Fun summer book reading suggestions?

Hey everybody, I’m looking for some fun books (mostly fiction) to read this summer. What would you recommend? One book I recently enjoyed was The Martian, a novel about an astronaut stranded on Mars who needs to figure out how to survive and get home with minimal supplies. It was a little heavy on the science, but I liked learning a couple things while reading it. I also enjoyed Flash Boys by Michael Lewis, even though it wasn’t fiction.

I’m not much of a fantasy reader (normally I prefer sci-fi), but I did enjoy The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and his follow-up book, The Wise Man’s Fear. Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane was satisfyingly haunting–highly recommended.

Almost anyone in the tech world would enjoy Hatching Twitter, by Nick Bilton. I like almost anything by Jon Ronson as well. Likewise, Ramez Naam and Lee Child and Daniel Suarez are good bets for me at least. I enjoy just about everything by John Scalzi, although Redshirts got a little too meta for my taste.

I also enjoyed The Last Policeman by Ben Winters, about a policeman who stays at his post in the months before an asteroid is predicted to collide with the Earth. I’m not a horror fan, but an unexpected delight was the comedy-horror novel This Book Is Full of Spiders by David Wong.

When I asked for reading recommendations in the past, here’s the description I used:

Okay, I’m looking for fun, light reading for my vacation. I don’t want search stuff, I don’t want heavy reading, I don’t want geopolitics or history.

Things like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Or Terry Pratchett. Or early William Gibson. Cheesy cyberpunk if they don’t get the computer stuff too wrong. Neil Gaiman. Transmetropolitan.

So, what fun books have you enjoyed recently? Tell me what books you’ve really enjoyed!

204 Responses to Fun summer book reading suggestions? (Leave a comment)

  1. ‘Fault in our stars’ by john green.

  2. The Light of Other Days by Steven Baxter & Arthur C. Clarke. The synopsis – what if a viewing device could be created that allows anyone to view any moment in the past, anywhere in the world? imagine if your wife stalked you if she suspected u had an affair in the past. Imagine who would be creepy and watch you in your most intimate moments. And how would it shape our lives and our beliefs? It has a sci-fi spin, but it’s not hard sci fi. I recommend! 🙂

  3. Matt, you might try taking a look at this list, just for fun: Amazon’s list of 25 Best Triathlon Books But that might encourage you to work out during vacation, huh?

    • Thanks for the pointer! I just picked up The Quotable Runner and that’s really good. And books like Born to Run are fantastic too.

  4. Lately I have had a lot of fun reading philosophy. it’s weird, but stick with me for a moment. A good philosophy book delivers a lot of the same “AHA!” moments that programming does. A question will be posed that you haven’t really spent much time on – like an interesting programming problem – and then through logic and rationalization you come to some answers, many of which are far different from what you would have assumed from the beginning. Right now I am reading John Searle’s excellent “The Mystery of Consciousness” ( It probably doesn’t qualify as light reading, but I find that what qualifies as light reading is really dependent upon how much you enjoy it. Even the lightest reading in terms of difficulty can become immensely painful to complete if the next page doesn’t continue to draw your attention.

  5. You should read Grief Species by Adam Doc Fox. It’s a book about the demise of print media and bachelor parties. It’s a great book written in speed prose! You should give it a read!

  6. Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice is up for and rightfully winning all the awards this year. It’s science fiction around themes of identity. Kind of like Ursula LeGuin’s Hainish novels if they’d had a lot more action. I suspect there will be sequels, though this first book stands alone nicely.

    Karen Lord’s The Best of All Possible Worlds is another good recent anthropological SF novel. This one is talking more about colonialism and cultural diaspora.

    For more adventure action space opera type fare, check out James S. A. Corey’s (widely known to be a pseudonym for the collaborative team of Daniel Abraham (whose fantasy is great) and Ty Frank), “Expanse” novels starting with Leviathan Wakes. The series is in production for a TV adaptation so now’s the time to catch up and be one of those people who knows all the spoilers in advance 😉

  7. Michael Meixner

    “Bringing Down the House – the inside story of how 6 MIT students took vegas for millions” it’s non-fiction, but reads almost like a fiction thriller novel… I read it a couple of summers ago and loved it, and I don’t even really care for poker/blackjack, it bores me, but this book did not.

  8. I recommend reading “Think Like a Freak” from the authors of Freakanomics. I’m half way through and it really helps you attack problems from new angles. Enjoy!

  9. Hi Matt! What about Cloud Atlas? It’s an amazing book. I wrote something about it but in spanish. :p

    • Nice, my wife bought a copy, so it’s somewhere around. I might check it out. Thanks! Sounds like it’s pretty dense though?

      • You can find funny moments, intrigue ones and yes, some of them may be kind of though. But I can tell you one thing for sure: you won’t be able to stop. The Wachowski brothers did a nice job, but maybe they did the story more complicated. You can read this book as one of your spiders: go from one story to another realizing that there might be a lot of things in common even though you are not in front of the same story. So a good question would be: what changes in time and what remains de same? Well, it’s a good book. Hope you get the chance to read it. 😉

  10. Alastair Reynolds is good for a few summer (or any other season) reads.

    The Chasm City/Revelation Space novels are my favorites so far.

  11. Wizard’s Bane by Rick Cook.
    Fun light fantasy. Take a modern day programmer, put him in a fantasy world where he realizes that all the ritual for magic is actually a form of programming. He makes it more efficient and he becomes a wizard.

  12. Book, after which nothing will not be same… “Holographic Universe” – Michael Talbot. Mixture of antic myths with actual quantum mechanic.

  13. Jeremy Amaismeier

    Matt – I’d highly recommend Bypass Gemini and the sequel, Unstable Prototypes. I’ve been re-reading them out loud with my wife recently. They would definitely fit your “fun, light reading” descriptor.

