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needs book rekomendashuns nao plz

I'm looking for a few good books... With my daily bus commute to Tigard, there's been lots of time to read, so I've been rapidly plowing through what little backlog I'd built up over the years. The last couple weeks have been spent with House of Leaves, which was at times difficult to wrap my brain around, but still seeming too short at 600 pages or however much it was. Yesterday I finally started Slaughterhouse Five, and I ought to be finishing it up on my lunch today. I only have a handful of Tim Powers books left to pick up as soon as I make it down to Powell's, having devoured five or six of his in the last couple months.

So, yes. Book ideas, I need them. The only thing I ask is, I don't want something that's just a "good read". I want something mind-blowing, innovative in style, construction, or concept - something that will leave me turning it over and over in my head as I fall asleep each night. Maybe even something that might be able to help inspire me to start writing again (unlikely as it seems from here). Please tell me a little about why you like the book so much. I can promise that if I do end up reading it, I'll post a little mini-review of it here.

Oooh, and please no long lists of titles. Just pick the most awesome one and give me that. :D

Thanks to all of you in advance for keeping the brainmeats moving around.

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
ms_elusive
Sep. 28th, 2007 03:41 pm (UTC)
I couldn't choose between two, because one's a lot "harder" than the other, but both are extremely satisfying and thought provoking. Sorry!
a) "The Discovery of Heaven by Harry Mulisch is without a doubt one of the best and most absorbing books I have ever read. My mum recommended it to me many years ago for the same reason and everyone to whom I have recommended it has felt similarly. It is an epic saga of angels coming back to earth to change the course of history, which sounds either geeky or uber-religious but in reality is neither.

b) "The Golden Gate" by Vikram Seth, which you may have already read, but it's set in California and written entirely in verse.
ginabuny
Sep. 28th, 2007 03:42 pm (UTC)
You might have already read it, but I hadn't until about 3 years ago.

Snowcrash is fantastic. I don't even like SciFi and I was enthralled and read the whole book in like 2 days.
archmage
Sep. 28th, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)
See, I'd normally say The Illuminatus! Trilogy, but you've read that. I assume you've read Schrodinger's Cat, too.

So, let's see...find an old copy of The Book of the SubGenius (or it's sequel, Revelation X). Or maybe Burroughs' Nova Express. Or almost anything by China Mieville (The Scar, in particular, I think you'd like).
danger0usbeans
Sep. 28th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
Fiction or non-fiction? Never mind, I've got both. :)

I'm currently reading Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both by Laura Sessions Stepp. The title sounds like a cheesy, trendy, self-help sort of book, but it's really not. I've found myself nearly in tears, reading stories of young women doing exactly the same things I was doing a few years ago, and thinking exactly the same things I was thinking. The implications of my own past behavior have been pointed out in this book in ways that I'd never even considered, but the second I read it, my brain screamed "YES! Why didn't I realize it before?!" Definitely highly recommended. I'm only about a third of the way in, and it's already life-changing.

For fiction, you've probably already read The Handmaid's Tale, but if you haven't, you definitely should. The first time I read it, I couldn't put it down until I'd read it straight through for the 3rd time. I'm probably up to 15 or 20 readings of it by now. Horrifyingly good.
pnuttiest
Sep. 28th, 2007 04:34 pm (UTC)
So I know they are way old, and you may have already read them... but three books that I read a long time ago that always stand out are the Anne Rice books about the Mayfair Witches (The Witching Hour, Lasher, Taltos). I'm a big weenie/scardey cat, but these aren't as bloody/gory as the vampire chronicles. They are just SPOOKY, and a little ertotic in a really warped kind of way.
dionysianexile
Sep. 28th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
A book I always love to recommend to people is The Fall by Albert Camus. The style is different, you, the reader, are placed as one of the characters, and the story is revealed to you through a series of conversations. Definitely one of my all time favorite books.
(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous)
Nov. 27th, 2007 12:49 am (UTC)
i'm sorry, asoulsmusings
st_ranger
Sep. 28th, 2007 06:08 pm (UTC)
Henry Miller's Sexus. The next book in the "trilogy" (they can be read alone, it's not really a trilogy exactly, but yeah) is actually my favorite (Nexus) but it's better to start with Sexus. And it's fuckin brilliant. Some of the most beautiful yet harsh language of the 20th Century.
meathead66686
Sep. 28th, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC)
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Amazing.
beccalavelle
Sep. 28th, 2007 07:47 pm (UTC)
Wicked, by Gregory Maguire.
catsluvdmb
Sep. 29th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister was better imo.
beccalavelle
Sep. 29th, 2007 03:18 am (UTC)
I haven't finished that one yet! I found it kinda boring, and I've put it down so many times. Maybe I just haven't gotten into it yet.

Gregory Maguire is my favorite author. I thought Son of a Witch was the best, but you have to read Wicked first to make it so great!

