Recommend
15 
 Thumb up
 Hide
81 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Everything Else » Chit Chat

Subject: Challenge: recommend a good, but obscure, book rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Rob
United States
30° 12′ 38″ N, 95° 45′ 2″ W
flag msg tools
badge
You can't rob Peter, Paul and Mary to pay yourself.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
We have our monthly "What Did You Read" threads, and those are good sources of future reading material, but I was thinking of this challenge: post about a good book - fiction or non-fiction - that you think no one here has read. In other words: good, but still obscure.

My recommendation:

Ali and Nino: A Love Story by Kurban Said. Even though it’s been re-printed in many languages, Kurban Said (a pseudonym) is still relatively unknown in this country. The author used multiple pseudonyms to be able to write under the oppression of Nazi Germany, to hide his Jewish identity. The story is about the courtship of the title characters - Ali an Azerbaijani, Nino a Georgian - set against the turmoil of the Bolshevik Revolution, and the transformation of Persia into the modern state of Iran. I discovered the novel when I read a biography of the author many years ago. It gives fascinating insights into Muslim and Russian culture, as well as the East/West cultural divide that people in that region have experienced for centuries.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Moshe Callen
Israel
Jerusalem
flag msg tools
designer
ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
badge
μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Not sure if no one will have read it, but I'd recommnd Leon le Africain by Amin Maalouf which I imagine would be called in English The African Lion. It's a fictionalized biography of a real person who was born in Muslim Grenada, went to North Africa after the Moors were kicked out, ended up an ambassador for the Sultan in Constantinople and finally was captured by Sicilian piates and sol as a slave to the Pope.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
flag msg tools
admin
designer
Roger's Reviews: check out my reviews page, right here on BGG!
badge
Caution: May contain wargame like substance
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
One from me:

The Girl Who Played Go by Shan Sa. I didn't realize until recently that it had been translated into English (I have the original French edition). I'll just steal the description from Amazon - As the Japanese military invades 1930s Manchuria, a young girl approaches her own sexual coming of age. Drawn into a complex triangle with two boys, she distracts herself from the onslaught of adulthood by playing the game of go with strangers in a public square--and yet the force of desire, like the occupation, proves inevitable. Unbeknownst to the girl who plays go, her most worthy and frequent opponent is a Japanese soldier in disguise. Captivated by her beauty as much as by her bold, unpredictable approach to the strategy game, the soldier finds his loyalties challenged. Is there room on the path to war for that most revolutionary of acts: falling in love?
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
CHAPEL
United States
Round Rock
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
"that's a smith and wesson, and you've had your six"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This one is "fairly" obscure, but I'm thinking there may be a few here whose read it, as the Author is a fellow boardgamer, and that alone should be a reason to read it.

Jay Lake - Mainspring(Steam Punkish, but a good yarn)



Another one was a book that took me a good year to find and remember who wrote it, so it has to be obscure.

Ambient - Jack Womack. You like the Hunger Games, but wanted a grittier version. Here you go.

9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ian Klinck
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Matt Ruff's Fool on the Hill, an old favourite of mine from my university days.

The book involves several interwoven storylines, involving Stephen Titus George, a writer in residence at Cornell University and his experience with Calliope, the most beautiful woman in the world; Luther, a dog, and Blackjack, a cat, on a quest to find heaven; a fraternity of Bohemians; a colony of invisible, Shakespearean sprites facing the awakening of an ancient evil; and others...
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Avri
United States
Brooklyn
New York
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Non-Fiction: . . . And Still Ricky Villa My Autobiography

A sweet and honest autobiography by the first major international soccer star to play in England. Ricky talks candidly about life and politics in 1960s and 70s Argentina, about the difference in the way soccer is played and perceived around the world, about his notoriously uninspiring work ethic, about winning the 1978 World Cup and about *that goal* and the place it carved for him in English soccer lore.

