Best products from r/books
We found 254 comments on r/books discussing the most recommended products. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 8,633 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.
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1. How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading
- Simon & Schuster
- Condition : Good
- Easy to read text
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2. Queen in Exile
- Acts as a chill mat and shields your lap from heat generated by your laptop computer
- Heavy duty sponge cushion provides a comfortable padded surface for your lap
- Unique reversible and ergonomic design that is perfect for lap use
- Concave shape allows great airflow for heat dissipation
- Grooved storage section for cable management and miscellaneous items; perfect for a student
- Supports up to 17 inch gaming laptops, notebooks, netbooks, and Ultrabooks, as well as the 15/13-inch Apple MacBook Pro and 11/13-inch Apple MacBook Air
- Unique shape and light weight make it portable
- Provides a surface for kids, boys or girls, to use their tablets, iPads, or laptops
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5. The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10 (Chronicles of Amber)
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6. Dragon Fate (War of the Blades Book 1)
- AN ENTIRE BOTTLE – Finally, a wine glass to fit your needs. The Big Betty fits an entire 750 ml bottle of wine comfortably. If you limit yourself to just one glass a day, you better make it the Big Betty.
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9. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)
- memoir and outrageous observations of physicist Richard P. Feynman
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10. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
- William Morrow Company
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11. The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: A Poetry Anthology
- Harper Perennial
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16. Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce's Ulysses
- University of California Press
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18. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
- WWII prisoner of war film
I'm not a Faulkner guy, but I love Joyce and posts like yours pop up on Reddit from time to time. First, congrats on making the effort. The world is full of sissies who are too chickenshit to ever make it past the easy stuff. Second, here's my advice on Ulysses. Have a ball!
Everyone should read Ulysses at some point in their life. It's a book unlike any other, a book that knocks you out of your comfort zone. A book that makes your brain strain like you're reaching for something on a high shelf. And it's really, really funny. I've read it a couple of times and here's my advice:
Step 1) RELAX. You're going to miss things. It's okay. Some things are worth missing, some things are boring, some things are references that don't make any sense in today's world, so who cares? Joyce didn't want people to puzzle out his book like the answers to an exam, he wanted to present a slice of life in all its freaky majesty and stupidity. Keep looking up at the stars, not down at your feet.
Step 2) Like a shark, keep moving forward. Reading this book is like trying to drink a waterfall. The point is the overall impression, not so much the individual details. Just keep pushing ahead, don't sit there with a magnifying glass trying to appreciate every single word. Joyce himself said he put in a shit ton of puzzles and tricks and things that don't make sense for literary critics and scholars, just to mess with their heads, so don't get hung up on them.
Step 3) There are no such thing as spoilers. Seriously. Buy yourself the Seidman Annotations. These are your new best friends. The introduction to each chapter will get you oriented, and if you get hung up on a phrase, a detail, a bit of wordplay, they're like the board you stick under the wheels of your jeep when it's stuck in the mud.
Step 4) Remember that Joyce wasn't living in Dublin when he wrote this. He hadn't lived there in a long time. So what Ulysses is to some extent is his attempt to rebuild Dublin in his mind, recreating the sights and smells and mind set and beliefs and feelings and streets and people he remembered, but doing it in an impressionistic way. What the impressionists and modernists did for painting, Joyce is doing for books. That's why it reads like he wrote it on drugs. Keep this in mind, the way you keep the north star in mind when you're navigating a ship (which I'm sure you do a lot, right?). This is why the book is "important," because it's an amazing act of sustained imagination. The same way that Superman has the Kryptonian city of Kandor trapped in a bottle, Joyce has one day in Dublin in 1904 trapped in a book.
Step 5) It's funny. It's really funny. You just have to rewire your brain a little to get the jokes. Joyce always thought of himself as someone who was writing, primarily, a comedy. He's sending up the epic form by using the structure of The Odyssey to talk about people going to the bathroom, and masturbating, and getting drunk and making idiots out of themselves. But by doing this, he's not only elevating everyday life to the level of an epic but he's lowering the epic to the level of everyday life. But also: fart jokes. Everywhere.
Step 6) It's okay to skip. Even the biggest Joyce scholars in the world agree: some chapters in Ulysses suck. Here's my breakdown of the book, chapter by chapter. I'm using the chapter names that Joyce gave the book in another document, not the chapter titles that are in the book:
1- TELEMACHUS - come on, it's the first chapter. You've gotta read it. It's basically two roommates squabbling over money.
2 - NESTOR - a bit of a bore but also relatively short
3 - PROTEUS - this is the first long, boring, skimmable chapter. If you're deep on Joyce it's very "important" but it's also pretty impenetrable.
4 - CALYPSO - now we're in Leopold Bloom's part of the book and this is one of the three most famous chapters in ULYSSES (the other two are "Circe" and "Penelope")
5 - THE LOTUS EATERS - fine chapter, a bit dense, but readable
6 - HADES - one of the best in the book in my opinion, just totally Irish and death obsessed and there's even some plot!
7 - AEOLUS - from this chapter forward to "Cyclops" you're in a dense, unforgiving part of the book. I recommend breezing through these chapters and keep up with what's going on with the annotations.
8 - LAESTRYGONIANS - not so bad, but tough stuff.
9 - SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS - ouch. Even Joyce scholars think this one's like getting hit in the head with a brick. Lots of academic nattering about Shakespeare.
10 - THE WANDERING ROCKS - a neat trick (19 bits, told from around a dozen points of view) but otherwise it's really just a walk around Dublin
11 - THE SIRENS - a sweet, lovely chapter but it's all pretty wordplay
12 - CYCLOPS - alert! alert! The least loved and worst chapter in the book. No one can read and understand this one. Fortunately, it's the end of the worst section of Ulysses.
13 - NAUSICAA - a really perverted, really dense, very funny chapter.
14 - OXEN OF THE SUN - scholars love this chapter and it is fun, but don't take it too seriously. The point is to trace the history of the English language from early speech to 20th Century speech in one chapter. It's very complex and kind of unrewarding, which makes it a bit like "Cyclops" but not nearly so bad.
15 - CIRCE - essential
16, 17, 18 - EUMAEUS, ITHACA, PENELOPE - the last three chapters, and completely lovely, moving and awesome.
So my recommendation is to read about it as you read it so you can know what's going on, and save your strength for the better chapters, while avoiding getting hung up on chapters like AEOLUS (which is a bunch of hot air, like its namesake) PROTEUS and CYCLOPS. Also, this is one of the few novels you can read in almost any order and enjoy. If you just want the highlights, I recommend the following order:
Then you can go back and read the tougher chapters however you like.
