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Help me build a diaspora/immigrant experience lifetime to-read list

After finishing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "Americanah," and thinking about how I loved Zadie Smith's "White Teeth," and Hanif Kureishi's "Buddha of Suburbia," I'm finding I want to read more immigration/diaspora/post-colonial literature. Please help me build a lifetime reading list. All geographies welcome. I am very deliberately trying to read more women authors in 2014 and beyond, too.
posted by mostly vowels on May 17, 2014 - 15 answers

The mail must go through!

Do you know of any children's books featuring mail? As in, a penpal or mailing letters. Specifically for an eight year old girl but I'm open to all suggestions! [more inside]
posted by cessair on May 17, 2014 - 20 answers

Definitive books for newcomers and interested laymen?

I am in a "Learn ALL the things!" mode, and also in the mood to collect books to put on shelves. I am looking for clear-consensus best introductory guides to, well, everything. I've just finished "Bobby Fisher Teaches Chess" and am now knee deep into K&R's "C Programming Language", and have Mark Rippetoe's "Starting Strength" and "Zinn and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance" under my belt. Which introductory guides to your areas of interest are the most informative and accurate and engaging?
posted by Slap*Happy on May 16, 2014 - 20 answers

Historical novels, subtype 'just-so' stories?

I'm craving a particular subtype of historical novel: the kind that posits a dimly-remembered reality behind a famous myth/legend/story, sort of filling it out and extrapolating the details into realism. My favorite of this kind is Mary Renault's "The King Must Die" about Theseus (also the sequel). I also enjoyed "Eaters of the Dead", about the events of 'Beowulf'. But what are some other good ones you can recommend? More examples and specifics inside! [more inside]
posted by theatro on May 15, 2014 - 32 answers

Recommend New Scary Authors Please!

I live on audiobooks, and I prefer less serious literature because I listen to them when I'm working or driving. For the last few months, I have been having trouble finding a book that really engages me that I want to stick to, and I need some help finding new authors. I'm especially interested in mysteries and thrillers. [more inside]
posted by elvissa on May 15, 2014 - 26 answers

Book search: Personal accounts of war

I am looking for books about war or other bad experiences, that are as evocative as Noonday Demon is about depression. [more inside]
posted by htid on May 14, 2014 - 26 answers

Seeking information about Doubleday, Junior Literary Guild, Junior Books

Do you know something about the history of publishing? Help me out. [more inside]
posted by crazylegs on May 13, 2014 - 2 answers

Best Airport Novels?

I read a lot of Classic and contemporary literary fiction and am interested in reading some books purely for distraction and fun. [more inside]
posted by R.F.Simpson on May 13, 2014 - 50 answers

Books about Stories in Games?

One of my very best friends has a birthday coming up. Over the last year he has thrown himself into game design as a hobby with his eyes on the horizon of possibly pursuing it professionally down the line. My friend is incredibly practical and intelligent so I am not so much interested in a gift that is very "how to" but instead I would love a book that looks at games on a critical level and deconstructs how they craft narrative. I've seen some questions on the green suggesting guides on a practical level and one a from a couple years ago of material that was mostly excellent blogs/posts but can anyone think of good gift books that explore ludo narrative in this way?
posted by sendai sleep master on May 12, 2014 - 5 answers

What were these peotry books and where could I buy them?

When I was a child, my uncle gave me four books which were anthologies of all sorts of poetry illustrated with collages, sketches, and other artworks. They were hardback books with a square format roughly 10" x 10". From the style of the illustrations I'd say they were published in the 70s. My mum threw them away after she had a fight with my uncle - now that I've finally forgiven her for that, can you help me identify the books and buy them? [more inside]
posted by girlgenius on May 8, 2014 - 4 answers

Book recommendations about sickness and, more importantly, healing?

Give me some ideas similar to Robin Robert's story! [more inside]
posted by shrimpsmalls on May 8, 2014 - 6 answers

Pioneer/Homesteading/Country Life books

I love reading books about homesteading and pioneer living that are more than just how to's. I'm looking for something like Laura Ingles, but for adults. Some examples of what I've enjoyed and a snapshot of my bookshelf below the fold. [more inside]
posted by julie_of_the_jungle on May 7, 2014 - 27 answers

Fantasy series that inspire fan theories like A Song of Ice and Fire?

