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30 August 2010 @ 11:11 pm
Rec me something. Please.  
I am good at picking fan fiction. I am. I can look at a header and think, YAY or OMG NO or If I had world enough and time, and also someone had glued me to my chair. I can generally tell in a few paragraphs if this is back-button-it's-too-late-for-me-save-yourself territory. Ninety percent of the time, I know if I'm reading my way into trouble, or if I should check the ending first or just get someone who knows me to pre-read the story to see if my eyes might melt right off my face if I try it.

And I know when something is going to be in that sad grey area between "bad enough that you can laugh" and "mediocre but maybe worth your time if it hits your current narrative kinks and character needs."

Unfortunately, I have never had this ability with published fiction. (This is why I laugh when people say, "But published fiction doesn't have headers and notes and warnings and stuff!" No, it doesn't, and we are the poorer for it. Think of all the published work you wouldn't have read if it had had "part 1/???" in the title and "Summary: Stuff happens. People die. Life sucks. Girls can't hack it." in the header.) But the thing is, ten years ago I was more tolerant of published crap. I accepted that I would have to wade through it up to my knees to find great things to read; I thought it was my fate and duty as a reader. Now, I get to the midpoint of a book, realize it exists in the sad grey area, and I don't think, well, maybe the next book will be great. I just want to back button. Except, god damn it, I actually paid for this. Which means there can be no happy ending: either I finish the book and wish I had not, or I don't finish it and feel ripped off.

And lately - oh, man. Lately I have hit a really long run of sad grey area books. I had honestly forgotten there were so many ways to fuck up a book, you know? And Best Beloved has been recommending me stuff (good stuff!) from her recent reads, but she's run dry.

So I am asking you: please, please rec me something good to read. Ideally something available on the Kindle, because I'm doing all this extra reading because I've spent the past two months variously sick or injured, all in the ways where getting up to get another book is a serious investment of time and energy.

I like:
  1. Non-fiction, particularly memoirs, detailed histories of unlikely things (chopsticks, a single typeface, the compass rose), and anything funny or told in an engaging narrative voice. (I am also always looking for really good books on WWI pilots, planes, and the war in the air.)
  2. Speculative fiction. I generally prefer robots to elves, but frankly I will take either. Robots and elves also 100% welcome.
  3. YA books of almost any stripe, provided there is something else going on besides A and B kissing or not kissing.
  4. Anything amazingly awesome. I will read the best book in any genre!
I do not like:
  1. Child or animal harm or death. (If you're not sure about this with what you're recommending, let me know and I will have it pre-read.)
  2. Stories that are entirely about whether or not A and B will kiss. Or, alternatively, stories where saving the world is the B plot, and the A plot is whether or not A and B will kiss. (Saving the world comes first. Or there will be nowhere comfortable to fuck.)
  3. Torture porn, rape-o-matic plotting (Can't figure out what happens next? Rape someone!), authors who think that gore is somehow a substitute for characterization or plot.
And if you're looking for more detail on what I don't like, a rant! Dedicated to the authors of the crap I've been reading recently.


There is now a three-drink limit on fading to black. I'm talking specifically here about the kind of fading to black you do when your character is unconscious or near death. Because, okay, if your character is taking multiple head injuries and/or really serious injuries just generally - look. You can get away with that. Serial immortality! Just plain old immortality! Wolverine! But if your character has basically a normal human's stamina and healing factor and number of lives and so on - seriously. Please don't knock her unconscious or shoot her or have her nearly beaten to death at the end of every chapter. Especially if the entire book takes place over the course of a week. After a while, I start humming the Die Hard theme, you know? There are other ways to end a chapter! Like maybe your heroine could knock someone else unconscious!

Please remember to have an actual protagonist. Because, okay. If your entire plot summary can be written like this:
  • Something random happens to X!
  • Something else random happens to X!
  • A third random thing happens to X!
Then it's time to consider one of two possibilities:
  1. You don't actually have a plot.
  2. X is not actually your protagonist.
See, protagonists DO STUFF. They do something. They may make everything worse. They may make stupid choices. They may be brilliant and sparkly and solve every problem and also cure cancer and make our sky a permanent rainbow. But if they just stand around and wait for things to happen, and then things happen and they say, "Oh! Something happened!" or, alternatively, just pass out, then they are not actually doing anything. Including entertaining your readers. Protagonists: a literary tradition for a reason! Look into having one for your next novel, won't you?