Demon of the Air by Simon Levack is a mystery/crime novel set in the early years of the Aztec Empire. It won the Crime Writers' Association New Writing Competition and (I think) a Gold Dagger (?) award?
It's the first in a series of four "Aztec Mysteries" (so far).
I picked up the first title (Demon of the Air) but haven't read it yet. They come highly recommended though.
I'm also a big fan of Steven Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series of historical mysteries set in Ancient Rome.
Dissolution by CJ Sansom is the first of several historical mysteries set in Tudor England. I liked it a lot. I've bought the second title for my Kindle, but haven't read it yet.
Zoo Station is another historical series set in pre WWII Germany. Good fun.
The historical mysteries (or so-called "Night Soldiers" novels) of Alan Furst are simply superb. He is generally considered one of the best historical/espionage writers around and these books have effectively redefined the genre. They are all very loosely linked (effectively stand alone with perhaps one or two subtle references to events in other books), the first of which is the simply wonderful Night Soldiers. Along a similar vein to Downing and Furst, Philip Kerr's Berlin Noir track the progress of washed up German police officer/private investigator Bernie Gunther from just before WWII to the fifties in South America. Very well written and well regarded.
Finally, there are some simply wonderful stand alone historical novels I cannot pass up the chance of recommending. The simply astounding Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is probably one of the best novels I have ever read. It tracks the early career of Thomas Cromwell as he rises from humble origins to being the most powerful man in Henry VIII's England. It justifiably won the 2009 Man Booker Prize. I've just started her A Place of Greater Safety set during the French Revolution and am very much looking forward to it. Mantel is a sublimely talented wordsmith.
Gore Vidal is famous for his historical novels, not least [Julian](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_(novel) and more recently [Creation](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_(novel). Allan Massie is famous for his historical ("fictional") biographies of Ancient Romans and Thomas Holt has written several historical novels (along with other works), my favourite of which is Goat Song and its sequel, The Walled Orchard (also the name of a subsequent publication of both novels combined).
Should I continue?
I loved to read. I started reading the BoxCar Children on the bus every day. Then I found the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and some other obscure mystery books in the basement of the same caliber (e.g. bad). I kept reading everything I could find, until Highschool.
I too went to a "demanding" school. I stopped reading for fun, and would occasionally skip books for english class, too. Luckily, only one of my teachers in 4 years was a very pro-feminist (she was actually bi) , and then off to college... I pretty much stopped reading entirely, but unlike you I wasn't dissuaded by feminist nazi's.
Then I got a concussion. Let me tell you about concussions: They manage to turn the most basic thing like telling time into a chore, while other more complex things like driving remain unaffected. Anyway, I got a concussion, and the mental effort to read an hour for class would send me to bed exhausted.
The best books would take me a week or more to read through, and this is without school or work to slow me down.
What I found worked for me was to find something simple that I remember liking, and I would try to get through that. My goal was to re-teach my brain how to read.
Your goal is to sit down and enjoy it in 1, maybe 2 settings. Find a free weekend, ask your girlfriend not to disturb you, and start reading. When I tried to start reading again, my routine included an energy drink to keep me awake and focused.
Your goals are 3-fold:
If you can read a news article about your favorite video game, you can read, and this is probably more mental than anything else. If that's the case, remember it can take up to 3 months to break a habit because it takes 3 months for your brain to "re-arrange itself" (lets not get into neuroscience right now!). Likewise, even if you start reading now, it may take 3 months before you notice any change, because it'll take your brain that long to "re-arrange itself" to enjoy reading. So try to read a book a week, for 3 months, until you can get somewhere.
Also, it doesn't matter if you miss a sentence, or even an entire paragraph. You're not trying to read everything, you just want to have fun!
It's back to school season. Go into your local Barnes & Noble, and ask for someone that works in the kids department. They can recommend good books, or just see what the local schools have for required reading. Generally, there's some good books on their lists (Gary Paulsen, Louis Sachar, etc)
Lastly, some good books I would look at reading, in order of difficulty:
Obligatory wiki links: Dystopian Literature. Although, some of the titles listed don't seem to fit (The Dispossessed?). Nuclear holocaust fiction, and your general apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction.
Some of the better/more popular ones:
Zombies: World War Z, Raise the Dead, Marvel Zombies, Zombie Survival Guide, Day By Day Armageddon, I Am Legend.
Also, just for kicks, some of my favorite dystopian movies:
Brazil, Soylent Green, 12 Monkeys, Blade Runner, Akira, Children of Men, Dark City, A Boy and His Dog, Logan's Run, Idiocracy, Equillibrium.
This is going to seem like a really strange choice, but it's coming from another 16 year old. I recommend Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman, as it is one of my absolute favorite books. It may only appeal to him if he likes science or engineering, but it's worth a shot regardless.
In a similar vein to the Chronicles of Narnia, may I recommend The Hobbit/ The Lord of the Rings? Both are great stories that he may like. Although they are not the best written books in terms of writing quality (in my opinion), the Inheritence Cycle by Christopher Paolini might appeal for entertainment value. Perhaps a lesser known author that I greatly enjoy is Megan Whalen Turner, author of The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia. I just became aware of this book and have thus never read it, but A Conspiracy of Kings by the same author is bound to be good.
Steering away from fantasy, he may also like science fiction. I recommend any Ray Bradbury. Most of his stories are short, so for someone who doesn't read often they are great. My favorite are the Martian Chronicles, but R is for Rocket is also a good compilation. All of the Artemis Fowl series are recommended as well.
If I think of any more, I will certainly edit this post.
Well, it might behoove you to read Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man before you dive into Ulysses. Both books are more conventional in style than is Ulysses--therefore easier to read through--and both books have characters in them that appear in Ulysses. Dubliners will set you up for some of the themes regarding the ambivalence of Irish national identity in the bigger book, particularly the section titled "The Dead." Portrait also contains some of these themes, but is more important in that it sets up the character Stephen Dedalus, who is one of the two main protagonists of Ulysses.
There are two companion books that might help you while reading Ulysses that I recommend: Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce's Ulysses, which is a huge collection of glosses and notes explaining obscure references and history. It tends to be slightly more accurate than the other book I'm recommending, but the sheer volume of information can be overwhelming, and some of it is kind of pointlessly digressive.
The New Bloomsday Book is an excellent summary of the plot episode by episode. Blamires makes a point to show the intentional parallels between Ulysses and the Odyssey. Some of the hypotheses Blamires presents seem kind of far-fetched at times, and there are a couple of inaccuracies (at least in the edition I used), but on the whole I referenced this more than Ulysses Annotated.