Fiction: Breakthrough by Ken Grimwood

I always plug my favorite novel, Replay by Ken Grimwood, because far too few people have read it. And that's his best known, award winning masterpiece! Breakthrough is a haunting, disturbing, beautifully written tale of a modern woman trying to reclaim her life from crippling headaches. May not sound like much, but it's tough to sell this one without spoilers . . .

Actually, I would bet noone here has read all of Ken Gimwoods brilliant, but too short, bibliography: Breakthrough, Elise, The Voice Outside, Replay and Into The Deep. All well worth tracking down.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mystery McMysteryface
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I picked up this travel diary at the public library many years back and found it fascinating. A first-hand account of author Matthew Lewis' visits to Jamaica where he owned slaves. It is a great first-hand account of slave life and how the owners viewed them--not really as human beings. Matthew Lewis, a British Gothic novelist, wrote The Monk and was part of the group sharing ghost stories with Mary & Percy Shelley and Byron.

Journal of a West India Proprietor: Kept during a Residence in the Island of Jamaica by Matthew Lewis


Caution: The opinions expressed are very derogatory and prejudiced, so if you are sensitive to that, I recommend you skip it.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Holder
United States
Centennial
Colorado
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"The Stone and the Flute" by Hans Bemmann.

A somewhat hard-to-find book, translated from german...

Rather than tell you about it myself, here's a review by Stuart Miller I found on the net that'll give you a quick summary:

Quote:


The Stone and the Flute by Hans Bemmann

A highly unusual fantasy novel in its Grail-like quest, this book introduces all manner of eccentric characters and peoples (from the Raiding Riders to the Bloodaxe People). No elves, dwarves or hobbits. No magic swords, evil dark lords, dragons, or mines called Moria. This book has a completely unique feel and story.

Set in the mythical land of Fraglund it tells the tale of a young man called Listener who inherits a magical stone and later a magical flute. In his quest to unravel the secrets of the stone, Listener encounters many strange folk : Gisa, the evil mistress of Barlebogue castle; the Gentle Fluter, Listener's grandfather; the minstrel Barlo who is not as he seems; the bewitching Narzia, whose magic commits Listener to the life of a fawn; and Arnilukka whose eyes mirror the colors of Listener's magic stone. The story covers many years and many adventures and misadventures as Listener slowly realizes life's true values and mysteries through all of the many people and animals he encounters who inhabit Fraglund.

Well written and conveniently broken into three separate sections (ah..a trilogy, where would fantasy literature be without it) for the "part time reader" I found the book quite gripping without being truly exciting. A gentle story of relationships and human interaction rather than "thud and blunder" it was quite a change in pace from more common fantasy styles. Certainly more "moralistic" than most novels, if you want a change of pace or are fed up of axe wielding barbarians called "Thrang" get this book! The German author has a strong religious background (the son of an evangelist Lutheran) and I felt this was pretty evident in the story to good effect. With the book focusing on one character (who cannot really be called a "hero," at least early on), I quickly became quite strongly attached to Listener and his struggles were all the more gripping. If you like this book, check out The Broken Goddess by the same author.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Walt
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
Before terraforming Mars, Surviving Mars is required: Paradox Interactive; Steam.
badge
Please contact me about board gaming in Orange County.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
http://www.amazon.com/Stress-Analysis-Strapless-Evening-Gown...



Something like the Journal of Irreproducible Results, but higher quality.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
God messed up and here I am!
badge
It is my firm belief that little puppy dogs named Mr. Poopytime will bring our country together!
Avatar
mbmbmb
I found "The Man Who Knew Infinity" a pretty interesting read. It's a biography of Indian mathematician Ramanujan, who left India to become part of the British mathematical society, and his struggles as an outsider for both cultures. I found it well written and very interesting to read.


(this was the only image I could find of the version I have)

Oooh, I've got another that I thought was pretty good, although I haven't read it in a loooooong time:

"Yeats is Dead", a story made by something like a dozen different Irish authors. It's a murder mystery in which a lot of styles clash together to create one barely coherent story. I remember really enjoying it way back when, but I'm not sure if it's actually obscure or I just think it is because I don't know anyone who'd heard of it. I do know one of the authors involved was Roddy Doyle, who I think was pretty big? (maybe?)



