Author Topic: Let's have another book recommendation thread  (Read 26371 times)

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Brugdor

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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2007, 05:26:55 PM »
All the books I've gotten lately have been somewhat of a disappointment so I can't really recommend them. Robin Hobb's latest stuff is boring. Feist's is meh. Jordan is well...dying. I haven't bothered with Terry Brooks in a while as if you've read his first three Shannara books you've basically read them all.

I've been thinking about going back and reading some really inspirational christian books I've read before. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire was really good as was Wild at Heart. I've also considered getting stuff from Michael Crichton or Tom Clancy. I've enjoyed the movies based off of their books so I may as well get the books.

I don't like political books as I already read about politics on a daily basis and it depresses me so why on earth would I want to read a book about it? Bleh.
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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2007, 11:33:56 PM »
One of my least favorite book about China is being made into a film.., what a surprise.  Throw in a little blond, with some tits and ass, and a miserable attempt at a sex and the city + lost in translation, and you got it.   ::) >:( :dead: :beadyeyes2:  :sleeping:

Anyway, check out these books from my collection:

Edit to add, forgot to post names.
http://www.librarything.com/work/438047&book=1523596
1. Mr. China By Tim Clissold- reviews : 
Quote
I doubt I'll read a better business book this year. A cracking tale of a man trying to set up and invest in businesses in China, it reads sometimes like a drama, sometimes a soap opera, sometimes a comedy and sometimes a travelogue. It works on all these levels too. You can't help feel sorry for Clissold as he wrestles with business case situations that would be near impossible to control in the West never mind China, involving fraud, cheating, lying, shooting, rioting and cultural racism. The stress almost kills him, but underneath it all there is an affection for this country and all its foibles that allows him to forgive it and its people. He wants to help them to a better life, and believes capitalism is the answer. Money, however, seems to bring out the worst in many people whatever culture they're from, and millions are squandered in every chapter. One of the most amazing cultural depictions therefore, is that of Wall Street, dolling out hundreds of millions on the strength of a presentation or two. This is a sobering picture of what the capitalists are doing with your hard-earned money you put away for your retirement - gambling it on a fashionable whim with about as much information as you could pick up from an edition of Newsweek. I'd thoroughly recommend this book. ( 5 stars )
uryjm | Sep 4, 200
 
Quote
Now, this is how a memoir should be written, especially on a subject like China. He was charmed by the mystery of China, and moved there on a whim and a prayer. (Actually I felt that his Madam Butterfly reference is fairly correct, because that's almost how China is. )

He moved to Beijing around 1988/89, and tried to learn Mandarin. He ate cabbage Beijing style, and watched the slow transition of a country's rise from communist country to that of a quasi captialist one. As Clissold has said in the book, the Chinese are captialists in heart.

In less than 20 years, China has risen from a super poor country to a quasi economical super power. The burning passion from every Chinese to escape poverty, crime, governmental control, and their attempts at building a brighter future for themselves are all presentd here in this book.

This isn't a sucess story. In fact, this is a story about failures, but the more he "failed", the more he learned about China in a more fundamental way. The last chapter is especially touching. He decided to travel 1000 kms on his bike through some of the poorest regions of Northern China. And how he felt when he went to Pudon in Shanghai. In his own words, "I felt like I've been inside for too long, and when I came out, the sunlight was blinding me."

His parting wisdom is important to all that players effecting China - China will be China, and it will do things on its own pace, in its own way. You can't hope that China will change on your behalf, because it won't. All those people that said that China will eventually see light of reason and play the way everyone plays, well.., read this book.

HIGHLY recommend it. (5 stars )
Shiva | Mar 11, 2007

http://www.librarything.com/work/928813&book=20386642
2.  The Cultural Code. By Clotaire Rapaille If you have ever traveled anywhere that has a remarkably different culture than yours, you'll start the appreciate what he is saying. 

http://www.librarything.com/work/3394404&book=5442481
3.  The long tail : why the future of business is selling less of more
by Chris Anderson
Quote
I should begin by stating that I'm not a fan of audiobooks. I've tried them on multiple occasions but I don't like the fact that I don't have a book in which to underline salient points or to thumb through later for reference. These are shortcomings that I have never gotten past. These deficiencies also make it difficult to write a well-supported review. With my bias on the table, here 'tis:

The Long Tail is a book that focuses on one of my favorite subjects - Internet commerce. In his book, Chris Anderson proposes the theory that the Internet has/will change the future of retailing (and TV, movies, communication, etc.) from a culture of "hits" to one of hyperindividualism. He states that there are several reasons for this but two of the primary reasons are the limitless "shelf space" of the Internet and the superior search/filtering tools of the web.

