In many spy or action movies, the technical systems seem to be designed by total idiots. Especially everything concerned with nuclear weapons. While this creates an easy and straightforward plot, it destroys my suspension of disbelief more severely than if talking unicorns just walked into the scene. I'm looking for fiction with systems designed by sane people. Inexplacible things, utter idiocy and madness may exist, but should be acknowledged as such in-universe. Spoilers for "Olympus has fallen" inside. [more inside]
I again have time to consume books like a cookie-monster. I've avoided lists of classics-by-genera because I tend to like only 5% of what's on them. It's not that I specifically like reading dystopias or sci-fi - I liked the Poisonwood Bible for instance, as much if not more than Lord of the Rings. In addition to book recommendations, it would also be useful if, given the books listed below, you have any ideas for other trends that could help me search out books myself. Your advice is much appreciated! :) [more inside]
I'm trying to learn more about the history of the bombing of Dresden, and am looking for the most reliable (yet accessible) source. [more inside]
I'm looking for the title of a children`s picture book which had a boy named Paul and a man with a crystal ball named Solamand (sp?) . Many of the pages had shiny silver spots on them such as a silver rain puddle. I thought it had ``Apprentice`in the title, but maybe not. I don`t know when it was published but my children read it in the `80s. Paul somehow travels from his home to were Solamand is. Does anyone remember it?
I want to learn how to watch movies with more of a critical eye. I want to know what to pay attention to - technically, narratively, and so on -- and how to judge these things, so I can better appreciate what's going on. I'm looking for books or maybe documentaries that will help me do this. [more inside]
My partner and I were remembering our differing childhood experiences of homemade spaghetti. At one point, she brought up using the leftovers in a spaghetti sandwich. I've never had one, but this triggered a vivid memory of a favorite picture book which had at least one illustration of a spaghetti sandwich. Among other odd sandwiches, possibly. I'd love to remember the title of the book and, ideally, see that illustration. [more inside]
Years ago I read this old science fiction book that was written in a poetic noir style, and I remember bits of the plot, but not any names to google. Could you help me find it? [more inside]
I have a completed proposal for a spiritual, self-help book with catchy title. How would I go about contacting publishers for submission?
Please recommend fiction about obscure subcultures. Basically, I'm looking for the fiction version of this question. More contemporary books (written recently and about contemporary subjects) are preferred but not required.
Looking for a book I read as a kid, so I only have a few clues which is probably why I haven't been able to turn this one up. Science fiction, read probably in the mid-to-late eighties out of a school library. It might have been an older book - it had the flavor of older science fiction but I could be wrong on that part. [more inside]
There's a Michael Crichton book (technically finished based on his notes) called Micro. It is about a group of people who get shrunk to miniscule size and are attacked by mundane wildlife. [more inside]
Trying to find the perfect book to scratch a partner's literary itch for macrohistories related in some way to music. Details within. [more inside]
If I'm going to succeed in a field I am considering (bioinformatics), I'm going to need to learn a good deal of statistics. I have limited experience in the subject and have never found the details of it especially compelling. Can you recommend some books on statiistics (not necessarily light on the details) that are well written and interesting? Something designed to get the layman interested in the details could be good, but textbook recommendations would also be good.
Looking for books/long articles about Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society- the history, the political effort, the hits and the flops. [more inside]
I'm looking for a nice art book covering fashion and (particularly) hairstyles, both men's and women's, in America in the 30s, 40s, and/or 50s. This is a gift for a hairstylist, so pictures are key - the text is much less important. Price range up to $200. Thanks!
There was a short-lived kid's book series whose title that for the life of me I can't remember. It came out around the time that ESP McGee did. The main character had this unusual ability - he could draw anything and he had a photographic memory. The series was basically like Encyclopedia Brown, with a series of short mysteries in each volume, except that the clues to be gleaned were always hidden in the drawing. The protagonist, at the scene, always said "click" like a camera, and remembered the scene to be drawn later in his sketchbook. I mentioned this to a friend of mine and he asked me if it was Cam Jansen, who also says click, but I looked that series up and it's not her. Can anyone help? This has been haunting me for years.
