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Author list, turn me on to some new stuff (25)
  • Author list, turn me on to some new stuff  [ Thu Oct 23 2008 7:18 PM ]

    Every time I walk in a bookstore my mind goes blank and I can't think of any of the authors I've been meaning to buy, so I end up looking for the few authors I can think of that I've already read too much from anyway. If there's a writer you're wild about, please post a name and brief description of what to expect. I skew in favor of sci fi and horror, but I'll read just about any fiction on a solid recommendation. I'll start it out with the top two most picked over authors from used bookstores - in fact, many used bookstores pull them from the shelves and keep them behind the counter for exactly that reason. (Also, these happen to be two authors that I've already read too extensively.)

    H.P. Lovecraft - spooky short stories and novellas (for the most part) concerning incredibly old god-like monsters. It's very short on dialogue and often choppy reading compared to contemporary fiction, but the payoff in pop culture cache is well worth it. Movies made from his stories include Re-animator, From Beyond, The Dunwich Horror and Dreams in the Witch House.

    Philip K. Dick - super bizarre schizophrenic sci fi. It's often difficult to get into a book at the beginning but completely engrossing once you're over the hump. Again, the payoff and cool points make it worth your while, reading pleasure aside. Movies made from his writings include Blade Runner, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly and Next.

  • Richard K. Morgan  [ Wed Nov 12 2008 10:45 AM ]

    Richard K. Morgan

  • John Irving  [ Fri Dec 19 2008 2:04 PM ]

    World According to Garp

    My latest read. Not sci fi or horror, but SOLIDLY recommended.

  • I'm reading some Haruki Murakami  [ Fri Dec 19 2008 2:40 PM ]

    but I've been told I picked the wrong one and should put it down NOW. I'm still enjoying it, but I haven't made it very far in yet. Maybe I'll buckle. I must admit, it's spooked me.

    I've got a gigantic George R.R. Martin that I might take on next... except I looked up Richard Morgan (above) and it sounds pretty cool, so maybe I'll find some of that next time at the bookstore.

  • Hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world?  [ Fri Dec 19 2008 2:41 PM ]

    I loved that one. I have two others, but I'm having problems getting into them. I'd rather just read Kafka.

  • yeah, I loved that one.  [ Fri Dec 19 2008 2:46 PM ]

    I've been told Wild Sheep Chase and Dance, Dance, Dance are my other two must-reads.

  • Hmmm, I'll have to look into those.  [ Fri Dec 19 2008 2:51 PM ]

    I've tried to start "sputnik sweetheart" and "after the quake" with limited success, as I mentioned. "after the quake" seems to have a lot of the Kafka-esque parable quality that I liked about "hard boiled wonderland..." but that seems to be part of my problem with just wanting to get back to reading more Kafka.

    I think maybe "The Trial" will be next on my list just so I can get it out of my system. Then maybe I'll be able to get back into something a little less grueling and tedious, like Murakami.

    Last edited [12/19/08 3:02 PM]
  • Kafka  [ Fri Dec 19 2008 2:54 PM ]

    I've read The Castle. I thought it would never end.

  • The Castle doesn't end.  [ Fri Dec 19 2008 2:59 PM ]

    Kafka died before finishing it. Talk about the perfect description of the horrors of bureaucracy. I really enjoyed The Castle, but I'm kind of a literary masochist that way.

  • On a totally different note...  [ Fri Dec 19 2008 3:23 PM ]

    I'm reading Annie Dillard's The Mayfairs. Eh. I will be fine if I never read another novel set in provincial New England. I just don't give a shit about lobsters.

    But, her non-fiction is amazing. Life on the Galapagos is pretty incredible, metaphor-rich and languagey. I love reading it out loud; feels like I'm chewing words.

  • "The Trial" & "After The Quake"  [ Fri Feb 27 2009 1:55 PM ]

    The trial was almost exactly what I expected. I wonder how much power I give to to the "attic courts." Do I allow myself to be their ward? Is it a matter of my own self giving them power over me or is that power de-facto? In the end I certainly wouldn't resign myself to being goon-armed into an execution, not without a struggle.

