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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Like To Read?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the fictional-works-of-nonfiction dept.

Books 647

badeMan writes "I will be traveling a third of the way around the world this Christmas, and that means a lot of time on a plane. I have decided I am not going to do any coding or technical reading during the flight. Outside the realm of technology and all things related to work, what do you find interesting to read? What books, genres, and authors do you enjoy?"

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new yorker (1, Informative)

noh8rz (2535268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443828)

get the new yorker either printed or on iPad. interesting articles of all types. you'll never run out of things to talk about at a party!

Re:new yorker (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444016)

on iPad

Download all of the Slashdot archives so you'll be able to read unsolicited product endorsements ad-nauseum.

Re:new yorker (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444144)

I like the short stories in the new yorker. If you enjoy short stories I would also recommend those by tc Boyle and Kurt Vonnegut.

Re:new yorker (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444216)

Vonnegut's overrated.

The New Yorker, however is an excellent magazine(amusingly, the New Yorker once enlisted pornographic gag cartoon artist Sam Gross [] for its upscale scrawlings). Other good magazines include Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Affairs, The Economist, and dare I say Fortune.

Ok, For me personally... (1)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443832)

I enjoy Science Fiction and Alternate history. Or a combination of both. I tried to get into Reamde, But it just was either too long or tried to explain too much to the reader.

Re:Ok, For me personally... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443856)

Definitely Science Fiction. Peter F. Hamilton's "Nights Dawn" Trilogy, Pandoras Star & sequel Judas Unchained. I also like Alastair Reynolds. Right now I'm reading "Century Rain" by him.

Re:Ok, For me personally... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444270)

Night's Dawn was amazing. Also recommended in a similar vein are the Hyperion Cantos (4 books by Dan Simmons) and the Coldfire Trilogy (may contain fantasy).

Mmmmmm... Porn... (3, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443834)

I like to read Science Fiction Erotica. Some call it porn. Porn meets Steampunk.

two books (2)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443836)

Two books I am reading right now (in a homeopathic doses):

1. Tafsir ibn Kathir - exegesis of Holy Qur'an
2. History of Western Philosophy by Russell

Chapter on romantics is hilarious.

PKD (2)

pinkj (521155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443838)

I've been reading a bunch of Philip K Dick on the iPad through Kindle.

Re:PKD (2)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443852)

Was pleased to see his contribution to The Adjustment Bureau. Could have been a better movie - and I expect that some of the concepts would have been better explored in a book.

haruki murakami (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443842)

Wind up bird chronicles (and any other of his books)

Re:haruki murakami (1)

lochnessie (1291986) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443962)

Seconded. Murakami is fantastic.

Re:haruki murakami (1)

lochnessie (1291986) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444122)

Also, the late, great Russell Hoban's post-apocalyptic masterpiece, Riddley Walker. And if you want non-fiction, I really enjoyed In the Shadow Of the Moon, part of Francis French and Colin Burgess's People's History of Spaceflight series. And then there is always SkyMall.

Have a broad range of material (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443844)

What books, genres, and authors do you enjoy?

Books with porn, porn, and people who write porn.

Neal Stephenson (5, Informative)

xpwlq (2222992) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443854)

Neal Stephenson is a great author for Slashdot readers. Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash are great titles to start with.

Re:Neal Stephenson (2)

sci-ku (2526824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443920)

Agree. Cryptonomicon is my favorite novel. I recently finished The Baroque Cycle, which is more than this trip might allow for, but Stephenson is always gold.

Non-nerd favorite is Shogun. Amazing.

And, I highly recommend the Kindle. More/longer books makes no impact and the battery lasts literally for weeks.

Happy travels.

Re:Neal Stephenson (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444084)

...except for the sex scenes. I'm concerned some prepubescent person might read Stephenson tryst scene and opt to be neutered to completely avoid any possibility of sexual congress later in life.

Non-Feminist SF/Fantasy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443858)

Which, sad to say, is ever-rarer nowadays. It seems to me that there are a great many otherwise competent authors (Sanderson, Rothfuss, Egan) who are troublingly mired in notions of female superiority (note: not equality; bona fide superiority). I suspect a lot of this derives from a backlash over previously male-dominated genres. Unfortunately, as humans only exist for a little while and die, backlash like that only ensures ongoing imbalance, rather than any kind of equality.

