Recommend Me Some Books Filter (I know this happens a lot)
April 26, 2010 8:35 PM   Subscribe

Recommend Me Some Books Filter (I know this happens a lot)

It’s quite simple, I have read and reread all the books I like over the past year and so and I would like some fresh books to keep me busy over the summer. So here is a list of what I like:

-Most early Tom Clancy Novels, especially Red October, Patriot Games, Cardinal of the Kremlin, Without Remorse, and Red Storm Rising.

- Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash, Zodiac, and Diamond Age. I tried to read Quicksilver about could not get half way through it.

-I borrowed from my dad and liked the first half of John Sandford’s Prey series along with Deadwatch and Dark of the Moon.

-Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

-The first few books in the Dune Series. The last few interested me less.

-A few Orson Scott Card books, including the Ender Series.

I don’t mind long books, and had no trouble reading through Crytonomicon (probably my favorite) in a few weeks, I really enjoyed the way the book rambled at times and spend forever setting up complex metaphors for eating Captian Crunch.

I looked through this thread previously, and it had a lot of good suggestions, but I am hoping for someone else out there to have the same book tastes as me and can suggest a smaller more personalize list. I like sci-fi books, but I also like other genera.
posted by token-ring to Media & Arts (34 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I have some overlapping tastes with you and sought recommendations last year, so you might want to check out that thread. You might try Anathem, Stephenson's newest work. I just finished that and enjoyed it a great deal (much more than I liked any of his other books, except maybe Snowcrash).

If you're into hard sci-fi with spaceships ("modern space opera"), check out Vernor Vinge and Alastair Reynolds.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:43 PM on April 26, 2010

Try James Rollins, author of The Judas Strain. He's a bit like... Dan Brown (DaVinci Code) and (IMHO) Clancy. He has several books out.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 8:45 PM on April 26, 2010

If you can take the rambling and want a challenge, and especially since you're a re-reader, try Gravity's Rainbow.
posted by salvia at 8:49 PM on April 26, 2010

Response by poster: Ok. I have been planning on getting Anathem for a while so I will defiantly pick that up. Any particular Vernor Vinge or Alastair Reynolds novels that are good to start with?

I will defiantly take a peek at The Judas Strain when I am at the book store, The description on amazon does have a Clancy-ish feel.

Gravity's Rainbow does look like a fun challenge, might get that and save it for the next time I am stranded on a long trip. I do love books I can re-read and gleam as much entertainment from, that's what drew me to Cryptonomicon.

Thanks for the suggestions so far!
posted by token-ring at 8:56 PM on April 26, 2010

Vinge: Either A Fire Upon the Deep or A Deepness in the Sky. "Deepness" is technically a "prequel" to "Fire" but is set thousands of years earlier. However, "Fire" was written first. I think you can read them in either order. Both are awesome.

Reynolds: Revelation Space. There are several books (and some short stories) in this series, known (appropriately enough) as the "Revelation Space" universe, so might as well start with the first one. If you make it through all of those, then come back and I can recommend some of his non-RS books. :)

Also, have you ever tried any Arthur C. Clarke? I might try 2001 and see what you think.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:18 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is about as long as Cryptonomicon, about as technical (albeit in a slightly different way) and at least as fun (in a much different different way)
posted by surewouldoutlaw at 9:30 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think Issac Asimov's Foundation Series would be a good fit. I found the plot to be diverse enough to keep me coming back, but it also has the buildup aspect you mentioned. I have not read his Robot series but I have heard nothing but good things. I think it could arguably be said the Asimov is the father of modern science fiction, so if that's your thing, you should definitely make plans to check it out at some point.

John Le Carre is a nice alternative to Tom Clancy. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, The Tailor of Panama, and Smiley's People are all good.

I find Margret Atwood's Oryx and Crake to be compelling. It's an interesting dynamic on the post-apocalyptic novel.
posted by Term of Art at 9:45 PM on April 26, 2010

I think you need to read the rest of Philip K. Dick's work, fast! Also, you might enjoy some of the more scifi-ish stuff by Vonnegut. Sirens of Titan is a good place to start.

And . . . Stephen King? If you're open to other genres, King's got a real robust writing style that I think would appeal to you. Plus his books, while long, are fast reads. And creepy!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:47 PM on April 26, 2010

Gorky Park might be up your alley. It's the first in Martin Cruz Smith's series of Arkady Renko thrillers.
posted by scody at 9:49 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nthing Vernor Vinge. Also, Robert Heinlein, if you can stand reading science fiction that's a bit dated now.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:53 PM on April 26, 2010

Ahh, yeah, Gorky Park is a good call. Haven't thought about that one in a while. Also in a somewhat similar vein, Robert Harris's Fatherland seems like something the OP might like. Also, what about The Manchurian Candidate? Don't be put off if you happened to see the execrable Denzel Washington movie. The book is really quite good, and I think it's probably in the sweet spot of anyone who likes both Clancy and Dick.