He explains that the graphing of sales for almost any type of good when delivered through a shelf-driven delivery system (i.e. store) will show a very tall spike on the far left for those items which are extremely popular (the "hits") and then that tail drops quickly. Given the limited amount of shelf space, retailers are also extremely selective about what goes on shelves. Therefore, once that spike ends, the tail is rather short. If an item doesn't move a minimum level of product, it gets pulled from the shelves. This is not the case on the web. There is limitless shelf space because hard drives and bandwidth are cheap. With that constraint removed, they carry in the range of 10 - 100x the number of products of their brick and mortar competitors.

However, there are studies that have shown that when people are given too many choices, they go into a sort of analysis paralysis buying less than they would with a well-defined and manageable selection set. Is that the case with the web? Actually, no. Anderson explains that consistently across multiple web retailers (Amazon, Rhapsody, etc.) around 98% of the offered products sell at least one unit each month.

Why are they not going into this analysis paralysis? Anderson posits that it's because of the superior recommendation functionality built into the fabric of the Internet. You have intelligent search capabilities, peer ratings, peer and expert recommendation lists, etc. All of these pop up with the simple typing of a few keywords. For example, while there may be 2000 different books on guitars on offer (daunting if you saw them on the shelves), you can search for a book on guitar music theory and the field is narrowed to 50 that are ranked in descending order by customer/peer ratings. You can then filter that further with a click or two. Wow. As you can imagine, the average retail employee can't be an expert on every topic so your results in a store may be hit or miss. On the web, you have a collective intelligence and excellent tools to help guide you.

On the web, since so many of these products sell at least a few units, it detracts from the highest selling products. Sure, the best sellers will still be best sellers but the sales spike is flattened somewhat and a very long tail stretches out the curve. Anderson explains that >25% of total sales of Amazon and other examples are in that tail of selling one or two units per month. Interesting.

These are the two real takeaways from The Long Tail. For these two points and the support of them, the book deserves five stars. It's a revolution that we're seeing through the Internet and it won't slow any time soon.

So why did I give it 3.5 stars? Unfortunately, Anderson continues on to get into more theoretical topics that he doesn't do as good a job of supporting. There's a lot of "I would argue that..." going on and his opinions on the future impact of the Internet. For example, he debates whether or not human culture will suffer as a result of people creating relationships and communities online rather than in person. Will people become less social and suffer as a result? I would suggest that this is the topic for another book. Anderson makes a mediocre argument for the topic and it seemed out of place with the rest of the text. There were other similar discussion points in the book that were incongruous with the core theme of The Long Tail.

Nonetheless, this is a very informative book that brings into focus some of the changes we're experiencing as a result of our friend the World Wide Web. I'd recommend it. ( )adamallen | Aug 4, 2007

4.  http://www.librarything.com/work/36980  Perfume : the story of a murderer
by Patrick Suskind; German title: Das Parfum. Die Geschichte eines Mörders. 
Quote
I was curious about this book as it is such a hype. Naturally, I had a lot of expectation so I saved it for proper savouring during a recent mountain trip. I finished it in two days as it was an easy read.

The writer picks an unusual angle to tell his story: he explores the world through smell. The book, originally written in German, is a story of a young man, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who is born without a smell on its own (how that is even possible I am not sure) but instead is blessed with a keen sense of smell. He then works at a perfume house in Paris and then becomes obsessed with the quest to create various types of human smells. The obsession turns him into a killer.

Let me start, as always, with the good stuffs. The descriptions are amazing. How do you thoroughly describe smells? Even prolific wine writers must resort to nasty descriptions such as odors of manure and wet dog to describe their tastings due to lack of descriptive vocabularies. Through his creative narration, the writer evoke a powerful olfactory journey in his written world. He can even describe the smell of a doorknob!

Süskind also brings in an interesting notion that smell plays an important albeit stealthy role in us being accepted in our social pack. As Grenouille has no smell on his own, he becomes an outcast. I guess he is talking about pheromones and Grenouille's lack of it.

Reading the book, I did not imagine the brick-and-mortar Paris but the smell of Paris built on wisps in different thickness and colours to represent odors. It is extremely unique.

The story line, smooth and wonderful as it is, is a little strange. The tight pace unfortunately unravels to a looser thread and creates a plausible ending which is a pity. The immediate reaction when I finished was I didn't know what the fuss was all about. It is certainly unique, it is creatively written, it is engaging but something is missing and up to now, I really cannot pinpoint what that is.

