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Thoughtful sci-fi recommendations

Looking for recommendations of sci-fi authors who are adept at some technology topics without compromising storytelling. More inside! [more inside]
posted by azazello on Jul 13, 2014 - 24 answers

Engrossing Science Fiction Recommendations Please!

Help me fill my Kindle with vacation reading! I like well-written doorstop SF, urban fantasy, spaceship books, epic fantasy, deep complicated books but also joyful romps, complicated prophecies that manifest in unusual ways, great worldbuilding, etc. Romantic elements are fine but I'm not as into stuff where the plot is a thin scrim to hang over endless sexy sex. And as a lifelong SF reader, I have now officially read enough books without women in them, so only books that include solid female characters (as opposed to braid-tugging smurfettes). Things I have loved under the cut. [more inside]
posted by KathrynT on Jun 19, 2014 - 66 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

Business, Murakami, DFW, and Music

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]
posted by divabat on Mar 4, 2014 - 10 answers

Best Books for Ancient History?

I've recently developed an interest in ancient history (yes, the recent history-related posts on the blue may have helped) and am looking for good books on the subject that I can buy/check out from the library. I'm particularity interested in technological and cultural histories of major ancient civilizations. [more inside]
posted by Noms_Tiem on Feb 7, 2014 - 15 answers

Looking for interesting books about mundane topics.

Seeking suggestions for interesting, wide-ranging books on seemingly mundane or trivial topics. Help, hive mind! [more inside]
posted by Stacey on Jan 31, 2014 - 41 answers

What book should I read next?

I need help deciding what book/books I should read next and I thought I'd query the hive mind! Details about recent favorites inside. [more inside]
posted by zeusianfog on Jan 30, 2014 - 13 answers

Robots in fiction for a high school audience

What are some short stories, books and movies that feature robots or artificial intelligence in prominent roles? Looking for accessible conversation starters; could be classic sci-fi or more contemporary stuff. This is for a high school class of students with a wide range of English skills and cultural backgrounds. We'd like to come up with a list that would have something appealing for everyone, and would be appropriate for a school setting. [more inside]
posted by beandip on Jan 12, 2014 - 34 answers

A "Great" Anniversary

I like to give myself literary new year's resolution and since this year will be the 100th anniversary of The Great War I think it would be fitting to read some literature and history of/from that era. I've read Guns of August and All Quiet On The Western Front. What else should I read?
posted by brookeb on Dec 30, 2013 - 37 answers

Is it better to read Proust when you're young, or when you're old?

I'm approaching forty; there are only so many books I'll get to read in my life. With that in mind, I'm trying to plan out my reading at the start of each year (planning one year at a time, mind you -- my 40-year-old self doesn't get to be the boss of what I read when I'm eighty). [more inside]
posted by spacewaitress on Dec 28, 2013 - 27 answers

Hit me with your best music macrohistories!

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]
posted by Stacey on Dec 28, 2013 - 12 answers

Cuckoo cuckoo?

My girlfriend just read and deeply enjoyed The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). She is not a regular reader of detective fiction. Can you recommend other books she might like? [more inside]
posted by raisindebt on Dec 7, 2013 - 11 answers

Reading suggestions for a friend who has never read a book

I have a friend who wants to read something. He is a 40 year old black male who grew up on the streets of south central. He has a high school education, but has never read a book in his life (his words). He is very open minded and interested in a lot of different things and he sees me and his girlfriend reading all the time and wants to join in on the fun. He says he is mainly interested in nonfiction but open to reading fiction also. [more inside]
posted by R.F.Simpson on Oct 27, 2013 - 79 answers

Black turtlenecks, cigarettes, red wine, and Derrida

I'm defending my dissertation next week and the process has wrung all enthusiasm for academia right out of me. The whole enterprise has come to seem like nothing but an anxiety-ridden grind. In my small amount of free time before the defense and during the break I'm allowing myself afterwards, I'd like to read some novels that will delude me into thinking that being an intellectual is kind of, well, hot. Examples and extended description below. [more inside]
posted by pretentious illiterate on Oct 26, 2013 - 19 answers

