Sunday21

Great fiction books

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Do you have a good fiction book or books to recommend? I just read Blake Crouch's Wayward Pines series. The first book is entitled Pines. It is science fiction/thriller. Nontechnical. A few bad words. No sex. Minimum violence. Very griping. 

Jodi Taylor wrote a very funny time travel series called the St. Mary's Chronicles. A few too many bad words. A bit of sex, but spaced out so you can see it coming and skip it.

Pg Wodehouse. Very funny, series about a man and his butler. No sex. No violence. Great descriptions.

any suggestions?

 

 

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Guest MormonGator

Have you read Gone With the Wind? Still one of my favorites. 

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10 minutes ago, Sunday21 said:

Do you have a good fiction book or books to recommend?

Is there a limit? If not, then let the countdown begin.

Almost everything by Clemens (Mark Twain), especially his Letters from Earth. I really like Connecticut Yankee and Puddin' Head Wilson. His slams on Brother Brigham notwithstanding, he was a good writer.

All of Tolkein, The Silmarilian is great. Not as fond of Roverendum.

Alice in Wonderland, etc.

My Jacquie loves Sanderson. I'm fond of Card.

Battlefield Earth, whose author I despise, was still a great read.

They're not novels, but I owe a good deal of my French to Astérix and Obélix. Even in translation (Italian, German, Latin, and English), they're good stories and just plain fun.

I've read Harry Potter dozens of times since 1991. The first book isn't great, and none reaches quite that level until Order of the Phoenix, but, as children's literature, especially modern children's literature, they're good books, and the good v. evil is done quite well. I wish Rowling had not used so much crass language, and there are holes in the plot that are irritating. But the story itself is really very good.

The very first book I owned (a Christmas gift from my grandmother) was Terhune's Dog of the High Sierra. Not sure if I like it because it was the first with my name written in it, or because the story was good. It ended up with the heroine standing in a shower of gold dust from an ancient Indian horde. I can't even recall the dog.

Charles De Gaulle said, if you ask me how I became who I am, I must answer that I am like a lion: the sum of the lambs I have eaten. I have been reading all my life.

Lehi

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4 minutes ago, Sunday21 said:

Yes. That's a great one!

It's one of the quintessential American novels. Don't know how it's viewed in the wonderful county of Canada. 

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I absolutely love The Poldark series by Winston Graham. For a long time you couldn't find anything by Winston Graham in a book store but because of the PBS series the book stores are now stacking their shelves with this wonderful saga.

M.

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It would probably help if you narrowed it down - series, stand-alone, genre, type of main character, etc.  Since you didn't, here's my complete list of fantasy books / authors worth reading:

  • Anything by Brandon Sanderson
  • Anything by L. E. Modesitt, Jr (except the Soprano Sorceress series)
    • Possibly my favorite author of fantasy.  When I'm going through withdrawls because he's taking too long to put out a fantasy book, I read his science fiction, which is always the future of earth / earthlings, and always includes a distortion of the church (which I find amusing - apparently he doesn't like Mormons - lives in Cedar City).
  • Anything by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series (starts with Furies of Calderon)
  • David Eddings (almost anything - the Belgariad is tons of fun (and will make you want to read the Malloreon, and pretty much anything else by him))
  • Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea series
    • These last two authors are a very different style of storytelling - the traditional storytelling, and the modern show-don't-tell combined.
  • Carol Berg (I've enjoyed all the ones I've read)
  • Robin Hobb (but each series (usually trilogy) is emotionally draining, so plan to recover afterwards with something lighter)
  • Elizabeth Moon, The Deed of Paksenarrion (also exceptional - very long, multiple books - worth every minute)
  • If you're in the mood for 12,000+ pages (~2.5 feet) in a single series:
    • Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series (starts with Wizard's First Rule) - yes, the main character pontificates a bit much in places, but it's exceptional, and book 6 is the most exceptional, accurate representation of what a communist regime leads to (no, there's nothing overt in any way, and many readers may completely miss it, but having lived in Russia for three years, it was totally accurate).
    • Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series (starting with The Eye of The World) - yes, he rambles on a bit, but it's still exceptional fiction
  • I'd recommend David Farland's Runelords series, but it's incomplete and may never be complete (family tragedy, no telling if he'll ever finish the last book).