Re:Non-Feminist SF/Fantasy (3, Funny)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444094)

I for one welcome our superior snoo-snoo demanding nubile female overlords

Re:Non-Feminist SF/Fantasy (5, Informative)

lessthan (977374) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444140)

this seems like a troll, but there really is an obnoxious trend in the fantasy genre. Emotional confused woman plus a superpower and a distant tall dark stranger. She, of course, is smarter and more clever than everybody else, but realizes her feelings for Mr. Dark only after he rescues her. Now empowered by LOVE she defeats the evil. Now repeat over a thousand variations with different titles. You have the fantasy section at Barnes and Nobles. It sucks.

various topics (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443860)

1.) philosophy. currently reading "existentialism: from dostoevsky to sartre". Very good, if you can commit to it. The Karl Jaspers excerpts really encapsulate my favored view of existentialism.
2.) Hemingway.
3.) Isaac Asimov.
4.) John K. Galbraith

I prefer to read TV shows on my iPad . . . (0)

apsociallife (638272) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443866)

. . . cause TV is what happens when you make a book into something interesting.

1984 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443868)


It's your guide to the future!^Wpresent!^Wpast!

Umberto Eco (3, Informative)

vaccum pony (721932) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443876)

The Name of the Rose, Baudolino, The Island of the Day Before, Foucault's Pendulum. All good books.

Re:Umberto Eco (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443992)


Also Borges' short fiction and any of Adolfo Casares' novels (esp The Invention of Morel)

Also it isn't lost on me that this Ask Slashdot seems like a blatant attempt at collecting market data.

Re:Umberto Eco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444092)

Eco's "Island of the Day Before" is high on the list of the Ways I Spent My Life That I Wish I Could Get Back But Never Will. I don't normally comment on /. but if I can save someone from reading that, then it's time well spent.

On the other hand, Chaitin is a mathematician who writes on some very fundamental topics (math and coding) and does it in a very readable way. If you have any interest in Peano, Cantor, Godel, or Turing, you'll dig this stuff. I recommend his lecture "A Hundred Years of Controversy Regarding the Foundations of Mathematics" or related book "Meta Math: the Quest for Omega."

Obligatory (4, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443878)

While flying, I find it most enjoyable to practice my jive and maybe read something light, like a leaflet on Famous Jewish Sports Legends,. . . I also like to read books and watch movies about gladiators.

Re:Obligatory (4, Funny)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444054)

Surely you can't be serious.

Re:Obligatory (3, Funny)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444162)

WTF is wrong with you? His name is cashman73. Stop calling him Shirley.

Suggested reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443884)

Science related yes, more epistemology - reflections on the human potential into the distant future - this guy is scientifically well versed but has some unconventional ideas - very interesting stuff - David Deutsch - The Fabric of Reality, or his latest, The Beginning of Infinity. If you like the English language, really cutting, ironic wit, Civil War Stories, ghost stories, and tall tales, (and probably if you like Mark Twain too; it's somewhat similar), you must read the short stories of Ambrose Bierce. They're all bite-size (a few pages) and lots of fun. You might have already read "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" in school... that one will stick with you.

Jim Butcher (4, Informative)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443900)

either Dresden Files or Codex Alera

Re:Jim Butcher (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443948)

If he's flying a third of the way around the world, he could knock off the Codex that day. If he's going to need some reading material while he's there, Dresden's a better bet.

Re:Jim Butcher (3, Informative)

Coldeagle (624205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444008)

I heartily agree...Come to the Dresden Side because:

a) Harry Dresden has an....adverse affect on technology as he says, "I can take out a Xerox copier at 50 paces"
b) Harry Dresden follows the tao of Peter Parker
c) Dresden gets messed up worse than John McClain on his very worse day
d) Lines like this:

“Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face.” - Harry Dresden


Murphy: “I've been fighting this computer all day long. I swear, if you blow out my hard drive again, I'm taking it out of your ass.”
Harry: “Why would your hard drive be in my ass?” -Harry

So as I said..come to the Dresden side you'll laugh your ass off :)

fiction and science fiction (2)

signingis (158683) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443902)

Check out the Millennium Series by Stieg Larsson (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, et.all) and some Heinlein - Stranger in a Strang Land, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers.

