Simple enough question. I've never read any Elmore Leonard, and think I will give him a whirl. Where should I start?
I spent 4 years learning French in high school, and have retained just enough since then to vaguely eavesdrop on a fellow commuter's French novel the other day. I would like to brush up on my reading comprehension, and could use some suggestions for some simply written fiction to pick up. [more inside]
I want to improve my parenting skills for my almost-2-year old. I don't have a lot of role models nearby, so I'd like to do some reading. I tend to put off reading non-fiction, even if it is well-written about a topic I am interested in. However, I will read novels even if they aren't very good and I don't really have time to read them. [more inside]
I'm looking for books, stories, films, documentaries, articles about the birth of dystopic societies. Examples could be a prequel to the Hunger Games (how did this fictional world come to be?), an article about people's lives in a nation where democracy was overthrown, stories about how Jews and non-Jews reacted to the early days of Hitler's rise, explorations of the slow realization that an ostensibly democratic nation is now really run by a strongman or single powerful party. [more inside]
How do you decide what books to read? Recommendations? Reviews? Go to the bookstore and read a chapter? I often find myself overwhelmed with the zillions of choices. How do you narrow it down?
What elements are needed to write a frighteningly plausible post-apocalyptic story? [more inside]
Can you recommend any good books (or films, but I prefer reading) in which a major plot point is the main character dropping out of their own life and starting again in a new location under a new identity? [more inside]
Writing fiction: is it the sort of thing where you either have "the gift," or you don't? [more inside]
Identify-a-book-filter: I'm trying to remember a children's/young adult book that I likely read 15-20 years ago in Australia. It was about a ~13 year old girl who went to a Greek island with her archaelogist parents (for a year/the summer?) and something magicky happened. [more inside]
Inspired by this post on the blue, I was wondering -- what are some examples of articles/blog posts where someone analyzed (presumably with tongue-in-cheek) a minor part of a fictional world in a serious way that treats the subject matter as truth, not fictional? [more inside]
As a reader of fiction (especially if you're a devotee of speculative fiction), how much do you like detailed descriptions and/or lists as part of the story? What if the story switches between detail and expediency? [more inside]
Finding a long lost book with a grey cover and very sparse details. [more inside]
I've been asked to put together a longish reading list for a BA Art/Literature module, and I'd love some ideas for texts outside my current knowledge. The list should cover a series of genres and contexts, with writing from, and about, the history and theory of art, journalism, academia, design, architecture and film. Writing on design and architecture are particularly outside my knowledge. What innovative and critically significant writings can you recommend across any of these subject areas? [more inside]
Recommendations for fiction about the rich and all their trappings, imposters within that world, or stories where the mighty fell and then rose again? [more inside]
My book queue is empty, and my brain craves fiction! Could you please recommend some books? Favorites include : DeLillo, Murakami, Pynchon, Bolaño, Lethem, Barthleme, Franzen, Chabon, DFW, Bulgakov, Rushdie, David Mitchell, Gabriel García Márquez, Mark Z. Danielewski, Philip K. Dick, Stephen King, George Saunders, Joe Hill, and Raymond Chandler [more inside]
How much fantasy speculative fiction is there out there? [more inside]
What's this novel? I just got a reference request to identify the book/series that has vampires and "bats with big bladders under their bellies". Vampire books are not my forte. Complete question inside. Help? [more inside]
What are the best non-Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories, collections, and novels?
Just caught a screening of Pulp Fiction on the big screen, and I have a question about Vincent's reading material, re: origin [more inside]
A world with binary suns and multiple satellites that can still be livable by a diverse (even lush) assortment of life forms - true or not? [more inside]
Fiction for a rainy weekend? [more inside]
Books / resources about monastic life? I am thinking of writing a story set in a completely fictional setting, and I'd like to research more ideas of what life is like in a monastery or abbey. [more inside]
Recommend me some seriously good romance/erotic romance fiction? [more inside]
As a reader, how do you feel about invented language versus familiar words in imaginary worlds? [more inside]
Why are third acts so difficult to execute well? [more inside]
Does anyone remember the name of an independent "interactive fiction" game that appeared on MeFi a while back? The gist of it was that there was a "writer" and a "player", and the writer created scenes visually (in an old school 8-bit, top-down view), and the player would respond with his/her action textually, and the writer would then update the graphics on the screen to reflect the actions of the user. The completed stories could then be uploaded to a common site for all to share. It was very cool, but I can't remember its name for the life of me.
