Recommend me a novel
Donny Darko's … 01 Feb 23 10:00
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So my new year's resolution is a rather modest one of at least one novel per month as my fiction reading has dwindled to not much more than a couple of airport bought crap books read by the pool in recent years. 

What is new(ish) and interesting (without necessarily being booker prize winning overtly literary stuff). I like quality thriller/spy stuff.  Fantasy (but not so much ‘high’ fantasy these days, characters with personality definitely preferred) including Pratchett/funny stuff. Sci Fi (although again, actual stories with people you give might give a sh1t about preferred). Basically ripping yarns over clever imagery or concepts preferred. Feel good (or at least mood neutral) over misery porn.   

I read Iain McEwan's the Children's Act in January because it had been sat on my shelf for years unread. It was good, but to be honest a bit hard going and not reflective of what is required this month.


Have you ever tried Jo Nesbo?  Trouble is they tend to be quite long so need more than a month if you're only reading a few pages a day before going to sleep.

The Catesby series by Edward Wilson:

The Envoy, The Darkling Spy, Midnight Swimmer.

Also A River in May by the same author. I would just go for this one actually.

Try Snow by John Banville for a detectivey story. If you want funny, I found A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian hilarious.

I'm currently reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt- would not recommend. 


Thanks all. I am a bit wary of Jo Nesbo as don't want to get dragged into (I know that sounds daft) a series of massive books. A River in May sounds good as actually does Fleishman is in Trouble. 

Any more before I toss a coin and order one of those. 

La Superba looks a bit, ya know, poncy and all dat. 

Quality thriller/spy - Adam Brookes three China spy books - Night Heron, Spy Games and The Spy's Daughter.


There looks to be a new factual book out, Night Cargo, I bet it is good too, he is a darn good writer.


Originally recommended by someone on here, thanks back to them. 

No so recent but for sci-fi you could try Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds. That's an entertaining noir and if you like it he has written more in the same universe

If you have not read the 3 novels of the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson already then please, please do yourself a favour.

They are chunky but you will come away feeling both massively entertained but also better educated about many, many topics.

OK have ordered Fleishman is in Trouble but due to the vagaries of amazon.sandpit it will take weeks to arrive so February will actually be Night Heron (a few other things had crazy delivery times as well). Will report back! 

Thanks again all. 

Martha Wells' Murderbot series is great, although a lot of them are novellas rather than novels. It's an interplanetary adventure sci fi about a grumpy cyborg designed to be a security guard/murder people in a universe controlled by evil corporations.

quality thriller / spy - but on the airport side of quality - Charles Cumming's two new ones Box 88 and Judas 62 were good romps.


currently reading Maggie O'Farrell "The Marriage Portrait" and it's great


OK, science fiction. (Recommended in order of my preferences:)

Frederik Pohl: Gateway

Larry Niven: Ringworld

Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle: The mote in god's eye

Woflgang Jeschke: The last day of creation

Roger Zelazny: Lord of light

Roger Zelazy: Nine princes in Amber (careful though, this one is the first of 10)

John Varley: The Ophiuchi hotline

Arthur C Clarke: Rendezvous with Rama

Philip Jose Farmer: Riverworld (another one which is the first of a long series)

John Brunner: The sheep look up

Paolo Bacigalupi: The wind-up girl


Spy stuff:

John le Carre: Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy (never bettered, unless it's by his Smiley's people)

Len Deighton: Game set and match trilogy

Ken Follett: The eye of the Needle and The key to Rebecca

Graham Greene The ministry of fear and The third man


Thriller-detective (all from series of novels)

Raymond Chandler: The long goodbye

Martin Cruz Smith: Gorky Park

Michael Conelly: The black echo

Robert Crais: The monkey's raincoat

Karin Slaugher: Tryptich



The Jack Reacher books by Lee Child.


There's one (the burning soul i think) which has a spooky law firm in london that is down that spooky little cut through between chancery lane and lincoln's inn.