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Anyone like to suggest some holiday books for me (probably fantasy/sci-fi or non fiction)

(43 Posts)
Takver Sun 03-Aug-14 22:27:21

Looking for some good suggestions for taking on holiday. My taste in novels is pretty light-weight and biased to fantasy/sci-fi (tend to read quite a bit of YA fantasy, though largely because I get them from dd). Recent books I've enjoyed & would be just the sort of thing: the Parasol Protectorate series, the Divergent trilogy, the most recent Tales of the city book, various books by China Mieville, the Rivers of London series.

Alternatively non-fiction is also good - history / economics / feminism / biography up to a point (but probably not popular science). Don't mind more 'serious' books for non-fic as I find them much easier to read in bits and pieces (whereas with literary novels if I can't read uninterrupted I tend to lose the thread).

All suggestions welcome - thanks!

Takver Sun 03-Aug-14 22:29:05

Oh, and if anyone wants to suggest some fun reads that dd would enjoy, those would also be welcome - she's pretty catholic in her tastes, reads lots of YA dystopian stuff but not too fussy.

joanofarchitrave Sun 03-Aug-14 22:30:05

Dr Johnson's London by Liza Picard
Experience by Martin Amis

Takver Sun 03-Aug-14 22:31:55

Oh, the Dr Johnson one is a good idea, I think my dad even has a copy, had forgotten about that. I think Martin Amis is too literary for me, I'm afraid grin

LauraChant Sun 03-Aug-14 22:33:26

I just finished and enjoyed The Magicians by Lev Grossman, very readable

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Aug-14 10:49:28

I have read some brilliant contemporary light sci-fi recently:

Brilliance - Marcus Sakey
.. and its sequel A Better World - Marcus Sakey

Lexicon - Max Barry

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

I'm an avid reader of "hard" sci-fi (more scientific than the above) and can give recommendations in that sub-genre, too, if you are interested.

Takver Mon 04-Aug-14 11:20:49

Definitely would like your hard sci-fi recommends too, Cote, thanks

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Aug-14 11:43:46

Have you read anything by Neal Stephenson? He has written some amazing books. Snow Crash and The Diamond Age are my favourites.

I'll add Hyperion by Dan Simmons to the list above. Call it 'medium' - not hard sci-fi but not light, either. Very good.

Have you read any William Gibson books? His latter books (since and including All Tomorrow's parties) are rubbish imho but his earlier stuff is very good.

Takver Mon 04-Aug-14 11:49:31

Have read William Gibson, though a long while ago, not read Snow Crash for some reason (not sure why), but must get around to it. In fact, DH I'm pretty sure has a copy, so that'd be another good holiday one!

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Aug-14 11:55:48

When reading Snow Crash, promise me that you will persevere until about page 200 - that is when you understand what is going on smile It is an absolute classic, selected into Time magazine's list of "100 best English-language books of all time".

The Diamond Age is equally brilliant imho. It is amazing how some of the predictions of these books have already come true - The program "Earth" in Snow Crash now exists as Google Earth, the interactive 'book' in The Diamond Age is pretty much here, with an iPad in every child's hand.

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Aug-14 12:02:11

Btw, Brilliance is £0.99 on Kindle at the moment.

2kidsintow Mon 04-Aug-14 12:09:56

The Ilona Andrews books Magic Bites etc are a must.

One damned thing after another is the start of a cracking series of books too.

ShanghaiDiva Mon 04-Aug-14 12:20:01

Ya suggestions:
Slated trilogy
Blood red road - the dust lands trilogy
Delirium trilogy
The fear Charlie higson
Knife of never letting go - Patrick ness

mynameisred Mon 04-Aug-14 12:25:01

non-fiction: I just read 'Among Muslims - Meeting at the Frontiers of Pakistan' by Kathleen Jamie, it is an account of her travels as a young woman in that area in the early 90s. Well written and very interesting to read.

HopefulHamster Mon 04-Aug-14 15:04:27

Oooh well my first recommendation is to join GoodReads where you can track what you read and easily join book groups or find recommendation lists (there's even a Mumsnet-based group, the Book Vipers, but I'm a member of some SF/F ones too).

Do you like the grim-dark fantasy that's out there? Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy is good.

More standard epic fantasy is the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb (she's written many more but these start the other series off). You've probably read this if reading fantasy for a while though. Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles series is enjoyable but he hasn't finished the last one yet. These would be good devour on holiday books, I think.

Urban fantasy: Felix Castor series by Mike Carey. Felix is an exorcist in London - basically present day except everyone knows ghosts/demons exist etc.

YA: The first two in Chuck Wendig's Empyrean trilogy are out, bit Hunger Games-ish dystopian world but much better some of the YA copycats out there.