Please remember to have a protagonist. Seriously. I am not kidding. It's a good idea if you give the reader someone to like. Not someone, you know, perfect, or even close to perfect, but it's nice if at least one of your characters has a positive trait or two. Otherwise reading the book is kind of like being in an elevator with people you hate. With the doors open, so you can leave any time you want. I am looking at you, author of the book where in the first 10,000 words the only thing approximating a main character is completely nondescript except for his willingness to kill people for no very good reason. "Willing to kill monks if the plot demands it" is not the kind of thing that endears me to a protagonist, particularly if that appears to be his only characteristic.

There is a very good reason to have people of various genders and sexual preferences in your books. No, I am not going to talk here about accurately representing the world, although that's a great thing, too. But here's the advantage to you: you will not accidentally have all your main characters fall in love with one person. They can't! They won't all be interested in the same person. And obviously it gets really tempting after a while to make everyone fall in love with the character you love best. Look, I read fan fiction, so you don't need to tell me that it's tempting. I'm just saying that that it doesn't work. After a while we all secretly rename your main character Prince Sparkleshit Mesmerstare. And here's a way you can keep that from happening!

Try genderswapping sometime! Specifically, try swapping the genders of your book's characters. If you're looking at your now-male characters and going, "But that's totally unrealistic! They're all like cartoon villains!" and you're looking at your now-female characters and saying, "But this is entirely unrealistic! They have three dimensions and breast size is never once mentioned! I can't even describe them as bitches!" just - okay, look, I am not going to give you any advice. You won't take it anyway. But if you would be so good as to send me a note so that I can stop reading your books - which are obviously not written for girls anyway - that'd be aces.

Love and kisses!

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
Jillsjourneyjillsjourney on August 31st, 2010 06:39 am (UTC)
A book I love to re-read and rec is The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. It is fabulous. The first time I read it, I finished it and promptly flipped it back over to read it again.

Fair warning - there is a bit early on that may go against your child/animal harm squick, although not graphic.

The sequel Paladin of Souls is kickass too.
tried to eat the safe banana: Bookthefourthvine on September 1st, 2010 04:26 am (UTC)
Oh, man, I LOVED Chalion - it totally hits my world-building and fantasy religions kinks, plus I think it's Bujold writing at the top of her game, which is always a thing worth reading. (Paladin of Souls I could not be doing with, sadly. Have you read the third book in the series? I always wonder if I should or not, based on my OMG LOVE AND JOY AND STARS AND HEARTS AND PONIES AND WAIT WHAT NO relationship with the series so far.)
(no subject) - stasia on September 1st, 2010 05:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jillsjourney on September 1st, 2010 06:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - afearfulthing on September 19th, 2010 09:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Moonlight Sonatamoonlight69 on August 31st, 2010 06:44 am (UTC)
I am a big fan of The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. It's kind of wizard noir. The first two books are a little slower, but then the series really gets going.
Malmalnpudl on August 31st, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC)
Seconded; the series is grand fun. And the audiobooks are outstanding, for those who like such things.
The Dresden Files - gwynevere1 on August 31st, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on September 1st, 2010 04:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - moonlight69 on September 1st, 2010 04:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bibliokat on September 1st, 2010 05:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
my monkied brain: wes - bibliophilekatekat1010 on August 31st, 2010 06:49 am (UTC)
Ok, the one book I suggest everyone try to read in their lives is this book:

The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt.

So my review of it on amazon (because I'm a little lazy) went like this:

