Convince me to read

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Fat Tony
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Convince me to read

Postby Fat Tony » Sun May 18, 2008 11:40 pm UTC

I don't read, nor do I like to, but I want to change that. I know there are a lot of amazing stories in books, it's just the act of reading that I don't particularly enjoy. Books on tape are alright, but then I could be listening to music. I guess a big factor in my decision that I don't like reading was all the horrible books they force you to read in school. I know this is an irrational line of thinking, but that just made me subconciously decide that books are a task rather than a pleasure.
What I'm getting at is that I would like to start reading again, so what are some of your suggestions for making the act more appealing to me?
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby scowdich » Sun May 18, 2008 11:51 pm UTC

Well, for one thing, start with a good book. Catch-22 is my recommendation.
Your situation is important - if you want to read dedicatedly, you want few distractions and you want to be comfortable. In other words, comfortable chair with a footrest; if you have background music, no lyrics. Have a drink or two to hand so you don't have to get up to refresh yourself.
If the sheer length of novels is intimidating, try something smaller - a short story collection (I hear O. Henry is good) or a graphic novel (like Watchmen).
But seriously, Catch-22 is where it is at, for numerous values of it.

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Ramses IV
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Ramses IV » Sun May 18, 2008 11:57 pm UTC

I'm afraid I'm probably not going to agree with scowdich (up to a point). The short-story collection idea is good, but I wouldn't suggest O. Henry. And save Catch-22 until later.
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Fat Tony » Mon May 19, 2008 12:00 am UTC

Just to elaborate, it's not like I have any problem with reading (I had taught myself to read fluently before I turned four), it's just getting myself to do it that's the issue.
Music without lyrics is a good idea, particularly since, as a guitarist, I have plenty of that.
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Ramses IV
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Ramses IV » Mon May 19, 2008 12:05 am UTC

I'm not suggesting that Catch 22 would be hard for you to read. I'm sure you are a fluent reader. I was simply thinking that a shorty-story collection would present new plots and storylines quicker, so there'd be no chance of you losing interest.

But, then, I could be wrong. Catch 22 is a very good book. Go and try it if you want.
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Fat Tony » Mon May 19, 2008 12:07 am UTC

I was thinking more that a good, regular-sized book would suck me in and keep me hooked, wanting to read more.
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aaron
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby aaron » Mon May 19, 2008 12:08 am UTC

Fat Tony wrote: (I had taught myself to read fluently before I turned four),


honestly, i'm not sure this is possible. i started reading at 3, but that's only because my mom and i read together every night. "teaching yourself" to read, especially at that age, seems very impossible, if not unlikely.

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Ramses IV
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Ramses IV » Mon May 19, 2008 12:12 am UTC

Fat Tony wrote:I was thinking more that a good, regular-sized book would suck me in and keep me hooked, wanting to read more.

Hmm. Do books come in a regular size? I wasn't not aware of that. But, trying to follow your suggestions, have you tried Stephen King's Dark Tower series? It's not horror like his other books, but it's an epically awesome fantasy/science fiction type of book. It starts with The Gunslinger.

aaron wrote:
Fat Tony wrote: (I had taught myself to read fluently before I turned four),


honestly, i'm not sure this is possible. i started reading at 3, but that's only because my mom and i read together every night. "teaching yourself" to read, especially at that age, seems very impossible, if not unlikely.


It's entirely possible (although unlikely, like you said). I'm assuming he had help, but simply failed to give it mention.
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Fat Tony » Mon May 19, 2008 12:14 am UTC

Well, "teaching myself" isn't entirely accurate, I just use that to show that the motivation was all my own; my parents weren't pressuring me. Obviously they helped me. My main helper was this game called "Reader Rabbit". It was pretty amazing.
And you know why I was so motivated to learn how to read? I wanted to be able to read the textboxes in video games and play Magic: The Gathering =D
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Ramses IV » Mon May 19, 2008 12:38 am UTC

Fat Tony wrote:Well, "teaching myself" isn't entirely accurate, I just use that to show that the motivation was all my own; my parents weren't pressuring me. Obviously they helped me. My main helper was this game called "Reader Rabbit". It was pretty amazing.
And you know why I was so motivated to learn how to read? I wanted to be able to read the textboxes in video games and play Magic: The Gathering =D


Ahh. Reader Rabbit. The Ultimate Learning tool!
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Mon May 19, 2008 12:49 am UTC

I'd say start with good, engaging books. I realize you can read well, but I found Catch-22 a little labyrinthine (I may have been reading too fast.) so you might want something a little less effort-consuming at first. Ender's Game?
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Ramses IV » Mon May 19, 2008 1:01 am UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:I'd say start with good, engaging books. I realize you can read well, but I found Catch-22 a little labyrinthine (I may have been reading too fast.) so you might want something a little less effort-consuming at first. Ender's Game?