One of my favorite aspects of ASOIAF is how GRRM drops clues and foreshadowing and his use of unreliable narrators and second-hand information to keep fans guessing and theorizing about what "really" happened. And one of my favorite aspects of ASOIAF fandom is that the word count of fan theorizing seems to now exceed the word count of the actual books by an order of magnitude. What are some other fantasy series that employ similar techniques and have inspired a comparable level of online theorizing? Thanks!
posted by Jacqueline on May 2, 2014 - 15 answers

What's a good edition of the Poetic Edda in Old Norse?

I would like to buy and own a printed edition (not a CD-ROM or an online text) of the Poetic Edda in Old Norse. I don't mind if a translation is included or not, but the original text must be. Can anyone suggest any specific editions? Include ISBNs if possible! Thanks. [more inside]
posted by No-sword on May 1, 2014 - 2 answers

Help me find more books I would like!

I realized I've just read and enjoyed several books built around the same theme/structure, and would like to find more. They generally involve a girl/young woman growing up sometime in the 20th century, usually in America, often told from the perspective of the character as a grown-up looking back and reflecting. Examples inside. [more inside]
posted by skycrashesdown on May 1, 2014 - 19 answers

Female wanderers wanted!

Seeking literary fiction with a transient, often solitary, female hero, please! [more inside]
posted by Isingthebodyelectric on Apr 30, 2014 - 40 answers

Like the Mixed-Up Files, But True

My friend is graduating next month with a degree in Museum Studies. I'd like to get her a book as a graduation present. Can you recommend any good memoirs or biographies or popular nonfiction books set in the museum world? I would rather it not be mainly about heists or looting or art crime.
posted by bluefly on Apr 30, 2014 - 13 answers

The Wolf of Sesame Street

I'm curious about the business of children's literature. I'm looking for any books/articles/personal anecdotes that discuss it from the cutthroat capitalism angle; such as how monopolies may affect the content published, or perhaps particular authors known for their ruthlessness.
posted by gorbweaver on Apr 29, 2014 - 5 answers

What nonfiction books are like these nonfiction books?

I have a hard time finding books to read that can balance holding my attention with not being too difficult or a "hard" read. What non-fiction books are like the books after the cut? [more inside]
posted by bimbam on Apr 29, 2014 - 27 answers

Hurt/comfort book recs needed for heartache fuel

I am looking for books that mainly have a hurt/comfort angle to it. Lots of angst is good (YES PLEASE FOR MY HEART), and romance, too, of course. [more inside]
posted by pleasebekind on Apr 28, 2014 - 16 answers

Books on the period between WW1 and WW2?

I'm new to history as a field of study, and I chose World War 1 as a place to start. Having finished reading several books on the topic, I'm ready to move past World War 1 for now. My first instinct was to dive into the seemingly infinite pool of literature that is World War 2, but I'm not sure if I'd be doing the 20th century justice by skipping the intervening years. Essentially, I'm looking for a book that covers the period between the World Wars. Ideally, this book would focus on Europe but touch on at least some of the rest of the world. Bonus points if this book is available as an audiobook.
posted by jqb603 on Apr 28, 2014 - 8 answers

Teaching Finnegans Wake to High Schoolers

A couple of years ago I read a piece online written by a teacher about using Finnegans Wake as a teaching tool. He had them analyze the ending of the book, or rather, the beginning/end. Their analysis of it surprised him. Many of the students came up with different interpretations showing how many ways it can be read. I can't for the life of me find it anywhere. Could someone help me out?
posted by holmesian on Apr 28, 2014 - 0 answers

Blogs written by bookstore employees or librarians

Google doesn't seem to help in regards to what I'm looking for, which is personal blogs written by either bookstore employees or librarians, detailing their day-to-day adventures (or misadventures); perhaps an anonymous blog would be even better, because I appreciate reading snarky and critical posts, too, about dealing with weird costumers, for example. Also, when it comes to librarians' blogs, I'm not looking for the more technical aspects of the library world (that's why Google didn't help). Thanks! [more inside]
posted by denika on Apr 25, 2014 - 27 answers

Fantasy Childhood Book Oswald the Sea Monster, Basilisks, Mandrakes...

A favorite childhood book was titled something like "A Mysterious Parcel." It was a translation from another (unknown) language into my own Eastern European language, so the original title might have been quite different. [more inside]
posted by Atrahasis on Apr 21, 2014 - 2 answers

Help me find fiction books that make me feel happy and alive!

The last two books I've read, Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Book Store and The Westing Game have both made me feel the same way - happy, alive, joyous. By the end of each book, I was really rooting for the characters and their happiness. At the same time, I was feeling really good. They were similar in some ways, but I can't really define the genre, so it's hard for me to look for similar books. Can people suggest books that meet some number of these qualifications? [more inside]
posted by elmer benson on Apr 18, 2014 - 29 answers

SF/Fantasy books with a 'big reveal'?