I would also suggest that you pick a good edition of Ulysses to read. For too many reasons to relate here, Joyce kept revising it throughout his life and many differing editions exist. The Gabler Edition is the best synthesis of Ulysses textual scholarship and is considered the definitive edition in academic circles.
As for approach, I would suggest that you be patient. This is a book that's legendary for rewarding consideration and rereading. If you care to spend the time and effort you'd do well to read each section through without references, then read the synopsis in Blamires, then return to the text and read through while referring to Ulysses Annotated before moving on. You will see things you hadn't noticed before each time you read it, especially if you've read Dubliners and Portrait. However, this can be a bit much for a casual reader as opposed to a scholar, so you could do almost as well simply reading the sections and then comparing your observations and reading with Blamires and moving on.
Best of all would be to find or start a Joyce book club and read it through with them. This will slow you down enough to actually grasp some of the intricacies instead of just robotically scanning pages, and allows you to discuss and hash out ideas and interpretations.
Good luck, and have fun!
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books and A Confederacy of Dunces.
It was easy for me to discover the classics of literature, but the concept of a funny book made my eyes roll a bit. I read writers who were being clever and cute and I could recognize that something was humorous, but nothing came close to making me guffaw like an exceptional comedy film could.
I was wrong. I would end up laughing like a maniac at passages in both of these books while riding the subway. With Hitchhiker's I'd have to force myself to re-read some of the more hilarious passages the way you'd rewind your favorite scene in a movie.
Up until then a book hadn't really made me laugh, and here I was smiling and laughing at these books. It felt amazing.
She probably has all of the books you've mentioned if she really likes them, bookish people usually do... A special edition might be an idea, but I won't be able to help you with that, I go for cheap paperbacks due to money ;)
I'm tempted to recommend "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin, it's not sci-fi classic per se, but it's a dystopian classic, she would probably like it if she likes Brave New World, but again, she might already have it. Still I'm sure she'd be thrilled to get a thoughtful thank you gift from you, even if she's read it before or even has a copy... Here's a link to that book on amazon, if you want to have a look: amazon link
If she does like classic sci-fi, here are some old-school, hard sci-fi (but it's not all just spaceships and aliens) that she might enjoy and possibly even not have, since a couple of the authors aren't from English speaking countries:
I am so glad I can comment! I am currently reading "How To Read A Book". It is very helpful and pretty straightforward. I think you would be comfortable (judging by your apparent literacy from your post). And the authors address a very important fact I feel I should reiterate: Speed reading is not better. Take your time. Read for comprehension. If you can only read one book at a time or it takes you forever (or what feels like forever) who cares? Take the time you need to understand. Reread things. Discuss the book with other people. Most importantly good on you for seeking to better yourself! You are obviously intelligent and you can do this! The book is also available on kindle if you have/get one.
EDIT: No apologies needed! You need help and you are reaching out for it! This subreddit is full if awesome helpful people! If you aren't too uncomfortable you may want to seek help from the gurus of books: your local librarians.
Shantaram. Rich, marvelous book.
Also Auntie Mame. FYI the movie with Rosalind Russell may change your life. At the very least it could become your favorite movie ever.
The books by Hornby that everyone mentions are good.
Motherless Brooklyn is really good. So is Ghostwritten by David Mitchell. Not so much that they're happy, but that they're engrossing. And they're not, like, Atonement.
Oh! Duh! Happiest book ever maybe: A Confederacy of Dunces. The story behind its publication is tragic, but the book, pretty much everyone who's read it says, is the funniest ever.
Catch-22 also is really, really good. And funny! If you're into irony anyway.
It might be helpful if you give us a list of any books you've read that you did enjoy or genres you think you might like.
I have never met a person who didn't love Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy but it may not be your thing if you don't like wacked-out sci-fi so some general idea of your interests could help a ton with suggestions.
A Short History of Nearly Everything is a solid non-fiction
Robot Dreams is a great set of sci-fi short stories
Ender's Game gets a ton of hate but is a pretty great sci-fi
On A Pale Horse is an older series that I'd consider fantasy but with sci-fi elements
Where the Red Fern Grows is well loved fiction
A Zoo in My Luggage is non-fic but about animal collecting trips for a zoo and is hilarious.
What I had to do was find a reading spot/time. I only read comfortably laying in bed before I go to sleep. It's become a habit now and thats the way I like to read. No distractions, read until I'm tired and then go to sleep. My wife can read anytime/anywhere, and I'm jealous of that, but it doesn't work for me.
Also find some books that you really like, that are easy. When you don't want to stop reading it helps a lot. Eventually you get to the point that you really can read anything because it doesnt have to hold your interest for every single sentence.
Try some Young Adult or easy reads right off the bat. a few suggestions, things I enjoy that are easy reads:
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Orson Scott Card - Enders Game
Find a Genre you're interested in and something with good reviews, then find your time/place and make it a habit.
I forgot, I have also started Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Read by Stephen Fry), and it is well done as well.
I remembered a couple more that I liked:
Unbroken - good (true) story about WWII pilot who was captured by the Japanese
Water for Elephants - Good book (fiction) about a circus in the depression era
Anathem - I really like Neal Stephenson, and this was a good book, but it was very long, and I'm sure I would have had a much harder time if I had to read it, instead of just listen to it
Eye of the World (Wheel of Time Book 1) - Good book, but very long and if it weren't for the different voices by the narrator, I would have gotten lost pretty easily.
Hope this helps, and hope you find some good ones!
Here's another great series/book you should check out if you enjoyed Dune: The Great Book of Amber, by Roger Zelanzy. It's actually 10 books they combined into one for the Great Book. Really interesting mind-bending mystery sci-fi, plot points to keep you guessing until the end, and written during the same general time period as Dune (1970-1991). It's a wild ride! Plus, you know, the philosophical musings on humanity that we all love so much in our sci-fi/fantasy :)
Books that changed the way I look at things, and thus changed my life:
Light by M. John Harrison Helped me understand that my feelings of smallness and impotence were pointless. In the greater scheme of things there is always two things: Someone better-off than you, and Someone worse-off than you. Whining about it helps no one.
Crank by Ellen Hopkins Helped me understand my mother's drug abuse. Not condone it of course, but understand it. Within six months of me reading this book, my Mother actually started to get clean. Maybe she found it in my room or something.
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski Through this I learned the true power of fiction. This book makes movies look bad. It is the biggest must-read on my list.
Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking by CHristopher Hadnagy taught me how better to interpret my actions and the actions of others, and in general made me a more observant person. Barring the manipulative side of things, (which it helps you notice as other people do it or you do subconsciously) it helps you understand social interaction on a deeper level than just words.
