Need some book sugestions for a novice book reader.

OK. I hate to be so self serving on the board, but I need some reconmendations on what books I should read first. And no I’m not talking about stuff like “see pug run” I know how to read its just that I never really read that many novels. So far the extent of my reading goes to SDMB, MENS HEALTH MAGAZINE and uh… cough HUSTLER cough.

So anyway I’m 32 and I figure its about time I get myself a little culture. Plus I also want to do things to keep my mind sharp.

FTR I like sci-fi and fantasy type things but am open to all sugetions.

Thanks guys.

Just off the top of my head:

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn
The Great Gatsby
The Old Man And The Sea
A Tale Of Two Cities
Farenheit 451
Starship Troopers
Stranger In a Strange Land
Brave New World

a collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories
any collection of Sherlock Holmes stories
anything by William Gibson
anything by Terry Prachett
anything by Philip K. Dick
anything by H.G. Wells
anything by Jules Verne

I’d second Catch-22 and add to read Hellers other books as well.

Why don’t you try some sort of short story collection with many different authors and then read the novels of the ones you like.

I suggest some of the following:
Anything by H.P. Lovecraft
the Lord of the Rings trilogy
the Dragonlance 9-ilogy
A clockwork orange
Bill the galactic hero
The Cases that haunt us (good John Douglas)
Blackhawk down
Why people believe strange things

Just for a start

Here are some short and relatively easy suggestions:
Animal Farm by Orwell, The Razor’s Edge by Maugham, and The Time Machine by Wells.

If you liked any of the Tom Clancy movies you might want to try “Without Remorse”. It is by far my favorite by him.

I second the suggestion of starting with a short story collection.

However, if you’re dead-set on starting with full-length novels, I’d suggest something of the page-turner variety. I whole-heartedly recommend Rendezvous with Rama.

But not the sequels. They get progressively less fulfilling.

For light fiction I suggest Arthur C Clarke’s Odyssey Trilogy (plus one).

Also they have a compilation of all of the books in the “Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy series” which just plain rocks.

For short stories Stephen King’s “Everything is Eventual” is good, but better still, in the Foreword he gives some really great recommendations for other short story writers (all of whom have just left my mind completely).

I agree with the LOTR books, but start with The Hobbit, it is an easier read and will engross you in middle earth, plus you’ll have background on a couple of the characters.

Also I reccomend the earth child series by Jean M Auel

I second most of the suggestions above, but hands down the best book I have read in the past ten years is Cold Mountain by Charles Frasier. It can best be summarized as a Homeric Odyssey set in the Civil War. However, no summary can do it justice. It won the Pulitzer Prize the year it was released.

Other recomendations:
Sci Fi: The Light of Other Days by Arthur C Clark and somebody whose name I forget. A “hard” science fiction book about wormholes.
Fantasy: the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R R Martin. Notable for starting well and just getting better with each book - expect to become hopelessly addicted to the series. Everyone I know who has read it, regardless of their usual interests, has fallen under the spell of the wide reaching story and exceptionally well written characters. The first book is called A Game of Thrones

Universe damnit

I think you had it right the first time, Clever Hans.

The Sound and the Fury and Ulysses.

Just kidding :wink:

Animal Farm is definitely a good choice. The Great Gatsby is another good short read as well.

I would also suggest something by Kurt Vonnegut, like Slaughterhouse Five or Cat’s Cradle.

Watership Down by Richard Adams is another good one, and would be an interesting followup to Animal Farm due to the casts of animals in each book.

Short story collections are great, and provide a way to get tastes of authors. I still have my anthologies from college.

I too suggest reading The Hobbit before The Lord of the Rings, and would also suggest Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles before Farenheit 451.

I would avoid Stranger in a Strange Land altogether:p

Cold Mountain is indeed a wonderful book and also one of my favorites!

I’d like to suggest Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, another Pulitzer Prize winner. It’s engrossing, funny, exciting, sad … everything. I’m a big ole broken record, here, always recommending that book but trust me, it really is wonderful.

