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Old 07-09-2009, 19:37   #1
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Recommend me something different other than Crime/Thriller & Horror.

Moving on from my other thread regarding series fiction I could do with some recommendations for something different to read. I'd say 95% of the books I read are either in the crime, thriller, horror or sci fi genre. I've also got plenty of non fiction to read and unless it's someone of particular interest I'm not that keen on Bio's. Also I not that big on books that are heavy going. This doesn't leave much else and those books I have seen on the shelf seem to be aimed at Women.

So does anyone have any recommendations for novels? as long as they are not part of a series or of the genres previously mentioned.
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Old 07-09-2009, 19:53   #2
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Why not try something historical like the Sherlock Holmes stories? They're mystery/crime but 'different'.
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Old 07-09-2009, 20:06   #3
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How about travel literature?

There are some good books of author's travel adventures.
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Old 07-09-2009, 20:06   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by douglasb View Post
Why not try something historical like the Sherlock Holmes stories? They're mystery/crime but 'different'.
I've not thought about historical novels, may be worth a look as long as they are not part of a series like the Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell. I've also got a shed load of unread Agatha Christie novels so would probably give Holmes a miss.

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How about travel literature?

There are some good books of author's travel adventures.
I don't mind the odd travel book and I've read several of Bryson's and also enjoyed Rush's drummer Neil Peart's books. Although I'm more interested in fiction.
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Old 08-09-2009, 06:25   #5
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I most ready fantasy, with a few bios and thrillers thrown in.
But the one fiction book that I have read that sits outside those genres that I'd recommend is:-

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon

Check out some of the reviews on the 'net - and for once it's a novel that justifies all the gushing praise.
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:54   #6
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I most ready fantasy, with a few bios and thrillers thrown in.
But the one fiction book that I have read that sits outside those genres that I'd recommend is:-

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon

Check out some of the reviews on the 'net - and for once it's a novel that justifies all the gushing praise.
The Shadow of the Wind is my favourite book that I have read and is utterly brilliant from start to finish.
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:58   #7
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I don't mind the odd travel book and I've read several of Bryson's and also enjoyed Rush's drummer Neil Peart's books. Although I'm more interested in fiction.
Not sure if you have read any of Haruki Murakami's books but I really enjoy his writing.

Norwegian Wood and The Windup Bird Chronicle would be two excellent recommendations to get started on his books.

He writes fiction in a semi autobiographical way and his books are quite philosophical too but they really are great...at least for me anyway.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:04   #8
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Historical books, I really enjoyed the Grail Quest trilogy by Bernard Cornwell - I enjoyed the first two much more than the third, but having never read anything like that before, I really got into them.

I also absolutely love both the Thursday Next series (5 books) and the Nursery Crime series (2 books) by Jasper Fforde. They're very witty and I found them highly enjoyable.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:38   #9
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Find and read anything at all by Jonathan Coe. The Rotters Club is a two part thing, with The Closed Circle being its sequel, but they're both astonishingly brilliant and funny. I also like The Rain Before It Falls and House Of Sleep.
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:17   #10
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Like Zenza, I was also going to suggest some Haruki Murakami if you haven't tried them already. Both the books he mentions are great, Norwegian Wood and The Windup Bird Chronicle, but you can't go wrong with any of his really. One of his most popular works, Kafka on the Shore, I also highly recommend - good starting point too. His unique brand of surrealism, cultural values and the Salinger-esque loneliness/alienation of his characters works brilliantly. There's a dreamlike quality to his storytelling, and his books are real page turners.

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Old 08-09-2009, 12:07   #11
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Quote:
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Like Zenza, I was also going to suggest some Haruki Murakami if you haven't tried them already. Both the books he mentions are great, Norwegian Wood and The Windup Bird Chronicle, but you can't go wrong with any of his really. One of his most popular works, Kafka on the Shore, I also highly recommend - good starting point too. His unique brand of surrealism, cultural values and the Salinger-esque loneliness/alienation of his characters works brilliantly. There's a dreamlike quality to his storytelling, and his books are real page turners.
Absolutely.

I've got Kaflka on the Shore but haven't got round to starting it yet but have read quite a few of his other books and they are just as you described and real page turners.

As a starting point, The Elephant Vanishes is also good as it has short stories so you can get a feel for his style.
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:09   #12
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Have a look at Tom Wolfe as well. Bonfire of the Vanities and A Man For All Seasons are classics in my book. 'My Name is Charlotte whatever it was' was pretty good as well but not quite as epic as the other two.

As no-one else has bothered, I'm going to say Douglas Coupland. Some are better than others but you can't go far wrong with Microserfs, Miss Wyoming, Girlfriend in a Coma or Generation X. My own personal fave is 'Life After God' which is slightly more melancholy. Hideously dated, most of them are, but still worth a look for some 90's angst.

Also, try some Will Self. I'd avoid Great Apes like the plague but the others are good. Quantum Theory of Insanity, My Idea Of Fun and Cock and Bull are, I think, the best. Cock and Bull probably the best introduction and is hilarious.

And I think Alan Bennet a god amongst men, and his short stories are absolutely brilliant. Can't go wrong with anything he's written, but obviously a lot of his stuff is autobiographical so best to look for his other stuff.

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Old 08-09-2009, 12:34   #13
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Thanks for all the suggestions so far, Shadow of the Wind looks ok and is quite cheap.
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Old 08-09-2009, 18:11   #14
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I thought this was amazing. I'd also second the Douglas Coupland recommendation especially Girlfriend in a Coma and Hey Nostradamus!

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Old 08-09-2009, 23:03   #15
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My gf had a similar problem with me, she's an English literature graduate, whereas I am a scifi/fantasy fan. She was so frustrated by what I was reading she decided to try and broaden my horizons. Fortunately, common ground was found in war literature. My "reading list" contained Pat Barker (Regnegeration - WW1), Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughter House 5 - amazing book! - pretty sci fi too), Evelyn Waugh (Sword of Honour- WW2), Joseph Heller (Catch 22 - WW2 satire). These "worthy" reads have enabled me to have actual conversations about literature with her very literary parents. Off the top of my head, stuff I found myself to avoid the sci-fi/fantasy groove included Hunter S Thompson (Hell's Angles, The Rum Diary), Chuck Palahniuk (some of his stuff verges on horror), Matthew Kneale (English Passengers - [Victorians in Tasmania based book]) and Martin Amis.

I know its not what you asked for, but worthy scifi I like include "Never Let Me Go" by Booker winner Kazuo Ishiguro and Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's tale.
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