I have also read Mirror Mirror, Lost, and some of his kids books (which are insane, by the way). I just the other day got his newest book, What the Dickens: A Story about a Rouge Tooth Fairy, from the library. I have been on the wait list forever! It just came out, and I am the first to get it! I am so excited to read it.
catsluvdmb
Sep. 29th, 2007 03:29 am (UTC)
I couldn't get past the first chapter of Wicked to be honest. And Mirror Mirror was pretty good until about the last 1/3 of the book. Then it really started falling apart I think.

I think the reasons I liked Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is because when I read it, I had just returned from a trip to that part of the Netherlands so I could vividly imagine all those places. And also, it felt like a story that could have actually happened in that time period, unlike the other ones where there is no doubting it is fiction.
rfc
Sep. 28th, 2007 08:14 pm (UTC)
The Patricidal Bedside Companion by K.S. Haddock.

It's been so long since I've read it, I don't even remember why I love it so much. It's not very long. It's quite hard to find, in fact i can't even find my own copy. But there it is, a book recommendation. :)
antimusick
Sep. 28th, 2007 08:17 pm (UTC)
Did you ask for book recommendations on a past blog a few years ago? or was that for music?
try Douglas Coupland or J.G. ballard

after seeing her on TV I'm interested in checking out 'The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot' by Naomi Wolf

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2064157,00.html
brosely
Sep. 29th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)
the deathgate cycle by margaret weis and tracy hickman

the belgariad by david eddings (followed by the mallorean)
brosely
Sep. 29th, 2007 12:48 am (UTC)
...and for kids books...
maniac mcgee by jerry spinelli (sp?)

and the my teacher is an alien series by bruce coville

as a kid i thought these were AMAZING because they dealt with such adult topics. i read them vaguely recently (like in the last 3 years or so) and still found them to be the same.
catsluvdmb
Sep. 29th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
Imperial Life in the Emerald City
executrice
Sep. 29th, 2007 06:36 am (UTC)
fiction - The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
non fiction - Salt - A World History by Mark Kurlansky
(Deleted comment)
fiercerose
Sep. 29th, 2007 08:40 pm (UTC)
Holy shit, you live! Thanks for the rec :)
abstracted
Sep. 29th, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC)
I second The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Be sure to have boxes and boxes of tissues, or several sleeves of hoodies, on hand.
moejo
Oct. 7th, 2007 02:41 am (UTC)
Holy Space Balls !
Another Tim Powers fan !
I first got hooked by his books reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anubis_Gates
Which of course you've read long ago...

Since I'm late to reply, I'll second some of the above recommendations:
+Snowcrash (a must-read classic, I liked his Diamond Age too)
+Pastwatch (a cool read, but imho must-reads of Card's are: Ender's Game, Seventh Son)
-The Fountainhead (I liked that too, another classic)

I don't know if you are a Dune fan, if not, just ignore:
For years I avoided the "spin-off" books written by Frank's son Brian (and Kevin Anderson),
and finally - after someone wrote so glowingly about them - I bought just one... Wow, I
was SO pulled in ! There were three trilogies written, 1) the time leading right up to
when Dune starts, 2) the time of the forming of the Great Houses and race variants, and
3) the time of The Machine Crusade (so much death!). I was SOOO sad when the nine books
were over. It turns out Frank had left a huge body of material on his Dune Universe and
full story line, which his son didn't discover until years after his passing...

Anyway, since you asked for JUST ONE recommendation, here is mine:
+Crime and Punishment - Even tho I'm generally a SF-only kinna guy, I really
enjoyed this timeless classic. It's such a masterwork of writing, you really
get pulled into the story, and the internal mind-games of the character. The
other aspect I found so fascinating, was how authentic his descriptions
of the time and places felt (cuz it was his time and place of course!).

Have fun !

BTW - Which is your all time favorite Tim Powers novel ?
fiercerose
Oct. 7th, 2007 11:15 am (UTC)
So far? Hmm. It's a tough call between Last Call and The Drawing of the Dark, although I've thoroughly enjoyed every book of his that I've read (the above, plus Expiration Date, The Anubis Gates, and Three Days to Never). I have four more of his in the mail right now :D

Thanks for your recommendations! In a sad and ironic fashion, I lost my job later the same day that I posted this, so lord knows when I'll have time to read again (yeah, it's weird how that works out), but I'm gonna put together a big list of everything recommended by everyone, and read them all one by one. :)
moejo
Oct. 7th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
The Drawing of the Dark was sooo trippy, loved that one.
And the one in Las Vegas (Last Call?), a fun read.

Odd story, one day, at a business I had been consulting
at for years, my office mate - and project partner for
over a year - saw a Powers book on my desk, and said:

"That's funny, I grew up next door to him, he was my
older brother's best friend. Small world."

Good luck job hunting !
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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