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In the spirit of Jack's movie recommendations thread, let's start a book recommendations thread! (I'm assuming you folks read too! :) )

Here are a few of mine to get the ball rolling...

A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson

This is one of the greatest history books I've ever read. Bryson tells the most amazing stories in the most engaging and entertaining way, without being too "lowest common denominator." This should be a standard text in school history classes! Among many other subjects, he has a couple chapters on the (scientifically-accepted) origins of the universe that frankly had me unnerved! Amazing...

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon - this is a fascinating mystery told from the perspective of a 12-year-old autistic boy. Really wonderful read. I read it, then gave it to Holly, who read and loved it, then gave it to my 13-year-old daughter, who also loved it. Taught me a lot about autism too.

Collapse, by Jared Diamond - I haven't been able to put this one down...a detailed and ominous accounting (by a Pulitzer Prize winner) of how and why societies (past and present) have made choices that doomed them (or in a few cases saved them). Lots of lessons for today. For you folks in Montana, I always thought Montana was a beautiful state...but this book made me realize how badly screwed-up it is too! (Not that other states aren't as well, but this book shatters the myth of Montana as the "idyllic paradise.")

An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard - anything by Annie Dillard is great (she wrote "Pilgrim At Tinker Creek"). I love this one---an autobiographical account of her childhood growing up in Pittsburgh. Pure Americana, and told by one of the most eloquent writers alive today.

The Future of Ideas, by Laurence Lessig - a very relevant book for today, about the whole issue of intellectual property, the Internet, and copyright law. Lessig shows how rabidly anti-progress groups like the RIAA and MPAA are, and how there is a middle road that allows reasonable protection/ownership to creators without squashing creativity and innovation (for fear of lawsuits and getting slapped down). Excellent read!


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The mighty morphin' Power rangers coloring book is the most advanced I read...

BUt if you want to read something worthwhile...

Life of Pi (Yann Martel): BOy live on life raft with Tiger

Under the Banner of Heaven. (J. Krakauer): Mormons are whacked

and then just quick and fun...

A Salty Piece of land (J. Buffet) Cowboy becomes pirate

who's your Caddy (Rick Rielly) Caddying for the best, worst and interesting golfers

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Man, this is DEPRESSING! :eek:

The movie thread gets 50+ responses and hundreds of views...while the book thread gets hardly anything! Okay, okay...it's the first day for the thread...but it's looking pretty bleak that we're such a TV-oriented society. They say nobody reads anymore...I hope it isn't true!

Surely you guys read something other than BOL and magazines!


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OK, OK. If you like SF&F, here's a few choices:

Anything by Emma Bull but especially War for the Oaks

Anything by Guy Gavriel Kay, favourite is A Song for Arbonne

Most of Barbra Hambly's stuff, start with Dragonsbane

Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series, just find the first one and plough through the whole lot.

Patricia McKillip, start with the Riddlemaster trilogy, I believe the first book is The Riddlemaster of Hed

Neal Stephenson, try Cryptonomicon

For thrillers, I love the Prey series by John Sandford. Also if you haven't read Red Dragon or The Silence of the Lambs, you're missing a couple of excellent thrillers. Give Hannibal a miss.

Just finished reading The Salmon of Doubt, a collection of various essays, talks, letters to the editor and a half-finished book by Douglas Adams. Marvelous stuff, and just the thing to get you tuned up for the upcoming Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie. And if you haven't read the books, what are you waiting for?

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Nothing terribly recent or obscure, but they are food related, and most of us eat...

<B>Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain</B> Very funny account of one man's career in the restaurant business, climbing the ladder to executive chef. Find out why the two worst words to combine at a restaurant are "sunday" and "brunch".

<B>Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser</B> Follows development of fast food industry (oddly enough). I won't be able to do it justice here - plenty of other reviews floating about. The easily-queased might want to skip the chapter on beef "production".

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If your taste in literature runs to natural history, you might enjoy the following:

<I>Beautiful Swimmers</I> by William Warner

<I>Ravens in Winter</I> by Bernd Heinrich

And for a great book on how skiing (and snowboarding) works:

<I>The Skier's Edge</I> by Ron LeMaster

<img src="http://tinypic.com/4j3oxv" alt="Vail powder last week">

Hope it's still snowing where you are!



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The earlier Jared Diamond book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" is great - I haven't read "Collapse" yet, though. The first deals with geography and environment in the shaping of various cultures' fates.

Kurzweil's "The Age of Spiritual Machines" is a great read about his predictions for the future w/regards to computer artificial intelligence, consciousness, and how we'll all live forever once we can ditch these stupid meat bags we currently reside in.

John Gribbin's "In Search of Schrodinger's Cat" is a really excellent way to make your head explode if you're into reading books written for the layman about quantum physics, and how nothing makes any intuitive sense at all down there...

