In grade school, my friend read a children's book about a female allosaurus. "The basic story was that the allosaurus was extremely hungry and had to hunt other animals to feed itself, but she was also too old to catch any prey. So at the end the allosaurus starved to death. That was, literally, the plot. A dinosaur learns that life is cruel and then dies." Ring any bells?
I want to read journals and letters by people in their fifties and sixties. It could be anyone, anywhere, any century. I prefer good writing, and some levity. Most of all I'm looking for a sense of personality, text that brings the writer to life. The writer in his/her late middle age has lived several decades. They are settled in themselves, yet they still struggle. They look forward to years ahead, and they ponder mortality. What do they have to say? [more inside]
I saw pictures of a book on tumblr that was filled with suggestions for improvements on common condolences. For example, instead of saying, "Everything happens for a reason," try, "You must be disappointed that it didn't work out." Help me find this book, please! [more inside]
Misremembered-YA-book-filter. I read it in the early 1980s. A girl dresses as a boy to work at a baseball stadium, because she owes money to the mob? Anyone?
I'm hoping to find a readable non-fiction book that covers Detroit's history, from its birth to its rise and then it's death, for lack of a better word. (Even if the city isn't dead--it's hard to argue that what Detroit used to be isn't dead.) Is there a recent "definitive" book in this vein?
What was this anthology book from my childhood?? Read at my grandmother's house in the early to mid 1990s. [more inside]
I am currently reading Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn, which includes wonderful vivid descriptions of a city built high in the trees on a jungle planet. Please recommend more novels that feature civilization in the trees! Not Tarzan; I'm looking for town or city life, arboreal style. I am searching for Dendropolis. [more inside]
I am looking for book recommendations. Specifically, books that have gorgeous writing. [more inside]
Is there historical fiction set in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica? If so, where do I find it? [more inside]
The past few years I've gotten my mom books that were recommended on various askme threads that, at this point, are a few years old. I'm looking for books that aren't particularly challenging, but are higher level than mass market airplane reading. Good reads, good yarns. [more inside]
I am looking for book suggestions for my partner. He enjoys the historical and comical nature of Rabelais and Casanova's memoir. He also enjoys the style/ambition of Vladimir Nabokov. [more inside]
A long-shot find-me-this-book question, academic edition! A friend has mislaid the title of a book he needs on Mexican popular religion. Do you know the book, or where else on the Internet might be a good place to ask? [more inside]
It was a children's picture book from the 1970s about a girl's day at the beach. Here's what I remember about it... The author is female, and the illustrations were watercolour. The story is told from the first person perspective, and its simply a girl having fun all by herself at the beach. When it starts to rain, she's already wet so she doesn't mind. Eventually she makes it back to her cottage (or maybe her home), and her mom wraps her up and makes her cocoa. The girl observes that it's a strange thing to have cocoa in August. [more inside]
I’m looking for recommendations for conventional short stories that are reasonably easy to read and have some literary merit. When I say “conventional”, I mean stories that have a distinct plot, with recognizable characters, and some kind of clear resolution at the end. [more inside]
Please can you recommend books similar to Bruno Schulz's, Isaac Babel's and Bulgakov's Master & Margarita? [more inside]
I'm about to finish Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era, which is a history of the songwriters and musicians who invented the classic "Brill Building Sound." What's the best book to read about Motown Records? [more inside]
I'd like to stock up my Kindle relatively inexpensively (and am also a little overwhelmed by the phenomenal quantity of cheap public domain books available). What are the best works of literary fiction under $2 available for the Kindle? Preferences/requirements inside. [more inside]
I'm trying to find a copy of Helen DeWitt's novel "Your Name Here." For the life of me, I can't seem to find one. It was published online as a pdf you could buy from her website, but now I can't seem to find a link, just some text saying a small press had bought it. The last news on that was a few years ago. If anyone could direct me toward a copy of the book, I would be grateful and more than happy to pay for it.
And yachts, dinghys, paddleboats, battleships, canoes, schooners, tugboats, and catamarans. I love reading about boats and life aboard them. Fiction or non-fiction, freshwater or salt, genre and era unimportant. Please recommend books about boats! [more inside]
A friend of mine is interested in books on surfing - like memoirs of surfers, or fiction that involves surfing. He's interested in "a good read," not a how-to manual. Can you name any good books about - or involving - surfing that would make a good read?
Need a book rec for a sixteen year old girl who reads manga and Game of Thrones, loves Miyazaki movies and Japanese culture. Extra context inside. [more inside]
I am looking for post-apocalyptic sci fi books for my husband. He is currently convalescing from a back injury, and when Husband is bored, Wife suffers. [more inside]
What are the best scifi and/or fantasy book series that are consistently great from novel to novel? For my purposes this would be a series of at least three books, and probably no more than... six? ish? (I might be cutting it short; this is a general estimate of about how long my interest tends to remain keen. Not a dealbreaker if a bit more). I'm looking for the sorts of books that really draw you into the fictional world and have a lot of character building, with few or no "weak links" from book to book. [more inside]
I want my family and friends to better understand what I'm going through when I'm depressed and/or anxious. Are there good books (fiction or nonfiction) that explain what being clinically depressed is like? [more inside]
I loved A Song of Ice and Fire, The Kingkiller Chronicle and the Stormlight Archive. I'm in book 2 of the Mistborn series and it's enjoyable but not as good as the previous. Where should I go next? Needs to be on Audible (I have a 2 hr commute every day).