Re:fiction and science fiction (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444060)

Ditto for "Stranger in a Strang Land". Heinlein is a master. So is Bradbury, his short stories are fantastic.

You've simply got to read "god wants you dead" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443904)

Read god wants you dead you won't regret it!

Go retro.. (5, Informative)

red crab (1044734) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443910)

If you have a penchant for classics, try short stories from Twain, Saki, English translations of Maupassant and Kafka, HG Wells, O Henry and Oscar Wilde. A short story winds up in typically 15-30 mins and provides good reading satisfaction. And all works from these authors are in public domain, so those can be accessed freely online.

Re:Go retro.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444066)

I agree! "Classics" sounds boring, but there are a lot of action-packed ones. The Count of Montecristo or the Three Musketeers come to mind.

Wow, broad question (1)

mattie_p (2512046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443914)

Science: Brian Greene (Physics) or Richard Dawkins (Biology) (particularly The Ancestor's Tale)

Sci-fi: The Lost Fleet series by John Hemry (aka Jack Campbell) or, if you never read Ender, you are a Philistine.

Fantasy: Honestly, whatever rocks your boat.

Literature: Does anyone read this outside of Modern English 317? But going back to Sci-fi, "The Time Traveler's Wife" is pretty good.

Anything by Haruki Murakami (1)

GAATTC (870216) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443916)

I'm currently reading 1Q84 [] and, like all the rest of his books, it is fantastic.

A Tale of Two Cities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443926)

Re-reading for the first time since high school (when I didn't really read it, I just kinda skimmed it to get the grade).

Dickens is amazing. As Roger Ebert would put it, the book succeeds on many levels. And it apparently isn't even one of the more highly regarded of his works.

Eclectic, and possibly atypical here on /. (4, Informative)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443930)

I do a lot of traveling for business, and am in the fortunate position of being able to read pretty much anything I like. By that I mean I can read what I enjoy, rather than what someone says I have to read (for school, business development, or what have you).

I think you will get a lot of votes for classic science fiction, so I won't go there (mainly because I don't read it. Nothing wrong with it, just not my style.)

My personal favorites:

Russian classics

I love Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc. "Anna Karenina" is a perpetual favorite of mine. If you want a long read, then go for "War and Peace". It really is riveting, and very easy to get into. "Crime and Punishment" is another favorite of mine, even over "The Idiot".

Political histories

By which I mean not only biographies (Thatcher, for instance), but also periods or themes such as "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich". That is a classic.


Okay, this one is probably a very geek-friendly vote, but it is a seriously fantastic book. "The History of the Making of the Atomic Bomb", by Richard Rhodes. If memory serves, he won a Pulitzer for it. Lots of high level physics, lots of sociological and political examinations, just a fabulous read all around.

"The Forsyte Saga" is also quite engrossing. John Galsworthy, I think, but you'll find it pretty easily.

For a lighter read, "Yes Minister" and "Yes Prime Minister". Not sure how well those translate to someone who didn't grow up in one of the British Empire countries, but I think they're hilarious (although fairly dated by now).

Quick and easy

I like the "Agent Pendergast" books by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. They're quick reads, so don't expect to just pick up one of them and have it sustain you for longer than a few hours. But I do tend to take one of those when I'm traveling and read it depending on my mood - sometimes I just don't feel like reading Dostoevsky.

Re:Eclectic, and possibly atypical here on /. (3, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444158)

I love Dostoevsky, Tolstoy,

Those are serious books meant to be read on an almost daily regular basis, and not an "everytime you step on a plane" basis. My copies of Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov, and War and Peace clock in at 472, 658, 717, and 1393 pages respectively. The latter two have 1 or 2 pages listing all of the characters and brief descriptions to aid in plot juggling.

For smaller reads, I recommend Tom Wolfe's Hooking up, which meanders from the birth of the semiconductor industry to gay-bashing; Thomas Harris' Hannibal, which is familiar, educational and offensive; or Kafka's Metamorphosis or The Trial. Also, Dilbert and Calvin and Hobbes. For a pragmatic read, check out Chris Hadnagy's Social Engineering which best describes how humans can be hacked like computers.

