needs of the nation. To do so, I'll have to ask you to first trust me, which is a tall order for teachers these days, as the first and foremost effect of the "teacher quality" argument is that erodes the public's faith in our ability to do our jobs. Rather than trusting us to be professionals, everyone, including students, is told that we must be closely monitored, year after year, to prove that we are effective.

            Of course, "effective" has nothing to do with what any average person would consider "good teaching." Think back to your own educational experience and the teachers you loved, and you are most likely to identify the ones who inspired you, believed in you, or helped you become a better version of yourself. Furthermore, there are plenty of teachers you don't remember who had a significant impact on you, but those teachers' investments don't pay dividends until later. A teacher who teaches a small child to read has no idea what that child will go on to do with that skill. They don't know if it will unlock a life-long love of reading, or whether it'll supplement their interest in writing. Nevertheless, they lay the foundation so that the student can later flourish and have a full life, but this often isn't seen until much, much later--past graduation and beyond.

            Measures of effectiveness take none of this into account. First off, they are narrowly based off of standardized test scores, which capture next to nothing about good teaching. Second, they refuse to accommodate a longitudinal and hierarchical view of education in which the impact of an individual teacher is not able to be isolated to their individual practice. Our effectiveness cannot be measured in isolation because our entire educational system is structured around being a pipeline of professionals, all working together to help students, year after year, as they progress towards graduation. We do our best teaching when we work together to help kids.

            On the same note, we do our best work when we're institutionally supported to help kids. Is it fair to compare a teacher who has to spend her own money to buy paper and pencils with a teacher who has thousands of dollars of lab equipment at her disposal? Certainly not, but teacher quality arguments rarely address the systemic inequities that pervade education and instead assume a level playing field based on skill alone.

            Furthermore, it's no secret that there are myriad factors outside of teacher's abilities that will affect the quality of a student's education. Poverty, parental involvement, health-care, nutrition. All of these have significant impacts on children and therefore on their education as well. Unfortunately, these often get waved away as "excuses" or, even worse, "controlled for" in the data--as if te negative effects of poverty on child development is something that can simply be smoothed over if you simply look at the data the right way.

            I could continue, but I think it's worth derailing here to point out the real splinter under the skin of teacher accountability arguments. More than anything I've just said, they fundamentally put us on the defensive and make it look like we have something to hide. They are an accusation, and instead of putting the burden of proof on the accusers to prove that their implementation of data and findings are accurate, the country reverses that obligation and instead put the squeeze directly on teachers instead.

            This is particularly relevant to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which uses educational funding as a petri dish for reforms. Do they know if what they are doing is effective? No! But do they move forward with it as if it is a solution rather than an experiment? Yes!

            Take a look at the key findings from this report, which covers an initiative that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation not only funded, but designed.

            Overall, however, the initiative did not achieve its goals for student achievement or graduation, particularly for LIM [low-income minority] students.

            With minor exceptions, by 2014–2015, student achievement, access to effective teaching, and dropout rates were not dramatically better than they were for similar sites that did not participate in the Intensive Partnerships initiative.

            And my absolute favorite point:

            There are several possible reasons that the initiative failed to produce the desired dramatic improvement in outcomes across all years: incomplete implementation of the key policies and practices; the influence of external factors, such as state-level policy changes during the Intensive Partnerships initiative; insufficient time for effects to appear; a flawed theory of action; or a combination of these factors.

            They discovered, in a study published in 2018, what teachers have been saying since accountability measures have been put in practice by No Child Left Behind in 2001--that teacher effectiveness is often hindered by "the influence of external factors" and that yearly measurements are "insufficient time for effects to appear."

            The last one, "a flawed theory of action", is particularly telling, and would make a great book title for what's wrong with education in America today. The truth of the matter is that the policies that have now been implemented for decades exist in fundamental misalignent with the diagnosed issues in education. In fact, it's at an "Emperor's New Clothes" level of absurdity.

            The past twenty years we've felt the squeeze of accountability culture based on the idea that schools and teachers are underperforming and that we need harsh penalties in order to get us in line. Without continued surveillance of our jobs and a fundamental mistrust in us to perform them in the absence of that surveillance, teachers would be the scourge of society--harming our kids' futures by not teaching them effectively!

