Non-gaming books and literature

Considering that there are already a gaming books and literature, and a comics topic in the forum, and that I really want to start reading again, I open this topic just to share what I’m reading (which is almost always non gaming related). Also to see if there’s more people reading varied stuff and sharing their literary interests and whatnot.

I also decided to start this topic after finishing Fight Club (Palahniuk) yesterday. When I was writing as a hobby, I saw the movie and remembered being fascinated at the mystery of how to write a whole story of a dissociated person that is so fast paced and where so many things happen outside the protagonist mind. I don’t tend to repeat media products and when I do, I try to do it the other way around (reading first, movie/game after) but here I deliberately decided to read a book of a movie I saw because the narrative aspect of how to build the story was what fascinated me.

The book itself is written in a frantic pace with barely any perspective of time. Writing it in first person and with very short sentences and short chapters that are barely linked between them (other than by the huge plot that’s happening, of course) also makes it easy to digest. I don’t like the expression “easy to digest” here though because it kind of gives the feeling that the book was endured, although with not much of an effort. No. In this case, the book is a frenzy, a history of time and reality itself bending and getting lost in a head that is a bit more than a head.

And considering that I decided to read the book to learn better how to write or how to express myself better when writing literature (the real literature, not the literature that the science world calls like that), that the aftermath/epilogue had a reflection on the process of writing this book was kind of like a sign, a little hug, a waving on the initial reason and the process itself.


I am slowly working my way through the Inspector Jury series (Martha Grimes). I can’t explain why I like them so much, it’s a guilty pleasure and helps me unwind before I go to sleep. I am currently on book 14/25 of the series, which are available in German.

I love playing games with English language and English subtitles, the same goes for films, but I just can’t bring myself to read books in anything other than German.


Haven’t read it -or even heard about it- at all hahah, what’s it about?

I’m not sure how it happened but I started reading literature in English a few years ago before being strictly a Spanish reader. I think it might be also a thing of how available some of the things are not only in Spanish but the ones that actually make it to Latinoamérica at a decent price. And I’ve noticed that that huge difference in availability makes the same book appeal to really different segments depending on where you are. Like me saying I’m reading some anglosphere 10th grade book as of now, or like when English speakers tell me they are reading Coelho.

And now that I’m a book orphan, I’m debating myself between starting Dune for the 3rd time, Children of time (Adrian Tchaikovsky), or giving another chance to The masque of the red death from Poe.


Cozy detective stories. Easy to digest and a reccuring cast that I just fell in love with. There is a lot of humor but also melancholy going on. A bit like if Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers had a depressed baby that was born 80 years later. I can’t recommend these books, but I also can’t stop reading them. :woman_shrugging:

Since I never want to let a chance pass to suggest these books to someone that isn’t running away fast enough and you seem to not have made up your mind about what to read next: If you can stand Fantasy with low magic and more brutal, realistic war then The First Law a fantasy series written by British author Joe Abercrombie is something looking into.

My favorite quote of the main protagonist:

“I’ve fought in three campaigns,” he began. “In seven pitched battles. In countless raids and skirmishes and desperate defences, and bloody actions of every kind. I’ve fought in the driving snow, the blasting wind, the middle of the night. I’ve been fighting all my life, one enemy or another, one friend or another. I’ve known little else. I’ve seen men killed for a word, for a look, for nothing at all. A woman tried to stab me once for killing her husband, and I threw her down a well. And that’s far from the worst of it. Life used to be cheap as dirt to me. Cheaper.

“I’ve fought ten single combats and I won them all, but I fought on the wrong side and for all the wrong reasons. I’ve been ruthless, and brutal, and a coward. I’ve stabbed men in the back, burned them, drowned them, crushed them with rocks, killed them asleep, unarmed, or running away. I’ve run away myself more than once. I’ve pissed myself with fear. I’ve begged for my life. I’ve been wounded, often, and badly, and screamed and cried like a baby whose mother took her tit away. I’ve no doubt the world would be a better place if I’d been killed years ago, but I haven’t been, and I don’t know why.”