  14. Patrick Rothfuss is a bag fan of the Dresden files books and so am I. Its hard to recommend a series though that doesn’t start getting really amazingly good until book 12 though, its good before then though, fun and quick read.

    I also absolutely loved Old Man’s War, I have to add the rest of that series to my read soon list.

    My other favs and strong suggestion to anyone that enjoys sci-fi are in not particular order:
    Daemon by Daniel Suarez (who doesn’t love that one?)
    The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
    Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons
    Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
    Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human by Grant Morrison

    And if you are okay with books that are good reads but don’t have great endings:
    Under the Dome by Stephen King
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

    • Ah, I loved Hyperion, and 1Q84 has been on my list for a while–thanks for the suggestions!

      • Ignacio Coloma

        The sequel to Hyperion is also great for entirely different reasons. Also in that line: Foundation, Ender’s Game and Wool.

  15. Matt, any idea for books I can read about changing careers? I hate my job.

  16. Rather than read books, I’m going to recommend a website. After all, books are a thing of the past.

    Since you like fiction, I recommend Wikipedia. You can pretty much read anything that has to do with health – especially in the areas of alternative healthcare. The FDA and Monsanto take advantage of the open source platforms and have their cronies scrub anything scientific to make sure it stays fictional according to their agenda.

    • You mean heat stroke isn’t caused by lesbianism?

      (Yes, I actually read that on a Wikipedia entry once.)

  17. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King.

  18. The Iron King (only read first book but really enjoyed it), Julie Kagwa.

    3 Lies, Helen Hanson.

    Wollstonecraft, Jordan Stratford.

    Moonraker, Ian Fleming.

    Red, Sammy Hagar.

  19. Peter Skelton

    If you like William Gibson then I would give Lauren Beukes a go. Her first book, Moxyland, is quite reminiscent of early Gibson but is set in near contemporary South Africa. Her most recent book Shining Girls is also very good.

    I would also recommend Shotgun Lovesongsby Nickolas Butler. Quite a heartwarming read about friendship and sense of place.

  20. Stephen Kline

    Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez

    A great techno-thriller about drones gone wild.

  21. “The Last Run” by Todd Lewan is amazing. I could not put it down. It’s a true story, but it reads like an adventure/survival novel. One of the oldest fishing boats in Alaska is sinking in a winter storm and the book tells about fight to survive onboard and the heroic Coast Guard rescue in hurricane force winds. Total page turner. called it “THE PERFECT STORM transferred to Alaska, but with a much more heroic conclusion.”

    Have a great summer.

    Elliott Smith
    Western Washington University

  22. Not new but certainly worth considering if you’ve not read it…

    Influence by Dr.Robert Cialdini –

  23. Big fan of the new “Think like a Freak” book by Dubner / Levitt. I actually wrote a review about it on Amazon right here:

    Now if you’re looking for more fiction oriented books, I found the Divergent Series by Veronica Roth to be a great one too (Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant).

  24. The Alchemist is a great read if you haven’t already read it. It’s pretty short.

  25. Hi Matt-
    It’s an oldy but a goody, James Michener’s Space. Granted, there’s oodles of pages but the novel is a fantastic read in a fictionalized historical format.


  26. I very much enjoyed Tolkien’s own translation of Beowulf: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary.

    Inside the same book you also find yet another unpublished tale by Tolkien called Sellic spell, a “marvellous tale”, suggesting what might have been the form and style of an Old English folk-tale of Beowulf, in which there was no association with the “historical legends” of the Northern kingdoms.’

    Most of it should just be read out loud to be enjoyed fully. It is just an idea… I can imagine you walking on a beach somewhere reading Beowulf out loud! Hope some youtube film comes from that! Heorot! Heorot!

  27. The Eagle Series, by Simon Scarrow. It’s a series that follows the lives of two roman soldiers from around 42AD. It is a bit of politics and history mind you, but hidden under a good fictional tale.

  28. Bit out of left field but would highly recommend “Me before you” by Jojo Moyes

  29. You recently recommended reading ‘The Martian’ which I thoroughly enjoyed – couldn’t put it down. Let me share with you a few I’ve really had fun reading recently:

    The Dog Stars (must read)
    The Rosie Project (engineer love)
    All the Light We Cannot See (WWII)
    Replay (Live your life over every 50 years)

    Hope everyone who reads these has a good time!

  30. Fiction, fun, light and FUN?

    “Night Fall” by Nelson DeMille.

    Based around historical event (crash of TWA Flight 800). Laugh-out-loud writing with make-you-think prose.

    You’re welcome. 🙂

  31. If you’d like to explore some non-fiction topics in a largely anecdotal fashion, try either “Give and Take” by organizational psychologist Adam Grant, or “Salt Sugar Fat” by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Moss.

  32. Hi Matt,

    I’d recommend “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda. My guess is that you’ve probably already read it considering that it’s been in the top 10 list in its genre for a few decades. It pretty much became the no. 1 on the list of books that had a profound impact on me.

    On another note, Ben Horowitz’s new book “The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers” is also strongly recommended.

    Have a great (and safe) holiday. 🙂

  33. I enjoyed the Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell. Also books by Daniel Suarez – Deamon, Freedom (TM), Kill Decision, and Influx.

  34. Hi Matt, I have two totally different recommendations and nothing like what you have suggested, yet I think both of these would appeal to you given what I know of you from reading your blog and listening to your videos
    First: I would recommend Freakonomics ( and the followup book that just came out by the same authors Think like a Freak ( You will appreciate the humor and humorous stories in this book yet appreciate the fact that you are reading something written by two world class economists. Very different than what I expected and not heavy at all

    The Second set of books I would recommend for you to read is a string of books on Julia Child, all by different authors, all giving you a snapshot of this sheer genius of AMerican cuisine. The reason why I think you will enjoy these books is because she like you was charting a whole new course for the American people. The books I recommend are: My Life in France Paperback
    by Julia Child ; Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz; Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste by Luke Barr; As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto by Joan Reardon; Julia Child: A Life (Penguin Lives) by Laura Shapiro; Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell

    Let us know what your choose!

