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u/GradyHendrix · 17 pointsr/books

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.
u/greenwizard88 · 4 pointsr/books

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.

  • Pick up something on an elementary school reading level
  • Find something you remember liking (so you'll be re-reading it)
  • Try to find something short

    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:

  • Re-experience the joy of discovering a story. TV feeds the story to you, re-learn how exciting it is when you become that character
  • Make it easy: Think psychologically, you don't want to re-enforce your behavior (reading) by making it difficult, that'll never work.
  • Instant gratification. By finishing the book in 1-2 sittings, you receive instant gratification for starting to read, as opposed to starting it and waiting a month or more to receive the gratification of finishing it.

    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:

  • Invitation to The Game
  • The Transall Saga
  • Hatchet
  • Holes
  • The Boxcar Children or Hardy Boys
  • Sabriel (female protagonist, but one of my favorite books of all time)
  • Enders game
u/omaca · 2 pointsr/books

I've just finished The Windup Girl, which I had been putting off for some time. It was, quite simply, the most astounding and breath-taking science fiction book I've ever read. I loved it.

However, my problem is that I buy books compulsively. Mostly hard copies, but recently I bought a Kindle and buy the odd e-book or two. I have literally hundreds of books on my "to read" list.

One near the top is A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel. I recently read her phenomenal Wolf Hall and was blown away by her skills as a story teller. I'm a bit of an armchair historian, and I'm particularly interested in the French Revolution (amongst other things), so I'm very excited by the prospects this book holds. If it's anything like Wolf Hall then I'm in for a very particular treat.

Also near the top lies Quantum - Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality, Manjit Kumar's much lauded recent history of the emergence of quantum mechanics. I very much enjoyed other tangentially related books on this topic, including the wonderful The Making of the Atomic Bomb and The Fly in the Cathedral, so this should be good fun and educational to boot.

Having read and loved Everitt's biography of Cicero, I'm very much looking forward to his biographies of Augustus and Hadrian.

I'm listening to an audio-book version of The Count of Monte Cristo on my iPod, which I find rather enjoyable. I've only got through the first half dozen chapters and it's already taken a few hours, so this looks to be a nice, long-term and periodic treat for when I have time alone in the car.

Cronin's The Passage keeps piquing my interest, but I was foolish enough to buy it in that lamentable format, the much cursed "trade paperback", so the thing is a behemoth. The size puts me off. I wish I had waited for a regular paper-back edition. As it is, it sits there on my bookshelf, flanked by the collected works of Alan Furst (what a wonderfully evocative writer of WWII espionage!!) and a bunch of much recommended, but as yet unread, fantasy including The Darkness that Comes Before by Bakker, The Name of the Wind by Rothfuss and Physiognomy by Ford.

Books I have ordered and am eagerly awaiting, and which shall go straight to the top of the TBR list (no doubt to be replaced by next month's purchases) include Orlando Figes's highly regarded history of The Crimean War, Rosen's history of steam The Most Powerful Idea in the World and Stacy Schiff's contentious biography of Cleopatra.

A bit of a mixed bunch, all up, I'd say.

u/satansballs · 1 pointr/books

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:

  • Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang Kate Wilhelm.

  • Eternity Road Jack McDevitt. Well written, but not very insightful.

  • The Postman David Brin.

  • Mockingbird Walter Tevis. Great read. Think Idiocracy, with a serious take. Humanity's totally run by robots, everyone's forgotten how to read and think for themselves, and the world population's dropped to almost nothing.

  • We Yevgeny Zamyatin. The inspiration for George Orwell's 1984. Not the best read IMO, but some people claim it's better than 1984. It's possible I read a poor translation.

  • Island Aldous Huxley. It's a utopian island surrounded by a dystopian world. Might not fit in this list, but it's a good read if you like Huxley. I think it was his last novel.