SF: Wool by Hugh Howey is good, though the author is a bit of a dick. Humans live in a massive silo - can't go outside because the air will kill them. Nice fat book for hols - are you reading physical books or ebooks?

Ready Player One is one for the geeks - set largely in a futuristic world all around an immersive MMO but packed to the gills with 80s references.

What about zombie SF? Mira Grant's Newsflesh Trilogy is good. Focus is more on world where people blog about zombies than actually flesh-eating zombie stuff.

Non-fic, best ones I've read in recent years are No Envy: Real Lives in North Korea and The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France. Very different subjects but utterly compelling.

Takver Mon 04-Aug-14 16:22:46

This is all great, many thanks! Real books not kindle atm, and ideally things I can get from the library (most stuff as we have free online ordering across the county)

Not too keen on overly dark/violent fantasy (wasn't keen on the Farseer books, though I did quite like the Robin hobb dragon seriesor). Felix Castor definitely sounds like the kind of light reading I like.

mynameisred - Among Muslims sounds really interesting, have read Nothing to Envy & found it fascinating, will also look out for the Tour de france one (did you read my bike comments on the practical vs romantic dh thread?? grin )

Cote, agree it is funny going back & re-reading sci-fi esp some of the early cyberpunk stuff & seeing how many things we now do have for real.

RiverTam Mon 04-Aug-14 16:25:47

not exactly what you've asked for but a fantastic read is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel - about Thomas Cromwell.

Takver Mon 04-Aug-14 16:48:16

RiverTam, I've got A Place of Greater Safety lined up for winter - I need a long dark evening (or a long train journey) to get into more substantial novels.

NynaevesSister Mon 04-Aug-14 16:56:36

Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

He was good friends with G R R Martin, but his books are nothing like the Game of Thrones novels. There are 15 of the books but they are set over only a two year period.

I am a bit of a fan smile

stoopstofolly Tue 05-Aug-14 09:05:45

"The Girl with all the Gifts" by MR Carey. Dystopian/ zombie but really well written and gripping. He's written another series that I read years ago that was excellent (about a wizard/ necromancer) that was also good and I'm thinking of re-reading!

TabbyM Tue 05-Aug-14 12:09:41

Benedict Jacka's Cursed / Fated / Chosen / Taken - light urban fantasy, like Jim Butcher / Mike Carey and set in London, well written and funny

I second Patrick Rothfuss - great books for hanging about though if you miss a train / plane / lose a family member don't blame me...

CoteDAzur Tue 05-Aug-14 16:24:51

World War Z is very good (and I don't read zombie stuff)

HopefulHamster Tue 05-Aug-14 16:37:37

Felix Castor is an easyish read, but not light really - plots themselves are quite dark and twisty or can be. His best friend has got a demon in him. He investigates a lot of deaths. They are 'light' in the sense that I enjoy them and find urban fantasy generally easier to read than SF or epic fantasy, but not in theme, if you know what I mean?

Have you read any Trudi Canavan? I mention her just because I always see her books in my library and the Black magician trilogy was quite cliched but readable fluff.

Didn't see your bike comments! I haven't been on a bike in 12 years though and still liked Tour de France book smile

More books I've enjoyed recently include:
The Golem and the Jinni - a Golem and a Jinni separately arrive in New York in 1899. It's about immigration and prejudice as much as supernatural beings.

The Martian - Astronaut is accidentally abandoned on Mars when crew think he's been killed. Then has to survive as long as he can until he can potentially get picked up again. But there's no food, little water, etc. First person, really quite fun.

Ancillary Justice - a soldier who used to be part of the mind of a ship seeks vengeance. V cool.

More Non-fic: Quiet the Power of Introversion (basically how introverts are supercool and awesome, so maybe give a miss if you're an extrovert).

Or Orange is the New Black? (not as exciting as the TV show)

Or For Richer, for Poorer, a love affair with poker (oldish book from Victoria Coren, good though).

Everyone in my Goodreads book groups seems to read a LOT of Brandon Sanderson. They're not for me, but could be worth a try. Mistborn was quite good. He likes his magic rules.

I like the Look Inside feature on Amazon (plus reviews from there and Goodreads) to give me an idea of whether I'll like something or not.

Stokey Tue 05-Aug-14 17:04:48

I've just read Nexus which I loved. There's a second one too whose name I can;t remember, it felt a bit more rushed but still an interesting concept.

Takver Tue 05-Aug-14 17:53:22

I'm not madly keen on Brandon Sanderson either, Hamster - I thought the first Mistborn one was an interesting idea, but the sequels didn't live up to it, and couldn't get on with his others. Agree Trudi Canavan is amusing if lightweight.

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