Math Books (2, Interesting)

cosm (1072588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443932)

Total math fanatic here. Run buy a corner bookstore; to hell with amazon and barnes and noble and walden and all those places. Find 'ya a local book re-seller. You can get extremely cool books from all genres, usually have bargain racks with stuff under 25 cents (yes you can really buy stuff for change on a dollar these days).

I am working through Churchill's Operational Mathematics right now, classic from decades ago, picked it up for under 5 dollars. I swear you can get a masters deg. worth of education from pure bookstores alone if you have the dedication.

Also if your a fan of the free and don't have any serious moral qualms, just use google to pick up some free pdf e-books. Use queries like "The Complete Calculus" and you can hit jackpots of pdfs on the free. :) And pay the publisher if they are still around by purchasing a real copy/licensed copy if the book ends up being worth your time and effort!

Neal Stephenson. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443940)

'Nuff Said.

Atlantic for magazines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443944)

On a plane trip, I usually pick up "The Atlantic" at the magazine stand.

If you are specifically asking about books, I am on a current kick of reading anything I heard of in high school but did not read. The single most successful of those recently was "To Kill a Mockingbird," and I only have a couple of Twain's things left (very few disappoint).

John McPhee (3, Insightful)

WinkyN (263806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443956)

I love John McPhee's work. A long time contributor to The New Yorker, McPhee's writing is so concise it's hard to see how he could make a single sentence more informative. His writings cover a broad range of subjects, including geology, oranges, tennis, nuclear energy, Soviet dissident art, the merchant marine and fishing.

I strongly recommend reading "Levels of the Game", as it's one of the finest examples of sports writing you will find. McPhee covers the 1968 U.S. Open semifinal between Arthur Ashe and Lynn Graebner, and he uses the tennis match as a biographical frame of each player. It's extraordinary.

If you like reading about nuclear weapons (i.e., you've read both "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" and "Dark Sun" by Richard Rhodes), then "The Curve of Binding Energy" is a must read. McPhee interviews Ted Taylor, who helped develop smaller versions of nuclear weapons for the U.S., and discusses how hard it would be for a terrorist group to create a nuclear weapon. Even this book was written in the early 1990s, it still has a lot of relevance today.

My favorite piece by McPhee is "Coming into the Country", which are three separate stories about Alaska. The first story recounts as Alaskan backcountry canoe trip he took with state and federal park employees, and the second is about the state's efforts in the 1970s to build a city and make it the new state capital. But the best story by far is the last piece about the people of Eagle, Alaska, which is a small trading post along the Yukon River near Canada. The profiles he writes about those who run the city and those who live on the periphery is some of the best storytelling you'll find. It's simply a phenomenal book.

Re:John McPhee (1)

WinkyN (263806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444134)

One correction. "The Curve of Binding Energy" was written in the mid 1970s, not early 1990s. My apologies for the error.

Best airline reading. (1)

Zaldarr (2469168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443964)

Matthew Reilly is a great author specialising in breakneck-paced action sequences. Generally every paragraph has a cliffhanger at the end of it, and the rule of thumb is when the first shot is fired around chapter 3, you're not going to be able to put it down until you finish it. I even have a thing that when he brings out a new book, I clear a day in my schedule so I can read it in one sitting. But other than that, Oscar Wilde's works are hilariously cruel and witty; H.P. Lovecraft's works of science fiction/horror are terrifying and wonderfully worded and of course F. Scott Fitzgerald writes the very best tragedies.

Choose your own adventure... and zombies! (1)

UCFFool (832674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443966)

Here are some suggestions:
  • Zombocalypse Now (zombie choose your own adventure)
  • Beer, Women, and Bad Decisions (boy's night out choose your own adventure)
  • My Zombie Body [] (1st person take on being a zombie... fully sentient, no control over your own zombie body)

classics (1)

Son of Byrne (1458629) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443974)

I have to agree with the person who said go for classics

Honestly, I've read quite a bit across the spectrum of what's available and while it seems snooty to say, "I prefer the classics," it is a fact for me.