I can wholeheartedly say that this book is recommended. However, like the delicate, wispy and fluid nature of smell, the goodness of the book keeps on coming in and out of my grasp. I cannot really say whether it's a good book or not. This is unsettling, just like the book. ( 3 1/2 stars)
vtn | Dec 24, 2006 |

5.  Sophie's world : a novel about the history of philosophy http://www.librarything.com/work/26151&book=1526914
by Jostein Gaarder; Norwegian title: Sofies verden: Roman om filosofiens historie
Quote
As I read Sophie's World, I was suddenly assaulted with visions of my characters plotting against me -- and in more dire ways than not co-operating when I wish to write about them.

Sophie's World is a book about philosophy. I never would have thought of a novel as a way to teach philosophy, but it works very well, for Gaarder (or would it be the major?) can make Sophie's life illustrate the very ideas she's studying, to the point that it can even descend into absurbist drama to illustrate Sartre's existentialism. (I'll be reading more about Sartre and Beauvoir, among others.) I've often wanted to study philosophy and didn't know whose writings to choose as a beginning -- and all the overviews I found were hopelessly dry -- until Gaarder's novel. Though he has by no means covered, or even mentioned, all the important philosophers, he's given me a place to begin.

More than a book on philosophy, Sophie's World is also a book about books...books within books...books that appear within themselves, until the reader starts to wonder if he himself might be fictional after all, just a figment of some author's imagination.

I can only say I hope my author is nicer to me than I'm being to my poor Jack.

(I'm off to hide under the bed now.) (5 stars )
regency_cate | Mar 10, 2007


« Last Edit: August 29, 2007, 05:58:42 PM by Starseeker »
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Sylvee Bee

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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2007, 02:41:25 AM »
I enjoy Jonathan Carroll - the first book I read by him was The Wooden Sea

It's a book I'd recommend to anyone, odd - but that's what I enjoyed about it.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel was also a very beautiful book to read.

I like going to the cheap area of the bookstore - you know, the 2 dollar hard covers....and I grab a few at random without looking at what they are. Every so often, just by chance - they are good books. I found both of these books that way.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2007, 02:47:47 AM by SylveeBee »
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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2007, 07:01:30 AM »
Gotta recommend "The Big U" by Neil Stephenson, it works on a lot of levels and this crowd will appreciate it.  Also "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table."
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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2007, 08:09:02 AM »
Gotta recommend "The Big U" by Neil Stephenson, it works on a lot of levels and this crowd will appreciate it.  Also "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table."

Oh, I have not read that one yet. I like Neil Stephenson. I shall go out and get that one. Thanks. =D
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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2007, 10:16:51 AM »
The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman is a must read for any lover of fictitious truths.

Any book/almanac with an entire section on Hobo names is a winner.

Starseeker

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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2007, 06:19:46 PM »
Since I am on a roll:

1.  Women of the pleasure quarters : the secret history of the geisha by Lesley Downer  http://www.librarything.com/work/6107
Quote
I might get flamed for saying this, but I perfer this book over the more popular "Memoirs of a Geisha". I believe it's the perspective that Downer offers that is more appealing to me. It's also more detailed and up to date than the others. The book actually elaborated on the history of the Geishas which most other books did not touch upon as much. Downer's perspective as a westerner and a outsider on various aspect of the Japanese(and not just Geisha) culture struck a chord with me. I can almost imagine myself doing the same thing or getting caught in the same feelings and ideas as she did in those situation.

Or maybe - I like it because she has done what I would have loved to do in my earlier years. A must read.

Edit: I've read some negative comments on the disrespectful or haughty attitude that Downer seems to exhibit towards the Geisha culture in the book. I laughed after reading those reviews. Is calling others of elitist a form of elitism in of itself? I don't know. But as a mixed blood who has traveled extensively around the world, I can tell you this - be prepare to offend and cheese off a lot of people no matter how much you had "studied" their culture in "advance". Even if you speak the language to a point, a culture shock is always right around the corner. Don't pretend you understand anything until you have walked in their shoes for 10,000 miles. An outsider, gaijin, or guilou will always be seen as disrespectful, boorish, haughty, and non-understanding by a culture that he/she doesn't belong to. The book, "Mr. China" comes to mind, since Tim's story is a living proof of this. In the end I secretly cheered for Tim's struggle and his eventual acceptance and understanding. (3 1/2 stars )Shiva | Jan 9, 2006

2. Mind wide open : your brain and the neuroscience of everyday life by Steven Johnson http://www.librarything.com/work/125&book=1523462
Quote
In ‘Mind wide open’ Stephen Johnson takes us on a personal journey – a journey through modern neuroscience via his very own brain. It is in this personal approach that this book succeeds: the real achievement of ‘Mind wide open’ book is that it is infinitely more accessible than even its most accessible popular science counterparts.