The back says it's a story about a genus boy and his mother. And yes, it absolutely is. But it's also a book that's less about missing fathers than about keeping mothers. It has everything and nothing to do with the movie The Seven Samurai. It acts as a kind of a rosetta stone for Japanese, Inuit, Norse, Greek & Latin. It sideswipes the basic principles of aerodynamics, some math, history, philosophy, religion and death. And yet, I kind of think the author is in love with adventure novels and travel writers too. I don't want to really bore you with the details (or reduce an amazing book to paltry words written by a half-rate lit critic like myself). Suffice it to say, every time I read this book it moves me. It makes me giggle - loudly and usually inappropriately. I read in a coffee shop for two hours on Wednesday night and made snarf-choke-chuckle sounds so often I know I drew stares. Each time I read it I'm caught up by the diction, the style, the brain, the sarcasm and the intense joy. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Now some people I've bought this book for said it was too much, that they couldn't get past the first couple of chapters, that it seemed too pretentious to be real. But the rest? They've started buying extra copies to give to people too.
tried to eat the safe banana: Bookthefourthvine on September 1st, 2010 04:44 am (UTC)
Someone recommended The Last Samurai to me in no uncertain terms a few years ago, and I was greatly tempted, but it wasn't on Kindle or in the library. Now there are two recs for it on this page alone, AND it is bargain priced on Amazon. Seems like fate!
Lutra Chaiteaotter on August 31st, 2010 06:56 am (UTC)
book recommendations
The Guardian of the Dead, by Karen Healey. A young-adult fantasy novel set in modern-day New Zealand, with a female protagonist and a really intriguing plot. I don't want to give anything else away, but it sounds very much like something you'd like.

Pretty much anything by John McPhee. Basin and Range is my favorite, with Looking for a Ship a close second. He writes essays on all kinds of non-fiction topics, mixes in some fascinating interviews and character studies, and leaves me feeling much more aware of the world around me.

Truth and Beauty, by Ann Patchett. The book focuses on Patchett's long-term friendship with Lucy Grealy, a poet and author who died in 2002. I love stories of friendships that are complicated and difficult and still very loving -- and this made me very happy. Not that it's exactly a happy book. (I can't recall if there is animal death or abuse in this or not, I'm sorry.)

What Becomes You, by Aaron Link and Hilda Raz Link. Not available on Kindle, darn it, but one of the best memoirs I've ever read. It's a quirky series of essays on transsexuality and transition, with essays from a parent's perspective, too. There are dead animals in it (the author worked as a museum preparator), but I don't think there is actual animal death that you see. (Disclosure note: I know friends of the author, or I probably never would have found this book.)

The Gauche in the Machine: NZ flaxchina_shop on August 31st, 2010 07:09 am (UTC)
Re: book recommendations
The Guardian of the Dead, by Karen Healey. A young-adult fantasy novel set in modern-day New Zealand, with a female protagonist and a really intriguing plot. I don't want to give anything else away, but it sounds very much like something you'd like.

Ooh, why don't I know of this? *goes off to see if she's a Kiwi*
Re: book recommendations - deepbluemermaid on August 31st, 2010 08:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: book recommendations - china_shop on September 1st, 2010 07:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: book recommendations - labellementeuse on September 1st, 2010 04:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: book recommendations - china_shop on September 1st, 2010 07:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: book recommendations - rachelmanija on August 31st, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: book recommendations - starfishchick on August 31st, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: book recommendations - thefourthvine on September 1st, 2010 04:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
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Stasiastasia on August 31st, 2010 07:17 am (UTC)
OMG, there's a new Doomsday book?

*flees to Amazon to buy*

Thanks tons!

(no subject) - tfwftw on August 31st, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - tfwftw on September 1st, 2010 10:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - starfishchick on August 31st, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - adina_atl on August 31st, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - adina_atl on September 1st, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on September 1st, 2010 05:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
vito_excalibur on August 31st, 2010 07:07 am (UTC)
The Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein. I love these books more than I can say, and will have to do a proper post about them.

Briefly: these are books about Science. Not scientific trappings like Girl Genius or Narbonic or most "scientific genius" sf. But, like, the slow and painstaking and quietly glorious process of learning about the world.

Plus adventure, excitement, and really wild things!
Lutra Chaiteaotter on August 31st, 2010 07:14 am (UTC)
How could I forget the Steerswoman books? I adore those!
(no subject) - thefourthvine on September 1st, 2010 05:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vito_excalibur on September 1st, 2010 05:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fairestcat on September 5th, 2010 03:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Stasiastasia on August 31st, 2010 07:16 am (UTC)
Hmmm. I've wanted to read Unknown Quantity: A History of Algebra for ages; thanks for reminding me to get Geordie to order it.

I've asked Geordie about the WWI books; he's a heavy reader of wartime non-fiction. Usually WWII, but he is a font of information, so I think he'll find something you can at least try the blurb of.