He looked down at his hands, pink and clean on the stone. “There are few men with more blood on their hands than me. None, that I know of. The Bloody-Nine they call me, my enemies, and there’s a lot of ’em. Always more enemies, and fewer friends. Blood gets you nothing but more blood. It follows me now, always, like my shadow, and like my shadow I can never be free of it. I should never be free of it. I’ve earned it. I’ve deserved it. I’ve sought it out. Such is my punishment.”
― Joe Abercrombie, The Blade Itself

These books are slow burners, showing war as a waiting game of weeks and the decision of who lives and who dies made in seconds and the aftermath of war affecting generations and who is right and who is wrong blured. I wish I could read these books again for the first time. I didn’t like fantasy books besides a handful of classics before reading this, but Abercrombie got me hooked to every book he has written so far.


This is a good oportunity to reccomed one of my favorite sci-fi stories: the Hyperion saga by Dan Simmons.

The first one is some kind of “tales of canterbury” anthology with several stories on that universe, and the sequel The Fall of Hyperion is an epic that rounds everything perfectly.


If you can stand Fantasy with low magic and more brutal, realistic war

I actually like my fantasy with little magic haha, and to be honest, I haven’t read that much medieval-y fantasy other than the classics (Tolkien, Asoiaf) and I have deeply enjoyed both. Haven’t heard of Abercrombie either but after checking his website, he studied in the same university where I’m working now, maybe that’s a sign? I for sure will check his books out, thanks for the shout!


That is a name I know I have seen many times before. I have seen his books countless times in bookshops (along with the Brandon Sanderson ones) and always found the covers intriguing and eye-catching. Unfortunately, they were on the expensive side back in Chile -or at least when compared to my meagre budget-. I will definitely have a look at them too!


The books I’m gonna say are Spanish, but I know there are some Spanish people here, and if not, some of them may have a translation.

El guerrero a la sombra del cerezo,
writen by David B. Gil is my discovery of the decade. An incredible well written historical story about a survivor of the last survivor of a betrayed clan who seeks for revenge in the feudal Japan.

I have to recommend El fantasma de los Nanjō too. It is also a book about a revenge in feudal Japan, but this focuses much more in that revenge, and it’s absolutely unpredictable and dinamic.


Oddly, other than the super classics, I don’t think I’ve read anything coming from Spain and neither of those authors rings a bell. What other contemporary Spanish writers can you recommend?


That’s an easy question for me to answer!
I have recommended a book from David B. Gil, but his other books are pretty good as well.

Aside him, I also like Javier Negrete a lot. He write some fantasy books (such as his Tramora tetralogy) but he mostly write about history and mythology. Dioses del Olimpo is a great story about greek gods. Salamina is a great book and also a pretty interesting one in the historic side (it is probably the most important battle in Western world history), since the documentation is exhaustive and accurate (btw, David B.Gil documentation about Japan it is too).

The third one I always recommend is Jose Antonio Cotrina. I love his La Luna Roja trilogy, but if you want to know if you like him without entering in a trilogy, you can read La canción secreta del mundo. His books are plenty of fantasy and imagination. Unpredictable events, charming and interesting characters and an explosive fantasy as I’ve never read.

They three are my favourite writers, not just in Spanish, but worldwide, so I hope some of my recommendations catch your interest! :grin:


I’ve been working my way through the Dune books but I’ve taken a break before book 3 to read a history of the civil war and collapse of Yugoslavia, Eastern European history is a blind spot of mine even though I studied a lot of history and particularly European history at university.

Also working on the complete Sherlock Holmes which is a lot of fun, the Arthur Conan Doyle originals still have a lot of their charm. Besides a few anachronisms they really hold up if you can tolerate a more Victorian style of writing.