What newly released books would my nerdy, geeky, incredibly smart, completely rad uncle enjoy? [more inside]
At some point in the last five years or so, I read a recent book about art that took a critical look at -- for lack of a better term -- art machismo: the notion that good art is merciless and disruptive and basically must take a confrontational stance. I'm about 80% sure it was written by a woman. It was pretty accessible; I think I found it through a review in a general-interest publication. What might I have read?
Probably released in the 80s, orange red cover (hardback) with a picture of a treaded vehicle in an underground cavern. It's quite a long book that chronicles the adventures of a group of boys in a reform school who are forced to journey (via a large treaded vehicle) into an underground land to recover a magic artifact that the faculty of the reform school want to possess. The underground adventure is the middle portion of the book, the beginning describes life at the school and the third act takes place after they recover the artifact and escape the school. [more inside]
I like to learn about different places and cultures by reading fiction set in those places and with characters from those cultures. Can you recommend to me a contemporary novel about American Indians? I'm particularly interested in books about Native American communities in the continental US. [more inside]
Help my friend out. She's trying to identify a book she read in the past, based on the Norse myth of Fenrir - but set in modern times, with a boy as the protagonist. Strange things begin to happen to the boy, and an old man tells him to "Look for things that aren't there." Ring any bells? Friend's description of the book can be found within. [more inside]
Sometimes, one of the first pages of a library book will bear an identifying stamp made of perforations punched through by a special tool. This practice seems to have disappeared, and Googling for it has only frustrated me. What is the tool called and where can I find one? [more inside]
For years, my dad has enjoyed the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle. Now that he's retired, he has a lot more free time and I think he's running out of his backlog of these puzzles. He likes the larger size of the Sunday, so I doubt he'd be as interested in the weekday puzzles. For those of you who regularly solve the NYT Sunday, are there puzzles you find just as challenging? [more inside]
You know how you can just remember a few details about some subject from your youth, and it's going to bother you until you can reveal the full scope of that memory? Yeah, I'm right there. I'm looking for a series of books. They were in the SF/F section in the 1980s. They were probably popular because their covers resembled Frazetta prints, and they tended to be really violent (i.e. jumping on the popularity of Conan). [more inside]
Is there a definitive activity book? Sort of like a cookbook, but for Activities To Do? [more inside]
Can you recommend fiction books that feature a main character who is entering middle age and is evaluating his or her life so far, and what direction their life should take? [more inside]
My soon-to-be-17-year-old niece is interested in pursuing forensic science as a career. What are the best books on the subject that would both entertain and inform her? Fiction and non-fiction suggestions are welcome.
I am trying to find a book I read as a child in the early/mid 90s. Set in the UK. [more inside]
What is the name of the book and movie about a simple-minded, poor man who lived with his mother, carried a pet bird with him and gets innocently involved in an social uprising? I think he discovered gold near the beginning and his clothes are tattered.
I'm helping to design a course for college juniors and seniors in the health sciences. What books (textbooks, popular non-fiction, or even novels), articles, essays, and websites would be most helpful for the students as they finish up their degrees? [more inside]
There used to be a service that took your stared tweets, and make them into a book. I can't find it now and it would be awesome for all the family stories and comments I've saved over the years... [more inside]
Sometime around 1997/1998 I read a strange book and since then I've forgotten almost all the details. About the only thing I can remember is that there were some creatures who 'spoke' multiple concepts at once. [more inside]
In high school English class, I remember reading a novel but can't recall the name or really much of the plot. I don't even remember liking it, but I still need to know the title! Here are some of the details I remember. A couple gets married, and then they have a child seven or so months later. They weren't together before the wedding, so it's known the husband isn't the father. The wife had other children from a previous marriage/relationship. I believe the grandparents also play a central role. The father works at a furniture store or for a cabinet maker? At one point, he joins some religious group and they have a gathering at his house. Somebody leaves a water ring on a nice oak table and the party fizzles out shortly after, even though they successfully remove the ring with soap. Any guesses?