A Child's First Book of Virtues by Emily Hunter
I'd have to say that this was one of the single most important books of my childhood. It taught me all the important bits. This book was gifted to me right after I learned to read, and I am quite frankly a better person because of it. It helped form the model by which I judged my own character.
And of course a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica and Compton's interactive encyclopedia.
Buh I like reading.
Not exactly sure what you mean with Dystopian/Futuristic... Dystopian in the sense of 1984 or Brave New World? As in organic transition to near-future dystopia?
If you mean postapocalyptic, I am just going to quote myself...
Post-Apocalyptic I recommend two things:
>A Canticle For Leibowitz Brilliant novel consisting of slightly linked chapters from shortly after collapse up to new civilisational heights. Don't read the sequel, it's a bad Western.
>Wool by Hugh Howey. Really gripping, believeable world-building and decent characters. Sequels are ok, but if you can stand not getting proper conclusions stop after Wool :)
>EDIT: Aaaah, I forgot one of the most important ones - The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Depressing, low-key, believeable. The prose is stunning. If you read anything read this.
Futuristic is pretty broad, I guess you mean SciFi? Alastair Reynolds is always a good recommendation - it's kind of plausible Science Fiction on a big scale. He is pretty good at characterization, keeps the plot in sight and there are still epic space battles. Good starting point is Revelation Space.
OK well the disclaimer is that I'm the author. The book is a space opera but only in ebook format. You can buy it in pretty much any ebook store but I'd recommend buying it here https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/277673
as they do a good deal allowing you to download it as many times as you wish in a plethora of formats.
If you prefer amazon then it's there too,
So onto the book, it's a long book (about 500 A5 pages, though amazon says 761 print pages) with space battles. You can read the first few chapters for free to see if you might like it.
I'll be publishing the second part in a few months time (I hope!) and that should take a similar course of space opera with plenty of battles/bloody violence/sex and so forth.
Don't feel lame. I went on a really long kick where I was reading a lot of franchise books - Dungeons and Dragons, World of Warcraft, Stargate, etc etc. Sometimes they're terribly written, but sometimes there are really good stories with some great character development.
I'm not really familiar with the other two books but from what I looked up of them (especially considering the Halo + Ben Bova) I think you'd like Ender's Game.
It's technically YA fiction, but it's good enough that you'll often find it in with the regular science fiction. It's also a series so if you like the first one that'll give you a few more to read.
In the classic Science fiction category The Foundation Series is worth looking into as well.
Let's see. Maybe The Sky People too. It's not exactly classic literature, but it's a fun romp in space - a what if there was life on Venus & Mars and it was dinosaurs and prehistoric humans sort of thing. Although not classic science fiction it has that same feel because it takes a stab at what type of life might exist on our neighboring planets.
I haven't read Edgar Rice Burroughs, but he might be up your alley too.
Roger Zelazny - The Chronicles of amber -Get all the short novels in one book as The Great Book Of Amber
Steven Erikson - Malazan Book of the Fallen
Gene Wolfe - Book of the New Sun
How about Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years -- except Biff, the Messiah's best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in the divinely hilarious yet heartfelt work "reminiscent of Vonnegut and Douglas Adams"
Do you have any strong interests? For example, I love math, and the book The Man Who Loved Only Numbers, which is a biography of Paul Erdos.
If you are interested in graphic novels, and they are allowed for the assignment, Logicomix is the quest of Bertrand Russell for an ultimate basis of mathematics, and how the journey of understanding can often lead towards obsession and madness.
If you're interested in physics, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman is a great book that is arguably a biography.
So, what are you most interested in?
If you don't know much about physics I would recommend The Dancing Wu-Li Masters by Gary Zukov. That's one of the main books that got me interested in the field. Clearly written enough for a 9th grader to understand. Also, It explores some philosophical parallels to physics which I enjoyed quite a bit (don't worry, it's nothing like What the Bleep)
Also, if you'd like some insight on how a genius thinks, I would recommend Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman? It's one of my favorite books of all time. There's actually no science in this book - it's basically a collection of anecdotes from Richard Feynmann's life. He talks about his experiences in college, grad school, and working on the A-bomb in Los Alamos among other things. Incredibly entertaining stuff.
If you're into reading critically, I'd join a book club so you can discuss the book afterwards. That should help you recreate some of the classroom feel, that you're missing out on. Here's one on reddit if you're interested. I haven't participated in it, so I don't know the quality of discussion, but it seems to have a lot of members.
You could try reading sitting up, slower, at a desk, and taking notes with a pen. That might help you pay attention and develop thoughts about the book.
I remember a book being talked about here a while ago called how to read a book that might be worth looking into. I personally haven't gotten around to reading it, but it seems to be highly recommended and is supposed to help with intelligent reading.
Sorry for a jumbled response, but I hope that gives you some ideas about where to start.
I've read several versions of this novel and the unabridged Penguin classics version is the best. Here's some things I like about the unabridged story that I feel compelled to discuss.
1.) It's so common in shorter versions and TV or Movie remakes to see Edmond escape the Chateau d'If and immediately begin enacting his revenge on his enemies. In the full story Edmond took quite some time to locate the treasure. Then after doing some quick acts of kindness he disappeared for twenty years. Lived various lives, sailed all over the world, played pirate, educated himself. It was only by years of experience, exploration, and experimentation that he was able to develop the traits necessary to sell the eccentric, cosmopolitan Count of Monte Cristo persona to the Parisian nobility. He is a well rounded individual who languishes in his wealth and freedom but at the core of it all is his unfaltering desire for vengeance that he carries for decades. And it's true, revenge is a dish best served cold.
2.) We don't see this much in film adaptations but The Count of Monte Cristo is just one of many personas that Edmond adopts to complete his righteous mission. For some of his enemies he appears before them as both the Count and the Abbot Busoni and they can't tell the difference. Not only is Edmond a master of disguise but maybe one of the greatest actors ever.
3.) Edmond Dantes smokes weed regularly and this is mentioned several times in the unabridged version. As a potential role model, I advocate for this.
4.) The most powerful part of the novel that I recall is when Edmond's vengeance results in the death of a child. He has a moment of doubt with Villefort screaming at him, "Are you fully avenged?". He questions whether or not he is really doing God's will. And then decides that, yes he is and he will continue to enact his revenge. This part, more than anything else, show just how much Edmond is motivated by vengeance.
I could talk about this novel all day but these are just some parts that really convince me to stick with the unabridged version
It depends on what you're interested in.
Great War for Civilisation is full of fascinating stories from a war correspondent covering the middle east; he interviewed Bin Laden several times before 9/11 among other things. The book is long, but it brings the conflicts to your doorstep and takes you behind the scenes where the media is often restricted from going. Be warned of the size and content though. It is gruesome in most places, and provides a very realistic account of what goes on daily over there.
