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Author Topic: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?  (Read 69843 times)

Offline Overlord

Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« on: December 30, 2010, 08:20:34 AM »
I don't read much 'non-fantasy' if I am being honest, but thought I would open this one up for you all.

When I was younger I read a lot of 'Famous Five' and 'Secret Seven' type novels, as I got older I went straight over to Fantasy.

I think the last non-fantasy book I read was 'The Life of Pi', it was OK but not fantastic... very, very weird put it that way!

If I do read Non-Fiction it tends to be biographies of business people or sports people.

So people, what's the best Non-Fantasy book you have read? :D
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Offline The Mad Hatter

Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2010, 01:08:22 PM »
So people, what's the best Non-Fantasy book you have read? :D
All of them. None of them.

That's a damned hard question to answer. How do you define best? Is it the book that has had the most impact on the world? In that case, out of the books I've read, it's the Bible, most probably the King James Version, since it's one of the most common. I'd put the Bible, whatever translation, in a special place along with the Talmud and the Quran. The three books of the sister religions have had a huge impact on the world. That impact can be negative, when some goofball misunderstands something - think Northern Ireland.

Or say we look at Non-Fiction.

One of the most interesting books I've read in the last year was Evolution vs Creationism by Eugenie Scott, which is an excellent book:
http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Evolution-vs-Creationism-Introduction-2nd-Eugenie-C-Scott/9780520261877-item.html?ikwid=eugenie+scott&ikwsec=Home

Cory Doctorow, Rael Dornfest, and Scott Johnson wrote Essential Blogging: Selecting and Using Weblog Tools, which I found very useful:
http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Essential-Blogging-Selecting-Using-Weblog-Doctorow-Dornfest-Johnson/9780596003883-item.html?ikwid=cory+doctorow&ikwsec=Books

As someone who writes on Copyright issues, I found Cory Doctorow's Content very useful:
http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Content-Selected-Essays-Technology-Creativity-Cory-Doctorow/9781892391810-item.html?ikwid=cory+doctorow&ikwsec=Books

I was able to make a visit to the Highway Book Store this summer, and fill some of the holes in my Phoebe Atwood Taylor collection. Phoebe Atwood Taylor wrote mysteries under her own name, and as Alice Tilton. I love her stuff, but most of it's out of print, or hard to get. The Highway Book Store is the largest used book store in Ontario. Dangerous place. Hideous place. I rarely manage to get out without spending at least $200.00!

Clay Shirky's Cognitive Surplus is a fascinating book. You are using the theories in it here:
http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Cognitive-Surplus-Clay-Shirky/9781594202537-item.html?ikwid=clay+shirky&ikwsec=Books

Clayton M. Christensen's The Innovator's Dilemma has helped me understand what I've been seeing and writing about in my articles on Microsoft, and convinced me that what I'm seeing is actually happening:
http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/The-Innovators-Dilemma-Clayton-M-Christensen/9780060521998-item.html?ikwid=clayton+m.+christensen&ikwsec=Books

There a ton of good books out there. The problem is finding the ones you would like.

Wayne aka The Mad Hatter

Offline RGPorter

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Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2010, 08:35:46 PM »
Wow hard to answer. I tend to read tons of fantasy, with varying subgenres tossed in. I can say, I also love the horror books and forensic type thrillers. With that said, i'm also going to look to dabble into some of the thriller/mysteries out there. Sadly the show Castle has me intrigued. :)

Offline ChristinaJL

Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2011, 09:51:39 AM »
If I'm not reading fantasy, then it's either historical fiction or mountaineering/cycling biographies.

I really enjoyed A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.  Best mountaineering book is Touching the Void by Joe Simpson and cycling Boy Racer by Mark Cavendish (cos he's so funny at times!!!)

Offline Arthum

Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2011, 12:17:34 PM »
I'd go for the science fiction book written by Frank Herbert, Dune :) A great book ;) I also have three Star Wars books on my shelves which I already read and they are also great :)

Offline Tiffany Kysis Tackett

Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2011, 09:27:03 PM »
If I'm not reading sci-fi/fantasy, it's because I have to read it for school or my mother threw it at me.  However, I do like non-fantasy books, it's just a different read for me.

For non-fiction/reference I'd say books on writing.  But I'm always reading those.

For history, Forest of the Kings which is about the Maya, or just about any book on Angkor Watt.

Blindness by Jose Saramago is one of my favorite books.  I'm not sure where it falls genre-wise, since it does have unexplained white blindness, which is the focus of the book.  Either way, it is a great read and reveals a lot about human nature.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is another one where I question the genre.  There are elements that are definitely not life as we know it.  It could be fantasy, but it takes place in England, with relatively normal people (or so it seems) for a great deal of the book.  Another one that reveals a great deal of human nature.