Help me identify this bizarre book I attempted to read as a kid. [more inside]
Give me your most well written genre fiction! [more inside]
I'm trying to track down a book from my childhood that is a version of the Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird song. [more inside]
What are good "owners manuals" for new dog owners? [more inside]
Back in the late 80s/early 90s, I read an excerpt of a book about a man's experience as a crab fisherman in the Bering Sea in The Reader's Digest. I was only around ten years old, so I wasn't exactly thinking about taking notes of the title and author. Help me now find this book, please! Details inside. [more inside]
So I told my partner you guys were amazing at locating obscure SF stories. Can you help him find this one? About 1970-72 I read an SF anthology with a story I've lately been trying to find on the Google with no luck. Said story involved a protagonist asked by friends to accompany them on a night out playing a game/sport he'd never heard of called, if I remember right, "torming." He said yes though he was too embarrassed to admit he'd never heard of it. It turned out to involve (avoiding potential spoilers here) tech well beyond the 1970s. Ring any bells? Googling "torming" is less than helpful. I may have misremembered the sport's name. Thanks!
What novels or short stories grapple with the decline of a superpower? I'm thinking waning-British-Empire stuff, primariy, but the decline of other global powerhouses is fine too. Must be fiction. Decline-of-Empire can either be primary to the plot or a backdrop against which other key aspects of the story unfold.
My best friend is getting married in June and I'm a bridesmaid. I've offered to put together a guestbook for the couple as part of the big day. I've heard of so many creative ideas - books with photos, framed signed photos, puzzles, etc., but some of them seem impractical. I want this to be something they can potentially display in their home as a reminder of the ceremony. I need ideas, links, personal anecdotes (what made your guestbook special?), to help me put together the best guest book for a lovely couple! It can be DIY or for purchase.
What comes next after popular medical non-fiction? [more inside]
I have a PDF that I'd like to convert to ebook format. It's straightforward - body text with just a handful of images - but the ebook needs to have the same font and style of the PDF. (I also have it in InDesign, if that helps.) I'm looking for a designer, or design agency, who has worked on ebooks before, who can take this on. Any recommendations? [more inside]
I want to get a firmer grasp of the English-speaking countries history. [more inside]
What are some exceptionally weird tie-in novels and comics? I'm looking for books which are especially weird as a result of not fitting the tone or form of the source material, or of the usual tie-in product. Preferably in fantasy, sci-fi, & horror. [more inside]
I am writing a guidebook for my industry and while I want to catch some of the increase in reputation that comes from going through a real publisher, I also pretty much want to give it away (electronically but also in hard copy as gifts for clients etc) to as many people as possible. Is there a way to achieve both of those goals? Published by an independent, real publisher, printed for those that want to pay, and those I am willing to pay for, and free for me to distribute as much as I want?
Trying to name a novel where a couple finds each other throughout different lives/reincarnations by placing newspaper ads. [more inside]
I am learning French and am struggling with how to relate French grammar to its English equivalent. The problem: I have no general understanding of grammar. Six months ago I didn't even know what an adverb was! [more inside]
I've been racking my brain trying to remember a book I liked when I was a kid. As I recall it was a small chapter book, with a reading level somewhere in the 2nd - 3rd grade range. It was about a group of forest animals, and I think most or all of them were nocturnal. The main one was a flying squirrel. [more inside]
Ancient Roman and Greek civilizations set my imagination ablaze, and while I've loved Homer's works right now I'm interested in works written in, say, the last century that take place in those times, or thereabouts. [more inside]