1776 tells the story of the American revolution, concentrating on the battles and the men who fought them. It is written extremely well. If you have any interest whatsoever in the founding fathers, the characters behind the revolution, or even just a good story, read it and you shouldn't be disappointed.
Short History of Nearly Everything basically takes everything you're interested in that is science related, condenses it all into discrete explanations, and combines the whole to present a great reading experience. It's a bit like doing for science what "A People's History of the United States" did for history. It all feels genuine.
Those are a few I have particularly enjoyed.
I like the cover for Dragon Fate.
Tried and failed to get a decent pic of this to upload, so I linked to the Amazon link instead, which only shows a relatively small image, but it's better than I could get here and now.
I love the contrast, I love the composition, I love the typesetting, and I guess I'm just a sucker for stars over a moonrise behind a dragon...
A Canticle for Leibowitz is my favorite. Swan Song is good. I'm reading The Last Survivors series by Susan Beth Pfeffer. It's pretty good but it's more like a young adult/teen series. I am Legend was great. So much better than the movies. Alas Babylon and On the Beach are Post nuke novels that gave me nightmares. If you need more check out this List
When I was 17, my two favorite books were 'The Catcher in the Rye' and 'Cat's Cradle'. But as you've been reading since you were three, you've probably read them both.
If you want to have a lot of laughs, I highly recommend 'Youth in Revolt' by C.D. Payne.
It's by far the funniest book I've ever read.
And if you want to read the very best piece of storytelling ever, then 'The Count of Monte Cristo', Robin Buss translation, Penguin Classics is for you.
If he enjoys comedy books then you should definitely go with Lamb, the Gospel According to Biff by Christopher Moore.
Else, Ender's Game and The Dresden Files were already mentioned. If he likes zombies go with Day by Day Armageddon. Try out Storm of Iron if he likes Warhammer 40k or in general awesome fantasy warfare in the distance and wicked future.
My ultimate vote goes to The Dresden Files. Harry Dresden is an awesome character.
How to read a book by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren
Packed with full of insights and guidelines to make one a better reader. Reading leads to information, information leads to knowledge, knowledge leads to understanding, and understanding leads to wisdom.
A better reader, a smarter person. Happy reading ;)
For biography - Unbroken. For only having two books under her belt Laura Hillenbrand is a great biographer. I also highly recommend Seabiscuit. She does a great job of recreating the time and place. Unbroken is an incredible story about an incredible man's life. Amazing he made it through with his humanity intact.
Have you read any classical Russian satire and comedy, like Nikolai Gogol or Mikhail Bulgakov? Both are absolutely fantastic. Try either a collection of short stories including ones like Diary of a Madman, the Overcoat, and the Nose or Dead Souls by Gogol, and Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita is absolutely hilarious as well.
Have you read A Short History Of Nearly Everything? It's an awesome read about, well a short history of nearly everything. From the beginning of time. It's great and Bill Bryson really does a great job of making light of topics that are usually "too dense" for non-science people.
Realize that it was written during a certain period, for certain readers.
The person who was interested in this book in 1922 would have likely read Joyce's earlier works and been familiar with Stephen Dedalus. He/she would likely have been familiar with some Latin (the Mass was still conducted in Latin then). ...would have understood the history of Irish and English conflict. Ideally (and Joyce did not expect this) he/she would have been familiar with Dublin.
All of this means that Joyce basically skips the entire common (and expected -by-the-reader) concept and writer's device of exposition.
Which makes for a confusing ride if you aren't an Irish catholic living in Dublin born at the turn of the 19th century and who has read all of Joyce's previous works. And especially because most of us come at this book due to its reputation and being lauded as a Modern Masterpiece. ...we don't usually choose to read it because we have read his other books and loved them, but because it is required reading, or because we have heard so much about it, that we give it a shot. This means we come to it unprepared.
But sheesh... who ever prepares to read a book? Well, we would prepare ourselves if it were a foreign language, or in a technical field we knew little about, or was perhaps Shakespeare in the original English, or Beowulf in Old English, or the Canterbury Tales, etc. etc.
Lots of books require a little more effort than we are often prepared for. The reward is in reading them in their original sense rather than in a sanitized easy-access version. This is one of those books, that's all.
Sure, I'm exaggerating a bit. But let's look at merely the FIRST PAGE (This is the page that convinced me I really wasn't quite the reader that I thought I was, when I picked this book off the shelf for the first time with false bravado).
What the hell is Buck Mulligan doing and saying? What's with the frigging Latin, and can I buy a footnote clarifying it? Well, no, you can't. You're supposed to know it's basically the Catholic Mass, in Latin. Hell. My mother, who had no desired to read Joyce, basically laughed at me when I showed her and she plucked it all out. "It's the Mass!" she said, whacking me in the back of the head.
Where are they? what the hell is this gunrest crap? Barbicans? Towr? WTF? ...well. Martello Tower. What other tower is there on the bay in Dublin? sheesh. everybody knows that
Why's he wearing black, and saying he can't wear grey pants? Jesus. I'm two paragraphs in and sinking fast. ...well, his mother died. When someone was wearing black then, it wasn't a fashion choice. You automatically assumed the person was in mourning.
And so (to beat this to death), Joyce doesn't trip over himself explaining this stuff. The characters do not think to themselves for the purposes of letting us in on things, or for explanation's sake, they simply think the way you do, to yourself. You don't use full sentnces, or explain to yourself what you already know.
So you aren't going to get a line from Joyce that says:
"Buck Mulligan, a guy who is kinda fun on the surface but is really just a blowhard ass, and who is taking from Stephen what he can get (lodging, beer money, and intelligence-cred, among other things), comes from the stairwell getting ready to shave, but first goofs around by pretending he's a priest and so (blasphemously) holds up the shaving cream in a bowl like the sacraments held aloft by a priest, and says "Coming to the altar of God", only in Latin."
This is why the book benefits from a little view behind the curtains. Because as u/danuscript says, except for Joyce, no real all-knowing reader exists. There's also no reliable narrator running consistently throughout who can hold our hand.
It's essentially unfolding in little vignettes seen though others' eyes, or from an uninterested narrator (objective as possible).
So, grab the Gifford annotated volume (the bigger thicker one HERE ). But realize you don't need EVERY notation here to understand it. And some are speculative. really, does the yellow color of the dressing gown warrant three paragraphs? A lot of folks have read in more than joyce may have intended.
Also, try the "New BloomsDay Book". It is is an excellent synopsis, with as much exposition as is needed to understand the meat, and what is happening.
