Recommend some books! Not-for-me edition
November 14, 2014 12:02 PM   Subscribe

What do horror, Louis Theroux "Weird Weekend", thrillers, the show catfish, and crime fiction have in common? That's right, stocking stuffers for Mr Moonlight.

Mr Moonlight enjoys reading books on the way to work. I'd like to buy Mr Moonlight some books next month. Here's what I'm looking for:

1. Books about unusual people/groups of people. Example: Louis Theroux style "Weird Weekends."

2. Unusual dating books. He loves the show catfish. Example: book called "millions of women are waiting to meet you."

3. Anything else mysterious, unusual or intriguing. He knows quite a bit about serial killers and was talking about a guy who had all these traps in his house once.

4. Japanese horror. Examples: Ring, Ju-on, etc.

5. Other things he's into: a documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. He loves video games.

6. Thrillers. He loves Jurassic Park, and really liked the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. (Scandinavian crime fiction is a plus*)

Not looking for manga. (Love it, but it needs to be longer.) If the book comes out next month, that's OK as long as it's here by the 25th. We live in England.

*I saw a related thread on Scandinavian fiction, but it appeared to mostly be about locations. Also read this thread.
posted by Ms. Moonlight to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think he might really like the Department Q series, which ticks a few of these boxes (Scandanavian, thriller, elements of horror, unusual/mysterious characters).
posted by rainbowbrite at 12:14 PM on November 14, 2014

I also have a bit of that serial killer fascination, and I've been looking forward to reading On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. It's not about serial killers; it's about how to teach people to overcome their aversion to killing.

Upon its initial publication, ON KILLING was hailed as a landmark study of the techniques the military uses to overcome the powerful reluctance to kill, of how killing affects soldiers, and of the societal implications of escalating violence. Now, Grossman has updated this classic work to include information on 21st-century military conflicts, recent trends in crime, suicide bombings, school shootings, and more.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:18 PM on November 14, 2014

Best answer: Also, he has almost certainly read The Devil in the White City, but if he hasn't, he should.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:20 PM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Books by Natsuo Kirino if he hasn't read any.
posted by hazyjane at 12:20 PM on November 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Hmm, I just mentioned this book in another thread, but it fits here as well!

The Butcher of Flirence, by Douglas Preston, is the author's own account of investigating a serial killer from the past, and documents the most incredible series of bribery, corruption and just plain inept police work you could ever hope to come across.

Here's how crazy this bizarre tale goes: by the time the book was done, Preston was basically thrown out of Italy and the detective helping him with his research had been arrested under suspicion of committing the original murders himself.

Great book!
posted by misha at 12:39 PM on November 14, 2014

Louis Bayard also has written some...odd... novels involving famous historical and/or literary figures (from Edgar Allen Poe to Tiny Tim from Dicken's' A Christmas Carol) are drawn into shady and macabre dealings with (other) unsavory characters.
posted by misha at 12:47 PM on November 14, 2014

Best answer: Nev Schulman of Catfish has a book out, no idea if it's any good.
posted by Clustercuss at 1:18 PM on November 14, 2014

Books about unusual people/groups of people.

Two I find myself recommending regularly: The Final Frontiersman: Heimo Korth and His Family, Alone in Alaska's Arctic Wilderness [aimless young man moves from Wisconsin and becomes one of the last self-sufficient trappers living in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge]; The Happiest Man in the World: An Account of the Life of Poppa Neutrino [Poppa Neutrino].

Jon Ronson is also making a career out of profiling these kind of folks - Lost at Sea is a good place to start.

Japanese horror. Examples: Ring, Ju-on, etc.

He might like Matt Alt and Hiroko Yoda's Yokai Attack and Yurei Attack - despite the slightly silly framing, they're probably the best general, English language introduction to the traditional ghost / monster lore that contemporary Japanese horror is rooted in. Lafcadio Hearn's In Ghostly Japan, is also a great read if he's OK with a now dated prose style.
posted by ryanshepard at 1:33 PM on November 14, 2014

The Pillars Of The Earth by Ken Follett, I reckon.

Also, Roald Dahl's collected short stories has elements of pretty much everything you mention. In fact I think it should be compulsory for everybody on earth to own a copy of that book.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:31 PM on November 14, 2014

Best answer: i'd recommend David Simon's "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets," the book that resulted from Simon's year-long ride-along with the Charm City's homicide squad, and which he parlayed into TV series: Homicide: Life on the Streets and The Wire. The focus is on the cops and the peculiarities of a person who finds himself in the job of murder police, not so much on the killings, which are covered rather episodically. Spoiler: no serial killers (that I recall).

Seconding Jon Ronson. A few of his works can be heard in his appearances on the PRI public radio show "This American Life." His accent is extremely pleasant, I've got to say.

If he loves Video games, Ernst Cline's "Ready Player One" is really going to mash his fun-button. Neal Stephenson's "REAMDE" will probably do that too, and it also slots into the Thriller category. However, both of these books were really huge in recent times, so you may have to sound out whether he's read them already. He could also go with "Halting State" and its sequel "Rule 34" (the third book of the trilogy was cancelled as events (Snowden, etc.) overran the plot)., both by MeFi's own Charles "cstross" Stross.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:30 PM on November 14, 2014

The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Reveled in Death and DEtection and Created Modern Crime or The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases
Both are nonfiction- I love scandinavian crime fiction [and coincidentally catfish] and I found these really interesting.
posted by the twistinside at 7:14 PM on November 14, 2014

I think he might enjoy House of Leaves. It's kind of in its own category, but has elements of horror, crime and insanity woven together in an extremely complex manner. And I recommend getting the hardbound version, as there will be a lot of back and forth through the book, and the paperback version falls apart quickly.
posted by Gneisskate at 9:59 PM on November 14, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the answers! Keep them coming.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 9:50 AM on November 15, 2014

Response by poster: Also, he prefers to buy his books -- so I can look at everything he owns. He hasn't read anything in this thread except Natsuo Kirino.

The inept police thing people are mentioning sounds great -- he told me about an inept police thing that happened in Belgium once.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 9:57 AM on November 15, 2014

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