  • 1984 George Orwell. One of my favorite novels. I have a bumper sticker with the quote "War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength, Freedom is Slavery", which is a slogan from the book. (Also, a sticker on my mirror with "Under the spreading chestnut tree, I sold you and you sold me"). The link points to Animal Farm and 1984.

  • Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury. Another must read. Very well written, thought-provoking novel. Is it still required reading in schools?

  • Earth Abides George Stewart.

  • Alas, Babylon Pat Frank. Lucifer's Hammer Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle. I'm grouping these two together because they're very similar, both in setting and politics. I didn't really enjoy either. The politics were not at all subtle, and the characters fit too neatly into stereotypes, and too obviously the writer's hero fantasy. Still, they're pretty popular, so try them out and feel free to disagree with me.

  • Brave New World Aldous Huxley. Really just a utopia that's rough around the edges, if I'm remembering it correctly (also called an anti-utopia, thank you wikipedia). Another must read.

  • A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter Miller.

  • Memoirs Found in a Bathtub Stanislaw Lem. Another favorite. I once created a text adventure based on this book. It was about as frustrating as that Hitchhiker's Guide game.

  • The Road Cormac McCarthy.

  • Philip K. Dick It's hard to keep track of PKD's novels, but some of them are dystopian, all of them worth reading. Favorites: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (also known as/inspired Blade Runner), Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, The Man in the High Castle.

  • The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake Margaret Atwood.

  • Y: The Last Man A graphical novel/comic collection. Decent art, great story.

    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.
u/fireballs619 · 7 pointsr/books

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.

u/promonk · 7 pointsr/books

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!

u/JonathanDWeaver · 1 pointr/books

This one takes the cake for me. It is a collection of semen based recipes. Yeah. That exists. The description is killer:
> Semen is not only nutritious, but it also has a wonderful texture and amazing cooking properties. Like fine wine and cheeses, the taste of semen is complex and dynamic. Semen is inexpensive to produce and is commonly available in many, if not most, homes and restaurants. Despite all of these positive qualities, semen remains neglected as a food. This book hopes to change that. Once you overcome any initial hesitation, you will be surprised to learn how wonderful semen is in the kitchen. Semen is an exciting ingredient that can give every dish you make an interesting twist. If you are a passionate cook and are not afraid to experiment with new ingredients - you will love this cookbook!

u/carthum · 2 pointsr/books

Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere is a great urban fantasy story that takes place in the unseen world below London and includes some magic, adventure and a great mystery.

If you haven't read the Chronicles of Narnia try those. After you get past the Christian allegories in the first book the series is enjoyable. If you have read them check out His Dark Materials. Another great book that has been called the atheists' response to Narnia.

China Mieville's Perdido Street Station would be a good one too. Definitely darker than the fantasy in Harry Potter but well written and a great story.

The Hunger Games trilogy has been mentioned a few times and is enjoyable. It is more Science Fiction than fantasy but is a great dystopian story. Written for YAs, like Harry Potter, but enjoyable for just about anyone.They're making a Hunger Games movie now so you'll be able to say you read it back before it was cool.

Edit: Forgot to mention The Dark Tower Series. A great series by Steven King that combines fantasy, western, science fiction and some horror. That sounds like a hodgepodge but the series manages to walk the line so well you end up staying awake until 2am reading to find out what happens next.

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/books

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.

u/Engineroom · 25 pointsr/books

I'll skip over the classics (Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, Philip K Dick) as they've already been covered.

  • Peter F Hamilton is incredibly good, I'd suggest starting with the Confederation Universe series. Very long, and can get a little heavy, but in my opinion, absolutely superb hard sci fi. The universe is similar in size and scope to that of Tolkien's, the science is detailed and well constructed, the space combat is awesome, and I found the characters believable and easy to empathize with. Judging from your criteria, I have a feeling that this series may be just what you're looking for.

