Thursday, May 17, 2012

I need a new book

There are gazillions of good books, and I've read quite a few of them (!), but I wondered if anybody's reading anything really good now that you could recommend?    

Could you comment with 2-3 of your all-time favorites, too?    I know I'd love to hear them and I think my commenter buddies would, too.   And I know you probably read good political stuff, but how's about a good NOVEL?  I need a BREAK!




Bob said...

Most of my current reading is weird science fiction, and you may not be interested in that genre. I have read "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins, and it was good. I have read the entire three volume story. You have to like fantasy stuff.

"The Higher Education Bubble" - Glenn Harlan Reynolds (University of Tennessee) (pre-ordered, awaiting publication)
This book is about the financial bubble in higher education tuition, and what can happen to college graduates and universities when this bubble bursts. Student loans are not usually discharable in bankruptcy. So, what happens when students and institutions can't get cheap money, anymore?

"The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science" - A. W. Montford
The true story of how a small group of respected scientists conspired to perpetuate the biggest scam in the history of science.

"Rainbows End" - Vernor Vinge
Classical Science Fiction
A story about a future when people wear their computing systems like they put on their clothing, and the society based on a universal, virtual world.

"Freakonomics" - Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (Audible Books)
An interesting take on economics.

Always On Watch said...

I highly recommend 11/22/63 by Stephen King. It is the best novel that I've read in a long, long time.

11/22/63 is not "typical" Stephen King. Rather, it's a time-travel historical novel. Not gruesome at all! I guarantee this: if you read the first 10 pages or so, you'll be hooked!

I also recommend The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. It was published in 2005.

Rita said...

Great subject Z. I bought the new Nook Glow last weekend and read The Hunger Games in a day and a half. Saving the other two volumes for an upcoming trip.

Killing Lincoln was fascinating. Funny how history was so boring in school but reading this makes it very clear they were real people.

AOW. King is a fantastic story teller who is so much better when he gets out of the gore business. I'll look for his new book. Thx

Lana said...

The best book I have read recently is An Act of Self Defense by Erne Lewis. It is fiction but about term limits in the House & Senate.

Thersites said...

"Julie, or the New Heloise" by Jacques Rousseau. It was the first "popular novel" ever written...

Thersites said...

Or how about "The Adventures of Telemachus" by Fenelon, tutor to Louis XIV, the Sun King.

There's no "new" novel like an old one. ;)

Silverfiddle said...

Anything by Steinbeck, and Huxley's Brave New World is also a great read, especially given the times we are living in.

For a change of pace, Orwell's diaries also make good reading, or an Orwell reader that has short stories and some of his published essays.

Ducky's here said...

"Debt: The First 5000 Years" - David Graeber

Found it most interesting for its analysis of debt as critical to our moral thinking.

FairWitness said...

Hi Z, right now I'm reading "Washington" by Ron Chernow. It's fabulous and introduces the reader to a rich, full, compelling George Washington. It's an enormous work, though and very serious.

Recently I read the novel, "The Emperor's Tomb" by Steve Berry. I liked it so much that I bought his next novel, "The Jefferson Key" although I haven't read it yet.

Also, if you like historical fiction, "Fall of Giants" by Ken Follett was absolutely wonderful.

My favorite novel of all time is "The Pillars of the Earth" also by Ken Follett.

If you like espionage novels, anything by WEB Griffin would be great reading.

My sisters are all into Janet Evanovich. They rave about her books, although I haven't read any of them yet. There's never enough time. I love to read.

namaste said...

yay! i love your book posts! you have such great minds over here.

"content of our character" by shelby steele brought me back to the blogosphere a few months ago when i'd almost given up on blogging. it's an honest exploration of the effects of race on the human psyche.

and i love all things stephen king.

Anonymous said...

"The Eight" by Katherine Neville

Sam Huntington said...

"His Excellency George Washington" by Joseph J. Ellis.

Fiction: Term Limits, by Vince Flynn

Anonymous said...

Killing Lincoln and Abuse of Power.

Lisa said...

