Book recommendations: I’m asking, not giving!

My son has asked me for some book recommendations, and I thought I’d ask some of you avid-reader types who come around here for some input, so I can give him a really good list.

He’s suddenly found himself with more free time, having just broken up with his girlfriend, and is looking for distractions.

What might you suggest for this (almost) 24-year-old college graduate – electrical engineer by day, sports junkie by night, lindy-hopper on some weekends? His reading interests include:

  • Sports, particularly baseball
  • Fantasy/science fiction
  • Humor/satire
  • Current events

If you have any ideas, please leave them in the comments. I’ll reserve the right not to pass along any suggestions that I’m not sure will appeal to him, but my plan is to compile the recommendations into an e-mail to him in the next couple of days.

Thanks for your help, y’all!

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  • I don’t have any recommendations for a 23 yr old guy with a broken heart (sorry!) but you mentioned Lindy Hopping.. Trish from Hey, Lady!, one of my blog friends does that!

  • LisaMM – Thanks for that info! I recently added Trish’s blog to my feeds, but didn’t know she was into swing dancing. It was my son’s unofficial minor during college. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’ll try.

    SciFi: Have him try “Old Man’s War” From John Scalzi. Or “Lost and Found” from Alan Dean Foster. Both good.

    Humor: What about “Big Trouble” from Dave Barry.

  • Mike – Thanks for the suggestions. I read Scalzi’s blog (which I’m also recommending to my son) but have never read any of his books, so thanks for a place to start.

  • This is cheating, but a list from the New York Times of noteable baseball books can be found here.

    Out of them, I’ve heard October 1964 by David Halberstam and Bang The Drum Slowly by Mark Harris are both good.

    Also came across this at Amazon for baseball humor.

    Hope these help.

  • *Digging through the recent reading and “read me next” piles….*

    I keep trying to make it through Jackie Chan’s autobiography and get distracted. He’s an interesting guy.

    Depending on his length tolerance, there’s “Whirlwind” by James Clavell. Not “current” events per se, but it will give you a whole new view of why Iran is as effed up as it is today.

    Most of the Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle collabs are good, but “The Mote in God’s Eye” and “Lucifer’s Hammer” stick out (no theology involved).

    An oldie but goodie, “The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody” by Will Cuppy.

    He can read certain works on education by Zig Englemann and John Taylor Gatto for free!

    There’s a new Dragonlance trilogy.

    The Star Wars Republic Commando trilogy isn’t bad.

    I know it’s strictly speaking Juvie SF/F, but Atemis Fowl is HILARIOUS.

    Currently reading a book by Patricia Briggs. Thank goodness there are new SF/F books that don’t involve telepathy, cats, dragons, unicorns, or all of the above. If I see one more novel “set in a mysterious world where sorcerors are telepathically bound to their cat familiars for life” I think I shall scream. And that would totally freak out the folks at Borders.

    And that ends a random walk around the bookshelves.

  • I read Bleachers by John Grisham. I thought is was OK but my hubby and FIL loved it. Maybe you have to be a guy or be more into football to get it.

    Also, it’s an “oldie” but I have a copy of Bob Costas’ book “Fair Ball” and it’s really good.

  • Here are four baseball themed books:

    The Natural by Bernard Malamud
    The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordan by Stephen King
    Game of Shadows by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams
    The Hidden Language of Baseball

    The first two are fiction, the second two are nonfiction.

  • The last one is by Victor Niederhoffer.

  • Thanks for the suggestions, y’all – keep ’em coming! I’m going to sum them all up in an e-mail to my son in the next day or two.

  • Pam

    The humor/satire bit makes me think he might like Robert Mailer Anderson’s Booneville … I wrote about it a while back.

  • How about books by Neil Gaiman? He writes great fantasy stories.
    Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is popular with guys.
    Venus on the Halfshell by Killgore Trout.
    The Riverworld series by Philip Jose Farmer
    Greymouser series by Fritz Lieber

  • Pam – I found the link to your review – and yes, he might like it. I’ll pass it on to him and let him decide.

    Jaimie – I think he’s read all of Douglas Adams; as I recall, I think he first read The Hitchhiker’s Guide… when he was eleven or twelve :-). I don’t know if he’s read Gaiman, but I’ll pass that on for sure.