I second that. Ender's Game is a good one. Not as long as the Dark Tower books (they're pretty big).
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Amarantha » Mon May 19, 2008 3:25 am UTC

My parents tell me I taught myself to read. I assumed they meant I just figured it out from context, the same way we learn to speak, rather than from being told, "This is the letter 'a', and here's how we spell 'cat'..." etc.

And ya, Ender's Game.

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Re: Convince me to read

Postby btilly » Mon May 19, 2008 9:23 am UTC

Fat Tony wrote:Just to elaborate, it's not like I have any problem with reading (I had taught myself to read fluently before I turned four), it's just getting myself to do it that's the issue.
Music without lyrics is a good idea, particularly since, as a guitarist, I have plenty of that.

Sorry to bring bad news, but a large number of 3 year olds engage in "reading". Which is to say that they take their books out and flip through them, reading them perfectly. The catch is that the kids have memorized their favorite stories. They aren't really reading, they are reciting.

If your parents are telling you that they saw you reading before you turned four, the odds are very high that this is the kind of "reading" you were doing.
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Dazmilar » Mon May 19, 2008 3:18 pm UTC

I wouldn't get in an uproar because someone said they taught themselves how to read at an early age. However rare, it is possible, and it's not like any of our childhoods is so well documented that we can offer up video evidence of said reading. My older brother taught himself how to read. My mom saw him sitting at the table eating breakfast with the newspaper open, and assumed he was looking at the pictures. He then told her about some baseball player that was being traded from the Yankees. She asked if he had seen it on the televison, and he replied, "No, it's right here," and read it from the newspaper. He was three.

As to the OP, you need a book about something you're interested in, or something where the idea sparks your interest. I hate suggesting books to people, or receiving suggestions for that matter, because it implies I somehow know you on a certain level. I don't know you. I could suggest Koushun Takami's Battle Royale, a novel about a group of Japanese students sent to an island and forced to hunt and kill each other, and find out that you're not a fan of that type of thing.

My own inclination would be to avoid Stephen King or Orson Scott Card like the plague, and while Catch-22 is a great book, it's structurally pretty different from other novels so it might be inaccessible for someone who has trouble building up the enthusiasm to read. And in my experience, people who suggest the so-called "classics" when someone asks for a new book to read are usually more interested in stroking their own egos than finding a satisfying read.

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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Roland Lockheart » Mon May 19, 2008 3:41 pm UTC

I would suggest The Alchemist, it's short (only about 150 pages) and can be read on whatever level you want, you can read it as a simple (yet awesome) adventure story, or look deeply into the symbolism and theme.
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Malice » Mon May 19, 2008 5:35 pm UTC

Dazmilar wrote:My own inclination would be to avoid Stephen King or Orson Scott Card like the plague, and while Catch-22 is a great book, it's structurally pretty different from other novels so it might be inaccessible for someone who has trouble building up the enthusiasm to read. And in my experience, people who suggest the so-called "classics" when someone asks for a new book to read are usually more interested in stroking their own egos than finding a satisfying read.


I agree with most of this; if you really want to start reading for pleasure, classics are not the way to go (especially if you got that, and hated it, in high school). Go for popular genre fiction, instead--which is why I would recommend Stephen King (though something simpler than The Dark Tower--The Shining, perhaps) and Ender's Game. Anything by Michael Connolly, Crichton, Grisham, Palahniuk, even Dan Brown if it'll get you started. Troll the best-seller lists, the big-name authors. They sell for a reason.
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Jahoclave » Mon May 19, 2008 5:56 pm UTC

Hum...

How about this, either you start reading or we hold an xckd meet up at your house with a party game of beat the crap out of the non-reader. Is that motivation enough?

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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Semidi » Mon May 19, 2008 5:57 pm UTC

Stephen King is a good start. The Dark Tower is rather huge though and it takes some getting into. I thought the 1st book The Gunslinger was rather poor, and S. King even says it is in his forward. But by book 2 or 3 the story gets going, though someone might stop at book IV because it's also poor.

I would actually start with either IT, The Stand, or something like Pet Cemetery or Salem's Lot all by King. If you enjoy The Stand or IT, then I'd consider doing the Dark Tower thing.