Readings in relief and development for the college freshman

When I was sixteen, I said I wanted to be a doctor and work in humanitarian relief. A few years on I'm not so sure - but I want to read all about relief and development! Specifically, the economics and politics of international development, as well as aid workers' experiences. Memoirs, essay collections, academic treatises, etc are welcome. [more inside]
posted by undue influence on Oct 24, 2013 - 10 answers

Recent Entry-Level Science Fiction

In search of accessible contemporary SF—help! [more inside]
posted by xenization on Oct 22, 2013 - 24 answers

Fiction about the War in Heaven

I'm looking for books (or movies/tv, though I'd prefer written media) that deal with the War in Heaven, the fall of Lucifer, and the fallout from that. Basic, garden-variety conflicts between angels and demons would also be very welcome. Things along those lines I've liked and special snowflake details under the fold. [more inside]
posted by darchildre on Oct 21, 2013 - 39 answers

Distractions from sadness

I'm going through a heavy streak of sadness (seasonal change/life issues/past issues) along with some extreme fatigue. I'm looking for engaging distractions that make the really bad days bearable. Books/TV/Movies, etc. [more inside]
posted by kanata on Oct 16, 2013 - 46 answers

You know where you want to go, but you don't know for sure...

[Book filter] Please recommend stories about people who find out (through trail and error) what they really want, and eventually get there (after a bunch of detours). [more inside]
posted by fix on Oct 13, 2013 - 24 answers

Book recommendations for an 11-year-old girl available on Amazon.ca?

My niece celebrates her eleventh birthday soon. She loves to read. She lives in Canada; I live in the UK: for convenience’s sake I’d like to buy her books from Amazon.ca as a gift. Besides reading, her previous interests have included princesses, ballet and cupcakes—the latter leading me to order to some volumes from The Cupcake Diaries as last year’s gift. What’s new and cool in the world of books if you’re Canadian and eleven?
posted by misteraitch on Oct 2, 2013 - 8 answers

I've exhausted Iain M. Banks. I want more. What should I read next?

So I'm a dedicated Culture fanatic and have loved almost everything I've read by Iain M. Banks. (His Iain Banks stuff is pretty good too, but his sci-fi is what I really dig.) I particularly love the holistic, humanist morality that pervades his work and the way that he digs right down into the philosophical implications of various ideas and worldviews while simultaneously serving up lots and lots of sex, action, and sensawunda. However, I've read everything he's written several times over. What should I read next? [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Sep 9, 2013 - 36 answers

Depictions of Children's Street Culture in Fiction and Nonfiction

Please recommend fiction and nonfiction novels which depict folklore and mythology created by children who are free of adult supervision and authority. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 3, 2013 - 16 answers

Mid 20th Century American Culture Recommendations

I am interested in the time period right before WWII (late 30's) up to the Counterculture (Mid 60's). I would like some cultural recommendations from that period. I am interested in books (fiction and nonfiction), movies, tv shows, and music that was either created in that time period or takes place in that time period. Any recommendations would be appreciated!
posted by R.F.Simpson on Aug 27, 2013 - 29 answers

Books and Movies that Connect Disparate Time Periods

I really enjoy books and films that feature narratives strewn across different time periods. I'm looking for recommendations. [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski on Aug 19, 2013 - 50 answers

Novels for the American Southwest

I'm doing environmental work in Utah for the next three months. I'll have my kindle. Tell me your favorite novels about the American Southwest. [more inside]
posted by Rinku on Aug 9, 2013 - 36 answers

if i liked the movie l'avventura, what books will i like?

i really like the slow/subtle treatment of ennui/cultureshock/different manifestations of love/and the engaging "nonplot"
posted by sawyerrrr on Jun 25, 2013 - 8 answers

I want to read things that squick me out, but are still well written.

