Book recommendations for someone who doesnt read much?

Discussion in 'Movies, Books, TV & Media' started by TedEH, May 9, 2018.

  1. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Here, years and years and years ago, I took the time to type up a chapter from Infinite Jest what a friend of mine handed me the book and told me to read, which convinced me I needed to read it.

    http://www.sevenstring.org/threads/why-you-need-to-read-david-foster-wallaces-infinite-jest.14368/

    This is one of my favorite sentences I've ever read: "So tonight to shush you how about I say I have an administrative bone to pick with God, Boo. I'll say God seems to have a kind of laid-back management style I'm not crazy about. I'm pretty much anti-death. God looks by all accounts to be pro death. I'm not seeing how we can get together on this issue, he and I, Boo."
     
  2. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    ^ Based on that thread, I'm more tempted to go back to the store and get that (or wait until the ones I got now are done). Website says they have copies. Could do the fast and slow book first, throw that Zelda thing in the middle as something lighter, then this book, then maybe after that look for something completely different, like that Sandman recommendation. Consume all the media. Read all the books. Hear all the albums. Play all the games. Social life be damned.
     
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  3. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    :lol: My kind of life.

    Yeah, if you enjoy that (especially without enough context to know who the fuck all these characters are) then you're probably good to go. :yesway:

    I guess, one other thing I'll say, is that there's a lot going on behind the scenes in this one that you as a reader eventually learn as you go on, and not for nothing I'll mention that the book is loaded with Hamlet references, right down to its very title ("Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy..."), and that Hal is a pretty bright guy and most likely knew about as much as anyone in the novel about the undercurrent here, whereas Mario almost certainly did not, which makes this scene even more poignant than it is when you first read it and is one you should think back to after finishing the novel. Also, after finishing the novel, reread the first chapter, because there are one or two details in there that I'm pretty sure you'll miss on first pass, but not on a second.
     
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  4. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Nice. I have put this on the to-do list for sure. I've got a couple of long-ish trips coming up that will have time to kill, so I don't imagine it will be long before I get to this one.
     
  5. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Ready Player One if you haven't read it. Very fun.

    Reamde by Neil Stephenson. Long, excellent action thriller.
     
  6. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Definitely went through Player One already - fun is a good word for it. Doesn't get super deep or heavy or anything, it's just some simple entertainment. Enjoyed it on that level. Haven't heard of the other one, will look it up. :yesway:
     
  7. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I got maybe a third of the way through that Zelda and Philosophy book and its.... a bit on the disappointing side of things. The connections being drawn between basic philosophy concepts and Zelda games are pretty thin, and kinda forced sometimes. Some sections are decent, others are pretty dry, really depends on the author of that particular bit. I've been debating putting it down and moving on, or whether it's worth finishing it just to say that I did.
     
  8. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    If you're at all interested in fiction story structure, take a look at "Into the Woods: A Five-Act Journey Into Story" by John Yorke. I haven't finished the whole thing but it is pretty well done.

    For a lighter look at screenplays, "Save The Cat" is a great read. Talks about screenplay structure and thus makes watching movies more fun (because you notice the structure)
     
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  9. fps

    fps Kit

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    Terry Pratchett - Mort. Death gets an apprentice. Really funny. Deceptively clever.
     
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  10. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I had an interesting thought the other day and I don't know where else to post it, so I'll put it here.
    Something about the Zelda book sort of turned me off of reading it, and in order to avoid losing my enthusiasm for decompressing with a book at the end of the week, I moved on to Thinking Fast and Slow. The huge contrast in writing styles left me thinking about what it is I appreciated about certain authors.

    The Zelda book was trying really hard to be "smart". Lots of big words. Lots of quoting other authors, sometimes in ways that were only very loosely connected to the point. Lots of sort of pseudo-intellectual stretches. It sort of felt like reading a collection of school essays that had to fit a format but didn't really know what to say, or have much of a point. They were trying to impress the reader by saying "look at all the things I know." The book tries so hard to be "smart" that it ultimately defeats it's own attempt to get anything across.

    I was expecting the Fast and Slow book would have been a more "challenging" read, but it's not. The author strikes me as a very smart guy, but a lot of that comes from being able to get a point across without having to "try to sound smart", which is something I'm realizing that a hugely appreciate. The book is smart not because they throw all the biggest words they can find at you in an attempt to wow you with their intelligence, but because the material is actually very accessibly written, with a clear goal of trying to make you understand the statement being made. What's smart about the book is the content of the message. It's important to the author that nothing impedes that message getting across. The book has a point. It has direction. It very clearly states its intentions. And it's sort of conversational.

    I've realized that a lot of the book I've been enjoying lately have a very conversational tone to them. The author has something - a story, some knowledge, an idea, whatever - and the very clear intention or goal is to share that information in a way that makes it easy to take in, while also sharing the sentiment (enthusiasm) the author has for that message. It's like sitting down and having a conversation with the author. I tend to think of video games in this way as well - or music, or any media you take in - it's a sort of conversation between the creator and the consumer. In a lot of cases, the author might be able to predict how you'll react to a certain statement, and then respond to it as if you actually reacted to them - and it creates the illusion of dialog, even though it only really goes one way.