            This is a patently absurd diagnosis (not to mention patronizing), and to demonstrate, let's run with a line of thinking for a moment. Let's assume the very worst and believe that America really is a nation rife with very shitty teachers doing a very shitty job at teaching our very important kids. Furthermore, let's run with the assumptions implicit in teacher quality arguments and assume that if we could gather data on bad teachers and fire all of them, we'd substantially improve the quality of education nationwide.

            The reason we're running in this direction is that it leads straight into a wall--one known as Teacher Shortage Areas. Turns out, we've known since 1990 that we cannot fill teaching positions adequately. In decrying a lack of qualified teachers in front of our nation's students we have buried the lede and failed to identify that it's not that we have shitty teachers in classrooms but that we lack teachers in the first place! Here's a PDF of the rundown by year and state. It's devastating. Too much to digest, really, and horrifying in its implications.

            Let's zoom in on Texas for a moment, not for any other reason than the "Texas Miracle" was one of the driving rhetorical forces for implementing accountability culture in the first place. From 1993 to 2017, the state reported a shortage of math teachers. That is a span of twenty four years during which they could not find adequate teachers to fill positions. I am not choosing Texas as a cherry-picked data point. I encourage you to pick a state at random and look through its data. This problem is nationwide, and we're about to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

            Jumping back to where we were, if we believe the worst in American education, and we believe that firing bad teachers is the method of action we should take, we have shot ourselves in the foot because it's not like we have this rich surplus of qualified candidates just waiting to enter the field. Furthermore, for advocates of that to ignore this reality means that they are either ignorant of it, or deliberately dismissive of it. Either one is a bad look. If you are going to speak authoritatively on education, then you have an obligation to have at least a somewhat complete picture. Or, if you have that picture but you selectively ignore pieces of it, your policy position is one that isn't operating impartially and in the best interests of our students.

            I know I have been speaking mostly in the abstract, and that his has kind of turned into a rant, but the reality is that it is very hard for me to adequately capture what has gone wrong with my career in a single snapshot. I've barely scratched the surface here, and there is so much more I could go into, but I would argue that accountability culture is the largest driving force of my own personal burnout. If I had the data for it, I'd argue that it's a driving force for burnout at large. My social circles are filled with ex-teachers. My husband is an ex-teacher. My sister is an ex-teacher. Both of them left the field and took significant pay cuts to do so, identifying that the quality of life of a sustainable job superseded the higher income offered by teaching. And it's not like they were even raking it in with a teacher's salary in the first place!

            My aunt just retired from teaching, and when I last met up with her, her first question to me wasn't "how's the job going?" but "do you think you'll make it?", as in "make it to retirement." I have coworkers in their 50s who have less than 10 years until they're out, wondering whether they'll be able to last that long.

            The current culture of education is toxic. It is hostile to both teachers and students. It is not only eroding my faith in a profession I once loved but it is eroding my students' belief in education as an institution. It erodes parents' faith in our ability to do what's best for their children. Schools are no longer driven by passion, discovery, and richness but by an ill-advised, illogical, and patently destructive chase of data for purposes either orthogonal or antithetical to good teaching practices.

            If I ran my classroom the way our national education platform is run today, I would punish my lowest performing students. I would kick them out of my classroom. I would hound the other students with threats to get Bs on my tests, or else. I wouldn't praise their creativity, kindness, or any other positive human quality we want in kids. I wouldn't support them when they are hurting, or find ways to help them out with issues outside the school. I wouldn't direct them to pursue their passions. In fact, I'd argue that their passions were detrimental to the goals that I've imposed on them--goals in which they have no say and which have no benefit to them.

            Instead, I would have a rigid, militaristic and holistically negative focus on "achievement," and I would treat anything other than this solitary focus as a distraction or excuse.

            You can imagine how terrible the kids would feel in my class.

            And that's how we feel as teachers.

            7 votes
    3. gpl Link Parent
      Maybe hopeful for a slightly different reason, but check out The Idea Factory by John Gertner. It's about Bell Labs and the golden age of American innovation. I remember feeling very inspired by...

      Maybe hopeful for a slightly different reason, but check out The Idea Factory by John Gertner. It's about Bell Labs and the golden age of American innovation. I remember feeling very inspired by human ingenuity and progress after reading that.

