19 votes

Recommend me a book that _________

Here's a fresh new thread for book recommendations! The last thread from a year ago got bumped and saw some new top-level activity but few votes or responses on the new requests. I think it's probably not visible in a lot of people's feeds due to its age, and I was planning on rebooting it anyway, so here's a fresh topic we can use for new recommendations that will be visible to all.


Top level comments should fill in the blank with some sort of descriptor identifying a kind of book you would like suggestions for.

Replies can then recommend books to that individual.

Examples of what top level posts might be are below. Get as generic, specific, abstract, or out there as you want!

  • 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.

Thread reading tip: use the "collapse replies" button to see only top-level requests.

69 comments

  1. [3]
    AugustusFerdinand
    Link
    Since we're starting anew: Recommend me a book that is hard sci-fi without unnecessary character "development/focus". Example: Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy; Red Mars was a wonderful book...

    Since we're going with this bump starting anew:

    Recommend me a book that is hard sci-fi without unnecessary character "development/focus".

    Example: Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy; Red Mars was a wonderful book about getting to Mars and surviving it, Green Mars was a good book about the terraforming of Mars and some character development, Blue Mars was a mediocre at best book where Robinson had run out of ideas and so instead ditch the "hard" part of hard sci-fi and just wrote a bunch of hooey about interplanetary politics and pushing characters into relationships they never had in two previous books.

    8 votes
    1. spctrvl
      Link Parent
      2312, also by Kim Stanley Robinson, does tilt more towards exploration of his hard scifi setting (which is sort of a sequel to the Mars trilogy) than character driven stuff. It's not completely...

      2312, also by Kim Stanley Robinson, does tilt more towards exploration of his hard scifi setting (which is sort of a sequel to the Mars trilogy) than character driven stuff. It's not completely absent of it, and there is some interplanetary politicking that's kind of meh, but it's more on the level of Green Mars than Blue Mars. For what it's worth, I entirely share your opinion on the Mars trilogy (I never even finished Blue Mars), and I enjoyed 2312 well enough.

      The Revelation Space series (and some of Reynolds' other stuff) might also be worth a look. It's not the practically diamond hard scifi of the Mars trilogy, but it's a reasonably grounded take on the space opera genre without staples like FTL, and Reynolds is really good at building original and compelling settings.

      I would also tentatively recommend a few of Charles Stross' books, namely Singularity Sky, Glasshouse, and Accelerando, but aside from Accelerando (which frankly is one of his weaker books), they do feature FTL travel and some other clarketech, although in a way that just puts them in the "One Big Lie" category of hard scifi, rather than taking them out of the genre. Might not be quite what you're looking for, but they are very good books.

      6 votes
    2. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke I genuinely can't remember any characters in the book, but I can still remember the descriptions of the unique physics and geometry of Rama. Quite compelling.

      Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke

      I genuinely can't remember any characters in the book, but I can still remember the descriptions of the unique physics and geometry of Rama. Quite compelling.

      5 votes
  2. [8]
    mrnd
    Link
    Straight from the old thread: Recommend me a book with strong romantic relationships, preferably fantasy of maybe some other kind of speculative fiction. Fantasy typically has very bad...

    Straight from the old thread:

    Recommend me a book with strong romantic relationships, preferably fantasy of maybe some other kind of speculative fiction.

    Fantasy typically has very bad romance-plots, usually in the format of "the hero gets the girl in the end". I'm looking for something more like "power-couple" dynamics, where it's not (at least not only) about the couple finding each other, but them fighting and succeeding together.

    For example, while Mistborn's main romance maybe wasn't the best part of the books, I really enjoyed the dynamic they had in the later books. It's actually kind of hard to think of more examples, maybe because this usually requires good female characters, and those are also somewhat rare in the genre. Something slightly random that comes to mind is Izumi and Sig from FMA, but ideally more centered on them.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      amplitude
      Link Parent
      My wife recently recommended a series of books to me about a woman from the 1950s who travels back in time 200 years and tries to get around in the scottish highlands of the 18th century. I guess...

      My wife recently recommended a series of books to me about a woman from the 1950s who travels back in time 200 years and tries to get around in the scottish highlands of the 18th century. I guess you could call it "fantasy or another kind of speculative fiction".

      I only read the first one, "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon. There is a bit too much romance for my taste, but on the other side, the female protagonist is a very strong character. She – unsuprisingly – bonds with a Scot, but they do have a hard time finding each other because of the circumstances, and they do fight a fight together. The plot takes place before the defeat of the Scots by the Empire.

      It's the best roundup I can give; maybe if someone else read the book you could add your two cents.

      4 votes
      1. blitz
        Link Parent
        There's also a TV show on Netflix by the same name, based on the books. I watched the first few episodes and enjoyed it, but didn't end up keeping up with it.

        There's also a TV show on Netflix by the same name, based on the books. I watched the first few episodes and enjoyed it, but didn't end up keeping up with it.

