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]
I'm trying to create a travel book and website for tourists to NYC. Are there any resources I can use for free or very low cost in regards to the street maps in the printed version, especially those including subway and/or bus stops (nice, but not required).
Can you point me toward any negative reviews of Asimov's Foundation Trilogy? [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 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]
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.
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]
What newly released books would my nerdy, geeky, incredibly smart, completely rad uncle enjoy? [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]
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]
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]