Good morning all. I floated a trial balloon about this a few weeks ago and there appeared to some interest in some sort of literary pursuit to pass the time in August so here we are on the 1st. Thanks to the diverse nature of the posters on the site we have a really good resource: Other people that have read interesting things that I/you have not.
Instead of a traditional book club where everyone reads a selection and discusses it, I’d like to collect knowledge of good books here and make a best of list by genre. Hopefully this inspires us to try new authors and titles or even jumpstarts folks to read after perhaps neglecting it for a while.
What I’m going to do is throw out a bunch of genres and if you have some relevant faves go ahead and post them in the comments. If there’s a genre you like but don’t see and have some suggestions in please put that in too, this will be far from complete without that. Consider series that are must-reads to be all one suggestion. Away we go.
Classics - The obvious example is Mark Twain but there’s much more. Shakespeare, the Satires of Juvenal, Cotton Mather, Pushkin, Thoreau, Chaucer, Fitzgerald, Dickens, etc. Yes, they might unearth some horrible 10th grade memories but there’s also some wonderful stories here. A bonus is that they are free for the ask from Project Gutenberg.
Modern Classics - Let’s say this is anything post-WWII through the 70’s. Faulkner, Vonnegut, Hemingway, Kerouac, Burroughs, etc
Fantasy - Tolkien is the obvious leader here but I’ve gotten some excellent suggestions here about newer authors.
Sci-Fi - Classics like Heinlein & Bradbury to any one of the dozens of Star Trek fic.
Bestsellers - I admit it, I read (some) best sellers. They’re guilty pleasures for sure but read fast and although formulaic still can tell a good story. Go ahead, admit it. You know who Harry Bosch, Stone Barrington and Spenser are.
Noir - I’m a sucker for these old time hard-boiled detective fiction novels. Much like bestsellers, quick reads but entertaining. Chandler, Spillane, Hammett, Gardner, etc
Novels - Could be bestsellers of course but not the formulaic series type.
Short stories - Since I have no attention span, short stories are fantastic because I can read a few and put the book down for weeks or years and pick it right back up and keep going. These go through many genres, Lovecraft, Henry Rollins, many of the Beat writers, many writers of long series will include collections of SS for backstory and whatnot.
Biography - A great way to discover how truly awful/wonderful someone famous might have been
Time/Place/Event Documentation & Analysis - Sometimes more fiction than non, anything describing a horrible season on Mt Everest, 1930’s Berlin, the Punk Scene in SoHo, the 1972 Presidential Election, the destruction of the Florida Everglades, Motley Crue’s drug use, Antarctic exploration, etc.
Popular Science - Best example is probably Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time but there’s tons of work by Isaac Asimov that’s a million times better. Anything that takes the incomprehensible and lays it out for those of us who were curious yet wary of the science building at school.
Hockey - Since this is a hockey blog, we ought to have a section devoted to why we’re all here, right?
This is a work in progress so please jump in and help me focus the process. For now, let’s try recommending a few books by genre you deeply enjoy in a post without comment. If you see someone’s post with something you also dig, go ahead and second it in a reply and so forth. Once we get a body of work with titles that a few folks have read coming together, then let’s expand on that and everyone can ask questions and so forth. Also, if you have a book you’re interested in but haven’t read we can put those out too. I have like 800 ebooks I downloaded on recommendation but haven’t read yet and would love more info from those that have.
The goal is to synthesize a list of a few series/authors/books in each genre that are good recs for those of us wishing to broaden our horizons or dive into something completely new.
Bottom line, let’s make this fun.