For fantasy/sci fi, I also recommend Dune. (But stop there. Please. LOL)

Just for accuracy’s sake, I just checked a list of Pulitzer winners and Cold Mountain isn’t on it. :frowning: It won the National Book Award, though.

Lonesome Dove received the Pulitzer for fiction in 1986.

Awards schmwards. Read the books. :wink:

Hmmm - people have mentioned a number of titles and lot of them are good - classics, even! - but when I see books like Cold Mountain on the list, I hesitate - it is longish, takes its time, and has limited bits of action. Not the best qualities for a first-time reader - no slam on the first time reader, SHAKES, I am just trying to start out with very accessible stuff.

Okay - here’s what I am hearing - you want to read, you like sci-fi and fantasy. I would add to that that you would probably be better off with shorter books (easy to finish, feeling of accomplishment, stuff like that), that move reasonably fast. You didn’t mention whether the books should be classics or not, but quality would be more engaging, right?

With that, I strongly recommend:

  • Animal Farm by Orwell - short, interesting, easy read, classic
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee - short, moves quickly, classic, super easy read - you will love it.
  • I, Robot by Asimov - Sci-Fi, short stories, classic, well written, engaging
  • Ender’s Game by Card - the best page turner not yet turned into a Terminator-like action flick, sci-fi, classic, readable
  • Watchmen by Moore and Gibbons - a graphic novel (yeah, grown up comic book), therefore kinda fantasy, page turner, classic in its genre (considered by many to be the best comic ever), incredibly well written
  • Into Thin Air by Krakauer - non-fiction page turner about an Everest climb gone bad. Well written.

Although not novels, if you are trying to get to read more, there are some fascinating books, written to be page turners, that take a historical thing and describe why that thing is so important to who we are today. When done well, these books are super easy to read, page turners, and deeply educational (playing into your desire for culture). I would recommend:

The Professor and the Madman by Winchester (called the Surgeon of Crowthorne in the UK) about writing the Oxford English Dictionary - murder! madness! conjugated verbs! a great read.
Longitude by Sobel - like a modern business thriller about racing to discover a reliable way to calculate longitude

Have fun.

Ok, Kneadtoknow was right. First is “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, second is “Restaurant at the End of the Universe”.

Try some Stephen King! Skeleton Crew is a collection of short stories to get you started. Other easy (and short) reads by him are Carrie, Firestarter, and… Dolores Claiborne, :wink:

Really, it doesn’t matter: The above suggestions are all EXTREMELY subjective and I can’t imagine how anyone could read through them without becoming even more confuse. Just get yourself into the habit of reading, and you’ll find that many different things will take you from one book to the other.

Go to the grocery store paperback rack and read the back of a couple books, and take them and read them. As you read more and more you’ll get better and better at distinguishing–for yourself–what’s good and what’s not.

Alternatively, look at the bulletin boards you’re sure to find at the local independent bookstores (if there are any left). Join a reading group. Most of them nowadays read pretty simple, Oprah-ey stuff. Joining such a group will give you a little structure, which might help, and a chance to discuss your reading experience with some other people.

Good luck!

If you’re looking for just plain fun, and a good, fast read, you can’t go wrong with:

The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison
The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny

But, if you really insist on literature, I recommend

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

Happy reading!

I second the “To Kill a Mockingbird” idea. It is a very good book, and it is not a grueling task to read it. “The Great Gatsby” is pretty good for the same reasons.

The “Left Behind” series is interesting for those curious about what the world might be like during the time of the Second Coming of Christ/end of the world. They are very easy to read and entertaining even for non-Christians.

My dad LOVES Tom Clancy books, so you could give those a try too. They’re long, but he’s a super-slow reader and he still likes them.

For something that’s so disturbing you’ll never forget it, try “Hiroshima.” I read it about ten years ago, but I certainly remember the very vivid accounts from this true story. Anyone who thinks nuclear warfare is a great idea should read this book before they decide for sure.

Moving on to some more challenging reading, I really like novels by Dickens and Hardy.