Good summer vacation books?

Okay, I was overwhelmed by all the creative vacation suggestions, so I’m going to ask for help once more. I’ll need 10-15 fun books to read on vacation. I got some awesome vacation book suggestions last year, so I’d love to hear any recommendations for this time. πŸ™‚

A week or so ago and ordered
Caught Stealing by Charlie Huston. In Dublin I happened upon Already Dead, Huston’s gritty vampire story set in Manhattan and told in neo-hard-boiled style. If you liked the movie Brick then you’ll like Charlie Huston. I’m just reading everything of his.
Boomsday, by Christopher Buckley.
True Stories I Made Up, a comedy CD by Daniel Tosh. I heard him do a bit on XM and thought I’d check him out more.
Hacking Ubuntu by Neal Krawetz.

As you can tell, I’m running dangerously low on fiction. πŸ™‚ Normally I enjoy stuff including Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, Penny Arcade, Douglas Adams, Tranmetropolitan, Lee Child (but not many other thriller authors you’ll find in airport bookstores), Chuck Palahniuk, etc. So what do you recommend for some light summer vacation reading?

Update: Cool! Neal Krawetz (author of Hacking Ubuntu that I mentioned above) stopped by and even gave a few suggestions of his own! He also asked what I thought of his book so far. I’ve only skimmed a few parts, but so far I really like it. For example, it gives a really good description of EasyUbuntu vs. Automatix. The book also has nice screenshots to document things well. The only thing I noticed is that many of the tips are less about hacking Ubuntu and more about tweaking or tuning Ubuntu. Probably “Tuning Ubuntu” wouldn’t pack the same oomph with potential buyers compared to “Hacking Ubuntu” though. If you’re a rank beginner to Linux/Unix, the book wouldn’t be as good a match. But for anyone with any power user experience, Hacking Ubuntu looks like a great guide to tweaking Ubuntu to be just the way you want it. I may say more once I’m done with it.

186 Responses to Good summer vacation books? (Leave a comment)

  1. phantombookman

    The Arthurian Warlord trilogy by Bernard Cornwell
    Winter King
    Enemy of God

    Fabulous, King Arthur but not the usual nonsense, having read 1000s of books, these 3 I have reread the most

  2. sensitiveshag

    Read any Haruki Murakami? Sounds like you’d like him. Maybe try “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World”.

  3. I would highly recommend Night Watch by Sergey Lukyanenko.

    It’s a Russian fantasy novel, unlike anything I’ve ever read.

    Although I don’t think I’d go so far as to call it light reading…

  4. An oldie but great read….

    Bravo 2 Zero by Andy McNab

    Basically a UK SAS soldiers accounts of the Bravo 2 Zero mission in Iraq in the 90’s

    Possibly exaggerated a bit by the author but still a great read. One of those can’t put down ones. He’s written loads more that are excellent as well.

    Also another author of similar books is “Chris Ryan”. More SAS stories and missions!

  5. Vacation and Books do not go hand in hand for me.

  6. Peter F Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn trilogy
    John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War
    Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon
    China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station
    R Scott Bakker’s Thousandfold Thought trilogy
    Iain M Bank’s Culture novels

  7. Iain Banks – start with The Wasp Factory and work your way up to The Crow Road.

  8. depends on your preferred format (eBook or printed) really.

    Some great books I’ve read recently are:

    The Pursuit of Happyness (there was a great film about the book, too) by Chris Gardner

    Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
    Earthcore and Ancestor by Scott Sigler

    and let’s not forget Brad Thor, I’ve read all his books, cover to cover and it ususally takes me only a good evening for one book to finish. They are that great.

  9. Ian Banks stunner of a debut “The Wasp Factory” I really enjoyed.

    And, well anything by Irvine Welsh is a hoot.

  10. If you’re buying comedy CDs, you should get Jim Gaffigan. He’s from the midwest and he’s hilarous.

    Note that Daniel Tosh is in the “People who bought this also bought” list πŸ™‚

  11. “Mr China” by Tim Clissold – it’s a ripping yarn about a guy who went to China with four hundred million dollars and learnt the hard way that things don’t work the same way in China –

    I’ve just finished my copy, so I’ll swap it with ‘Ubuntu Hacks’ if you’d like πŸ™‚



  12. Just finished The Cry of the Halidon by Robert Ludlum. He originally wrote the book under a pseudonym years ago so it’s one of his earlier works. Actually quite good and better than many of his other books.

  13. I’m just now enjoying “Altered Carbon” by Richard Morgan, a detective story set in a Hard-Scifi background. It’s a fun read with some fresh but also scary concepts.

  14. I am just back from a holiday without Internet or Mobile coverage. It was great to disconnect from my Tech World for a week. So…Matt…Hacking Ubuntu!!?? I dunno if this should be pursued for a holiday? Sure geek is good at the moment, but this is pushing the boundaries!

    Light summer reading eh?…I always enjoy a good humorous travelogue by Bill Bryson;

    or maybe Australian Journalist George Negus?

  15. I’d recommend anything by Robert Ludlum… he gets just the right balance between easy reading and rather intricate plots- I’m sure you don’t want your brain to completely cease to be challenged even while on holiday!

  16. I suggest Thomas Pynchon’s ‘Against the Day’

    I’ve seen various bad reviews, and bloggers complaining about how dull it is. I think it’s his best: better than ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’. It’s Pynchon writing as a mature man who really cares about people. Sure it takes some effort to read it. That’s what literature is for.

  17. I am also an Adams/Sterling/PA/Stephenson/Pratchett-type reader. In fact, I will be reading The Baroque Cycle this summer. So I feel quite qualified in offering these suggestions, all of which I’ve enjoyed:

    Ellen Ullman’s “The Bug” or “Close to the Machine”
    Any graphic novel by Brian K. Vaughan, e.g., “Y: The Last Man” or “Ex Machina”
    Michael Crichton’s autobiography, “Travels”
    Physical collections of Starslip Crisis webcomics
    “Son of Interflux” by Gordon Korman
    comedy CD by Patton Oswalt
    “America: The Book” by The Daily Show
    The Philip K. Dick Reader
    “Cyberiad” by Stanislaw Lem

    Do let us know what you think of what you end up reading!

  18. You could stay home and read. Vacation, for me, is an opportunity to get out and do things and see things that you normally wouldn’t have the chance to do. Eating in new restaurants, touring interesting places, going for walks with the wife in romantic places, spending extra time with your family. It’s more a time to build relationships and escape the day to day stresses. If you read while your on vacation, you will be missing out on a chance to do something that will create fond memories.

  19. Carl Hiaasen is super funny. His “environmental thrillers” about Florida life make for fast and fun vacation reading. He’s best known for writing the novel Strip Tease, which was made into a film. Other good books include Tourist Season and Double Whammy.