Yes FW Pillars of the Earth was very good.
Cormack McCarthy's "The Road" was good. Very moving.
I liked All The Pretty Horses which made me like his writing.

Beverly said...

have you read "Unbroken," the story of Louis Zamperini? It has been around for a amazing story of redemption and forgiveness.

Z said...

I have never done a post asking for book recommendations and not had at least a few people (all women) mention PILLARS OF THE EARTH, a FANTASTIC book...I agree with you, ladies!

I don't like historical fiction, so those are out for me.

I'm intrigued that Stephen King's not a gruesome book...maybe I'll try that?

David Graeber's pretty America-hating, Jew-hating and a communist, from what a friend told that why you like his book, Ducky? Or is this friend just a rightwing nut? :-)

FW...I used to laugh at Mr. Z as he loved to read Evanovich! Talk about LIGHT READING but it got his mind off work and politics like a charm! I heard they're making a movie or something about one of her books?

Beverly, I adored UNBROKEN and highly recommend's absolutely FABULOUS< you're right.
He spoke in L.A. and several of my friends saw him one gathering he was like a deaf mute and others spoke for him, at the other he chatted incessantly!

I'm going to to read reviews of your other recommendations, everybody...see which does it for me!
I usually have a small pile of books lined up and AM trying to get through DIETRICH BONHOEFFER'S Bio, but I need a break!

Ducky's here said...

Z is my muse

In a friendly spirit. It really got me off in a good mood.
Rather sweet they were. One called me over and asked "are you one of those Canon fanboys?"

Cracked me up. Got a great set of shots.

Celebrating God in the commonplace.

Ducky's here said...

Graeber is an anarchist, z, not a Communist.

No, I like the book because it completely reverses the current thinking on the topic and presents a very thought provoking analysis of society as debtor and lender.

Z said...

I'm about 50 years younger than they are but I do love to have lunch out.

"Graeber's parents, who were in their forties when Graeber was born, were self-taught working-class intellectuals. Graeber's mother, Ruth Rubenstein, had been a garment worker, and played the lead role in the 1930s musical comedy revue Pins & Needles, staged by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union.[4] Graeber's father Kenneth, who was affiliated with the Youth Communist League, participated in the Spanish Revolution in Barcelona and fought in the Spanish Civil War.[5] He later worked as a plate stripper on offset printers. Graeber grew up in New York, in a cooperative apartment building described by Business Week magazine as "suffused with radical politics."[6] Graeber has been an anarchist since the age of 16, according to an interview he gave to The Village Voice in 2005.[7]"

Ducky, from what Wikipedia says about his parents, what makes them so sure they're "intellectuals?" Is it just being a leftist?
And, really, can someone really identify as an ANARCHIST? That's ridiculous. Yale didn't hire him back, apparently....would that Bill Ayers' school had the courage to have let him go.

Imagine being known as an anarchist at his age? You'd think he'd know better.
Ya, he's no communist, but his own father Young Communist League. Think young Graeber leaned RIGHT? :-)

I have to read people a little more fair minded than someone who's an anarchist...I have to admit.

Z said...

Some of you will remember with fondness our fellow commenter at geeeZ called FrogBurger!

He likes many books by Iain Pears, especially the thriller The Instance of the Fingerpost"
He also has a book that takes place in France during the occupation and that FB really liked, called The Dream of Scipio.
He's also reading Paul Theroux these days and likes that author very much.

Just thought I'd pass that on if you're inspired to look into them!
Thanks, FB

Ducky's here said...

Doesn't matter what he is, matters what he writes. Matters what his ideas are.

Z said...

Of course it matters, Ducky. You think every conservative can't be anything but a conservative hack...but your guys can present thoughtful, informative assumptions?
That's ridiculous.
He does present himself as an anarchist, I have to give him that; at least he's truthful there.

Louis H. said...

These are a good list of things I should read. Thank you for this post, Z.

Elmers Brother said...

I'm reading Amazing Grace by Eric Maracas, a biography of William Wilberforce. Praise God for this man. I'm in the middle of about ten books on subjects ranging from philosophy, music appreciation and the humanities to Hamlet. I love to read.