And, a quick sci-fi recommendation, the Patternmaster series by Octavia Butler is fantastic, I don’t recall the individual names of the books as I purchased them in a collection called Seed to Harvest which contains them all in a single volume. Incredible story about a group of demi-god like beings, one of which starts a selective breeding program to transcend humanity, and the struggles between giving up everything in pursuit of a future and finding the value in people and family to curb that ruthless drive. It’s wonderful!


@Daninokuni Now that you explored historical fiction written in Spain, I just remembered reading things from J.J. Benítez when I was young. He was a massive hit (in Chile at least) during the 90s-early 00s, particularly his Caballo de Troya saga. I don’t know what’s the opinion in Spain about him but I do remember my mum really liking his books. I’ll give Negrete’s books a look and see if I order something from him before Book Depository closes (tomorrow :c )

@Girafro I think you’re the first to mention non fiction here. I’d say that non fiction is the thing I’ve read the most, particularly in a really niche subject but that it’s really interesting once you delve deep in: the sociopolitics of sports. As in, capital flows, different types of exploitation in the industry, replication of social biases, discrimination and so forth. And I owe myself some deep historical reads on Balkans history, as the bit I know the most is in the intersection of that matter and sports politics: Kosovo, Serbia, Albania and how the recognition of nations (or lack thereof) impact on how some sport events take place and the reaction of their participants. So if you have a good recommendation on the more historical side of the fall of Yugoslavia for a noob like me, it would be highly appreciated.


I’m new to the subject too, but so far I’ve been appreciating Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation by Laura Silber and Allan Little. It’s been walking through each of the major actions taken by various leaders that led to the collapse from the death of Tito to the rise of Serbian nationalism. It can be pretty tough to remember all the names, it jumps between Serbia and Croatia to how Bosnia felt about what they were doing and then what Albania was up to, etc, so it’s a lot of people all at once sometimes.


Welp, I disregarded every single recommendation both from here and IRL (I even bought a book from an IRL recommendation, Children of Time) and started reading Altered Carbon because I got trapped with it in a 5h train. And while the woman descriptions are actually what you would expect from a male writer, the whole universe premises are intriguing enough to push it a bit. Hope it ends well.


Lol I never kept reading Altered Carbon after that last post. What I did read was something quite different and definitely shorter: Politics and the english language by Orwell. Not something completely groundbreaking but when a critic still stands after 70 years, it’s difficult to not take it seriously. Not sure how I got here though, an odd recommendation from an odd source which, I imagine, might have got some resurgence by some political sectors that do not want to be called fascists, as the critic of the meaning of words, particularly fascism, is explicit here.

Good thing though is that the final part of this book-ish is a review, written by the author, of Mein Kampf. How would the “It’s literally 1984” public react to Orwell’s words that Nazism is not only far from socialism but that he even persecuted them?

Anyhow, I think I’ll move from here to the Ted Kaczynski’s manifesto. Wild ride.


You reading Orwell reminds me that I wonder what happened to the Doublespeak Award.

2021 – No award given. The award is being “re-imagined [snip] in order to align it with our current mission, vision, values, and policies…”.

I understand that they have a hard time to give an award to only one person.

Doublespeak is so common Orwell must be rotating in his grave to an extend that we should consider turning him into an energy source.


I used to read so much… I barely read anything anymore. Kinda sad honestly…sigh


Just made the connection that doublespeak (mostly what this essay was about) is basically doublethink, which should have been obvious if I wouldn’t have read 1984 in spanish (doblepensar) and this essay in english haha.


One of the purposes of this thread was to try to make myself reading more. I think until 2019 I was reading over 30 books per year, now I’m lucky if I finish 3 or 4.


I’m thinking of starting House of Leaves soon. I’ve heard of it over the years and how hard it can be of a read, which may be an understatement. I’m looking forward to making my way through though as I personally find it hard to make it through many newer books these days as they fail to hold my interest.