If you're looking for something fun that can't be told via audio book I'd consider "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby scowdich » Mon May 19, 2008 6:16 pm UTC

Ah, definitely second Stephen King, particularly The Shining. The Dark Tower might be a bit epic for a first go.
On the other hand, I'm going to anti-recommend Palahniuk; not that his stories (the ones I've read) are bad, but they tend to be somewhat nonlinear or just plain weird.
While Catch-22 is also somewhat nonlinear, it still has my full recommendation. Long as you pay attention, you should be fine. However, I will agree that it probably should not be a first first novel. Instead, go with Ender's Game, definitely (but don't bother with the sequels).
I'm going to recommend another favorite of mine: World War Z, by Max Brooks. It's about zombies, and presented as a series of shortish interviews, so it's almost like a short story collection. The audio book is actually really good (but abridged), and I think it has Mark Hamill and Alan Alda in it.

And as far as "convince you to read" goes? Well, books are great, reading is fun and satisfying, etc. etc.; you can do it in public (I read on the train home all the time), it doesn't require batteries, and there's literally thousands of different books out there containing thousands of unique stories. There's guaranteed to be at least one that you'll love wholeheartedly, whether because the story is so great, you love the theme/symbolism, or one of the characters is "Oh me yarm just like me". Just try it, you'll like it. [/4th grade teacher]

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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Mon May 19, 2008 6:34 pm UTC

Before suggesting any books, I have to ask- what do you enjoy? Do you like science fiction? Fantasy? War stories? True crime? Horror? If you watch TV and movies, I assume you have a favorite type of show. I do second the suggestion of excellent short stories before diving into novels. Walk before you try to run- if you're not used to being sucked in by literature, well-written short stories deliver character and plot quickly enough that you want to hurry to the end.

I could suggest books until the cows come home, but it does no good in getting you interested in reading if you don't care for the genres I'm suggesting. However, I do suggest you stay far away from Romantics at this point- some of the stories are good, but they're extremely wordy.

As for kids learning to read young, I learned to really read a little before I turned 3. My parents were an English professor and an engineer respectively, and Dad says I was memorizing and reciting books at 2, but a few months before I turned 3, he could hand me a new simple book and I would read it by myself.

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Re: Convince me to read

Postby jakkle » Mon May 19, 2008 6:47 pm UTC

i would say maybe some pratchett. or i love neil gaiman... maybe like loads of people said you should post your interests and what you want to get reading and thatll help people reccomend better. Alternatively, write down what we've said, go to a library, pick one of them up and flick through and read the blurb and if you like the look of it, try it.

EDIT: yeah, short stories are the best. loads of different stories and ideas, and you can finish one story in one sitting, rather than slogging through a novel for days [which, depending on the book can be annoying. sometimes i love the story and writing, but hate the look of a massive chunk of book waiting to be read hahaha]
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby nevskey1 » Mon May 19, 2008 7:02 pm UTC

1984. If that can't hold your interest, then I'll have to go bury my head in the gravel for a while. Seriously, that book is eminantly readable, pre-eminantly horrifying, and pre-pre-eminantly important and valuable. No tricks or erudition games: just a well-told, straighforward story. But what a story it is.

Also, I would recommend some Phillip K. Dick. Honestly, I'm sad to say I've only read two of his novels: The Man in the High Castle and VALIS. Both good, but VALIS was better. But, TMITHC is much easier to read, so start with that. His short stries are good, too. I reccomend "The Faith of our Fathers" (my fovorite so far), "The Exit Door Leads In", and "We Can Remember it for You Wholesale." He's not intimidating or pretentious, but very interesting and simple to read.

Now, if your looking for something a bit more "literary," I think the short story suggestion was good. Try out some by Raymond Carver. His prose is so minimalist, so simple, yet packs such a strong punch, you just can't not read from start to finish. Same goes for John Cheever.

Perhaps we can help you better if you specify your interests more. Like for TV shows, do you like funny, philosophical, emotionally deep, or what? (Obviously The Simpsons, and that can be all of those.) And what were the "horrible" ones you hated? Was The Great Gatsby one of them? If not, then that's a fine book that you could easily take a look at.

Good luck, and, above all, enjoy!
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Fat Tony » Mon May 19, 2008 7:03 pm UTC

I'm big on fantasy; sci-fi's cool too. My favorites would be the Xanth series, the Myth Adventures series, The Hobbit, Arena, and The Lost Regiment series; stuff like that.
btilly wrote:Sorry to bring bad news, but a large number of 3 year olds engage in "reading". Which is to say that they take their books out and flip through them, reading them perfectly. The catch is that the kids have memorized their favorite stories. They aren't really reading, they are reciting.

