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  • Recommend me some fiction books
  • Premier Icon johndoh
    Free Member

    I like to read but it’s almost exclusively factual books around the two world wars and associated discussions. However I am going on a family holiday this summer (whoop) and I am not entirely sure I want to be reading ‘The Rise and Fall of the Nazis’ by the pool on a relaxing two week break in the Med.

    Here’s where my problems start – I don’t really read fiction (other than recently re-reading Grapes of Wrath and 1984). Back in the day I used to like horror (Stephen King, Clive Barker, James Herbert and the such) but I am not entirely sure I want to get back into that sort of stuff so I was thinking I would be most suited to reading spy / action stuff (but certainly not Andy McNab/Dan Brown sort of naff rubbish).

    So, where the hell do I start (happy to scour charity shops)?

    Thank you!

    Premier Icon chevychase
    Free Member

    Stranger in a Strange Land 🙂

    Premier Icon reeksy
    Free Member

    Charity shops is the answer. I almost only buy 2nd hand, or borrow.
    If you liked 1984 maybe try Brave New World. If you liked Grapes of Wrath (I do) look for East of Eden.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    The non Culture works of Ian Banks, Christopher Brookmyer, The Rivers of London series by David Aaronivitch. John Niven

    There’s probs something in that lot.

    Premier Icon johnners
    Free Member

    Piece Of Cake by Derek Robinson if you want to keep it WW2, Enigma by Robert Harris if you want WW2/military/spy and maybe Slow Horses by Mick Herron if you want contemporary disillusioned spy.

    But really, if you can put any prejudices about the genre aside the best choice is always Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. No spies but plenty of action.

    Premier Icon Gilesey
    Free Member

    Mick Herron – Slough House series & more for top class spy fiction. Also now a rather excellent TV series, Slow Horses, with Gary Oldman on Apple TV.

    Premier Icon desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    if you can put any prejudices about the genre aside the best choice is always Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

    Having read all his crime novels years ago, I recently put aside my prejudices about the genre (Westerns? pah, how childish!) and started on Elmore Leonard’s western books. Man, they are great, so absorbing.
    Guessing Lonesome Dove is of that ilk?

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Full Member

    So, where the hell do I start (happy to scour charity shops)?

    Go into a proper book shop, 2nd hand or not, start picking books off the shelf, read the blurb until you find some you like the sound of and buy them.

    Taking recommendations from people on the internet isn’t any more likely to find you a good book to read than using the suggestions on Amazon, or browsing the BOGOF tables in Waterstones.

    Premier Icon desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    Taking recommendations from people on the internet isn’t any more likely to find you a good book to read…

    I discovered Cormac McCarthy because of a suggestion off here. Some of the best books I’ve ever read.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    yes charity shops are often good half term plan for Classix but also read reviews and seek out authors I’ve not tried before . Loads of suggestion in my mind but will rattle off a few

    Short stories collections I find to be very satisfying and just right before a nap. Graham Greene or Ray Bradbury

    Graham Greene complete short stories

    Ray Bradbury the October country

    I like a good comedy novel als. I fell out of the habit/joy of novel-reading for quite a number of years, but one day my wife recommend me a book she’d just read titled

    The Short Gentleman by John Cantor
    I gave it go and was instantly swept up and guffawed a lot. Very good.

    Also David Nicholls ‘‘Us’’ and ‘One Day’

    Also enjoyed Nick Hornby how to be good, Sola by Ian McEwan anything by Alan Ghana to kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee the grapes of wrath by John Steinbeck. I also love reading John Grisham, Michael Crichton or Dan Brown on holiday and feel no shame!

    Premier Icon nicko74
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    Le Carre is the daddy of spy stuff; most of his books up to about 10 years ago are excellent, things like Tinker Tailor, the Spy who came in the from the cold etc.
    And as above, I’ve just finished Dead Lions (the second in Mick Herron’s Slow Horses set) and it’s also very good if a little more action-y.

    Iain M Banks (sci fi) is very engaging and entertaining.

    Personally I’m a big fan of Robert Jackson Bennett, although his genre jumps around a bit. American Elsewhere was a humdinger, I thought.
    Also great: Ben Winters, Underground Airlines

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Full Member

    I discovered Cormac McCarthy because of a suggestion off here. Some of the best books I’ve ever read.

    I agree about McCarthy – I’ve read most of his stuff. The Crossing, especially, is an utterly brilliant book, massively emotional and moving. But his books are a great example of NOT taking suggestions – I need counselling when I’ve finished reading his stuff. I’ve had one on my ‘to read’ pile since last summer but I haven’t felt ready to read it since I bought it.