  • As others have suggested, Alastair Reynolds is an absolute stand-out in today's sci fi line-up. His Revelation Space universe is complex, engaging and has some of the best science theory I've read. He also includes a lot of biotechnology / biological themes in his work - which is a refreshing change from the nanomachines / cyborg / tech-heavy staples that seem to dominate a lot of modern sci-fi. There's an incredible sense of tension that is maintained for the entire series, more-so than any other modern anthology I've read.

  • Richard Morgan is another of my personal favorites. If you want action-heavy, quality sci fi, look no further. I'd recommend starting with the Kovacs series, (Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, Woken Furies) they're equal parts Noir / Drama / Action / Sci-Fi / Awesome. Not much space combat, but the ground combat is really, really good.

  • If you haven't read Robert Heinlen's original Starship Troopers (Don't judge it by the movie; seriously) I'd highly recommend it. Not much you can say about it, except that the movie cut entirely too much of the thought provoking content out.

  • John Steakley's Armor is superficially similar to Starship Troopers, but it's far more weighted on the psychological trauma of war; the action is almost ancillary - in fact, where Starship Troopers tends to glorify war a touch, Armor tends to question the validity and purpose of war in an advanced society.


  • I'm not going to say anything other than: "Do yourself a favor and read Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash."

    Seriously. No space combat, but without doubt one of the most entertaining fiction I've read in any genre, and a superb example of dystopian sci-fi. For god sakes, the hero - Hiro Protagonist (I know, right?!) - is a Hacker / Samurai that works for the mafia. Delivering pizzas. Trust me on this: Go with it, you won't be sorry.

    Hope that helps and wasn't a Great Wall of Boring Text :-)
u/amaterasu717 · 9 pointsr/books

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.

u/kentdalimp · 2 pointsr/books

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

Dean Koonz

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.

u/notonredditatwork · 1 pointr/books

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!

u/amusedtangerine · 5 pointsr/books

Dhalgren is an insane look at a dystopian future. Very long, often hard to read, but quite good. If he liked House of Leaves and also likes Sci-fi, I think he would enjoy Dhalgren. It is hard to read in places but that adds to its appeal.

Treason by Orson Scott Card was quite good, and I'd never heard of it before my boyfriend recommended it.

These are both sci-fi and sociological in nature.

I would second Murakami novels in general.

The Name of the Wind is a fantasy novel that I liked a lot. It was recommended to me by my brother, who then gave it to me last year for xmas.

u/Moose_Gwyn · 1 pointr/books

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 :)

u/bitassassin · 1 pointr/books

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.

u/gumarx · 1 pointr/books

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.

u/frexels · 2 pointsr/books

cracks knuckles I have no idea if these have audiobooks. I'm sorry if they don't. Most of these are only three books long or shorter, sorry.

Sandman Slim and the sequel. It wasn't my favorite book, BUT it sounds a lot like what you're looking for. And it was fun.

China Mieville's Bas-Lag series (Perdido Street Station, The Scar and Iron Council. Three (~500 pg) books long, fantastic world building, twisty plots and great characters.

The Baroque Cycle, Neal Stephenson (Quicksilver, The Confusion and The Confusion of the World. Three books long, but you could kill a small animal by dropping one of those books on it. These are good, but his stand-alones are better (Snow Crash and Diamond Age for sure).

Most of Stephen King's stuff has the kind of sprawl you're looking for.

Dune, at least until God Emperor (#4).

Honestly, I think if you liked John Grisham, you'll like The Girl with the
Dragon Tattoo books. I think I'm making that leap based on the last book in the trilogy. They're definitely entertaining.

u/iceontheglass · 1 pointr/books

Roger Zelazny - The Chronicles of amber -Get all the short novels in one book as The Great Book Of Amber

  • quick fun read. Great ideas, Great Characters.
  • "Meatloaf"

    Steven Erikson - Malazan Book of the Fallen

  • Holy stack of doorstopper books batman! Long and "Meaty" indeed.
  • "10 Course steak dinner"
  • start with book 2, and if its not your thing, then that book stands alone fairly well.