      1 vote
  5. krg (edited ) Link
    That is akin to the literary non-fiction of Annie Dillard and Eliot Weinberger. Those two writers make me feel things. Edit: Also, Barry Lopez! And Lynne Tillman.

    That is akin to the literary non-fiction of Annie Dillard and Eliot Weinberger.

    Those two writers make me feel things.

    Edit: Also, Barry Lopez! And Lynne Tillman.

    3 votes
  6. [12]
    aymm Link
    Recommend me a book with both Sci-Fi and Fantasy elements. Basically, a bit like the Artemis Fowl books, but not necessarily in the young adult setting

    Recommend me a book with both Sci-Fi and Fantasy elements. Basically, a bit like the Artemis Fowl books, but not necessarily in the young adult setting

    3 votes
    1. [4]
      Algernon_Asimov (edited ) Link Parent
      The Split Infinity trilogy by Piers Anthony: Split Infinity Blue Adept Juxtaposition The trilogy is set on a planet which exists in two universes: one based on physics and one based on magic. The...

      The Split Infinity trilogy by Piers Anthony:

      • Split Infinity

      • Blue Adept

      • Juxtaposition

      The trilogy is set on a planet which exists in two universes: one based on physics and one based on magic. The central character in the trilogy is able to cross over between the two universes and must resolve a crisis that will affect both versions of the planet, by using science in one universe and magic in the other universe. The books are equal parts science fiction and fantasy.

      The series was later expanded to seven books, which is called the Apprentice Adept heptalogy. However, I haven't read the later four books because the first three books are a fully complete and self-contained story, to the point where I feel any sequels would have to be just bolted on rather than integrated. Also, the original books were marketed as "The Split Infinity Trilogy": that's what's written on the covers of my editions. And, according to a summary I found, the second trilogy featured the sons of main characters from the first trilogy, "and their efforts to keep the previous impending doom from happening all over again". That sounds like the sequels were written to cash in on the popularity of the originals.

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        aymm Link Parent
        Thanks, that does sound very promising!

        Thanks, that does sound very promising!

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
          I enjoy the books very much. One might assume they're a bit dated, seeing as they were written in the early 1980s, but the technology in the science parts of the books is sort of timeless. It's...

          I enjoy the books very much.

          One might assume they're a bit dated, seeing as they were written in the early 1980s, but the technology in the science parts of the books is sort of timeless. It's not "cutting edge" or "futuristic", it's just mining machines and androids and computers.

          And the writing is fun. I'm not normally a fan of fantasy books, but I actually like the fantasy parts of these books more than the sci-fi parts.

          They're old favourites of mine. Not "Top Ten" material, but good enough that I've re-read them a few times.

          3 votes
          1. aymm Link Parent
            Good to year! Fun Sci-Fi and fun Fantasy is usually my favorite kind of these

            Good to year! Fun Sci-Fi and fun Fantasy is usually my favorite kind of these

            1 vote
    2. [2]
      WinterCharm Link Parent
      A bit late, but The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown. Red Rising Golden Son Morning Star Without spoiling anything, the book feel like: A growing up story, where the reader is treated as an...

      A bit late, but The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown.

      • Red Rising
      • Golden Son
      • Morning Star

      Without spoiling anything, the book feel like: A growing up story, where the reader is treated as an adult, not a child... but there is SciFi without getting into the weeds of tech... so mythology meets solar system colonization, meets politics and intrigue, meets compelling characters and interesting plot.

      Highly recommend this trilogy, as it's some of the best Sci Fi with mythology / fantasy elements. If you want to know more about the Reaper, or how the Ash Lord burned an entire moon, or why the Valkyrie Spires are ruled by an Allmother.

      Fear and serve the men of Gold. Or they will come with iron from the sky. Gold will treat you with fire of the Sunborn. For they are not bound by love.

      3 votes
      1. aymm Link Parent
        I've already read them, and highly enjoyed them, so thanks!

        I've already read them, and highly enjoyed them, so thanks!

        2 votes
    3. [2]
      NoblePath Link Parent
      American gods?

      American gods?

      3 votes
      1. aymm Link Parent
        I finished that a couple weeks ago. It's a good book!

        I finished that a couple weeks ago. It's a good book!

        1 vote
    4. [2]
      iiv Link Parent
      The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.

      The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.

      2 votes
      1. aymm Link Parent
        Will check it out, thanks!