6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Jones
United States
Round Rock
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


A brilliant mashup of fantasy, the Frankenstein story and minor league baseball in the 1940s. What if Frankenstein escapes the Arctic and ends up as the big, strapping first baseman for a minor league ball team?

One of my favorite books by a fairly well known writer in Spec Fic but one that few have read.

7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christian Jorgensen
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm going to have to go with a book by david Owens, called 'Copies in Seconds.'

It's all about the invention of the photocopying machine. Dispite a topic which isn't exactly exciting sounding, it was one of the best books I read last year.

The author is very enthusiastic about the topic, and the book is a very well written, interesting read.

For fiction (sci-fi) I'd recommend a book called 'A Wreath of Stars' by Bob Shaw.


It was written in the 70s, so was set in the distant 90s, but apart from that is one of my favourate reads. It's the book I'll often go back to when I'm having a "what to read" moment.


4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Celina
United States
University City
MO
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
iklinck wrote:
Matt Ruff's Fool on the Hill, an old favourite of mine from my university days.

The book involves several interwoven storylines, involving Stephen Titus George, a writer in residence at Cornell University and his experience with Calliope, the most beautiful woman in the world; Luther, a dog, and Blackjack, a cat, on a quest to find heaven; a fraternity of Bohemians; a colony of invisible, Shakespearean sprites facing the awakening of an ancient evil; and others...


I LOVED this book.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Blorb Plorbst
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
I think we're all bozos on this bus.
Avatar
mbmbmb
I'm sure someone in this well read crowd has read it but I'm the only one I've known to have read it:

The Clown
by Heinrich Böll

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Clown_%28novel%29
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
♪ Isaäc Bickërstaff ♫
United States
Greer
South Carolina
flag msg tools
designer
Entropy Seminar:
badge
The results of a five yeer studee ntu the sekund lw uf thurmodynamiks aand itz inevibl fxt hon shewb rt nslpn raq liot.
Avatar
mb
iklinck wrote:
Matt Ruff's Fool on the Hill, an old favourite of mine from my university days.

I still prefer his Sewer, Gas, Electric over this one. But I read it first, so that may have a lot to do with it. I came here to suggest that one, anyway.

I would also recommend either Publish and Perish or The Lecturer's Tale by James Hynes. They're atmospheric horror stories set in the world of academe, and they're spot-on good if you like that sort of thing.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
フィル
Australia
Ashfield
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
badge
I've got an 808 and a 303 and a record collection like the ABC
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Long March: The True History of Communist China's Founding Myth by Sun Shuyun

Really good history of the early red army, Mao's rise to power, and the cultural revolution, all in the form of interviews with long marchers.

http://www.amazon.com/Long-March-History-Communist-Founding/...
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mystery McMysteryface
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I used to buy books from the public library at their book sales. I once read a really good novel called "The Money" and I can't remember the author or find it on internet searches (too many hits for these common words). It was about some children that find a lot of hidden money and how their lives and friendship is impacted by the discovery. (sort of like a "Lord of the Flies" type of story).

It was really interesting.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M C
United States
Honolulu
HI
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have so many ones, I am not quite sure if my obscure is your obscure.
Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry

The amount of down right fraud that happens in the normal course of PR was eye opening.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M C
United States
Honolulu
HI
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

TO WIN A NUCLEAR WAR Daniel Axelrod and (the rather famous) Michio Kaku


Changed what I thought I knew about the Cold War completely.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
VA
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Plate of Shrimp.
badge
Here we are folks, the dream we all dream of.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Coast of Chicago
by Stuart Dybek


Amazing set of short stories. Domestic, nostalgic and otherworldly.
4 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The Seal of Approval
Austria
Vienna
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sirius23 wrote:
I have so many ones, I am not quite sure if my obscure is your obscure.
Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry

The amount of down right fraud that happens in the normal course of PR was eye opening.