    Gene Wolfe - Book of the New Sun

  • After years of being badgered by friends to read this, i am well into the first book, and its really interesting. Gene Wolfe has a very "Epic" style of writing.
  • Book 1 and 2
  • "4 course Sable fish dinner"

u/lacisghost · 2 pointsr/books

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"

u/mushpuppy · 3 pointsr/books

I actually found that reading the pertinent sections of the Ulysses guide before each chapter helped.

I liked the Molly section of the book. But otherwise Ulysses really seemed to me to be essentially a written collage or mix tape, in that Joyce strung together so much of what he'd studied and called it a book. Which I don't mean as a slur against mix tapes or collages.

Did reading Ulysses give me insights into existence, as any great work of art should? Hard to say, though that last section was pretty good--not because of what all Joyce did, but because of the sheer disconnect between Bloom and Molly.

Probably I'd recommend reading at least half a dozen other books instead. Heck, Shantaram was more important to me than Ulysses.

The combination of Shantaram, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and A Fan's Notes taught me a lot more than did Ulysses, and they were far more fun, interesting, and quick to read.

u/karthurneil · 2 pointsr/books
  • House of Leaves. It won't really teach you anything, but you'll get a sense of accomplishment from finishing it.
  • A Confederacy of Dunces. If you feel like you have no direction in life, this might make you feel better about yourself. If nothing else, its a good laugh.
  • Catch-22. Mentioned here already, but really, it might be the best book of the 20th century.

  • EDIT The French Laundry Cookbook. It's a must for foodies, it's a phenomenal coffee table book, and it's inspiring to read the perspective of someone with so much passion for their craft.
u/Kgreene2343 · 2 pointsr/books

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?

u/slomotion · 1 pointr/books

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.

u/Aytenlol · 1 pointr/books

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.

u/epops · 1 pointr/books

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

u/travishenrichs · 2 pointsr/books

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.

u/judgebeholden · 2 pointsr/books

I've had mixed success in dealing with Amazon recommendations. My interest in Perdido Street Station led me to The Etched City, but my interest in the Israeli author Aharon Appelfeld's Laish led me to a Krupp's coffee maker. The Etched City is an excellent book, but I never figured the coffee maker thing out.

By the way, I think you'd really like those first two.

u/jeremy77 · 5 pointsr/books

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.

u/sourgrap3s · 2 pointsr/books

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.

u/ReighIB · 3 pointsr/books

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 ;)

u/C-Rock · 1 pointr/books

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.

u/shinew123 · 2 pointsr/books

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.

u/strychnineman · 2 pointsr/books

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.

And skip.

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.

u/Lightofnorth · 5 pointsr/books

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!

u/iamhaen · 2 pointsr/books

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.

u/kimmature · 2 pointsr/books

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.

u/_616_ · 26 pointsr/books

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.

u/JustTerrific · 128 pointsr/books

Here are my personal favorite head-fucks, each one of them did something strange to my whole world when I read them:

u/mywholelifeisthundr · 1 pointr/books

Unbroken, By Laura Hillenbrand. One of the best and most amazing true stories I've ever read. Read it before the movie comes out!

u/Monkeyavelli · 2 pointsr/books

>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.

u/ElolvastamEzt · 202 pointsr/books

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.

u/komphwasf3 · 2 pointsr/books

Here, actually. And now I'll do the same for you:

Read World War Z!