        Will check it out, thanks!

    5. reinier Link Parent
      The Fifth Season. One of my favourite books (and trilogy) of the last five years.

      The Fifth Season. One of my favourite books (and trilogy) of the last five years.

      2 votes
  7. [3]
    Catt Link
    Recommend me a book that reads like a superhero comic (adventurous, comedic, moral themes).

    Recommend me a book that reads like a superhero comic (adventurous, comedic, moral themes).

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      cumulonimbus Link Parent
      Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman: think one 300-page long chase scene led by an angel and a demon to stop the end of the world. there's also at least like 3 jokes per page. maybe i'm...

      Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman: think one 300-page long chase scene led by an angel and a demon to stop the end of the world. there's also at least like 3 jokes per page.

      maybe i'm totally off but i also think A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers sorta fits: it's late for me and it's a little complicated, so look it up if you're interested in a sort of memoir about siblings relocating after losing both parents very quickly and a 21yo (main narrator) trying to learn how to raise his younger brother. it was funny and tragic and filled with (sometimes wavering) conviction.

      3 votes
      1. Catt (edited ) Link Parent
        Good Omens has been on my reading list forever, time to move it up. Both suggestions seem right up my alley. Thanks.

        Good Omens has been on my reading list forever, time to move it up. Both suggestions seem right up my alley. Thanks.

        2 votes
  8. [3]
    MKV Link
    Recommend me a book that will make me cry. Something super depressing preferably, something with a nonhappy ending, just a terrible time all the way through.

    Recommend me a book that will make me cry. Something super depressing preferably, something with a nonhappy ending, just a terrible time all the way through.

    3 votes
    1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      If you want tears, if you want a non-happy ending, you're guaranteed to get it with Flowers for Algernon. I've stopped reading it because I always cry at the ending, and just about every comment...

      If you want tears, if you want a non-happy ending, you're guaranteed to get it with Flowers for Algernon. I've stopped reading it because I always cry at the ending, and just about every comment I've ever read about this book includes a reference to crying. That last page is an absolute tearjerker.

      There's an original novella version, and a later expanded novel version (plus a stage play and a few movies). I recommend the novella: without the digressions added for the novel, the shorter version packs more of a punch.

      3 votes
    2. gpl Link Parent
      Not sure if this is the type of sad you had in mind, but read Night by Elie Wiesel if you haven't already. Sad all the way through, but important.

      Not sure if this is the type of sad you had in mind, but read Night by Elie Wiesel if you haven't already. Sad all the way through, but important.

      2 votes
  9. [4]
    cadadr Link
    Recommend me a book with great recent poetry composed in English.

    Recommend me a book with great recent poetry composed in English.

    2 votes
    1. Chopincakes Link Parent
      Depends on your definition of 'Recent' but if you've never read Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry by Billy Collins then you're doing yourself a disservice.

      Depends on your definition of 'Recent' but if you've never read Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry by Billy Collins then you're doing yourself a disservice.

      3 votes
    2. gpl Link Parent
      I really enjoyed the collection A People's History of Chicago which is a collection of contemporary poems about Chicago with a 'power to the people' lean. I am from the city though so I am sure...

      I really enjoyed the collection A People's History of Chicago which is a collection of contemporary poems about Chicago with a 'power to the people' lean. I am from the city though so I am sure this influences my enjoyment. There are a lot of references and allusions to the city's history that I really appreciated.

      2 votes
    3. Staross Link Parent
      I liked Bukowski, he speaks about everyday relatable things, like having a cup of coffee.

      I liked Bukowski, he speaks about everyday relatable things, like having a cup of coffee.

      2 votes
  10. [7]
    Grand0rbiter Link
    Recommend me a book for someone who will start living alone and needs to be frugal (at least for the first months). It could be a fiction with this theme as well.

    Recommend me a book for someone who will start living alone and needs to be frugal (at least for the first months).

    It could be a fiction with this theme as well.

    2 votes
    1. [5]
      kfwyre Link Parent
      It's not explicitly about frugality, but Fumio Sasaki's Goodbye, Things helped me significantly in getting settled after a recent move. The author takes his minimalism a lot farther than I'm...

      It's not explicitly about frugality, but Fumio Sasaki's Goodbye, Things helped me significantly in getting settled after a recent move.