And seconding Le Carre and Asimov. On the flipside, I'm not really sure Heinlein is a good match to the OP's list. But I personally admit to not liking Heinlein, so I am biased here.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:27 PM on April 26, 2010

Sewer Gas & Electric by Matt Ruff reminds me of Snow Crash in a lot of ways. I think you might like it.
posted by creepygirl at 10:42 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

Between Neal Stephenson and Sandford's Prey series, I have the perfect recommendation: Sandford's Kidd series, about a computer hacker who solves crimes and stuff. Great thriller material. The four he's published so far are The Fool's Run, The Empress File, The Devil's Code and The Hanged Man's Song.

You might also like F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack novels, which are thrillers with underlying science fiction and horror elements.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:58 PM on April 26, 2010

Definitely try Le Carre. If you liked Tom Clancy, you will likely love those.

You might like David Brin's books. The Uplift series books are good. I'm not sure how many there are now. I read the first 3 or so. I just never got around to the others. I also liked the stand-alones of his that I read. Heavy sci fi.

Lawrence Block's Keller books are good... Keller is a hit man. :) Might be a little to light based on what you describe liking, but worth a try maybe.

You might also like the Sean Dillon series by Jack Higgins. Good description at wikipedia for those. Better than I can do in a sentence, anyway. :)

Stephen King is so scary I had to stop reading his years ago. :) But they are certainly gripping. Especially that car one. YIKES.

Arthur C. Clarke - I second that. 2001, 2010, and 2061 were good. I did not read the other one, 3001. Just never got to it. Also by him, Ghost from the Grand Banks was very good, I thought.

All I've read by Asimov are his shorter stories, but I loved all those. Especially the mysteries. If you read Asimov's longer more involved stuff and like it, give those a try, too. I highly, highly recommend his stories Profession and It's Such a Beautiful Day if you liked Ender Wiggin. :)
posted by AllieTessKipp at 10:58 PM on April 26, 2010

Michael Crichton, in this order: Andromeda Strain, Airframe, Jurassic Park (don't be put off by the movie). If you like those, keep going. His politics rub some people the wrong way (so hold off on State of Fear, Disclosure and Rising Sun) but he's a master of the tech-thriller.
posted by zanni at 11:33 PM on April 26, 2010

If you liked Tom Clancy, I'd like to recommend Eric L. Harry....

Invasion - fanciful but pretty good story about China taking over the world
Arc Light - cascading accidents start a limited World War III and the president is facing impeachment as he tries to stop it
Protect and Defend - Russia collapses, China rolls north, someone is trying to decapitate the US govt.

In a similar vein, Larry Bond, a man who collaborated on Red Storm Rising and who makes odd scenarios work...
Cauldron - US versus Frenchified-Europe
Vortex - US/UK versus Cuba versus South Africa

If you like Cold War fiction, I'd add...
Red Phoenix - another Larry Bond, US versus Soviet-backed North Koreans
Team Yankee by Howard Coyle - A story based on Sir John Hackett's very dry The Third World War: August 1985
Red Army by Ralph Peters - The WWIII hammering of Europe through Russian eyes
posted by codswallop at 11:37 PM on April 26, 2010

Vinge and Reynolds are both good recommendations and if you like those, consider also Iain M Banks' Culture books, starting with Against a Dark Background or Use of Weapons. If you like the action-packed stuff (think Tom Clancy in space on speed), Peter F Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy rocks right out.

In fact, bugger it (millennium hand and shrimp!), I shall just link you to this article I wrote on the matter some seven years ago.

Since then, the best new books I've found are those by Charles Stross. Glasshouse is a major mindfuck (what is your identity if you can be cloned? If your mind can be edited in the process?) and the Atrocity Archives / Jennifer Morgue pair are so much fun it hurts. Seriously, I cannot recommend these books highly enough, the latter two should be right up the front of your shopping list.
posted by polyglot at 3:51 AM on April 27, 2010

I couldn't get into Strange and Norrell, but Perdido Street Station is worth a look if you want to see a seriously bitter and twisted city, plus a bit of existential horror. The book does kind of completely change theme and direction in the middle though, which is a pity.
posted by polyglot at 3:57 AM on April 27, 2010

A bit of a departure from the sci-fi genre, but I love the Travis McGee series by John D. McDonald. In face, all of his works are good reads. There are many in the McGee series, so that might keep you busy for a while. They are not long, but filled with rich characters. McGee is a P.I. of sorts, who lives on a houseboat and does favors for friends who have lost something and cannot recover it.

Also, if you like epics, "The Pillars of the Earth" is phenomenal. 14th Century tale of religion, politics and life in general, with a little romance thrown in.

Happy Reading!
posted by mnb64 at 5:28 AM on April 27, 2010

Response by poster: This is awesome! I could not have expected better results. These will keep me busy for a while. Thank you everyone who has replied! I might just be hitting a book store after class.