Last... the book is NOT meant to be a one hit wonder. It's not a beginning/middle/end thing, which is read once, and whose 'climax' is some great revelation or surprise. It's meant to be re-read. You would then understand the subtle unsaid things (e.g. which occur in interactions between people, which hinge on these), and you'll understand what's happening which you will have missed the first time through.
There. I said it. Bogging down? Eyes glazing over? Try skipping a bit, or reading the first and last line of the medium-sized paragraphs. No shame in it.
If you find that you like the language, are getting the story (with help), and are glad you waded in, then you'll likely be back for a second read, and that can be the one where you focus, and delve, and read each line.
Took me three times, frankly, to make it through.
But I was aware that it wasn't Joyce's failings. but mine, which kept stopping me.
There really is a there there.
The following suggestion is by no means condescending or even insulting at the least bit but How to Read A Book is a pretty useful resource in learning how to properly read, absorb and be engaged with any piece of literature that comes your way. Hope this helps!
I'm going to second, House Of Leaves (Goodreads). It's a challenging read, but it tells such a fantastic story. You can get lost in it. It took me about a month and I spent that month completely paranoid, afraid of the dark and nervous about opening doors. If you go with this one make sure you get the physical book the eBook version does not cut it.
John Dies At The End (Goodreads) is a comedy horror book that's also really great. It's not terribly heavy on the disgusting side but it's worth checking out none the less. The sequel is coming out in a month or so.
I haven't read Misery (Goodreads) but it's a King novel that's been recommended to me for all the reasons you've mentioned above. It's on my list and I hope to get around to it soon.
Anything by Simon Singh is worth reading. In addition to what others have recommended, these books are good:
[The man who loved only numbers](http://www.amazon.com/MAN-WHO-LOVED-ONLY-NUMBERS/dp/0786884061/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;s=books&amp;qid=1254333710&amp;sr=8-1
A mathematician reads the newspaper
A mathematician plays the stock market
Innumeracy: mathematical illiteracy and its consequences
Also, while not exactly about Maths:
Surely you are joking, Mr Feynman
What do you care what other people think?
The Art of Computer Programming
The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. I'm a fan of time-travel, and history, and I was completely sucked into it. She's got a number of books in the same universe- some comedic, some very dramatic, but The Doomsday Book is my favourite.
If you're at all interested in high fantasy, I'd recommend either Tigana or The Fionovar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay. You either love his prose style or hate it, but if you love it, it will definitely take you away.
If you like SF and haven't read them, I'd try either Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos, or David Brin's Uplift Series (I'd skip Sundiver until later, and start with Startide Rising.)
If you're looking for more light-hearted/quirky, I'd try Christopher Moore- either Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal , or The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror. If you're into a mix of horror/sf/comedy, try John Dies at the End. They're not deep, but they're fun.
Non-fiction- if you haven't read it yet, Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air is very difficult to put down. If you're travelling with someone who doesn't mind you looking up every few pages and saying "did you know this, this is awesome, wow-how interesting", I'd go for Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants or Bill Bryson's At Home: A Short History of Private Life. They're all very informative, fun, interesting books, but they're even better if you can share them while you're reading them.
Oryx and Crake. I didn't expect to like it much but I loved it.
Edit: Just finished Unbroken which is an awesome tale of survival in WW2.
Here are my personal favorite head-fucks, each one of them did something strange to my whole world when I read them:
But yeah, by far my favorite is the one at the top of the list, The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. There's just so goddamn much going on in that book, it's one helluva wonderful ride.
Unbroken, By Laura Hillenbrand. One of the best and most amazing true stories I've ever read. Read it before the movie comes out!
>Should I maybe do a bit of research before reading it? Or do you think someone could appreciate the story without that sort of knowledge?
I read the Burgin-O'Connor translation which, while being considered an excellent translation, also contains detailed annotations by Bulgakov's biographer, Ellendea Proffer.
I'd highly recommend this version because it provides the kind of background and context via the footnotes that you're looking for. Like you, I had no idea about the huge numbers of references and allusions to life in 1920-30s Moscow and the Biblical life of Jesus.
I've been on a non-fiction kick myself.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is good. Very funny, very informative.
Packing for Mars and Stiff: The Curious Lives of Cadavers both by Mary Roach were also fun to read.
I really enjoyed Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman
It's an autobiography by physicist Richard Feynman. Very fun read, by an incredibly interesting man.
Ok, I am being completely serious. I am not trying to insult you. I was floored by this book, and I use it still. It is one of the greatest books I have ever read and teaches people how to LEARN!
I thought I knew, I'm a college graduate, I program for a living. I can read and learn already, right?
Please, please, please, consider reading this book and don't be turned off by the title.
How to Read a Book
[EDIT] Also, you since you like comics, I highly recommend Understanding Comics, it's a mind-blowing view of how comics work.
Came here to post this. Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything is a great way for the layman to become scientifically literate, and it's entertaining. I like all of Krakauer's works, but would particularly recommend Where Men Win Glory for a perspective on the war in Afghanistan as well as a portrait of Pat Tillman, a complicated man.
Don Gifford's Ulysses Annotated is chock full of interesting tidbits, although Penguin's Ulysses: Annotated Student Edition is also good for someone who doesn't want to go as deeply as Gifford will take you.
That being said, I completely agree that you don't "need" the notes, especially since they can mislead readers into thinking that they can get a total picture of the world Joyce is creating. More to the point, it is missing the forest for the trees: the point is that Joyce is recreating the world he lived in; it isn't expected (or possible) that you relive it as well. The first time I read it, I got fixated on references. Now, I just refer to the notes when my studies or interests necessitate more information.
Some great history books:
The first and last are not military history but are quite a good and different reads for someone interested in history and facts.
Pevear and Volokhonsky just edges out Burgin and Tiernan O'Connor for readability. The latter is great, and has a lot of good footnotes and commentary, but P&V is my preference.
As far as I know they are the only two English translations that include the complete text of the novel: Ginsburg and Glenny each used the older version of Bulgakov's text. Of those two, Glenny is significantly better than Ginsburg.
Spooky! I just picked it up just last week because the book store had Cosmicomics and not if on a winter's night a traveler
a good friend of mine recommended it to me. I got him reading House of Leaves and this is what he responded with.
So far I'm really digging the galactic scope of his stories. He writes so elegantly about the time before anything was describable. Astounding!
Predictably Irrational - Dan Ariely
The Tao of Pooh - Benjamin Hoff
Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman! and What Do You Care What Other People Think? - both wonderful collections of Richard Feynman talking about his life, the way he thinks about things, and lessons he learned.
