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Author Topic: Recommended Reads - does anyone have em?
limo
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I'm on holiday (horay! I hope everyone is jealous) can anyone recommend any good books?
(Hopefully you are allowed to ask such a think on this forum?)
li

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Rahl22
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No guidelines?

Then maybe, _The Genizah at the House of Shepher_


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Inkwell
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If you haven't already picked it up...the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind is pretty good. Wizard's First Rule is the first book. My only problem with the series is repetitiveness in the later books. Other than that, I've thoroughly enjoyed the series so far. The first book really hooked me.


Inkwell
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"The difference between a writer and someone who says they want to write is merely the width of a postage stamp."
-Anonymous


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Jeraliey
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I'll say this absolutely every time. You should absolutely read _If On A Winter's Night A Traveller_ by Italo Calvino. Especially if you are as in love with the phenomenon of the written word as I am. _Cosmicomics_ is good too.

Also, Neil Gaiman and Stephen King tell fantastic stories.


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Pyre Dynasty
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Assuming of course that you haven't read these.
_Ferenheight 451_ by Ray Bradbury, SF classic
_The Seige of Mt. Nevermind_ By Furgus Ryan, fun fantasy
The Dragonlance chronicles, also fantasy.

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mikemunsil
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The English translation of 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or his book of related short stories 'No One Writes to the Colonel'.

And as a general aside to everyone here at Hatrack, if you have not read Gabriel Garcia Marquez, shame on you!


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TaShaJaRo
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Hmmm, no genre preference? If it's wide open then...

I second the Sword of Truth series with the same complaint.

I also recommend Coldfire by Dean Koontz. Or Odd Thomas, also by Koontz.

The Coldfire trilogy by C.S. Friedman is excellent. Black Sun Rising is the first book. It's SciFi/Fantasy. Literally. You'll see what I mean if you read it. It's a Fantasy set in a SciFi world.

Hope that helps.


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Robyn_Hood
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I like classics myself. The Count of Monté Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (go for the unabridged version); just about anything by Shakespeare; The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper (a lot of language, but not a terrible pain to get through).

Modern Lit? A few years ago I read the alternate history, Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove. Haven't read any others by him, but I keep meaning to.

Is there a particular genre, period or style that appeals to you?


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HSO
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I've recently downloaded all of Edgar Allen Poe's stories from Project Gutenberg... I've read them years ago and liked them. I will be reading them again.

If you like classic, public-domain stuff, there's tons to read and tons that should be read to see what has come before... and it's all free. However, they aren't printed books, and unless you're comfortable dealing with ebooks and text files, then it's probably a no-go for most. If anyone is interested, here's a link:

http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/

Must reads that aren't free:

Anything from Douglas Adams

Pretty much all of OSC's catalog, especially Ender's Game and Pastwatch. The Homecoming series is enjoyable, too.

Anything from Bill Bryson.

And if you really want to go on the cheap and easy to obtain, there are plenty of stories here on Hatrack that could stand a reader / critique.



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Kazander42
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"American Gods" by Neil Gaiman is a fantastic read; It is darkly hilarious, contains an amazing depth of mythology, and is uber-cool.

"A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers is amazing; a spectacular autobiographical work with a decidedly metafiction bent (i.e. it is concerned with the writing of itself). Funny and tragic (well, to use the right literary terminology it is pathetic) and uplifting.

If you haven't read it already, try "To Kill a Mockingbird" as well, Harper Lee

so many more, these may not even be the best, but they are what I thought of at this moment.


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Elan
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If you like fantasy, you are doing yourself a disservice if you haven't read Tad Williams "The War of the Flowers." It is a very interesting & different take on some of the typical fantasy concepts. This would apply to his "Sorrow, Memory & Thorn" trilogy as well. I also loved the Margaret Weiss & Tracy Hickman series "The Deathgate Cycle."

I think DUNE should be mandatory reading for Sci-Fi readers, although I think all the followup books were nowhere as good. Frank Herbert's son, Brian, had done an excellent job in writing the prequels to DUNE. They were engaging and well done.

Has anyone here not read OSC's full library? I particularly liked some of the less popular books like Songmaster and Wyrms. I loved the first 3 books in the Alvin Maker series, was very not-impressed with the more recent three. But OSC on a bad day is better than most fantasy authors on a good day.

When I was a teenager I loved Robert Heinlein. Now I can't choke him down.

