Recommend Me Some Holiday Entertainment

Kingdom Rush

Kingdom Rush, the perfect holiday game. Just a shame I've already finished it.

I’m away on holiday next week and, frankly, I can’t wait. I’ve been working flat out these past few weeks and the idea of escaping from it all for a short while is very appealing. Plus, y’know, the sun and warmth of somewhere other than Scotland won’t go amiss. Someone told me we had a sunny day here once but I quickly disregarded that as an old wives’ tale.

Anyway, of course me being the complete technocrat of Generation Y that I am, as much as I wish I could, I’m simply unable to lie on the beach and contemplate my naval. No sir, I need something to keep me constantly entertained and distract my befuddled mind in-between swimming, napping and stuffing my face hole with the local cuisine. Meditation is not my strong point.

So this is where you fine people come in. I’m desperately scratching my brain for some decent entertainment to keep my occupied during my sunbathing, travel periods and other miscellaneous downtime. I’ve got a Kindle to use, an iPhone music library to overload and an iPad to show off to everyone I meet so please, help me fill them up with lots of entertaining goodies.

Books

I’m in serious need of some reading material right now and I’m at a loss as to what to move onto next – I’m currently re-reading the entire Wheel of Time saga (I’m on book 11) and I’m getting a bit tired of it. I like to take a break from WoT and read something else and, whilst I do quite fancy something science fiction, I’m completely open to suggestions. Fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, thriller, anything at all. So long as it’s not Harry Potter or Twilight.

Music

I’m pretty terrible when it comes to music although my trial subscription to Spotify premium means I can download pretty much anything to my iPhone to listen to offline. Currently I’m enjoying the latest Linkin Park album along with a bluegrass cover of Metallica’s greatest hits by a band called Iron Horse. Seriously, it’s amazing and well-worth checking out just to hear Enter Sandman played on a ukulele.

I know this is a long shot as music taste is very subjective but if you have any suggestions then I’d love to hear them. I’ll pretty much listen to anything other than reggae or Justin Bieber.

Games

I’m currently hooked on Kingdom Rush on the iPhone and iPad and it’s definitely one of the best games I’ve played in a while. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s basically a fantasy style tower defense game and very, very addictive (I’ve lost hours of life sitting on the toilet playing it). Highly recommended. Unfortunately, I’m just about to finish it and thus need something else to satisfy my gaming itch.

Anyone able to recommend some good iPad games? I’m obviously a fan of tower defense games, strategy games and RPGs but, like always, I’m open to anything. Also, although I don’t really want to game on a laptop, it’s looking like I’ll have to take mine with me to do a little bit of work whilst I’m away so any suggestions for light-weight, non-online PC games would be welcome too.

Anyhow, suggestions aside I guess all that’s left for me now is to pack my bags, do some last minute shopping, tell my wife she looks great in a bikini and ponder if I’m the only weirdo on the planet who needs to take a sack-full of books, games and music with him when he goes away anywhere. Does anyone else do that too?

-Gordon

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30 Comments

  1. bhagpuss says:

    On my recent holiday I read one of the best books I’ve read this year:

    “Stone Arabia” by Dana Spiotta

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stone-Arabia-Dana-Spiotta/dp/0857863738/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342907862&sr=8-1

    Last year, but the best album I’ve heard for maybe twenty years, Lana Del Rey’s “Born To Die”

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Born-Die-Lana-Del-Rey/dp/B005QJZ5FA/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1342907969&sr=1-1

    Best iPod/iPhone MMO I’ve found (just please don’t blog about it before I do. I’ve been meaning to do it for a couple of months)

    Celtic Heroes

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/3d-mmo-celtic-heroes/id431837446?mt=8

  2. Klepsacovic says:

    Despite what you said, I still strongly recommend taking at least some time to do nothing. avoid the navel and focus on beaches and people and whatever background scenery there is, such as any of the following: fields, mountains, hills, canyons, lakes, bluffs, buttes, glaciers, and of course fjords.

    As for books, I suggest a nice political book to get you very very angry, thereby nullifying the dangerous relaxing effects of vacation. I’ve been reading “Winner-Take-All Politics”, which is about how sociopaths with a lot of money bought the American political system. I’m sure something similar is happening where you live, so just replace “America” with “Foreignland” and you’re good to go.

