Book Recommendations, please

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    Looking for books, preferable a box set to give for a Christmas gift, liked The Hunger Games so something along those lines. Recommendations?

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    A clue or two? Any preference to genre? Is this for an adult or a teen or a child?

    Otherwise we’ll all just offer up the Dead Russians box set: Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Chekhov.



    For an adult male, not into romance novels, He likes The Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, Hobbitt and Harry Potter fantasy books. He also likes to read about American history.




    Jack Chalker’s “Well World” series, 5 books starting with “Midnight at the Well of Souls”

    Ursula K. LeGuin’s “Earthsea Trilogy”, starting with “A Wizard of Earthsea”

    Martin Gardner’s “The Annotated Alice”

    SM Stirling’s “Emberverse”, starting with “Dies the Fire”



    Thanks JKB! Much appreciated!



    Here’s a list that might give you some ideas –



    You should ask a librarian! Seattle Public has a recommendation program called “Your Next 5 Books” – fill out the form at and get a personalized email response within a few days.



    Anyone read Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan or

    Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind?



    Thank you for all your recommendations.


    tom kelley

    I just finished reading, “King Leopold’s Ghost” and found it captivatingly shocking. All in one book it tells the story of Stanley and Livingston, the first human rights movement in modern times, the brutal exploitation and genocide of the Congolese people and the biggest real estate scam ever. It is brilliantly written by Adam Hochschild,who introduces a cast of characters that includes steam boat captain Joseph Conrad author of, “Heart of Darkness”, Irish patriot Roger Casement who ended his life on the gallows of London, and the failed U.S. business man for whom the town of Sanford, Florida is named. Available at Barnes & Noble, Westwood Village.



    I’m going to have to try the ‘ask a librarian’ thing. Quite a while now I’ve felt like I get better suggestions from other people than what I pick for myself – because I’ve worked over my familiar areas pretty well and other people offer things I haven’t seen before. So, Miss Librarian…show me something!



    Ahem. That’s MS. Librarian to you! ;)

    The Wheel of Time books are okay, if he likes Tolkien he’ll probably like the first five or six at least. I’m not a fan of Goodkind, but he might like George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, which the Game of Thrones TV series is based on.

    There’s also an anthology that just came out, called Epic, which would be a good way for him to discover new authors he likes in this area.


    Rod Clark

    The Hunger Games? Then maybe Paolo Bacigalupi:

    – The Windup Girl

    – Ship Breaker

    For something post-apocalyptic but hopeful in the end, Hayao Miyazaki’s graphic novel:

    – Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

    More graphic novels, fantasies filled with flawed gods, by Neil Gaiman:

    – Sandman

    A long way from the Hunger Games, the fictionalized reality of draftees thrown into the 2nd Chechen war, by conscript Nicolai Lilin:

    – Free Fall

    If feeling utterly dystopian, stories by T. C. McCarthy about teenagers genetically engineered to win a future war:

    – Germline

    – Exogene

    – Chimera

    And a reminder that the politics of empire are timeless, Robert Harris’ novels of the end of the Roman Republic, a fictionalized biography of Cicero swept up in the plots of Caesar, Pompeii, Crassus and others to turn the country into the Empire:

    – Imperium

    – Lustrum (Conspirata, in the US)



    Thanks, Rod Clark. I’m going to check some of these out for my husband…who thankfully doesn’t read The Blog!

    And thank you Rebecca for the SPL site recommendation feature!



    As datamuse mentioned, The Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice, etc.) series may be right up his alley.



    Goodkind is readable but the stories are a vehicle for his somewhat extreme libertarianism. It has been described as libertarian porn.

    Libertarian ideas are not new to Sci-Fi and like any other fantasy the effects will wear off of most teenagers exposed to them.



    Robert Jordan’s books suffer from being overly wordy…I made it through 11 of 12 because I hated to have wasted the time…but Jordan died before he made the 12th book which should be a object lesson (I believe it was finished by a ghost writer). The Earthsea books were eminently readable when I was 21ish.

    Robin Hobbs has a few good series: the Farseer Trilogy, The Tawny Man, Liveship Traders…a good world.

    China Mieville for “Perdido Street Station”, “The Scar”, and “The Iron Council” all set upon a world called Bas-Lag, but unconnected. Not SF, and not Fantasy, but a weird amalgam. You can get them in the larger format soft covers which would be impressive for a gift.



    I love China Mieville, he’s one of my favorites, but I’m not entirely sure I’d recommend him based on the preferences stated…I think Gene Wolfe might be a better fit, and Guy Gavriel Kay, who assisted Tolkien’s son in editing his unpublished work.

    Btw JayDee, there will be 14 Wheel of Time books when the last one comes out in January. Books 12-14 were written by Brandon Sanderson from Jordan’s notes. I find them noticeably different in tone, personally, but I have a long commute and they’re good for that.



    OK, it’s between The Games of Thrones and Earthsea Trilogy, these books are for a male in their late 50’s. He is not into anything sci-fi, also trying to find something our avid reader daughter does not own.



    Check into the Maze Runner series. While the Hunger Games was good, I liked it even better. Game of Thrones is good (although quite a thick read) but The Maze Runner is better. Check it out. Three books in the series with a prequel due out soon.

    These line of posts makes me love independent book stores where we can bring questions like this too. Beats Amazon!



    I’d give Game of Thrones the edge for him, though if you’re looking for something for your daughter to read as well I’d go with Earthsea (which I read for school myself in 7th grade) depending on her age. Game of Thrones is pretty violent, especially the later books. Nothing a high schooler couldn’t handle but I wouldn’t, for instance, give it to a 10-year-old.



    One of my neighbors just recommended The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Our daughter is 11 years old and in 7th grade and she does not scare, or embarass easily.



    I just finished Name of the Wind a little while back and it is a great read – I know that it is intended to be part of a series, but I am not sure if the other books are published yet, so it may not work as a “box set” gift.

    I gave my Dad (mid-50) a set of the recorded Game of Thornes books for his birthday this year and he is completely enthralled, my mom has a hard time getting him to take the headphones off ;-) He has never been a fantasy fan, but is a huge historical fiction/non-fiction reader. The big draw for him is the amount of detail that is built into the court/family politics of the storyline. As others have pointed out, the story has its share of violence and sexual situations are not shied away from, nothing that I would call unduly gratuitous, but it is hard to say for an 11 year old. I adored the Earthsea books at 11 (still do), so if you are thinking of something for both, that may be the best bet.



    I’m going to take a slightly different tack. I love Alexander McCall Smith’s books. They are light reading, yes. However, they contain great characters and the descriptions of locales are fantastic (Botswana, Scotland, etc.). I think there are three series and some one-offs. McCall-Smith is a bio-ethics professor with a wild imagination! :)



    Finally decided to purchase The Games of Thrones boxset, a copy of Maze Runner and Name of the Wind so he will have plenty of reading material.

    We really miss Square Books as we lke to purchase locally.

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