RecoFilter: I'm looking for recommendations of books, preferably in the sci-fi/fantasy genres, that have a 'big reveal' somewhere in there that changes the whole perspective of the book or protagonist. Examples would be The Inverted World, The Prestige, or Ender's Game, for example, or the first Star Trek film, or some Lovecraft stories — the whole thing, and all events narrated, appear in a different light after, you know? [more inside]
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Apr 18, 2014 - 43 answers

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body...

Should I put more effort into reading books? Is not reading books detrimental to my critical thinking skills? [more inside]
posted by WeekendJen on Apr 17, 2014 - 21 answers

Looking for books to nourish my 26yr old soul (Warning: v. picky)

Specifically books about the blossoming of The Self [more inside]
posted by winterportage on Apr 16, 2014 - 31 answers

Really engaging books on 70s (prog-ish) rock music?

Can anyone recommend a really excellent book, preferably one with lots of illustrations, wacky anecdotes, and/or other intensely engaging content about 1970s rock music? Specifically music of the "prog-ish" type, e.g., early Genesis. I poked around on Amazon a bit but nothing really stood out... [more inside]
posted by aecorwin on Apr 16, 2014 - 11 answers

Knock knock, what was that book?

Please help me find a mystery book from my childhood. I am stumped. It would have been in the mid 70s, probably between 1974-77. I think it was science/nature-related book that may have been one of a series. What I remember is a hard-cover book, and on the back inside cover there was mounted a round plastic disk with an arrow inside, sort of like a compass. It was visible though holes in the pages and front cover. There were questions with multiple choices on each page, and you would close the book and knock on the cover a certain number of times to make the needle point to the correct answer on a corresponding page. That sounds crazy even as I type it, but if someone could find this book (or even corroborate my memory) I would be eternally grateful.
posted by mefireader on Apr 14, 2014 - 2 answers

Tana French readalikes, or other good, character-driven mysteries?

I'm not usually a mystery reader, but I recently read In the Woods and The Likeness, by Tana French, on a friend's recommendation. I loved them, but I'm not familiar enough with the genre to find others like them. What I like about them: strong characters, suspense that is mainly psychological in nature, clear prose. I also enjoyed the Stieg Larsson books; other Scandinavian mysteries have been hit or miss. Any recommendations, MeFites?
posted by missrachael on Apr 13, 2014 - 27 answers

Cultural Literacy 101

For a friend: Say someone wants to develop a working sense of modern-day cultural literacy in the United States. This person has very limited knowledge of current events, and has limited himself to only a very narrow scope of popular entertainment. He now wishes to be able to converse about these topics with reasonably savvy adults (such as in dating scenarios and social gatherings). Can you provide sources of information for the following? [more inside]
posted by justonegirl on Apr 13, 2014 - 26 answers

Children's Book search from 60s/70s

I've been looking for this book I remember from my childhood - or maybe I dreamt it - that was a sweet little illustrated picture book about a Teddy Bear Masquerade Ball. This askmefi question is my Hail Mary pass. If no one else remembers this, I'll end my search! [more inside]
posted by anemone on Apr 12, 2014 - 4 answers

Books that allude to books that do not exist.

In The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, the title character is negatively influenced by a "poison" book that is mentioned repeatedly in the text but never named. "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius," the short story by Jorge Luis Borges, mentions several nonexistent books including a mysteriously altered encyclopedia and a History of the Land Called Uqbar. I am looking for more fictional references in novels or stories to other books that do not exist. Help, please? [more inside]
posted by BlueJae on Apr 11, 2014 - 59 answers

A special novel?

A family friend is graduating from high school and I would like to give her a gift. She is going to study literature at university so I would like to get her a book. I'm looking for recommendations for something special. Details inside. [more inside]
posted by sapien on Apr 11, 2014 - 14 answers

Modern Life is Magic

Help me find books that convey a jolly feeling of appreciation for the wonders of modern life. Ideally these would be books that have a sci-fi or fantasy feel, but in which nothing overtly magical or fantastic happens. The best recent examples I can think of are Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, which has all the elements of a fantasy novel but is set squarely in our world, and William Gibson's most recent novels, all of which feel fantastic to me but are grounded in real life. [more inside]
posted by spacewaitress on Apr 10, 2014 - 18 answers

How to identify particularly good French translations of English books?