In case you havn't heard of it, this is a New York Times Best Seller zombie novel. Obviously it has ultra violent zombie carnage, but it is intelligent and very well written. Many redditors will enjoy it for it's social commentary and geo-political backdrop

u/bwbeer · 2 pointsr/books

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.

u/j_la · 2 pointsr/books

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.

u/treerex · 1 pointr/books

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.

u/WormyJermy · 7 pointsr/books

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!

u/piggybankcowboy · 1 pointr/books

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.

u/Cenobite · 3 pointsr/books

A few books I read recently (within the last couple of years) that really stand out for me:


  • On Writing by Stephen King. The first half is a combination of a memoir of King's early life and professional writing tips on things like grammar, character development, etc. The second half is an application of these skills in a very lucid and memorable description of his recent automobile accident and subsequent rehabilitation. Even if you're not interested in writing as a craft, it's still a good read.
  • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. If you're a non-believer, or someone in the process of questioning your faith, you'll love it. It clearly states many of the things you think and feel much more eloquently and clearly than you yourself could. Even if you're religious and an opponent of Dawkins, it's still a good peek into the mind of an atheist to understand where they are coming from. Because of its eloquence and clarity, it's a dream to read.
  • Lennon Legend by James Henke. A very simple and accessible biography of Lennon featuring tons of amazing photographs, incredibly detailed reproductions of memorabilia (such as the scrap of paper on which Lennon composed the lyrics to "In My Life"), and an accompanying audio CD containing rarities. It feels like the kind of book Lennon would have written himself.


  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. One of my personal favourites and a book that's become something of a cultural phenomenon. As the Amazon review says: "Had The Blair Witch Project been a book, written by Nabokov, revised by Stephen King, and typeset by Blast." It's a pretty scary book that plays with your mind. You'll understand what I mean once the nightmares start...
  • VALIS by Philip K. Dick. A semi-autobiographical tale of a man who may or may not be crazy and his quest to find God... Literally. It combines ancient religion with contemporary philosophy and screwup characters.

    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!
u/shalafi71 · 34 pointsr/books

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.

u/RunLikeHell · 1 pointr/books

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.

u/CommentMan · 3 pointsr/books

A quick browse of my bookshelf and the ones that jumped out at me... some nonfiction, some fiction... some light, some heavy...

The Culture of Contentment by John Galbraith

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Pimp by Iceberg Slim

The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris

Bloom County Babylon by Berkeley Breathed

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

Turned On: A Biography of Henry Rollins by James Parker

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Beyond that, my most prized book is my hardback Norton Anthology of English Lit (2nd vol - the 'modern' stuff).

Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I'm def curling up with a good one when I hit the hay!

u/chunkyblow · 7 pointsr/books

I would recommend you purchase the Bloomsday Book. It was very helpful for me to read this while I was reading Ulysses. The book doesn't tell you how to interpret Ulysses, but it helps you to notice more of the references/inspirations/jokes in the story. Google books has a brief preview that you can use to see if it seems useful for you.

u/well_uh_yeah · 8 pointsr/books

I have three books that I love to loan out (or just strongly recommend to those weirdos out there who refuse a loaner):

u/MedeaDemonblood · 20 pointsr/books
  1. The Name of the Wind- Patrick Rothfuss
  2. 9.5/10
  3. High Fantasy, Literature
  4. Beautifully written and gripping. A true adventure story full of mirth and woe.
  5. and Barnes & Noble.
u/arms_of_the_beloved · 1 pointr/books

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.

u/ZombieKingKong · 5 pointsr/books

Sci Fi, ok cool. Here are a few very entertaining Sci-Fi audiobooks (you can actually find some of these free).

Infected by Scott Sigler, with a sequel titled 'Contagious'. If you search for Scott Sigler online, you will be directed to his website, and can go through itunes to get the free podiocast.


For fantasy, I highly recommend 'The Name of the Wind' by patrick Rothfuss

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett

For Horror I recommend
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Serial Uncut

For the taste of apocalyptic greatness I recommend
World War Z

One Second After

I have other audiobooks that touches multiple categories. For a nice series, there are two I really love. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King, and The Dresden Files series.

u/icdapoakr · 4 pointsr/books

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.

u/meandmaddieg · 2 pointsr/books

I love reading nonfiction books, thanks to a college professor that required us to read two of them for a class. Never realized how interesting they actually are!
After reading The Lost City of Z I have also read Black Hills and am currently reading The Devil in the White City. It's great! Check it out if you want to read about "Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America".......