For many of these authors, I can recommend a stand-alone book so you can get a taste of their writing (though not all have stand-alone books).  Personally, I prefer series, and books that are 1200 pages long suit me just fine (not all of those authors write books that long, or even half that long).

Do NOT get George R. R. Martin.

If you want spy novels, let me know and I'll make a list, but I only know the good, old ones (cold-war style), where the spy was the main character rather than a ship / plane / whatever.  One exception: The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman - fabulous, raged G, you can read just 1 (the one I named is the first) , but there's a whole series, short books, about a little old widow who accidentally becomes a spy. :)

If you want something really light, you could try Josi S. Kilpack's culinary mysteries series - not the greatest writing, but they're light, short, and fun.  Lemon Tart is the first one.

If you want something classic, try James Fenimore Cooper, but don't start with The Last of the Mohicans.  Start with The Deerslayer.

Yes, I read primarily genre fiction, and anymore, fantasy.  I used to read some mysteries and mostly espionage, but they stopped writing good espionage.

Edited by zil

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6 minutes ago, zil said:

It would probably help if you narrowed it down - series, stand-alone, genre, type of main character, etc.  Since you didn't, here's my complete list of fantasy books / authors worth reading:

  • Anything by Brandon Sanderson
  • Anything by L. E. Modesitt, Jr (except the Soprano Sorceress series)
    • Possibly my favorite author of fantasy.  When I'm going through withdrawls because he's taking too long to put out a fantasy book, I read his science fiction, which is always the future of earth / earthlings, and always includes a distortion of the church (which I find amusing - apparently he doesn't like Mormons - lives in Cedar City).
  • Anything by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series (starts with Furies of Calderon)
  • David Eddings (almost anything - the Belgariad is tons of fun (and will make you want to read the Malloreon, and pretty much anything else by him))
  • Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea series
    • These last two are a very different style of storytelling - the traditional storytelling, and the modern show-don't-tell combined)
  • Carol Berg (I've enjoyed all the ones I've read)
  • Robin Hobb (but each series (usually trilogy) is emotionally draining, so plan to recover afterwards with something lighter)
  • Elizabeth Moon, The Deed of Paksenarrion (also exceptional - very long, multiple books - worth every minute)
  • If you're in the mood for 12,000+ pages (~2.5 feet) in a single series:
    • Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series (starts with Wizard's First Rule) - yes, the main character pontificates a bit much in places, but it's exceptional, and book 6 is the most exceptional, accurate representation of what a communist regime leads to (no, there's nothing overt in any way, and many readers may completely miss it, but having lived in Russia for three years, it was totally accurate).
    • Robert Jordan's Wheel of TIme series (starting with The Eye of The World) - yes, he rambles on a bit, but it's still exceptional fiction
  • I'd recommend David Farland's Runelords series, but it's incomplete and may never be complete (family tragedy, no telling if he'll ever finish the last book).

For many of these authors, I can recommend a stand-alone book so you can get a taste of their writing (though not all have stand-alone books).  Personally, I prefer series, and books that are 1200 pages long suit me just fine (not all of those authors write books that long, or even half that long).

Do NOT get George R. R. Martin.

If you want spy novels, let me know and I'll make a list, but I only know the good, old ones (cold-war style), where the spy was the main character rather than a ship / plane / whatever.  One exception: The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman - fabulous, raged G, you can read just 1 (that one is the first), but there's a whole series, short books, about a little old widow who accidentally becomes a spy. :)

If you want something really light, you could try Josi S. Kilpack's culinary mysteries series - not the greatest writing, but they're light, short, and fun.  Lemon Tart is the first one.

