Recommended Fiction

I have gotten a few requests for book recommendations so I thought I’d share with you some fiction titles I’ve read and enjoyed over the past several years (arranged alphabetically by author).  Be warned though, my taste in fiction runs to the scifi, light suspense, escapist stuff–don’t look here for too much high literature!  If you want to think, check out my non-fiction recommendations here.  For comprehensive reviews of selected titles, check here.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
4 of 5 stars true
Similar to the way Hiassen couples humor and detective story, Adams couples humor and scifi, and for this best example of that delightful achievement, I give this four stars.
Foundation
5 of 5 stars true
I loved the Foundation Trilogy and recommend they be read straight through. Of course, a must read for any scifi fan.
I, Robot
4 of 5 stars true
Another great series by Asimov.
Pride and Prejudice
4 of 5 stars true
a great classic.
I, Judas
5 of 5 stars true
A must read for anyone interested in the life of Christ or the betrayal by Judas. A unique and intriguing speculation of the personality of Christ and the motives of Judas.
Seventh Son
4 of 5 stars true
Another great series by Card.
Shōgun
5 of 5 stars true
One of a handful of can’t-put-it-down giant novels that simply must be read–and re-read.  The list includes Atlas Shrugged, War and Peace, Gone With the Wind & Lonesome Dove–Shogun is in good company!
King Rat
5 of 5 stars true
Another great one by Clavell.
Tai-Pan
4 of 5 stars true
Another great one by Clavell–maybe a hair behind Shogun but still page-turning riveter.
Noble House
4 of 5 stars true
James Clavell does it again. This 1366 page paperback kept me distracted on two 24-hour trips with a ten day vacation in between and I still wasn’t finished!
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
4 of 5 stars true
Awesome! My copy is illustrated by Gustave Dore and is beautiful!
The Manchurian Candidate
4 of 5 stars true
Great book.  Don’t forget to google MK Ultra first!
Prizzi's Honor
4 of 5 stars true
Excellent novel.
The Concrete Blonde
4 of 5 stars true
90% of Michael Connelly’s books I can’t put down. This was the first one I read and have been hooked ever since.
Lost Light
4 of 5 stars true
Connelly is always intense.
The Closers
4 of 5 stars true
I give connelly a 4 by default.
The Lincoln Lawyer
4 of 5 stars true
Not Harry Bosch, but still classic Connelly.
Chasing the Dime
4 of 5 stars true
Connelly.  Nuff said.
City of Bones
4 of 5 stars true
Bosch. Aaaaahhhhh.
Heart of Darkness
4 of 5 stars true
I’m not sure I got everything out of the book as they got out of it to make the movie, but Conrad is worth getting to know.
State of Fear
5 of 5 stars true
This is a good read but I gave it five stars mainly for the courage to address the subject and the objectiveness with which it is done. We need a guy like Crichton to help ethical lay people understand the politics of science. He is missed.
Disclosure
3 of 5 stars true
Another great Crichton book
Paris Trout
4 of 5 stars true
Really good. So was God’s Pocket by Dexter.
Great Expectations
5 of 5 stars true
A great book. I’ll never forget Mrs. Nowicki for introducing me to Dickens in high school. She told us, “Pay attention! Dickens never wastes a character!” Good advice.
A Tale of Two Cities
5 of 5 stars true
Another great one by Dickens. Tale of Two Cities is probably my favorite of his.
Deliverance
4 of 5 stars true
Dark. Excellent.
Three Complete Novels: Billy Bathgate/World's Fair/Loon Lake
4 of 5 stars true
I loved all of these books. Billy Bathgate was best, then World’s Fair and Loon Lake lost me a little but was still good.
The Brothers Karamazov
4 of 5 stars true
I could never access Dostoevsky as easily as Tosltoy, but I think it may be a translation problem. Always look for the translator Constance Garnett when going from Russian to English.
The Idiot
4 of 5 stars true
First of all, make sure all Russian literature you read in English is translated by Constance Garnett. Her translation of Dostoevsky convinced me that he is readable–still not as easy as Tolstoy but absolutely comprehensible. This book, The Idiot, was beautifully written and a fascinating story, but it’s gotta be her translation.
The Hound of the Baskervilles
4 of 5 stars true
I read this book for the first time in elementary school and still remember how the setting transported me.
The Count of Monte Cristo
5 of 5 stars true
The most plot-heavy novel I have ever read. Of course, it’s known for it’s character development but that is intertwined with riveting events. A must read.
The Three Musketeers
4 of 5 stars true
Great book. A real page-turner.
The Name of the Rose
4 of 5 stars true
I was riveted by this book.
L.A. Confidential
4 of 5 stars true
I just love James Ellroy and this was my first introduction to him.
Peace Like a River
4 of 5 stars true
Lately I can’t settle down and read a good work of fiction but this book captivated me. I highly recommend it.
Collected Stories
5 of 5 stars true
Faulkner is worth the extra effort. Give me Faulkner over Hemingway and Fitzgerald any day.
The Pillars of the Earth
4 of 5 stars true
Follett is a great writer and this is one of his best.
Alas, Babylon
4 of 5 stars true
another scifi great.
Cold Mountain
4 of 5 stars true
Excellent read.
Oblomov
5 of 5 stars true
As a big fan of nineteenth century Russian literature, this is one of my favorite books. Plus, it’s about a guy who never gets out of bed, so I can relate to his inclinations.
Six Days of the Condor
4 of 5 stars true
Excellent spy novel.
The Power and the Glory
4 of 5 stars true
A portrait of pure humility. The story of a whiskey priest in a revolutionary state in Mexico during a purge of clerics. The redemption is unexpected and beautiful, though still tragic. Powerful and Glorious.
The Quiet American
4 of 5 stars true
Mid-century literature taking place in French Viet Nam in the fifties with an element of now-hackneyed European self-loathing that I wonder sometimes about: Was it deserved then and created a change in behavior, or was it simply anti-establishment propaganda as it is now? (Oh, and the naive, reckless, foolish American is too thinly veiled a representation of the entire nationality not to be taken as an insult by any American.) Regardless of this psycho-political angle, however, I greatly enjoyed the book. I liked the character development and the complex self-analysis of the main character. The writing was efficient and sharp on the one hand but replete with imagery and conveying feeling on the other–a beautiful combination. Highly recommend.
Snow Falling on Cedars
4 of 5 stars true
Beautiful like the title.
Starship Troopers
4 of 5 stars true
Another great scifi.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
5 of 5 stars true
“Are food riots too high a price to pay to let people be? I don’t know.”
Dune
4 of 5 stars true
One of the scifi greats.
Striptease
4 of 5 stars true
Like Michael Connelly, Carl Hiassen is one of my favorite writers of light fiction. I loved all his books except maybe Nature Girl.
The Cider House Rules
4 of 5 stars true

