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tomandlu

Book Recommendations

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The Martian by Andy Weir

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Martian-Andy-Weir/dp/0091956137/

I'm stranded on Mars.

I have no way to communicate with Earth.

I'm in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.

If the Oxygenator breaks down, I'll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I'll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I'll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I'll eventually run out of food and starve to death.

So yeah. I'm screwed.

Great fun, very exciting and very funny in places. Basically, if you liked Gravity, this is the Mars equivalent. No aliens, no tractor beams, just hard science and plausible space exploration gone wrong...

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I had the audio book of this. It's begging to be made into a film. "Robinson Crusoe", but on Mars. Very, very good. And very well narrated: even though I don't normally like American narration that much I loved this.

You also enjoy Robinson Crusoe ;)

Also enjoyed (audio book links, I realise you were asking about books)

William Boyd: Ordinary Thunderstorms < great escapism in the seedy London underworld

Sebastian Faulks: Devil May Care < James Bond novel

Mark Billingham: In the Dark < narration on this is exceptional

Michelle Paver: Dark Matter < spooky ghost type story

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Two on economic history and the Great Depression that I've recently read and been impressed with:

Frank Partnoy, The Match King: Ivar Kreugar and the Financial Scandal of the Century

Michael Perino, The Hell Hound of Wall Street

Interesting comparisons with 2007, most notably in the political fallout actually achieving something, bankers being held accountable and elected representatives actually doing their jobs (at least, most of them). If the MPs' expenses scandal had broken in 1933 Washington DC, one gets a sense that they'd have been setting up electric chairs outside the Lincoln Memorial, such was the atmosphere.

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One of my favourite bits (slight spoiler):

"What must it be like?" he pondered. "He's stuck out there. He thinks he's totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man's psychology?" He turned back to Venkat. "I wonder what he's thinking right now?"

LOG ENTRY: SOL 61
How come Aquaman can control whales? They're mammals! Makes no sense.

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Chickehawk by Robert Mason

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chickenhawk-Robert-Mason/dp/0552124192

Honest, horrific and at times moving account of the experiences of a US helicopter pilot's tour of duty in Vietnam during 1966

It brings home the reality behind all that news footage of that utterly pointless conflict I saw on the TV as a kid

You will not want to go to war after reading it

The only hero in the book is the Huey itself

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The two best novels I've ever read were 'Saturday' by Ian McEwan followed by 'Money' by Martin Amis. I've recommended these to Friends/Family and the first is always well recieved and the second is like Marmite :)

Loved Money, but McEwan always seems too chilly and clever for my taste. I admired Saturday, but I can't say I liked it (and as an apologia for the invasion of Iraq, it sucks).

Ah, here's a no-particular-order list of my top 10 books I posted on FB a while back... (some are trilogies/quartets, so a bit of a cheat)

The Road by Cormac McCarthy,
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner,
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh,
Moomintroll Midwinter by Tove Janson,
The Old Wives Tale by Arnold Bennett,
Dune by Frank Herbert,
The Mortal Engines Quartet by Philip Reeve,
The Fire Eaters by David Almond,
The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies,
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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I've posted some economics books in the economics thread, don't read as much fiction as I'd like but loved Money.

If you enjoyed that (and it's definitely marmite), I'd recommend anything by Hanif Kureishi, particularly the Black Album and Buddha of Suburbia.

Will Self is a mixed bag but Book of Dave and My Idea of Fun are both modern classics IMO.

And on a more fantasy tip (but too clever to be straight fantasy) I'd have to plug the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake, one of a few books I've read twice

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And on a more fantasy tip (but too clever to be straight fantasy) I'd have to plug the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake, one of a few books I've read twice

Definitely - it almost made my list. I got a beautiful edition for Christmas with all the Peake illustrations (although I must admit I think of it more as a two-book series, rather than a trilogy - I find the last one superfluous and mediocre).

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Partner loves Gormenghast - we had/have the VHS video but we don't have the player any more.

Gives me an idea for a random DVD gift we might both enjoy.

Edit: font size has gone weird for no reason I can discern nor correct.

Second edit: Amazon also recommends "Neverwhere" which is another one he loves.

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The trouble with recommending books is that, IMO, it places a weight of expectation on the reader. If I'm completely honest I generally only read fiction when I'm on holiday, or if I've been bought a book as a present and feel that I really ought to.

