Can you recommend a book for me please?

I’ve basically been ordered to pick up any fiction book and read, after a friend discovered I’ve not read anything but non-fiction for a decade.

The ones I’ve enjoyed in the past have been short, fantastical or sci-fi (think Aldous Huxley, Ian McEwan), but crucially with amazing first person descriptive prose - the kind where you’re immersed in the writing so much you’re almost there with the character.

I liked sci-fi as the world’s constraints weren’t always predictable. Hope that makes sense.

Any recommendations?

Edit: I’m going to up the ante and, as a way of motivating myself to get off my arse and actually read a proper story, promise to choose a book from the top comment, after, let’s say arbitrarily, Friday 2200 GMT.

Cyyris, (edited )

It’s definitely not short, but The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey is absolutely top notch.

The attention to detail that goes into a sci-fi series that lives within a realistic world, with actual physics is incredible - i.e:

  • Ships need to calculate when to flip around midway through their journey to decelerate by burning the opposite direction.
  • Torpedoes and tungsten slugs have travel time.
  • Making hard accelerations or evasive maneuvers can and will crush you into your flight seat due to the intense G forces and the only way to not black out is a cocktail of stimulants, adrenaline, and blood thinners
  • Communications take place at actual light speed, which means when you’re dealing with distances up to several hundred million kilometers, it can take anywhere from minutes to hours for your message to be received.

But fear not! This is truly a traditional sci-fi novel, packed full with ancient alien substances that seem to reprogram human cells for their own use - but to what end? Ancient feuds between those born in space, and those born on a planet. And the answer to the age old question: why not just use asteroids as weapons?

The main characters are an extremely close knit group, who it seems at times get by on sheer willpower and a touch of luck (with some excellent planning).

The story takes turns being told from different characters’ perspectives, which really helps you get to know each character intimately - how they think, and feel about the events unfolding - how their morality affects their choices.

If you’re looking for a more “realistic” take on sci-fi, this series is absolutely up your alley.

The first novel is called “Leviathan’s Wake” and there are 9 main books in the series, with a smattering of novellas between that expand on the world.…/8855321-leviathan-wakes

i_am_not_a_robot, avatar

The Mistborn Trilogy (start with The Final Empire) by Brandon Sanderson is superb.

After that initial trilogy they are a massive struggle, but the first three are well worth reading.


I absolutely agree with your recommendation, but man if they're looking for something short, the mistborn series is the opposite lol

i_am_not_a_robot, avatar

To be fair, they say the previous books they’ve enjoyed have been short… Not that they want to read something short this time! But point taken.


Oh I absolutely agree with you about the sequels as well. I tried reading the one that takes place more of like the Victorian era and just could not get into it


Name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss. The book is a must read if you love prose. The series isn’t finished, probably won’t be, though I hope it will be. You have been warned.


The best first-person novel I’ve read is Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. The best first-person sci-fi novel I’ve read is Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.


I second Project Hail Mary


Adding to the pile.

Peter Watts. Most of his works are available on his site for free -

Greg Egan. Start with Diaspora.

Alastair Reynolds. I recommend starting with short fiction in Revelation Space and looping back to main novels. I accidentally approached it that way, and the experience of all the stories linking together was downright magical.

Charles Stross’ “Neptune Brood” explores the idea of debt under the guise of a space opera-ish action. Afterwards, Glasshouse and linked books will present a different existential crysis to mull over.

Cory Doctorow’s Little brother is an excellent book to follow 1984 with. And a great start to the rest of his biography.

N. K. Jemisin’s “Broken earth” was quite a treat, prose- and story-wise.

Ann Lecke’s “Imperial Radch” is a brain-twister, especially for someone whose native language is gendered all throughout. It was fun giving up on information I’m used to have in words.

Pierce Brown’s “Red rising” has one of the best flowing prose I’ve read. Do mind that the story was initially planned to be a trilogy, and it clearly shows in narration.

Mark Lawrence’s everything. “Power word kill” is a great play around DnD, and “The broken empire” has the most loathsome protagonist you’ll ever root for.


I enjoyed reading the Arc of a Scythe book series by Neal Shusterman. Its world where people don’t die and where a very central AI helps people fascinated me.