    Most interesting where the 1001 interpretations of the parable "Before the law." I'm still weighing that one. Certainly one should at least try to pass through the "door of the law" without first gaining the elusive permission of the doorman. Regardless of the consequences it must be a better alternative than exhausting one's self to death seeking merely to attain permission.

    "After The Quake" was much lighter in a sense, but the characters robust and worth analysis which I will spare you.

  • The Doomsday Book  [ Wed Mar 11 2009 3:13 PM ]

    By Connie Willis. I haven't read it since high school but it's some sci-fi-like book that I loved.

    And, of course, Neal Stephenson is supposed to be the man. I haven't actually read any of his stuff yet (about to embark on Quicksilver, the first of the Baroque Cycle), but all the Baroque Cycle books and Cryptonomicon are supposed to be incredible.

    I also love The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Not science fiction, but I read it recently and it's wonderful.

  • The Martian Chronicles — Ray Bradbury  [ Thu Apr 23 2009 5:54 PM ]

    It was kinda "meh". But what pisses me off is the timeline taking place between 1999 and 2005. Why the fuck aren't we on Mars yet? I thought this was supposed to be the future we're living in? Sigh.

    And what happens when we nuke the whole world? There won't be no Martian colonies to go running too. Somebody really needs to step up on get on that.

    (haha! I beat your post count Greenley. YOUR NEXT, Marisa. And if Hotrod keeps his trap shut a little I'll have him by the end of the month.)

  • Dark Harvest -- Norman Partridge  [ Sat Jul 4 2009 6:18 PM ]

    Short Halloween horror novel. Interesting style and a fun, fast read for when you're in the mood for Halloween horror.

  • Face of Another, Kobo Abe  [ Tue Jul 21 2009 3:28 PM ]

    From the 60s. It's been sitting on my shelf forever and it finally got the fickle finger of fate.

    It's about a man who loses his face in an accident and how he deals with not having a face and the possibility of choosing a new one.

    I would rather see a movie based on this than read the book. The premise is interesting but the writing is so self obsessed and clinical. I didn't think there could be anything boring about "psychotic compulsions" and was surprised when I found it to the contrary. But I can't stop reading it because I want to know what happens.

  • Funny Books  [ Tue Sep 15 2009 10:37 AM ]

    I have a number of funny books (over thirty five) to expand your horizons, such as 'Medical Humor - medical nonsense to tickle your funnybone' and a very funny religious book "Gracious Me. . .Is Nothing Sacred' How about some quotes "Profound Thoughts - great thoughts from great minds' a series of books, each with a limited number of topics. Find them all at, just type 'shubnell' Visit Page

  • Hey...  [ Tue Sep 15 2009 10:48 AM ]

    are you really Shubnell, as in the author of all those books? If so, it's an honor to meet you.

  • kafka-esque  [ Wed Apr 21 2010 2:42 PM ]

    a law prof at unm promised the class he would not use terms like "kafka-esque" in class.

    He never did, quite, exactly.

    But some that he did use were just as murky.

    Thank-you professor davis for not using kafka-esque, and to



    thank you for using it.

  • With great power comes great responsiblity.​  [ Wed Apr 21 2010 4:42 PM ]

    I'll use the term when appropriate, clichéd though it may be. But at least I've fucking read him.

  • I wanna know  [ Wed Sep 29 2010 9:06 AM ]

    And I especially do NOT wanna pick on madmamma, but what the hell does kafka-esque really mean?

    does it mean anything at all?

    or, does it mean what you want it to mean and therefore must be utilized in context?

    Kafka is/was an amazing writer, monumental in his foresight and intelligence, not to say analytical abilities and good ol writin' talent.

    I studied a little of this and a little of that of Kafka in college, sometimes in law and sometimes in business. His readings were generally spot on given the academic context - but I still wonder does everyone, anyone, or did I really understand his writings.

