Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tales of Seduction

Seduced
I love word-of-mouth recommendations for books. There are books I never would have bought, checked out, or read, unless one of my friends or a familiar librarian recommended them to me:
Oh my God, Daniel Pinkwater! And, truth be told, this YA book was the first time I encountered, and started using, the world “snark” beyond Lewis Carroll.
A librarian recommended this YA science fiction book, and wow. I immediately snarfed it and all of her other books. Outstanding stories all and her prose I adore.
I distinctly remember the librarian telling me this was not just a “book for girls”. And it wasn’t. This and her Children of the Star books were simply amazing.
And, to top it off, Ms. Engdahl is a very nice lady. I emailed her and thanked her for her books, and she emailed me back! We had a wonderful dialog, and I will never forget her kindness.
This was the first Tom Clancy book I read, recommended by a co-worker. Thanks dude, you were right, techno-thrillers were indeed going to be a hot genre.
So not a fan of big books that year (1989), having been burned by big books for like two years prior. But one of my friends read this the day it was released in January 1990, and told me about it. I have the original first edition in soft cover.
This coming-of-age book really resonated with me, as the person who recommended it knew it would. I am a sucker for a protagonist who grows so much in a novel.
Later I learned this book was an ode to a proper education wrapped around a poke at Robert Heinlein.
Heh.
I had been searching for a book like this for a long time, and then gave up. Then WHAM! A recommendation from an email group comes across my desk. And oh my gosh is it good.
It’s dry and academic. And perfect.
My former manager recommended this book at lunch. Very compelling and I used it as research material in the second novel I wrote. I had overdosed on non-fiction when it came out, and would have never picked it up without the nod from my very smart ex-boss.
I had given up on what seems like a huge swath of books in the teen market because of their pretentious formulization and epic FAIL characterization. It was like Judy Blume didn’t exist.
On Janet Reid’s blog I followed a link to the author's web site, and was hooked. Man, I just dig Courtney’s haunting, honest prose. When I grow up, I want to write dialog like Courtney.
Courtney is also a big sweetie-pie.
If you read enough libertarian gun nut blogs (and I say that with fondness!), you’ll eventually come across Larry’s website or a recommendation for MHI. Oh man, this ex-POD book was so good; Baen picked it up.
To the forgotten Libertarian Gun Nut™ who recommended this book, I salute you. This was the best book I read in 2008, easily. MHI is wrapped in bacon and coated in awesomesauce.
Thoughts on Seduction
Truth be told, I have read many books people have recommended to me, but really, there are only a select few I could honestly say, “no way would I have ever read that on my own.” I left the books I would come up on my own off this short list, which, of course, received edits for brevity.
Consequently, I recommend more than I receive. That is okay. I single handily made six people read Blackhawk Down before it was popular. Literally, I shoved the book in their face and said, “don’t talk to me unless you read this.”
“But…”
“I said DON’T TALK TO ME!”
I depart with this little factoid. The rate of books I am reading by recommendation via word-of-mouth has increased dramatically. Reason? Social media. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook.
But we all know that.
Right? Right?!
What have you read by recommendation that you never would have noticed yourself?
Seduced
I love word-of-mouth recommendations for books. There are books I never would have bought, checked out, or read, unless one of my friends or a familiar librarian recommended them to me:
The Snark Out Boys and the Avocado of Death by Daniel J. Pinkwater
Oh my God, Daniel Pinkwater! And, truth be told, this YA book was the first time I encountered, and started using, the world “snark” beyond Lewis Carroll.
Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl
A librarian recommended this YA science fiction book, and wow. I immediately snarfed it and all of her other books. Outstanding stories all and her prose I adore.
I distinctly remember the librarian telling me this was not just a “book for girls”. And it wasn’t. This and her Children of the Star books were simply amazing.
And, to top it off, Ms. Engdahl is a very nice lady. I emailed her and thanked her for her books, and she emailed me back! We had a wonderful dialog, and I will never forget her kindness.
Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy and Larry Bond
This was the first Tom Clancy book I read, recommended by a co-worker. Thanks dude, you were right, techno-thrillers were indeed going to be a hot genre.
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
So not a fan of big books that year (1989), having been burned by big books for like two years prior. But one of my friends read this the day it was released in January 1990, and told me about it. I have the original first edition in soft cover.
Rite of Passage by Alexei_Panshin
This coming-of-age book really resonated with me, as the person who recommended it knew it would. I am a sucker for a protagonist who grows so much in a novel.
Later I learned this book was an ode to a proper education wrapped around a poke at Robert Heinlein.
Heh.
Real Knockouts: The Physical Feminism of Women’s Self-Defense by Martha McCaughey
I had been searching for a book like this for a long time, and then gave up. Then WHAM! A recommendation from an email group comes across my desk. And oh my gosh is it good.
It’s dry and academic. And perfect.
Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
My former manager recommended this book at lunch. Very compelling and I used it as research material in the second novel I wrote. I had overdosed on non-fiction when it came out, and would have never picked it up without the nod from my very smart ex-boss.
Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
I had given up on what seems like a huge swath of books in the teen market because of their pretentious formulization and epic FAIL characterization. It was like Judy Blume didn’t exist.
On Janet Reid’s blog I followed a link to her website and was hooked. Man, I just dig Courtney’s haunting, honest prose. When I grow up, I want to write dialog like Courtney.
Courtney is also a big sweetie-pie.
Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia
If you read enough libertarian gun nut blogs (and I say that with fondness!), you’ll eventually come across Larry’s website or a recommendation for MHI. Oh man, this ex-POD book was so good; Baen picked it up.
To the forgotten Libertarian Gun Nut™ who recommended this book, I salute you. This was the best book I read in 2008, easily. MHI is wrapped in bacon and coated in awesomesauce.
Thoughts on Seduction
Truth be told, I have read many books people of recommended to me, but really, there are only a select few I could honestly say, “no way would I have ever read that on my own.” I left those off my short list, which, of course, received edits for brevity.
Consequently, I recommend more than I receive. That is okay. I single handily made six people read Blackhawk Down before it was popular. Literally, I shoved the book in their face and said, “don’t talk to me unless you read this.”
“But…”
“I said DON’T TALK TO ME!”
I depart with this little factoid. The rate of books I am reading by recommendation via word-of-mouth has increased dramatically. Reason? Social media. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook.
But we all know that.
Right? Right?!
What have you read by recommendation that you never would have noticed your own?