  35. Jacobo Tarrio

    I enjoyed “The Eyre Affair” (and the following ones in the series) by Jasper Fforde, and the books in the Laundry Files series, by Charles Stross.

  36. Cold Skin by Albert Pinol = a great read.
    Completely outside the normal (at least for anyone who doesn’t live on a deserted island in the antarctic.) The kind of book that you can’t put down.

  37. Have a look at Charles Stross’ “The Laundry Files” series (the first one is “The Atrocity Archives”, but there are a couple novellas that are freely available to get a taste:

    It’s Lovecraft meets The Office meets The IT Crowd, where demonology is a sub-discipline of computer science and geeks who blunder into the dark corners of CS get drafted into the British intelligence service charged with countering the paranormal threat. Very British in a James Bond sort of way, and absolutely hilarious.

  38. I suggest this book! “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” by Ludwig Wittgenstein. Actually my master thesis is about philosophy of language and I learnt most from his book! Why I recommend this book for you Matt? There are many reasons, first of all you can have a complete different view of language, I think Google itself is a linguistics master, since Google deals with language all the time, trying to tell the low quality from the high quality. Second, you would be surprised by Lugwig’s way of writing books, this book is thin but composed of short sentences organized in a logical way. One question leading to another, you will be shocked! I myself as a SEOer and an editor, know the importance of words, hope Matt you have not read this book yet. Take my advice you will not regret!

    • I forgot one more important thing, reading that book Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is really fun, especially in summer, Matt

  39. The Prey series of police novels by John Sandford. The current one, Field of Prey, is one of the better ones. His books start right from the first sentence and are a quick, easy read you’ll find hard to put down. I usually think the story is coming to a conclusion till I realize I’m only a third of the way through!

  40. I would recommend one of Khalil Gibran. He was one of the great poets in both Arabic and English. He lived most of his life here in the States. I am pretty sure you have heard of his poem before. One his famous books is “The Prophet”. Here is a a link to his indexed books by Google 😉

  41. This Machine Kills Secrets

  42. Try PRISONER OF GLASS by Mark Jeffrey … LOST meets MYST meets THE PRISONER. It’s short (40K words) self-pub’d but I am also a Harper Collins novelist as well. Yes it has an ending, unlike LOST — in fact, this is my ‘answer’ as to how to end it something like that well! 🙂 Here is a soundcloud trailer:

  43. Here a random suggestion, towards end of summer: Victus – Albert Sánchez Piñol (Catalan writer), not published in English yet but about to be. It is by far my favourite book and mixes real history explained through a fiction character. One of those books that you can’t just stop reading.

    Meanwhile a bizarre suggestion from the same author: Cold Skin – it will scare the shit out of you sometimes… but highly recommendable.

  44. Just took down The Martian as well and really enjoyed it (fun fact Ridley Scott picked it up to make a movie starring Matt Damon.) The other absolute highlight for me recently was Ready Player One if you haven’t read it. It’s a really fun ride that will keep you dreaming about the potential (great and bad) for Virtual Reality for a long time.

  45. How about “The Iron King” Best book.

  46. Hello Matt, I know you are the fond of fiction but I will say that read once THE POWER OF NOW. I know that I am giving you from your offtopic but It would be your best book till now. Sure!!

  47. I suggest “The Tattoo” by Chris McKinney.

    It’s a really fun, interesting, good read.

    You have never posted any of my comments, but it never hurts to keep trying. 🙂

  48. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4. Solid gold stuff 🙂

  49. The older I get, the more interested in history I become. Being that the anniversary of D-day was just a few days ago, I suggest a book called “Bombs Away” discussing the allies aerial bombardment of German occupied lands during World War 2. The number of men lost is staggering compared to what we’ve seen in Afghanistan and Iraq. I think it’s good to read about them and spend time reflecting on what they did for us 70+ years ago.

  50. Hi Matt, you can read a lot of books in summer. But, I invite you to read this chapter: Read it as an explorer! 🙂

  51. another vote for the Rosie Project. Perfect summer reading for engineers

  52. … I’m assuming you’ve read The Circle by Dave Eggers. If not, that’s a must

    • I haven’t read The Circle yet, but Eggers story “Quiet” from How We are Hungryhaunts me to this day. Buy it just for that, if you want to read Eggers.

      (The last story in that series, too, was very very good. I don’t remember the title. The one about the dog who runs. And runs.)

  53. Ram Chandra Dash

    Hi Matt,

    I read this book, You might be Enjoy while reading [ The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #2) by Douglas Adams ]

  54. Hey Matt
    Try this book you may really love this…

  55. I couldn’t recommend AJ Quinnel enough the Creasy series or even his book In The Name of the Father.

  56. Hey Matt

    I have just read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. The summary from Wikipedia pretty much covers it better than I can:

    “By 2044, the exhaustion of Earth’s fossil fuels has led to longstanding global scarcity and violent unrest. People take refuge in the OASIS, a massively multiplayer online virtual reality simulation that dominates all human activity, including business and recreation. Its creator James Halliday had died five years earlier, leaving a will stating that his quarter-trillion-dollar fortune and controlling ownership of the OASIS will be awarded to the first person to find an Easter egg inside the simulation, which he has hidden behind a series of three gates unlocked by hidden keys. The only clues are Halliday’s video will and his published journal. Those searching for the Egg are referred to as “gunters”, a portmanteau of “egg hunters”. Gunters become devotees of 1980s pop culture, with which Halliday had been obsessed. A scoreboard for the “Hunt” is published on Halliday’s website, but nobody has ever scored any points.”

    In a nutshell it’s a sci-fi novel set in a distopian future with a virtual reality that was designed to be like the 80’s. So, it’s very heavy on 80’s popular culture with everything from dungeons & dragons and video games to 80’s music, film and TV. Within this virtual reality (where most people hide from the real world) there is a puzzle left by it’s dying creator and the book is about the quest to solve that puzzle for the right reasons before an evil corporation does.