        3 votes
    2. Crestwave
      Link Parent
      Wouldn't some of Sanderson's other works such as Elantris, Warbreaker, and Mistborn era 2 fit that or are you looking for something more specifically power-coupley? If stuff like that count, some...

      Wouldn't some of Sanderson's other works such as Elantris, Warbreaker, and Mistborn era 2 fit that or are you looking for something more specifically power-coupley? If stuff like that count, some other ones I can think of are:

      Six of Crows - the romance is between the very well-developed and important POV characters
      A Court of Mist and Fury - this is the second book in the series as the first doesn't fit and the others weren't particularly good, but the whole book embodies power-coupling if I remember correctly
      The Priory of the Orange Tree - just finished this, and while it has its flaws, I still quite liked it. The romance is between a queen and an undercover (female!) mage sent to protect her; need I say more?

      4 votes
    3. grahamiam
      Link Parent
      Strongly, strongly recommend NK Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy. It has a range of romance that's meaningful to the plot and well-written. Definitely some power-coupling.

      Strongly, strongly recommend NK Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy. It has a range of romance that's meaningful to the plot and well-written. Definitely some power-coupling.

      3 votes
    4. [2]
      Thales
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I have a few suggestions which might fit the bill. The first is perhaps my all-time favourite book, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s a romance/fantasy novel in which two magicians in...

      I have a few suggestions which might fit the bill.

      The first is perhaps my all-time favourite book, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s a romance/fantasy novel in which two magicians in Victorian-era England are pitted against one another in a competition with rules they do not know and masters they do not understand. This is a very different novel from Mistborn, much slower and with a more complicated structure. The timeline can be somewhat dizzying to follow on occasion as it leaps backwards, forwards, and sometimes sideways... but I found it very much worthwhile in the end. The atmosphere in Morgenstern’s writing is sublime—scenes unfold and reveal themselves like a dark, lucid dream.

       

      My second recommendation would be Maggie Stiefvater’s four-book The Raven Cycle, starting with The Raven Boys. Again it’s a bit of a departure from Mistborn (slower to start, real-world setting, etc.) but the relationships between the characters are fantastic and well-developed. Stiefvater’s strengths are similar to Morgenstern’s; ambience, prose, and characters/relationships. I will say that as much as I enjoyed the first two books, I thought the story stumbled in the third and didn’t quite stick the landing in the fourth. The series is still a great read, though, and many others have liked all the books equally.

       

      The Raven Cycle and The Night Circus are both superb in audiobook form, if you prefer to listen. Will Patton and Jim Dale respectively do the narrations.

       


      I’m also tempted to recommend you check out Guy Gavriel Kay’s books (partly because I think they’re a good fit and partly because he’s my favourite author…). Kay mostly writes standalone fantasy novels with little to no magic, and almost all of them include a romantic subplot. He tends to favour bittersweet endings, however, and the romance is not quite as central to the narrative as in The Raven Cycle or The Night Circus.

       


      Edit: somehow I missed this line:

      I'm looking for something more like "power-couple" dynamics, where it's not (at least not only) about the couple finding each other, but them fighting and succeeding together.

      In that case the Raven Cycle still kinda fits; Kay and The Night Circus less so. Maybe look into the science-fiction Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold? I haven't read more than just the first book but I believe there are long-running romantic relationships throughout the series. You could also check out the Wheel of Time but I don't know how well that fits the "well-written male/female characters" request, lol. It definitely is long-running, though, and relationships develop and change over several books. I've also seen it compared to an anime series in terms of its relationships, characters, and plot arcs.

      2 votes
      1. mrnd
        Link Parent
        Thank you! I'll look into these!

        Thank you! I'll look into these!

        3 votes
    5. vektor
      Link Parent
      Maybe look into Ilona Andrews' more recent works. It's the pen name of a couple. As such they bring a interesting perspective. I've been told they write good characters, while also delivering on...

      Maybe look into Ilona Andrews' more recent works. It's the pen name of a couple. As such they bring a interesting perspective. I've been told they write good characters, while also delivering on good fantasy. I can pry for more info if you want me to. I'm just forwarding this.

      2 votes
  3. [11]
    kfwyre
    Link
    I've got a handful of categories that I'm interested in recommendations for. I'm currently populating a personal reading list, so I'd love any and all books in these categories that you can clue...

    I've got a handful of categories that I'm interested in recommendations for. I'm currently populating a personal reading list, so I'd love any and all books in these categories that you can clue me in to!

    • Recommend me a book with a kind of pessimistic futurism (like the Black Mirror television series)

    • Recommend me a book with deep or resonant LGBT/queer themes

    • Recommend me a book that has stuck with you for a long time (5+ years)

    • Recommend me a book that you love that you never see talked about or mentioned

    • Recommend me chilling, non-grotesque horror (e.g. House of Leaves)

    • Recommend me a book that deeply affected you in a strongly emotional way

    4 votes
    1. [5]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I have a single book that covers all four: The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It's one of the bleakest and most emotionally devastating books I have ever read. So much so that I would highly recommend...

