Skip to comments.Fiction Reading Ideas for Christmas
Posted on 12/02/2008 4:04:58 AM PST by LS
A few weeks ago I suggested a few non-fiction books that were good reads. Here are some of my suggestions for fiction:
Caleb Carr, The Alienist. Carr is trained in history, and this long, but involved, mystery involves a 19th century serial killer in which the detective is just beginning to use some of the forensic tools available to us today. In the process, he encounters Teddy Roosevelt, Jacob Riis, and J. P. Morgan among others. Each has more than a cameo.
The Civil War trilogy by Newt Gingrich and Bill Fortschen, Gettysburg, Grant Comes East, and Never Call Retreat. Rarely do I read a book more than once, but this trilogy---a "counterfactual" beginning with the Confederacy winning at Gettysburg---is so rich with historical and biographical detail that the characters remain fresh even when you know the story. Gingrich and Fortschen weave a brilliant "what if" story of Union defeat and resurgence. (And some idiot editors didn't know that it was a counter-factual: one said, "These guys don't even know who won!")
Nelson DeMille---any. One of my favorite authors, DeMille has the ability to take an ordinary conversation and make it last for several pages, all the while absorbing your attention. Whether it's the detective in Nightfall and Wildfire or the cynical John Sutter in The Gold Coast or The Gate House, DeMille is a rare storyteller who can entertain without constant action.
Vince Flynn---any. Flynn is the antithesis of DeMille: his Mitch Rapp character is involved in non-stop action. A combination of Vic Mackey and Jack Bauer, Rapp protects us first, then fends off the government investigators later.
Tom Wolfe: I Am Charlotte Simmons or A Man In Full. Another of America's excellent storytellers, Wolfe's Charlotte Simmons is a must read for any parent sending his or her kid off to college. A Man in Full deals with wealth, power, and celebrity status in Atlanta. For someone of Wolfe's social class, he has deep insight into America's black culture and the "yout." His Bonfire of the Vanities remains a classic (forget the idiotic movie adaptation of this great book).
Finally, any of the books by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, such as The Cabinet of the Curiosities or The Book of the Dead are terrific. Preston and Child have created an FBI agent named Pendergast who is simply one of the most captivating heroes in literature, a man whose strange tastes and lifestyle are exceeded only by his lack of brawn and reluctance to use brute force---a Sherlock Holmsian American character.
Also take a look at my 9/11 novel, September Day.
These are excellent books. Very well written and imaginative. However, I found Newt's books about Pearl Harbor sorely lacking. Couldn't finish them.
S.M. Stirling's "Dies The Fire" series is excellent. "This world is hit by "The Change" causing electricity, high gas pressures, and fast combustion (including explosives and gunpowder) to stop working. This is very bad news for the majority of the population, but the books follow some of the survivors and show how different groups choose different ways to adapt to the changed world."
Anything by James Jones but I highly recommend what is really THE Great American Novel. “Some Came Running.” Absolutely the BEST novel about small town American life. An absolutely INCREDIBLE novel.
Dragon's Fury is now available in a single, large hardback release that has been updated and is much less expensive than buying all five of the original novels in the series.
thanks! Never heard of that one.
I think it's much better than the Newt books, and I'm hoping it will be up on Amazon by Christmas.
Read Gate House then after you finish Gold Coast. The other books-—Nightfall, Plum Island, Lion’s Game, Up Country-—are different storylines and characters.
Any cover artwork?
Thanks for the thread! I made a list from an earlier reading thread and am happily checking things out from my library. I will add to the list. I will also definitely get your book and Jeff Head’s.
Ok I’m not exactly an unbiased in playing up Angels in Iron by Nick Prata (our Freeper-owned company publishes it):
When we got this manuscript it completely blew us away. It’s historical fiction on the Knights Hospitaler defending the island of Malta against Suleyman and the Turks in 1565. This thing reads like a Mel Gibson movie. We’ve been selling this book for 10 years and people love love love it. I read it straight through in one night.
“Nikita’s Plan” by Stephen Kenner. A real page turner.
My local library has ‘The Book of the Dead’ by Preston and Child, maybe when I have time and feel like braving the cold I’ll check it out.
Personally, I’d recommend Watchmen by Alan Moore. It’s a really amazing book, and a fascinating read since the graphic-novel format allows the author to do things that just couldn’t be done in a regular book. And, if you’re even thinking of seeing the upcoming movie, the book ought to be read first.
I do have cover artwork, but I can’t seem to extract it. I’ll send you a private e-mail with it. See if you can do anything with it. I’m told the delay was that Lightning Source had trouble with the font size and formatting, so they had to re-font it.
May I suggest:
“Jesus Wept” An American Story of Struggle, Sacrifice, Faith & Hope
An Historical Novel
Give me a site to link it to and I will do so:
Have you ever read a collection of short stories called “Folk of The Fringe” by Orson Scott Card?
Did you write it?
Thanks. You’ll have one when I have one!
You’ve got FRemail!
I recommend these books every time there is a quarterly book thread. I love them! Still Life with Crows is my favorite. I have it on audiobook from Audible.com and Rene Auberjonois is a fabulous narrator. His voice for Pendergast is so dead on. When I read their books, his voice is the one I hear in my head for Pendergast.
Douglas Preston also wrote a book called, The Monster of Venice. It's a true crime book about unsolved serial killings in Florance, Italy. It's fantastic, as well.
Interesting. Tell us a little about yourself, if you don’t mind. Your brief description on your blog piques my curiosity.
What would you like to know?
Why the pseudonyms on your blog?
Why not? The pseudonym fit the story. I didn’t care to put my own name on a book.
No, I meant why those particular pseudonyms?
Thanks! I am an avid reader and love mystery, crime scene, classics, and spy novels. I was into Patricia cornwell for a time, but the language is a turn off. It continues to grow worse and more coarse. Yuck!
Thanks for the list of books by title and author!
Got it. It’s on my shelf now.
Got it. It’s now in the stack.
I'd love to see him and Vic Mackey of the Shield team up :)
Just finished the Dean Koontz book about the Golden Retrievers. Great read.
I would love that, too, but I can’t imagine any actor that I know of doing him justice.
I told my mom about the Newt Gingrich books you recommended above and she’s going to get them for my dad for Christmas. He’s a Civil War buff and I was shocked that he hasn’t read them yet.
Bill Pullam might be ok. But it would have to be someone really different. Gary Oldham?
Oooo...Gary Oldham is a good choice I hadn’t thought of.
If anyone is into Christian fiction, Colleen Coble and Dee Henderson are very good. There are also some series about the war in the middle East that are good - Don Brown has the Navy Justice series; Chuck Holton is another.
Whenever I want to check on the order, etc of an author’s books, I go to http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/
He plays a lot of vampires, so that kind of fits (I see Pendergast as nearly a vampire!). Perhaps Edward Norton, though not imposing enough. OOhhh. I got it! Keith Carradine. He played an FBI agent on “Dexter.” A tad old, but tall enough, can be sophisticated enough,
Ok, “Still Life With Crows” was exceptional. Reading “Monster of Florence” now. OK, though not the pulse-bending mystery that the Pendergast books are.
Gotta say, on the advice of a Freeper, I”m working on “Prayers of the Assassin,” and am finding it tough sledding. “The Monster of Florence” is pretty good, though nothing like the Preston/Child murder mysteries.
I discovered the mystery series by P.J. Parrish a few months ago. They are absolutely fabulous. Everyone I know who has read them is hooked. Be sure to start with the first one and go in order. The author’s bio will completely surprise you. Dark of The Moon is the title of the first book.