I've given up on reading most published fiction. It seems like the same story, over and over again. *sigh*

Sophie: I like pi!alias_sqbr on September 1st, 2010 04:21 am (UTC)
A history of algebra? Ooooh.

And someone further down suggested another really interesting sounding book about algebra. I have TFV doesn't have as much of an allergy to it as most people :)
(no subject) - stasia on September 1st, 2010 05:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - alias_sqbr on September 2nd, 2010 11:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on September 1st, 2010 05:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - stasia on September 1st, 2010 05:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
For all your sophisticated Cock-Tailing needs: Space Shuttle Atlantismidnitemaraud_r on August 31st, 2010 07:21 am (UTC)
I'm going to rec my favorite books - Hyperion, and its sequel Part 2, Fall of Hyperion - collectively known as the Hyperion Cantos - by Dan Simmons, who is one of my favorite authors. Alas, those two aren't available on Kindle, but some of his others are.

These novels are science fiction - takes place @ 1000 years in the future, but it would be a crime to label them under that genre alone. It's literary science fiction, that touches on so many topics, with rich characters, and the premise is derived from John Keats' unfinished poem of the same name. The first book, Hyperion is structured almost like a futuristic Canterbury Tales, and in Fall, well, to put it mildly, all hell breaks loose. :) It's one of the most amazing stories I've ever read - clever, smart, fascinating...

The story revolves around seven main characters - a diplomat, a poet, a private detective, a Catholic Priest, a Jewish scholar (and his infant daughter), a Templar, and a soldier - but many other characters are intertwined in their stories, brilliant, fleshed out characters, and clear, yet descriptive prose.

Even the first sentence:

The Hegemony Consul sat on the balcony of his ebony spaceship and played Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-sharp Minor on an ancient but well-maintained Steinway while great, green, saurian things surged and bellowed in the swamps below.

I've read them so many times I've had to replace them twice already. :-P

There's a two book sequel as well - Endymion and Rise of Endymion. If you like the first story.

The other two-book story of his I loved - Ilium and Olympos, are available on Kindle.

This is also science fiction, but it's science fiction meets Homer. The characters from the Iliad and the Odyssey are alive and well thousands of years on the future...and living on Mars. Simmons loves to reinvent the classics. In a way, it's rather like Homeric fanfic. :-P There are three story lines that tie into each other - one on Mars, one on Earth, and one on Jupiter.

One other thing I love about his writing is that he doesn't condescend to the reader. He doesn't insert paragraphs of exposition to explain some of his futuristic creations. Some people might find that frustrating, but it's always in context, and it's usually explained when the story itself demands it.

Edited at 2010-08-31 07:21 am (UTC)
vito_excalibur on August 31st, 2010 07:36 am (UTC)
I'm going to qualify this rec by saying that Hyperion made me laugh out loud a number of times!

Not, necessarily, when Simmons meant his readers to laugh, I suspect.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on September 1st, 2010 06:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Gauche in the Machine: Newbie readingchina_shop on August 31st, 2010 07:24 am (UTC)

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. Debunks a lot of medical reporting and alternative medicine stuff, and is very entertaining about it (though he occasionally forgets that some of his readers might be female, just so you know).

I found Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson interesting -- about how people make money by giving stuff away. Fairly lightweight and sadly lacking in references to fandom, but I enjoyed it.

Stet by Diana Athill is only available to UK customers (I'm sure you could find a way around that), and is a memoir of her time in the publishing industry. Her prose is to die for. (I got bogged down in the second half, though, which is about individual authors, most of whom I didn't really care about.)

And a fairly random (but good!) fiction rec: A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon.

Oh, and I really liked Kristin Cashore's Graceling, after the first couple of chapters.

ETA: Belatedly *facepalms* at all my disclaimers. (It's just 'cause I'm intimidated by you, and don't want to rec you things you won't like.)

Edited at 2010-08-31 07:26 am (UTC)
tried to eat the safe banana: Bookthefourthvine on September 1st, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
Bad Science sounds wonderful, although it, too, is only available to UK customers right now. Damn it. I want to read it! And Stet! Curse this unnatural limitation!