5 comments:

  1. Twilight. 2 years before it got popular.
    All the Sherrilyn Kenyon and JR Ward books. Oh, and the Sookie Stackhouse novels too.

    My friends have popular tastes, and so do I.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Believe it or not, Wuthering Heights. When I was a teenager my mother made a deal with me to get me to read it. And in the middle of it I was so terrified by everything it conjured up that I went to her and said "This book better have a happy ending!"
    Also, Shoeless Joe, and WP Kinsella in general and Graham Greene -- both via boyfriends. There's a whole post there in the subject of boyfriend/girlfriend-influenced reading.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's funny, I haven't received a lot of book recommendations from friends. I think that a lot of my friends are not avid readers.... maybe I need new ones :-D

    I have received a number of good recommendations from Audible.com. I listen to a lot of books on audio, and based on what I have listened to, the website recommends other books.

    Most of what I read is mystery/thrillers. One of the surprising books that I read was Hitman by Lawrence Block. It was about the life of a hitman, but it wasn't about the killing. It was about his life. Very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Few days late, but I'm new to the party so you'll have to forgive me. Books that I've read on the suggestion of others. Both Twilight and Harry Potter (as with the blog I read these after they were popular, but only after family and friends badgered me relentlessly about them). The Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunter series, as well as the Drizzt Do'Urden novels by R.A. Salvatore (these are actually the books that made me want to become a writer). And last but not least Salem's Lot by Stephen King.

    ReplyDelete

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