questionsread any good books lately?

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I'm always looking for an opportunity to plug this book.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.
Not a new book, but it stands out in my top ten reading list.

Info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Strange_%26_Mr_Norrell

Reviews

"Ravishing… Combines the dark mythology of fantasy with the delicious social comedy of Jane Austen into a masterpiece of the genre that rivals Tolkien." -Time

"Unquestionably the finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last 70 years.... From beginning to end, a perfect pleasure" -Neil Gaiman

"What kind of magic can make an 800-page novel seem too short? Whatever it is, [Clarke] is possessed by it -USA Today

"Clarke's imagination is prodigious, her pacing is masterly and she knows how to employ dry humor in the service of majesty" -New York Times

"Gorgeous. A terrific, phenomenally ambitious book." -The Onion

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@ohcheri I love to see that others that are still reading Heinlein. I grew up reading his works. In fact, I believe I was about thirteen when I read Stranger In A Strange Land. Since then I've went back many times and re-read it, including the unabridged version.

I have about fifty books next to my bed that I rotate on. Approximately thirty or so are Heinlein, then I have some Koontz, King, Rice, Weis, R.A. Salvatore, and more. Cheers!

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@ocheri: I just started the Dark Tower Series and I'm enjoying it so far. You might want to give the Sword of Truth Series and the Eye of the World Series a go, both of which I loved. Also, as a one off eye opening experience, pick up Aldous Huxley's 'Doors of Perception'. This will seriously make your reconsider how you see the world. In fact, i'm posting this one as a deal!

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@woothulhu: I have read the Dark Tower series over and over, every time a new one came out I would go back and read the others before starting the new one. Robert Jordan is one author I also say I'm going to read and then forget about, thanks for reminding me!

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@xarous: I love when I say "grok" and people know what I mean :-) Thank you for the list of authors!

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@wilcononomous: It sounds perfect, than you! I will take this opportunity to plug one of my favorite books of all time, Swan Song by Robert McCammon.

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Patrick O'Brian. The Aubrey-Maturin series of 20 books is highly re-readable.

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@ohcheri: What I learned from my father: "Grok rhymes with rock, if you don't understand then that is what is in your head."

(Teaching myself and others the correct pronunciation, as often it is said grok is to croak.)

Good luck on your literary adventure.

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If you are a geek, like myself, I suggest Daemon, and the sequel Freedom by Daniel Suarez. Awesome books about a rogue computer program that takes over the world.

For the Fantasy readers, the series that made me enjoy reading is the Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

For Sci-Fi, I'm a huge fan of the Rama series by Arthur C. Clarke.

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@vinithehat: Another author I've always intended to read, thank you!

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@mrmucox: I'm a geek and a nerd :-) Thanks for the suggestions!

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I agree with @woothulu on the Sword of Truth series if you are looking for fantasy. Terry Goodkind has such a way with words for me, he made it very easy to whiz through a thick book in a week or so. His description is deep but not overdone.

However, during the winter I read a bit light, and thus have been moving through the Discworld books. Such great humor! Once the summer comes around and I'll be dragged to the beach by my fiance I can start working on teh Wheel of TIme series again.

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@shadowhunter312: I have to say, the Sword of Truth series started off well, but took a huge nosedive at The Pillars of Creation. Seriously, a book the the main characters of the series aren't in until the last chapters? Ugh.

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@shadowhunter312: I'm not necessarily looking for fantasy, I pretty much read anything except romance and murder mystery type stories. I have heard of Terry Goodkind and will definitely add to my list.

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@mrmucox: Agreed Pillars was a bit of a fail, but if you enjoy Goodkind's writing style, you might still enjoy the book. It definitely seemed like he was trying to fill space in the series, and the book is almost entirely irrelevant to the main storyline.

If you're not hooked after the first trilogy, don't bother reading the rest, but if you're like me and enjoy them as much as I did, the whole series is worth your time.

Also, Goodkind has a good way of disguising a love story/romance novel in the fantasy world, giving it a larger appeal, IMO.

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@mrmucox: I completely agree with what you are saying in that. His middle books for the series definately lack the strength the beginning of the series has. However, I do believe the end of the series still has all the great story telling the first several books has.

I actually liked the Pillars of Creation because I thought the characters (even though they weren't the main ones) were well fleshed out an just as easy to become invested in. I actually liked Sould of Fire the least because half the story revolved around characters that seemed so flat.