  20. Here are some books I’ve read recently and enjoyed (and which aren’t featured on your list from last year):

    Arthur & George, by Julian Barnes
    Saturday, by Ian McEwan
    Vulcan 607, by Rowland White

    If asked to choose one to travel with, it would be Saturday. It’s compact and lightweight (kg) yet heavyweight (quality). In the same vein, if you haven’t read the classic A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, that’s another great short book.

  21. I know its not “light” reading… I just finished Ayn Rand’s “Fountainhead”. Amazing. I lost two days of my life to it.

    If you’re looking for something fun try Christopher Moore, he’s got a great sense of humor I think you would enjoy. I hear “Fluke” is one of his best. I’ve read “Lamb”.

    If you’re into food try Michael Pollan’s “Omnivore’s Dilemma” – it’s praised universally by food lovers/critics. Excellent read.

  22. Ah, now I’ve read the previous book recommendation thread and I see that you’ve probably already read the Lem. And that you really want light, possibly almost fluffy reading.

    Wilson’s award-winning “Spin” is not terribly light but even my sister, who isn’t into Kim Stanley Robinson-style hard scifi, liked it.

    Is there any Douglas Coupland you haven’t read? I know someone who keeps two copies of Microserfs, one to keep by his bed and one to lend to new friends who haven’t read it yet.

    I recommend any Gordon Korman — hilarious children’s/young adults’ books that hold up very well. “The Twinkie Squad,” “Our Man Weston,” “Don’t Care High,” “A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag,” and “Losing Joe’s Place” have been some of my favorites.

    Incredibly fluffy: “The Prodigal Daughter” by Jeffrey Archer.

    If you’ve enjoyed mystery, consider picking up a Patricia Highsmith short story collection or a Sherlock Holmes collection.

    The trade collections of the 2000-era reboot of Marvel’s “She-Hulk” are hilarious.

    If you can pick up Scott Dikkert’s “Jim’s Journal” collections I think you’ll blow through them fast.

    R. K. Narayan’s “My Dateless Diary” is a hilarious book-tour memoir from an Indian author seeing the US for the first time.

    I am *this close* to considering jumpenjuhosaphat a troll. As though there’s no balance to be had between interpersonal and solitary activities to enjoy in downtime! As though none of our best memories are relaxed afternoons with a steaming beverage on the couch as the rain falls outside, or what would otherwise be long boring airplane flights, absorbed in a wonderful book, possibly sitting next to our spouses.

  23. Spider Robinson has a great series of books, and I would recommend starting with “Callahan’s Lady”.

    This book combines humor similar to Terry Pratchett / Neil Gaiman with a fast-paced action plot and a sci-fi twist.

    It is enough of an ‘easy read’ to enjoy beside the pool, but with enough depth and complexity to pick up something new each time you re-read it, and trust me – you WILL re-read it!

  24. Try something a little different, and check out the historical fantasy of Guy Gavriel Kay, especially “A Song for Arbonne”.

    Then try something a little more different. Pick up “Gardens of the Moon” by Steven Erikson (or any of the Malazan Book of the Fallen).

    Then try something way different. “The Darkness That Comes Before” by R. Scott Bakker.

    All excellent high fantasy, though that last book (and its attendant series) may just blow your mind wide open. Or opener. Or whatever.

  25. I’d go for a bit of Robert Rankin – The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse. Very cleverly written bizarre humour throughout.

  26. I’ll second the comment above about Cornwell, but I’d also recommend his Saxon series:
    The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, The Lords Of The North

    All about the last time the English held back the invaders at the turn of the 1st millennium.

    For a comical look at a similar period, try Julain Rathbone. The Last English King & Kings of Albion take a humorous, almost post-modern look at medieval Britain.

    Finally, if you like Gaiman try 1602 (if you haven’t seen it already) – his graphic novel which puts the Marvel Universe into Elizabethan England..

  27. I still say Jerusalem should have died… But I also hope that there might be another series. Warren Ellis is a great author – I think I’d have prefered to have seen this series as a film rather than V for Vendetta.


    Anything by Joe Sacco… It makes for good informed reading. I feel that he tends to present only some of the ‘other side of the argument’.

    I recently read Keeping It Real (Quantum Gravity, Book 1) by Justina Robson. It is ok. It makes for good ‘on the tube’ reading.

    Another “on the tube” book is Nation States by Max Barry.

    You should read K J Parker series. They are, however, a bit meaty for a holiday.

    Jon Courtney-Grimwood is very, very good. His series called Arabesk was well written and a total “can’t put down”er.

    Lucifer/Constantine are still getting updates. You’ll probably read all of The Sandman.

  28. Matt
    can you take risk?? in some light summer vacation do you read hard? my favorite book “Snow” by Orhan Pamuk ….
    NJoy vacation……………..

  29. Let me know what you think about Hacking Ubuntu! πŸ™‚

    My summer reading list so far:
    – Runaway Jury by John Grisham (never read it before)
    – The new Harry Potter (I know, it’s trendy, but I read the others!)
    – A book on linear algebra, but I haven’t decided which one yet
    – One or more of the birth order books by Kevin Leman
    – and every few years I re-read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Heinlein). I might re-read it again.

  30. The Emperor’s New Mind of Roger Penrose very very good. About computacional algoritm.

  31. I just finished “The Time Travelers Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger and it completely blew my away. A must read for Cutts and commenters – πŸ˜‰

  32. Lost In the Funhouse by John Barth

    Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges

    Weave World by Clive Barker

    Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

    or the best one:

    Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, if you like books about dying goat gods and ancient kings on a quest for immortality through beets…it’s original, at least.

  33. Matt – Couple months ago, I read a book called Daemon (the publisher sent me a review copy). I wrote up a review here; highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a good story mixed in with a very strong understanding of tech. Let me know how you like it.

  34. How about some non fiction from a couple of Neil’s?

    “Somebody’s Gotta Say It” – Neal Boortz

    “Roadshow” – Neil Peart

  35. Will Mahoney

    Dude, I just came across Lee Child a couple of months ago. I read “Echo Burning.” The main character is a big drifter with a heart of gold. Or something like that. Anywho, Lee Child is alright by me!!

  36. How about some non-fiction from a couple of Neil’s?

    “Somebody’s Gotta Say It” – Neal Boortz

    “Roadshow” – Neil Peart

  37. Matt,

    You might want to exchange a few messages with the poster of this:

    It may be nothing but it looks like a possible mix up by the bot army or more to the point its controller.

    Find some old dime novels and feed the mind some junk food.

    Have a great vacation.

  38. Second the recommendation for anything by Carl Hiaasen. Tim Dorsey and (the novels of) Dave Barry are similarly light, funny, and floridian.

    Tim Sandlin is another good read (_Sex and Sunsets_, _Skipped Parts_ are good).

    _A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines_ by Janna Levin has gotten good reviews, but I haven’t read it yet.


  39. Just about anything by Carl Hiaasen is fun and light, laugh out loud easy reading. Novels all based in FL and the Keys, so particularly neat when you’re in that location.