Edit: Guess I should say that I love reading nonfiction books that are told in a fictional style.

u/aginorfled · 1 pointr/books

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Not only the best I read this year, but easily the best I've read in the past five years.

u/passingby · 2 pointsr/books

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.

u/rorschachsredemption · 0 pointsr/books

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.

u/horrorshow · 2 pointsr/books

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I received this as a gift myself, and can highly recommend it. It's about the development of a word's fair in 1890's Chicago and a serial murder operating during that time. Not a book I normally would have bought for myself, but I guess that's what makes great gift books.

u/Squidbilly · 13 pointsr/books

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.

u/Arrowmatic · 1 pointr/books

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.

u/sneakynotsneaky · 3 pointsr/books

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!

u/Johnzsmith · 2 pointsr/books

Armor by John Steakley. I am not a big sci fi fan, but I picked this up at a used book store 20 years ago and loved it.

u/onmywaydownnow · 2 pointsr/books

Armor John Steakley. Sooo good. I wish they would make it into a show on scifi (: I know i know people are scared of that but scifi can do good shows too.

u/ThaBenMan · 1 pointr/books

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. The weird steampunky style of New Crobuzon would look amazing on screen. I think Guillermo Del Toro could do a fantastic job with it.

u/RunsWithShibas · 1 pointr/books

Don Gifford's annotations are super helpful for this problem.

u/Vidyadhara · 1 pointr/books

I should have been clearer. I'm referring to a kind of commentary. The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses

Chapter by chapter it summarizes the theme and the plot. It's admirable that you want to read it on your own. However, unless you're a Joyce-scholar who somehow hasn't read Ulysses, you're going to find that you need support.

u/insanepurpleducky · 1 pointr/books

I would strongly recommend having this: guidebook by your side, its pretty cool to be able to understand what the hell is going on :)
(makes me think of that Marx brothers scene where Chicos trying to con Groucho into buying all those horse racing books)

u/sexpansion · 2 pointsr/books

Try some of Martin's literary influences:

  1. Roger Zelazny's Amber series is fantastic -

  2. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, one of my favorite Heinlein books -

  3. If you haven't tried reading any historical fiction, you should, as its also a big influence of aSoIaF. Try Bernard Cornwell's series of books on King Arthur, starting with The Winter King -
u/HeyYouJChoo · 3 pointsr/books

I liked The Scar by China Mieville. It is the second book in a series; you do not need to read the first book to enjoy this one! If you are looking to start from the beginning, Perdido Street Station is the first book.

u/clark_ent · 1 pointr/books

This is what I recommend every time someone asks this question: World War Z

It's a New York Times best seller because of it's non-stop insanely-paced action, while still having extremely intelligent writing and geo-political allegory undertones, with macroeconomic implications

u/causticwonder · 2 pointsr/books

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.

u/literalyobama · 2 pointsr/books

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?

u/shammat · 4 pointsr/books

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.

u/mizike · 1 pointr/books

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.

u/thelibrarian · 2 pointsr/books

Book six? You're stronger than me - I got through the first three before giving up. I've not heard anything that makes me want to go back and try again. A couple of other fantasy series suggestions (with links to the first books):

u/delection · 2 pointsr/books

> 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.

u/AlwaysSayHi · 2 pointsr/books

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.

u/ObeisanceProse · 5 pointsr/books

Here is some quick advice from someone who studied Ulysses at a top Dublin University:

  1. Get Ulysses Unbound:
    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.

  2. Use the Gabler Edition: The editorial history of Ulysses is just awful. The book is full of very precise jokes that have been lost with poor editing. Gabler goes back to the original manuscripts and tries to create a more faithful book.