Naive Super. Not sci-fi, but a quick enjoyable read. I’ve read it 4 times now. Its just a fantastic simple book to get back into reading fiction.


Haven’t seen this one mentioned, but The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin might work. I don’t believe there’s a lot of first person, but it’s an interesting read.

hybridhavoc, avatar

IMO this is a wild recommendation to give to someone that doesn’t do a lot of reading.


That’s fair, I had thought op had mentioned they didn’t read fiction, not that they didn’t read at all. Maybe I missed some nuance in the comments, thanks for pointing it out if I did. For all I knew they could be reading Foucault. Enjoyable read regardless, I wouldn’t be discouraged.

tjhart85 avatar

Anything by John Scalzi, but, Old Man's War is what got me hooked.

"I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife's grave. Then I joined the army."

Here's a short story by him that might let you know if you'd like his writing style or not (note: the premise of this story was originally a joke on his blog and then he felt compelled to actually write it for real and it's easily one of my favorite short stories)
When the Yogurt Took Over: A Short Story

Quintus, avatar

I made a comment somewhere else a few days ago so I’ll just copy paste.

Les Misérables is easily the best book I’ve ever read in my entire life. A few years ago I read a shorthened version of it and even then I was fascinated by it. I finished reading the full text two months ago and oh my fucking god this book is the best thing ever written.

I’m Turkish so I read the Turkish translation (will read the full text in English and French when I learn it) and on the back of it, it says something along these lines:

“… Les Misérables is the third and the most majestic collumn of the author’s novel trilogy that tells of the society…”

And I completely agree with that. This book is simply timeless. The characters, situations, unjustice, inequalities, all the suffering in it could be applied to any society. This book is real.

The messages that it sends are solutions to topics that seemingly anybody with a functioning brain should be capable of thinking and realizing. And yet, these solutions are ignored and refused because of greed, revenge, bloodlust and most important of all, ignorance.

The main character of the book, Jean Valjean is the embodiment of redemption. His entire arc teaches us how to treat criminals. Some countries today are taking these lessons and applying them. The lessons being; treat them as human, rehabilitate them. The result? They actually do heal and return to society as normal human beings.

And yet you see people against this practice. Those kinds of people are blinded by bloodlust and revenge. They are the same kind of people that were racist, sexist and much more back in the day. The arguments that these people bring don’t hold up either. The most common one I see (at least from my perspective) is this:

“You wouldn’t react this way if they hurt one of your loved ones!”

The fact that these people don’t know anything about me aside, this argument is pointless as it implies that I would be blind to fact and logic when I’m in pain. And while that is true, me being angry over an apple falling onto my head won’t make gravity any less real. In other words, so what?

The biggest victims of this mentality are pedofiles. Not the ones that do engage in action. But rather the ones that don’t harm anybody are aware of their issue. For instance, if a non-engaging pedo went to a therapist and told them of their issue, what would the therapist do? Call the police of course. And what would that do? Their life would be pretty screwed from that point forward. Assuming they are the non-engaging type, of course. I don’t believe this to be the correct attitude towards these kind of cases.

I would also like to dive into other topics that the book covers (and perhaps extend on this one) but it would be way too long for a comment. Thank you anyone reading this far. I would like to hear your opinions on the matter and discuss even!>>


Something not by one of the more well known authors I could recommend are the Indranan War trilogy and Farian War trilogy, by K. B. Wagers

Also, The Frontiers Saga series by Ryk Brown is fantastic, and I think getting close to 40 books by now

dandelion, avatar

I don’t think anyone has recommended the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson yet.

Ghostsheetz, avatar

@foofiepie continuing with sci-fi definitely check out the Monk & Robot series by Becky Chambers!
“A Psalm For the Wild Built” & “A Prayer For the Crown Shy”
Short & beautiful.


There’s a lot of good stuff here but I have to throw Andromeda Strain and World War Z into the pot.


Can’t believe no one has mentioned it already but the book that got me into reading was “Enders game” by Orson Scott Card. Fairly short and has a split set of follow up books that branch off in 2 directions in you want more.

Ghostsheetz, avatar

@Philote @foofiepie Ender’s Game is some top-tier sci-fi

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