Book Recommendations


  • Pitcrew

    The Grail Quest series by Bernard Cornwell. He shouldn't have restarted it, truth be told, but the original trilogy is well worth the read.


  • Admin

    @saosmash said in Book Recommendations:

    The first series of hers that I picked up was the Broken Earth trilogy, and this is a very hard series to read -- especially on audiobook which is how I do a lot of my reading

    I hope I'm not ruining @Auspice's thread (she can make sure I don't if so :) ) but I just wanted to ask... as someone who's not tried audiobooks, how is the experience compared to eyes-on-the-page? I'm thinking about switching up my commute routine a bit, and while podcasts work they're not the kind I need to pay constant attention to.


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel Audiobooks are lovely!

    Pros:

    • You can listen while you're doing other stuff that uses your hands or eyes, yay!
    • It locks you into a pace so you don't accidentally skip over details/good writing because you're anxiously waiting to find out about that thing that's definitely going to happen!
    • A good narrator can bring prose to life in ways that reading doesn't necessarily accomplish! This is extra subjective but I'm of the opinion that humans are storytellers and hearing a good story just scratches an itch that text on pages doesn't.
    • You might probably cry (even more than usual) if you get emotionally involved in characters because you hear about what's happening to the people you love as they die or face awful circumstances!

    Cons:

    • A bad narrator is terrible and will make you dislike what might be a good book!
    • It's way more difficult to rewind to a particular point than it is to leaf back if you want to check details. If you're reading something like Cryptonomicon or stuff by Dostoevsky or something it can be a nuisance and a half to keep everything straight in your head.
    • It has a larger time investment! Just about everyone reads faster than they listen (see the positive above for the flipside of that). But I find there's far less incentive to listen to ten minutes of a story than there is to sneak in five to ten pages when you don't have long to read. If I'm listening I'd like to stay immersed for a while, so I usually just hold off until I know I'll have longer windows.

    I think aspects of whether you'll enjoy listening or reading boil down to personality and vary from person to person, I think allllmost everyone can find some books they'd like to listen to. I fall pretty heavily toward the audio side.

    I also find it easier to dissect an author's style when I'm listening to a book rather than reading it, if you're into that. Maybe it's hundreds of hours of staring at MU-quality writing, but I can gloss over strings of unnecessary adjectives and adverbs on a page, while hearing them aloud will catch my attention and have me thinking about how else a statement/narrative could have been structured.


  • Pitcrew

    Audiobooks are really good for commuting or for when you are exercising, I've found - as long as you aren't trying to time high intensity intervals. I listened to them a lot walking my puppo, when I could walk. T.T


  • Pitcrew

    After seeing it mentioned here a few times and a couple other MUers strongly advising me to read them for about 8-10 months now, I finally ordered The First Law trilogy last night. Gotta get dat hardback on, yo. So in a couple weeks I'll start that.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for non-fantasy series? I don't mind fiction at all, I just don't tend to get too deep into one genre or another. So if I'm reading a lot of fantasy(which I have been) I like to offset that with some solid futuristic sci-fi or something just not magic and swords and armor and dwarves. My hope is to buy a dozen or so books this Christmas for myself, to round out my bookshelves a little more. So I'm building a list.


  • Admin

    @faceless I have a great one for you. Written by Pierce Brown, check out the Red Rising trilogy.

    Set in the future, humanity is colonizing the solar system and in the process trying to mirror the golden days of Rome while viciously oppressing the population of entire planets to exploit them as cheap labor for their conquests. It's really engaging, the characters are great, the plot is full of twists and turns and if you're into that sort of thing I loved the strategic/tactical aspects of its warfare.

    The first novel in particular is an offspring between Ender's Game and Hunger Games, but better than either.


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel said in Book Recommendations:

    @saosmash said in Book Recommendations:

    The first series of hers that I picked up was the Broken Earth trilogy, and this is a very hard series to read -- especially on audiobook which is how I do a lot of my reading

    I hope I'm not ruining @Auspice's thread (she can make sure I don't if so :) ) but I just wanted to ask... as someone who's not tried audiobooks, how is the experience compared to eyes-on-the-page? I'm thinking about switching up my commute routine a bit, and while podcasts work they're not the kind I need to pay constant attention to.

    I have a really hard time with audiobooks. They tend to put me to sleep and I have a really hard time remembering details.

    That said, they've been great for my time on the bus. It's more enjoyable than just listening to music and I don't risk motion sickness from reading.

    But I do find I really don't remember as much of the book. This, however, may just be me. I have a near-eidetic visual memory. I can read a book and often recall (if I go back to it) the exact page something happened on. So my aural memory may just be shit.

    But I literally cannot do other things and listen to an audio book without missing almost everything. I dunno how some people work + audio book, cook + audio book, etc., unless it's super mindless stuff.


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel said in Book Recommendations:

    Set in the future, humanity is colonizing the solar system and in the process trying to mirror the golden days of Rome while viciously oppressing the population of entire planets to exploit them as cheap labor for their conquests. It's really engaging, the characters are great, the plot is full of twists and turns and if you're into that sort of thing I loved the strategic/tactical aspects of its warfare.

    I like all of these things. I love a good plot twist and deep tactical writing I enjoy as well. I'm currently reading for the umpteenth time one of my favorite Clancy novels, but, well, I'm on my third purchase of that particular book because it's been worn out from reading it so many times over the years. So I'm sort of bored with it. A little.