My SO prefers reading in French, and I'm introducing her to some of my favourite English-language books. Is there a site somewhere that I can use to look up which books are agreed to have really great translations from English to French? [more inside]
posted by metaBugs on Apr 9, 2014 - 7 answers

Near(ish) future space exploration fiction

I have a huge love for space/planetary exploration fiction. Think 2001, the sadly mistreated Defying Gravity TV show and Kim Stanley Robinson's mars series. Do you have recommendations for me? Books primarliy, but TV/Films too though I guess i have seen most of those in this genre already. [more inside]
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Apr 8, 2014 - 10 answers

Help Me Find Books for my 10-year-old

My son reads for an hour every night as part of his homework, and quite often longer than that just for fun. He's a fairly quick reader, and reads at levels higher than his age. This means that we are often in search of new and interesting books for him to read, and I could use some help. More info below. [more inside]
posted by dotgirl on Apr 7, 2014 - 65 answers

"Stranger things have happened, especially in driver's education class."

So I read a children's book as a kid in the 1980s that used the title quote as a running gag. Can anybody identify it? [more inside]
posted by Shmuel510 on Apr 7, 2014 - 4 answers

Nonfiction recommendation: Reading to a 92-year old blind lady

Please recommend interesting, well-written and easy-reading nonfiction books [more inside]
posted by eisenl on Apr 5, 2014 - 38 answers

Kids-book-filter

Help me find this book series I loved as a kid. It documented the anthropomorphized life of assorted woodland creatures. Not fantasy, exactly, just woodland creatures doing woodland things. Nothing like Redwall. They were "chapter books," and I remember their covers being green. There were a lot of them- I want to say a dozen? One story-line revolved around a family of beavers. Any ideas, hive mind?
posted by BungaDunga on Apr 5, 2014 - 6 answers

The occult, the delusions, and the swamp rats.

Carl Hiaasen meets H.P. Lovecraft. What book am I looking for? [more inside]
posted by Willie0248 on Apr 4, 2014 - 15 answers

Help me find a pair of novels set in the future with magic.

Trying to find a pair of novels set in the near future North America that I read sometime between 1990 and 2004 approximately. The "big idea" is that neopagan magic "returns" (or at least everyone believes it does, and acts accordingly) with the millennium. The protagonist of one novel is pregnant with the next world spiritual leader. In one scene, a prophet yells at her, "you're full of fish!" Another novel with the same setting (perhaps the same novel) involved a conspiracy and had a genderqueer magical cyberpunk/hacker as a minor character. I remember them as similar to Galveston by Sean Stewart but I'm pretty certain they're not by Stewart. It's not Bone Dance or DeLint, and they had nothing to do with Shadowrun. Help appreciated. They're probably not all that great, but the pair were striking enough that a few things stick out.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos on Apr 3, 2014 - 2 answers

Like Gleick is to Information Theory, X is to Social Choice Theory

What are some great, accessible books that would allow me to learn more about social choice theory without having to become an economist? I am thinking something along the likes of James Gleick's "popular science" Information Theory book, but for social choice theory. [more inside]
posted by TheyCallItPeace on Apr 3, 2014 - 2 answers

Load me up with awesome short stories!

I have this book and I love it. I pick it up, open to a random page, and read whatever story I land on (generally with great success) and often discover a new author to read. Can you recommend other similarly gigantic, wonderfully edited, genre-specific collections of short stories/novellas? [more inside]
posted by torisaur on Apr 1, 2014 - 16 answers

Good Examples of Collected Journalism

Can people recommend good examples of the collected works of an individual journalist, collected and published as a book? I want to see how great journalists arrange and contextualize distinct pieces that also contain larger narrative arcs. Thanks.
posted by history is a weapon on Mar 30, 2014 - 13 answers

books with realistic female characters?

I am tired of novels that have an enigmatic woman at the center of the novel. Can you recommend some books to me where all of the female characters actually act like real people? [more inside]
posted by colfax on Mar 30, 2014 - 57 answers

Physical security measure to prevent book theft

I'm going to be stocking a small bookcase with 5 to 10 books, and placing it in a room inside a college. I need a way to prevent the books from being stolen. Options seem surprisingly limited. Any help? [more inside]
posted by ajp on Mar 28, 2014 - 27 answers

recommend me some (kind of specific) books?

Spring break is coming up, and the best part of spring break is reading all day - so I need to come up with a bunch of books to bring! I'm specifically looking for ghost stories, YA fantasy, historical romance, and travelogues, though if you know of something else fun and easy, feel free to chime in. [more inside]
posted by goodbyewaffles on Mar 27, 2014 - 30 answers

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