There are so many authors I would have never thought of, and from the few I had a chance to google some very good books hiding out there I would have never found. Now I just got to pick a good starting point. Keep them coming if anyone else has some favorite they want to add.
posted by token-ring at 6:12 AM on April 27, 2010

After you've read a few, drop back into this thread and let us know what you think.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 6:34 AM on April 27, 2010

You might like Iain M. Banks Culture novels. They're only loosely connected and have been recommended on Askme a gazillion times, so I won't link to specific ones. FWIW I adore Neal Stephenson and hated Jonathan Strange and Dr. Norrell, YM of course MV. Richard K. Morgan's books are a nice mix of sci fi and hard boiled noir thriller, so you might like them as well. And, have you read William Gibson yet? If not, well, it's time. Start with Neuromancer.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:35 AM on April 27, 2010

I'd give Quicksilver another try. It's not uncommon for me to bounce off books that I really like, after re-reading them. But here's another recommendation: Severian of the Guild by Gene Wolfe. It collects the four novels (The Shadow of the Torturer, The Claw of the Conciliator, The Sword of the Lictor, and The Citadel of the Autarch) that make up the first series and it is simply stunning - SF presented as fantasy, Deep Time, moral and chronological paradoxes, all that good stuff.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:50 AM on April 27, 2010

Our tastes overlap a fair bit so:

Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars

The Power of One
- why is he recommending some book about a kid boxing in South Africa, you might wonder. Well, you seem to like epics and this is that.

I'll second The Pillars of the Earth

Louis De Bernieres - The War of Don Emmanuels Nether Parts

I made it through Quicksilver on my second try but I'm still not convinced it was worth it.

And if you are ready for some nonfiction, the best thing I've read that I think you will love beyond all things is Shelby Foote's History of the Civil War. I'm not linking to it on purpose. I was halfway through the third book and I was still running up to the stacks to read it on my fifteen minute break.
posted by mearls at 9:11 AM on April 27, 2010

This depends on what you appreciate about Stephenson, but if part of it is the expansiveness and the ability to tell interesting and interweaving stories about various different characters at once, then I would recommend the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin. (Warning: Some people will try to dissuade you from this since it is an ongoing series that he takes forever to release books in, I think it's worth it even if you only read part of the series or he never finishes it).

If you liked the WW2 setting and interweaving narrative of Crytonomicon then I cannot recommend Catch 22 by Joseph Heller enough.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:23 AM on April 27, 2010

Some thoughts on Alastair Reynolds: Revelation Space and its first sequel Chasm City are awesome, the other books in that series are less so. Chasm City is his best novel. Of the non-Revelation novels, Pushing Ice is easily the best.
posted by neuron at 11:53 AM on April 27, 2010

Paolo Bacigalupis The Windup Girl - very, very good, might suit you as it's a like a biotech Diamond Age*.

* I may be stealing another MeFites description of it there.
posted by Artw at 11:55 AM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

And Nthing Iain Banks and Alastair Reynolds.
posted by Artw at 11:56 AM on April 27, 2010

This might help: Big Banks FPP I did a while back
posted by Artw at 11:57 AM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I like PKD best for his short stories. Henlein -is- dated (and at times not always charminglyas applied to his female characters) but his Past Through Tomorrow collection is pretty amazing in terms of scope. Vonnegut distopias (Galapagos, Hocus Pocus, Player Piano, Slapstick) are about as good as they come. Also, get yourself some Handmaid's Tale (which fits in nicely before Henlein's "If this goes on---").
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:00 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding China Mieville (Perdido Street Station or The Scar) and adding Dan Simmons' Hyperion and the sequels.
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 3:50 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I love me some sci-fi, and share a lot of your likes in that genre. In the spirit of offering something outside of SciFi and whatever Clancy's genre is (actionFic?), here are two fantasy books that have blown me away:

The Darkness that Comes Before by Bakkar. A phenomenally well-written epic that I recommend to anyone even remotely interested in fantasy. The names get a bit difficult to keep straight, but it's one of the most intelligent, solid books I've read in a long while, and well worth the effort.

A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin. A new classic by most accounts. Awesome characters, lots of intrigue, and Martin has a way of making getting you attached to even the bad guys. Still being written so there'll be more if you get into it.

(Also, nth'ing Pillars of the Earth. It seems like a great fit given your reading history.)
posted by article at 9:17 PM on April 27, 2010

Response by poster: Defiantly going to have to make a bulk order of used books on amazon, and once I am past my exams and into the summer I will post back on which ones I have bought/started reading. Thank you all for your suggestions! This is why I joined MeFi.
posted by token-ring at 6:10 AM on April 28, 2010

Response by poster: Well just an update in case anyone is still interested. I finished my first round of books and now that the semester is over I am out to buy my next round and I checked back through here to get more ideas.

I have read:

*Rainbows End - what a good way to spend a week at the beach, a fun read.
*A fire upon the deep - quite possibly one of my new favorites, getting the second book soon.
*Revelation Space - loved it and I am buying the next 2 in the series.
*Anathanem - my faith in Stephenson has been restored, I got 4 chapters in and I was hooked, then I got half way through and I was double hooked.
*A few of the new John Sandford novels, the quality has picked back up to how the early books in the series were too me.
posted by token-ring at 10:41 PM on December 18, 2010

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