I would like to read some truly disturbing novels. Give me some recommendations, AskMetafilter. [more inside]
posted by SkylitDrawl on Jun 20, 2013 - 112 answers

Renn Faire Brain Candy Books?

I (astonishingly) survived the first year of my PhD program. Yay! Now summer is upon me, and I (again, astonishingly) find myself desiring more reading...but this time for funsies! Specifically, I'm looking for some good hammock-and-wine reading material that I can reasonably justify spending time on to my English-Grad-Student brain. I want to immerse myself in a modern fictionalized version of the late medieval and/or Renaissance period. What can you recommend that is genuinely good, but won't ask too much of my super-exhausted noggin? More specific preferences after the jump! [more inside]
posted by Dorinda on Jun 5, 2013 - 27 answers

Remind me again, why are dinosaurs awesome?

When I was a kid, I was totally enamored of dinosaurs. I seem to have lost my affinity for them in the years since. I quit paying attention to developments in paleontology. Apparently there's been a lot that I missed, like that the dominant theory now is that modern birds are descended from a dinosaur species (I think?). And I hear velociraptors had feathers. So I need not just updates, but a good primer for adults because I've forgotten everything I used to know about them. Can anyone recommend some good modern books or documentaries on dinosaurs to rekindle the flame of dino-love?
posted by Sleeper on Jun 3, 2013 - 10 answers

I read way too many books by white dudes.

I'm looking for recommendations for contemporary(ish) literary fiction written by folks who are not white men. [more inside]
posted by shakespeherian on May 7, 2013 - 55 answers

What are some good books for quicker, disjointed reading sessions?

I commute to and from work, which involves busses and trains transfers and other general distractions, and while I really enjoy reading on this commute, I can't sink my teeth into heavier books that require a ton of concentration to comprehend and follow (I save those for the weekends). I have found that lighter books with shorter chapters and engaging storylines are easiest to read in this atmosphere. What are your recommendations? [more inside]
posted by wordsmith on May 3, 2013 - 21 answers

Non-fiction about the Great Outdoors

I've recently discovered that I love reading non-fiction about the Great Outdoors and the things that happen there. I'm talking about books like 'Touching the Void' by Joe Simpson, and Jon Krakauer's books 'Into Thin Air' and 'Into the Wild'. It doesn't necessarily have to be about disasters and tragedies: I really loved this recent FPP about the Alaskan Iditarod. I want to read (but haven't yet) 'Into the Silence: the Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest'. Please recommend me other books in this vein?
posted by meronym on May 2, 2013 - 35 answers

E-books to get me through a long spell in the woods.

I am leaving for Africa in less than 12 hours. I will be spending the next three months doing fieldwork. I am bringing a Kindle. What reading material should I bring for entertainment? What's gotten you through some long spells away from civilization? Looking for recommendations for books that really make you think. [more inside]
posted by Scientist on May 1, 2013 - 33 answers

I need to read some grown-up books. With unicorns, preferably.

After spending several years reading largely YA, I'd like to read some grown-up secondary world fantasy novels. Persnickety tastes below the fold. [more inside]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi on Apr 30, 2013 - 58 answers

What are some good novels where the protagonist is in his/her mid-20s?

I tend to like humor, but other genres are acceptable. If this is too broad a category, we can limit recommendations to those where being in one's mid-20s is somehow central to the novel.
posted by jtothes on Apr 9, 2013 - 19 answers

What are the most popular travel guidebooks/websites around the world

I'm trying to find out the most popular guides to NYC (in particular) that people around the world use. In the US, this would include guidebooks like Frommer's or Fodor's. People can also check a site like tripadvisor to find hotel or attraction recommendations. What books or sites would people in Germany, France, Italy, China, India, and countries all around the world use?
posted by meantime on Feb 18, 2013 - 9 answers