This doesn't preclude modern literature as modern classics are good reads as well. If a piece of literature is considered a classic, it is not because of its age, rather because of the quality of writing. Try Hemingway, Victor Hugo, Joyce, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Bradbury, Twain, Ayn Rand...

Those are just the authors I've read most recently, so that's not a definitive list by any means.


rueger (210566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443978)

By. Neal Stephenson. Nuff Sed - excellent, and at 1000+ pages, will gobble up a fair bit fo your flight in a very entertaining fashion. [] As well, William Gibson has new non-fiction collection out which I expect will be dandy. []

Prediction (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443980)

90% sci fi responses

Re:Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444038)

90% sci fi responses

Is that in accordance with Sturgeon's Law?

Neil Gaiman and Mike Resnick (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443990)

Just about anything by either and you can't go wrong. You could also check out Baen's free Library for some quality Sci-Fi. Personally, there's nothing like a book in my hands, digital is okay, but cracking the spine on a brand new Clive Cussler is something you can't get digitally. William Forstchen is another author I highly recommend, his "Lost Regiment" series was a surprising thrill that sent me one a month long reading binge to finish all 9 he had written and still left me wanting more.

Thrillers (1)

eljefe6a (2289776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444006)

I like a good thriller. That would be earlier Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn. The James Bond books show a little age but are great too.

Oldies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444010)

Dostoevsky, Zola, Hugo, Melville, etc. Just finished McTeague by Frank Norris. It was more compelling than most any
modern-ish novel I've read.

explore a different univerae (2)

BlueGMan (1215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444022)

Douglas Adams. HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy...interesting, funny and lightweight reading (if you are a geek, that is)

the classics on ereader (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444024)

I have recently scored an ereader, and I'm having a lot of pleasure with the epub versions of Mark Twain, ( not tom sawyer - there's heaps of his stuff that should be better known ) Jules Verne ( 20,000 leagues under the sea etc ) and H.G. Wells ( war of the worlds etc ).

There are a number of authors publishing modern novels for free, in order to get known. Some work is excellent, some could use a good edit, some is just rubbish.

You can download all sorts of books, and just ignore or delete the ones you don't like.

Biographies of important scientists (1)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444034)

Kind of nerdy, I know, but I find it interesting to read about individuals such as Newton, Feynman, or Darwin. It gives a humbling perspective on one's life to read about people who truly have pushed out the boundaries of human knowledge in a major way.

Non-fiction Suggestions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444040)

None of these non-fiction selections will disappoint.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Legacy of Ashes -- Tom Wiener
Collapse -- Jared Diamond
George Washington -- Ron Chernow

Various (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444042)

Anything Hemingway, Dickens, etc. Confederacy of Dunces was great. Some sports books/novels like Marathon Man. Not into SciFi or Fantasy.

Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444058)

It's an old one and definitely a classic... but I have only just started reading and must admit it's a great one if you haven't read it yet.

Non Fiction (1)

djl4570 (801529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444062)

I find nonfiction more engaging these days. Zero, The Biography of a Dangerous Idea was outstanding both times I've read it. Not Even Wrong shows promise as does The Trouble with Physics. This is Your Brain on Music has sat unopened on my bookshelf for far too long. If you prefer fiction look at Twain and Dickens. They're widely available and you can get the Cliff's notes. If you want something unusual get Canterbury Tales by Chaucer (Cliff's Notes are required for most anything this old to help understand the context of the writing. Google "Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog." There's an online glossary.)

Police Procedurals (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444068)

1. Lee Child - Jack Reacher series

2. John Sandford - Lucas Davenport series

3. William Kent Krueger - Cork O'Connor series


There are others but I really like those three, particularly the first two. However #2 and #3 are both Minnesota based, where I currently reside, and thus have some local appeal as well.

Try something old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444072)

Read "The Last of the Mohicans" by James Fenimore Cooper. If you read it as a kid, you probably got the edited cleaned-up version. The real thing is a great read.

Star Wars Novels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444076)

I've taken to the Star Wars series of novels recently. They're written by various authors over the past 25 years and alot of them are quite good. There are many, many novels in the series and range across reading levels. Heres a list of the the adult books:

Warcraft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444080)

Topic says it all.

