I'm going to add in two recommendations of my own...
Any collected work of M.R. James. HP Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith were great fans of his. Quite possibly the master of the turn of the century ghost story (18th/19th centuries, that is).
The Scar by China Mieville. Crazy name, crazy guy. Anything with massive amounts of steam-punk, bio-magickal weapons, Lovecraftian monsters, transdimensional spiders and a wild trek across open ocean to a place of utter non-placeness has got to be cool.
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Thread: Book thread!
11-07-2006, 15:30 #31
11-07-2006, 16:05 #32Originally Posted by Gaendaal
11-07-2006, 16:06 #33Originally Posted by snowkissed
11-07-2006, 16:21 #34Originally Posted by Gaendaal
Shogun, about feudal Japan in the turn of the century in 1600, loosly based on real events and history.
Tai-Pan, the starting days of Hong Kong
Gai-jin, plays sometime after Tai-Pan, but in Japan, just after Japan was opened up to foreigners, with the same characters (or their children) as Tai-Pan
King Rat, plays during WWII in a Japanese POW camp. A book that can really grab you (I'm not usually into WW books, but this one really goes into the characters)
Noble House, plays in 7 days in Hong Kong in the '60s. You'll meet the same families as in Tai-Pan and Shogun, and even some characters from King Rat.
Whirlwind. I never finished this book, to be honest. It plays in Iran, during the crisis there (the '70s). The main characters are again of the same family as Noble House.
Each book is stand-alone, but if you read them in chronological order (not the order in which they were written), it gives you a nice background for each story.Lady Rhonwyn (sister of Danea, Katlinel, Gwendydd, and the rest)
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11-07-2006, 17:34 #35Originally Posted by MixedVariety
11-07-2006, 18:52 #36
Well if you like books without frequent killing and minimal action the English Patient by Michael Ondjiiate (think I spelt that last name wrong)
The book is amazing though, if you haven't seen the movie is definitely worth reading... the movie ruins the story! I have read it twice :)
If you like non-fiction check out "Den of Thieves" by James Stewart, also amazing about the biggest stock market fraud, insider trading of all time, about how some of the smartest men in the world took over the American stock market and made 100s of billions, it is written in narrative form from interviews and police reports! really is amazing.
Last edited by Ceragnathus; 11-07-2006 at 18:55.
27-07-2011, 16:52 #37
Arise, thread of yesteryear; arise and strike forth your terror into the hearts of...
Anyway, I've been going pretty crazy the last year or so with new books -Amazon <3-, so here's the choice bits of my growing collection:
Guns, Germs and Steel
Diamond sets out to explain why it was the continent of Eurasia, and not Africa or America, that came to dominate the modern world through exploration, conquest and trade. -And no, the answer is not really in the title.
A staggering, and staggeringly important, book that should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the "broader brush" of human history.
READ THIS. NOW.
War - The Lethal Costum
More than just a rundown of the history of human brutality from precivilised times to our "age of terrorism", this book also strives to take a look "under the hood", and explore the mechanisms that drive and enable organised, conscious warfare.
-A very worthy read, and even if I'm not entirely in line with the author's final conclusions, he does point out an uncomfortable fact: Total warfare is now capable of destroying our species' livelihood, and there's no guarantee that the institutions currently in place are enough to prevent another total war.
As a side note, this is a good supplement to GGaS above; in fact, it becomes even better when read with GGaS in mind.
Nothing To Envy - Real Lives in North Korea
Based on the stories of escaped North Koreans, this rare insight into the madness of the quasi-religious totalitariat that is NK weaves an engaging and informative narrative of ordinary human beings struggling to make a living, culminating with the suspenseful account of their escapes.
-A great supplement to dry historical accounts and statistics, and a strong indictment against one of the vilest dictatorships in existence.
Don't miss out if you're even passingly interested in NK.
Den Store Krig - Europæernes Første Verdenskrig
(The Great War - The First World War in Europe)
Niels Arne Sørensen
Too bad there doesn't seem to be an English translation of this excellent book.
NAS manages to both account for the big picture of this half forgotten war and convey a "down and dirty" perspective of the horrors of industrial warfare, and doesn't even forget to give an account of its effects on civilian life and the social upheaval it (very nearly) brought about.
This is history books as I like them the most; a spritely but serious, factual and neatly referenced overview that doesn't forget the human perspective.
The Real History of World War II - A New Look at the Past
I mostly acquired this for lack of a proper all-encompassing book on WW2.
Very competent, if bland.
The Pursuit of Glory - Europe 1648-1815
Got this to inform myself on a period I didn't know a lot about, and I was definitely not disappointed.
Spritely but serious and very well rounded.
-And it introduced me to the wonderful word "triumphalism".
A Short History of Ethics
I readily admit that parts of this book were hard reading to me -I had expected a more "beginner friendly" rundown-, but certainly a book I will have to return to in the future, in the hope that another go with a (hopefully) better equipped mind will glean more insight.
God is Not Great - How Religion Poisons Everything
The title says it all, indeed.
"...contends that organised religion is "violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children""
And there you have it. I suspect most readings will be preaching to the choir.
The Ascent of Man
An account of the history of human science with a strong humanist point to make.
Heartfelt, moving and important, a worthy read for anyone wondering what the big deal is about science.
Last edited by Soulstorm; 27-07-2011 at 21:21.
27-07-2011, 17:07 #38
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Since you mention Guns Germs and Steel, the book Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed also by Jared Diamond is highly recommended. It reviews some of the most important lost civilizations, and the factors leading to their collapse. He then looks at more present cases of societies that may or may not collapse, depending on their responses. Part 1 is a bit boring, but well worth getting through because the rest of the book is awesome.
27-07-2011, 17:37 #39
If you haven't done so yet, read Good-Bye to All That.
It gives a very intimate account of the First World War and post-WWI, from a soldier who clearly suffered PTSD before PTSD was acknowledged.
27-07-2011, 21:12 #40
Both duly noted. That makes seven books on the shopping list for the next time I have dosh to burn.