I read a lot of non-fiction, too. At least, I used to. I've been consumed with writing the past two years, and frankly, I don't have a lot of leisure time for reading anymore. Every possible waking moment I can, I'm writing. It's hard to get excited about someone else's story when my own is trying to tumble out of my brain.


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wbriggs
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Going only for things that aren't tough going (who wants tough work on vacation?)

Funniest book I ever read: Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), by Jerome K Jerome. Easy read.
Another funny one: To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. Time travel, farce.

Best books about aliens:
The Mote in God's Eye, Niven & Pournelle
Dawn (and its 2 sequels), Octavia Butler
Startide Rising, David Brin

Mysteries: anything by Agatha Christie.
Farce: P G Wodehouse

Other cool ones
Wind in the Willows
A Riddle-Master of Hed
The Doomsday Book
Voice of the Whirlwind
Hardwired
The Martian Chronicles
The Prince of Tides (very dark)
Genesis Two


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Kazander42
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I hear you on the Wodehouse wbriggs, I love that cat!
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Dude
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I had to look at my shelf to pick out my favorites.

Science Fiction:

David Drake - Northworld Trilogy
Gordon R. Dickson - Dorsai
Timothy Zahn - The Icarus Hunt
David Weber - Honor Harrington/The Shiva Option
David Brin - Uplift War
C J Cherryh - Foreigner
John Dalmas - The Regiment
Chris Bunch - The Last Legion

Fantasy:

Glen Cook - Black Company
Roger Zelazny - Lord of Light/Amber series
Michael Moorcock - Elric Saga
Steven Brust - Vlad Taltos
David Farland - The Runelords
Eric Van Lustbader - The Sunset Warrior
George RR Martin - Game of Thrones
Michael Zucker Reichert - Last of the Renshai
Gene Wolfe - Soldier of the Mist
L.E. Modesitt Jr. - The Magic of Recluse
Dave Duncan - A Man of his Word/King's Blades
Mary Gentle - Book of Ash
Tad Williams - Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn

Historical Fiction:

Steven Pressfield - Gates of Fire
Gillian Bradshaw - Island of Ghosts
Lindsey Davis - Marcus Falco Mysteries

Actually, I'm supposed to be working on a paper, but this was just the most recent excuse for ignoring it. I guess it won't write itself -- will it(please)?


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Jaina
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Oh, man, you guys just added a whole bunch of books to my "must read" list, and it was long enough already!

If you're in to historical fiction, check out _The Other Boelyn Girl_ by Philippa Gregory. Or _Pope Joan_ by Donna Woolfolk Cross.


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MaryRobinette
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A song for Arbonne by Guy Gaveral Kay
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime by Mark Haddon
Journey to the East: The legend of the Monkey King by Mary Robinette Kowal
His Dark Materials: The Golden Compassby Phillip Pullman

Now I need to go place holds at the library for all of the ones that people have mentioned that I haven't read.


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limo
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Wow thanks all!
I wasn't really looking for any particular genre just good reads. I have just read Mard Haddon 'the peculiar incident of the dog in the night time' it was excellent and very interesting as I teach a boy with autism. Also read Jerome K Jerome three men in a boat a while ago and really liked that. Tad Williams is popular and I have read most of his stuff though I find it's difficult to keep my attention on it for too long - getting old I suppose.
Haven't read OSC songmaster but liked Wyrms though it creeped me out at the time...icky wyrm breeding scene.
Interesting that people have mentioned Gaiman I've read his liiustrated novels and they are excellent and sad - I'm going for sad these holidays. Tonight for my delectation I think I'll go for Gabriel Garcia Marquez whom my sister also scorns me for not reading. Cool thanks. Any more must reads be most interested - I'm greedy.
li
P.S. I would recommend Tamora Piece - childrens fiction, Jane Austen, Virginia Wolfe, Umberto Eco for interesting ideas. Oh and Elizabeth Moon for great female characters and strong story lines Sheepfarmer's Daughter is a good series and I strongly recommend 'Remnant Population' totally different from anything sci fi I have read before but if you need muscle men and pretty girls don't go there.
P.P.S I am happy to read through anything that anyone wants a comment on BUT it is rather like what I do at work. Otherwise as long as its not too long very happy too. All you guys seem to have so many people offering to read your work that I feel that my comments will be extraneous to say the least.

[This message has been edited by limo (edited April 20, 2005).]

[This message has been edited by limo (edited April 20, 2005).]