  3. Take your time: We read a chapter a week and discussed it in class. A chapter a week is ridiculously slow for any normal book but perfectly reasonable for Ulysses, especially for your first read-through.
u/KariQuiteContrary · 3 pointsr/books

If you're looking for fairly light, escapist type lit, you might try Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Quick, humorous reads, similar in style to Douglas Adams, but more fantasy than sci-fi.

I'd also suggest the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. The Napoleonic Wars + dragons. Again, fairly quick reads and not super heavy, but they're just enjoyable books to escape into for a bit.

World War Z by Max Brooks: Oral history of the zombie war, and surprisingly more thoughtful than you might expect.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Gorgeous book about a German girl during WWII, narrated by Death.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler: Dana has also become unstuck in time. She's a modern black woman who finds herself suddenly transported, over and over, into the time of slavery.

Kushiel's Dart (and the rest of the Kushiel series) by Jacqueline Carey: I don't know if this would be up your alley or not, but it's definitely one of my "islands," as you put it. Be forewarnd that there is explicit BDSM sex within.

Peter S. Beagle's works are another of my "islands." He's one of the most often underrated and overlooked living fantasy authors, IMO. The Last Unicorn is his best known, and it's a thing of beauty. I also really like A Fine and Private Place.

u/Cilicious · 2 pointsr/books

>I'm surprised no one mentioned Capote's In Cold Blood.

I almost listed it. It certainly was a frightening work, and Capote's prose was spare yet descriptive. Poe invented the crime genre, and Capote (have you read his Handcarved Coffins?) carried it to new heights.

Joe McGinnis' Fatal Vision was quite a page-turner of a true story, especially in view of the fact that the author began interviewing his subject not convinced of his guilt.

Eric LArson's The Devil in White City was even more gripping for me. And there was Bugliosi's Helter Skelter. All of these works are suspenseful and indeed scary.

However, I disagree with you that fictional horror novels come off as campy or cheesy. I do not necessarily favor one over the other, but a successful fictional piece often gives me something spontaneously visceral and otherworldly that a nonfiction writer might not provide.

Authors (Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Daphne Du Maurier,etc) that conjure up something from their own minds have a special gift.

u/e3quire · 2 pointsr/books

"Natural Harvest: a Collection of Semen-Based Recipes."

Your dinner parties will never be the same again.

u/heliosxx · 16 pointsr/books

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.

u/nerdgirl37 · 1 pointr/books

Here you go, great price if you ask me.

u/DEATHbyBOOGABOOGA · 1 pointr/books

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

u/Ponkio · 9 pointsr/books
  1. The Name Of The Wind - Patrick Rothfuss

  2. 8.5/10

  3. Fantasy

  4. Hadn't been so captivated by a fantasy since A Song Of Ice And Fire, definitely one of the best fantasy autors out there, especially for his maniacal attention to every detail of his story.

  5. Amazon
u/ImTryingToBeNicer · 0 pointsr/books

Buy them World War Z

"It's a new york times best seller zombie novel." The zombie factor will get them reading, and the fantastic writing will get them addicted to books

u/MedSchoolNoob · 36 pointsr/books

Natural Harvest: A Collection of Semen Based Recipes

I cry laughing at these book reviews on Amazon all the time!!

u/steamtroll · 1 pointr/books

Armor by John Steakley. I was remembering bits through it, but it wasn't until close to the end that I fully remembered reading it. It was just as good the second time.

u/MaryOutside · 3 pointsr/books

It's not necessarily sad, but most certainly Russian, and it's The Master and Margarita.

u/justcs · 3 pointsr/books

Adler's How to Read a Book sounds cliche but I highly recommend it.

u/Agenbite_of_inwit · 5 pointsr/books

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.

u/redvelvetcupcaek · 1 pointr/books

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.

u/jsato · 2 pointsr/books

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Science Fiction

it's my favorite science fiction book. People should read it before the movie comes out next year!