I found ‘Mind wide open’ to be intelligent and challenging, and was only slightly frustrated when I realised I was left with more questions than answers by the end of the final chapter. Everything about this book, which is well researched and very well written, is fascinating. ( 4 stars)
glaughlan | Jul 23, 2007

3. Emotional intelligence by Daniel Goleman http://www.librarything.com/work/2510  If you haven't read this book, go and do it!
(btw, some a** posted the entire review section from amazon, so it's going to be a bit long)
Quote
Reviewer: Elijah Chingosho (Nairobi, Kenya) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

This is an inspirational and informative book on emotional intelligence; on our rational and emotional minds and why it is very important to our careers, our relationships and our destiny.

This insightful book examines emotional intelligence in an easy to follow and understand format which makes the book useful to a wide readership. The book pragmatically examines what emotional intelligence is all about and what it can achieve for individuals and organisations. The author methodically explains how the rational and emotional minds can effectively work productively together. As I go up the corporate ladder, it is critical to know how to manage my emotions so that I can relate better with others.

Dr Goleman is both a good writer and an original thinker. This is not just an academic book but also one that looks at the whole aspect of emotional intelligence to see how it "fits in" with all aspects of life. The book examines all the relevant issues and provides sound, sensible advice succinctly.

The book changed the way I look at life and relate with people. As an engineer, I used to believe in the power of logic and reasoning in all my dealings with people, be it at work, in the home and in relationships. I considered emotions as irrelevant or for those that are intellectually challenged. How wrong was I. Now that I am a bit more enlightened, from lessons learnt in this wonderful book, I am a better self. I realise that emotional issues affect the way people work, their motivation, satisfaction and productivity and affect the quality of relationships among spouses or friends. I am now a much happier and more effective manager and therefore recommend this book strongly to anyone who wants to live a happier and successful life.

Reviewer: Diane L. Schirf (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
You know the feeling--your spouse says something that strikes you the wrong way, and involuntarily you tense up. You can almost feel your blood pressure rise. Without thinking, you respond emotionally, and soon what may have been intended as an innocuous comment has sparked a full-fledged marital battle that may leave as its aftermath lingering feelings of anger and resentment.

In Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman describes the physiological processes that drive and are driven by emotion and their purpose, the ability of emotions to hijack rational thought and the short- and long-term physiological and psychological effects, and the personal and social benefits of teaching and learning how to manage the emotions.

In the opening chapters, Goleman discusses in simplified terms the complex interactions of the brain when emotion-causing stimuli are perceived, with the emotional mind reacting more quickly than the rational. For example, the sight of a snake may start the fight-or-flight response; the structures of the emotional brain prime the body to strike out at the snake or to flee from it. Then, after the body is tensed, the rational mind notices that it is a harmless garter snake. The efficiency of the brain circuitry, along with its emotional memory and associative abilities, helps to explain the power of the emotions. Citing research, Goleman suggests that the ability to recognize and manage emotions and emotional response, primarily learned from parents, family, friends, school, and the community, is a greater indicator of success in relationships, work, and society than intelligence tests. It is not necessarily how well you learn or what you know, but indeed how well you play with others.

Goleman covers a variety of topics: depression, mania, anxiety, PTSD, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, relationship issues, abuse, and others. For example, a feeling of sadness can be transformed in the brain into a lingering mood and ultimately into a full-blown clinical depression. He shows how emotional intelligence can be used to control the brain's circuitry so that pathological conditions like depression, mania, and PTSD can be managed or at least controlled.

Citing an increase worldwide in indicators of emotional and social problems, Goleman focuses on children and the importance of pilot programs that teach such skills as empathy, assertiveness without aggression, self-awareness and self-control, conflict resolution, and so forth. He discusses several studies that show measurable, long-term benefits of such programs, and the negative results when children do not have the opportunity to learn these skills at home, at school, on the playground, or in the community.

Goleman does not always seem trustworthy. His description of the 1963 "Career Girl" murders, intended to illustrate an emotional hijacking, does not match other accounts in key areas. He also leaves out facts, such as that several knives were used, instead saying that the killer "slashed and stabbed them over and over with a kitchen knife." He does not mention the sexual assaults in "those few minutes of rage unleashed." The crime he depicts fits his picture of an emotional hijacking, but other accounts show it to have been a more deliberate crime of longer duration. In a section on empathy, he says that one-year-olds "still seem confused over what to do about [another child's tears]," citing an instance where a "one-year-old brought his own mother over to comfort the crying friend, ignoring the friend's mother, who was also in the room." There is no confusion here, but a logical, pre-verbal assumption: "My mother is comforting to me when I am upset; therefore, she will be comforting to you, too." This kind of thinking is not limited to one-year-olds; for example, how many times has a friend recommended an action movie or horror novel to you, saying that you will "love it," even though your known preference is historical romance or another completely different genre? Even adults assume that "what works for me will work for you."