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Minister
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I'm surprised no one's mentioned Tolkien yet; maybe it's just assumed here that you've read Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.

I second the recommendation of Guns of the South by Turtledove; I read that recently, and it was superb.

Heinlein ought to be read, but selectively. A lot of his early YA material was terrific, such as Have Space Suit, Will Travel; or the one about the kids who were stranded on an alien planet during a final exam (can't remember the name). Starship Troopers and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress are great reading for a more mature audience. He has some really good short stories out there, too.

If you're into historical fiction, the Patrick O'Brian sea novels about Aubrey and Maturin are excellent (the first is Master and Commander), and of course much of the Shaara body of work makes for good reading.


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MaryRobinette
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Have you read any of the Jane Austen mysteries? They're a lovely, well-done, pastiche that combines the best of Jane Austen with a dead body. Stephanie Barron is the author and she's "discovered" Jane Austen's diaries wherein Jane accounts various murders she helped solve.
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Elan
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quote:
I'm surprised no one's mentioned Tolkien yet

yeah, and no one has mentioned breathing either... I just presume that EVERYone who is ANYone has read Tolkien. (Of course, I'm continually amazed at the number of people on this board who haven't yet read Ender's Game.)

I must mention my all-time favorite, Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Mists of Avalon"... a wonderful version of King Arthur from the point of view of his sister, Morgaine. It represents the clash between the old druidic/goddess culture and the new Christian culture.


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Survivor
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Watership Down is one of my all-time favorites. Louise McMaster Bujold is an author that nobody has mentioned yet, pretty much all of her stuff is worth reading (for fun, it isn't homework). You like Elizabeth Moon already, I think that Speed of Dark was a lot better than The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by somebody or other.

Anyway, you have plenty of options here.


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J
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If you want to read some of the best storytelling ever written in the English language and get a lesson in How to Use Language Well, and you don't mind reading utterly depressing (but undeniably beautiful) stories, I would read _For Whom the Bell Tolls_ and _The Old Man and the Sea_ by Hemingway, and in that order.
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Shendülféa
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I was going to suggest something, but it looks like you've got a list that will keep you occupied for at least awhile.
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Jeraliey
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Was I the only one who caught that?

*coughmissmarycough*


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MaryRobinette
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Looks like it.
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TheoPhileo
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I just picked up The Meq by Steve Cash, and would highly recommend it. The story is good and the writing is great.
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mikemunsil
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I caught it but ignored it. After all, I expect to see MaryRobinette on the shelves. I just haven't found the right shelves yet.

Please ignore my snarky attitude about Gabriel Garcia Marquez, just go read him! If you find his novel hard to take, then go read the short stories. If you've ever heard of magical realism, these works are an excellent example, and the novel starts with a GREAT hook.


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Ray
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I would recommend The Girl Who Owned A City by O.T. Nelson. It's a little hard to find, but it's worth getting.
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Elan
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quote:
Was I the only one who caught that?

Some of us caught it, but assumed that Miss Mary knows good writing when she sees it.


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autumnmuse
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Every time these posts come up I recommend Kage Baker. She is incredible, and I like her (almost) as much as I like OSC, and that's saying something!!! If you want more traditional sci-fi, read her very witty satirical novella "Empress of Mars." For an incredible series that combines history/mystery/science fiction/time travel/immortality/lots of other stuff, start with "The Garden of Iden" which is the first novel of the Company. If you prefer fantasy, try "The Anvil of the World" in which most of the characters are named Smith and one fun character is the son of a union between a devil and an angel.

I also second many of the above recommendations, particularly "Watership Down" and "Wind in the Willows". "Shade's Children" by Garth Nix is pretty well done.

Please please read any OSC you have not yet gotten to. I'm re-reading his works for the umpteenth time. Some of my personal favorites besides Ender's Game: Wyrms and the Worthing Saga. Also "Maps in a Mirror: the Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card" is a must-read. You learn a lot about him as well.

Jane Austen will always hold a hallowed place in my heart.

Try to read the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis before you die. This is just in case you haven't already; many people have. I probably read them yearly.

James Herriot is always excellent. True stories about his experiences as an English veterinarian beginning in the 1930's. Hilarious throughout, poignant often, always engrossing. Start with "All Creatures Great and Small."

I could go on and on and on.