If you want something classic, try James Fenimore Cooper, but don't start with The Last of the Mohicans.  Start with The Deerslayer.

Yes, I read primarily genre fiction, and anymore, fantasy.  I used to read some mysteries and mostly espionage, but they stopped writing good espionage.

Dear Zil, 

Many thanks!! Could you recommend a spy novel? I think I should give one of these a try. I have read several John LeCarre books. I do math all day long and so I find the fantasy novels are too much for my poor tired brain! Thanks so much!

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19 minutes ago, Sunday21 said:

Dear Zil, 

Many thanks!! Could you recommend a spy novel? I think I should give one of these a try. I have read several John LeCarre books. I do math all day long and so I find the fantasy novels are too much for my poor tired brain! Thanks so much!

So, if your brain is tired, you may want to try the Mrs. Pollifax books - they don't have intricate spy plots that twist your brain around.  I was sure I would hate them, but my mom insisted, and I love them now.

In all the rest, there's a chance of language and sex scenes, but nothing shocking, as I recall:

Adam Hall - The first one is The Quiller Memorandum - they'll be hard to find - they're all out of print, except maybe the last - but I see you can get the first on Kindle.  The Tango Briefing is probably my favorite, and might be a better start than the first one.  These are in the first person - which I wasn't sure I would like, but he does it well.  Under his real name, Elleston Trevor, he wrote the quite famous Flight of the Phoenix, which was a popular movie.

Len Deighton - The Ipcress File - short, but hard to follow the plot, as I recall.  His older ones are better than the newer ones.

Lawrence Block's Evan Tanner series, starts with The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep - totally different style, quite funny.

Not exactly spy, but WWII: Alistair MacLean, the guy who wrote The Guns of Navarone - fabulous book.

And I'm having a hard time remembering more (it's been a long time - I only still have Adam Hall's books - I consider him the best as far as actual espionage goes - oh, and Dorothy Gillman's).

Edited by zil

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If you like sci fi military fiction: Dan Abnett's, Gaunts Ghost's series.  Also his Eisenhorn and Ravenor series.  I'm currently re-reading the GG series for the third or fourth time.

 

Larry Correia's Monster Hunter series is also very good.

Edited by mirkwood

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The ones I'm recommending by default these days:

These Broken Stars

The Mapmakers Trilogy

A Corner of White.

All pretty clean, by memory. Yes, all fantasy in the range of YA/New adult. (I've never fully made it past youth-oriented literature).

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The Moviegoer - A Korean War veteran with what we today would recognize as PTSD tries to make his way through life, in the process dealing with a job he doesn't entirely care for, a cousin with a history of suicide attempts, and an overbearing aunt. What sets this book apart from other titles is that instead of wallowing in his problems, the main character has plans for how to dig himself out of the hole he's in: he's saving up so that he can purchase his own gas station. He's got most of the money he needs, and he's got a vacant lot picked out; he just needs to get the rest of it together and work out a deal with a petroleum company to vend their gas. 

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? - This is Philip K. Dick's most famous work, and perhaps the most accessible; it also inspired the film "Blade Runner". The book is set in a dystopian future where unrestrained nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare has made the Earth's surface so hostile to life that most known animal species have gone extinct; for those who still live on Earth (as opposed to having settled out in space), wearing a lead codpiece when outdoors is mandatory for both genders if a person wishes to remain viable for reproduction, and owning a flesh and blood animal is a status symbol. The male lead is a bounty hunter who specializes in killing androids that have gone rogue. He needs to kill six androids in a single day if he's going to afford the down payment on the ostrich he wants before someone else snatches it up, but the next set on his hit list are so advanced that they're even fooling other bounty hunters into believing that they're human...

Team Yankee - This is the book that put Harold Coyle on the map. It tells the tale of an American tank unit as they live their own little portion of World War Three, a battle for Germany that's so bloody the Russians think nothing of bombarding a civilian airport simply because military transports are being used to evacuate civilians. 