I agree once again with woothulu that if you enjoyed the first several books, try to push yourself through the middle couple to get to the good stuff at the end again.

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sorry to hijack the thread @ocheri

EVERYONE CONTINUE

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@woothulhu @ohcheri huge fan of the Dark Tower
if you haven't heard yet, there is a new Dark Tower book scheduled to be released next year (it's a bridge between books 4 & 5)
http://www.stephenking.com/promo/wind_through_the_keyhole/announcement/

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@wilcononomous: OMG, you just made my day. Woohoo!

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@woothulhu: Hijack away, I'm all about some good book conversation.

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@wilcononomous, @ocheri: I had heard that! Have you both been following the comic? Same basic story in comic/graphic novel form. I really like it, even though a lot of the images are different than I had pictured them, it helps to give further life to King's world.

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@woothulhu: hells yes I have. Good stuff all around. Makes a great companion to the series.

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@woothulhu: I have not followed the comic except to know they exist via his newsletter/website.

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Some wide-ranging suggestions:

John Scalzi if you like Heinlein.

For historical fiction, check out the Emperor and Khan series by Conn Iggulden. Or the series by Ruth Downie about Ruso the Roman medic. First book Medicus (there are 4).

And as a huge King fan, one of my favorite books ever is From the Corner of His Eye by Koontz.

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@huttona: I read all of Koontz as soon as it comes out. My first Dean Koontz book was a non fiction book on how to write fiction :-)

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@ocheri, I'm also a big fan of the Odd Thomas series. Come back to those every year or so and read them in order...

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No.
I am reading Pride and Prejudice though currently. Not bad but it just hasn't grabbed me yet, about halfway through.

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@xdavex: If you want it to grab you, you should read Pride and Prejudice & Zombies.
(because zombies make everything better)

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Just to take a different tack, I will recommend 1776 by David McCullogh. An excellent and very readable intro to American history, which too many of us have forgotten, or never knew.

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wow, so many authors so little time, here is a listing of some of my favorites off the top of my head, and believe me, this is the short list.

Comedy: Harry Harrison (just released a new "stainless steel rat" book)
Terry pratchett (lives in the UK, so a bit of the brit. comes out every so often)
Piers Anthony (Xanth for no-brainer comedy, its just a collection of every pun ever) - he also does SCI-FI and fantasy. Very prolific writer.
Robert Asprin (lately Dragons luck, and others. previously the M.Y.T.H set)

Sci-FI : well you can't go wrong with Issac Asimov
Larry Niven : a good portion of his books are co-authored with Stephen Barnes and another writer whom escapes my head at the moment.
Peter F Hamilton (VERY VERY large worlds, very space opera with a minimum of 20 main charters in each book... not for "light" reading)
Mike Resnick
Lois McMaster Bujold (one of my more recent readings)
+more

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Charles Stross (another resident of the UK. Think James Bond mixed with demonolgy practiced by computer programmers using occult mathmatics
Orson Scott Card - many good series

Fantasy: David Farland
Jim Butcher (pretty popular with his DRESDEN books lately)
Anne Mcaffery (more towards the young adult set mostly, she's getting pretty old, and her son has taken over now. Todd Mcaffery)

and of course sooooo many more, but that will probably keep you busy for a couple months at least.

The ANT...

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Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman's "Good Omens" is another personal favorite of mine. The Discworld series (Pratchett) is also very enjoyable.

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is one of the most remarkable books I've ever read.

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Great ideas, thanks! I just saw "The Adjustment Bureau" and in the credits it said the book was by Philip K Dick. I remember the name because my dad used to read him. Any opinions regarding this author?

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@ohcheri: Phillip K. Dick is responsible for a number of movies, though the names are often changed from the book title, and the concepts are usually never the same, as they would be impossible to display on-screen. Blade Runner is based on his "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Total Recall is based on "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale". Also, "Minority Report", "Paycheck", "A Scanner Darkly", etc, are his works.

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@ohcheri: I have a fairly complete collection of Phillip K's works, and most of them were purchased when they were new. Amazing person, but damaged, and crazier as he aged. Seriously crazy. I always enjoyed anything by Harlan Ellison (master of the short story title, such as "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" and "Repent, Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman"). Dangerous Visions was as important an anthology as the later Mirrorshades, which I own in the immortal and wonderful British version, complete with mirrorshades on the front cover.

