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The Great Book Alphabet Game

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We've done it with TV shows. We've done it with food. We've done it with albums and animals. Now we do it with books.

Fiction, nonfiction, whatever. If you think it's a great book, tell us. As usual, we'll start with the letter A and entertain a few suggestions before moving on.

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I'll begin with Shannon Hale's Austenland. Here's an introduction from GoodReads:

 

Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

In short, Jane goes to the resort, spends two weeks living the Regency lifestyle with a a few other patrons and a corps of actors and support personnel, and learns a few things about love and romance, realistic expectations, and the state and potential of her own life and heart. She goes looking for a Regency romance; she returns having found something more substantial.

 

The book is quirky, funny, and fast-moving. It's a great read, especially if you (or a lady friend) have read "Pride and Prejudice". There's also a sequel, "Midnight in Austenland", that includes elements of a murder mystery.

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The story of Aeneas and how he left Troy and came to Italy. His descendants founded Rome. Written by Virgil this is The Aeneid

 

The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski. It follows man from his early roots to the 70s when this was written. Made into a television series by the BBC.

 

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. The story of a soldier fighting for his country in the First World War. And he is German. Made into several movies over the years. 

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Asterix the Gaul by Goscinny and Uderzo. Gaul was conquered. All ? Not quite. One village holds out against the invaders. This comic collection details the village and their battles against the Romans. The Gauls have a secret weapon, a magic potion that gives them strength. The series is littered with all sorts of Latin puns and puns on the Gaul names. The Blacksmith is Fulliautomatix, the old warrior is Geriatrix, the druid is Getafix, Vitalstatistix is the chief, Unhygenix is the fishmonger, Cacofinix is the bard, Obelix is Asterix's best friend and fell into the druid's potion as a baby making him insanely strong by the standards of the tribe, and Dogmatix is Obelix's dog.

I fondly recall the books the best being Asterix the Legionary, Asterix the Gladiator, Asterix and Cleopatra and Asterix in Switzerland

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Only thing fictional I can think of off the top of my head is Another Fine Myth, the first book in Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures series. An absolute must-read for any fans of fantasy with a sense of humor.

 

There's also one of my favorite military history books called America's First Battles 1776-1965, edited by Charles Heller & William Stofft. An interesting analysis of the first battles America has fought in every war we've been in, from the Revolution through Vietnam. Tldr; we usually get our butts kicked in the first battle, dust ourselves off, learn from our mistakes, then come back and kick ass later on.

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There could also be Adventures of Ton Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn or the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

 

Would game adventure modules come under this general topic ? If so City State of Invincible Overlord and Masks of Nyarlathotep are likely to feature.

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For the letter B, I would like to recommend David W. Barber's Bach, Beethoven, and the Boys: Music History as it Ought to Be Taught. It's as entertaining as it is informative. The facts are all solid; Barber is an able historian. He interjects some amusing anecdotes that make the lives of those stuffy old composers much more vivid.  He also interjects some interesting insights and opinions of his own. Among my favorites is this bit from the Wagner chapter:

 

 

 

Either you like Wagner's music or you don't. For some people, Wagnerian opera represents the highest form of art as a synthesis of music and drama. For others, it's just fat people shouting at each other in German for what seems like eternity. As for me, I'm inclined to agree with Rossini, who said that Wagner has great moments, but bad quarter-hours.

 

It's a great book. You'll be entertained, and you may just learn something.

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The Better Angels Of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, by Steven Pinker. A monumental work demolishing the notion that we live in the most violent age mankind has ever seen when in fact the exact opposite is true - we are unquestionably living in the most peaceful time in the history of the human race. Here's a good video summary if you don't have time to read the whole thing.

 

I'm currently reading Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen's memoir and really enjoying it. He's developed a solid prose voice, similar to that in his lyrics but unique, and he comes across as a good deal more thoughtful than expected.

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Ash by James Herbert.

This is one of James Herbert's horror books and features David Ash a ghost hunter who has appeared in other books by the author. There is something nasty in a Scottish castle.

 

Ash: A Secret History by Mary Gentle. An alternate history book with a heroine leading a military force.

 

The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness by Caleb Carr. These books relate to a psychiatrist (Alienist) when this started at the end of the 19th century in New York. Theodore Roosevelt guests and both books are worth a read. 

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Would game adventure modules come under this general topic ?

 

Did not get an answer to this. Need one.

 

Don't ask me. I just started the thread; I'm not in charge of it.

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Around the World in 80 Treasures by Dan Cruikshank

This book accompanies the television series and traces 80 treasures that represent the human race. It covers the logistics in setting the journey up across the wold and the treasures involved. The series and the book are good.

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All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris. This is one of the Sookie Stackhouse books and is a lot less involved than the Anita Blake books are. It is simple and good. This one involves a vampire summit that ends in a bomb attack.

 

American Tabloid by James Elroy. This is a book looking at the steamy underbelly of America from 1958 to 1963. It interlaces real people like the Kennedys. J Edgar Hoover and Howard Hughes with fictional ones. The book is the start of a trilogy and worth a read. 

 

At All Costs by David Weber. This is one of the Honor Harrington books and deals with more warfare between Haven and the Star Kingdom of Manticore. I like the series so include this one.

Ashes of Victory by David Weber is another Harrington book that precedes the above and deals with Honor's return to the Star Kingdom and a truce that breaks out after a major offensive by the Star Kingdom results in the Havenites using assassinations to get ahead.

 

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb. This is a fantasy book which uses simple names for places and names like King Shrewd and the place called Forge. It is simple fantasy and quite good. The first of a trilogy it deals with FitzChivalry as he grows up in the king's household as he is the illegitimate son of the king's son.

The third book Assassin's Quest finishes the trilogy aimably.

 

The Ape Who Guards the Balance by Elizabeth Peters. This is one of Amelia Peabody books and mixes egyptology with criminal conspiracy. The books are simple and good.

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beowulf1.jpg

 

Okay, I'll bite. What is this one, exactly?

 

Never mind, I just found the image. It's Beowulf, and I can't believe I didn't think of it earlier.

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Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. The story of E company of the 101st Airborne from their training to the end of the 2nd World War. Simple and effective.

 

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope. As with Band of Brothers this was adapted and made for TV. This ia tale of the clergy in Barchester and is a good read.

 

The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson. Richard III as a goodie in a tale of England in the 15th Century

 

Black Sunday by Thomas Harris. Before Doctor Lector, Thomas Harris wrote this rip roaring tale made into a film with Robert Shaw and Bruce Dern about Palestinian terrorists attempting an atrocity at the Superbowl while Mossad agents chase after them.

 

Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Written as a way of getting Parliament to reform the inheritance laws by use of the fictional Jarndyce vs Jarndyce case stuck in Chancery.

 

Blue Moon by Laurel K Hamilton. A vampire and werewolf book featuring Anita Blake and this is one of the good ones.

 

Born Free by Joy Adamson. The story of the lioness Elsa

 

The Bourne books by Robert Ludlum. It introduced Jason Bourne and gave us the film adaptations.

 

Blood Rites by Jim Butcher. Harry Dresden comes up against the White Court of Vampires and also finds out that the White Court vampire Thomas Raith is actually his half brother

 

Bomber Boys

 

Barbed Wire University

 

Blood's a Rover by James Elroy. This is the end of the trilogy started in American Tabloid.

 

The Bonehunters by Stephen Erikson

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