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This is a question Books

We love books. Tell us about your favourite books and authors, and why they are so good. And while you're at it - having dined out for years on the time I threw Dan Brown out of a train window - tell us who to avoid.

(, Thu 5 Jan 2012, 13:40)
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i'm a huge fan of Ian Banks, in both sci fi "M" mode and the more general fiction ones. The Crow Road, Wasp Factory and Whit, in particular float my boat for the general. And Consider Phelebus, Player of Games and Look To Windward for the culture books.
even his one non fiction book about scotch, Raw SPirit, is well cool.

I'm also a fan of the Ian Rankin Rebus Books. Gritty fun and rebus is a badass good guy.

and Bill Bryson, that guy has cost me more nasally extruded coffee than most other writers combined, AND is fucking interesting as well. Bonus. A History of Nearly Everything might just be the finest laypersons science book out there.

Now in terms of science, Dawkins is hard to beat, but one guy that can do so IMSHO, is Carl Sagan. Cosmos is awesome if dated, The Varieties of scientific expereince is simply beautiful, and Demon Haunted World is in my sincere opinion, a book that everyone with a brain should read.

Worst book i ever read was probably The Bible, fucking rubbish. i mean worse than Dan Brown/Stephanie Myers type bad If i want a guide to life book book with a morally questionable main protagonist but which trys to teach you a novel way to live your life whilst absolving yourself of all responsibility for your actions, i'd much rather go with Lucas Reihardts The Dice Man. It was far more fun, consistent, and coherently written.

scuse length. i read a lot.
(, Fri 6 Jan 2012, 4:19, 8 replies)
I'm with you on everything except Dawkins
the man has notoriety for being a twit for a reason. Personally I'd choose Fred Hoyle.
EDIT: The Book of Mormon is good for a giggle & useful for when the tidily dressed young fellas on bikes come a knockin'.
Tried a spot of Dice-living during the 90's - got me into a spot of trouble but I had a fucking blast - there's a lot to be said for leaving the house with a wallet full of cash, your keys and a pair of die not knowing where you'll end up. I don't think I'd've raped Arlene (? - it's been a while) tho.
The Adventures of Wim & Long Voyage Back (reminded me of "Natures End" by James Kunekata & Whitley Strieber) weren't too bad either.
(, Fri 6 Jan 2012, 5:25, closed)
Agree with Ian Banks
But not the sci-fi mode.

I'm actually currently reading The Steep Approach to Garbadale.

My only problem with him, is how normal it seems for his characters to start relationships with their cousins.
(, Fri 6 Jan 2012, 9:06, closed)
Banks ( no M) is great but recent books haven't been a patch on Crow Road or Complicity
And many of them have the same plot of old secret hidden in past of family or close friend
(, Fri 6 Jan 2012, 12:14, closed)
Spot on
Especially about Carl Sagan. Loved the Cosmos series when it was first shown on TV, and was given the book. It's a bit battered now, but still very thought provoking and highly informative.

As I've said previously about Banks, I love his work and the hardness to his Sci-Fi, but every time the story builds up slowly until you're on the penultimate page. The Algebraist being a particularly good example.
(, Fri 6 Jan 2012, 9:31, closed)
Dawkins is fuckin' awesome
What was radical for Dawkins to discuss in the 70s is just part of most people's assumptions today. He's had a huge positive influence on society as a whole, and raised everyone's consciousness about the implications of Darwinism, whether they know it or not.

Also, I think we're in a golden age of popular science writing at the moment (Dennett, Pinker, Haidt to name the most prominent), and Dawkins is the godfather.

I really despise the public backlash against Dawkins. He's survived a 30 year shit-storm from people who'd sling anything at him and hope it would stick, but he's still standing because he was right and the evidence continues to mount on his side. But now everyone thinks of him as this rude, aggressive atheist who acts all condescending and haughty when he talks to believers. It's such a common stock opinion his name is now a shorthand for aggressive hectoring of religion, even though I've never seen anything to back this up.

Got to disagree about the Bible though - you can't read the thing without being very impressed by some of it. Some passages in the King James are the best lines in the English language ever. I'd recommend Ecclesiastes to anyone as a genuinely great book. Much better than Dan 'punctuation' Brown.
(, Fri 6 Jan 2012, 10:37, closed)
I agree on Dawkins
But have to admit he sounds a bit of a smug git when you hear him talking now
(, Fri 6 Jan 2012, 12:15, closed)
Rebus is ace
I don't read much fiction but I do own every Rebus book released, and even have more than one edition of my favourite books. I admit to feeling some geeky glee when, at a book signing, I handed over my favourite and Ian Rankin said he hadn't seen that edition in a while and was pleased to see an old, loved one.
(, Fri 6 Jan 2012, 17:14, closed)
Annoy the Faithful
Move the Bibles in Libraries and shops into the fiction section
(, Sun 8 Jan 2012, 10:36, closed)

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