      The author takes his minimalism a lot farther than I'm willing to, but I've definitely adopted some of his mindsets and beliefs regarding my belongings and fulfillment. It also dovetails nicely with frugality, because reducing consumption and possession is, by nature, frugal. Furthermore, living on a tight budget can often feel restrictive, but the mindsets he expresses in this book can help you reframe it to be enriching.

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        Grand0rbiter (edited ) Link Parent
        I saw this some months ago and was a little put off by the pictures in the end of the book with everyone owning Apple and other really expensive products. It reminds me of the minimalist, but very...

        I saw this some months ago and was a little put off by the pictures in the end of the book with everyone owning Apple and other really expensive products. It reminds me of the minimalist, but very rich people. Minimalism just for the aesthetics.

        I'll put my prejudice aside and read this. Thanks for the recommendation!

        2 votes
        1. kfwyre Link Parent
          Ah. My reading of it is definitely textured by the fact that I listened to it as an audiobook, so I didn't realize it was full of pictures of that type.

          Ah. My reading of it is definitely textured by the fact that I listened to it as an audiobook, so I didn't realize it was full of pictures of that type.

          2 votes
        2. Catt Link Parent
          Along the same vein, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I found it funny in a cheeky sort of way. It's not specifically frugal, but it did change by awareness on my relationship to the stuff I...

          Along the same vein, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I found it funny in a cheeky sort of way. It's not specifically frugal, but it did change by awareness on my relationship to the stuff I already owned and acquiring new stuff.

          2 votes
        3. WinterCharm Link Parent
          He's clearly a Steve Jobs fan, but that doesn't invalidate his points about minimalism. The points he makes about choosing as few things as possible that fulfill the functions you need still...

          He's clearly a Steve Jobs fan, but that doesn't invalidate his points about minimalism. The points he makes about choosing as few things as possible that fulfill the functions you need still stands, even if you choose entirely different tools than he does, you will benefit immensely from doing so. Dive into it with the idea of "I'm doing this to adapt this book to my own needs" and I think you'll find it worthwhile. :)

          2 votes
    2. WinterCharm (edited ) Link Parent
      Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown it describes a system that you can apply to your life in order to get rid of things you don't need, in order to free up time / space...

      Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown

      it describes a system that you can apply to your life in order to get rid of things you don't need, in order to free up time / space / money / resources for the things you want to do / matter to you.

      His main point Is that we accomplish more when we are choosier about where we direct our efforts. But it's directed less towards "things" and more towards goals / resource management.

      2 votes
  11. [3]
    Jedi Link
    Recommend me a horror book not by Stephen King. I love his stories, writing style, etc; but the horror genre in my Goodreads is dominated by King, and I'd like to try some new authors.

    Recommend me a horror book not by Stephen King. I love his stories, writing style, etc; but the horror genre in my Goodreads is dominated by King, and I'd like to try some new authors.

    2 votes
    1. cumulonimbus Link Parent
      hopefully this isn't cliche to mention at this point but (being not much a horror reader and somehow having got through this one) House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski at different times of day...

      hopefully this isn't cliche to mention at this point but (being not much a horror reader and somehow having got through this one) House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski at different times of day kept my bedroom door open, my curtains closed, and my lights on. if you like the concept of labyrinths, this one is specifically for you.

      1 vote
    2. kfwyre Link Parent
      Dan Simmons's Carrion Comfort might be up your alley. Responses to it are incredibly mixed, so take my recommendation with a grain or two of salt, but I enjoyed it despite not reading horror much....

      Dan Simmons's Carrion Comfort might be up your alley. Responses to it are incredibly mixed, so take my recommendation with a grain or two of salt, but I enjoyed it despite not reading horror much. I also don't usually have the stamina to read 800+ page books, so the fact that I was able to get through this one means it was interesting enough to keep me going.

      It's about "mind vampires" who have the ability to take over the thoughts of other individuals and control them. Plot-wise it feels less like an individual novel and more like a season or two of a TV show, complete with stronger and weaker "episodes" throughout. Nevertheless, it's worth a look if you're wanting to get away from King.

  12. [3]
    a_wild_swarm_appears Link
    Recommend me a book that will blow your mind, like "Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind"

    Recommend me a book that will blow your mind, like "Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind"

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      Catt Link Parent
      Not sure if this really fits, but you might find The Clan of the Cave Bears by Jean M. Auel interesting. (Only that one, the following in my opinion are not worth the read.)