  3. Toastman says:

    I’d recommend a fantasy book Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. In my opinion its his best book so far. Although its just the first book of 10. So don’t expect much resolving. :)

    A scifi book I’d recommend is Pandora’s star by Peter Hamilton. Loads of politicking if you like that aorta thing.

    As for music, Sunset Rundown. You either love them or hate them, but its worth a shot at least? :) I’d recommend their latest album Dragon Slayer. Its far easier to ‘get’. :)

    • pkudude99 says:

      +1 for Way of Kings.
      +1 for Pandora’s Star and its sequel Judas Unchained
      I’m not actually much into music, so I can’t help you there.

      I’d also suggest picking up the Wool Omnibus edition and its prequel “1st Shift”

      Orson Scott Card’s “Lost Gate” is quite interesting as well.

  4. Void says:

    Books: Ready Player One, Old Man’s War, and Wool are all fantastic reads that you might like.

    iPhone Games: Tiny Wings, Hero Academy, Field Runners, Bloons TD4.

    I don’t have a ton of time to go into detail, but I think you would like these based on what you asked for.

  5. Ali says:

    Hrm… Okay.

    Books – if you’ve got the space and you want “light” reading, try the Belgariad by David Eddings. Chances are, you’ve read the series and more of his stuff already if it was going to appeal to you, but worth noting for some non-strenous formulaic fantasy.

    I’ll pass on music.

    Games – if you can poke online at times, and want e-books, try Planet Baen.

    Enjoy the holiday!

  6. Steve says:

    Books: Anything by David Weber or David Drake

  7. krel says:

    I was also going to suggest Ready Player One. I recently read Existence by David Brin, highly recommended, it was a very good read.

  8. bhagpuss says:

    Hmm. My reply disappeared. Dunno if you deleted it because of the links or if they caused it to require authorization you haven’t given.

    Without the links, my suggestions were:

    Reading: Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta. Probably the best book I’ve read this year.

    Music: Born To Die by Lana Del Rey. Definitely the best CD I’ve heard for two decades.

    Game: Celtic Heroes. Only real iPod/iPhone MMO I’ve found so far.

  9. Eki says:

    Bookwise I can recomment the series A song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin.

    Those are the books the TV series Game of Thrones is based upon, the first book is A Game of Thrones. The series is at 5 books so far, with the sixth on its way.

    The setting is in a 14th 15th century style, so expect swords and bows, but there’s also hints of magic. The story is driven by several big noble houses who compete for the throne of the kingdom, with intrigues and assassination and all. I don’t want to reveal too much though, it’s a really good book! And the series is brilliant as well, HBO produces it that should suffice. ;)

    It’s also regarded as the greatest fantasy story of the time, so go check it out. The first book is about 800-900 pages, so enough time will be needed.

  10. AndyD says:

    Books, Peter Hamilton is great but I would start with one of his earlier books, Mindstar Rising rather than leap straight into his 1000 poliitcal potboilers. Much as I enjoy his books I actually prefer Richard Morgan, his Altered Carbon series is fantastic action packed page turning hard SF with plenty of clever ideas as well.

  11. Pete says:

    Bookwise, as you’re already reading WoT, have a look at some of the other books by Brandon Sanderson (the chap who’s finishing the WoT series): I’d recommend his Mistborn series, and The Way of Kings is sublime.

    I’d also highly recommend Charles Stross: Halting State & Rule 34 are very good, and if you fancy an HP Lovecraft/Ian Fleming inspired “IT guy turned demonologist turned secret agent” series start with The Atrocity Archive

  12. Dà Chéng says:

    Coincidentally, I was watching “The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart”, a National Theatre of Scotland play being performed at the Galway Arts Festival, and who should I see on-stage but Annie Grace, founder member of the band “Iron Horse”. Not the bluegrass band you’re listening to. This Iron Horse was a scottish trad band active in the 90s, and I recommend their eponymous first album, or “Demons and Lovers”, their fifth album.