      Recommend me a book with a kind of pessimistic futurism (like the Black Mirror television series)

      Recommend me a book that has stuck with you for a long time (5+ years)

      Recommend me chilling, non-grotesque horror (e.g. House of Leaves)

      Recommend me a book that deeply affected you in a strongly emotional way

      I have a single book that covers all four: The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It's one of the bleakest and most emotionally devastating books I have ever read. So much so that I would highly recommend avoiding it if you are in any sort of fragile or unsteady emotional state. It rocked me to my very core. :(

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        mercury
        Link Parent
        I started reading The Road some time ago, but since I'm not American, I didn't really get a lot of references mentioned. I just knew that "Hey JFK was assassinated and it was pretty big", "Hey...

        I started reading The Road some time ago, but since I'm not American, I didn't really get a lot of references mentioned. I just knew that "Hey JFK was assassinated and it was pretty big", "Hey there was this artist Houdini", et cetera. Do you think if I read it further it'd become a better experience? Because honestly I felt that reading through it was excruciating since I can't really relate to any of the cultural themes at all.

        3 votes
        1. cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I found the entire book to be an excruciating experience (emotionally speaking), so I wouldn't really recommend it unless you're of totally sound mind and into misery porn. I also don't remember...

          I found the entire book to be an excruciating experience (emotionally speaking), so I wouldn't really recommend it unless you're of totally sound mind and into misery porn. I also don't remember it having as many pop culture references as you allude to, but I am Canadian (American adjacent) so it's possible that since I already knew all the ones that were brought up and didn't get confused by them as a result, I have simply forgotten about them after all these years. So given all that, I might not be the best person to ask that question, TBH.

          1 vote
      2. [2]
        kfwyre
        Link Parent
        Great recommendation! I've already read it, and I loved it. It felt very much like a literary Fallout or The Last of Us.

        Great recommendation! I've already read it, and I loved it. It felt very much like a literary Fallout or The Last of Us.

        1 vote
        1. cfabbro
          Link Parent
          At least Fallout has some absurdism and zaniness to balance out the bleak elements though... whereas The Road has absolutely none of that. The Last of Us is a pretty apt comparison though.

          At least Fallout has some absurdism and zaniness to balance out the bleak elements though... whereas The Road has absolutely none of that. The Last of Us is a pretty apt comparison though.

          3 votes
    2. krg
      Link Parent
      I believe The Elementary Particles may partially fit the bill. It's certainly pessimistic... but the futurism only really exists in the very beginning and end (from my recollection). Confessions...

      Recommend me a book with a kind of pessimistic futurism (like the Black Mirror television series)

      I believe The Elementary Particles may partially fit the bill. It's certainly pessimistic... but the futurism only really exists in the very beginning and end (from my recollection).

      Recommend me a book that has stuck with you for a long time (5+ years)

      Confessions of an Economic Hitman and Bartleby the Scrivener. (I'd put Evicted here, but it hasn't yet been 5 years.)

      Recommend me chilling, non-grotesque horror (e.g. House of Leaves)

      Oh, definitely Bolaño's 2666. One section does get somewhat gruesome in describing murders, but does so to chilling effect. It's really 5 connected books in one, so you don't necessarily have to read through all ~900 pages in one go. But each successive book builds off knowledge gained from the previous, to some extent. Certainly left me feeling uneasy by the end.

      I'd suggest the boxed set, if you can find it. Breaks the book down into more manageable pieces.

      Recommend me a book that deeply affected you in a strongly emotional way

      I recommended these in the last thread, but I'll throw what weight I have behind them again. I found Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and For the Time Being profound and emotionally effecting pieces of literary non-fiction. The former, written when she was younger and is fairly cheery. The latter, written when she was older and is a bit more bleak. Both beautiful pieces of work, though. Sort of yin-yang in their combination.

      3 votes
    3. imperialismus
      Link Parent
      The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon. Great book that really made me empathize with diaspora communities in a way I never had before, not having any personal experience with it. Also a...

      Recommend me a book that has stuck with you for a long time (5+ years)

      The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon. Great book that really made me empathize with diaspora communities in a way I never had before, not having any personal experience with it. Also a good murder mystery. And you’ll come out of it knowing more Yiddish expressions than you did before, unless you grew up in a Jewish community.

      2 votes
    4. envy
      Link Parent
      1984 Fahrenheit 451 The Tao of Pooh Jonathan Livingston Seagull The complete works of Edgar Allan Poe The Missing Piece meets the Big O Edit: None are new

      Recommend me a book with a kind of pessimistic futurism (like the Black Mirror television series)

      1984

      Fahrenheit 451

      Recommend me a book that has stuck with you for a long time (5+ years)

      The Tao of Pooh

      Recommend me a book that you love that you never see talked about or mentioned

      Jonathan Livingston Seagull

      Recommend me chilling, non-grotesque horror (e.g. House of Leaves)

      The complete works of Edgar Allan Poe

      Recommend me a book that deeply affected you in a strongly emotional way

      The Missing Piece meets the Big O

      Edit: None are new

      2 votes
    5. [2]
      blitz
      Link Parent
      The Unwomanly Face of War In the Soviet Union during WW2, women could hold all the positions that men could in the military. They flew planes, manned tanks, served as officers, etc. When the war...