    If you something heavier OK (nonfiction, crime), Thunderstruck or Devil In The White City by Erik Larsen are great.

  40. +1 on Boomsday.

  41. How about Peter F. Hamilton’s Pandora’s Star & Judas Unchained? Judas Unchained just came out in paperback last month and is great fun sci-fi opera stuff. Though “light” would just apply to the content, since he’s got Stephensonitis, with each new book longer than the last…

  42. I’d recommend Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

    The author was an Australian armed robber who escaped to India, the book is about his adventures there. It’s excellent and he speaks with an eloquence you would not expect from an armed robber. He even wrote it several times as guards destroyed the early versions.

    Have fun

  43. “School for Fools”
    Sasha Sokolov.

    Mostly odd, not readily available but worth seeking out. Couldn’t tell you what it’s about but it’s a delight to read. I still go back and read it every year.

  44. John McNally – His novel, ‘The Book of Ralph.’ This spring, he and many other writers have a wonderful group of essays – ‘When I Was A Loser.’ Too bad Richard Russo’s new novel isn’t out until fall — perhaps you can take him along for your winter break.

  45. If you haven’t already read them:

    Catcher in the Rye
    Jayber Crow
    East of Eden
    Grapes of Wrath

    Maybe not as “light” as some of the authors you listed, but all very enjoyable and interesting.

  46. Matt,

    If you havent read it, read LAMB, by Chistopher Moore. It is the account of the (first) thrty years of Christs life, told by his childhood friend, Biff….

    A bit wild… but hilarious….

  47. Dean Koontz. If you’ve never read him, be forewarned – you’ll be hooked. His retelling of Frankenstein is wonderful, or my personal favorite is From the Corner of His Eye, a 750+ pager that you’ll knock out in a week because you can’t put it down. For something shorter, try The Bad Place.

  48. I’d recommend The Saga of the Seven Suns by Kevin J. Anderson; the first book is Hidden Empire. A very interesting science fiction series.

    Doug, if he’s going to take the time to read through something by Ayn Rand, I’d recommend Atlas Shrugged over The Fountainhead. Unless you’re a diehard, you’re probably only going to read one of her books, and Atlas Shrugged was written later and (I feel) her ideas are more articulated. Unless you’re a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, then go ahead with The Fountainhead.

    Matt, have you checked out Book Buyers? It’s just down the road from the ‘plex, on Castro Street in Mountain View. They’ve got a wide selection of books, and it’s well organized. They also have new and used audiobooks, which are good if you have a long drive or plane ride.

  49. Anything by Umberto Eco is good reading.

    Also, Children of Hurin is out now. The reception has been mixed from what I understand. I should be getting this in the mail shortly. Any respectable nerd can appreciate Tolkien.

    The Contortionist’s Handbook by Clive Clevenger is incredible.

    Illuminatus! Trilogy FTW

    If the Cthulhu mythos is to your taste, Prey by Graham Masterton will prove to be a satisfying read.

    If I can remember what else is buried in the large pile of books next to my bed, I will post it here.

  50. The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks

    Speak Now by Kaylie Jones

  51. I’ve always liked the way John Walkenbach keeps a list of books he’s read on his blog with a star system and a one or two line description. Maybe something there will pique your interest?

  52. Hi Keri,

    You’re right, I have yet to sink my teeth into Atlas Shrugged. I’ve been interested in Rand for some time now. A friend gifted me Fountainhead; she told me I should read it first.

    I will certainly pick up Atlas Srugged – probably my next read.

  53. Song of Fire and Ice, 4 book series by George RR Martin. HBO just bought the rights to it, looks like it’s going to be their next big series (12 episodes per book, 4 books so far). Definitely my favorite series of all time, by far. Not your average fantasy series, it’s got great writing, action, and character development.

    Read it before the HBO show starts, so you can snarkily tell everyone how much better the book was.

  54. I think any disc world book is a winner matt.

  55. These are old school easy fantasy dungeon and dragon types of books. I still like to read them again when I get the time.

    “Dragon Lance” Series

  56. If you liked Transmetropolitan then pretty much anything by Warren Ellis is good. I highly recommend Orbiter and Ocean, as well as Nextwave (although Nextwave is one where you could miss the satire).

    The Walking Dead is pretty much the best new comic book series out there.

  57. For fantasy, you can’t get better than Robin Hobb’s HORRIBLY TITLED Assassin Quest’s trilogy and the two trilogies that followed it.

    I don’t know how many times I saw it at the bookstore and thought wtf is up with those titles before I read them and fell in love with them.

  58. Matt,

    Glad to see you have Lee Child on your list of fiction! Awesome writer and Jack Reacher is a very believable character.

    Can I also suggest Jeffery Deaver if you like Lee Child. You may have already seen the movie The Bone Collecter that was written by Jeffery Deaver starring his character Lincoln Rhyme. Very interesting stuff.

    I personally suggest “The Blue Nowhere” by Jeffery Deaver.
    Great research into cracking & hacking and makes the story VERY believable.

  59. AjiNIMC, books and vacations go hand in hand for me.

    Kay, thanks! I did love Snow Crash; would the other books you recommended strike you as being similar in any way?

    Brian White, I saw that and almost gave him a try. Now I’ll have to.

    dockarl, you’ll have to recommend a different one; I’ve already read Mr. China. πŸ™‚ I agree it’s great, and pretty relevant.

    Sumana, many thanks! These look intriguing. I tried a few “Y” books and (like with “Preacher”) I’m always on the fence about whether to do the next volume. But I totally agree on Stanislaw Lem. My only problem with Lem is that I read about half his books when I was younger — and now I can’t remember which half. πŸ™ So I never know when I pick up a Lem book if I’ll get deja vu after 40-50 pages. Maybe I should just suck it up and re-read them all, yes?

    Alan Perkins, I’ve never read Ian McEwan. Maybe it’s time to try him out. There was that Too Much Joy song, but I think it said “Some people think Rod McKuen is a poet.” So the slate is blank on Ian McEwan.

    Doug, I’ve read enough Ayn Rand. At the point where someone criticizes Google and you think “How Ellsworth Toohey-like!”, you know it’s time to step away from the Ayn Rand. πŸ™‚ I like some Christopher Moore, but not all. I loved Lamb, which was a recommendation I got from readers last year.

    Sumana, I loved JPod, but Shampoo Planet didn’t do it for me. Microserfs was awesome though.

    Ciaran, I agree 1602 was a lot of fun.

    Errioxa, I tried Penrose’s book when I was much much younger and didn’t care for it then. Maybe it’s time for me to circle around though. I do like Penrose tiles though.

    David, normally that happens because someone messes up their DNS settings.

    Jason, I love “Stephenitis”. I have to admit I only made it 1/3rd of the way through the baroque cycle.

    Jim Kloss, very cool. I know someone who did that (wrote himself a mini-book report after finishing each book). At the time, I admit that I thought it was a little weird (this was also before blogging). Now, it doesn’t seem such a bad idea at all.

