nerd radio

Get ready for the new daily show

FTN WRAPS UP CHRISTMAS: Ten top gifts for the Nerd in your life. Part five: Books

December 10th, 2012 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

Our books editor Michael McCaffrey gives his list of the ten best books out there for fans of Nerdy stuff…

by Terry Pratchett

We have an odd tradition in our house. I am not allowed to buy any new Pratchett releases after September. You see, if I do, I’ll definitely get a second copy at Christmas. So, despite the fact that Terry Pratchett is my favourite author, I haven’t read this one yet. But it means I want it even more. Set in Dickensian London, This one is a Pratchettian (Yeah, it’s a word… I think) take on the artful dodger, the lovable rogue, the diamond in the rough, to nick a Disney adage. The Departure from the Discworld is pretty cool here too, and I think it makes it even more of a Christmas book. There is simply no more Christmassy a setting than Dickensian London, thanks to a Christmas Carol and the fact that Oliver twist will be on roughly 400 times over the holidays.

As I’ve said, I haven’t read this one yet. To be honest, I haven’t read the majority of the books on this list. This is a list of the books I think you should get/ that I want for Christmas. Over the last 29 years, Terry has written nearly 4 dozen Discworld novels, all handling a multitude of issues, and all bloody brilliant. The humour is brilliant, the characters are perfect, and you’ll love every one of them, or hate them, if it’s a bad guy. In my eyes, Terry can do no wrong, and I expect Dodger to be no different. I’ll do a boxing day review for you, how’s about that?


John Dies at the End and This Book is Full of Spiders
by David Wong

These two go on the list because they’re freakin’ awesome. Wong has created a mental alternate world here.

In John Dies at the End the horror is dark and edged, the humour is spot on, and the characters are brilliant. With a few twists and turns that’ll definitely make you stop reading and curse a little while you contemplate what just happened.

This book is full of Spiders is more of the same, but on a huge scale. Also in this one, we get a zombie apocalypse, psychotic survivalists and massive brain devouring parasites


The Compleat Ankh-Morpork 
by Terry Pratchett

Yeah, it’s another Pratchett, so what? This one is a Discworld one though, so I feel justified having it in the same list as Dodger. Different series, you see? The book is a guide book of the greatest City on the Disc, the big Wahoonie, written by Terry. You’ll find everything you’ll need for a trip to the bisected city including food, drink, accommodations, and the areas of the shades to dodge.


A Song of Ice and Fire Series
by George R.R. Martin

If you’ve been anywhere near a TV in the last two years, you’ll probably have heard of this guy, and this series. With the political complexity of a paranoid Robert Ludlum, and more backstabbing than a crowd of teenage girls, George R.R. Martin has created an amazing world in Westeros, and a few chapters would go well after dinner. Plus you won’t feel as bad for eating that fifth roasty when you read about the feasts


Book of Sith/ The Jedi Path
by Daniel Wallace

These two just looked awesome, and fit perfectly into Christmas book territory. The first is written by Darth Sidious (Who is apparently writing under the pseudonym Daniel Wallace), and outlines the history and ways of the Sith.

The Jedi Path was written by a collection of Jedi masters, who strangely chose the same pseudonym as Sidious.. Strange that. It is similar in its construction to the Sith tome, giving us the history and ways of the Jedi. I’d recommend you get both of course, to keep the balance…

Geek Haynes Manuals

Every year around this time the Haynes folks bring out one of their manuals designed purely for the geeks in the crowd. This year they’ve brought us a Klingon Bird of Prey (B’rel Class). I’ve also included last year’s Millenium falcon manual, because it’s cool, and I won’t let anyone say any different.

Red country
by Joe Abercrombie

Judging by Joe Abercrombies other book, this one could be damn good. The First Law trilogy was brilliant, with a definite Swords and Sorcery thing going on. The bad guys are bad, the good guys are.. well good in comparison.

This one features a First Law character, Logen, but appears to be a stand alone, so it could be a good way to test the water. Nothing worse than investing in a trilogy only to find out halfway through the first book that it’s not your cup of tea


Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft
by H.P. Lovecraft

Winter was made for reading lovecraft, and this anthology is perfect. It contains nearly everything the master of horror ever wrote. Whether you want the dark cultists of Cthulhu or the creepy melancholy of the Dunwich horror, it’s all here


Wheel of Time Series
by Robert Jordan

I realise this may be a bit much to squeeze in for Christmas, but hear me out. A good series is worth more than its parts. Robert Jordan’s wheel of time series is epic by any definition, and with the newest addition to the run being released in January, you could do worse than getting a head start on the other 13. It’s a classic mix of Swords and Sorcery, illegal magic. Prophecies are fulfilled, alliances made and broken. Y’know, the usual.


A History of the Universe in 100 Objects
by Steve Tribe and James Goss

Who doesn’t like Dr. Who? With the new seasons producing a big Christmas special every year now, The Doctor is slowly working his way into becoming a Christmas tradition. Personally, I’m all for it. In A History of the Universe in 100 Objects, the authors give us a history of the series, of their perception of The Doctor through the objects he interacts with.

I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.