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Ask HN: Fiction books that entertain and educate?
14 points by tehayj 838 days ago | comments
Know this situation? You are tired and have this awesome non fiction book you want to finish reading but because you are tired it is hard to process the information.

This happens to me all the time before I sleep. I read to further my knowledge and it would be awesome if I could find some easy reads (most likely fiction books), with great stories that also help me learn something new.

The topics don't matter.

Do you know any fiction books that entertain & educate?




Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle! I read it yesterday afternoon. "Science" (i.e. what other people think of it) has a big role in it, but there are a lot of facts in it, too. It's a well-written book that'll leave you thinking for sure..

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Wow, I just read some reviews and this seems to be great. Getting it right now on my Kindle. Thank you very much!

One book I recently read and I can recommend is "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea"

It's pretty interesting to hear the real life stories of 6 people living under the North Korean regime (and then escaping it).

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Neil Stephenson's Cryptonomicon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptonomicon) is not only great science fiction, it'll also teach you a bit about math, integration properties, cryptography and even Perl!

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I convinced my mother, a small business owner, to read partway through it. Explaining security concerns vis à vis their systems has become increasingly easy. (She doesn't know all the details, but gets better than ever that she/they need to pay close and timely attention to these things -- and contract/hire competent people to manage them.)

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The Goal, by Eliyahu Goldratt. It's a great book on manufacturing clothed in a fictional story.

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Haruki Murakami:

1Q84 -- title's a nod to Orwellian dystopia; awesome mystery with a dash of sci-fi that takes place in a parallel universe sort of Tokyo; the English editon's 3 books in one so it's quite looong

Wind Up Bird Chronicle -- another 3-books-in-one psychological thriller, but the plotline's really just a device for telling the story of the Soviet-Japan border clashes during WWII and the atrocities committed by both sides; I loved the story but it's long and really weird, even for Murakami

Hardboiled Wonderland And The End Of The World -- really fun and imaginative book about a guy who can encrypt data by passing it through his subconsciousness, and ends up getting stuck there himself; I think this was the book that made Murakami famous in the US

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It's worth checking out Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (http://hpmor.com/). I know I avoided it for too long due to fanfic stigma but it really is a great read that makes you reflect on the way you think.

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Here are two fiction books that I really enjoyed and learned from:

1) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. This book is an emotional roller coaster. After reading it, you will better understand what life is like for the mentally challenged.

2) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. You will get a glimpse into the life of Russian aristocracy in the 19th century. More importantly, you will learn about love and human relationships.

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Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture(http://www.amazon.co.uk/Petros-Goldbachs-Conjecture-Apostolo...)?

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I find good biographies can both entertain and educate. Try surely you are joking mr feynman.

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The Chosen by Chaim Potok.

http://www.amazon.com/Chosen-Chaim-Potok/dp/0449213447

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Sophie's World: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophies_World

Atlas Shrugged.

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