Please help me resolve an argument about what Amazon will and will not sell. Party A claims that Amazon will not sell any book with corpses shown on the cover art. Party B despairs of the work involved in a late change to their book's cover. My gut feeling is that this is a ludicrous exaggeration of their actual policy and that there should be plenty of blatant counterexamples, but it's not an easy thing to search for. That's where askmefi comes in. [more inside]
I'd like to try acquire the rights to material from a few related out-of-print nonfiction books published in the US during the 1920s and 30s, in order to create interactive electronic media from the material. (Initially a website, possibly an offline phone app. in the future.) This is almost certainly not fair use, and copyrights have been renewed for most of the texts. I'm hoping for a sanity check and some pointers from someone who knows more about book rights than me. [more inside]
My uncle is interested in reading science fiction or futuristic fantasy books that involve music as a strong narrative element. He has read some Anne McCaffrey that did this, as well as Patrick Rothfuss, but was hoping to find other options, and I drew a blank. Can you guys think of any more music-tinged works?
For a couple chapters of a book I'm writing, I could choose to adapt short stories that I already released under a Creative Commons license. Even with the adapted chapters, the book would be 95% new material. What are the implications of mixing the new material with the CC material? [more inside]
What are the best history (non-fiction) books concerned with the Oregon Territory, the Pacific Northwest, Washington State, the Puget Sound region, or Seattle?
What is the best service or method for designing and printing about a dozen copies of a cookbook? Lulu? Amazon? iPhoto? Kinkos? [more inside]
I was at Busboys and Poets a few months ago and I found an amazing book that "prescribed" other books for various physical and mental ailments - e.g Jane Austen for the brokenhearted, Heart of Darkness for malaria. I think the author had a blog/service all about book recommendations and was called the "book doctor." Help me find this book!
I want your book recommendations. I have just finished watching the first season of The Americans, a TV series about two Russian spies who live as an American couple with two children during the Cold War, and was surprised that I loved it a lot. I want more of that, but I don't usually love this kind of tv series. So I thought, instead of looking for other tv shows like this, I could try to find some books that I like. [more inside]
My question is two-fold, really. First, please recommend to me all of your favorite titles on the history of science, math, technology, and medicine. Secondly, how do you go about searching for good books in these topics? My favorite booksellers don't have a "history of science" search tag, unfortunately. Some of my past favorites and extended explanation below the fold. [more inside]
I'm getting fairly tired of science fiction set in the near or medium future where society and motivations are an extension of modern life. I'd like something set so far in the future that there is nothing that really calls back to earth politics or history or culture, or something which may well be in an alternate universe because earth-like things never even come up. [more inside]
My wonderful partner has a 7-year-old, 2nd-grade son who is having a little trouble keeping up with his peers in the reading department. We're trying to give him some extra attention in that area so that he can catch up, and we'd like to try and foster in him a genuine interest in reading. What books (or comics, or anything) could we give him that he might like, and which would be appropriate for his reading level? [more inside]
Hi, My 10 year old girl loves to read. When she gets started, she loves it, but it's the "getting her started" that I have a problem with. [more inside]
Please help my husband and me find words or phrases (any language!) that describe the sensation of knowing how far you are from home. Not really alienation or nostalgia or being homesick-- just the understanding/realization of the distance. [more inside]
Seeking literary fiction with a transient, often solitary, female hero, please! [more inside]
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.
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?
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]
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]
I'd like to brush up on my understanding of American politics today. Could anyone point me in the direction of an accessible, well-regarded book that approaches an interesting political phenomenon, or American politics in general, in a relatively non-partisan way? I'd prefer to stay away from highly ideological works about how either conservatives or liberals are leading America to its doom.
I'm starting a book club among my friends where we just read the dirty bits from popular books to each other. They don't even have to be popular books - just books that I can actually find easily. And it's not exactly a book club. More like a reading-to-each-other club. Anyway, can you remember and recommend any notably hot sex scenes from books you might have read? [more inside]
I just finished reading Zealot, by Reza Aslan, and I found it to be a fascinating book. I'm looking for similar books! [more inside]
I'm looking for non-fiction books that describe the day-to-day life of an allied tanker (guy in a tank or other AFV) in World War II. [more inside]
I'm yet again looking for some books I read over a decade ago. Details below. Somewhere in there I swear is a link to Frank Herbert, but I don't know for sure (every time I search for his bibliography it comes up all Dune). [more inside]
I've recently finished Marcus Sakey's Brilliance and Max Barry's Lexicon and I'd like more thrillers like them. By "like them", I mean: fast paced, lots of twists and action, an intelligent, speculative, science-fictiony central idea, but the book is not marketed as genre science fiction, but rather as a thriller. Some literary aspiration is a plus, as is a good Bechdel test score (both of the above books kind of failed on that latter criterion). Already read: Atwood, Gibson, Stephenson. I read a lot of "literary mysteries" like Tana French and the like, but here I'm more interested in action/thrillers and not so much mysteries or procedurals.
Book suggestions for a gift exchange recipient that combine business, Haruki Murakami, David Foster Wallace, and/or music? (here's hoping my recipient isn't also a Mefite!) [more inside]