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Book Recommendations for a Friend (July 2020)

Published by marco on

I found a list of book recommendations I’d made for a friend, tailored to his interests. I’ve republished it here with some minor edits, in case anyone else is interested. The title links to my review and notes.

This is a partial list of books I’ve read since 2013 that I think you might be interested in. I’ve included links to my reviews/notes/citations, if that helps.

I’ve tried to break it up into rough groups. Many straddle categories. They’re all good, but some are work and some are fun.

I haven’t included any of the ones I know you’ve already read.




Biography / Autobiography






  • Revenge: A Novel (2003) by Stephen Fry

    Savage Season: A Hap and Leonard Novel (1990) by Joe R. Lansdale

    No link, so here’s my review:

    “This is the story of Leonard, a gay, black veteran of Vietnam and his friend Hap, a guy with few prospects and a lot of baggage. This pair are tangled up in a heist—or, rather, picking up the lost treasure from a heist gone wrong—planned by people with differing motives and histories. That Hap’s ex is involved makes it hard for him to think straight. Leonard is aware that the situation is far from ideal, but knows that he and Hap need the money.

    “The story weaves bygone days of 60s and 70s idealism with naked ambition and greed. Everything goes spectacularly south in an abattoir of a finale that would do a Tarantino film justice.”

Speculative Fiction


Science Fiction / Fantasy

Don’t say “I hate science fiction”: I’ve only included quality/not-really-science-fiction-y ones. They’re great books with interesting ideas that have a kernel of speculation and take off from there. Most are rooted in the real world, though (e.g. Palahniuk and Gibson). I’ve left off others that fall more squarely into sci-fi/fantasy.

  • Up the Line (1969) by Robert Silverberg

    No link, so here’s part of my review:

    “A wonderful time-travel book in the grand tradition, with lots of sex. The title refers to the expression used in the future for going into the past; going “Down the line” moves you to the future relative to your current time. The book clearly shows the year in which it was written, as there is a whole lot of free lovin’ going on in the future. Time travel has become commonplace enough that there are guided tours of the past’s greatest moments. […]”
  • The Peripheral (2014) by William Gibson
  • American Gods (2002) by Neil Gaiman
  • Cloud Atlas (2004) by David Mitchell