    Esrun, I think I’ve read them all. I agree that they’re all pretty great.

    engtech, thanks! I might broaden my Warren Ellis horizons.

    Keri Morgret, I haven’t been there in a while. I’m leaving for the airport in half an hour (visiting Kentucky this weekend and coming back early next week), so I can’t stop by now, but that’s a great idea for when I get back.

    In the mean time, I’m loving these suggestions! Please keep them coming. πŸ™‚

  60. Blindness by Jose Saramago. Best fiction book i’ve read in a long time.

  61. glen cook’s The Black Company.

    brian sanderson’s Mistborn.

    both are some of the best fiction you’ll ever read.

    … and don’t spend all your time reading. pick on ross a bit for me, i don’t see him very often anymore.

  62. I’m going to second Brian K. Vaughan — and if you don’t like “Y” — maybe you would prefer Ex Machina like I do — which I feel is less fantastic and a more interesting story in many respects ( A guy who can talk to machines and is mayor of New York City)

    The novel, “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” by Michael Chabon if you haven’t gotten to it yet.

  63. Rule of The Bone, by Russell Banks. It’s great quick reading summer fiction that’s light and fun.

  64. Endurance by Alfred Lansing
    Amazing true story of survival and determination of Ernst Shackleton and the crew of the ship, Endurance. Shackleton wanted to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent but ended up on an even more difficult and incredible trek.

  65. Matt, if you liked Pterry Pratchett (g), you might also like Rick Cook’s Wizardry series. They are: Wizard’s Bane, The Wizardry Compiled, The Wizardry Cursed, The Wizardry Consulted, and The Wizardry Quested. Wonderful series about a programmer who is summoned to a world where magic works, and he discovers it can be programmed. Lots of really bad puns, and inside jokes/references to bits of computer/hacker history. Lots of fun, and good light reading. I admit that I pick them up once a year or so and re-read them (just finished this year’s read a month or so back).

    You may also want to check out Tom Holt’s books. I have read “Who’s afraid of Beowulf?”, “Flying Dutch”, and “Djinn Rummy” and enjoyed them all. He has written quite a few more, that I just haven’t gotten around to purchasing yet. Some wickedly funny send ups of classic tales, and such.

    I recently (last few days) found John Moore, and just picked up “Heroics for Beginners”, which looks to be another book in the mold of humourous fantasy, though I have yet to actually read it (soon).

    If you like interesting vampire stories, I must recommend Fred Saberhagen’s Dracula books, including “The Dracula Tape”, “The Holmes-Dracula File”, “An Old Friend of the Family”, “A Question of Time”, “Thorn”, and several more that I can’t recall off the top of my head. Basically, they are a retelling of the Dracula mythos from the perspective of Dracula. In fact, “The Dracula Tape” is Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” retold pretty much entirely, then the others carry on the story from there. Well worth reading.

    In the vein (so to speak) of hard-boiled vampire fiction, you should read P.N. Elrod’s Vampire Files, beginning with “Bloodlist”, “Lifeblood”, and “Bloodcircle” and proceeding from there. They are about a vampire in Chicago during Prohibition, who hooks up with a former Shakespearean turned private agent (not a detective, as he is at pains to point out), who get involved in Chicago’s seedy underworld. The first six books or so are quite light reading (~200 pages each), although later works get longer, they are all quite addictive, I think.

    Finally, I would encourage you to finish the Baroque cycle. It is a hard slog the first time through, but worth it at the end. It also ties in quite well to The Cryptonomicon, laying the groundwork retroactively in advance, as it were. But that is probably not light summer vacation reading. πŸ˜‰

  66. No one in either thread recommended Lois McMaster Bujold, multiple Hugo-winner. Start at Cordelia’s Honor (an omnibus of two paperbacks, kind of a prequel), or The Warrior’s Apprentice, then you’re off, on one of the best space operas you can find. Addictive, funny, deep, and human.

  67. Matt,

    Normally I’d agree, however, I have talked with the party via sticky and it appears to be an issue handling shared ip name based sites.

    I’ve seen site duplication happen because of this situation.

    I tried unsuccessfully at that time to get the affected party to provide information to Google. They went to dedicated IPs and waited it out.

    The site that was suspended doesn’t respond using its domain name.

    Anyhow, have some good away time and remember to feed the tummy as well.

  68. You might have read this already, but if not– If you like Neil Gaiman you might also like “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell”. Excellent book with a very distinctive ‘voice’ — check out the Amazon reviews!

  69. “To say nothing of the dog” by Connie Willis


    dare I say….
    the 7th Harry Potter novel.

  70. During my recent vacation, I very much enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I admit it was extra fun because I was reading it in Spanish in Spain (it is set in Barcelona during their post-Civil War period). But you have to love a book that is so geeky it makes the world of used books into a spy thriller. It reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Steven King and Raymond Chandler all at once. With mystery, sex, romance, wit and tragedy. Nice combo of substance with page-turning thriller.
    (amazon link: )

  71. The Celestine Prophecy trilogy by James Redfield. Awesome.

  72. I enjoyed John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and Cory Doctorow’s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.

  73. Italo Calvino, an Italian author who is so interesting that even his wiki page is a fascinating read. If you go with him, I would start with “If on a winters night a traveler” or one of his short story collections.

  74. Go with the Carl Hiassen books referred by Gus. They are all great, and perfect for summer reading. I liked Sick Puppy and Double Whammy.

  75. “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler” is a fantastic book! I’ve read a few of Calvino’s others but they don’t compare. In fact, that book got me into Metafiction (of which it is one of the most important/famous examples)
    Here: and Here:

    Time’s Arrow, by Martin Amis is great! A story told forwards in time, about a person living their life in reverse. Their life is forwards to them, but backwards to us, while reading it forwards… you get the picture πŸ˜‰

  76. The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo. GREAT

  77. John A. Davis

    Alastair Reynolds
    He wins science fiction awards all the time.
    Start with his first one: Revelation Space

  78. I was on a food kick for a little while, but two great non-fiction books I read during that were “Food in History” and “Something from the Oven”.

    “Food in History” is a comprehensive look at how food has shaped the world. Sounds like it would be dry, but it was very well written and was entertaining.

    “Something from the Oven” is about how the prepackaged food industry changed the way people cooked in the US. It was alot of fun to read about the lengths they went to in order to do this. Some of the stuff they tried was just bizzare.

  79. Hi Matt,

    For some fiction, check out Cory Doctorow’s new collection, “Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present”. It’s a great new, hip take on old style (Asimov/Clark) scifi. In some sense, the stories attempt to solve ‘problems’ that have become evident in the technology side of that old scifi. Doctorow also applies the style to newer ideas.

    It has 5 novellas/short-stories and 1 fun piece of microfiction. Some of the stories have fun names that reflect Cory’s position on IP: “I, Robot”, “I, Row Boat” and “Anda’s Game”. It is light reading but touches on some very heavy themes, I read the 5 stories in 5 days.