Ah, well. I will have to content myself with A Spot of Bother. And a lot of sulking. (A Lot of Sulking would be an excellent title for the sequel, actually!)
(no subject) - china_shop on September 1st, 2010 07:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kensieg on September 4th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
vito_excalibur on August 31st, 2010 07:43 am (UTC)

1) Oh, man. David Foster Wallace. Have you tried him? If not, you could do lots worse than A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, a collection of essays. Both smart and wise. I love Infinite Jest myself, but not for nothing is it nicknamed Infinite Book.

(Don't read Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. Does exactly what it says on the tin, so...not so fun.

2) Wait a minute, what's all this about you being sick and injured? >:( That's not good! I am so sorry! I wish you a speedy recovery!
tried to eat the safe banana: Bookthefourthvine on September 1st, 2010 06:22 am (UTC)
I have indeed read David Foster Wallace, although I have never quite managed to get up my courage for Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. But, oh, the eponymous essay of A Supposedly Fun Thing is SO WONDERFUL. (The others are good, too. Although I have to limit my intake of him. We share a lot of neuroses.) I keep trying to get my sister, who worked on a cruise ship and met her husband there, to read it. (Although, say what you will about cruise ships - and lord knows it'd take a lot of threats to get me on one - it was the perfect place for her to work after she burned out in social work. A cruise ship is basically the opposite of a domestic violence shelter, turns out.)

And, yes, it's been a festival of illness and injury around here, the sort of thing where you haven't recovered from the previous thing and the next one is already starting. It's been fairly awful, and at this point I think we're past the place where a speedy recovery is possible. I will be well satisfied with just recovery, at this point.
09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0: the paper: under bookslaura47 on August 31st, 2010 07:51 am (UTC)
I've been obsessively making my way through Jim Butcher's Dresden Files recently... not everyone's cup of tea, but I love it. And it gets better after the first book, and I really do love the women, and sometimes I like stories where people have to get over some gender issues instead of all being awesome to start with.

Did that come out really defensive? Well, it is flawed, but I do love it. :-)

Also James Marsters, Spike from Buffy, does the audiobooks and I *adore* them, if audiobooks are something you like. I listen while I do all sorts of things, it's rad.

Also the person who wrote this review</em> lent me these books, Elizabeth Bear's Stratford Man series, and he promises it is Shakespeare/Marlowe slashy and really good. And has a really good bisexual male portrayal. It has been on the top of my list for ages, but I just keep plowing through the Dresden Files. :)
Vermithrax Pejorative: Giles - booksfyrdrakken on August 31st, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, the Stratford Man books. Four of them, two set in the modern day and then a pair of prequel models in the time of Elizabeth I. I loved them quite a bit. Really dangerous elves, demons and werewolves and good female characters.

Also I was about to post to recommend Gail Carriger's Soulless/Changeless/Blameless (this post brought by my annoyance that the Kindle of Blameless isn't available till tomorrow and I'll have to wait an extra day to start reading) -- very like Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody books (especially due to the heroine's tendency to carry a large heavy parasol everywhere and use it as a weapon as required), only the heroine isn't an Egyptologist and in lieu of Emerson we have a Scottish werewolf. Also, she kills a vampire with IIRC a hairstick in the opening scene of the first book.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on September 1st, 2010 06:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
Daegaer: bibliophile by hermitsouldaegaer on August 31st, 2010 07:58 am (UTC)
YA! I'm on a bit of a YA things at the moment, re-reading old favourites and reading new things.

Oldies and goodies:

Peter Dickinson! I really love The Blue Hawk (fantasy in vaguely ancient Egypt-like world), The "Changes" trilogy (science-fantasy/alternate history technology stops working in 20th century Britain), Eva (see below), The Kin (stone age historical), The Dancing Bear (Byzantium at the time of the Nike riots) - he writes fantasy, historicals, alternate histories, science-fiction. Of the books on his Kindle page, I've only read Eva, which is science-fiction about a girl whose brain is transplanted into a chimp body (some animal harm, but not the sort one often finds in YA, as the chimps become main characters rather than acted-on helpless animals - you should probably have it pre-read, though).