I work in a bus garage and so I generally get to read as many papers as are left behind on our buses, and if it's a slow night I'll do the book reviews. Most lost property that gets left behind on our buses is reclaimed or gets sent to central lost property, but paperback books get put on the library shelf in the canteen. And so it was that, on my last day before jetting out to Spain for two weeks, I eagerly snatched up a book from said shelf that had won the Pulitzer the year previous. I knew that all the critics were unanimous in their verdict that it was a work of genius before I started reading it.

And that spoiled it, TBH. It was a great book, and had I approached it knowing nothing, I'd have thought it was the best thing I'd read for ages, despite its minor faults. But as I read it I was constantly examining my own enjoyment of it :( .

The last book I read that was an unalloyed pleasure was Pride And Prejudice. I've never seen the TV adaptation, or the film. I read it in Tanzania on my Kindle by torchlight, till I finished it at 3am because I couldn't put it down.

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The last book I read that was an unalloyed pleasure was Pride And Prejudice. I've never seen the TV adaptation, or the film. I read it in Tanzania on my Kindle by torchlight, till I finished it at 3am because I couldn't put it down.

It's a lovely book, and really laugh out loud in places (mainly Mr Bennet's remarks).

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It`s over 20 years since I read it, but I remember being immensely impressed by Shogun http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sh%C5%8Dgun_(novel)

I love all the Raymond Chandler Philip Marlowe stuff and a few years ago the wife bought me the Berlin Noir collection by Philip Kerr, which I enjoyed http://www.amazon.co.uk/Violets-Criminal-Requiem-Penguin-Mystery/dp/0140231706

I`m a big SF fan, and Dune - which has already been mentioned - is an great book.

Of the current writers, Neal Stephenson is very good. His Baroque cycle is well worth a read, but i`d probably start with Snow Crash http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash

I also like Michael Marshall Smith, with his stand out book being Only Forward http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Only_Forward I read this after picking up a copy in the library. Somebody had written their own review of the book on the inside cover in scrawling blue biro saying it was shit. Sombody else had then written a counter review underneath saying it was great. I figured a book that excited people that much was worth reading. I think whoever wrote the film lnception must have read this book, because they appear to draw heavily from it.

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It's a lovely book, and really laugh out loud in places (mainly Mr Bennet's remarks).

Those books are called classics for a reason!

My favourite books growing up were Treasure Island, The Count of Monte Cristo & The Three Musketeers. Have enjoyed most of the famous Bronte and Dickens novels I've read, and gothic novels such as The Woman in White etc. A modern take on that style is Fingersmith by Sarah Walters, which I also really enjoyed.

My preferred authors now are the likes of:

Cormac McCarthy (The Road has already been mentioned, but his masterpiece is the Border Trilogy, also Blood Meridian and Suttree are amazing)

David Mitchell (most famously Cloud Atlas, but also Number 9 Dream, Ghostwritten and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet)

John Irving (Ciderhouse Rules, Prayer for Owen Meany, World According to Garp etc)

Also really enjoyed Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.

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Chickehawk by Robert Mason

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chickenhawk-Robert-Mason/dp/0552124192

Honest, horrific and at times moving account of the experiences of a US helicopter pilot's tour of duty in Vietnam during 1966

It brings home the reality behind all that news footage of that utterly pointless conflict I saw on the TV as a kid

You will not want to go to war after reading it

The only hero in the book is the Huey itself

That was a good read.

For something that truly strips war of its false glamour, I recommend reading chapter 13 of Mercer's Journal of the Waterloo campaign

https://archive.org/stream/journalofwaterlo01mercuoft#page/xii/mode/2up

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Kay's mail order catalogue (have some Kleenex to hand).

I'll bet you were hooked on the "exercise devices" pages!

Nur fuggin ten-pinters there, eh mon? :blink:

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Catcher in the rye and a fans note are both very good.

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"A Billion days of Earth" by Doris Piserchia!

I bought it as a paperback in the late 70s, and it has long been out of print!

I recently found a first edition hardback of it for £8 on Amazon!

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Catcher in the rye and a fans note are both very good.

I didn't know you had a bookshelf in your "dungeon of pain and humiliation"!

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I didn't know you had a bookshelf in your "dungeon of pain and humiliation"!

Always handy to have reading material for the quiet moments !

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