Can you help me identify a 25+ year-old short story that describes someone unable to cross a city street? [more inside]
I'm looking for examples of visual timelines in movies, video games, or fiction. Scenes where a span of time is represented metaphorically, preferably as a physical object, diagram, or action. A good example is this scene from Me and You and Everyone We Know in which two characters use a street as a visual metaphor for their potential relationship. [more inside]
What novels or movies have a vivacious, charming person drop in and change everybody's perspective or shake the place up?
Looking for specific book recommendations that are superb and by female authors/female authors of color. [more inside]
What are other modern fiction titles with superlatives? I'm thinking of "Everything is Illuminated" and "Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever". [more inside]
You don't need permission to dress up as a copyrighted character, but do you need permission to write about it?
My novel involves a costume party with some guests dressed as recognizable characters from films, TV, etc. I'm clearly not trying to claim them as my own and it's just all Halloween costumes, but am I asking to get sued? [more inside]
Help me choose what to read next! Am currently reading Richard Russo's Empire Falls and need suggestion on where I should head next. [more inside]
I looked at my bookshelf recently. Nearly every writer on there is dead and male. I should rectify this. Which books by women, living or dead, might I like? Details inside. [more inside]
Is there a name for that Victorian(?) thing where a work, usually a novel, has a second, alternate title? [more inside]
I'm looking for a sci-fi book about young people who traveled to an alternative universe on multiple occasions. There was something about a power station and the story may also have mentioned a triangular symbol. It turns out that their switching between universes was limited for some reason. [more inside]
Halloween Filter: Help me with a name and tagline(s) for my 'business' of getting people to sign over their soul to eternal damnation. Tech startup parodies most welcome. [more inside]
[book-filter] Need help tracking down a sci-fi novel(s) read in the late 80's or 90's containing special abilities provided by nanochips. [more inside]
I'm a huge fan of science fiction book cover art (especially the 50s through the 80s) and I like to use ideas from them to make posters for my band. If you need examples: this should explain what I'm looking for. I'm wondering if there are existing resources for science fiction cover art or general science fiction art that mirrors this sort of style and substance? I especially need resources that are fair use, free to modify etc. etc. We use these posters to advertise our shows at places which usually have a cover charge -- so I will need content that I can modify to use "commercially". [more inside]
Looking for instances, whether fictional, religious or otherwise, of the idea of the "double". [more inside]
Looking for stories featuring/about bards/musicians/historians. [more inside]
I just finished Gone Girl the other day and am looking for similar reads. Without spoiling anything this book features intelligent and unpredictable characters with twisty plotting, including a significant script flip halfway through. Would love similar page turners that keep you guessing without being too formulaic or lowest common denominator!
I need suggestions of fictional or non-fictional books or films that deal with illness or dying in relation to humor/the absurd. [more inside]
Speculative fiction about historical gradualism: I'm looking for SF stories which begin in the real historical world (past or present) and then gradually diverge from it, without any single decisive turning point. [more inside]
You helped me feel depressed through novels. Can you now help me feel good about being alive and connected to humanity through books? [more inside]
Looking for novels about or by authors from the Central Valley of California. [more inside]
Blurb for my new (upcoming) novel: how well does it work? [more inside]
William Faulkner famously said, "The best fiction is far more true than any journalism." But where the heck did he actually say this? Does anyone know the book or article or interview where this quote originated?
What makes an original work particularly suited to being followed by fanfiction? [more inside]
Looking for recommendations for novels, short stories, or character-heavy nonfiction about life as an American adolescent boy or young man during the first half of the 20th century. [more inside]