  • I love audiobooks but I'm very aural anyways -- I used to study in law school by reading cases out loud to myself; I am a weird outlier and should probably not be trusted.


  • Admin

    @faceless You're gonna love that series. Bonus points: It's going to be a Hollywood movie (because of course it is), so you might as well read it before everyone else does, then you can be a hipster about how you were into it before it was cool.


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel said in Book Recommendations:

    Red Rising

    I've been meaning to check this out for a while and hey look it's only $2 on Kindle right now. Yoink!


  • Pitcrew

    @saosmash said in Book Recommendations:

    I love audiobooks but I'm very aural anyways -- I used to study in law school by reading cases out loud to myself; I am a weird outlier and should probably not be trusted.

    When my anxiety was at its worst and making it impossible for me to concentrate during my first stint in college, I got permission from my professors to record their lectures and would listen to them on the bus home. It was a routine I ended up sticking with even long after I got the issue under control because I found it more helpful than reviewing written notes, which I find I barely ever re-read and often look at like, "Why did I write that down? Was I drunk or am I really just this nonsensical and dumb?"

    Naturally, I love audiobooks but tend to save them for monotonous tasks like commuting or, worse, when I'm driving through bumfuck Pennsylvania on my way across the state and get no good radio stations. I also really like listening to them when taking baths because while I know long baths are supposed to be suuuuuuuuuuuper relaxing and indulgent, but I honestly get bored otherwise. I don't want to hear what goes on in my own head thanks.

    If you like Neil Gaiman's writing, I recommend his audiobooks in particular. He reads many of them himself and between his parents correcting his stutter with childhood elocution lessons and years of reading bed-time stories to his kids (he does voices, you guys!), he's really very good at it. And it's somehow very personal when narrated by the author himself.


  • Coder

    Really enjoying Ready Player One. Talk about a firehose-drinking dose of nostalgia.


  • Pitcrew

    @aria said in Book Recommendations:

    I'm currently in the middle of "All Our Wrong Todays."

    It's an odd book, but I've rather enjoyed it and its premise so far. Effectively, the narrator exists in a utopian society and travels back in time to the moment of history where a particular scientific discovery leads to the utopia he was born into. He isn't travelling back in time to right some great wrong or wipe out humanity or any of the usual reasons we see in sci-fi -- it's an experiment being conducted so they can market time travel tourism.

    Unfortunately, he inadvertantly messes things up horribly, fundamentally affecting the timline of the future, resulting in a horrifying dystopia he has no idea how to cope with -- the 2016 (which was the year the book was published) we live in. Can't speak to the ending as I have about 200 pages left, but I've been enjoying myself.

    So, I finished this book last night. (Translation: I read the whole thing in two days.)

    While some of the 'plot twists' are ones I found pretty astonishingly predictable contrary to all of the reviews -- which is something I personally tend to encounter with books and movies, probably because I consume so many of them -- the last few chapters leading up to the ending were not at all what I expected. Overall, I found the whole book enjoyable and described the experience to my boyfriend as 'completely charming.'

    Do recommend.


  • Coder

    @Arkandel @saosmash

    I second NK Jemisin is great. I can't reccommend The Inheritance Trilogy, starting with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, enough.

    All of her stories have very intense and interesting and different worlds. They are very atypical fantasy that don't delve into easy tropes, she has great characters, and while there is a lot of world-building, it doesn't bog down the pacing a lot, imho.


  • Pitcrew

    I take on reading challenges sometimes. Some fail (like reading/watching/playing through the Star Wars EU in chronological order). Some don't.

    After my current class, I plan to read the works of Seneca (https://dailystoic.com/seneca/) alongside the New Testament (a specific translation of it, likely). Seneca lived in the same time as Jesus (and Seneca's brother is referenced in the book of Acts), so I want to see how the views, referenced events, etc., contrast and compare.

    I am not a religious person, but I find religion fascinating and I look forward to approaching a new (I've had others) study of the Bible in this way.

    I share here because others might be interested in a similar journey.

    The books I plan to buy to start:
    https://www.amazon.com/New-Testament-David-Bentley-Hart/dp/0300186096/
    https://www.amazon.com/Shortness-Life-Penguin-Great-Ideas/dp/0143036327/
    https://www.amazon.com/Letters-Penguin-Classics-Lucius-Annaeus/dp/0140442103/

    There's also Seneca's Moral Essays, but those are around $25 (there's 3 volumes) a pop. So I likely won't buy them right off the bat. I've chosen that version of the New Testament (in spite of owning a couple copies of the Bible) because I'm curious about the methodology of the translation. Bentley translated each line literally, rather than relying on preconceived notions of what the text "should" be.


  • Admin

    I'm halfway through Skullsworn by Brian Staveley. It's a prequel of sorts to his Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne trilogy which is a kickass series of books to begin with, a great political and military saga set in an Empire whose emperor is murdered, and whose three children - all following completely different paths at the time - begin targets.

    Anyway, this novel is pretty neat - it stars Pyrre Lakatur, a Priestess of the god of death which is short for "she is really really damn good at offing folks" in her younger years, with a backdrop of an ancient race manipulating mortal affairs from the shadows and a rebellion brewing in the background.

    Neat stuff.


  • Pitcrew

    Oathbringer is out today and I can't get my darn Audible app to download it :(


  • Admin

    @wildbaboons There goes 80% of my free time for the next few days.



  • I am not sure if someone recommended it already, but:

    The Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey. It is a Dresden-style supernatural noir series that was far more interesting and entertaining than I thought it would be.