      Recommend me a book that deeply affected you in a strongly emotional way

      The Unwomanly Face of War

      In the Soviet Union during WW2, women could hold all the positions that men could in the military. They flew planes, manned tanks, served as officers, etc. When the war ended, they didn't get much recognition for their deeds, and mostly returned to the lives they had before the war. Svetlana Alexeivich tracked down a bunch of these women in their older age and interviewed them about their wartime experiences.

      A few of the stories are funny, but most of them are heart-wrenching. Some of them had incredible experiences that they were reluctant to talk about, but Alexeivich got them to share.

      I also have The Last Witnesses by her, which is a series of interviews of people who would have been children in the Soviet Union during WW2 and what they remembered. My grandparents were children during this time, and I've heard a few stories. I haven't summoned the emotional strength to start reading this one yet, though.

      2 votes
      1. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        I read and loved both Voices from Chernobyl and The Unwomanly Face of War. Each are so rich and compelling and haunting, and Alexievich has such an amazing talent at eliciting stories from her...

        I read and loved both Voices from Chernobyl and The Unwomanly Face of War. Each are so rich and compelling and haunting, and Alexievich has such an amazing talent at eliciting stories from her subjects and then telling them in their voices. Her Nobel prize win was absolutely deserved.

        Secondhand Time is on my to-read list, and your post made me aware that she has a new book coming out too! Thank you!

        2 votes
  4. [13]
    dysoco
    (edited )
    Link
    Recommend me a book that feels like reading SCP-Wiki or /r/nosleep I've had a really hard time focusing on reading books for the past years, however, for some reason I can just spend hours in...

    Recommend me a book that feels like reading SCP-Wiki or /r/nosleep

    I've had a really hard time focusing on reading books for the past years, however, for some reason I can just spend hours in SCP-Wiki or /r/nosleep reading about creepy creatures, objects or locations; I also enjoy when stories have a universe in common and share certain lore.

    I wonder if anyone knows these websites and has read anything that feels similar; doesn't necessarily have to be very creepy, could be sci-fi, mythical, historical...

    3 votes
    1. [5]
      grahamiam
      Link Parent
      House of Leaves is a good recommendation that you already got. I'll add on Jeff Vandermeer's Annihilation. The movie is also good, but it has a much different focus than the book. Looming...

      House of Leaves is a good recommendation that you already got. I'll add on Jeff Vandermeer's Annihilation. The movie is also good, but it has a much different focus than the book. Looming creepiness that you know is going to build into something awful, etc.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        kfwyre
        Link Parent
        I'll second Annihilation. I thought the book was wonderful, and I thought the movie adaptation went in its own direction in a good way. I will say that I didn't love the rest of the Southern Reach...

        I'll second Annihilation. I thought the book was wonderful, and I thought the movie adaptation went in its own direction in a good way.

        I will say that I didn't love the rest of the Southern Reach trilogy. Authority and Acceptance both left me cold. Annihilation can easily be read and enjoyed on its own though. I was riveted the whole way through.

        1 vote
        1. grahamiam
          Link Parent
          Annihilation is definitely the high point, and it's kind of impressive how different the other two are. I still enjoyed them, but not the same.

          Annihilation is definitely the high point, and it's kind of impressive how different the other two are. I still enjoyed them, but not the same.

          3 votes
        2. Macil
          Link Parent
          Authority and Acceptance each had some extremely cool details added to the world ... but it felt like the author didn't quite know what to do with them, and there's a ton of padding around them. I...

          Authority and Acceptance each had some extremely cool details added to the world ... but it felt like the author didn't quite know what to do with them, and there's a ton of padding around them.

          I still find myself thinking about the world of the Southern Reach trilogy and trying to think about what the underlying mechanics of the events must be. The author does a great job of giving almost enough information to let you know what's going on, but with enough left out that there's a lot of interesting ambiguity. Though ultimately I think I'd have preferred to get a bit more than that trickle of information and to be allowed a few a-ha moments of realization eventually.

          2 votes
      2. dysoco
        Link Parent
        I did not enjoy the Annihilation movie; I found it somewhat boring and generic, didn't get anything interesting from it, though it might be that I just had a bad day, because it's very appraised....

        I did not enjoy the Annihilation movie; I found it somewhat boring and generic, didn't get anything interesting from it, though it might be that I just had a bad day, because it's very appraised.

        I've heard good things about the book as well, so I might consider it.

        1 vote
    2. [2]
      reifyresonance
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Maybe Ubik? https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/590036.Ubik# or 11/22/63: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10644930-11-22-63 It's a little out there, but you might like Ellis: The Assault on...