Books for the Divorced / Divorcing Man

So my divorce took a crazy turn for the worst and all hope of reconciliation has flown out the window. Can anyone recommend books for a man in his late 30s / early 40s going through and recovering from a divorce? Any books for either dealing with the divorce itself or dealing with life after and re-entry to dating world would be great.
posted by entropicamericana on Feb 14, 2013 - 3 answers

Likeable characters with lives I might want to live vicariously

I've been reading a lot of bleak books lately, often with antiheroes. Now I would like the opposite of that. I don't mind if some bad things happen, of course, or if there's conflict - usually that's kind of necessary for a good story. But I would like it if at least one of the main characters were someone I would want to be friends with. And if some of the stuff that they do or that happens in their lives makes me smile. [more inside]
posted by lollusc on Feb 8, 2013 - 53 answers

What to read?

Seeking recommendations for fiction that features matriarchy / female led societies.
posted by travelwithcats on Feb 4, 2013 - 36 answers

Recommendations of books about unconventional defectors

I've been listening to 'Escape from Camp 14' on audiobook for the past few days, and I was struck by a brief overview of & reference to the story of Charles Robert Jenkins, an American defector to North Korea. I found the concept as mystifying as it was intriguing, so I would like to know if any of you have heard of any non-fiction books about other defection stories that involve citizens of democratic nations obtaining residency in nations that would be deemed objectively totalitarian and renouncing their countries of origin. I'm on the lookout for his book, 'The Reluctant Communist,' but I'd like to hear about other stories of this type as well.
posted by Selena777 on Feb 3, 2013 - 13 answers

Books on the history of photography?

I only really have time to read a single book on the origins of photography. What do you recommend? Think Daguerre and Talbot, no need for hundreds of pages devoted to the camera obscura. I'd also prefer something heavier on text than actual photographs.
posted by Lorin on Jan 25, 2013 - 5 answers

Novel recommendations

Looking for specific book recommendations that are superb and by female authors/female authors of color. [more inside]
posted by jsturgill on Nov 8, 2012 - 53 answers

Book recommendations: Zadie-Smith-ish, but not Pynchonesque.

I'm currently loving Zadie Smith. For various reasons, I don't like most of the authors she tends to get compared to. (DeLillo and Pynchon give me hives. Rushdie and Nabokov are just okay. Etc.) Who else should I read? [more inside]
posted by nebulawindphone on Oct 13, 2012 - 36 answers

Recommendations For Books On Writing Generally

I need recommendations for books on writing that address general craft issues - help? [more inside]
posted by xenization on Oct 10, 2012 - 15 answers

Novels about restoring houses

Please tell me of novels where restoring an old house is an important part of the plot, and where there is also a happy ending. [more inside]
posted by paduasoy on Oct 9, 2012 - 29 answers

Books that make you feel glad to be human?

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]
posted by kanata on Sep 15, 2012 - 26 answers

Stories about affairs?

Searching for stories about infidelity. Specifically, stories about emotionally-involved affairs (not one night stands) where one party in the affair is married or in a long-term relationship and the other is single. Can you help? [more inside]
posted by houndsoflove on Sep 15, 2012 - 22 answers

My name is Christopher John Francis Boone

Please recommend books that are similar to 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' (not just ones about autism). [more inside]
posted by fix on Aug 29, 2012 - 22 answers

What novels will nurture my inner entrepreneur?

There are plenty of non-fiction books on the subject of startups and entrepreneurship. But what about when you don't have the energy to learn? Please recommend me some novels on the subjects of creating products, building companies, etc. Inspiring tales of business and innovation... [more inside]
posted by ChristopherS on Aug 14, 2012 - 5 answers

Investigating the mystery aisles: what do I want?!

I want to read a good mass market crime series featuring the same investigator(s). Of course, I have no idea what's "good" per my taste and the huge bookstore mystery section totally overwhelms me. Please help me figure out where to start? [more inside]
posted by houndsoflove on Jul 28, 2012 - 33 answers

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