      Not sure if this really fits, but you might find The Clan of the Cave Bears by Jean M. Auel interesting. (Only that one, the following in my opinion are not worth the read.)

      3 votes
  13. [7]
    kfwyre Link
    Recommend me a book with beautifully written prose.

    Recommend me a book with beautifully written prose.

    1 vote
    1. [3]
      cadadr Link Parent
      I can't talk about the English translation of it, but Hesse's Knulp has something unique going on for its style of narrative that makes me love it so much. It is something between a short story...

      I can't talk about the English translation of it, but Hesse's Knulp has something unique going on for its style of narrative that makes me love it so much. It is something between a short story collection with a theme and a chatacter study for a novel. I strangely love it so much.

      Le città invisibili by Italo Calvino is a text with so much style, it is a gem. I started it many times, but the crappy PDF I had that a friend sent me years ago was a bad experience. Maybe I buy an ebook this summer... I'd also recommend Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore, it was one of the most exciting reads I've ever experienced. These both are surely translated to English, but I don't remember the names ATM, and I hate editing text on mobile so I'll be a bit lazy, sorry.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        gpl Link Parent
        Just to follow up: these two books are Invisible Cities and If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino. They have pretty decent English translations and are worth a read.

        Just to follow up: these two books are Invisible Cities and If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino. They have pretty decent English translations and are worth a read.

        3 votes
    2. krg Link Parent
      Please, please read For the Time Being by Annie Dillard. It's composed so beautifully.

      Please, please read For the Time Being by Annie Dillard. It's composed so beautifully.

      2 votes
    3. Elronnd Link Parent
      Lolita Anything by Tolkien Anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

      Lolita

      Anything by Tolkien

      Anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

      2 votes
    4. Staross Link Parent
      I'm not a native speaker but something from the Brontë sisters would do.

      I'm not a native speaker but something from the Brontë sisters would do.

      1 vote
  14. [4]
    eutrimonia Link
    Recommend me a book with great prose.

    Recommend me a book with great prose.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      dnaq Link Parent
      Anything by Haruki Murakami. Kafka on the Shore is a great book to start with, the Wind-up Bird Chronicles is my favourite, but it’s a bit harder to get into.

      Anything by Haruki Murakami. Kafka on the Shore is a great book to start with, the Wind-up Bird Chronicles is my favourite, but it’s a bit harder to get into.

      2 votes
      1. Chopincakes Link Parent
        Kafka on the Shore was my Murakami entry point and is the book that made me fall in love with Murakami. I'd also suggest Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World as another one that can be...

        Kafka on the Shore was my Murakami entry point and is the book that made me fall in love with Murakami. I'd also suggest Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World as another one that can be accessible.

        2 votes
    2. gpl Link Parent
      100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, specifically the Gregory Rabassa translation, unless you can read the Spanish original. Some find the story itself meandering or tough to get...

      100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, specifically the Gregory Rabassa translation, unless you can read the Spanish original. Some find the story itself meandering or tough to get through (I don't), but its hard to deny the prose itself is beautiful.

      2 votes
  15. [2]
    Kelsier Link
    Recommend me a book similar to "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. I really liked the way he described things, emotions and relations between the characters. It's a beautiful story.

    Recommend me a book similar to "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. I really liked the way he described things, emotions and relations between the characters. It's a beautiful story.

    1 vote
    1. Chopincakes Link Parent
      ATSS is one of my wife's favorite books. I'm not sure if it fits the bill completely, but she also very much liked The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

      ATSS is one of my wife's favorite books. I'm not sure if it fits the bill completely, but she also very much liked The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

      2 votes
  16. [3]
    nsz Link
    Recommend me a book written with elegant simplicity, like "The Old Man and the Sea".

    Recommend me a book written with elegant simplicity, like "The Old Man and the Sea".

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      gpl Link Parent
      A collection of short stories that has this type of elegant simplicity is What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver. You may like that.

      A collection of short stories that has this type of elegant simplicity is What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver. You may like that.

      1 vote
      1. nsz Link Parent
        Thanks, I'll check it out, looks promising.

        Thanks, I'll check it out, looks promising.

        2 votes