  13. Tracey says:

    Books: Older, but fantastic and not quite in the common line of SciFi – James White’s Sector General series (http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Operations-Sector-General-Novels/dp/0312875444/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343048770&sr=8-1&keywords=sector+general for the first ones). Deep-space, multi-species, emergency hospital.

  14. Edwin says:

    Hi Gordon. Really excellent collections and very interesting to read one also. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

  15. Doug says:

    I can do sci-fi book recommendations at least.

    Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan
    Pretty much anything from Iain Banks or Iain M Banks (his sci-fi is written as the second. Can’t recommend this guy enough)
    Alastair Reynold – Revelation Space (start of a series, 5 books. Side note this guy is pretty awesome – he used to work for the European Space Research and Technology Centre and I really enjoy his stuff)
    Anything Greg Egan if you want some ‘hard’ sci-fi. Hurts my head a bit sometimes.

  16. Tarnop says:

    I’ll throw my hat in the ring for Richard Morgan and Iain M Banks, especially the latter. If you haven’t read the Culture novels, you’re missing out on some of the best sci-fi ever written.

    My own recommendations:

    Two absolute classics of the genre: The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester, and The Forever War – Joe Haldeman

    If you like the speculative social aspects of sci-fi, then you would probably love World War Z, although given their ubiquity in popular culture at the moment you might be all zombie-ed out.

    Only Forward – Michael Marshall Smith. Everything he has done is great, in my opinion, but this is the best.

    I’m currently part way through the first book of the Night’s Dawn trilogy by Peter F Hamilton. It’s the first time I’ve read anything by him, and I’m really enjoying it.

  17. Night says:

    When I was looking for something to read a bit ago I decideded to revisit the old “classics” of science fiction. I started with the 7 books of the foundation series by Asimov. Along the way I hit up farenheit 451, the forever war, starship troopers (not the goofy movie version). I even hit up the entire “Barsoom” series (original John Carter of mars books) which are all free on the web before that movie came out. Lots of good choices available.

  18. Ryan says:

    Seconding the Mistborn trilogy by Sanderson–very cool magic system lends itself to some very action-oriented battle scenes that he writes very well. Easy to imagine.

    Also the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb. Got very absorbed in the setting and characters and had read all three books before I knew it.

    • Ryan says:

      Just felt the need to say the word “very” again. :-P

    • Dril says:

      Books: Seconding Mistborn, I’m halfway through the second book. The first one was largely well written and without the annoying fantasy shit that some authors descend into (a pity he still went with the generic, stereotypical teenage boy characterisation for Spook; if there’s one thing I can’t stand more than authors who give their character an age and then write as if they’re ageless it’s authors who feel the need to throw in stereotypes for ages), although I would’ve liked to know a lot more about the workings of the Final Empire; I love me some world building.

      If you’ve never read the classics that are Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brave New World and all the other dystopian stuff I’d strongly recommend doing a pass of the genre.

      The book I’ll always recommend to people is Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick (not sure on the spelling); it’s a fantastic look at North Korea and really well written.

  19. Logan Lee says:

    The Dark Tower series by Stephen King! Such an amazing book series. I’m sure you have already read it though ;P

  20. Books: Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series, but you’ve probably already gone through them. Alternatively try No Man’s Land by Greg Rucka. It’s a Batman book and it’s got all the villains in it (including Bane). Extremely good read.

    Music: I cannot stop listening to Hurry Up We’re Dreaming by M83. Amazing double album.

    Games: Divine Divinity on GOG.com. Gem of a game, runs on anything!

  21. Rubel says:

    Ever read Gene Wolfe? he has some excellent short stories, like “The 5th Head of Cerberus,” and a particularly engrossing and wonderful series of novels called The Book of the New Sun.

  22. browolf says:

    music wise I suggest the new levellers album. Quite liking that myself. Books “predictably irrational” by dan ariely is very interesting.

  23. Durathor says:

    Belated spot of this post. Surprised not to see it mentioned above, but on Fantasy books I think Steven Erikson’s series ‘Malazan Book of the Fallen’ beginning with Gardens of the Moon is excellent.

    It’s a complex and fully developed shades of grey world where good people do bad deeds and vice versa. A bit hard to get into because like a real history you get dropped in without a nice ‘hero grows up on a farm’ intro, but is a truly epic read

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