Those are really the first four that come to mind that have had a noticeable effect on the way I think. Might do the same for you, as well.
A few books I read recently (within the last couple of years) that really stand out for me:
Unfortunately the two fictional books aren't easy reads. Not difficult, mind you, but not as straightforwardly easy as, say, The Road. But I think they're engrossing enough that you'll get sucked in nevertheless.
I hope this helps!
Easy one. A Short History of Nearly Everything.
It's largely a history of science. It was amazing finding out how long we've known certain things and how recently we found others. If I get wound up this'll turn into a novel. Just read it.
Ya I had to research a little too. Back when I first bought it off amazon a long time ago I ended up getting this version. Which is the unabridged Buss translation. Mine had a portrait on the cover. Now it looks like it might be different.
The Count of Monte Cristo
That's about all I know. I don't really know how to find the best version of a book very easily.
Unbroken is great. It non-fiction that reads like fiction. So good!
I have three books that I love to loan out (or just strongly recommend to those weirdos out there who refuse a loaner):
The first two books have in some ways shaped my life over the years. The last book is just the funniest I've ever read.
I recommend House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.
It encompasses everything you're looking for and in a book including a junkie, a couple of people going crazy, a house plagued by seemingly supernatural occurrences, and is overall a creepy book. Frankly it surprises me that I'm the first one to mention it. This is Reddit, right!?
Here are a few things that might not appeal to you in regards to House of Leaves. It's 709 pages long. The entirety of one character's story is told in the footnotes that are on nearly every page. The layout of the text in some chapters is literally all over the place and can be tricky to read, it mimics what some of the characters go through while exploring said house.
Overall I enjoyed this book thoroughly and recommend it at every opportunity.
Try "A Confederacy of Dunces," by John Kennedy Toole. It's not only a Pulitzer Prize winner, it's very funny. Enjoy.
comedic fiction. Tells the story of Christ during his growing up years. I love this book. Even though it was fiction I can see how his philosophy grew and accepted other religions into his own. It is how Christ would have acted.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Not only the best I read this year, but easily the best I've read in the past five years.
Forget about all the haters. I'm reading this book right now, and it's fantastic. I've studied physics and also read the Richard Rhodes book, and it's a great counterpoint to a more formal history. I really, really love the chapters before he met Jean Tatlock; they're so full of little insights into his life as a "real," working physicist.
Also, my glass of scotch salutes you.
The one that is often recommended is Robin Buss' translation found here. I am currently reading it and haven't had any issues with it. It hardly even reads like it was translated as well. I'm 400 pages into it and am absolutely loving it.
I need to pick up Game of Thrones. Looks really good. Anyway, I'll recommend Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. Amazing read, and the start of an even more awesome series of novels. Of course, if you don't mind reading a book from a little known author, try checking out John Evans. I picked up The Fallen a couple months back and couldn't put it down. Really good read, but kinda tricky to find.
I couldn't recommend Steven Brust's The Book of Jhereg enough. It's the first collection of books in a series he's been writing since 1983. Every book is a great read, and the characters will really grow on you. I believe any fan of Zelazny will like Brust.
So happy to see Amber on this list! Re-reading the omnibus for about the 8th time right now, and it's still my favorite series ever.
The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: A Poetry Anthology
This is my favorite poetry anthology.
I've only read this one, but it seemed very well done to me. It flows very much like contemporary prose.
Also you can add my recommendation to your list!
Don Gifford's annotations are super helpful for this problem.
Try some of Martin's literary influences:
Very easy quick reads and my all time favorite series.
Here are some links for the product in the above comment for different countries:
Link text: The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: A Poetry Anthology
This bot is currently in testing so let me know what you think by voting (or commenting).
Unbroken. It's phenomenal. Basically a plane crashes and the survivors are forced to try to survive on a raft for an indeterminate amount of time. Great story of resiliency.
Flags of our Fathers. The book before the miniseries. Also phenomenal.
If you like really really detailed historical accounts, you can't do much better than The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich although I would probably recommend the audio version. It's available through audible. I got about half way through it before I had to stop, but man, it was detailed. DETAILED. If you ever wanted to know the minutiae of Hitler's daily life in part, this is it.
A memoir from a female perspective, perhaps? Well, A Woman in Berlin is your book. It's harrowing. There are things talked about here that most history books gloss over.
Thank you. Looking through the links you gave helped me find a book that's more along the lines of what I'm looking for. Do you know if this is any good?
You'll probably hear House of Leaves thrown around quite a bit. While it's pretty good, it's also as equally daunting, and sometimes hard to stay absorbed in.
One of my all-time favorite books. Hopefully you will be reading this translation: http://www.amazon.com/The-Master-Margarita-Mikhail-Bulgakov/dp/0679760806/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1347058072&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=master+and+margarita
I don't know about intellectually stimulating, but "A Confederacy of Dunces" is fucking hilarious.
Some of my favorites:
I tried to get as many different authors as possible in there. Many of those authors have plenty of really good books you shouldn't miss.
Surprised nobody has mentioned House of Leaves which seems to be exactly what you're looking for. It's often been called the literary equivalent of the Blair Witch Project a comparison some may consider less than flattering but I personally think is pretty apt.
The Forever War - Haldeman
Flowers for Algernon - Keyes
The Prestige - Priest
LoTR - Tolkien
Sphere - Crichton (One of the first "real" books I read as a kid, and was my favorite for years. It isn't the best in the world, but it is an extremely fun page turner and means alot to me)
There are also three books I've read in the last couple of years that I want very badly to say are in my top five (to replace some of those listed above). But it has not been long enough for me to make a decision, and I probably need to re-read them. Those three are:
The Passage - Cronin
Cloud Atlas - Mitchell
Wolf Hall - Mantel
> A Short History Of Nearly Everything
I have never read this book, but from the book description on Amazon; it does look like it has similar topics.
Came here to namecheck RZ's Amber. But my work was already done. (I also echo cuddlemonkey's Hitchhiker rec, as well as the equally deserving mentions of Discworld. Zounds, you have some awesomely entertaining reading ahead of you!)
Edit: Closed the parenthesis.
Here is some quick advice from someone who studied Ulysses at a top Dublin University:
This is a very well-respected guide. It doesn't hold your hand but gives you just enough to enjoy every chapter. The much more extensive Ulysses Annotated is also available for those who want more assistance but it is outdated now and full of errors.
There is only the one book. The movie only used the book as a premise and went off on its own. Anyone who has read the book pretty much doesn't like the movie. I don't think the 2nd and 3rd made it to theaters...
If you like bug killing adventures, look at Armor. If you like a more engrossing story look at Ender's Game.