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try some of the lesser known fare by Jack London. Jack was much more than " To build a fire", he was an adventurer, sailor, labor activist, social commentator, socialist, prophet, surfer,and ultimatly doomed. His works spanned the industrial ghetto's of late 19th century london to the sunny south pacific and beyond.

He managed to cram two lifetimes into his short 40 years

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But anything by Hemingway is good. My personal fav is "The Sun also Rises". If your into WW2 history there's a ton of good stuff, "A Bridge to Far" by Cornelius Ryan, "Patton, a study in command" by H. Essame, "Armageddon" by Max Hastings, anything Stephen Ambrose writes, Greek/Roman history "Gates of Fire" by Steven Pressfield is a great story about the battle for Thermopylae (300 Spartans take on 10's of 1000's of Persians) "Alexander of Macedon" by Peter Green (the story of Alexander the Great) Comedy, Dennis Miller "The Rants" the airplane one is the best....."Saturday Night" by Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad, the unofficial down and dirty story about the behind the scenes goings on's of the early (Chevy Chase, John Belushi, etc.) SNL cast, Jay Mohr's "Gasping for Airtime", didn't realize the guy suffered from panic attacks, interesting read though, Stephen Kings "Dark Tower" series, (he lost me at the Wolves of Calla) "Driving Mr. Albert" by Michael Paterniti, hilarious story about Einsteins brain and a guy who kept pieces of it in a tupperware bowl, "A brief history of time" by Stephen Hawking, the "Einstein" of our generation, uh lets see, that about 2 shelves off the old book case. I could keep going, but I'm sure I've scared enough of you by now, point is reading something is better than reading nothing ....:D



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Holy Blood, Holy Grail Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh

Messianic Legacy Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln

Beyond Belief, The Secret Gospel of Thomas Elaine Pagels

The 12th Planet Zecharia Sitchin

The Legend of Prince Madoc and The White Indians Dana Olson

The Hiram Key Christiopher Knight, Robert Lomas

The Templar Revelation Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince

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Gotta second the recommendation for Anthony Bourdain; I read his other book about eating all over the world - think it's called <u>A Cook's Tour</u> and it was awesome.


"A Gambler's Tale," Junichi Saga (Also titled "Confessions of a Yakuza"). An amazing biography/autobiography of a Japanese mob boss who was active from the turn of the century to post-WWII. Worth two of that silly piece of geisha fiction.

"Stars my Destination" Alfred Bester. You guys have already read this, right?

"The Torturer's Apprentice" John Biguenet. Stunning short stories - very sad that his first novel "Oyster" is nowhere near the same standard.

"Bombardiers," Po Bronson. Catch-22 on Wall Street. Funny stuff.

I know I'm getting old 'cause I kind of like Saul Bellow and I freaking love most everything I've read by Philip Roth. "I Married a Communist" is probably my favorite Roth book.

Oh yeah, and anything by Mark Helprin.

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I read...alot I pretty much keep at least 3-5 books going at all times...at the moment I have 7 but 3 are work/graphics related so I don't count that so much as reading as more like learning.

I have a half dozen different Manga I follow,

the Jordan series,

the Goodkind series,


Jany Wurts,

R.A Salvatore,

anything (and I do mean anything) by Neil Gaiman (I often reread Gaiman that I own),

for quick read Micheal Stackpole writes really well no mater the genre (StarWars, Battle Tech, and a bunch of his own fantasy stuff), he does political history in a captivating way.

Klugs book was good,

The Mutt (Rodney Mullen the king of freestyle skateboarding) another good read though not on Klugs level

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Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card

There's about 5 books in that series now, I lost track... they're all very good. So is just about anything by Card (except Lost Boys). He's very into ethics and right-vs-wrong, and people faced with tough ethical decisions.

FIASCO by Frank Partnoy

Quasi-autobiographical book about a Wall Street derivatives trader. Names have been changed of course. It's really interesting to see how that place works, and he's an entertaining writer.

Hyperion, by Dan Simmons

There are four books in this series, the first two (Hyperion & Fall Of Hyperion) absolutely kick ass. Simmons is a great storyteller. The plot is complex and fun to unravel.

Watchers, by Dean Koontz.

Great book. He's written a few good ones,but the last thing I read by Koontz was Intensity, which absolutely sucked. I kept waiting for it to get good, and then it ended, still sucking.

Surely You Must Be Joking, Mr. Feynman

Richard Feynman's autobiography / memior. That guy is my hero.

Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson

An epic set place in the not-so-distant future, on Mars as it is terraformed. Not quite Ender's Game or Hyperion, but still very good. Lots of interesting 'hard science fiction' stuff about how Mars might be made habitable, plus lots of interesting political and social stuff.

Imajica, Cliver Barker

Barker is generally sort of hit-and-miss, but this one is just awesome.

The Crook Factory, Dan Simmons

Half documentary, half speculative historical fiction about Ernest Hemingway on his estate in Cuba in WWII. It's really interesting.

The Trigger, Arthur C Clarke

What if guns stopped working?

