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Recommendations, please

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Showing 1-18 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 27, 2012 9:17:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 27, 2012 9:17:51 PM PDT
Arual says:
I favor books that have the main character (I prefer men) dealing with difficult moral or physical situations. Here are some examples:

Edward, Edward: A Part of His Story And Of History 1795-1816 Set Out In Three Parts In This Form Of A New-Old Picaresque Romance That Is Also A Study in Grace by Lolah Burford. At the age of six, the main character becomes the ward of a certain man, and the story follows the child to young adulthood. The emotional and sexual abuse he must endure is extreme. I found the book fascinating because of the progression of the complex relationship between the ward and his guardian. Extremely well done, though hard to read.

THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (Annotated) by Alexandre Dumas. This book interested me because the main character seems normal (though, of course, vengeful after his escape), but is very damaged. It goes without saying how well-written this book is... it's a classic, after all.

Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale. The main character is stricken with a medical problem, something like a stroke. He cannot understand the speech of the people around him, and he cannot speak himself. He is frightened because he does not know what has happened to him and cannot communicate, and so he lashes out in fearful anger. This is a terrible thing, because now his family cannot control him and he is physically dangerous to them and to himself.

The Main: A Novel by Trevanian. This is a sad story, and just aches with loneliness. The main character is a tired old beat cop in Montreal. His young wife died years ago; he has never remarried and still lives in the same tiny apartment they shared. He watches over the people in his "patch" - the bums, the addicts, the prostitutes - and takes care of them in his own way, which doesn't usually mesh with the way his superiors want. Life has passed him by... and he knows it.

The Sid Halley series by Dick Francis, starting with Odds Against. Sid is a champion steeplechase jockey in England. He's at the top of his profession, but his wife feels neglected. She gives him an ultimatum - her or his job. He tries to compromise, but it doesn't work, and the wife leaves him. Very soon after he has a serious fall from his horse in a race and loses the use of a hand. Thus, he loses his wife, his career, and his health in short order, and falls into a deep depression.

The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille. The problems the main character faces are all of his own making. He is bored with his job as an attorney, his marriage is a little stale, his life seems to be going nowhere, and then the most powerful New York Mafia don moves in next door. Our guy makes every wrong decision he could possibly make, and knows it while he's doing it.

So, from these examples, can anyone recommend something similar? Since the subject doesn't fall into a particular genre, it's very hard to find books that really appeal to me.

(I'm posting this in several forums to get the largest pool of views, so please bear with me if you see it more than once.)

Posted on Apr 27, 2012 9:28:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 28, 2012 7:44:30 AM PDT
Stant Litore says:
I recommend The Brothers Karamazov ... several male leads wrestling with extremely murky moral waters. A classic.

You might enjoy Latro in the Mist by Gene Wolfe. Historical fantasy. Mercenary soldier receives head wound, loses ability to make memories. Has to survive in the ancient world and figure out who on earth he is. Keeps forgetting who friends are, who enemies are. I know this sounds like an old premise now, but when written in the 80s, Wolfe was nearly the first to try it, and he did such remarkably innovative work that I don't think anyone has surpassed what he did. Very gripping tale and a mindbender as well.

Do you enjoy Cormac MacCarthy? Most anything he's written likely fits your criteria, except perhaps All the Pretty Horses, which is a little more idealized than his other novels.

My own Zombie Bible: Death Has Come Up into Our Windows (Kindle Single) ... also a male lead in extremely severe physical circumstances with a difficult decision to make. Trapped in a well for three days with the undead, reliving memories of choosing to send his wife away, and the various sacrifices he's made. Among the horrors he's lived through. Very dark.

If you like science fiction, Downbelow Station by C J Cherryh might appeal to you. Some very conflicted characters, male and female, making very tough decisions, and at least one particularly compelling identity crisis.

Hope this helps.

Stant Litore

Posted on Apr 27, 2012 9:30:46 PM PDT
I suggest more of the classics; The Scarlet Pimpernel - (The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favorites); Last of the Mohicans; The Man in the Iron Mask and the Three Musketeers.
I love the Prey novels by John Sandford, the have a main character Lucas Davenport who is currently assigned to the Minnesota Police Chief as a special detective. The novels start with Rules of Prey.

Also the Tairen Soul by C L Wilson this is a fantasy series; the tairen soul is a leader of the fey and the tairen's who are giant feline fighters who fly. Again, this series is intense and the leader has to make many decisions to bring his people through an attempt to take over their world.

Nalini Singh has a series Psy-Changeling with alpha leaders that is good, not sure how you would like those but they are very good, they are futuristic.

Finally Roberta Gellis is an excellent author of historical novels that are accurate and informative as well as entertaining.

Posted on Apr 27, 2012 9:38:47 PM PDT
Arual says:
Thank you, Stant and Harriett. I didn't expect an answer - much less two! - in so short of time.

I haven't read anything either of you suggested except a couple "Preys," so I'm delighted with your suggestions.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2012 7:46:32 AM PDT
Stant Litore says:
No problem!