Starship Troopers - Ignore the film; the director hated the book, and so deliberately tried to tank the film in retaliation for being assigned to the project. The book itself is actually a political treatise meant to shock the reader into considering their rights as a citizen in a "free" society by proposing a society in which citizenship is dependent upon a person first serving a two-year stint in the military or another such potentially hazardous government job. The lead character, the oldest son of a wealthy family, enlists on a lark since his two best friends are doing it, but instead of the desk job he was hoping for he finds himself part of an infantry unit on the front lines of an intergalactic war. 

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If we're talking sci fi, then Startide Rising by David Brin is my favorite.

For fantasy, it seems nothing will ever top The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Yeah, Game of Thrones - I tried it. Awful world with awful characters.

The lists of Hugo and Nebula award winners is a great resource for sci fi and fantasy. 

I find most "real" literature, especially modern stuff, unedifying or depressing or too mundane. Or maybe that's not entirely fair - my brain is too tired after kids and career. I hope to give real literature another shot when I'm older.

I admit there's a lot of great lit out there. Shakespeare of course.

The BYU Honors Reading List is a great resource: https://honors.byu.edu/sites/default/files/student_files/RevisedGreatWorksRequirementPacket6.04.2013.pdf

One of the most edifying and entertaining lit novels I've read was The Betrothed (I Promessi Sposi) by Manzoni. It's a classic in Italy that Americans have never heard of (unless you've seen the movie A Room with a View). 

My favorite reading these days is the scriptures. The Book of Mormon is wonderful - and definitely NOT fiction! :D

Edited by tesuji

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I believe Little Britches should be required reading in any family with children.

I also love several classics: Jane Eyre, Three Musketeers, Count of Monte Cristo. 

Of modern books, I'm limited to legal and technical works and books my children read.  But I became a great fan of the Ranger's Apprentice series.  The author really put a lot of thought into those books.  With a few changes, it could easily be an adult book (the good kind).

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1 hour ago, mirkwood said:

 

I like GOT, but you have to be ready to skip past some sex scenes.

Are you talking about the TV show or the books?  I've never seen the TV show, and gave up during or at the end of book 2.  In the books, if you skip past the sex scenes you'll land on the vulgarity or brutality or some other evil.  Those books are pure unfiltered hell.  (Exceedingly well-written, but still hell - and I mean that quite literally - Satan would feel at home in that series.)  In short, I could not find a single good character or redeeming quality in them after the first 100 pages of book 1.

Edited by zil

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20 minutes ago, zil said:

Are you talking about the TV show or the books?  I've never seen the TV show, and gave up during or at the end of book 2.  In the books, if you skip past the sex scenes you'll land on the vulgarity or brutality or some other evil.  Those books are pure unfiltered hell.  (Exceedingly well-written, but still hell - and I mean that quite literally - Satan would feel at home in that series.)  In short, I could not find a single good character or redeeming quality in them after the first 100 pages of book 1.

I watched the TV episode 1 of Game of Thrones, heavily content-filtered through Angel. Yucky story. And the very last thing you see is two adulterers throwing a young boy off a tower. Based on plot summaries I've seen, Vidangel saved me from seeing, among other things, a forced-marriage wedding night rape, an orgy, and incestuous sex. There is also a lot of nudity, graphic sex, and graphic violence, from what I've read. 

I only got a little bit into the novels. I'd heard from others that were no "good" characters, and I didn't like the overall feel of the book. The author is not trying to edify me or provide me with wholesome entertainment. I don't trust him. I'm pretty sure if I wanted to, that I could get into the plot, the world-building, etc. But I don't want to develop a taste for things like this.

