Challenging Book Recommendation - HELP

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Ikoma
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Challenging Book Recommendation - HELP

Postby Ikoma » Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:21 am

I need a book recommendation. But it needs to fit a specific niche. Some background...

Last Christmas, my siblings and I bought my folks an audible subscription and formed a family book club. You know, 'cause buying presents for your parents who have all the things they really want and the money to buy any things they don't have but do want is hard. Anyway, first year went really well. We read a pretty broad spectrum of books, mostly non-fiction but a bit of fiction mixed in there. Everyone wants to keep it going next year and we are supposed to have our book (we each nominate the book for one month of the year, yes, there are twelve of us between my folks, my siblings, and our spouses) selected by the beginning of October (so people can place holds on books via the library, etc.).

ANYWAY... looking at all the books the rest of my family is suggesting for next year, we are going very non-fiction heavy. Which is cool. Non-fiction is fun. But I want to spice it up with some fiction. Not just fiction... but GENRE fiction. (All the fiction we read as part of the family book club in 2019 was 'literary' fiction. I want a sci fi or fantasy classic that meets the following criteria:
  • It's not too pop culture infused. Lord of the Rings will just get people to watch the movies (again). Same with a Star Wars novel or something like that. I want to expand their horizons just a little bit with a classic that has not penetrated the mainstream (where most of my family firmly dwells).
  • Needs to be great. I don't want to expose them to genre fiction and then have them not like it. I mean, I know I cannot guarantee they will like. (And I strongly suspect one of my sister-in-laws won't even read it 'cause... <shrug> she is very firm in her world view.) But I want to the odds to be good that most of them like it.
  • Gotta be fairly tame. This is my mom, I do not want to make her read anything too... racey... and then have to have a conversation with her about it. This applies to language as well. A couple of my siblings and siblings-in-law are very much Steve Rogers ala the first Avengers movie in their attitudes to cussing.
  • Bonus points if I have not read it. While I certainly re-read books, I kinda want this to be new for me as well. This is the criteria that makes things harder and the reason I need outside help. I know what I have not read, but I cannot know the content of what I haven't read.

So... suggestions? Also, I might post a few ideas I have and ask for help knowing if they fit all the posted criteria.
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Re: Challenging Book Recommendation - HELP

Postby Azhrei Vep » Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:10 pm

Which Genre? There's like a billion of them.
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Re: Challenging Book Recommendation - HELP

Postby Wayne » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:37 pm

Does it need to be on audible for your parents? Some of the ones that I think would be perfect like Nathan Lowell's quartershare I don't think you will find in libraries.

I'm going to put some more thought to this. Do you have a prefrred flavor of Sci-fi or fantasy? Space, modern, urban fantasy, superhero, hard sci-fi, comedic?

I do 3-6 audible books a month so if it has to be on audible as well I have a large range to pull from.
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Re: Challenging Book Recommendation - HELP

Postby [red] » Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:32 pm

I will throw my random 2 cents:

- Deadhouse Gates, by Steven Erikson is the second book in a series but largely stands alone. It is an incredible book.
- The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson is also super epic, inspiring, and very clean. Not at all objectionable.
- A Deepness in the Sky, by Vernor Vinge is a stunning space opera, its technically a prequel to his first space opera A Fire Upon the Deep but fully stands alone.
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Re: Challenging Book Recommendation - HELP

Postby Ikoma » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:08 pm

Azhrei Vep wrote:Which Genre? There's like a billion of them.


Fair question. Fantasy or Science Fiction. Of all stripes. I'm not picky about only Bootstrap Alt History, or Near Future Military SciFi, or anything like that. While I like Detective and Horror fiction as well, I am less than optimistic about finding a book in those genres that won't make my mom blush or get sick.
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Re: Challenging Book Recommendation - HELP

Postby Ikoma » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:13 pm

Wayne wrote:Does it need to be on audible for your parents? Some of the ones that I think would be perfect like Nathan Lowell's quartershare I don't think you will find in libraries.