World War Z by Max Brooks, which is technically horror.  Yay zombies.  It's great, fast paced, and hard hitting.  I love it.

If we're allowed to say sci-fi, Dune is my all time favorite book.  I've got a copy of the book, a comic from the release of the original movie, and the sci-fi channel's director's cut dvd all enshrined together on my desk.

Offline Sharpy

Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2011, 10:21:32 AM »
A few titles I thought were fantastic:

Shadow of the Wind by spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a must for any reader out there, amazing thriller. Best way to describe it is "It's a book about a book."

Necroscope series by Brian Lumley. Sort of Sci-Fi/Fantasy best vampire books I have ever read. Read these years ago long before vamps become fashionable. There is a hell of a lot more to them than just vampires, they span 2 worlds and the twist on why there are in our world is fantastic. I can not recommend this series enough.

John Peels autobiography Margrave of the Marshes. Amazingly honest and frank telling of his life, was started while he was still  alive and finished by his wife and kids after his death. You will be amazed by how much this one man done for the music industry, he is in my mind one of lifes un-sung heroes.

Just a few off the top of my head will add some others soon.
"Treat people as you would have them treat you."

Offline frankiehunter

Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2011, 09:08:00 PM »
I don't read much 'non-fantasy' if I am being honest, but thought I would open this one up for you all.


I have to copy this sentence and went to my bookshelf to check if there are really no non-fantasy books and I found one that really got close to me - Paolo Coelhos - eleven minutes, or stephen kings - blaze.
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Offline AlexEatsBooks

Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2011, 08:54:24 AM »

Shadow of the Wind by spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a must for any reader out there, amazing thriller. Best way to describe it is "It's a book about a book."

I LOVED Shadow of the Wind. Have you read Angel's Game yet? Is it as good/better?
I really enjoy books about books. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak is a good read too.
Even if it's remembered, a dream is just a dream.
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Offline Blodeuedd

Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2011, 01:12:14 PM »

Shadow of the Wind by spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a must for any reader out there, amazing thriller. Best way to describe it is "It's a book about a book."

I LOVED Shadow of the Wind. Have you read Angel's Game yet? Is it as good/better?
I really enjoy books about books. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak is a good read too.

Angel's Game was in my opinion not as good, but it was still amazing, I am just blown away every time by his language.
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Offline Sharpy

Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2011, 11:13:49 AM »
Yea Angels Game was no where near as gripping as "Shadow of the Wind" but still an enjoyable read.
"Treat people as you would have them treat you."

Offline Rhevian

Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2011, 01:17:19 PM »
Limiting the genre to recent mainstream fiction, I would say "Imperium" and "Lustrum" by Robert Harris - these are historical novels, based on the life of Cicero during the rise of Julius Caesar

Neal Stephenson's "The Baroque Cycle" (Quicksilver, The Confusion, The System of the World) is also an amazing trilogy that should appeal to many fantasy readers. These are historical novels, set at the end of the 17th C, covering the birth of modern science, maths and economics, but also a great rollicking adventure - with connections to his modern day cyberpunk novel "Cryptonomicon"

Offline OneChapterMore

Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2011, 08:34:58 PM »
The Baroque Cycle is not a trilogy, it is a Seven book series in three volumes  :-\

Also, Saramago is Magic Realism

My favourite book of all time is a YA/SF cross, Brother in the Land by Robert Swindells

Other than that, non-fantasy top four, in no particular order:
1. The Road - Cormac MacCarthy
2. Blindsight - Peter Watts
3. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
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Offline missoularedhead

Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2011, 07:51:01 AM »
This is an insanely hard question.  Here's a list, in a completely random and totally all over the map sort of way:

Malcolm Lambert's Medieval Heresy from the Gregorian Reforms to the Reformation (essential reading)
Tad Williams' Otherland series
Iain M. Banks' Culture novels, most notably The Alegebraist
King Leopold's Ghost
Salt
pretty much anything by Peter Hamilton
Eco's Foucault's Pendulum (so much better than that Dan Brown dreck)
A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages
Fast Food Nation (changed how I eat…seriously)
every single thing Richard K. Morgan ever wrote…seriously.
"Well behaved women rarely make history" ~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Offline Zefiris

Re: Best Non-Fantasy Book you have read?
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2011, 10:38:33 PM »
The Travelling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon.

It is the perfect horror novel.

Well worthy checking out.