  80. Have a look at the author Jeff Noon. UK cyberpunk style, he’s pretty easy reading you may enjoy.

  81. I think this one is hilarious and at 288 pages is perfect as summer-time reading:

    Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

  82. “The Mezzanine” was one of the last good books I read. Also “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.” Both are touching and funny. On my shelf for the next vacation is “Blood and Honor: Inside the Scarfo Mob — The Mafia’s Most Violent Family.”

  83. Forgot to mention these must-read books (maybe you’ve read them already) – they’re not fiction however:

    The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
    by Malcolm Gladwell

    Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
    by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

  84. Anything by Bill Bryson. I particularly enjoyed A Walk in the Woods and In a Sunburned Country.

  85. Matt,

    Don’t know if it was a glitch or if you guys looked into it…

    But it is nice to have the back to normal.

    I was S****g myself.

    Have a great break.


  86. Last year I was introduced directly or indirectly to some of Douglas Adams books that can be easily skipped otherwise. Most notable are “Salmon of Doubt” – collection of essays and interviews published after the death of The Great Author.

    Another Douglas’ book I especially enjoyed was “Last chance to see” – it is non-fiction book about species going extinct and Adams’ travels round the world to document these. It is really amazing to find out how much of wit and insights he can provide even outside scope of fiction, going into real stuff, discussing nature and us, humans.

  87. Hi Matt:

    Ah, Summer Vacation what a concept!

    If you like Charlie Harris and noir detective/fantasy stories, you should definetily read the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. I started reading them 2 years ago and re read them when the SciFi channel started a series based on them (an excellent first season if you can catch it on SciFi/USA over the summer in reruns)

    The main character is Harry Dresden, modern day Chicago’s only professional wizard and consultant to the Chicago PD on those nasty little crimes that defy normalcy. Sidhe, wizards, vamps, werewolves tough woman cops with large guns, what more could you want on vacation!

    The titles in order of publication are:
    Storm Front
    Fool Moon
    Grave Peril ( you might want to read this one first, it sets up a lot of the following series and is where JB really hits his stride for the series)
    Summer Knight
    Death Masks
    Blood Rites
    Dead Beat
    Proven Guilty
    White Knight (HC only)

    JB has also written a fantasy series called the Codex Alera which is equally tasty. Think Romans in an alternative universe with elemental magic.

    Have a great time


  88. I’m a big fan of ancient civilization and chinese mythology so my pick is “Sun Tzu on The Art of War” which happens to be one of my favorites. It’s more of a commentary on how Sun Tzu put the smackdown, intermingled with chinese teaching. I for one enjoyed it big time, but it would have to be something you were in the mood for. If you are in the mood for different, there you go.

  89. I suggest Evolution’s Darling by Scott Westerfeld.

  90. I must agree with a few others in recommending:

    George R R Martin
    Alastair Reynolds
    Robin Hobb

    For something a little lighter and more fantasy-ish (although not as funny as Pratchett or Gaiman), try Raymond E Feist. Magician, his first book is a great starter. Although I believe his publishers have split it into 2 books now, in order to extract more money from you. That said, it is (in my opinion) a damn good read.

  91. HA! Only you, Matt, could post you were reading a book and get a reply that very same day from the author himself πŸ™‚

    “Neal Krawetz Said,
    May 3, 2007 @ 5:56 am
    Let me know what you think about Hacking Ubuntu! πŸ™‚ ”

    Re: Mr China – yup, it is a great book. First time I went to China was around ’89 – about the same time he did – so this brought back alot of memories – the little anecdote about the cabbage fiasco in Beijing made me nearly split my sides. I think, more recently, it saved me quite a wad of cash when dealing with the Chinese.

    Hmm.. ok.. other options.. I’m a nerdy non-fiction type most of the time too, so you’ll have to forgive me for the first two:-

    “Successful Innovation” by Syrett and Lammiman is a cracker.

    I’m pretty certain you would have read Koch’s 80/20 principle..

    hmm.. fiction..

    I’m really fascinated with New Guinea (worked there for a while early in my engineering career) – the fact it is really the last ‘untamed’ wild-west style region on earth makes it really interesting to me – So, I’d have to offer up a book called ‘Papua’ by Peter Watt as worthy of a read.


  92. Liam Hegarty

    I second the suggestion of Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s Arabesk, etc.

    How about “World War Z” by Max Brooks? very funny

    Also, try a book by Scarlett Thomas, “The End of Mr. Y” or “Popco” are the two I’ve read.

    Also “The Pox Party” which is the first installment in the Octavian Nothing series by M.T. Anderson. It’s about science, history, race etc.

  93. Myth series from Robert Asprin. You can start with ‘Another Fine Myth.’

  94. if you like sci-fi and star wars check out books by Timothy Zahn. His starwars ‘thrawn triliogy’ is awesome!

  95. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett is an excellent fun book to read on a vacation.

  96. My “best books” selection is at

    The literature selections are probably a bit highbrow, but some of the non-fiction might appeal to you.

  97. We’ve apparently read all the same books, so you’ve probably read these too:
    “The Winter of our Discontent” – John Steinbeck – Great novel
    “Dune” – Frank Herbert – Great Sci-Fi
    “On The Road” – Jack Kerouac – Great Entertaining Prose

  98. i think this will make a gooood reading for u

  99. You might want to try books of the Japanese author Haruki Murakami..

  100. keniki, is it as good as Sun Tzu or Machiavelli?

    Danny Yee, thanks for stopping by! I love the idea of so many reviews. I didn’t realize that Gary Flake had done a book. That’s the NEC->Yahoo->Microsoft Gary Flake, right? Be honest though: did you read all of that Knuth? I’m not sure I’d be able to. I’m more of a Sedgewick guy myself:

    David LaFerney, I like Steinbeck a lot. I enjoyed Dune, but haven’t ready the 10+ other Dune books.

  101. EGOL, someone I respect was reading “Endurance”; I’ve have to look into it..

    ted, I’ve been gently picking on him. πŸ™‚

    Ben Lee, good suggestions. I picked up Vol. 2 of Ex Machina at the library and enjoyed it. Maybe I’ll hunt down more of them. “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” has been recommended enough that I think I need to get it on order too.

    Timothy Knox: yes! Readers last year turned me on to that series, and I read them all. The last 1-2 petered off, but the first 2-3 were just great. I tried Tom Holt last year too after a reader suggested it, but couldn’t quite get into him.

    Neal Krawetz, if you’re trying to decide on a linear algebra book, I liked the one by Gilbert Strang.

    Prasenjeet, I tried that one but the “voice” was too overpowering for me. Same thing with Caleb Carr’s newer one (The Italian Secretary?).

    MAcsSNAcs, you might like Einstein’s Dreams, by the sound of it.

    chris, I hadn’t even heard of that one by Hugo. Hmm..