About the TV version:

Quote

Parents need to know that Game of Thrones (based on the novels by George R.R. Martin) is big-budget fantasy series that frequently depicts brutal battles and graphic, detailed acts of violence (including those against children and women), as well as lots of nudity and no-holds-barred sexuality. The latter is portrayed in an especially iffy manner, with explicit discussion and depiction of incest, adultery, and rape. Strong language, including "f--k," is frequent. Although the series is well produced, even the most sympathetic characters make plenty of iffy choices, and the over-the-top content is questionable for all but adult viewers.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/game-of-thrones

 

Edited by tesuji

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There are, according to Dr. Oliver Demille*, three kinds of stories: whole, broken, and bent.
* Dr. Demille didn't originate this terminology, but that's where I read it, and I'm too tired right now to look it up. See  his wonderful book, A Thomas Jefferson Education, for the complete argument.

The whole are good, where good triumphs over evil and each is clearly labeled correctly.

The broken are useful, but evil wins; however, both good and evil are correctly labeled.

The bent are evil: good loses to evil, but evil is seen as good, and good,at best, neutral, and usually unwanted.

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers

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20 minutes ago, tesuji said:

The author is not trying to edify me or provide me with wholesome entertainment. I don't trust him. I'm pretty sure if I wanted to, that I could get into the plot, the world-building, etc. But I don't want to develop a taste for things like this.

Amen, brother!

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16 minutes ago, LeSellers said:

The bent are evil: good loses to evil, but evil is seen as good, and good,at best, neutral, and usually unwanted.

I'm not sure that G.R.R. Martin is trying to call evil good, but he's certainly trying to ensure that good does not exist in his world* - everything is evil and one evil loses to other evils, over and over - and he makes no effort to make the evil people sympathetic - quite the opposite, people who started sympathetic quickly turn despicable.  Yick.  (I can only assume it got worse after what I read, since it got continually worse through what I read.)

*Honestly, I fear for his soul.  As an author, I know how embedded your fiction is in your own soul - it's an expression thereof and I can only conclude that GRRM's soul is black as the pits of hell to have allowed that stuff to fester and multiply inside.

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11 minutes ago, zil said:

I'm not sure that G.R.R. Martin is trying to call evil good, but he's certainly trying to ensure that good does not exist in his world* - everything is evil and one evil loses to other evils, over and over - and he makes no effort to make the evil people sympathetic - quite the opposite, people who started sympathetic quickly turn despicable.  Yick.  (I can only assume it got worse after what I read, since it got continually worse through what I read.)

*Honestly, I fear for his soul.  As an author, I know how embedded your fiction is in your own soul - it's an expression thereof and I can only conclude that GRRM's soul is black as the pits of hell to have allowed that stuff to fester and multiply inside.

I guess we're not worried about derailing this nice thread, so...

I think that anyone who produces mass media must be very careful. Whatever influence, good or evil, you put into the world is multiplied by millions of readers or viewers who are affected by your creations. If it's true that we are rewarded with joy or suffering for the consequences of our actions in this life,  I can only think that the post-mortal consequences for you will be magnified as well according to how many people you have influenced.

My best hope for George Martin at this point is that he is somehow spiritually retarded, and doesn't fully understand good versus evil, and so he won't be judged as fully responsible. Like some kind of medical, physical, neurological deficiency.

Edited by tesuji

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46 minutes ago, LeSellers said:

There are, according to Dr. Demille*, three kinds of stories: whole, broken, and bent.
* Dr. Demille didn't originate this terminology, but that's where I read it, and I'm too tired right now to look it up. Can't even recall his first name. See  his wonderful book, A Thomas Jefferson Education, for the complete argument.

The whole are good, where good triumphs over evil and each is clearly labeled correctly.

The broken are useful, but evil wins; however, both good and evil are correctly labeled.

The bent are evil: good loses to evil, but evil is seen as good, and good,at best, neutral, and usually unwanted.

Lehi

You forgot healing.

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24 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

You forgot healing.

Carb I'm just glad you moved on from coloring in books to actually reading them. ;)

Edited by MormonGator

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