Elmers Brother said...


Elmers Brother said...

I bought the Bonhoeffer Bio to read also by Mataxas

Law and Order Teacher said...

I don't know if you like non-fiction history but I can give you a list of those type books. I'm reading "Undaunted Courage" by Stephen Ambrose which is about the Lewis and Clark expedition. H.W. Brand writes some seriously good biographies.

I love biographies above all other books because they are not only informative and educational but inspiring. Sorry, I'm a history geek.

Kid said...

Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse 5 and Breakfast of Champions, both of which have been made into movies, Slaughterhouse 5 being the best of the two and was based on Kurt's real life experiences in WWII.

And the rest of his works if you like either of those.

Otherwise, Robert Heinlein, Robert Sheckley in science fiction.

I enjoyed Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, the book (but not the movie).

[General] Tommy Franks book about the Iraq war.

Z said...

Ducky,...Graeber is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World and a founder of the anti-Capitalist Convergence; does either sound like “anarchist” organizations? The IWW is rabidly communist and always has been. Among its utterly ridiculous ideas, the IWW believes in uniting all workers as a single social class and abolishing wages. They also think the workers should elect their managers. [Yawn]

All 5,000 members of the IWW are committed communists. Here’s another surprise: the IWW offices are located in Chicago.

Graeber is an anarchist in the same way Stalin was a humanitarian. I think Lenin would describe an anarchist as a “useful idiot.”

Anonymous said...

The last non-fiction book I read was by far the most disturbing ever: "We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories From Rwanda"

The last fictional effort was "Moby Dick or The White Whale" unabridged on audio. 20 CDs of painful verbiage padded with so many hours of rambling nonsense that by the 5th CD I had already begun to fantasize about the whale killing Ishmael just so he would SHUT THE HELL UP ALREADY!!! You know, if Ahab really wanted that whale dead he should have had sent Ishmael out on a boat to talk to it The whale would have committed suicide within days.

Autobiography: William Shatner's Up 'Til Now is a good read.

Z said...

Louis, you are so welcome. I'm happy to have you here at geeeZ, thank you for coming by. I hope you enjoy some of these books.

Elbro, glad you're going to read Bonhoeffer, too. I love the Lutheran teachings and adore his'll be particularly interested in his love of Black CHristianity in Harlem when he was a young man and came to live in NYC for a short time. I was fascinated in his take... very eager to learn and he learned A LOT from their theology...things he'd never been exposed to.

KID, I think the Da Vinci Code did more to turn people from CHristianity than many other books. Did it do that at all to you? People took it quite seriously.

L& know, I can't read much historical fiction. The John Jakes series my mother gave me to celebrate the Bicentennial in 1976 made me laugh out loud as I read; there's Abe Lincoln tromping through the forest visiting his mother then knocking on a door where Ben Franklin's family lives....etc. ON, COME ON!

But, I do love biographies...and, let's face it, most stories mentioning ANY real person in history ARE historical fiction; i guess it's all how it's done for me, you know?

Z said...

Cactus...I need to read MOBY DICK...the old one, thanks for the reminder.
At the high school where I work, I suppose I could borrow any of these great books, come to think of it; not the newer novels, but the classics.

Heck, when I sub, I'm reading them thru Descarte's Meditations (WHAT?) and Aristotle and Plato's Crito! GEEESH!!

Elmers Brother said...

I'm looking forward to it Z.

Big Fat Tio Mike said...

A book that I couldn't put down (and that might surprise you) is Bret Hart's Hitman, My real life in the cartoon world of professional wrestling. I'm guessing you're not the pro wrestling fan I am (was) so it might not hold you as much as it did me.

Unsweetened by Jodie Sweetin was a rather easy read that I didn't want to put down. It's the middle daughter from the sit-com Full House talking about her struggles, mostly with drugs. Not the most cheerful topic, but an enjoyable read.

For fiction, the one I come back to most is Hamlet. The archaic language makes it enjoyable in that you (or at least I) can read it several times without understanding everything, so in subsequent readings, the text can seem both familiar and new.