Makes me think of this one:
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
CW Lumm
United States
Hampden
Maine
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Holy crap, I love The Coast of Chicago, Morgan!

This book and its idiosyncratic and brilliant author Helen DeWitt have a smallish cult following, and I'll be pushing it until the day I die: Helen DeWitt's magical The Last Samurai.



-No, it has nothing to do with the Tom Cruise movie.
-It's a novel in two distinct-ish parts about a child prodigy and his depressed mother, who conceives him after an awkward one night stand. In the first half, she struggles to deal with Ludo's precocity and habit of picking up languages within a few days of effort; the second half is a bildungsroman.
-It's called The Last Samurai because Sibylla (Ludo's mother) doesn't want him to know who his father is, so she opts to provide suitable male role models via repeated viewings of Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai.
-Out of print, but you can find copies easily, or check Helen DeWitt's website. The book's exceptionally well written, and while my summary probably makes it sound boring, it's thoughtful, cosmopolitan, observant, hilarious, sad, and mysterious.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Ferguson
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I would recommend a book called "Spin"

It's a sci-fi novel which begins with some kids sitting out in their backyard one night while their parents had a party. They laid back and looked at the stars, when suddenly, every single star winks out of existence at once. The sky is completely black.

The next day all the satellites fall to earth, and so the mystery of what is happening begins.

It is quite good and follows the characters from being kids to adulthood as they try to unravel what the "spin" is.



There are two sequels as well, I read the second, which wasn't as good as spin. So those are option imho.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adrian Hague
United Kingdom
Bristol
Bristol
flag msg tools
badge
RAWKET LAWNCHA!!!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Absolutely the funniest, darkest, wittiest book I have ever read. Took the author 10 years to write. Format is that of the Bible (chapter & verse) fully cross-indexed. A magnum opus of satire. Very strong American cultural bent.

In the beginning there was the Holy Bible
2 Which was a very good book indeed, but so many things happened since the beginning,
3 That Maybe it was time for another bible,
4 So a punk from Philadelphia wrote a new one,
5 And so it is called The Boomer Bible,
6 So there.
7 And Its Past Testament tells the history of the world, including the Book of Greeks, Book of Brits, Book of Yanks, Book of Russkies, and all the other self-proclaimed Chosen Nations,
8 And people sticking each other with pointed sticks, and acting up, which is called civilization,
9 And also about religion and art and movies and literature, and TV, and so forth, which is why there are also the Books of Pnowlege,
10 Including Psongs, Psayings, and Psomethings,
11 Written just like the other Bible but without any big unpronounceable words,
12 So that you and I might truly understand it,
13 For a change.
14 And Its Present Testament tells about the coming of Harry, and The Way of Harry,
15 Who may be the messiah everybody has been waiting for,
16 Unless he really isn't,
17 Which is hard to say,
18 So there.
19 And there is also The Book of Harrier Brayer together with the Harrier Hymnal,
20 And another Testament too,
21 And Concordance, and a lenticular hand on the cover.
22 And It is not for the faint of heart,
23 Or the easily offended,
24 Or the priggish or the prudish,
25 But who cares,
26 Because neither was Candide, or Swift's A Modest Proposal, or Rabelais, or Lenny Bruce
28 Or all the other satires and satirists who felt the need to warn us when we have gone astray,
29 Which we have,
29 Which you'll know all about,
31 If you read your Boomer Bible,
32 Or there.


Oooh - turns out the whole thing is online too:
http://theboomerbible.com/
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Halliday
United Kingdom
Herts.
flag msg tools
Overclock Epic Fail!
badge
Please note I am no longer very active on BGG.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

I know the OP said a good book but:

China Miéville's The City and the City - I would also recommend his Bas-Lag trilogy but its fairly well known and so probably doesn't meet the "still obscure" criterion.

J G Ballard: The Crystal World (early work), Vermilion Sands (short stories) or Super-Cannes (late work).
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.