    It’s very definitely NOT the sort of book I’d take on a pool holiday!

    Premier Icon gobuchul
    Free Member

    If you like Steinbeck have you read his comic stuff?

    Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat are excellent.

    Premier Icon IHN
    Full Member

    But really, if you can put any prejudices about the genre aside the best choice is always Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.

    Fantastic book, rest of the series are good too, Comanche Moon being particularly good.

    If you liked Grapes of Wrath (I do) look for East of Eden.

    Yup, what he said too, plus other Steinbeck’s. And “Once There was a War” is excellent, but that’s not fiction (it’s his journalist pieces from WW2)

    Premier Icon desperatebicycle
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    It’s very definitely NOT the sort of book I’d take on a pool holiday!

    Aye, there is that! 😀

    Premier Icon johnners
    Free Member

    I recently put aside my prejudices about the genre (Westerns? pah, how childish!) and started on Elmore Leonard’s western books. Man, they are great, so absorbing.


    @desperatebicycle
    Sounds to me like you’d absolutely love Lonesome Dove. I’ve not read Elmore Leonard’s westerns, I must give them a try.

    Premier Icon kentishman
    Free Member

    Just recomending what I have enjoyed recently

    Complicity by Iain Banks
    The White Spider by Heinrich Harrer although not fiction.
    On the Road by Jack Kerouac

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    *Edit (STE ‘down for maintenance’ mid-edit)

    ‘Solar’ by Ian McEwan is funny, thoughtful and entertaining, and anything by Alan Garner is great (mostly British folk tales expertly spun for older children’s fantasy market) but ‘Thursbitch’ leaves a mark.

    Premier Icon IHN
    Full Member

    Oh, and non-fiction, but you can’t get very much more of an adventure

    Ernest Shackleton – South

    Gob-smackingly, well, gob-smacking.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    OP I meant to say Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice & Men’ seeing as you’ve reread GoW. ‘Travels With Charley’ also a great read (but non-fictional) and ‘In Dubious Battle’

    Laurie Lee’s ‘Cider House Rules’ also cones to mind.

    Somerset Maugham’s ‘The Razors Edge’

    Did I say ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’? Very much this.

    Kurt Vonnegut Jr ‘Breakfast Of Champions’

    Alice Walker – The Color Purple’

    Nick Hornby – ‘High Fidelity’

    I still refuse to believe that all cyclists are mostly (and coincidentally) all interested in WW2, Sci-Fi and spies 😉

    Premier Icon thejesmonddingo
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    I recommend the bible, a bit old fashioned ,but pure fiction.

    Premier Icon IdleJon
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    I still refuse to believe that all cyclists are mostly (and coincidentally) all interested in WW2, Sci-Fi and spies 😉

    Judging by the books that get sold in supermarkets, and that I’ve sold at car boot sales, anything with a picture of weapon on the front cover flies off the shelf.

    Premier Icon avdave2
    Free Member

    I don’t really read fiction (other than recently re-reading Grapes of Wrath

    No point, you’ve already read the best book ever written. 😊

    Premier Icon nickc
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    I still refuse to believe that all cyclists are mostly (and coincidentally) all interested in WW2, Sci-Fi and spies

    The Venn diagram that contain middle aged men, cycling and an unhealthy interest in WW2 just looks like a circle TBH

    Premier Icon BillMC
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    Anything by Flann O’Brien or for short blasts his ‘Best of Myles Nagopaleen’.

    Premier Icon IHN
    Full Member

    No point, you’ve already read the best book ever written.

    I prefer East of Eden, tbh.

    I recommend the bible, a bit old fashioned ,but pure fiction.

    Very much, as I speak as an atheist, not the case (the fiction bit, not the old-fashioned bit)

    Premier Icon johndoh
    Free Member

    No point, you’ve already read the best book ever written.

    I do tend to agree with this sentiment (and I have long-said this to be the case) but I haven’t read any other of his works so I really should.

    Enigma by Robert Harris if you want WW2/military/spy

    Good shout – I have read Fatherland and quite enjoyed that so it should fit the bill.

    Premier Icon finbar
    Free Member

    S’funny how people’s tastes can be both similar and dissimilar. Some of the books @p7eaven lists above I also love (Steinbeck of course, Laurie Lee – I bet you’ve enjoyed Patrick Leigh Fermor’s travelogues too?), but some I detest. Anything by Nick Hornby I find unbearable, and Graham Greene deathly dull.