Oh, great question! Yeah, being on audible is a bonus. I use the UtahOnlinePublicLibrary so I'll double check and make sure it's also available on their before I submit the recommendation. But if it's on audible, mom & dad can get it.

Wayne wrote:I'm going to put some more thought to this. Do you have a prefrred flavor of Sci-fi or fantasy? Space, modern, urban fantasy, superhero, hard sci-fi, comedic?


I - personally - read all of the above, plus horror, detective, alt history, etc. as well. I am the family genre guys. When a new Marvel movie comes out, I'm the one everyone comes to in order to get an explanation of the end credits stinger or to find out what cool easter eggs are in the movie, that kind of thing. So I just wanna use this opportunity to let them experience something great for themselves.
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Re: Challenging Book Recommendation - HELP

Postby Chad » Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:09 pm

The Moon is a Hard Mistress

It's a Sci Fi classic, never made into a movie (thought one is supposed to have been in development since 2015).

It's meaty, influential, and fun. Great characters doing interesting things fighting against tyrants. It also has lots of room for discussion as it's a layered story from the interpersonal relationships to the particularities of a society on the moon to the meta of how the all of the characters and story is an analogy of the American Revolution.

Science Fiction without the fluff, hard science without being boring and dry. It's fun and makes you think, I got my whole friend group to read it years ago and we all loved it.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/166 ... h_Mistress

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Re: Challenging Book Recommendation - HELP

Postby Azhrei Vep » Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:37 pm

I think The Way of Kings is a bad pick for introducing people to Fantasy work. It's hard to get into. It really dumps you into a weird world with weird mechanics and just says "Stick around, you'll figure it out eventually." And, maybe ten or fifteen hours later, things to more or less make sense, except for the parts that don't make sense to the characters.

Brandon Sanderson is a good pick, though. I'd be more likely to reccomend The Final Empire, Book One of Mistborn. It's still great, it actually explains itself, and it's also pretty clean. Sanderson really isn't a dirty writer. ... he would probably be fantastic at it though, so that's a bit unfortunate...
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Re: Challenging Book Recommendation - HELP

Postby Wayne » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:21 am

Chad wrote:The Moon is a Hard Mistress

It's a Sci Fi classic, never made into a movie (thought one is supposed to have been in development since 2015).

It's meaty, influential, and fun. Great characters doing interesting things fighting against tyrants. It also has lots of room for discussion as it's a layered story from the interpersonal relationships to the particularities of a society on the moon to the meta of how the all of the characters and story is an analogy of the American Revolution.

Science Fiction without the fluff, hard science without being boring and dry. It's fun and makes you think, I got my whole friend group to read it years ago and we all loved it.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/166 ... h_Mistress


It is on Audible as well. I know this because I am listening to it at the moment. I can't remember any cussing at all in it, but there is one thing I would mention about the "not too racy for your mom". There is a strong tone of non-traditional marriage in the form of "line marriage" that she may have issues with. This is not the focus of the story, but it is very prevalent. You know your mom better than us to know if that would be an issue or not.
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Re: Challenging Book Recommendation - HELP

Postby tombombodil » Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:00 pm

[red] wrote:- Deadhouse Gates, by Steven Erikson is the second book in a series but largely stands alone. It is an incredible book.


Erikson is great, and I love pretty much the entire Malazan series (I think Memories of Ice is by far my favorite single book) But I don't think I'd recommend any of his stuff as an intro to fantasy fiction. It's just so ridiculously dense and slowly paced.

Also those books have a decent amount of cussing and sex and graphic violence, even if a lot of the cuss words are made up :mrgreen:

Edit: I have a few suggestions but I need to think on it a bit because a lot of my all time favorites are NOT books I would recommend to people I didn't know very well, either due to their strangeness or content or simple being -like the Malazan series- just ludicrously dense.. Also a lot of my favorites are "classics" like Dracula, Dune, The Time Machine etc. which can be potentially off-putting to a modern palate.
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