Caveat: I just realized that some of the recommends I offered aren't available on Kindle. Latro in the Mist isn't, though the third book in that series, Soldier of Sidon, is. Downbelow Station was on Kindle at one time, but the author took it down. The Brothers Karamazov is available in probably any format you can imagine, however; I recommend the Constance Garnett translation. :)

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 10:13:24 AM PDT
Arual says:
Hi Stant,

Actually, your Brothers K suggestion interests me the most. Besides the storyline, I want to read more of the classics that somehow I've never gotten around to reading. Harriett's classics suggestions are sparking me too. Thanks again to both of you.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2012 10:23:12 AM PDT
Yes, since I've gotten my tablet I've read a lot of the classics I missed.
I'm currently reading "Anna Karenina". I also read Ben Franklin's autobiography, and Mark Twain's "Life on The Mississippi" .. all of which I enjoyed.

I love the kindle books, I don't have to figure out where to put them in my overstuffed bookcases :)

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 10:48:34 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 28, 2012 11:16:11 AM PDT

You've reminded me of an author I haven't read in years: Louis Begley.
His protagonists primarily *suffer* from internal conflict - I would recommend checking out:

Mistler's Exit (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
Man Who Was Late
About Schmidt (Ballantine Reader's Circle)

And if you like John Sandford, I would also recommend Ian Rankin's John Rebus or Arnaldur Indridason's detective Erlendur, two complex police officers who often push back against the system..also with a lot of alcoholic self-medication.

[Lastly, I think you're the poster who was discussing Adrian McKinty lately - if so, you might want to check this free offering today, which has a strong endorsement from McKinty on the book page. Wee Rockets ]

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 10:58:11 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 28, 2012 10:59:19 AM PDT
Two more recommendations:

The Rector of Justin (Modern Library)
The story centers on a prestigious Episcopal school for boys and its commanding, charismatic founder, Frank Prescott, a man whose lifelong goal was to head such a school. With laser-sharp insight, Auchincloss portrays the evolution of this man and the sources of his virtues and failings, his successes, and his crises of faith. Seamlessly interweaving multiple points of view-from an adoring teacher to that of a rebellious daughter-Auchincloss captures the brilliant totality of a man. Through the personalities and memories of six intense observers, a psychologically complex social history of the eighty years of his life emerges.

And anything by Gianrico Carofiglio - set in southern Italy, technically they're labelled as thrillers/detective, but are more about the mid-life coming to terms of the lawyer protagonist, who has a penchant for consulting with the owner of his local 24-hour bookstore...Actually this is the best, most well-written/translated "detective" series I've come across in years. (Next to no "action, however.)

Involuntary Witness (Guido Guerrieri)

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 11:02:51 AM PDT
gail says:
I would love to read more books like the Kitchen House and the Whistle Stop Cafe and the Help or the The Women Of Magnolia any help appreciated.
Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2012 11:38:27 AM PDT
Arual says:
Wow, Mitford13, you've got a great memory. Yes, it was me who had brought up Adrian McKinty. Thanks for the "Wee Rockets" tip. I've just pushed the GO button.

Thanks also for your suggestions. Appreciate them.

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 12:08:47 PM PDT
JAScribbles says:
What about that one they made into a movie? It was about a guy who was ... rock climbing and got trapped, had to fight his way out. I'll go dig for the title. Be right back

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 12:14:02 PM PDT
JAScribbles says:
Found it - 127 Hours

Survival story.

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 12:40:08 PM PDT
Arual says:
Oh, yeah, JA Scribbles. I've heard all about the movie and the book but haven't seen or read it. Sounds intense.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2012 2:53:58 PM PDT
Hi Gail,
You may want to start a separate thread on this so it gets seen better, or another good place to try is the daily Free Books & Chat thread. Lots of regulars who post their finds, but most importantly they're a friendly group (of mostly women) who read a lot - across many genres.

They start a new thread each day, here's Saturday's (there's a lot of chatty stuff in the beginning, they start up in the early morning hours):

Posted on Apr 29, 2012 2:29:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 29, 2012 2:31:13 PM PDT
For those interested in military non fiction, I recommend the novel, The Coldest War, by James Brady, a true account of the retreat from the Chosin Reservoir area of N. Korea. The book, the actual memoirs of the author, when he served as a rifle company Lt. during the Korean War. Heroism and the marines sense of duty will overwhelm the reader. A good summer read.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 29, 2012 2:49:18 PM PDT
Louise.A says:
Arual, No Passage Landward by Lester James should suit you as the blurb below describes:

"Jim Lutter is a 36 year old special needs teaching assistant and former corporate lawyer, married to Fiona, an art historian. They have a beautiful three year old daughter, Alice, and a seemingly perfect life together. It is a life, however, shattered by the sudden onset of Jim's mental illness and subsequent spiral into depression.

No Passage Landward is a raw and brutally honest portrayal of the confusion and isolation experienced by one man with a faulty mind. Deeply touching and compassionate, the story provides an often chilling insight into Jim's condition as he plans a last weekend of excess and selfishness with Kate and Claire, two young university students.

Powerful, emotional and dark, yet full of hope, love and redemption, this is a beautifully crafted journey through the fragility of the human mind. "

I have read this book and can recommend it - thanks for the examples of your own, I will look forward to reading them also.

In reply to an earlier post on May 8, 2012 2:47:10 PM PDT
gail says:
Thank you Mitford 13
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Discussion in:  Kindle Book forum
Participants:  9
Total posts:  18
Initial post:  Apr 27, 2012
Latest post:  May 8, 2012

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