    If you like Sci-Fi, are a bit geeky (and I am sure you classify Mr. Cutts) and have a bit of a fondness for the 80’s then this is a damn good holiday read.

    Let me know if you read / enjoy! 🙂

    • Ignacio Coloma

      I was searching on this page to see if this one was already suggested. Grab the book before the movie comes out in one-two years and spoils all that nerd love (in all good sense).

  57. Senthil Kumar

    “2 States : The Story Of My Marriage”

  58. Google Wellwisher

    Hi Matt! I am sorry to write this here but I can’t find a suitable way to contact you. I wish to report about an SEO company in India who is cheating innocent clients and polluting web with bad links + spam creation. Is there any way for this?

  59. Humor based on family oriented cartoons Matt

  60. I am sorry if that sounds a bit inappropriate here, but I guess the tech history should be of interest to anyone in the tech industry, no matter which side you pick.

    This is a funny and captivating history by Andy Hertzfeld on the backstage of Macintosh creation:

    This book is different from traditional Apple literature since it was written by employees and is focused on their personal experiences and funny facts. It’s a delightful and easy reading that once started won’t let you stop until finished.

  61. Nicole Castelblanco

    Light & fun? – try anything by Christopher Moore (my favorite is Lamb)

  62. Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes is well worth trying. It’s very funny and also offers an interesting take on modern society.

  63. Hi Matt. Since you mentioned Lee Child who I also enjoy reading, I think you will love the Myron Bolitar series of books by Harlan Coben. Here is a link to the books in order: They are very entertaining books full of action, mystery and suspense but very humorous at the same time. The Myron Bolitar character is witty and fun. I’ve never known someone not to like these books. Great reads for a vacation! Have fun.

  64. This Machine Kills Secrets

  65. I’m not too shy to recommend one of my own books. People have described Too Close to Miss as ideal beach reading. If you’re into gritty but fast-paced crime thrillers, you might find this one well-suited. It’s a quick read, if nothing else!

  66. 1) Year Zero by Rob Reid
    2) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    3) Zero Day by Mark Russinovich (you didn’t mention him but seems likely you’ve already read)
    4) Perfect Dark: Initial Vector by Greg Rucka
    5) Perfect Dark: Second Front by Greg Rucka
    6) Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
    7) Deception Point by Dan Brown

    I could have recommended many more if you like fantasy.

  67. There’s always Iain M banks’ last book Hydrogen Sonata

  68. It’s not a business book, but it does show how precious our time is and it’s called ‘The Timekeeper’ by Mitch Albom. It’s a beautiful read and i’d thoroughly reccommend it.

  69. The Rosie Project! It’s light and quirky in the same way that Curious Incident is, and is definitely a fun read. It’s told from the perspective of a man with Asperger’s (who doesn’t know it), trying to find love via questionnaire and make sense of our illogical social norms.

  70. I’ve always like Crichton, and found Pirate Latitudes to be surprisingly fun.

    I also go back and read some of the books I didn’t appreciate enough when I was younger, like The Little Prince or The Phantom Tollbooth.

  71. I can’t believe Wool has yet to be mentioned. The best independently written novel ever published (imho). It’s so hugely great and its massive success on Amazon despite no publisher backing is a great testament:

  72. Decline of the West.

  73. If you haven’t read “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline yet, you absolutely should; it’s right up your alley. (John Scalzi called it a “nerdgasm”.)

    I really enjoyed “Skinner” by Charlie Huston—it’s a globe-spanning thriller with a tech bent that I found reminiscent of William Gibson. His “Sleepless” was the best zombie-esque novel I’ve read in a while.

    There’s a sequel to “The Last Policeman” out (“Countdown City”), also good, but I didn’t like it as much as the first one.

    Hugh Howley’s “Wool” series is excellent.

    After an xkcd recommendation, I really enjoyed “‘T. rex’ and the Crater of Doom” By Walter Alvarez as an excellent popular science book that really illustrated the science process. It’s very anecdotal, no math.

    “The Prestige” is Christopher Nolan’s least-renowned movie, but it’s excellent; the book, by Christopher Priest, is also excellent. The story of an amazing magic trick and how it’s done; Nikola Tesla makes an appearance.

    Eric Schlosser’s “Command and Control” is a fascinating and scary history of the management of nuclear weapons in the cold war.

  74. I just finished reading “The Everything Store”. It’s a fascinating look into the founding and operations of Amazon.

  75. Sarah Smysor Panning

    Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, the eighth book in the Outlander Series by #DianeGabaldon is being release today in the US! I just finished rereading the entire Outlander series in anticipation of the new release. Learn more about it here –

  76. A great trilogy is Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain trilogy. It’s out on FX this summer as a mini-series, but it’s definitely a gripping, can’t put down trilogy that is in the horror genre if you like that.

    Another great biography mystery is Empty Mansions, The Mysterious Life Of Huguette Clark. The author stumbled onto this very weird mystery when looking for a new home and wound up becoming entrenched into a very interesting and mysterious case. Another book that you just can’t put down.

    • I have to admit, I didn’t like the first book in The Strain trilogy. It seemed a little too much like “This creature is pure evil–all kneel before it” without any nuance. 🙁

  77. Matt,

    “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business ( was a good read.


  78. I just finished a trilogy called ‘Otherland’ by Tad Williams. The descriptive language in the trilogy was some of the best I have ever read; the metaphors, similes, and analogies were original and brilliant.

    The story itself is set in a future in which computer virtual worlds and interactions have reached a level of realism that would make Turing shake his head in wonder.

    The books are long, but extremely enjoyable.

  79. Dushyant Joshi

    1. The Good Book by A. C. Grayling
    2. Abundance by Peter Diamandis
    3. 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang

  80. Have you ever read “Childhood’s End” by Arthur Clarke? It’s amazing.

  81. I’ve just finished reading my first book by Keith Houghton – Killing Hope – (Gabe Quinn Thriller #1)

    It really was a “can’t put it down” book and gets great reviews on amazon.