I'll read damn near anything I can get my hands on, but I prefer fiction.
Some non-fiction books that I'm currently enjoying though are Godel, Escher, Bach and A Short History of Nearly Everything
On the fiction list right now are Foucault's Pendulum and The Broom of the System.
Here you go, great price if you ask me.
I was going to mention [Alas, Babylon] (http://www.abebooks.com/search/an/frank/tn/alas+babylon) but it was very short. I also think that A Canticle for Leibowitz was okay as well.
Well, like I say, that was iBooks on an iPad. The font size I read at fits 3-4 paragraphs on a page, there might be fewer in a paper copy.
On the other hand...what size were the pages?
This is the exact edition I read. iTunes lists it as 1300 pages.
Penguin Classics Paperback is listed at 1276 pages
What about A Short History of Nearly Everything? Or Seal Team Six? Or The Magicians? What about American Gods, Hyperspace and The Grand Design
What I'm saying is 18 is too few. Get cracking.
Thanks for that; I just looked up the reviews for this book on Amazon, and I am ordering a copy today!
I second The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson series as recommendations.
Looking for Alaska is really popular among my high school students, both girls and boys.
Maybe Ender's Game?
The Seven Realms series is another one several of my kids have been raving about to me. I haven't gotten around to reading them myself, but it might be worth checking out. Starts with The Demon King.
It's not necessarily sad, but most certainly Russian, and it's The Master and Margarita.
We finished reading Anathem in r/SF Book Club a couple of months ago, try there for some suggestions (reading A Canticle for Leibowitz in March).
Also this link of the top 100 sci fi books is a good place to start.
You could also try r/PrintSF.
Adler's How to Read a Book sounds cliche but I highly recommend it.
Next time you give Ulysses a go you should buy Gifford's Annotations and consult it when necessary. The book is readable and is well worth the work even without the Annotations. You just have to decide beforehand that you're not going to worry about catching every reference.
I wish I can say. I'm still in the process of "shopping." That's why I asked too, because it will be the first time for me to read the Count's story. One input was from /u/Nighthawk_Me, who said he/she read the Penguin Classics by Robin Buss and I read pretty decent Amazon reviews because Buss' version is unabridged. I didn't know Buss did work for the Project Gutenberg version, so I'm on my way to check that out now.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
it's my favorite science fiction book. People should read it before the movie comes out next year!
In all honesty, the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are pretty tough to get into, since they are practically the ur-examples of fantasy, written back when a lot of commercial fiction methodology was still being developed.
When i read a book, I worry first and foremost if I'm entertained, if I am, I'll give it my recommendation, regardless of the flaws. These are the ones I think you'd find best for jumping in with.
YA/Middle Grade Books
Discworld by Terry Pratchet (I'd recommend not starting at the beginning.)
Off the top of my head, in no particular order:
The Undercover Economist: Easily the best of those "Economics in everyday life - books"
The Blank Slate: Steven Pinker on the nature/nurture debate. This really opened my eyes on questions like "Why are the same people who fight against abortion for the death penalty", for example.
Complications: This and his second book, Better, gave me an incredible insight into medicine.
Why we get sick: Very good explanation of the defence mechanisms our bodies have and why treating symptoms can be a very bad idea.
How to read a book: An absolute classic. Turns out I've been doing it wrong all those years.
The Art of Strategy: Game Theory, applied to everyday situations. Always treats a topic like Nash equilibrium, Brinkmanship etc. theoretically and then goes into many examples.
A Random Walk Down Wall-Street: Made me see the stock market completely differently.
The Myth of the Rational Voter: The shortcomings of democracy.
The White Man's Burden: Fantastic account of the problems faced by the third world today, and why it is so hard to change them.
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal.
(or pretty much anything else by Chris Moore)
You might enjoy A Short History of Nearly Everything
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
Autobiography of esteemed physicist Richard Feynman. Though obviously his specialty is in physics, these recollections of his life touch upon pretty much all scientific disciplines- mathematics, biology, computer science, etc- but it has more to do with how to think about things scientifically rather than cold hard science. A must read for anyone, scientist or non-scientist.
That's the one that I've been trying to find. It's my favorite book, so when I heard that the 'unabridged' one that I read still wasn't complete, I knew I had to find the real (or as close as I can get) version.
Is yours this one translated by Robin Buss?
If you can get through it House of Leaves might fit that description pretty well. I definitely got a Palahniuk feel from it. Its hard to really say I "enjoyed" the book, but I recommend the fuck out of it every chance I get. It had a far greater and longer lasting emotional impact than anything I can think of reading since I was a kid. But its a bitch to read, and it screws with you any chance it gets.
A more tenuous connection would be Vonnegut, maybe its because I spent a whole summer reading almost only Palahniuk and Vonnegut, so they are forever entwined, occupying the same brain cubby.
Have a look at How to Read a Book: The Classical Guide to Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles van Doren.
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. Great book. My favorite part is that it's a stand alone book. No need to wait 10 years between the books. Lamb by Christopher Moore. Another phenominal stand alone book.
Edited for spelling.
Hands down: House of Leaves
I have never worked so hard to read a book before, but it is completely worth it.
"Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal," by Christopher Moore. Accessible and hilarious, without being blasphemous (unless you're incredibly thin-skinned. In which case you're likely not on Reddit in the first place).
Edited to add link.
A Short History of Nearly Everything
PM if you are interested.
The Chronicles of Amber
The Iron Druid series is about an immortal druid.
Incarnations of Immortality series though the main characters aren't strictly immortal.
It is hard work, though. I found these two books extremely helpful:
If it's not too late, you can go here:
And search for relevant words like "failed" and find the pages and see them.
Right now I am reading How to read a book and would recommend reading it before you read any other book.
As someone said, ''All books are mute till you have read this one''.
How to Read a Book is another book along the same lines that I usually recommend.
The Making of the Atomic Bomb. I brought it on a plane. Let's just say it's a good thing I'm in the military and a white male.
Edit: I'm American. And it was in 2003. The TSA was not happy.
Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman
To add a bit of non-fiction to the list:
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman
7th grade - Where the Winds Sleep: Man’s Future on the Moon - a Projected History”
High School: Foundation Trilogy & Earth Abides
University - les Miserables - Victor Hugo, unabridged version & Siddhartha - Hermann Hesse.
20's - Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance & the River Why
30's - The boat who wouldn't float - Farley Mowat, , and all his other books.
40's - Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman
Physics for Future Presidents was okay but not really about physics. You might want to try A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson to start out.
There are two really good versions in my opinion. I cut my teeth on the Penguin Classics unabridged version.
There is also an Oxford World's Classics version which is good...though not as good as the Penguin in my opinion.