Rosemary Sutcliffe! OMG, just read everything. Most of her books are set in the ancient world, many in Roman/late Roman/early Saxon Britain. Often sad, though bad things tend to happen to humans rather than animals, and there is usually a happy ending. This happy ending may be culturally appropriate, though and not mean that everyone lives. Many of her books have disabled main characters. Her Kindle page only has a few books, but she's worth getting someone to search out hardcopies for you. (I particularly like Warrior Scarlet - Bronze Age England; Sun Horse, Moon Horse - Iron Age England; The Eagle of the Ninth - young Roman officer invalided out of his command attempts to recover the lost insignia of the Ninth Legion; The Mark of the Horse Lord - a freed gladiator gets caught up in native British politics)

Diana Wynne Jones! Lots of fantasy and fun. I particularly like The Ogre Downstairs (children plus magic chemistry set); Dogsbody (Sirius, the Dog Star, is accused of murdering another star and sent to Earth to find the murder weapon); Eight Days of Luke (lonely schoolboy finds a rather dangerous fire-loving playmate). Her Kindle page doesn't have these older ones alas, but she's a consistently good writer.

A new writer I'm currently zooming through:

John Dickinson - Peter Dickinson's son. He has a fantasy trilogy The Cup of the World; The Widow and the King; The Fatal Child I'm gobbling up, and he's great. I'm half-way through the second book - both it and the first have female main characters who could be the dreaded feisty young things who can do no wrong, but aren't. (In the first book, the character attempts to negotiate a place for herself that makes sense within the social set-up, in the second the girl who aspires to be Mary-Sue the Darling of All is shown to have such views because of the limits put on her within society). There are a wide range of female characters in both.
miscellanny on August 31st, 2010 08:34 am (UTC)
I second everything by Diana Wynne Jones. :D They've been among my favourite books since I was about ten. :D
(no subject) - pandarus on August 31st, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sheldrake on August 31st, 2010 11:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - morningapproach on September 1st, 2010 12:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - daegaer on September 1st, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on September 2nd, 2010 12:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on September 1st, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - daegaer on September 1st, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on September 2nd, 2010 12:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
all fur coat and no knickers: c&h | altar of passive entertainmenttwincy on August 31st, 2010 08:15 am (UTC)
I just finished reading Middlesex, which was very long, but worth it because it was also very good. It's definitely the best book about hermaphrodites I've ever read! (By the same author who wrote The Virgin Suicides, which I haven't read, but judging by a) how much I enjoyed the film and b) how excellent Middlesex was, I probably should.)
tried to eat the safe banana: Bookthefourthvine on September 1st, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
I've read Middlesex! I haven't read the Virgin Suicides, but that's probably for the best; from what I know of the subject matter (not much, and most of that is from a vid, actually), it is waaaaaaay outside my comfort zone. But Eugenides can sure write, can't he?
nishatalitha: what are you readingnishatalitha on August 31st, 2010 08:41 am (UTC)
I would normally have lots to recommend, but I have to go play frisbee shortly. If you're willing to try New Zealand speculative fiction, there's a new anthology of NZ Spec Fiction: A Foreign Country and it was launched last Friday night at Au Contraire, the New Zealand science fiction convention.

It can be ordered online from <a href="http://www.randomstatic.net/". I have read it and enjoyed it. Possibly I should note that I am not one of the authors.
tried to eat the safe banana: Bookthefourthvine on September 1st, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
I am entirely willing to try NZ speculative fiction! Thank you for the rec.
Seadreamer: Once upon a timeseadreamer on August 31st, 2010 08:56 am (UTC)
Stupid LJ ate the first attempt at this so I'll try again, with a little more brevity...

Dresden Files: Yay, though cracky in places. I have them all, and mostly love them.

Hyperion books: Oh man... tried to love, but no. Will send them to you, my treat, if you want to send me a msg with your address.

Reading: CJ Cherryh's "Foreigner" series, up to 11 books since 1994, with book 12 due in the spring of 2011. (Possibly my favorite author currently writing, and I love everything she does.)

Longing for: "The Sacred Band" by Janet Morris and Chris Morris, which is a sort-of spin off from the old Sanctuary anthologies and has a fantastical answer for what happened to the 46 missing warriors from the mass grave of The Sacred Band of Thebes who died in 338 BCE, but costs a ridiculous $28.00 at Amazon.

Whew! Made it. *lol*

Edited at 2010-08-31 08:56 am (UTC)