    My guilty pleasure is high fantasy and sci-fi written by the yard, so I’m under no illusion my taste is impeccable either!

    the bible

    I have tried the bible but it was ridiculously hard work. All that ‘Enoch begat Methusalah who begat Solomon’ stuff. Practically impenetrable.

    Premier Icon johndoh
    Free Member

    I don’t really get on with fantasy – I read a few Clive Barker fantasy books (Weaveworld, The Great and Secret Show, Imajica) and they were okay (I even re-read Weaveworld as I thought it deserved another chance) but I don’t think I am quite right for that genre.

    Premier Icon pondo
    Full Member

    Piece Of Cake by Derek Robinson if you want to keep it WW2

    That’s a great book. 🙂

    Premier Icon mefty
    Free Member

    I do tend to agree with this sentiment

    You should probably ignore my advice as I not sure it would sneak into my top 50 .

    For spy novels, Spybrary seems to be a good resource. Shipman’s list is pretty all encompassing and his analysis of the best books of my favourites (Greene, Ambler, Le Carre, Hall and best of all, Deighton) is spot on. Lots of people recommend Herron too, but I haven’t read him yet. Just order a few from the local library a couple of week before you go.

    Laurie Lee’s ‘Cider House Rules’ also cones to mind

    I imagine you mean “Cider with Rosie”

    Premier Icon nicko74
    Free Member

    Anything by Flann O’Brien

    Third Policeman? Eww, no thank you!

    Premier Icon loum
    Free Member

    100 years of solitude

    Premier Icon BillMC
    Full Member

    Atomic theory proving that the third policeman was half-man half-bike could have some relevance here.

    Premier Icon Robz
    Full Member

    The Greg Hurwitz Nowhere Man/Orphan X series is good fun:

    “The Nowhere Man is a legendary figure spoken about only in whispers. It’s said that when he’s reached by the truly desperate and deserving, the Nowhere Man can and will do anything to protect and save them.

    But he’s not merely a legend.

    Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Taken from a group home at twelve, Evan was raised and trained as part of the Orphan Program, an off-the-books operation designed to create deniable intelligence assets—i.e. assassins. Evan was Orphan X. He broke with the Program, using everything he learned to disappear and reinvent himself as the Nowhere Man”.

    Not particularly high brow/pretentious but well written and exciting. Deffo several steps above McNab etc..

    Also Michael Koryta – “Those who wish me dead” and other books (book much better than and totally different from the movie).

    Premier Icon greatbeardedone
    Free Member

    Spy novels?

    Mark Gatiss (he of BBC’s sherlock), wrote an enjoyable trilogy: the Vesuvius club, the devil in amber, and black butterfly.

    For sheer comedic farce: pretty much anything by Tom Sharpe. ‘The Throwback’ is particularly good.

    I’d avoid ‘The Great Pursuit’, though. It sucks.

    For something different:

    Harry Harrison’s ‘Stainless Steel Rat’ series.

    Carlos Castaneda’s ‘A Seperate Reality’.

    Premier Icon jobro
    Free Member

    Laurie Lee’s ‘Cider House Rules’ also cones to mind.

    Did you mean Cider with Rosie?

    Probably “As I walked out one mid Summers Morning” might fit better.

    Or go Hemingway – “For whom the Bell Tolls” or “Farewell to Arms”?

    Premier Icon monkeycmonkeydo
    Free Member

    That Laurie Lee trilogy would be a good choice.
    My three recommendations would be
    ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ by Tom Wolfe.
    ‘The Jungle’ by Upton Sinclair.
    ‘Feast of the Goat’by Mario Vargas Llosa.
    All three an education in my opinion.

    Premier Icon duncancallum
    Full Member

    Robert Ludlum born trilogy is mint

    John le carre again excellent

    Or buy a kindle and get unlimited and just go random

    Premier Icon bails
    Full Member

    However I am going on a family holiday this summer (whoop) and I am not entirely sure I want to be reading ‘The Rise and Fall of the Nazis’ by the pool on a relaxing two week break in the Med.

    I was on holiday last week, reading King Leopold’s Ghost. Sat next to Mrs B who was reading “How to kill your family”. Staff around the pool/beach would start a conversation, she’d explain her book and they’d say to me “I hope you’re reading something a bit happier”. Well….

    I also took The Fine Art of Invisible Detection by Robert Goddard. It’s certainly lighter than King Leopold’s Ghost and is entertaining/interesting enough as a holiday read, I just got it as I saw it on one of the tables in Waterstones and it looked interesting.

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