If your parents are telling you that they saw you reading before you turned four, the odds are very high that this is the kind of "reading" you were doing.

I don't see why you're in such disbelief. Given the context of these fora, I wouldn't doubt it if someone told me that they harnessed nuclear power to start a lawnmower in their garage as a three-year-old. My parents don't tell me I learned how to read when I was three; I remember learning how to read when I was three. My short-term memory is crap, but I've been told that my long-term memory is pretty impressive.
My favorite story is about one time during preschool (four years old) when my mom got called in for a conference with the teacher (because it would be too easy just to tell her on the phone, right?). I was pissed off and incredibly insulted when the teacher expected me to read this stupid little book along the lines of, "Meet cat. Cat runs. Cat runs fast. Blue cat runs fast. Blue cat meets red dog..."
The problem was that I had refused to continue reading the story after I realized how intellectually degrading it was and had allegedly stolen the book the teacher was reading =D
So so far here's the plan: instrumental music, comfortable chair (note: beds are NOT [read: NOT] a comfortable place to read!), interesting book, and someone else who has already read the book so I'm motivated to finish it so I can talk about it with him.
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Endless Mike » Mon May 19, 2008 7:40 pm UTC

You should check out Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Although it's a bit on the longer side, it's very light reading and barring the Pratchett and Gaiman suggestions, probably a lot more immediately enjoyable than some of the other suggestions. (Which is not to say they're unenjoyable by any stretch, just that they can take a bit more to get into.)

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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Mon May 19, 2008 7:53 pm UTC

If you like sci-fi and are interested in taking the short story route I really can't reccomend this book highly enough: http://www.amazon.com/Science-Fiction-H ... pd_ys_iyr7

It's full of excellent stories by the best science fiction writers. I only wish it was more convenient-sized, so I could take it with me everywhere. Currently, my copy lives in my car in case I'm ever stranded without a book. The stories are good enough to re-read many, many times.


Also, if you like fantasy, may I suggest the Abhorsen Trilogy? They're young adult novels, so not convoluted or overly symbolic like most books chosen for school tend to be. It's an interesting concept, and really a lot of fun.

And you can never go wrong with Sherlock Holmes. Just throwing that out there :P

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Re: Convince me to read

Postby nevskey1 » Mon May 19, 2008 8:13 pm UTC

Kendo_Bunny wrote:And you can never go wrong with Sherlock Holmes. Just throwing that out there :P
QFT. This is what started me really reading voraciously and for pleasure in grade 6, and still keeps me at it. I also love the stories and highly recommend them.
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby existential_elevator » Thu May 22, 2008 3:24 pm UTC

Dazmilar wrote:As to the OP, you need a book about something you're interested in, or something where the idea sparks your interest. I hate suggesting books to people, or receiving suggestions for that matter, because it implies I somehow know you on a certain level. I don't know you. I could suggest Koushun Takami's Battle Royale, a novel about a group of Japanese students sent to an island and forced to hunt and kill each other, and find out that you're not a fan of that type of thing.

My own inclination would be to avoid Stephen King or Orson Scott Card like the plague, and while Catch-22 is a great book, it's structurally pretty different from other novels so it might be inaccessible for someone who has trouble building up the enthusiasm to read.


Very much this.

I'm trying to rack my brains for any good music-related fiction that might get you interested. I read a cyberpunk short a little while ago that had this whole crazy-cool descriptions of instruments from the future. It was called Rock On by Pat Cadigan. There's an Iain Banks book based around a rock band that was really good, though he's quite an acquired taste.

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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Quixotess » Thu May 22, 2008 4:02 pm UTC

existential_elevator wrote:I'm trying to rack my brains for any good music-related fiction that might get you interested. I read a cyberpunk short a little while ago that had this whole crazy-cool descriptions of instruments from the future. It was called Rock On by Pat Cadigan. There's an Iain Banks book based around a rock band that was really good, though he's quite an acquired taste.

Fat Kid Rules the World! Young adult book.

Speaking of which, you know, it might be a good idea to start with books aimed at younger audiences. Not because you're not capable, but for about the same reason you might want to read short stories first. Look up some Newbery medal/honor books, like Ella Enchanted. The Phantom Tollbooth, maybe. Or heck, Harry Potter. It's a flawed series, but by God if that doesn't get you excited about reading at least a couple of times then there's something wrong with you.

I haven't watched most of the series that you mentioned, but are you the type to completely immerse yourself in a world? To wish, deep down, that it were real? If so, you should try some of the epic length series after you've gotten to that level. NOT Robert Jordan or Terry Goodkind. Try George R. R. Martin.