    Hanna, out of curiosity, have you read any books by Anthony Bourdain or Ruth Reichl?

    teddie, thanks! UK cyberpunk sounds interesting. I first found William Gibson on a UK trip, if I remember correctly.

    Avo, I enjoyed both of those. I keep waiting for someone to publish another book like those.

  102. re: Hacking Ubuntu – has anyone here had experience with running Feisty Fawn remotely using VNC – ala windows remote desktop style.. I’ve only just (over the last few days) transferred over to Ubuntu from Fedora because I wanna hang out with the cool kids again πŸ˜‰

    I’ve tried freeNx, but it doesn’t want to install on Feisty with an x64 cpu… aaargh.. Neal – if you’re still around – throw a dog a bone – any suggestions? pleeeease..

    doc (

  103. Matt

    A short break of reading and talking books πŸ™‚

    While you are there, maybe its time to tell us about that hidden waterfall in Elliot County. Any images?

  104. I’d recommend “E: A Novel” by Matt Beaumont

    It’s absolutely hilarious, I’m sure you’d like it πŸ™‚

  105. Dave (Original)

    Try the Google story, there’s even a chapter on the “Porn Cookie Guy” πŸ™‚

  106. Hey Matt,

    Some good suggestions already gone… a friend of mine recommended to me: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night” by Mark Haddon… Not my usual style but it was quite interesting as its written from a very different POV… I devoured it in hours lol.. its not a very big book…

    My firm favourites rest with Bernard Cornwell, Bob Mayer (Synbat, Z etc..), Freda Warrington’s Jewelfire Trilogy, Anne McCaffery’s Dragonrider series and a fair few Chris Ryan and Andy McNab books.. ooh and anything NetForce related πŸ˜›

    I also have a friend who has written a book called “Harmonica and Gig” and its a fantasy/sci fi type book to do with the net/virtual reality.. she is still looking at finding a publisher to sort it out… but I absolutely love it…. totally makes me think of were we will be in a few years time lol.. perhaps. If you fancy a copy just let me know.. Im sure she wouldnt mind πŸ˜€

  107. “I think any disc world book is a winner matt.”

    If you havnt you have to read going postal – if only for the description of how a virus is propagated on a mechanical semaphore system.

    Wonder if TP’s going to do a disk world version of Google Matt would definatly be a student in the High energy magic department working on HEX.

    ++?????++ Out of Cheese Error. Redo From Start.

  108. Matt

    If you liked 1602 then I’m guessing that you’ve also read 1602: New World & 1602: Fantastick Four – I haven’t though – would you recommend those?!


  109. Avoid the Celestine Prophecy if you like good writing. The concept’s interesting, but you’ll find yourself drowning in a sea of nondescript adverbs, contrived dialogue, forced storyline, and sheer unbelievability just to get to the part you were interested in to begin with: the friggin’ 9 insights.

    Redfield would have been better off if he’d just written a philosophy book and left fiction to those who can actually write it.

    A better example of religio-metaphysical fiction is Life of Pi, even if it gets a little fatiguing with the detail toward the middle.


  110. Hey Matt. Thanks for the recommendation. It’s next on my list. Also, right now, I’m reading some books by Philip Ball (
    Read Critical Mass (very interesting and geeky) and I’m now into Life’s Matrix (A Biography of Water). This is definitely a must especially with the global warming issue. You can really see how everything on our planet is interconnected, and if water/oceans/climate get messed with, everything else follows.
    Maybe not summer reading, but definitely interesting, and not the driest writing in the world for general scince books! πŸ˜‰

  111. I’d underline the “Dresden Files” by Jim Butcher, as John Said mentioned. Harry, the wizard character, is a complete grump with no social skills at all but with a good core. Whenever something bad is happening, which is usually always, next thing will be worse. It’s quite fun to read. Butcher is weaving a little summary of the character into each novel, so you needn’t read the books in the original order.

  112. Harith, you have an amazing memory for details. πŸ™‚ Last time I was in Kentucky, my best friend and I tried to get to the waterfall, but the path was way overgrown and I was wearing shorts. I did bring my camera this time, but my hunch is that it will have to wait for the fall when there are less annoying bugs and it’s easier to fight through the underbrush.

    Dyce, I loved β€œThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night”. One of my top all-time books. People I trust have recommended Born on a Blue Day, which was written by an autistic man. I haven’t read it myself though.

    Maurice, you just can’t go wrong with Pratchett. HEX is pretty hilarious, but then again every character is. If they ever develop the technology to digitize someone’s brain, I nominate TP. After they’ve worked out the kinks, of course. πŸ™‚

    Jake, I do like the idea of taking 300 page books and distilling them down to a 3 page precis. Some goober out on the intarweb recommended the “4 hour workweek” so I ordered it. The first couple pages set off my spider sense: “I’m going to show you amazing things! Amazing! Anyone can earn $80K a month! College? I spit on college!” Now some people can earn $80K/month, and college isn’t a great fit for everyone, but by the time the book is in my hands you don’t need to sell me much more. I’ve had maybe two pages that I’d dogear in the first half of the book.

    I did like the Life of Pi though. For an engineer, I wanted resolution to know which of the possibilities it really was, but I admired the art of it.

  113. These are non-fiction books, but I read them on my last vacation and they were hard to put down. “The Tipping Poing” and “Blink” both give some stunning insights into how our minds work.

    I also enjoyed Freakonomics a great deal, it answers questions like “Why do most drug dealers live at their parent’s home?”

    I know that other people have mentioned these books with complete titles, I just want to put in another vote for these. You won’t be sorry!

    Best wishes!


  114. Matt

    Thanks for sharing. Shall be waiting for the fall. Hopefully that camera of yours will capture some pictures of kentuckian streets by night πŸ™‚

  115. Jake, you recommend Jorge Luis Borges and Tom Robbins in the same comment? My brain just threw a gasket.

    Rick Klau, I just ordered Daemon. Sounds like a cool idea.

    I’m only 1/3rd of the way through the comments, and so far I’ve ordered
    The Bug
    The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
    Pashazade: The First Arabesk
    The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby (because I got onto Rick Klau’s books category)

    I’m trying to order a Starslip book from LuLu; why don’t they just support Google Checkout or Paypal?

  116. Try the Jimmy Buffett books: Yes, he did more than just the song “Margaritaville”
    By Jimmy Buffett:
    Tales From Margaritaville, a collection of short stories
    Where is Joe Merchant?
    A Salty Piece of Land

    One one Jimmy’s favorites:
    Don’t Stop the Carnival, by Herman Wouk

    These are fun reading!

    As for a vaction idea, have to been to Asheville, NC?


  117. Matt,

    I like a lot of the same fiction authors you like (particularly Pratchett and Gaiman) so I’ll recommend a few good authors I’ve recently enjoyed.

