Posts Tagged 'doomsday book'

Top Ten Tuesday REWIND: The Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most

My apologies–I have been absent from the last few Top Ten Tuesdays, for absolutely no good reason! But this week was a great time to get back in the game.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created to share lists with other bookish folks! For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday list, we’ve got a rewind–we can choose any past Top Ten Tuesday subject that we missed! I chose March 26’s prompt: the top ten  books I recommend the most! (Fittingly, many of these are going to look familiar to you TTTers…)

1. Hyperion, by Dan Simmons
I will never stop talking about this book. It represents everything sci-fi should be: believable characters, fantastic technology, and timeless themes. I try to press this novel on everyone!

2. West with the Night, by Beryl Markham
Whenever the subject of memoirs comes up, I immediately recommend West with the Night. It’s one of the only memoirs I’ve read that is well-written, engaging, and impressive, while still being relatable and truthful. Seriously, read it!

3. A Song of Ice and Fire, by G.R.R. Martin
I successfully got my boyfriend and father to read these, and am now trying to force them on my brother. These are great for seasoned fantasy readers who can spot the tropes Martin gleefully butchers, as well as people who watch the HBO show but haven’t yet read the source material.

4. The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing
I recently wrote about The Golden Notebook being one of my heart books, and I meant every word! I passed on my recommendation to good friend J, who also very much enjoyed it, and I tend to want to pass it on to just about every female friend I have.

5. Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
UGH this book is so painfully good. I mention it in almost every TTT post I’ve done! But I can’t help myself. It’s just so well-written and interesting and chock-full of intrigue and pathos.

6. Passage, by Connie Willis
This is one of those books that I recommend and then get upset if the recommendee doesn’t like it, because it resonated so deeply with me. (Thanks, Dad.)

7. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
I could NOT stop recommending this book to friends once I finished it. Willis is great at getting you to care about characters who are marked for death. My boyfriend ripped the cover of my copy and it infuriated me, because now I can’t lend it out anymore.

8. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
This is a classic graphic novel that even non-comic book fans should read. It plays with many well-known superhero tropes and can inspire tons of passionate discussion between friends. A great example of the form.

9. The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russel
Not for everyone, this beautiful tale of a Jesuit mission to a newly-discovered planet is both harrowing and redemptive. And guaranteed to make you cry at least once.

10. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
This  is just a straight-up classic that everyone should read. I am continually surprised by how many people, even people who are fans of Steinbeck, haven’t read it. Don’t be intimidated by the length; it’s worth it.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books for People who Like George R.R. Martin

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was to list the top ten books for people who like a certain author. Our challenge was to pick an author and give book recommendations based on that author! As you can see, I have chosen George R.R. Martin, AKA the bearded troll god, writer of A Song of Ice and Fire (ASoIaF).

So! If you like George R.R. Martin, you might also like:

1. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
Though there are some sci-fi elements (time travel!), much of this book focuses on the harsh realities of medieval life, including dirt, disease, and lack of scientific knowledge. Willis also has Martin’s same penchant for killing off your favorite characters, sympathetic and otherwise.

2. Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
To really appreciate Martin, you also need to appreciate the fantasy tropes he’s dismantling. For better or worse, many of these tropes originated with Tolkien’s massive fantasy epic. (Which isn’t to say they aren’t a good story, too!) Both also have massive casts of characters and impressively interwoven relationships.

3. The Last Werewolf, by Glen Duncan
Martin’s tales are filled with sex and violence, and thoroughly break down the idea of the good and noble knight. Duncan’s novel (first in a trilogy) reworks the werewolf–lately somewhat neutered by its depictions in Twilight and its ilk–into a savage beast that revels in killing. Both are pretty dark at times, but also give reasons for hope.

4. Kushiel’s Dart, by Jacqueline Carey
Carey’s world-building, like Martin’s, is fantastic. This series takes place in Terre D’Ange, a fictionalized version of France in a very different version of Europe. Her imaginative religions rival Martin’s for sure. (And her sex scenes are much better written.)

5. The Wolf Hall trilogy, by Hilary Mantel
Shifting alliances, gray morality, court politicking–the only difference is the lack of magic in Mantel’s world. Otherwise, you’re basically reading about Littlefinger.

6. Wild Seed, by Octavia Butler
Perhaps a bit of a leap, but I think Butler challenges sci-fi and fantasy conventions just as well as Martin does. A challenging and thought-provoking read.

7. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
This just has a lot of the same bleakness and same glimmers of hope that I think ASoIaF offers.

8. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
One of Martin’s great strengths is showing the cruelty, violence, and consequences of war. Haldeman does the same thing, albeit in a sci-fi setting.