Ender's Game

u/lordhegemon · 8 pointsr/books

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

u/Ho66es · 18 pointsr/books

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.

u/Yes-my-Padawan · 5 pointsr/books

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.

u/AMcc20 · 3 pointsr/books

I must give that companion a look. I used the Bloomsday book and found it very helpful.

u/KhanOfBorg · 1 pointr/books

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?

u/SamSJester · 3 pointsr/books

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.

u/matohota · 2 pointsr/books

43, less than I would like (oh... sorry, M), hard science fiction, Iain M. Banks, any of the Culture series (favorites in that are Use of Weapons, Matter, and Surface Detail)
For recommendations, I have a soft spot (because he earned it) for Charles De Lint. One of the best urban fantasy authors out there. Some others are The Name of the Wind, and the Mistborn cycle (first book here).

u/Jaggerbomber · 1 pointr/books

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.

u/Auzimov16 · 1 pointr/books

Hands down: House of Leaves

I have never worked so hard to read a book before, but it is completely worth it.

u/BungalowStyle · 32 pointsr/books

"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.

u/ds20an · 1 pointr/books

I picked up the lost city of Z randomly in a bookstore and started to thumb through it. Needless to say ended up buying it and loving it. It's a great book. If you haven't already, you should read The Devil in the White City, and Seabiscuit

u/ROL_A · 73 pointsr/books

You can read part of his first book here -

It isn't what I'd call good, but it is a novel. I hope they needed more than bad writing to get a warrant.

u/ellimist · 2 pointsr/books

If it's not too late, you can go here:

And search for relevant words like "failed" and find the pages and see them.

u/mythealias · 5 pointsr/books

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''.

u/paperrhino · 1 pointr/books

How to Read a Book is another book along the same lines that I usually recommend.

u/jennicamorel · 3 pointsr/books

World War Z

It's a book everyone should read before they die. Not because of the subject matter, but because it's an intense and interesting insight into the way humans react to the odd conditions and side effects of war.

...Of course, the subject matter is effing awesome as well

u/Armor_of_Inferno · 5 pointsr/books

"You are what you do when it counts."

-Armor, by John Steakley

I read this book around age 15, and trust me when I say that this is a heavy read, from an emotional perspective. This simple phrase was one of those things that stuck with me, and I've found new depth in it over the years. I chanted it to myself before I proposed to my wife. I've used it when talking to a friend facing death, and another who was ready to commit suicide. It definitely stuck with me.

u/teoryn · 1 pointr/books

To add a bit of non-fiction to the list:

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman

u/troller10 · 8 pointsr/books

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

u/---sniff--- · 1 pointr/books

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.

u/jdunmer1018 · 3 pointsr/books

I came across a screenshot of it on 4chan one day, and out of disbelief looked it up... And yes, Ass Goblins of Auschwitz is a real book. It's fucking weird.

u/landedaristocrat · 9 pointsr/books

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.

u/zachatree · 0 pointsr/books

I am going to have to go with A House of Leaves. It also happens to be one of my favorite books. It is not poorly written at all just the page layout get progressively more bizarre in reflection of the narration. Also has three different stories going on at once, sometimes all on the same page.

u/juliusorange · 1 pointr/books

Ass Goblins of Auschwitz has to be up there for most ridiculous book. But it is actually a pretty decent read.

u/EdwardCoffin · 3 pointsr/books

I'd go for the Penguin paperback, translated by Robin Buss. It is a recent translation, complete and unabridged.

u/cskaryd · 1 pointr/books

For those wondering... House of Leaves is by Mark Z. Danielewski.

u/Niflhe · 1 pointr/books

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

u/sliferz · 18 pointsr/books

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.

It's a book about a book about a documentary about a house that is a labyrinth. It also appears inside itself twice and is title-dropped in a poem, sort of. In short, it is a labyrinth.

u/retsotrembla · 451 pointsr/books

The Amber Chronicles by Roger Zelazny A royal family whose members can just walk into alternate realities.

u/Burlapin · 2 pointsr/books

By the way, I'm currently reading this book after absolutely devouring the first.