As for general reading suggestions...nothing gets me more into a book than reading it at the same time as someone else, being able to talk about it with them. Try to find someone who will read the same book. Someone on here, if no one else. Hey, we should have an xkcd book club. Wow, we really really should.
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Balalaika Gap » Thu May 22, 2008 5:00 pm UTC

Quixotess wrote:
existential_elevator wrote:I'm trying to rack my brains for any good music-related fiction that might get you interested. I read a cyberpunk short a little while ago that had this whole crazy-cool descriptions of instruments from the future. It was called Rock On by Pat Cadigan. There's an Iain Banks book based around a rock band that was really good, though he's quite an acquired taste.

Fat Kid Rules the World! Young adult book.

Speaking of which, you know, it might be a good idea to start with books aimed at younger audiences. Not because you're not capable, but for about the same reason you might want to read short stories first. Look up some Newbery medal/honor books, like Ella Enchanted. The Phantom Tollbooth, maybe. Or heck, Harry Potter. It's a flawed series, but by God if that doesn't get you excited about reading at least a couple of times then there's something wrong with you.


King Dork by Frank Portman is another great young adult book (but also totally readable for not-so-young adults), especially if we're recommending music-related fiction. The main character is a songwriter, there's lots of stuff about rock music, and the author is also a musician (Dr. Frank of The Mr. T Experience).

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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Fat Tony » Thu May 22, 2008 8:12 pm UTC

Well, I'm currently reading Slash. It's an awesome book, but I'm still working on getting into it...because it's a book.
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby SecondTalon » Fri May 23, 2008 2:59 am UTC

Fat Tony wrote:Xanth series, the Myth Adventures series,

Graduate to Terry Pratchett.

Go buy Mort, then Soul Music.
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Torvaun » Fri May 23, 2008 3:30 am UTC

Name of the Wind. Trust me on this one.
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby aaron » Fri May 23, 2008 4:56 pm UTC

battle royale is so badass

that is all.

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Re: Convince me to read

Postby CogDissident » Fri May 23, 2008 5:03 pm UTC

Try http://www.365tomorrows.com/ for a few pages. They post a lot of 1-2 page short stories, and a lot of them are really quite good.

edit: just don't start on todays. Creepy story today. Not all of them are gems.

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Re: Convince me to read

Postby annals » Fri May 23, 2008 9:05 pm UTC

My brother, who is not a reader, enjoys Tom Clancy. I've never got around to reading his books, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

As far as fantasy goes, Brandon Sanderson's books are quite good (I believe he's a member of the fora too, so there's that going for him). I liked Misborn better than Elantris, personally.

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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Ramses IV » Tue May 27, 2008 2:09 am UTC

Oh, I just remebered somethin. Anything by Harry Turtledove tends to be a good book. And not too long, either!
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Re: Convince me to read

Postby Rodan » Tue May 27, 2008 2:31 am UTC

If you aren't already, only read the one book at a time. I used to start any random book I felt like reading, willy-nilly, but I never finished any of them.
Also, find a good book.
1984, or HHGttG are good, as well as the other suggestions.
I'd avoid Philip K. Dick, though. He tends to get on the "wait, what's going on again?" side.

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Re: Convince me to read

Postby existential_elevator » Tue May 27, 2008 11:41 am UTC

Rodan wrote:I'd avoid Philip K. Dick, though. He tends to get on the "wait, what's going on again?" side.


I've never had that problem with him, though I guess I've only really read a few. I'd recommend "Do Androids Dream.." to anyone who'll bear to listen to me go on about how good I think it is. His writing style is fairly straightforward - no tricksy narrative schemes or odd framing devices - and he's really good at giving you a sense of his world

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Re: Convince me to read

Postby bbctol » Tue May 27, 2008 10:49 pm UTC

existential_elevator wrote:
Rodan wrote:I'd avoid Philip K. Dick, though. He tends to get on the "wait, what's going on again?" side.


I've never had that problem with him, though I guess I've only really read a few. I'd recommend "Do Androids Dream.." to anyone who'll bear to listen to me go on about how good I think it is. His writing style is fairly straightforward - no tricksy narrative schemes or odd framing devices - and he's really good at giving you a sense of his world

Mmm... it depends on when your book was published. Philip K. Dick gets more and more insane as his life goes on, so by the time you get to VALIS, I'd say it's impossible to understand his world unless you're schizophrenic and stoned. Early PKD is pretty damn good, though.


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