    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (start of a 4 book series)
    Illium by Dan Simmons (start of a 2 book series)
    The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (start of a 4 book series)
    Lamb by Christopher Moore
    A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
    Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton (start of a 2 book series)
    Skinny Dip by Carl Hiassen

    Da Brudderhood of Zeeba Zeeba Eeta by Stephan Pastis (a “Pearls Before Swine” collection)

    – Greg

  118. Geek Mafia

    Awesome book.

  119. Matt I dont know if you are interested in Philosophy or not. When I say philosophy people has misconception that it is only for old age people :).

    I would reommend you to read this book once :

    Vedanta Treatise – The Eternities by A Parthasarathy.

    You can get read more info about him at and

    – Hajith.

  120. Matt, the Flake book is fantastic. It’s a bit more technical – or lacks as much non-technical material – otherwise it deserves to be as widely recognised as something like Goedel, Escher, Bach.

    As I said in my review, I probably only got through a third of the material in The Art of Programming – and I didn’t do any of the exercises! The Sedgewick books look interesting, but possibly more my girlfriend’s thing – I’m more a mathematician than a programmer, so I like a more general perspective than “in programming language X”.

  121. Matt, take a break from the techno world and read one of Tom Robbins’ books. My fave is Jitterbug Perfume, but I can also suggest Another Roadside Attraction or even Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas. Tom’s different, to say the least, but reading his books can help keep a person well rounded. Also, if you ever meet someone who has actually read Robbins, you’ll have a good conversation.

  122. BrianK, I have been to Asheville. It’s a lovely city, from Biltmore nearby to all the great scenery and crafts.

    Greg Bulmash, putting an order in for The Eyre Affair. I enjoyed the Shrike stuff by Dan Simmons.

    Brian H, Geek Mafia looked very cool. Ordered that too — thanks!

  123. john andrews, I read “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” in college and didn’t care for that at the time. Does his later stuff dial the weirdness back a little bit?

  124. I think I suggested this last year, too. Try “Drowned Hopes” by Donald Westlake. The Dortmunder novels are still a favorite around our house. My tastes run toward the light and breezy, and these are fun books. Good yarns, lots of laughs, and corpses are rare.

  125. Reading books on vacation? How old are you???? πŸ™‚

    Why not travel outside the USA for a change?

  126. Don’t forget tons of graphic novels.

  127. I recommend ‘The God Delusion’ . . .to test your faith.

  128. Peter (IMC)

    “Reading books on vacation? How old are you????”

    I guess Matt doesn’t only read books on his vacations, but also spend part of them on making resolutions. For example, last year he mentioned two resolutions:

    – to make Friday evenings a β€œdate night.”

    – to take a long vacation.

    I see him fulfilling the second resolution. Don’t know about the first one πŸ™‚

  129. I assume you’ve already read all of the “The Cat Who…” books. You could always re-read them. πŸ™‚

    What about ‘War and Peace’ – really. I picked it up originally for the sole purpose of being able to say I HAD read it. I fully expected to be slogging through some heavy historical verbiage for months, but to my surprise and delight – it was a very interesting book. I found it unexpectedly easy to read, and not so intrusive that I couldn’t put it down and come back to it later.

  130. You didn’t really mention many fantasy authors, but if you like your fiction dark and gritty – I would highly recommend Stephen Erikson!

  131. Pro Drupal Development would be a good one to read this summer.

  132. Dan, which graphic novels would you recommend? Other than say, Sandman, Lucifer, Constantine, Transmetropolitan, Powers?

    dlperry, I’ve only read one “The Cat Who…” book. If you liked those, I recommend Cats in Cyberspace. I keep waiting for the author to do another one like that.

  133. In comics: I also think you’d like Superman: Red Son, as well as the Action Philosophers series.

  134. Some great suggestions above. Here’s another couple that are good vacation reading:

    Barry Hughart’s Chinese Historical Fantasy Mystery novels:

    Bridge of Birds
    Eight Skilled Gentlemen

  135. Magician is a great fantasy

  136. There is no writer that writes like him, and there are no books that are read like his. Frederick Forsyth is the greatest story teller.
    Especially his earlier books. He surprises you not only at the end of the story, but while you are reading a supposadly casual description you find yourself suddenly jumping from your chair and going a line back saying “what was this”?

  137. ZAG by Marty Neumeier is a great reading too – if you like that sort of reading during vacation.

  138. OK, so you got a boatload of books but here’s my two cents anyways:
    Both “Yes man” and “Join me” by Danny Wallace. Probably the best comedy books I’ve read in a long time.

  139. Do you know Ender’s Game of Orson Scott Card? It is possible that it is a bit infantile.

  140. full disclosure, i’m getting my mfa in fiction writing, so i read lots of stuff for different reasons…i had a lot of fun with borges and robbins but for, completely different reasons, even though they, really, address the same topics, the realm of inexpressibility, time, space, all that…robbins is funny, borges is an impossible trickster…more disclosure, i wrote my entry essay comparing the two…prolly blew the admissions folks’ gaskets to…


  141. You might want to try books of the Japanese author Haruki Murakami..

  142. “dlperry, I’ve only read one β€œThe Cat Who…” book. ”

    Hmm – only one…not your cup of tea then?

    “If you liked those, I recommend Cats in Cyberspace. I keep waiting for the author to do another one like that.”

    I’ve heard of that. Thanks Matt, I’ll check it out. πŸ™‚

  143. or some books from spain! πŸ™‚

  144. Dude, you have to read Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Amazing book, kinda along the lines of Pan’s Labyrinth, set in Bracelona.

  145. Hey Matt,

    Send me an address (michael at thebigday dot com) and I’ll drop you a copy of “Honeymoon with my Brother”…great travel & “life” book, true story, bestseller etc. We’ve got some signed copies from Franz (the author) here. I’ll give it to you in return for a favor to be determined later πŸ™‚


  146. I just read “The King of Torts” by Tom Clancey. I’d suggest that…

  147. Light reading: Pretty entertaining, if you have ever been there – kind of like a good action movie!

    The Man Burns Tonight: A Black Rock City Mystery by Donn Cortez

  148. Spanish book’s:
    The Revolt of the Masses (philosophy obout masses, all true)
    Today, jupiter of Luis Landero (very good)
    The Quixote, of course.

    If you want more, said me.

  149. You might also like to check out the Top 100 bestseller list at Amazon. Apart from that I liked “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference”.

  150. I don’t know if this is the right reading for a vacation, though I very much enjoyed >How to Simplify Your Life : Seven Practical Steps to Letting Go of Your Burdens and Living a Happier Life

  151. Any of the Culture books by Iain M Banks.

    Start with Consider Phlebas

  152. You cant go wrong with one of the best fantasy series I have ever read – Robert Jordan “Wheel of Time”. Currently on the 12th book in the series. Fantastic series….in case you havent read it already. Everyone I have recommended it to loves it and gets hooked.

  153. Why My Wife Thinks I’m An Idiot – Mike Greenberg

  154. Have you read i Woz? I’m going to assume you did πŸ™‚

    It was the best geek culture book I’ve ever read.

