Wednesday, December 14, 2011

John's Stack of Book Recommendations, Part 1

There are, at last count, about 4000 books in my house. I have two rooms designated as library/office space and half my basement is filled with boxes of things I've read or used to teach. My classics, my prized rare books, and my favorites are in a third room that will likely become a third library in the very neat future.

Book bragging, I do it now.

What I present to you today is a list (and links) to books, broken down by category as they might appeal to you.

Books For Pleasure
1. Go to Chuck Wendig's site. Buy everything he's written. Budget money to buy everything he will write. Ever. Ever ever.
2. If you've not read Jim Butcher's Dresden Files (the books that made me want to work with game designers), then we probably shouldn't speak again until you do. Double Bonus: Pick up an audiobook or two - they're narrated by James Marsters.
3. I came across Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series while waiting for the most recent Dresden book. I'm glad I gave them a try. Totally worth it.
4. A friend of mine gave me a copy of Mark Hodder's Burton and Swinburne series. I haven't returned them yet, and don't plan to.  (Start with Spring Heeled Jack)

Audiobooks For Pleasure
I do a lot of traveling and audiobooks are great for those downtimes and traffic-times and long hauls from Point A to Point Q. Here are some of the best ones I've heard this year.
1. The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton. (I tend to find narrators and stick with them - Macleod Andrews MAKES this book the best audiobook I've heard in years.)
2. Johannes Cabal the Necromancer and the Detective are both FANTASTIC listens, even if there are two different narrators.
3. Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim series. (Favorite series of the last few years) Again, you can thank Macleod Andrews when you get the audio versions. (Start with Sandman Slim)
4. Mike Carey's Felix Castor series. No, I don't know why more of these aren't in audio. Oh, I how I wish they were. (Start with The Devil You Know)

Books To Make Your 2012 Better
1. The Nerdist Way. Chris Hardwick is super nice and this book should absolutely be read (or listened to) by anyone who wants to be better next year. Also, this book changed my life more than many humans I know.
2. Spiritual Liberation by Michael Beckwith. Yeah I know, it looks way New Age-y. Give it about 30 pages (or ten minutes if you get the audiobook). It'll be worth it. I promise.
3. Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. Seriously, get the audiobooks if you're serious about this purchase. 1. The material is interesting. 2. ED ASNER.

Books to Make You A Better Writer/Designer
1. The Weekend Novelist. Do you have a silly dayjob, so you only write on the weekends? Then you need this book!
2. The Writer's Compass. Are you trying to figure out what your story is about so that you can write it later? Then you DEFINITELY need this book!
3. Do you suck at grammar? Then have the trifecta: Spunk and Bite; Eats, Shoots and Leaves; and Sin and Syntax.
4. Do you often think about fonts and layout? Then you should read Just My Type.

Books You Can Learn Something From
1. Evil Hat's Dresden Files RPG - Come look at the confluence of mechanics, story, licensing and characters.
2. Ron Chernow's Washington: A Life - Take a look at what good research can do for your material.


More to come as I think of them.....