  82. Hi Matt, Read this book “The test of my life”

  83. Some suggestions:

    Cuckoo’s Calling by JK Rowling (Robert Galbraith) – an excellent detective mystery by Rowling. She turned this into a series (following the adventures of detective Cormoran Strike). The next book called The Silkworm is coming out on June 19.

    Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull – details the inner workings of Pixar from its founding days. Pretty interesting to read considering Pixar makes such hit movies.

    Quiet by Susan Cain – talks about the power of introverts. Found it insightful.

    Sycamore Row by John Grisham – fun detective mystery.

    Daring Greatly and Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown – helpful concepts around how one must embrace himself and make himself vulnerable to become stronger mentally.

    Wheat Belly by William Davis – awesome health book around why anything wheat is bad for you.

    No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald – Greenwald gives more background on the Snowden leaks.

  84. i am reading introduction to java programming 2

  85. Stephan Muller

    The one book I recommend to almost anyone is Catch-22. Chances are you’ve already read it, it’s a classic, but if not: please do read it. One of the funniest books I know 🙂

  86. If you enjoyed Flash Boys you should read The Big Short. Michael Lewis is a master at illuminating all the interesting characters and back stories. The story of the guy who is credited with first predicting the coming housing bubble is incredibly interesting, especially his personal story. You won’t put it down and you won’t be disappointed.

  87. Hi Matt,

    as you like Terry Pratchett and Christopher Moore, I would suggest A. Lee Martinez. I’ve read a couple of books from him, like “The Automatic Detective” or “Gil’s All Fright Diner” and I enjoyed them all.
    Jasper Fforde is a great author aswell, “Thursday Next” has already been mentioned in another comment. I really liked his book “Shades of Grey”.

    Cheers, Franziska

  88. I’m currently reading GEB (or rather trying to understand some parts of the book especially the dialogues between Achilles and Tortoise). Please try one of the classic works of Umberto Eco’s The name of the rose

  89. I suggest “The Dry Grass of August” by Anna Jean Mayhew. A very good read.

  90. I’ve been writing them more than reading them. Murder in Mexico is my series of twelve mysteries set in and around the upscale expat colony of San Miguel de Allende. Artist Paul Zacher is drawn into crime investigation because ‘he might see things differently.’ Maybe it’s time for the rich humanity of Mexico to show through all the narco headlines! Ready for the real Mexico, beyond the phony news reports? Take a look at this suspenseful and often funny series, available in Print, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBook in the Apple Store. Start with ‘Twenty Centavos’ by trying a sample on my website.

  91. Forgot to add Goldfinch by Donna Tart. A heart-wrenching work of fiction.

  92. Hi Matt,

    If you enjoyed “This Book is full of Spiders”, I’d highly recommend David Wong’s previous book “John Dies at the End” – its crazier than a sack full of schizophrenic cats.

    If you fancy something different I’d also recommend “Mountain Man” by Keith Blackmore – yes its a Zombie novel but it also happens to be a damn fine read.

    Another under-appreciated novel is “Confluence” by Paul McAuley (actually Anything by Paul McAuley) – incredibly rich science fiction. In the same stretch of science fiction is Alastair Reynolds latest series which so far includes “Blue Remembered Earth” and “On the Steel Breeze”

    If you fancy a challenge you could do worse than check-out “The Girl in the Road” by Monica Byrne, “Europe In Autumn” by Dave Hutchinson or Osama by Lavie Tidhar.

    Lastly if you do fancy a bit of Urban fantasy I’d recommend “Midnight Crossroad” by Charlaine Harris, the Dresden series by Jim Butcher or “The Courts of the Feyre” series by Mike Shevdon.

    Whatever you choose I hope you enjoy the read!

  93. A Wizard of Earthsea or anything else by Ursula Le Guin.

  94. +1 for Laundry Files

    I’m currently on the 4th book of the series, the 5th should be released soon, I can’t put them down.

    I’d describe it has BOFH (Bastard Operator From Hell – there’s even a short story with a PFY) combined with Men In Black combined with Lovecraft, and just a little bit of Bond, especially the second book.

  95. I strongly recommend Feet in the Clouds – the best running book I have ever read.

    It’s based on fell running, which a niche sport here in the UK. Basically running up and down steep hills very fast!

  96. Matt, I know it’s non-fiction and at first look you don’t get the MystStimCiting (mysterious, stimulating, exciting) vibe that The Martain, Flash Boys or The Name of the Wind exudes, but if you’re even remotely interested in the history of Pixar – its key players, where they came from, challenges they’ve overcome and the creative thought process they’ve developed to churn out quality family entertainment, then you’ll find Creativity, Inc. : Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration (by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace) an notable read.

    In light of some of your pre-reqs I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it but you cited Hatching Twitter (haven’t read but it’s on my list) and thought I could get away with mentioning it.

    Some may see it as historical treatise and not so “light” reading, I didn’t. There are entertaining and “revealing” aspects that’ll keep you turning the page. To boot, you can build inspiration around the blueprint it presents on taking good ideas and polishing them into excellence.

    One should read a little, daydream a little on how to apply it to a personal sitch. It may actually inspire you to take notes.

    Anyway, hope you enjoy your summer regardless of what you read.

  97. Not non-fiction, but give Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man, a try (not his more recent book though… not nearly as fun).

    I picked this up while looking for something for the plane and in ten minutes laughed and cried, but decided I didn’t want to read a book about a guy putting one foot in front of the other for longer than it would take to read the book, so I put it down. A few months later, waiting for a flight, there it was again. Laughed out loud and my wife said “just get the damn book already!” and I did and have also given it to half a dozen people who all loved it.

    For better or worse, it will make you want to go running.