    Agreeable Profundity; lots of context; syntax from hell and a command of the language that is beyond frightening.

    Last edited [9/29/10 9:08 AM]
  • New Books  [ Wed Sep 29 2010 9:13 AM ]

    I have listened to on radio, watched on TeeWee, some very profoud reviews of Obama's Wars, and from an interest in the historical context, I believe that it would be a considered read.

    Soon as they hit the used books list I aim to order a discounted copy - because I am a cheapo.

    And because I believe that the book will be relavent for a very short time, then it will sink into deserved anonymity .

  • BlyssPluss  [ Wed Sep 29 2010 11:08 AM ]

    I don't usually recommend her other work to men (no, not even The Handmaid's Tale), but Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood is a delectable bit of dystopian sci-fi. So astute. So good. (Warning: the very beginning is a little weird; just power through it.)

    And if you're a sci-fi fan, you probably already know about Neal Stephenson. Holy fuck, Snow Crash. The best!

  • Vernor Vinge  [ Wed Sep 29 2010 2:00 PM ]

    I love the progression of "A Fire Upon the Deep" (1992), "A Deepness in the Sky" (1999 and probably my favorite), and "Rainbows End" (2006). Each one has to take place closer to the present because of the oops-that-thing-is-already-on-our-doorst​ep phenomenon that strikes many Sci-Fi plots, and yet they're all still legitimately visionary too.

    But then on top of that, he moves down the level of abstraction (rather than the up that I expected) in applying his creepy dehumanizing treatment of minds. (And no, that's not really the theme of any of them, though there's a recurring theme of who is a system's master, and if you think of people as mere systems, well, then you've just been sucked in.)

    In 1992 an entire interstellar culture can be dismissed as a "type 2 perversion" with billions of people being unwitting tools, characters struggle with a problem of galactic scope as entire planets are wiped out, and you might have a security vulnerability in your mind that was programmed eons ago by a being of such complexity that Cthulhu would get dizzy trying to think about it. In 1999 it's clash of two slower-than-light expeditions and scores of people are mentally enslaved while aliens face the prospect of nuclear war. By the 2006 novel, eggheads wonder about the sinister implications of a sudden rise in sales for a particular snack treat, and the protagonist is trying to make up for life lost to Alzheimer's. In each novel, at first it looks like Vinge is "thinking smaller" than the previous one, but he's actually thinking more deeply, and with a more realistic immediacy that makes the Bad Guys all the more threatening.

  • Just started REAMDE  [ Wed Oct 26 2011 12:17 PM ]

    A few weeks ago at a real live physical bookstore, when I was getting the new Vinge novel (which didn't really impress me all that much), I impulse-bought the new Neal Stephenson one too, "REAMDE." (That's not a typo.)

    I stopped following Stephenson about a decade ago, because the "Baroque Cycle" novels looked so uninteresting on the surface, that I never even gave them a try.

    Last night I dived into this new one, though, and I'm starting to think I made a big mistake by writing off Stephenson. I'm only 20-30 pages in, but now I realize .. damn I missed this guy. I almost don't care where the plot goes, if the story ends in any sensible way, or if the SF ideas end up making me think about anything, because the writing itself is so tickling. (And cheap gimmick or not, Stephenson is entitled to make a joke about a character not feeling guilty that his video game steals an idea from Google Earth.)

    This dude makes me chuckle and think "what a great sentence that was," and I probably could enjoy that sort of thing whether it's SF or not. I'm already thinking I should have read his last decade's worth of work.

  • I'm still loving my Kobo e-reader  [ Wed Oct 26 2011 12:35 PM ]

    and snagging all kinds of cool public domain fiction. After finally plodding through the tiresome Scooby-Doo escapades of Carnicki, the Ghost Finder (and I actually read a few other things before forcing myself to finish it) I started on The Girl From Hollywood and am reminded once again what a great storyteller Edgar Rice Burroughs was, even without the dinosaurs.

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