9. The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss
I haven’t actually read this one yet, despite it being on my TBR list for ages, but a quick glance at its back cover and reviews makes me think that it would be a perfect follow-up to your time in Westeros.

10. Beyond the Wall, edited by James Lowder
In my review, I suggested this book for readers who are already fans of Martin’s series who want to delve a little deeper into its themes, motivations, and characters.

ASoIaF fans, got any other suggestions? Feel free to leave your thoughts–and your own TTT lists–in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: The Top Ten Books I’d Quickly Save If My House Was Going To Be Abducted By Aliens

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. They are particularly fond of lists and I have to say, so am I! I like the idea of this meme because it’s a little more intensive and in-depth than some others I’ve seen. I don’t know that I’ll do it every week, but I liked this Tuesday’s topic: The Top Ten Books I’d Quickly Save If My House Was Going To Be Abducted By Aliens.

1. Passage, by Connie Willis
I couldn’t put this book down when I read it for the first time. It’s not only one of my favorite sci-fi/fantasy novels, but one of my favorite novels period. Willis’s conceptualization of what exists for us after death is eerie and sad but ultimately hopeful, too.

2. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
What can I say? I really like Connie Willis. She writes wonderfully real female characters and the coolest plots!

3. The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing
This should be mandatory reading for everyone who considers themselves feminists. (And actually, for people who don’t consider themselves feminists, either–maybe it will make them one.) I love my worn and dog-eared copy of this book, and would want to save it so I could continue to press it on my friends.

4. Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy
I love reading about the American West, and nobody writes it like McCarthy. This is my favorite out of all his works; the Biblical imagery contrasts spectacularly against the savagery and senselessness of the Judge and his gang. Every time I read Blood Meridian, I realize something new.

5. Averno, by Louise Gluck
I hope poetry counts! This collection is haunting and lovely by turns. Gluck’s appropriation of the myth of Persephone and Hades into both a doomed love story and a struggle between mother and daughter and mother and husband is masterful. (Also, it’s a short collection and would help break up the longer texts I’ve included!)

6. The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran
My high school guidance counselor gave me a copy of this eight years ago. I am still as enchanted by Gibran’s dreamy prose poetry now as I was as an 18 year old! His poems are also serve as some of the best possible inspiration for my own original writing.

7. The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell
I thought this was especially fitting for the alien theme, since the novel explores humanity’s interaction with a newly-discovered alien planet through the experiences of a team of Jesuits. The angst levels in this one are incredible.

8. The Birds of Ecuador Field Guide, by Robert S. Ridgely
I brought this guide with me on my three-month long study abroad trip to Ecuador and proceeded to carry it in my backpack the entire time I was there. My time in Ecuador helped take my interest in birds and make me into a real birdwatcher. Totally indispensable, beautifully-illustrated plates, and best of all, includes all of my penciled-in notations of when and where I saw each bird.

9. Open Veins of Latin America, by Eduardo Hughes Galeano
Speaking of my time in Ecuador…I read this book for the second time while I was there, and it made a huge impact in the way I think about Latin America and its relationship to the United States. The copy I have was my father’s original copy from when he was young, growing up in Mexico, and that makes it even more special to me.

10.  East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
One of my best friends gave me East of Eden, knowing of my love for novels that deal with the evil that lurks in the hearts of men (and women). Besides being my fave Steinbeck, my friend wrote a lovely inscription in the front, and even though I could replace the book, I wouldn’t be able to replace her kind words!

Whew! That was fun (and surprisingly easy)! So that’s my list. Check out others’ lists over at The Broke and the Bookish!

Friday Finds (Mar 12)!

Friday Finds are hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. What books were you introduced to this week?

This week, I was intrigued by Jan’s Teaser Tuesday over at Eating YA Books. That’s why Pastworld, by Ian Beck, is my Friday Find today!

The description, via Amazon:

In 2050, civilization has become sterile, controlled, peaceful, and very, very boring. In an effort to capitalize on the ennui of the rich and famous, Buckland Corporation has created the ultimate vacation destination: Pastworld, a city modeled after 19th-century London where visitors also known as “gawkers” can immerse themselves in a Victorian world complete with grueling poverty, near-primitive medicine, lawlessness, and a casual disregard for human life. When 17-year-old Caleb Brown enters Pastworld with his father, one of the theme park’s creators, he is unwittingly embroiled in a Scotland Yard investigation of a series of Jack the Ripper-style murders. Befriended by a young pickpocket and a beautiful girl with amnesia, he fights for his life and future in the dark underbelly of Pastworld.

The central idea reminds me a bit of Connie Willis’s fantastic time travel book, Doomsday Book–one of the only sci-fi novels I’ve ever read that made me WEEP. Literally weep. If it’s anything at all like that, it sounds like I’d love it.

What’s YOUR Friday Find? 🙂


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