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ohmyword's avatar

Book recommendations?

Asked by ohmyword (608 points ) June 1st, 2012

Just looking for new reading material… what book(s) do you tend to recommend to people frequently?

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22 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Do you like mysteries? Try the Inspector Montalbano series by Andreas Camilleri.

The Master and Commander series by Patrick O’brian are about the British navy during the Napoleonic wars, are very well written and very accurate portrayals of life on board sailing war ships.

And I recommend anything by Ian McEwen, Cormac McCarthy, Roddy Doyle, or Michael Chabon.

Philosophile's avatar

I’m a big fan of the Ender’s Game and Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty. For something a bit more serious, A History of the World in Six Glasses is actually an interesting read for a book teaching economics through the trade of necessities and luxuries and the history of drinkable liquid’s status as holy. The Inkheart trilogy is also a simpler, more relaxed, and captivating read, but it still retains its literary merit. A good non-fiction is the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Rarebear's avatar

What kind of books do you like to read?

augustlan's avatar

It would be a big help to know what kinds of books you’ve enjoyed in the past. Everyone’s taste is different. Even my own taste is all over the map. I love just about anything from Stephen King, my favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird, another old favorite is East of Eden, and I recently enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy and The Help.

bewailknot's avatar

My own taste in reading is all over, too. I think one of my favorites was the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series. The first time through I read them completely out of order, 3, 2 and then 1, thanks to their popularity at the library and how long the wait lists were.

augustlan's avatar

I loved those, too, @bewailknot! So sad there won’t be any more from the author. :(

jrpowell's avatar

Hermann Hesse..

His worked made me a tolerable person.

marinelife's avatar

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

bewailknot's avatar

@augustlan and so sad he never knew how popular his books were.

SuperMouse's avatar

Instead of recommending books, I recommend www.goodreads.com. However, if I was to recommend a book I would suggest Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.

@Philosophile, have your read Going Bovine (also by Libba Bray)? Is A Great and Terrible Beauty in the same vein?

zenvelo's avatar

@SuperMouse Lonesome Dove is one of the most enthralling books I have ever read. When I was reading it I took it to work on the trading floor to read on breaks. We had a rotating break schedule then to make sure there was always staff working, and a coworker asked if she could read it on her breaks too. That book ended up with five different book marks at one point, as we all took turns reading it.

SuperMouse's avatar

@zenvelo it is my very favorite book of all time and I loved Streets of Laredo almost as much! Thanks for the great visual of a bunch of people handing the book off to take turns reading it. Have you read much else by Larry McMurtry?

Philosophile's avatar

@Supermouse I have not. A Great and Terrible Beauty is a Victorian fantasy, with a lot of themes of people overcoming those who try to hold them down, whether female, low class, or other.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Philosophile I am working today (at a library) and I just pulled it to give it a go! l loved Going Bovine and I’m looking forward to reading this one. I found another book by Libba Bray called Beauty Queens, I think I’ll check that one out as well.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

My personal favorites- the Harry Potter series, the Hunger Games trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, everything by Tess Gerritsen, Kay Hooper’s “Bishop” series, anything by Dean Koontz, and the Shades of Grey trilogy (if you’re old enough, LOL).

zenvelo's avatar

@SuperMouse I have read a variety of McMurtry; some I loved and some not so much.

ohmyword's avatar

@SuperMouse I just got into goodreads actually… I guess I haven’t rated enough books to get proper recommendations though

Just a general question… I have interest in all books really, I mostly read non-fiction though. Was looking for fiction series? Or just good history, philosophy, sociology books I’ve missed

Philosophile's avatar

@SuperMouse You stole my recommendation! XD

bookish1's avatar

@Ohmyword: I’m your man for history recommendations :)

The Great Cat Massacre by Robert Darnton (one of the first BIG watersheds in cultural history)
Sweetness and Power by Sidney Mintz (he’s an anthropologist but this is mostly a history of sugar in the context of colonial and industrial history)
Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning (a study of middle aged not-terribly-ideological civilian policemen, most not even members of the Nazi Party, who killed Jews in Poland)
Dark Continent by Mark Mazower (a synthetic history of Europe in the 20th century)

And a novel I recommended to a friend just yesterday is Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. It follows the lives of several people who were born on the eve of India’s independence in 1948, and it is a fantastic (in the true sense of the word!) read.

Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe is a novel I have read so much that I’ve almost got it memorized.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

Also a McMurtry fan. @SuperMouse, most of his books are worth picking up, although like many writers, the earlier works are the best. Most of his books have been adapted into films, so try to read the books first, if you can. For example, his first book, Horseman, Pass By, was made into “Hud”. I recommend Horseman, Pass By, The Last Picture Show (also a movie), Lonesome Dove (which you’ve read, and is an outstanding TV film as well), Streets of Laredo (second book after Lonesome Dove), Dead Man’s Walk (third after Streets of Laredo), and Comanche Moon (last in the Lonesome Dove series). I enjoyed Terms of Endearment (also a movie), Anything for Billy, and Buffalo Girls, but I don’t count those three among his best. Some of the sequels to his other books, such as Texasville and its sequels, and The Evening Star are good, but not as good as the others. I still need to read the Berrybender Narratives, though, when I have time.

As for history, I also can offer recommendations there, but a lot of history is academic tomes; while they are good, they can be dry. You probably will enjoy popular history more. A couple I recommend are Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage, about the Lewis & Clark expedition (lots of great books by great historians on this subject, but Ambrose’s work is a good introduction to Lewis and Clark), and A Voyage Long and Strange, by Tony Horwitz, which examines episodes in American history from a travelogue perspective, mixed in with the “real” story (you will never view Hernando De Soto the same way again, I promise you). There’s also Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s book, A Midwife’s Tale, an engaging bit of social history drawn from the journal of an 18th century midwife in Maine.

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