  98. Hi Matt,

    Ohh Machine Kills Secrets and it’s Best book.

  99. I recommend “Tamir Triad” Lynn Flewelling. It is a combination of fantasy with horror 🙂

  100. Adam Koprowski

    Hey Matt, if you like Lee Child (as I do too), then I’d suggest checking out Harlan Coben. I’d also strongly recommend any of the four books by John Hart; less mainstream but, in my opinion, really worth reading.

    I have not read The Martian, but what you said about it reminds me of “The Humans” by Matt Haig, where the situation is reversed: an alien lands on earth and tries to blend in, which leads to all kinds of hilarious situations and observations about our weird habits. Good stuff 🙂

  101. Last time I was on a pure sun-based holiday (few years ago now!) I read Steven Hawking’s “A Briefer History of Time”. While not fiction, it was a pretty good read. Going on a sun holiday again this year so will probably pick up something similar.

  102. Anything by Robert J. Sawyer is great and fits in with some of the books you’ve mentioned. Specifically, his Neanderthals Parallax trilogy is an easy read backed up with interesting scientific theories. Titles of the books are ‘Hominids’, ‘Humans’, and ‘Hybrids’.

  103. Sarah Smysor Panning

    This was posted yesterday on the TED blog – Your summer reading list: Rashida Jones, Elizabeth Gilbert, Bill and Melinda Gates and many more share their book recommendations – thought it might interest you…

  104. Hetul Kothari

    Hey Matt,

    Try “The Immortals of Meluha” its 1st part of the Shiva Trilogy.

    I read this last year as a part of my 30 day challenge… I never read a fiction book before!! ever… but after reading this one… I HAD to finish the following 2 parts as well!

  105. Chris Saunders

    The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi was one of my fun reads last summer. “Light” might be a matter of interpretation but it’s a great book. The story is set in a future where energy production is so limited due to demand that calories become currency. It’s a grit-filled world with fantastic character development and an interesting plotline. Highly recommended.

  106. Just finished Fire with Fire by Charles E Gannon and I’m frustrated that the sequel doesn’t come out until August! Highly recommended since you like John Scalzi.

    Sci fi with a great mix of smart characters, action scenes, intellectual and scientific banter, humor, strategic plot twists and first contacts. Couldn’t put it down until nearly 3 hours past my usual bedtime last night.

  107. Hi Matt,

    One of my all-time favourites is Soul Music by (Sir!) Terry Pratchett… Infact just about anything by Pratchett is a good read. There’s also one called Good Omens (Pratchett and Neil Gaiman) which I couldn’t put down and remains on my shelves… funny and insightful!


  108. How about The Bible.

  109. Hmm – I dont know what you read allready, so it’s a bit hard to get a good book. I have read “Camouflage” as my last scifi book, before that it was “perry Rhodan” but These are to well known i think.
    Maybe u give “the art of seo” a try <– just kidding

    We could help more when you will tell us what u read allready 🙂

  110. Since you liked Hyperion, I must say I loved Ilium and Olympos by Dan Simmons. The first book is a sci fi version of Homer’s Iliad and the second has a touch of Tempest and an amazing Ulysses/NoMan

    A book series that you won’t hear a lot, but I think you ‘ll enjoy is the Gap Cycle by Stephen R. Donaldson. The first book tries to introduce this imaginary world and might be to cruel at some points, but the rest are great page turners!

    Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, or his Leviathan books, are really good too. And Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson would make Terminator very afraid! 🙂

    Cheers Matt!

  111. I don’t want to “old school” this list of great books, but I am re-reading Zig Ziglar’s Goals. It’s funny how today it has a totally different meaning to me than it did 10 years ago. A MUST Read for everyone.

  112. Hay Matt, Lee Child y recommend!! its a some too read. Good luck end have fun! gr Maik

  113. Hi, Matt, I recommend “Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki”

  114. I like series as:

    Robert Low: The Wolf Sea
    David Weber: By Heresis Distressed (Nimue Alban)
    Trudy Canavan: The Traitor Spy 1 (Sonea)

    and Scalzi’s Redshirts is for me a bit too much thought outside the box

  115. Anything by Christopher Buckley, Terry Pratchett, or Bill Bryson will entertain and enlighten. Cash Peters has written of couple of rather surreal mystery novels, and Patrick McManus writes manly cozy mysteries. If you’ve never read Jerome K. Jerome, you could start with Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog) and follow it up with Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing of the Dog.

  116. I’ve been reading a Sci-fi/horror/fantsy series by Neil Asher – all the Polity, Prader and Cormac novels in sequence. I’m up the Fifth Cormac novel and it’s excellent. (and will easily keep you busy the rest of the summer)

  117. Beth Cherkowsky

    Well thanks. I recommended a great series for you to read but YOUR system, which is so perfect, believes I’m a spammer. Guess what. FO

  118. Hi Matt,

    Here is my top three books for 2014:

    Another Great Day at Sea by Geoff Dyer
    An Untamed State by Roxanne Gay
    Kinder Than Solitude by Yiyun Li



  119. Anything Lee Child is awesome! His new book: Not A Drill is due out in the US on July 29! I suggest any John Sandford or Clive Cussler books are great reads too.

    New Lee Child:

  120. i would suggest to read The God of Small Things (Hardcover) written by Arundhati Roy a famous indian fiction writter

  121. I used to love Isaac Asimov during my school days. I am sure you can re-read them at any age.
    Those are timeless classics! Sasikumar, India,

  122. Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Triology – Annihilation and Authority are out; Acceptance is due in September. The writing is lovely, although the plots are quite strange (in a good way).

  123. Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices.

    One of the best books I have ever read. Son of Hamas leader goes to work for the CIA.


  124. Hyperion by Dan Simmons is the best for me.

  125. Seems this summer not enough to read all those books. If you wish, do add ” Shut up am talking”, this also pretty nice.