I see a lot of Fantasy recommended so far. There's very little in that field I care for, and I'm also not good with things that don't have good tech and logic behind them. More Niven, and Pournelle, less Heinlein (especially his later works). Ringworld good, Stranger in a Strange Lang, bad (my opinions).

On the other hand, Weapon Shops of Isher is STILL one of my favorites (A.E. Van Vogt).

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@shrdlu: I actually prefer fantasy to science fiction, another of the many things my dad and I disagreed on :-) But the most important aspect to any fiction I enjoy is good characters, this is why I like Heinlein. He always has a lot of humor in his stories.

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@mrmucox: All good movies...but I'm sure the books are better! Thank you!

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@ohcheri: Funny, I'm just finishing listening to book 7 of the dark tower series right now.

So many to choose from but how about Iain Banks (fiction - try "Whit" or "The Bridge") and Iain M. Banks (science fiction - try "Consider Phlebas", "Excession" or "Against a Dark Background"). Some of his books are hard to read as he has a way of getting you invested in characters that he does terrible things to.
And how about something quirky but maybe a little sacrilegious - The Old Man and Mr Smith by Peter Ustinov

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For anyone who's interested in technical/futuristic fiction I'd also recommend Cory Doctorow. Nice thing about his works is that they're all free online under a creative commons license. Also includes ebooks and numerous audiobooks. www.craphound.com

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@huttona: Oh, yeah, I forgot about Cory Doctorow. I loved Little Brother! The Daniel Suarez books I mentioned are in a similar vein to Little Brother.

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@huttona: I've heard of E.L. Doctorow (different genre completely) wonder if they're related...

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I'm gonna mention Asimov, since nobody has yet. As good as Dick but based on more factual science...

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@ohcheri: They (Cory and E.L. Doctorow) aren't related. Still, I checked my facts, and from an interview, and in Cory's own words:

"I've read different things. Are you or you not related to E.L. Doctorow?"

"Well, I probably have as much consanguinity with him as I do with you. We’re Ashkenazi Jews from the same part of Europe and if we traced out family trees back, we’d probably find we were related."

http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/technology_internetcritic/2008/08/a-long-but-stil.html

I like them both, but those are quite different writers (in their perspective, and in their subject matter).

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@wilcononomous: I am pretty sure you just made both people in this house very happy with that link. Thanks!

*
Not on the same track as most of the suggestions, but the only book I've read this year that made me pick up the phone and tell someone about it was:
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

http://www.amazon.com/Gargoyle-Andrew-Davidson/dp/0307388670/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1301028330&sr=1-1

Amazing writing. Hard to get through the extremely graphic and morbid beginning, but worth it.

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im so glad to see someone has already suggested terry prachett and niel gaiman! throw in jasper fforde and youve got my top 3 favorite authors. the book summarys may make some of their novels sound childish but i find them very enjoyable.

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@thumperchick: I read Gargoyle, excellent book!

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Leviathan Wakes, by James S. A. Corey. You can get it early (not due to be published for a few months) by buying the eBook version of The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham. Fantastic space opera stuff here.

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This is a relatively new entry into the book market. http://deals.woot.com/deals/details/0cda8ead-ab13-4b8a-a16c-c37bb96e7460/temperature-dead-and-rising-a-book-by-adam-santo in paperback or ebook.

A few reviews:

You immediately get pulled in to the scene. - Darlene Floyd

As I broached the halfway point I felt strongly connected to the characters, but still had no clue who they were or why. As I neared the ending most of my questions were sated and by the last few chapters I become very intrigued about the potentiation and continuation of the story. - Heather Kegler

Santo has a great writing style and I have to admit I finished this book quite quickly. - Meaghan

Sally is a blank slate, whose story is just beginning. Bocnic is mysterious and has a rich history, the edges of which have only been hinted at. That's to say nothing of the other curious characters who flesh out the supernatural world. - Allyson

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I am going to put a word in for Brandon Sanderson: The Mistborn Series. This is the guy that they got to finish the Wheel of Time books. While I don't love his treatment of the series in some ways I love his own stuff. I have not bought a new book in 5 years (though I listen to them everyday during my long commutes etc.) but I went out and bought this series and another one of his it is really good.

@wilcononomous @ocheri @woothulhu - I am going to try out the Dark Tower but I am really into horror which in my mind is what King is famous for. How much horror type elements are in the books ?