Personal fav (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444082)

Liqueur bottles

Mark Twain travel, Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444100)

Because when traveling, reading Twain about traveling: Innocents Abroad, Roughing It, etc. It is just amusing, and since he basically writes as a series of stories, you can pick it up and put it down.

Dorothy Sayers, because they're classic mystery novels. One of each basic type. Nine Tailors is, I think, my favorite.
Michael Dibdin, the Aurelio Zen mysteries are clever, and set in modern day Italy with classic bureacracy, etc.

H. Rider Haggard for adventure fiction. Richard Henry Dana, "Two Years Before the Mast" is a good read, and an excellent description of the life of a sailing man in the early-mid 19th century. Jack London "The Voyage of the Snark" is also good (and quite funny, in the Mark Twain sense), but I'd read Dana first for just sheer interestingness. Sebastian Junger, Jon Krakauer, Willliam Langwiesche have some good stuff (and some not so good)

Anything by Steinbeck is good reading, but often quite depressing. He's an awesome story teller, so make sure the story you read is a happy one. "Logs from the Sea of Cortez" and "Travels with Charlie" are both good, and not horribly depressing.

I second the recommendation for Richard Rhodes Making of the Atomic Bomb (and the sequel, Dark Sun, more about Soviet efforts and our H-bomb development, is also fairly good, but not as good as the first. John McPhee, "the curve of binding energy" is a good read on the possibilities of homebuilt atomic bombs and the like. Most everything by McPhee is interesting, you might find "The Control of Nature" also interesting.

Longitude by Dava Sobel is good, but a quick read. "The Great Arc" by John Keay is about the Trigonometric Survey of India and interesting.

For lighter entertainment, Dick Francis's older books are good. Fairly formulaic, but interesting side stuff about the racing business in England (and elsewhere).

What I do (2)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444108)

1. Go for books with strong imagery over dense plot (e.g. Stross's Jennifer Morgue, Gaiman's Neverwhere, Lewis's Blind Side.) You get interrupted so much on planes that a 40 page idea is hard to enjoy: go for simple ideas done vividly.
2. Pack three unstarted paperbacks in carry-on. Don't be afraid to switch books if the current one isn't gripping you.
3. If all else fails, drink and then sleep.
4. Be in the first-class cabin.

Nabokov? (2)

lambdakneit (1873908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444124)

If you haven't already read Lolita, Pnin, or Pale Fire from Nabokov, I would highly reccomend them. Pnin is my personal favorite; it puts a nice twist on a rather tragic story. I'm sure you are acquainted with Lolita. And if you want to read something confusing and highly original: Pale Fire. Pozdravlyayu s nastupayushchimi proznikami brat!

Playboy (2)

Sneeze1066 (1574313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444126)

...for the articles.

Depends on what you like (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444136)

I do like all sorts. I have the Zombie books (World War Z, Feed, and the Trilogy of short stories from Eden Studios; All Flesh Must Be Eaten). I have Harry Turtledove and his Alternate History series. I have most of Terry Pratchett's books and especially like the Wee Free Men books; Crivens! HP Lovecraft's complete works although I have to pick through a little to get to the ones I like best (not a fan of the more other-worldly stuff). I have the Tom Clancy books for something thicker and in lots of detail. The classics are great; Issac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. Ann McCaffery's Pern books are a fun read.

Is there a Pandora for books somewhere?


Illumanatus! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444148)

Bring along a nice fat copy of Illumanatus! By Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. If you finish that one, you can also pick up the... sequel? Schrodinger's Cat. Pretty much anything by Timothy Leary would probably be pretty amusing too. I remember this one time when Leary or Wilson (I forget which one now) wrote, in an article in Magical Blend, that Bush Sr. was probably the way he was because he had a dirty asshole. He then went on at length about how he'd just had a bidet installed at his house, and that most Americans wander around pissed off most of the time because their assholes aren't properly clean. He puts it better than I do, though, I'm sure.

Classics (4, Informative)

Scarred Intellect (1648867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444150)

I just got done with Don Quixote which I found highly amusing and funny, if difficult to follow at times. Very verbose, but extremely interesting. Unlike many story-telling media these days where we wind up with repetitive stories (Dan Brown's novels all share very similar plotlines/main characters/rising action/falling action/plot twist; other better examples exist), Don Quixote never seemed repetitive. I enjoyed it greatly.