I have been disgusted lately with flippant references to simplistic political views masquerading as valid literary technique. For example, in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson writes, “She turned on the TV to watch Rapport and tried to follow the world situation but very soon tired of the reasoned commentary on why President Bush had to bomb Iraq to smithereens.” And in The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russel, one of the main characters rails against “the persistence of evil and of Republicans from Texas in a universe ruled by a deity who had the nerve to claim omnipotence and justice.” This sort of commentary reads like an inside joke in which anyone who doesn’t get it is not worth addressing.On the contrary, Cider House Rules is one of those books, like some of the Viet Nam era classics including the Quiet American, by Graham Greene, that uses literary artistry to help the reader understand a certain position and really feel with the character who is living the issue–i.e., actual literature.

In this book, the issue is abortion and though I thoroughly disagree with the position the book means to develop, I was not angered by the view presented, nor was I disgusted. In the end, I wasn’t persuaded by the book, but I could understand the view of the characters and felt that the issue was not taken lightly by the author nor that he was presumptive in his conclusions.

A Prayer for Owen Meany
4 of 5 stars true
My favorite Irving.
Flowers for Algernon
4 of 5 stars true
Great book; scifi genre; emotionally intense (for me anyway.)
Shutter Island
4 of 5 stars true
Deeply disturbing.
This Perfect Day
4 of 5 stars true
Nice dystopia.
Rebecca
5 of 5 stars true
One of my favorite books and movies of all time.
Jamaica Inn
4 of 5 stars true
Du Maurier is a great writer and this is a really good book.
Gone With the Wind
5 of 5 stars true
One of the greatest novels I have ever read.
Lucifer's Hammer
4 of 5 stars true
One of the greats for any scifi fan.
The Complete Stories
4 of 5 stars true
She is worth the effort.
The Godfather
4 of 5 stars true
Great book.
Atlas Shrugged
5 of 5 stars true
One of the best novels ever–a real page-turner like shogun. I would read this rather than the Fountainhead. I read and enjoyed both, but they are similar.
We the Living
5 of 5 stars true
Totally different from Rand’s other novels and great as well.
The Killer Angels
5 of 5 stars true
Great historical fiction about the Battle at Gettysburg. Won the Pulitzer.
Macbeth
5 of 5 stars true
I didn’t fully grasp the greatness of Shakespeare until I read this short play.
Julius Caesar
5 of 5 stars true
Doesn’t Shakespeare automatically get five stars? I don’t like them all equally, though. I did like this one a lot and found it a perfect complement to my brief foray into Roman history.
The Grapes of Wrath
5 of 5 stars true
Beautiful book from the first page to the last.
East of Eden
5 of 5 stars true
Even better than Grapes of Wrath.
Snow Crash
5 of 5 stars true

AWESOME!!! Original, well-written, engaging, exciting, thought-provoking. Best scifi i can remember reading since the classics (like the Moon is a Harsh Mistress). As a libertarian anarchist, I love that there’s an author out there who will even consider an essentially State-less society. I can’t tell if Stephenson is being tongue-in-cheek about the possibility of private security companies, but I think his concept is plausible. I do think there would be less chaos than he seems to think, but who knows?Here’s a side observation: I noticed there was a great deal of cultural diversity through total voluntary segregation. I have thought before how the State claims to promote cultural diversity and integration at the same time–you can’t have both! One of many great and bold insights by the author.

The Caine Mutiny: A Novel of World War II
5 of 5 stars true
I could not put this book down. One of the best books I have ever read. The character development was brilliant–even outdid the riveting plot. I believe this won the Pulitzer.
The Winds of War
5 of 5 stars true
This was a great book, both a page-turning, flawless story, perfect character development, etc. but also a great narrative of the historical events immediately preceding WWII.
Anna Karenina
5 of 5 stars true
The best novel I had ever read in my life until War and Peace. The first encounter I ever had with perfect character development. Tolstoy isn’t stingy with plot either. This book was how I fell in love with Tolstoy and 19th century Russian literature.
The Right Stuff
4 of 5 stars true
Great history that read like a great novel.
The Lord of the Rings
5 of 5 stars true
With the Hobbit, a must read for lovers of science fiction, fantasy and just plain good fiction.

One Response to Recommended Fiction

  1. Bradrad says:

    I remember reading Dracula at a time when I worked by myself and had lots of free time manning a station. It was very scary and creepy. I liked the journal style of writing. One foggy night I had to just put it down cause it was giving me the willies. It was one of those times where you can only see right there in your light, and beyond that it was just a wall of nothing.

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