    I actually quite like this aspect of video games, because you *do* get the opportunity to respond. A game really does become a dialog between the author and the gamer in the sense that you make a statement (present a challenge), the consumer responds (with their input), and you can respond back to that, and you get that feedback loop that makes up the core of a lot of gameplay.

    I dunno, I probably sound like someone who just figured out how books work, but still. I just currently have an odd appreciation for when a book wants to just have a conversation with you rather than try to beat you over the head with how "smart" they are.
     
  11. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire despair ahead

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    I really enjoyed Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie. It's a grimdark fantasy kind of like game of thrones, but it moves at a pretty quick pace unlike most of the GoT books.
    Forever War by Joe Halderman is a classic sci fi war book that's supposed to be a metaphor for the vietnam war. It's relatively short and moves at good clip.
    Starship Troopers is another classic sci fi book that I'd recommend but it's pretty light on the actual space combat compared to forever war, though it delves more into world building.
    Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card is excellent, especially the side stories with bean (Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow of the Giant).

    If you're looking for a solid quick thriller to read, Velocity by Dean Koontz is really fun.
     
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  12. DilanWilliams

    DilanWilliams SS.org Regular

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  13. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    ^ Been through that one before. And a couple of other Dan Brown novels - my ex had a collection that I went through on slow days at work at the time. :yesway:
     
  14. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I saw an ad yesterday where someone was selling a bunch of Star Wars extended universe stuff - I had one or two of the XWing books but never finished them. I dunno if they really are any good, but was tempting to grab those.
     
  15. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire despair ahead

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    the thrawn trilogy and the books revolving around jacen/jaina solo are pretty good.
     
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  16. MFB

    MFB ExBendable

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    I breezed through the first one not long ago, maybe December, and bought the other 3 to finish out the series that what's his name did; haven't picked them back up since I fall in and out of reading habits pretty quickly, but I enjoyed them for what they were - light fun reads that show an actual emphasis on the WAR part of Star Wars.
     
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  17. Drew

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    Ok, a couple more recommendations, then. :lol:

    The Fall - Albert Camus. A fascinating, short novella that's basically a 200-page monologue, of a character telling a story over the course of a couple days to two guys he meets in a bar who are just there as listeners. No back and forth, no action, just one long monologue. And, it's fascinating.

    Oxherding Tale - Charles Johnson. One of my favorite novels coming out of college, Johnson took the traditional slave narrative and flips it on its head and in turn uses is as a metaphor for the ten ox herding pictures, a buddhist metaphor for the search for enlightenment. All that makes it SOUND pretty heavy... Except, it's delivered in an awesome narrative voice, and the "bad guy," Horace Bannon the Soulcatcher, the bounty hunter chasing Andrew down, is hands down one of the best villians I've ever run across in any medium.

    I guess, thinking to other novels that are really carried by the strength of their narrator, Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita comes to mind - it's a story whose main character is a pedophile, yet Nabokov actually manages to humanize him. I know, doesn't sound like much of a recommendation, but trust me here. :lol: And, there's a couple Italo Calvino novels and collections that come to mind (he's been on my mind lately, a quote from a collection of short stories of his I'd shared on facebook came up as a memory the other week - "Lots of rubble piled up makes a skyscraper. Lots of skyscrapers piled up makes rubble.") But, while it's SUPER post modern (it's a novel about reading Italo Calvino's new novel, "If on a Winter's Night a Traveler..."), "If on a Winter's Night a Traveler..." is a great story, and a lot of fun. And Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises," come to think of it, also has a great narrator and great tone. Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" sounds silly, but is pretty clearly an an analogy on race (honestly I could never figure out why I ran into Huck Finn a couple times in class to talk about racial attitudes in his writing, while I think he was far more scathing in the latter) and is a fun read.

    Idunno. I'll pop back in if I think of something else where I really felt like the narrator was critical to the story.
     
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  18. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    If you want a fun fantasy adventure story with great character development, "Magician" by Raymond E Feist is one of my faves.
     
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  19. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I've been a bit slow on the reading side lately just from being really busy, but I'll still take recommendations. :yesway:
    I'm like 97% of the way done Thinking Fast and Slow. I have a copy of Infinite Jest sitting on my desk at home in waiting, but there's no rush to dive into it per-se. I've got too many things on the go - a game I'm finishing playing, a game I'm working on, the three bands, trying to finish this book, I bought a cello I want to learn to play. I'm glad I've got some vacation coming up soon where I can start wrapping stuff up and just relaxing. Not that those things aren't relaxing. I guess having too much stuff to do that I wanted to do in the first place is a very first-world problem. :lol:
     
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  20. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Oh I read all of those already. Yes, ALL of them. I wish they made a movie of it so that I could say "the book was way better".
     

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