      Maybe Ubik?
      https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/590036.Ubik#
      or 11/22/63:
      https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10644930-11-22-63

      It's a little out there, but you might like Ellis: The Assault on Reality
      https://dkmu.org/text/Ellis-The-Assault-on-Reality.pdf

      It chronicles, via recovered chat logs, the beginning of an occult current.

      And if you haven't already, the SCP wiki Tales are good reading too.

      2 votes
      1. dysoco
        Link Parent
        I've actually read Ubik and 11/22/63 (which I enjoyed a lot). Will check out that Ellis thing later, it looks short so shouldn't be too hard for me to focus on finishing.

        I've actually read Ubik and 11/22/63 (which I enjoyed a lot).
        Will check out that Ellis thing later, it looks short so shouldn't be too hard for me to focus on finishing.

        3 votes
    3. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Roadside Picnic (which inspired the Tarkovsky movie Stalker, and the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. videogame series) is great, and reads a lot like an SCP entry or /r/nosleep post, IMO. From a previous comment...

      Recommend me a book that feels like reading SCP-Wiki or /r/nosleep

      Roadside Picnic (which inspired the Tarkovsky movie Stalker, and the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. videogame series) is great, and reads a lot like an SCP entry or /r/nosleep post, IMO. From a previous comment of mine on it:

      The basic premise was really unique and interesting, too. Without giving too much away, it's a story of Alien "invasion" only when the Aliens visited Earth, instead of doing any of the standard scifi trope stuff, the event was basically that of a Roadside Picnic to them. That is to say, they showed up, barely noticed the humans who were tantamount to ants to them, did whatever Alien travelers with incomprehensibly advanced technology do when taking a quick pitstop on another world, and left a bunch of trash behind when they left. The story is about "stalkers" that venture into the exceptionally dangerous wasteland left behind by the Aliens in order to recover their trash (also usually exceptionally dangerous, but also exceptionally powerful) in order to sell it on the black market.

      1 vote
    4. envy
      Link Parent
      The call of Cthulhu The Metamorphosis Naked Lunch Frankenstein Dracula

      The call of Cthulhu

      The Metamorphosis

      Naked Lunch

      Frankenstein

      Dracula

      1 vote
    5. [2]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      Dathan Auerbach's Penpal actually started as a series of /r/nosleep posts.

      Dathan Auerbach's Penpal actually started as a series of /r/nosleep posts.

      1 vote
      1. dysoco
        Link Parent
        I've actually read Penpal (the story in Reddit) a long time ago, I don't know if the book would be too similar or not.

        I've actually read Penpal (the story in Reddit) a long time ago, I don't know if the book would be too similar or not.

        1 vote
  5. [4]
    Turtle
    Link
    Recommend me a book written by someone outside of the Eurosphere (including North America)/"the West".

    Recommend me a book written by someone outside of the Eurosphere (including North America)/"the West".

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      grahamiam
      Link Parent
      I could give you a ton, but I'll try to hold back! Han Kang's Human Acts. She won the Man Booker International for The Vegetarian, and that book is good, but this one is even better. It's about a...

      I could give you a ton, but I'll try to hold back!

      1. Han Kang's Human Acts. She won the Man Booker International for The Vegetarian, and that book is good, but this one is even better. It's about a group of people who are in proximity to the student uprising of 1980 in South Korea, and it's about the way trauma echoes through a community and the entirety of people's lives. The Vegetarian is also about trauma, but one individual's - this is collective. Human Acts is masterful writing and about a very devastating subject.
      2. Hiromi Kawakami's The Briefcase. A disaffected 30-something woman eats and drinks alone in bars after work and has a drifting life. She happens across a former teacher who is 30 years older than her and they end up drinking and eating alone/together. It ends up a relationship, but a really strange/quiet/slow one. It's very beautiful in, again, a kind of sad way.
      3. Inio Asano's Solanin. This is a graphic novel about a group of college friends who are facing the realities of adult life just after college. They're all dealing with it poorly but in different ways. Great art, lots of humor, but also just so accurately paints the uncertainty of that time in life.

      And, finally, have to rep Taiwan for a few suggestions:

      1. Wu Ming-yi's The Stolen Bicycle is about a father who disappeared during the narrator's childhood with a bicycle. The story follows the adult narrator as he becomes obsessed with finding that bicycle. It's very much about obsession, as well as sorrow/loss. It ties in some weird bicycle and elephant history - I learned about the Japanese's use of bikes during WW2, for example. Another pretty slow book, but worth it I think.
      2. Qiu Miaojin's Last Words from Montmartre is about an intense, obsessive relationship and the narrator's reaction to the breakup. It's told primarily in letters that are so full of pain but are also so melodramatic. It made me think about how simultaneous intense and silly young love is.
      5 votes
      1. Turtle
        Link Parent
        Thank you so much! Those all sound fascinating!

        Thank you so much! Those all sound fascinating!

        2 votes
    2. evrim
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore. I'm almost through it, and I love it. Also, this is my third Murakami book, the first two being Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and those were...

      Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore. I'm almost through it, and I love it.

      Also, this is my third Murakami book, the first two being Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and those were also great.

      2 votes
  6. [6]
    CALICO
    Link
    Mostly repost, still looking for more along these lines: Recommend me a sci-fi book (or series) with at least one of the following elements: Brain-Computer Interfaces Artificial General...

    Mostly repost, still looking for more along these lines:

    Recommend me a sci-fi book (or series) with at least one of the following elements:
    Brain-Computer Interfaces
    Artificial General Intelligence
    Virtual Reality
    Colonization of the Solar System
    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. Hard or Firm sci-fi preferred. Aliens optional.

    Prior Suggestions:
    Nexus + Crux by Raamez Naan
    Daemon + Freedom by Daniel Suarez
    Pandora's Star + Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton

    3 votes
    1. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Maybe an obvious one, and I haven't read it yet myself, but The Expanse novel series undoubtedly has a lot of those elements you mention. A lot of cyberpunk also generally does as well, almost as...

      Maybe an obvious one, and I haven't read it yet myself, but The Expanse novel series undoubtedly has a lot of those elements you mention.

      A lot of cyberpunk also generally does as well, almost as a prerequisite (although with varying degrees of "hardness" in terms of the science involved). E.g. William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy, and many of Neal Stephenson's books. And if you count comic books as "books", I would also recommend checking out Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan as well, though it definitely falls more on the soft rather than hard scifi side.

      3 votes
    2. mercury
      Link Parent
      You might enjoy The Lifecycle of Software Object by Ted Chiang. It's a short-story (more of a novella going by it's size) about a world where people spend most of their time Animal Crossing-esque...

      You might enjoy The Lifecycle of Software Object by Ted Chiang.
      It's a short-story (more of a novella going by it's size) about a world where people spend most of their time Animal Crossing-esque virtual worlds, and there is a new form of virtual life/pets, Digiform developed by some company. It's decent, although not the best of Chiang's works.

      3 votes
    3. kfwyre
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect by Roger Williams I don't know if it fits exactly what you're looking for as It isn't near-future, and it was only technically published this millennium (2002)...

      The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect by Roger Williams

      I don't know if it fits exactly what you're looking for as It isn't near-future, and it was only technically published this millennium (2002) but was actually written in the last one (1994). Plus, this is more a mention than a recommendation, as I myself did not love the book, but I figured I'd put it on your radar in case it's in line with what you're wanting.

      2 votes
    4. krg
      Link Parent
      The Martian Chronicles touches on a lot of those issues, though I wouldn't categorize it as hard sc-fi. Nevertheless, the writing is beautiful and it's definitely worth a read.

      The Martian Chronicles touches on a lot of those issues, though I wouldn't categorize it as hard sc-fi. Nevertheless, the writing is beautiful and it's definitely worth a read.

      2 votes
    5. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      In another comment, @mercury recommended "The Lifecycle of Software Objects" by Ted Chiang. I just finished Exhalation, a book of his short stories which includes "Lifecycle". I'll go ahead and...

      In another comment, @mercury recommended "The Lifecycle of Software Objects" by Ted Chiang. I just finished Exhalation, a book of his short stories which includes "Lifecycle". I'll go ahead and extend @mercury's recommendation to the whole book itself, as almost all of the stories in it hit on at least one of the first three items in your list in pretty profound ways.

      2 votes
  7. [3]
    user2
    Link
    Recommend me a book that will motivate me to get out of bed and try to improve my life; I am lost and depressed..
    • Recommend me a book that will motivate me to get out of bed and try to improve my life;

    I am lost and depressed..

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      That's a really tough one, since what works for some people not only doesn't work for others when it comes to dealing with depression and feeling lost, but may in fact make them feel worse. But...

      That's a really tough one, since what works for some people not only doesn't work for others when it comes to dealing with depression and feeling lost, but may in fact make them feel worse. But one book that I feel is relatively safe to recommend, and I found helped brighten my outlook quite a bit, was Prof. Hans Rosling's Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think... which was actually mentioned by another user, @JackA, recently in a topic about battling feeling hopelessness. Copying their comment (and my response) here for you:

      JackA
      I highly recommend you read Factfulness by Hans Rosling, it's a statistician explaining in great detail how despite all the negativity you hear day in and day out the world is rapidly improving in almost every aspect. It was the only thing out of all the bullshit self help books that actually let me start being happy instead of worrying about the world. I keep myself informed with the going ons in politics but I don't let it consume me, focus only on what you can change and you'll be a happier person. If you really think you can specifically change something really important go for it, but nobody can change everything. The effort you'll expend trying to know and fix everything will spread you too thin to have a fufilling life.

      cfabbro
      RIP. He genuinely changed my perspective from that of being a hopeless pessimist to that of a wary optimist, so I wholeheartedly second the recommendation, intuxikated. And to start you off, here is the 'In Memoriam' playlist of his TED Talks, if you want to get a taste of what Mr. Rosling can offer you before diving into his book: https://www.ted.com/playlists/474/the_best_hans_rosling_talks_yo

      2 votes
      1. user2
        Link Parent
        I have already read that book, thanks for the suggestion though! Having said that, it wouldn't help my current state of affairs. I would think "So ya, the world is in a good place, it's just me...