My next is Dante's Divine Comedy, Inferno. I don't care much for poetry but I'm giving it a shot.

After that I'm tackling the Federalist Papers, Anti-Federalist papers, and some Thomas Hobbes, Thomas Paine, Mark Twain, Machiavelli, and The Social Contract (I have minor political ambitions, mostly just want to be able to affect lawmaking)

I'd recommend grabbing something you normally don't read, that's what I did with Don Quixote; I grabbed it because it's the first "modern novel" and I wanted to see what that was all about.

If you want something else fun, might I recommend Lolita. It's interesting. I've had several friends that have read Atlas Shrugged with mixed reviews. Battlefield Earth is one of my favorites, despite the movie and author's religions nutcrackery (that should totally be a word!).

I've had my share of fantasy, from "Wheel of Time" by Robert Jordan, to "Sword of Truth" by Terry Goodkind, and Elantris and "Mistborn" trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. Of those my favorite were everything AFTER "Wheel of Time" (mostly because they have been finished).

Band of Brothers and Generation Kill were also very good books. If you want any kind of insight into what Marines faced in Iraq, definitely read Generation Kill, it's the best I've found that captures the experience of being an infantry Marine in a combat zone.

I also read Neil Strauss' Emergency and based on his writing style picked up and read The Game. Those were interesting in themselves...

The Gunslinger series by Stephen King is also fantastic. Definitely THE best series I've read, though I disliked the part where he brought himself into the books, I felt he overdid that a bit. The ending will piss you off, though.

Assholes Finish First (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444152)

by Tucker Max.

Reading Murakami (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444154)

I found Haruki Murakami always enjoyable. Start with short stories in "The elephant vanishes".

Dostoevsky and Nietzsche (1)

InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444164)

"Crime and Punishment" was very interesting, same with "House of the dead", "The brothers Karamazov" is magnificent. As for Nietzsche, I can not live without Zarathustra. Also, "Beyond good and evil" and "The antichrist" are in my library and I constantly check them.....

Frank Herbert or Stephen King or Tolkein (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444172)

I like the Frank Herbert Dune Chronicles, Stephen King's Dark Tower series, and Tolkien's Hobbit and LOTR. I also read the Agony and the Ecstasy almost exclusively on a plane and loved it.

Stephenson's Diamond Age and Cryptonomicon are good reads too...

Scifi or Fantasy? (3, Informative)

penguinbroker (1000903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444174)

If you're into Scifi or Fantasy check out this link: []

Having trouble choosing a book from the list? Try this: []

19th century literature (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444176)

I love 19th century literature. And the litrature sparked my interest in the Victorian Age in England. What makes that extra fun is that there were people back then who just described the common things in London especially, such as the police force, the work houses, the prisons you went to when you couldn't pay your debts anymore, etc. There's a lot to be found on Gutenberg.

chomsky! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444180)

need i say more?

Daniel Suarez (2)

TougaSempai (259023) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444182)

I really enjoyed Daemon and FreedomTM by Daniel Suarez. They're kind of a present-day sci-fi thriller, in case you haven't heard of them. William Gibson's three trilogies are good too. The Sprawl trilogy is especially fun, now that you can see all the things it has influenced since it was first published.

Seriously? (1)

darrylo (97569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444188)

I'm thinking he should read "War and Peace", or perhaps the Old Testament.

The perfect reading for you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444196)

You should find a book that explains to you haw to make trivial decisions for yourself. Maybe read it twice!

books based on Video Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444198)

I like sci-fi in general but I really love books based on video games. A prime example and my personal favorite being The Fall of Reach and First strike by Eric Nylund.

Some best sellers (2)

mapuche (41699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444204)

Airframe by Crichton, Snakes on a Plane: printed edition, Airport'77 paperback, :D.

If you like historical fiction... (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444212)

I recently read Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series. I particularly enjoy the section at the end where she explains her reasoning behind much of the 'fill in the gap' speculation, or why she chose one historian's version over another where they contradict, and even explains her outright embellishments. I can always respect a work where the author put in an immense amount of research.