  126. LEE CHILD “The Affair”

  127. How about giving “Finnegans Wake” by James Joyce (1939) a try? Buzz Feed reckons it’s one of it’s one of most challenging books you’re ever likely to read.

  128. I’m looking for some summer books myself, and enjoyed reading through all these great suggestions!

    I couldn’t put down “Lexicon” by Max Barry. It’s a sci-fi book about a secret school that understands human language so well, it essentially teaches its students how to hack the human brain. Though I thought the ending was a bit weak, it was a real page-turner and I loved the whole concept.

    Susan Cain’s “Quiet” is one of my favorite books. It really made me think differently about what being introverted means.

    “My Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor is a fascinating and uplifting read. It’s about the author’s life before, during and after her stroke. This brain scientist watches her mind shut down from the inside out. But from it, she gained an amazing sense of peace and even nirvana.

    I loved reading “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” by Chris Hadfield. He’s a fascinating guy, and I loved reading about what life is really like on the ISS!

    I think “The Magicians” by Lev Grossman would make a good summer read. I’ve heard it described as “Harry Potter for adults,” but I would say it’s actually more of a dark twist on the Chronicles of Narnia. It’s about a young man gets to enroll in a secret wizarding school, and all the real-life consequences that come with such a privilege.

    I highly recommend Warren Ellis’ “Global Frequency.” The 12-issue comic book series is about an independent, covert intelligence agency that handles problems arising from various secret projects run by world governments. Each issue is drawn by a different artist and has its own sci-fi twist. Also, if you enjoy comic books and “A Wrinkle in Time,” there is a great graphic novel version of the book by Hope Larson. It’s beautifully illustrated and really fun to read in that format.

    Lastly, one of my favorite quick reads is “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. If you haven’t watched the actual video of late CMU computer science professor’s “last lecture” you should. And the book expands on his message of hope and fulfilling your childhood dreams.

    Happy reading!

  129. Hi Matt,
    I figured that you’ve red it already but still, here is my recommendation. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.



  130. Hay Matt,

    I would recommend City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother..Very Nice Series..

  131. I started reading some truly great Indy Apocalyptic fiction on Amazon. I really liked “The Remaining” by DJ Molles, “One second after” about an EMP event by William Forstchen, and “No Easy Hope” by James Cook. I don’t read much science fiction anymore, just kind of grew out of it. But I got hooked on the Walking Dead TV series, not for the Zombies, but for the “End of the World” apocalyptic them and these Indy authors have drawn me into some great books that are out of my normal comfort zone.

  132. Kelly Wilkerson

    They’re technically fantasy, but I cannot recommend them enough: the Steven Brust “Vlad” series books. I found “The Book of Jhereg” (an anthology of the first three books) on a friend’s bookshelf, and stumbled into the massive series — years later I’m still excited as each new book in the series approaches release.

  133. Hey Matt, Rock on! You guys are doing an amazing job with Google Panda 4.0 and getting rid of he trash on the web. I wrote an article about you Panda 4.0 and why I love it. Check it out at

    Ok enough shameless touting of me. I want to write a series of articles about you and your team at Google. I think you guys are rock stars and people need to know who to thank for saving the entire internet populace immense amount of time policing the internet and getting rid of the garbage content.

    I have three books to recommend to you, unfortunately they are out of your sweet spot and they aren’t fiction or sci-fi. One is written by Sherwin Nuland, “How we die” and it is an amazing book that all people MUST read. The second is Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” This is the Clinton/Obama playbook on community organizing. I wrote an article on this that will be “Live” in a few days when my publisher gets around to improving it. The third is Og Mandino’s “The Greatest Salesman in the World.” This is an amazing book hat will benefit you personally for the rest of your life. Read all three, if you honestly tell me that you hate all three I will send you a $100 Amazon gift card to make up for your lost time. That’s how confident I am in my selection of books for you. It will be the easiest $100 challenge that you will never collect on.

    I’ll make you a second deal. Tell me by he end of the summer, that you enjoyed each selection and I will donate that same $100 gift card to the Children’s Free Clinic of Southern Nevada. So either way, you get good book and kids get some new books for the waiting room or you get $100 for new books. What you say, You up for the challenge?

  134. Based on the rundown you provided above, give the Safehold series by David Weber a go (first novel, Off Armageddon Reef).

  135. Try “Kohl and chalk” by “shadaab zeest hashmi”. Though it isn’t fiction but you might like it.

  136. Okay, I’m not quite sure if anyone has hit on these yet but here are some broad suggestions.

    Jasper Fforde
    Pretty much anything by him is pretty fun and interesting. I’d suggest starting with The Eyre Affair and going from there.

    Christopher Moore
    Light and very entertaining. You can’t really go wrong with any of his books.

    Richard K. Morgan
    Post-Human Science Fiction is his best stuff starting with Altered Carbon and then the Takeshi Kovacs novels. It’s a bit violent but … fun.

    Charles Stross
    I’m guessing you’ve read a bit of him already but if you haven’t grab Accelerando and then just keep reading.


  137. Even Though it’s not #seo related Lone Survivor was a great read and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

  138. Hey matt,
    I’ve been into the indie book scene lately. I like The Laughing Moon chronicles. My favorite so far is the prequel called The Minds Eye. It’s only $9.99 on amazon

  139. Hi Matt..”The Last Policeman” mya favorite and it’s an amazing book.

  140. Do you speak Spanish? I ask that because the most interesting book what i’ve read las week were written in Spanish, I would try to translate first part of prologue:

    – Do you know 75% of kids with less than 8 years old will have a job who doesn’t exist yet?

    The book show you how will change the future in a few years.

    Author: juan scaliter.

  141. Hey Matt,
    Read this book “The Triathlete’s Training Diary”.
    The Triathlete’s Training Diary takes training seriously. Athletes can be confident that they will be better prepared for competition and have insight to the progress made along the way.

  142. Mission of Gravity (Mesklin, #1) is a good read. It’s pretty hard to get to grips with, but if you like Science fiction I highly recommend it.