        I have already read that book, thanks for the suggestion though! Having said that, it wouldn't help my current state of affairs. I would think "So ya, the world is in a good place, it's just me then. Good for them."... Thanks though @cfabbro. I don't think there's a book that helps (perhaps Feeling Good by David Burns or similar books), I just wanted to see if anyone had any suggestion!

        1 vote
  8. [8]
    mercury
    Link
    Recommend be a book that's a period drama/adventure-of-going-on-a-journey-ish, perhaps swashbuckler, like the Three Musketeers (and even it's sequel, Twenty Years After). I'd read Ten Years later,...

    Recommend be a book that's a period drama/adventure-of-going-on-a-journey-ish, perhaps swashbuckler, like the Three Musketeers (and even it's sequel, Twenty Years After). I'd read Ten Years later, the third in the series, but I want to take a break from the beloved musketeers for some time.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Historical fiction novels are amongst my absolute favorite type of books to read, although I lean more towards the military history rather than pure adventure/swashbuckling ones... so prepare for...

      Historical fiction novels are amongst my absolute favorite type of books to read, although I lean more towards the military history rather than pure adventure/swashbuckling ones... so prepare for a wall of recommendations in that vein! ;)

      Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey–Maturin series - British Royal Navy focused historical fiction set during the Napoleonic wars. The movie Master & Commander was based on the first few books of this series, and did a good job of representing the overall tone/feel of the series, so if you like that movie then the books will probably tickle your fancy as well.

      C.S. Forrester's Horatio Hornblower series - Similar to Aubrey-Maturin, it's about the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars, but with a bit more adventure/swashbuckling and focused instead on a single protagonist, Horatio Hornblower, who starts off as a midshipman, and through his heroism, tenacity and guile manages to rise through the ranks. There is an absolutely amazing BBC TV series based on it that I would also highly recommend watching as well.

      Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series - Another series taking place during the Napoleonic wars that also has a fantastic BBC TV series based on it (starring Sean Bean AKA Ned Stark from GoT). This one focuses on the British Army instead of Navy this time though, and follows the protagonist Richard Sharpe's similar journey through the wars and rise through the ranks.

      James Clavell's The Asian Saga - This series spans 300+ years, and is incredibly varied in their subject and region each book takes place in, but tied together loosely by the protagonists familial lineage... so you might not actually be interested in them all (even though I highly recommend them!). But given your penchant for historical adventure, I would at the very least recommend reading the first 3 books (in the internal chronological order) starting with Shōgun, which is about an English explorer who gets shipwrecked in feudal Japan and becomes embroiled in the politics of the time. Imagine The Last Samurai but with more political intrigue, and you won't be too far off. p.s. Shogun had a decent (though now very dated) TV series based on it too.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        mercury
        Link Parent
        Thankyou I'll start with watching the series since they take less time haha. I actually wanted to see something like The Last Samurai for a long time. I recently added the book to my read list.

        Thankyou I'll start with watching the series since they take less time haha.

        I actually wanted to see something like The Last Samurai for a long time. I recently added the book to my read list.

        3 votes
        1. cfabbro
          Link Parent
          NP, and yeah that's totally understandable. The TV shows are much easier (and less intimidating) to dive into than the books. But I would definitely still recommend checking out the books if you...

          NP, and yeah that's totally understandable. The TV shows are much easier (and less intimidating) to dive into than the books. But I would definitely still recommend checking out the books if you do wind up enjoying the shows. :)

          2 votes
    2. [2]
      krg
      Link Parent
      Oh, oh... if you don't mind a farce, give John Barth's The Sot-Weed Factor a go! It lampoons those types of stories, but even if you take it straight it's pretty good. I suppose Don Quixote fits...

      Oh, oh... if you don't mind a farce, give John Barth's The Sot-Weed Factor a go! It lampoons those types of stories, but even if you take it straight it's pretty good. I suppose Don Quixote fits that bill, as well.

      3 votes
      1. mercury
        Link Parent
        Well I haven't read any farce of the heroic books. Must be fun. I'll check it out. Thankyou.

        Well I haven't read any farce of the heroic books. Must be fun. I'll check it out. Thankyou.

        3 votes
    3. [2]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      Also check out Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle trilogy for 17th and 18th century science and adventure, and The Mongoliad Cycle for an interesting attempt at depicting realistic combat (and other...

      Also check out Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle trilogy for 17th and 18th century science and adventure, and The Mongoliad Cycle for an interesting attempt at depicting realistic combat (and other adventures) in the Mogol Empire and medieval Europe.