Maybe a bit strange, but for me a must read...... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444218)

The art of war ~Zun Tsu
The art of deception ~ simon mitnick
Emotions revealed ~ paul eckman

Besides that,
Terry pratchet and the discworld series!

Have fun on your travels! :)

Wheel Of Time (4, Funny)

mojo-raisin (223411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444226)

WoT is a short little series you should be able to finish on the flight.

A list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444228)

This topic has of course come up before. One list that was compiled is:

A few suggestions (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444238)

  • Nonfiction:
  • Feyerabend's Against Method. This is a fantastic romp through 20th century philosophy of science as seen through the eyes of someone who loves slaughtering sacred cows.
  • Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton. In a US where ``the fed'' is a four letter word, it's useful to go back and see the arguments for a strong central government and national bank that uses debt as a tool.
  • Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone. This is the memoir of a boy soldier caught up in the conflict that took place in Sierra Leone. For a memoir, the writing in this is very strong. My chief complaint is that it doesn't have a real ending. Beah's story just kind of stops. But until that point, the narrative is unbelievably compelling.
  • Of Plymouth Plantation. This is basically the diary of a former governor of Plymouth Plantation. It has all sorts of interesting bits about why the Pilgrims left England for Holland and Holland for the New World. It bursts quite a few myths about the founding fathers of the US. It also helps set the stage for understanding the culture of the US in general.
  • Fiction:
  • Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. This book about a conspiracy theory that starts as a hoax is everything that the Davinci Code ought to have been but wasn't.
  • Carlos Ruiz Zafron's The Shadow of the Wind. This novel is set in Franco era Spain. Barcelona comes alive almost as an additional character. Reading this book was the last time that I picked up a book and wasn't willing to put it down until I finished.

C. J. Cherryh (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444240)

The world's best author. Her words flow like video for me, they're so descriptive.

C. J. Cherryh's website []

Easy but engaging reads (1)

Zen (8377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444254)

I like easy but slightly thought provoking reads. Things that take a time and place in history, start with known facts and spin off into a what if this happened. There are many books about what could have happened if Hitler had found certain religious artifacts he was looking for and if they really did what he thought they did. Spy novels and ocean exploratory books (Clive Cussler, etc) where you take the same basic premise - a ship sank, it had X on it, what happens if it is found... Here's some fun authors - Robert Ludlum, Clive Cussler, Matthew Reilly, James Rollins, Brad Metzler. Depending on reading speed these could be finished on a very long flight. Check the New York Times lists and skip the chick flicks and biographys.

Classical Mystery (1)

Eugene (6671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444256)

I enjoy classical mystery novels, namely Agatha Christie's work, you can't beat it.

I read authors (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38444260)

Terry Pratchett (today's Chaucer, the greatest living satirist), Philip Roth, Ian McEwan (brilliant), William Gibson, Lee Child (entertaining), David Mamet, Daniel Silva (wonderful spy novelist), Don DeLillo, Brad Thor, Connie Willis, Samuel Clemens, Olen Steinhauer, Joe Haldeman, Alan Furst (historical spy novels of the highest order), Vince Flynn (another one-a-year thriller/spy writer), and many others (writers who have passed on have been left from the list, but their works remain as monuments to human being).

I feel it a duty to read all of any person's work I begin to read. That is why I have Sony, Nook, two Kindles, and a house that is slowly sinking toward the hot core of the planet, in reaction to our library. Many, here, have been honored here by others.

Dragonlance (3, Interesting)

jsse (254124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38444282)

You have enough time to finish (first part of) the Dragonlance Chronicles:

Dragons of Autumn Twilight (April 1984), Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, (ISBN 0-88038-173-6)
Dragons of Winter Night (April 1985), Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, (ISBN 0-394-73975-2)
Dragons of Spring Dawning (September 1985), Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, (ISBN 0-88038-175-2)

Also, the most famous Legend of the series:

Time of the Twins (February 1986), by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, (ISBN 0-7869-1804-7)
War of the Twins (May 1986), by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, (ISBN 0-7869-1805-5)
Test of the Twins (August 1986), by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, (ISBN 0-7869-1806-3)

Must read for leisure and pleasure, if you like LoTR style fictions.
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