  143. Hi Matt, I love the fiction novels as well . I suggest you read AND THE DARK SACRED NIGHT by Julia Glass.. It’s awesome really , full of fun !

  144. Why not try “One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

    Although its dated now the characters and staff stand the test of time.

  145. If you liked Rothfuss, you might then try Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series. Good fantasy as well.

  146. If you’re into Sci-fi, I’d definitely recommend “The Sparrow” by Mary Doria Russell, as well as the follow up “Children of God.” Great speculative fiction and an interesting twist on the first contact dynamic.

  147. Hi, I came across this blog just recently… go figure that!
    I would highly recommend “El Eternauta” and here’s a really accurate description of it

    Good luck on your leave!

  148. these days I am reading a lot of non fiction books.But i recommand to you:
    “Abundance” by Peter Diamandis
    Wonderful book.But you can check “The Good Book” by A. C. Grayling.Awesome too.

  149. Hi Matt,

    I would kindly recommend “In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives”, it will give you a clear understanding about how the world’s nr1 SE works. I hope it helps 😛

    P.S. Have fun with your wife on your holiday 🙂

  150. Dan Guisinger

    Since you enjoyed “The Martian,” betting you’d like the similar “Sea of Crises.” Plausible premise. Fast-paced. Well-written.

    What really happened to the crew of Apollo 18 in the Mare Crisium, the Sea of Crises? A mission conducted in eerie silence after loss of all communications during the astronauts’ first moonwalk, it ended in tragedy when the heat shield on the command capsule failed during re-entry, leaving three dead astronauts inside burned beyond recognition. With them died the answer to a great mystery: What was the meaning of mission commander Bob Cartwright’s statement, “That shouldn’t be here,” uttered just before the loss of communication? Thirty-six years later, Cartwright’s sons make a shocking discovery: The capsule that came down in the Pacific Ocean with three charred remains was not their father’s capsule. And the body they buried all those years before was not their father.

    (And kudos for having the courage — and the commitment to your family — to take this self-imposed sabbatical … the dividends will be many.)

  151. Hyperion by Dan Simmons is the best for me.
    thanks matt

  152. What about something from Dan Brown? He is my personal best.

  153. I love reading books as my best time pass. Book I read in last month are Five Poin Someone and 2 States by Indian writer Chetan Bhagat. Planning to read some books on Entrepreneurship in upcoming month.

  154. Cecelia Ahern’s books are filled with fiction, adventures and a little sprinkle of magic which are best for summer reading.

  155. Hyperion by Dan Simmons is good but the classic that I read when when younger and actually inspired Hyperion was The Canterbury Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer.

  156. The power of habit is a awesome book.

  157. The Bookman’s Tale – Charlie Lovett
    1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus – Charles Mann
    1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created – Charles Mann

    After that, you’re on your own. 🙂

  158. Matt,

    try “Born To Run” – A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

    Happy reading!

  159. I are agree to ” City of Heavenly” and “Hyperion, thanks and happy holidays Matt

  160. A couple of suggestions:

    The Art of SEO by Eric Enge – just joking 🙂

    My life and my work by Henry Ford
    It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be by Paul Arden

  161. Anything by John Grisham or James Patterson

  162. Hey Matt – Do you like Randall Munroe? (Does anyone *not* like Randall Munroe?) What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions comes out Sept. 2. Might be good post-cruise read. Hope you’re enjoying vay-cay.

  163. Hay matt I don’t know what kind of book you are looking for but one of the best book The Alchemist written by Poul choelho, intresting, 100’s of books I have read this one is worthy and I will suggest you to go for it.

  164. I’m really glad you liked Patrick Rothfuss’ books (I really enjoyed them both also). I can only assume it was the great story-telling that you enjoyed, which is why you weren’t turned off by the light fantasy setting. If that’s the case, then I’d strongly recommend you check out Guy Gavriel Kay. His books are a sort of historical fiction with light fantasy elements. Each book is based on a historical location and time period, and his writing is world-class. My top 3 recommendations from him are:

    The Lion’s of Al-Rassan
    A Song for Arbonne

    The Sarantine Mosaic (Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors) are also really popular.

    If you enjoy those, then I’d also suggest you check out David Gemmell’s series on Troy:

    Lord of the Silver Bow
    Shield of Thunder
    Fall of Kings

    The series does of course cover Hector and Achilles, but focuses on other characters (some of whom are actual historical figures, and some who are merely based on historical figures). Gemmell is a fantastic story teller and creates amazing characters.

    If you enjoy science fiction, then an absolute must-read is Starship Troopers. Don’t be turned off by either the crappy movie or the fact that it’s only a little more than 250 pages. It’s a VERY good book.

    Also, Melissa is right about Game of Thrones – it’s an excellent series, although the 4th and 5th books are horrible in comparison to the first three. Martin seems to have lost his way, and is trying to tell too many stories at once, creating story arcs for minor characters.

  165. Hi Matt,
    A little late to the game, but good reading for any summer is any novel by Carl Hiaasen. Very light, fun and the characters are hilarious and believable. This is a good one to start with: Sick Puppy –

  166. Remains of the Day. Truly excellent.

  167. Fear and loathing in Las Vegas.

  168. Lat in discussion
    But Matt what about the Book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”.
    It really help me build habit to become a successful blogger too.
    Have you read it?

  169. Hi Matt..”The Last Policeman” mya favorite and it’s an amazing book.

  170. Christopher Holt

    I don’t know if you’ve ever tried Steve Erikson’s Malayan Empire series, but if you like a solid fantasy series that doesn’t indulge in black and white characters and orcs, but deals in human psych…he’s a master.

  171. I first read Joseph Heller’s “Catch 22” while stationed in Korea many years ago. Enjoyed it so much, I’ve reread it twice since then. In fact, in the process of reading it, I would often reread passages two and three times to savor them. Most enjoyable book I’ve ever read.