Goleman also discusses school bullies and outcasts in detail. He places so much emphasis on the probability that their peers are reacting to their lack of emotional intelligence that he misses some important exceptions and nuances, such as children who are social outcasts for socioeconomic and racist reasons or because they are nonconformist individualists, in which cases it is the other children who display a lack of empathy and emotional intelligence. On the flip side, there are children (and adults) who are not empathetic or emotionally intelligent but who are well liked, even popular, for other reasons, tangible and intangible (e.g., socioeconomic status, influence, some mysterious force of personality or charisma). Many successful, popular people exhibit little emotional intelligence, which Goleman could have addressed. In addition, while Goleman cites a wealth of research supporting his arguments, he does not present any dissenting opinions, or whether any exist. This weakens his presentation.

Emotional Intelligence is an insightful, enlightening look at how awareness of the emotions and their physiology can help us to manage them when they affect our lives negatively or when they become pathological (e.g., depression). I found the book to be a practical guide to recognizing when I am reacting rather than listening to others or hearing them correctly. It has helped me to cope with colleagues who are lacking in emotional intelligence and to give them subtle guidance. While most of Emotional Intelligence is intuitive to a perceptive mind, the book serves as a guide and reminder that even a little emotional intelligence can make relationships, situations, and life more positive, more productive, and less stressful.

Have fun reading! 

As for any Crichton's book, Sphere, The Rising Sun, Disclosure are some of my early favorites. 
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Brugdor

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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2007, 06:34:24 PM »
: the secret history of the geisha by Lesley Downer

Mmmm...geisha (good movie btw)
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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2007, 03:01:58 AM »
I just finished reading I am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter (a book I picked during the T.o UV Meet).  Great book on what exactly one man thinks the structure of self-consciousness is.  Great book and he included some dialogs for the GEB proselytes.

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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2007, 04:30:53 AM »
i'm sure i've mentioned stealing buddah's dinner, by bich min nguyen.

she spoke here two hours ago and i recorded it, if anyone wants me to send it to them, though you'll have to help me find a site that lets me send larger files as i dont have winzip or anything on this comp.
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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2007, 05:38:01 PM »
"for the record, I'm not some kind of psychotic provincialist." - Than (ed: Cit. required)
"I lost my game of NT: Garry's fault. Global warming: Garry's fault. End-of-the-Universe: Garry's fault. See it always fits. Anyway, what is Garry up to? No good I bet." - Laszlo
"As for your French, it's probably better than the average English-speaking Frenchman's Finnish! (Or something.)" - wa
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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2007, 06:00:48 PM »
Will I get Night Owl points for quitting but not as much for getting fired?
Will I still be a member of the Owl's Pals? I'd hate to turn in my card. It's got a real owl feather under the lamination and everything.


Night Owl: Oh, indeed. I quit many a job ...better than being fired. You can keep your card... in fact, you get double points for quitting!


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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2007, 08:15:10 PM »
are you saying you want me to send it?
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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2007, 08:35:42 PM »
not necessarily; I was just proving you a means of sending (up to 100mb free).
"for the record, I'm not some kind of psychotic provincialist." - Than (ed: Cit. required)
"I lost my game of NT: Garry's fault. Global warming: Garry's fault. End-of-the-Universe: Garry's fault. See it always fits. Anyway, what is Garry up to? No good I bet." - Laszlo
"As for your French, it's probably better than the average English-speaking Frenchman's Finnish! (Or something.)" - wa
"I'm back at Thunderfalls now and every minute thinking of poking a bandit in the eye with a fishhook." - Preyveil
"and yet still nothing has made it to BC's signature!"-KMD

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Re: Let's have another book recommendation thread
« Reply #29 on: September 01, 2007, 06:54:12 PM »
Jack L. Chalker

I read his first trilogy (which consists of 5 books-. It's a trilogy though.) perhaps 7 or 8 years ago and recently ordered the other 5 books he wrote later. The overall title is The Well World. It's an amazing sci-fi/fantasy mix with some incredible visions of the universe, future etc. Definitely worth a read, I fucking love them.

Gonna order some of the other books he's written as soon as my paycheck hits the bank :)


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