If you have access to the Great Courses video lectures, I found the ones on linguistics and the evolution of language by John Mcwhorter fascinating.

Dave Barry's a good one for diversion.


Kid said...

Z, NO, I read Da Vinci Code as a fictional story, though one can see Christian's treatment of women as 2nd class citizens over the years - not so much anymore.

Z said...

THanks, Mike....what a varied selection! Will look into some of those...except Hamlet :-)
I have to read Aristotle and Plato to teach our kids at the school, and THAT's enough.

I just finished CRIME AND PUNISHMENT and LOVED that (finally, 1/3 of the way in.. it's a book one must read at least twice, I think)

Kid...the irony is that women were so loved in the New Testament and so honored in the Old. it's wicked Christians who demeaned them.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Your cynicism is stunning. I think that most of non-fiction books are authentic provided of course they are footnoted or otherwise documented.

Of course, all history is subject to interpretation, but most is essentially true.

Z said...

L&O....I agree, most non fiction books are historically correct, but the John Jakes series plays heavily on my mind!
I know we can't really know conversations, for example, between Mr and Mrs Lincoln, yet I love to read biographies on them, for example...that doesn't bother me one bit.
But the combining of people in one city, for example, when we know they didn't live in that city at the same time, just wrong!

Historical Fiction means that to me, sadly.
I'm open to discussion on it. I surely honor your academic input and experience!


Making up things ABOUT history to spice it up or to conjecture beyond reality...NOT GOOD FOR Z!

Law and Order Teacher said...

I would never foist upon you historical fiction. I'm talking about non-fiction that has notations that are proven to be academically true. Books that reconstruct history are a true pain. Although the John Jakes series was what made me a history geek.

He is from Kettering, a city next to mine. I loved the stories he told and I've been a history guy ever since. I have the books on my shelf as we speak. Shouldn't books inspire?

Newt Gingrich wrote a trilogy of the Civil War that was outstanding. Counter factual history is an enjoyable exercise in What If?

Ticker said...

I can recommend a few good books for reading. All these books are available through as well as outlets such as Barnes and Noble, Baker and Taylor, Amazon, and others.

10001:The Year of The Dog

If you like dogs, you will love Snickers! I have never laughed so much as I did in reading this book. They say it’s a dog’s life and you will see just how good it gets when dogs rule the world.

Snickers spends part of his time living the good life. The other part is spent dreaming about the year 10001, when dogs take over the universe. Snickers tells all in the memoirs of his life. Readers from 18 to 80 and beyond will learn insider information about dogs: their language, how they count, how they dream, how they love, how they want to be loved, and more.

I believe you have read this one Z and I highly recommend it. I know the young lady and she is amazing. She and her husband currently reside in Georgia where he serves in the Armed Forces.

From the Killing Fields Through Fields of Grace: is the true story of Lakhina King’s journey from the Killing Fields of Cambodia to the land of God’s amazing grace and back again as a missionary of mercy to the forgotten people she left behind. Travel with her as you read about her extraordinary trip along the road of redemption, and learn how to move from a painful history toward a promising destiny!

Hurricane Rocks Wisconsin: by Joseph J. Caccoiotti
This is one of the series of Hurricane books and if you like fast moving private investigator type stories you will like this one.


Samuel James Rufus was born part Shoshone Indian, part Italian. He was taught how to hunt and track by his Shoshone warrior family in Nevada, and he was trained how to fight and kill by the Green Berets. After six years in the Army, Sam joined forces with the New York detective squad. Just when he thought his days of fighting were over, he was called upon to help out two old friends in New York. Dire circumstances forced him to return to the fierceness he once knew in the Army-an eye for an eye, a life for a life. This is when he earned the nickname "Hurricane." Now working as a private investigator, Sam is often called in when nothing else will work. When necessary, he leaves destruction in his wake in order to save lives.

Z said...

Ticker, I have read your second selection and HIGHLY recommend it!

Right Wing Theocrat said...

I saw Jonah Goldberg has a new book out, Andrew C Mccarthy too, not sure they'll be very relaxing though. :)