Godel Escher Bach, Dougas Hofstader

From the basis of number theory to artificial intelligence. Surprisingly light and entertaining reading, in places. Hard math problems in other places.

anything by Robert Ludlum

I went on a Ludlum binge several years ago. He's written a lot of good stuff. If you like complex plots, you'll like his stuff. John Grisham's too.

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Originally posted by NateW

Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card

There's about 5 books in that series now, I lost track... they're all very good. So is just about anything by Card (except Lost Boys). He's very into ethics and right-vs-wrong, and people faced with tough ethical decisions.

A great book...personally didn't like any of the follow ups, but the original was awesome.

Another on to add to the list:

The Black Mass - The story of boston Mobster Whitey Bulger, and the corruption of the FBI

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Guest jeremiah

I always recommend 'The Milagro Beanfield War' by John Nichols. Ignore the 2nd rate movie that of the same name, just read the book. The one good thing about the movie is that the book was reprinted. I was getting tired of spending $20 on used paperback versions of it.

Other great books:

'The General in His Labyrinth' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I generally love anything that Marquez writes, but this is the one I enjoyed the most, probably because I never had to read it for a class.

'Travels with Charlie' by John Steinbeck. The greatest American author writing about a road trip with his dog. Then you can read 'Cannery Row', which is one of the funniest, most touching books I've ever read. You left coasters can then go visit the museum in Monterry.

''The Cryptonomicon' and 'Snow Crash' by Neil Stevenson. Cyberpunk fiction by a literate and insightful author. Also read 'Mother Earth, Mother Board', Stevenson's Wired Magazine article about building FLAG (Fiberoptic Link Around the Globe). Probably the best thing Wired ever published, and something I re-read regularly.


'Vineland' by Thomas Pynchon. I am working through 'Mason & Dixon' slowly, have never been able to get through 'Gravity's Rainbow', but I loved Vineland.

'The Bone People' by Keri Hulme. A novel of very flawed people in New Zealand. Won a lot of literary prized, but not many people have heard of it.

Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy, 'All the Pretty Horses', 'The Crossing', and

Cities on the Plains'.

Just about everything that Larry McMurtry ever wrote, but especially ''Lonesome Dove'.

'Skinny Legs and All' by Tom Robbins. Then you can start reading all of his works.

'The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman' by Hunter S. Thompson. This is his collected letters from 1955 (high school) through 1967 (when 'Hells Angels' was published). A suprisingly insightful and unvarnished insight into the creative process of someone who truly wrote to live. I'm still amazed at how Thompson basically saved a carbon copy of every letter he ever wrote, and spent considerable money shipping these huge trunks of correspondence around the world when he was basically broke and living off friends. Hmmm, I just ordered 'Fear and Loathing in America', I guess I know what I'll be reading this weekend, unless I head up to Killington.


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Originally posted by ncermak

A great book...personally didn't like any of the follow ups, but the original was awesome.

The original Ender's Game is a classic of science fiction. The followup was worth reading. The rest I just couldn't get into.

Similarily with Dune - the original is great, the followup sucks, the third book is worth your time, the rest are just Herbert and his heirs cashing in on the franchise.

Feist is not bad, I can't get into Eddings or Jordan. Nothing ever happens, for 14 books at a time. If you want the opposite, where a lot happens in a short time, check out the old Fahfard and the Grey Mouser short stories by Fritz Leiber. Or if you like your trilogies but with a little more plot, try The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay. Hardly time to catch your breath over three books, so much stuff happens. One of the things I like about Kay is that he really draws characters well (a consistent thing among authors I like) and then isn't afraid to kill them off - so you are never at a point where you're completely sure what's going to happen.

Switching gears back to thrillers, another author whose work I like is Trevanian. Check out Shibumi, very suspenseful and also funny. Also good are The Eiger Sanction and The Loo Sanction.

Fun with martial arts - The Ninja by Lustbader. Complete hooey, but well-written and entertaining hooey. The Man Who Never Missed by Steve Perry combines s/f and m/a to great effect, and there's a bunch of sequels that aren't quite as good but still worth your time.

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Couple of good ones, find them on Ebay cheap.

"WILL" by G Gordon Liddy- even if you don't like him his book is facinating true story.

"Till Death do us Part" and " The Sea Will Tell", both are excellent by Vince Bugliosi.

"On a Clear Day you can See General Motors" by John Delorean

Any early Steven King .. Salems Lot, The Shining, Firestarter

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"a clockwork orange" ya know the one the movie is based on-tough read though with all the slang n such-there's a glossary in the one i read. put some time aside 4 this one

"the davinci code"-don't usually do bestsellers but killer page-turner. read it b4 the movie comes out.

anything not online- just do it baby! :)


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Originally posted by NateW

"''The Cryptonomicon' and 'Snow Crash' by Neil Stevenson. Cyberpunk fiction by a literate and insightful author."

Heck yeah! He's one of my favorite authors. Very smart, and very funny.

"A gun anyone can use but a sword needs no demonstration"

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