Book Bleg Followup

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A few days ago I asked for reading recommendations that wouldn’t tax my brain too much since my chemotherapy regimen has left me more fatigued than usual. Light, multi-part fiction was my primary request. There were loads of ideas, and I figured some readers might appreciate a quick summary. Here are the five that got the most positive comments:

  • Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series
  • Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series
  • Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series
  • James Corey’s Expanse series
  • Alan Furst’s Night Soldiers series

I probably made this thread harder than it needed to be by not mentioning stuff I’ve read or genres I don’t like that much. Pure genre mystery stories, for example (Christie, Hillerman, Leonard, etc.), have never done much for me. On the flip side, I’ve read lots of 20th century science fiction (Asimov, Heinlein, Willis, etc. etc.), so there’s not a lot new to recommend there. Among specific recommendations that popped up several times:

  • I’ve read James Clavell’s Asia series and loved it. Maybe I should reread it!
  • I’ve read Red/Green/Blue Mars. Meh.
  • I made it halfway through Wolf Hall and finally gave up. That doesn’t happen often.
  • I’ve read everything by Neal Stephenson. Big fan.
  • I’ve read lots of John Scalzi, and all of the Old Man’s War series.
  • I’ve read Roger Zelazny’s Amber series about, oh, a dozen or two times. It begins with maybe the best first chapter ever written. Obviously I’m a big fan.
  • I’ve tried a couple of Iain Banks’ Culture novels and I’ve just never been able to get into them.
  • I’ve read most everything by John LeCarre. But it’s not a bad suggestion. I’m sure there are a few I’ve missed.
  • I’ve read Charlie Stross’s Merchant Princes series but didn’t care for it much. Ditto for the one Laundry book I read. It’s too bad since I like most of his other stuff.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions, and I hope everyone enjoyed it. I also got some good nonfiction recommendations, including several by email that didn’t end up on the comment thread. Much appreciated.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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