      3 votes
      1. mercury
        Link Parent
        Both of these books seem very interesting (although huge). Thankyou I'll check them out!

        Both of these books seem very interesting (although huge). Thankyou I'll check them out!

        3 votes
  9. [8]
    krg
    Link
    recommend me a book that isn’t sci-fi/fantasy (n?)or some self-help/productivity-focused/pop-(insert field) non-fiction thing.

    recommend me a book that isn’t sci-fi/fantasy (n?)or some self-help/productivity-focused/pop-(insert field) non-fiction thing.

    2 votes
    1. Sand
      Link Parent
      Around the World in Eighty Days

      Around the World in Eighty Days

      3 votes
    2. [4]
      blitz
      Link Parent
      The Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov Chekhov's stories are really something else. Realistic people living (usually) tragic lives. I first started reading Chekhov because of a letter that Kurt...

      The Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov

      Chekhov's stories are really something else. Realistic people living (usually) tragic lives. I first started reading Chekhov because of a letter that Kurt Vonnegut wrote to one of his children. Part of it goes:

      I am going to order you to do something new, if you haven’t done it already. Get a collection of the short stories of Chekhov and read every one. Then read “Youth” by Joseph Conrad. I’m not suggesting that you do these things. I am ordering you to do them.

      Last note: When reading a translated work, the translation is really important and can significantly change the voice or even the meaning of a work, so you'd better make sure it's a good translation. A lot of Russian literature was translated into English by Constance Garnett, who did a truly awful job, but she was the only one doing it so many people have only read her translations. Pevear and Volokhonsky, as far as I can tell, are excellent translators and I can't recommend them highly enough.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        krg
        Link Parent
        Good rec! So good, in fact, that I've already read the P&V translation of Chekhov's short-story collection! Rated it a 3/5 when I finished it. Short-story collections are hard to rate. Without a...

        Good rec! So good, in fact, that I've already read the P&V translation of Chekhov's short-story collection! Rated it a 3/5 when I finished it. Short-story collections are hard to rate. Without a central theme, I find it difficult to latch onto an idea that I can carry with me to the end...though the writer's style permeates. It'd be better to rate each story on their own rather than the entire collection. Most collections I read end up in the 3/5 range. I guess I don't have to rate things...

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          blitz
          Link Parent
          Yeah, I had to read quite a few of his stories before he really "clicked" for me and I recognized his brilliance. My absolute favorite story is "A Boring Story". Do you have a favorite?

          Yeah, I had to read quite a few of his stories before he really "clicked" for me and I recognized his brilliance. My absolute favorite story is "A Boring Story". Do you have a favorite?

          2 votes
          1. krg
            Link Parent
            Honestly, it's been a while and I can't remember. I vaguely recall the one you're mentioning, though. Well, I remember that title, at least...

            Honestly, it's been a while and I can't remember. I vaguely recall the one you're mentioning, though. Well, I remember that title, at least...

            1 vote
    3. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      There's a lot of space to work with in your recommendation request, so I'll scattershot three different books I've recently loved: The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein It's a nonfiction book...

      There's a lot of space to work with in your recommendation request, so I'll scattershot three different books I've recently loved:

      • The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

      It's a nonfiction book about a woman who cleans up extreme situations: hoarding, suicides, etc. Unlike most nonfiction, the author writes with a very personal tone and is openly mesmerized by her subject and involved in her subject's life. The author uses her words to pull us into the magnetism she feels. Most nonfiction is scholarly, but this read is much more intimate and personal.

      • House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III

      This is probably more well known for its movie adaptation (which is also great, by the way). The title makes it sound like it's a horror book, but instead it's a slow-burn drama about an ownership dispute over a house. What makes the book great is that all of the characters are complex and human, relatable and flawed. I've described it before as "a book without an antagonist" because there isn't any one person who's fully, clearly in the wrong. You get to see all sides and empathize with everyone, which makes the dispute all the more meaningful and difficult.

      • The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins

      This is a modern folk tale comic about a gigantic beard that is evil.

      2 votes
  10. [5]
    kfwyre
    Link
    @mrnd @mercury @AugustusFerdinand @Tech Topic-level pings don't yet work (I think?) so I'm using this comment to let you four know that you should repost your requests from the old thread here so...

    @mrnd
    @mercury
    @AugustusFerdinand
    @Tech

    Topic-level pings don't yet work (I think?) so I'm using this comment to let you four know that you should repost your requests from the old thread here so that they can get more visibility and responses. Sorry about the extra legwork! I wasn't sure if the old thread would regain traction or not.

    Also, please mark this comment as off-topic so that it stays at the bottom and doesn't clog up the recommendations!

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      Ping works.

      Ping works.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        kfwyre
        Link Parent
        It should work in comments just fine. If I were to put the mentions up in the topic text though, I don't think you would have gotten notified, as I don't think that's been implemented yet.

        It should work in comments just fine. If I were to put the mentions up in the topic text though, I don't think you would have gotten notified, as I don't think that's been implemented yet.

        2 votes