  155. OK, this one isn’t fiction, either – but it’s so entertaining it’ll pass as a vacation book: “Everything Bad Is Good For You” by Steven Johnson.

    The book introduces an interesting idea of the sleeper curve, which essentially means that modern video games, TV shows and movies are actually so much more cognitively demanding than their predecessors, that they’re good for you – quite the opposite what, for example, Dr. Spock books on raising children say about the subject.

    Thanks for the blog – totally posts, Matt!

    Best regards,


  156. Anything by Orson Scott Card is usually good.

    I know this one sounds weird, but if you’re into random facts and the weird stories behind things, you will love anything written by Karl Shaw.. especially “Five People Who Died During Sex.” I swear the book is not perverse! πŸ˜›

  157. Two books I recently read and liked a lot were:
    on the more serious end: “Beyond Fear” by Bruce Schneier

    and for fun: “Talk to the Snail” by Stephen Clarke, quick and IMO very amusing read, although this certainly is a lot less funny if you don’t care about or have never been to France…

    all the best,

  158. This might seem like an odd choice, but i would go for Watership Down, by Richard Adams. Its a work of art… offering a tale of social structures within a group of rabbits in the English countryside. Replace the rabbits with humans and the pasture green meadows for the electronic media of today and you have a true story of human nature and behaviour.

    For further information check it out on Amazon UK, or US. Hundreds of reviews…

  159. Its ofcause Aaron Wall’s SEO Book πŸ™‚

  160. Since your fiction writer’s list is so close to mine, I’ll throw in two books, both of which have the advantage of being freely downloadable or bought in stores:

    Accelerando by Charlie Stross (
    Just popping with ideas about what unlimited processing power will do.

    Blindsight by Peter Watts (
    A seriously odd first contact story. Clever stuff.


  161. try The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. A great read especially if you’re thinking about travels or vacations. The kind of book that makes you want to get up and experience life, especially when you’ve been sitting behind a desk for months without break…. πŸ™‚
    And for the pulpy scifi, go pickup and re-read Snow Crash!!! πŸ™‚

  162. If you are looking for an intelligent thriller, then anything by Nelson Demille… he manages to combine suspense with a steady stream of non-PC sarcastic humor. Real page-turners. And, in the same vein, Brian Haig’s recent murder mystery/thriller “Man in the Middle” outdoes even Demille in the smart alec humor department while providing a realistic scenario for how the US ended up in Iraq (presumably fictional, but the most convincing thing I’ve heard.)

  163. Hello, I’m new to your blog. In my spare time, I am a reviewer for Penguin, Daw, Tor, ROC, and other small press publishers.

    Two books that I recently read worth mentioning:

    Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert, which has some cyber-punk and soft sci-fi (i.e. remote viewing) influences. It’s billed as a “romance,” but it really isn’t one.

    Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, which is a fantasy with hard sci-fi elements infused into the reality of the magic. The magic isn’t “floofie,” it tends to be very accessible and more rational to the laws of physics.

    You can find different types of reviews for both in multiple places and make your own judgment; I just started a blog that will list where my reviews are and provide some backlinks to authors.

  164. I’ll second the motion for Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” novels, I’ve just read the first in the series “Eye of the World” and am starting the second one. I love books that transport you to another world and culture. They often help us see things in our own culture and world we haven’t noticed before. Robert Jordan does a great job of doing this, immersing you in a completely different world, with a mirad of cultures and a rich historical context.


  165. I’ve virtually stopped reading books, but very much enjoy listening to audio books. More and more great books that have made the best seller’s lists become availalbe as audios. Many even as downloadable audios, which saves the hassle of carrying along loads of CD’s.

    Soem of thes authors mentioned in these comments have audio books on the market, like ie. Nelson DeMille, Paulo Coelho. If you want to get the lesser known authors, then it’s back to the good old paper books….

    My suggestion: ‘Hot Target’ by Suzanne Brockmann, this thriller has all it takes to pick it up and not drop it until the last page. Have a great reading and relaxing holiday!


  166. If you want an easy read i would go for Lee Child – The Hard Way

  167. If you want to read some rather scary books (Stephen King recommends this chap) Then Bentley Little is for you – try “The Store” – a shocking vision of corporate America.

    Or if you live in a HOA “The Association”


  168. If you like outdoor adventure type stuff then Dances with Marmots by George Spearing is worth a look. Story of his 5 month hike along the Pacific Crest trail that runs from Mexico to Canada. I found it an entertaining and often amusing read.

  169. The most obscure two of my favorite novels:

    Matt Ruff, “Sewer, Gas, and Electric”
    Richard Dooling, “White Man’s Grave”

  170. While you are vacationing you might want to listen to some literary death metal from bloodhag [myspace page]

  171. Thanks for the heads up on that Hacking Ubuntu book…off to order that now.

    If you’re in the mood for some light hippie material that’s very easy reading…I’m just finishing up The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D. and would give it a two thumbs up.

  172. It’s been mentioned here already, but anything by Haruki Murakami is great. “Sputnik Sweetheart” is quintessential Murakami: accessibly written, profound in its depths, and sublime in its beauty.
    For a more challenging read, I recommend Umberto Eco’s “Foucault ‘s Pendulum.” An engaging, encyclopedic postmodern (really, not just in β€œthe hey i wanna sound smart way”) novel that can be likened to “The Da Vinci Code” for grownups.

  173. Nice – something to hold me over until the new potter book. I don’t get much time to read but I think I can squeeze in ‘Already Dead’ by Charlie Huston. Just finished a book called ‘Footprints of Thunder’ by James F. David. It’s about a time displacement where huge chunks of land all over the world disappear and are replaced by chunks of land from prehistoric days. Dinosaurs in Manhattan, etc. Strange but good.

  174. Read the James Bond series by Ian Flemming – much more realistic than the films.

  175. These are old school easy fantasy dungeon and dragon types of books. I still like to read them again when I get the time.

    β€œDragon Lance” Series

  176. Vacation and Books do not go hand in hand for me.

  177. The most obscure two of my favorite novels:

    Matt Ruff, β€œSewer, Gas, and Electric”

  178. Charles Bukowski, South of no north
    or Yalom’s when Nietzsche wept πŸ˜‰

  179. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

  180. OK… one more.
    Kryptonomicon …
    breaking enigma, Turing, cryptography, and roll it up with the idea of information and how these kinds of people shape things with their ideas… along with another view of World War II …good stuff!

  181. Great book, it has been rec here already “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference”.

  182. Wow 15 books – You will be doing a lot of reading and not experiencing your vacation at all – My gf would kick my butt if i took books with us when on vacation lol πŸ™‚

  183. Why dont you just google it?

  184. — is an awesome book for a google guy. Without giving away the plot, the ‘reasoning computer link that provides any information as needed’ sounds like a google goal.

  185. I would suggest 1000 Years of Laughter by David Timson.This delightful anthology presents some of the funniest extracts in English literature.