Similar Books?

Reader Jay wants some book recommendations:

Sorry to bother you, however I was wondering if you could help me out with something.I live in america, and I am wanting to start reading 1 book a week.This trying to get me back into reading again, as I was one of those people in college and highschool that only read the required stuff.I was wondering if you could help me out with any recommendations.

I have a dry and sarcastic witty sense of humor,I am also a 23 year old male.I’m not into romance, or fantasy (ie stuff like Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings etc). I tried amazon for recommendations but it like most sites is the typical if you like 1 book by author you will like all books by that author.Below is the stuff that is currently on my list, so you can get an idea of what sort of thing I like.Hope you can give me some recommendations, thanks for any help.

Christopher Moore – A Dirty Job (Currently Reading)
Christopher Moore – Lamb The Gospel According to Biff,Christ’s Childhood Pal
Kurt Vonnegut – Breakfast of Champions
Ella Minnow Pea – Mark Dunn
Nicholson Baker – The Mezzanine
Chuck Palahniuk.- Choke

I have read Ella Minnow Pea, Choke, and some other Vonnegut. Have heard great things about Moore but haven’t read him. So let me see what I can come up with:

  • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde has the same whimsy & wordplay as Ella Minnow Pea
  • The Killer Inside Me as a good introduction to Jim Thompson
  • The Negative by Michael Covino–hard to find but such a good read, about the making of an epic flop–or epic masterpiece. When the negative is stolen for a ransom, the director has a very odd response. Great heist story

Does anybody else have suggestions for Jay?

2 thoughts on “Similar Books?”

  1. Valley of Horses, Jean Auel

    Cross Time Engineer (historical, light SF motivation), or Copernick’s Rebellion (SF), by Leo Frankowski

    A Company of Stars (SF / Theatre), Christopher Stasheff

    A Conflict of Honors (SF), Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

    Shadow of Saganami (military SF, space opera/internecine intrique), or On Basilisk Station (military SF), by David Weber

    Once a Hero (Military SF), by Elizabeth Moon

    Moon Called (urban noir), Patricia Briggs

    David Brinkley’s autobiography

    Exchange of Hostages (very dark milirary SF, psychological and moral conflict), by Susan R. Matthews

    White Tiger (graphic novel, female superhero), by Tamora Pierce and Timothy Liebe

    Stop Stealing Sheep & find out how type works (non-fiction), by Erik Spiekermann & E.M. Ginger – or – Thinking WIth Type (nonfiction, a critical guide for designers, writers, editors, and students), by Ellen Lupton

    The Goal (business/economics non-fiction, told in a story fashion), Elihyum Goldblatt

    Tools for Teaching (classroom discipline and understanding working with students, people, children, and other groups), by Fred Jones

    Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand

    Forest Gumpp (the book, it is a similar but different story), by Winston Groom

    Kris Longknife: Mutineer (military SF), by Mike Shepherd

    The Ship Who Sang (SF) by Anne McCaffrey

    Back in the 1950’s an important science fiction publisher, Joseph Campbell, commented that “A good science fiction story is a good people story.” Fiction allows inspection and understanding of what people might do in extraordinary circumstances. Fiction is a very good way to explore thoughts and words and feelings that we all encounter.

    I found parts of The Collected Dialogues of Plato to be engrossing. Reading the Shakespeare play can be as engrossing as watching Emma Thompson in “Much Ado About Nothing” interpret and express that play.

    And before you abandon fantasy, consider. Have you enjoyed “Shrek!” or even Disney’s “Mulan”?

    Paper Mage, Leah R. Cutter

    Wild Magic (YA fantasy), Tamora Pierce

    Protector of the Small: First Test (YA historical/fantasy/military), by Tamora Pierce

    The White Dragon (SF), by Anne McCaffrey

    Patriot Games (spies), by Tom Clancy

    The Bourne Betrayal (spies, different character and story line from the movies), by by Robert Ludlum

    The Amish in Their Own Words: Amish Writings from 25 Years of Family Life Magazine, by Brad Igou

    The point is to read widely. You want to pick points of interest, and read that topic, that author – and what others have to say, similar authors, similar genre. And you want to read from different genres, different authors. Hit the library, and browse into sections you hadn’t thought of.

    There are history and woodworking books that are fun to read for enjoyment, such as “The Goal”, above. There are spy novels and SF that are so focused on a specific gimmick, that unless you enjoy reading the specification documents of a 1902 Colt Vest Pocket pistol, or a space engine that twists stars out of their orbite (Juanita Coulson was an interesting SF author), they may not be able to hold your interest.

    The authors that would rather be Socially Meaningful than tell a story turn me off. 2150 A.D., by Thea Plym Alexander, was marketed as science fiction – but only works as a Macro Philosophy “utopia” guide to spirituality – which didn’t appeal to me at all.

    Before you write off Tolkein’s Lord of The Rings, take a good look at his “The Hobbit” and “Farmer Giles of Ham”. Or “By The Sword” by Mercedes Lackey, “Hawkmistress!” by Marion Zimmer Bradley, “Bazil Broketail”, by Christopher Rowley, “Beauty”, or “Deerskin”, or “The Hero And The Crown”, by Robin McKinley.

    The Once and Future King, T.H. White.

    Another Fine Myth (fantasy, goofball hero), Robert Asprin

    Big Red, or Son of Big Red, or Rufus the Red-tailed Hawk(young reader books, from point of view of the animal – excellent nature insight), by Jim Kjelgaard.

    Warrior Apprentice (military SF, off-beat hero), by Lois McMaster Bujold

    McLendon’s Syndrome (SF, space opera, reluctant hero, humorous), by Robert Frezza

    Door Into Summer (classic SF), or The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (SF), by Robert Heinlein

    Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy. Frank Herbert’s stories of Dune.

    Talking with Horses (non fiction), by Henry Blake

    Spoken in Whispers (horse and other livestock psychic), by Nikki Mackay

    * Note that many of these begin series of novels.

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