I was heavily influenced by Anne McCaffrey's Pern books when in middle school. As an adult, there are some pretty annoying things about them, but they are still definitely worth the read. The best dragons I have ever come across. Start with "Dragonsdawn" if you like to read chronologically, or "Dragonflight" if you want to read them in the order they were written.

If you like light-hearted mysteries at all, read Dorothy Cannell. Start with "The Thin Woman" which inroduces truly delightful characters.

I read voraciously. Characters from books I have read also live on in my mind; I consider myself a better person for knowing them, and I mourn when they die. I rejoice when they have joy, and remember them always, even if I never read the book again. My favorite characters I visit often; re-reading my favorite books over and over through the years.

If the list isn't already too long to read before you die let me know and I'll add another couple miles of text to my post.

[This message has been edited by autumnmuse (edited April 24, 2005).]


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Elan
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You know, most of the books everyone is citing are old favorites. It just feels all warm and fuzzy to know that so many of us have good memories - treasured memories - because of books. Sorta feels like a sacred quest that we aspiring writers are on doesn't it? I would LOVE to write a story that, fifty years from now, someone would declare as a "must read."

On that note I'd mention Madeline L'Engle's "A Wrinkle In Time" which was the first sci-fi book I ever read (in fifth grade). And I still love to re-read from time to time "Cheaper By The Dozen" ... not the drek that made up the most recent Steve Martin movie, but the original true story. I still laugh when I think about the dad writing "Two maggots were fighting in dead earnest" on the wall to give the kids a lesson in deciphering morse code. I second the nomination of "To Kill A Mockingbird" - a great example of a well-written book in first person POV. Other favorites: Shogun, The Far Pavillions, Medicine Woman, Gone With the Wind.

It's fun to see what other people have enjoyed reading over the years.


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jimmyjazz951
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I did not see any one recomend Willam Gibson. I like him. And, oddly enough, William Shatner's Tek War novels.
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cklabyrinth
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I don't think anyone's mentioned this yet, but both the Grail Quest and Warlord Trilogy by Bernard Cornwell are good.

I read the first two Grail Quest books, The Archer's Tale and Vagabond, in about two days. If you like medieval warfare novels you'll like this series. It also touches a little on some parts of the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, strangely enough.

The second one is a retake on the Arthurian legends, and is quite good as well.


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enwalker
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I can't believe no one has mentioned Robin McKinley - read anything by her. The best book I've read recently isn't fantasy (except maybe in the loosest definition) - _Horse HEaven_ by Jane Smiley.
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keldon02
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If you liked the dog in the night time book you may like Songs from the Black Chair by Charles Barber. Trouble is it isn't fiction and it will make you weep until you grasp the inner dimensions of the people extend beyond their outer boundaries. This isn't a book for sissies, but if you're a teacher you're tough enough to read it. I don't recommend leaving it around where children nor teens might find it.

[This message has been edited by keldon02 (edited April 28, 2005).]


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Jimbob squarepants
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Listing all of my favorites would take far to long so I'll limit it to a recent discovery(for me anyway).
If you enjoy fantasy Steven Eriksons Gardens of the Moon and The Deadhouse Gates are really worth checking out.

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Survivor
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What if I thought that The Curious...Nighttime was lame? Not trash or anything like that, just not really great.
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limo
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Survivor re: Curious Incident...That would be fine I enjoyed it but I can see it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea.

I've only been a teacher for 11 weeks so I may not be quite tough enough yet for any trully traumatic novels. I agree about Robin Mackinley novels esp. for women readers, really enjoyable.
Anyone read Sally Vickers? I haven't but she's been recommended to me.
HSO not snarky at all - at least maybe I've got used to your tone of writing - I saw no snark there and I hunt for them ya know.
li
Drat back to work on monday. Ugh I wonder how I will handle the next 30 weeks. Escape Escape!!!!


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Survivor
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Well, I was asking keldon02 whether the recommendation of Songs from the Black Chair was only to those that liked The Curious...Nighttime. And, perhaps I was hoping for an explanation of what "good" elements they shared.

I mean, Nighttime was pretty tame, and yet the "I'm a real person writing this" conceit was more than a little...irritating, since I never found it very plausible.

It wasn't terrible. I did read the whole thing. But I've never felt a desire to go back and read it again, or to seek out more like it.


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autumnmuse
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Oh I can't believe I left out Robin McKinley. She is also on my short list of all time favorites. What a dork to leave her out!
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ChrisOwens
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Without knowing what anyone you've read... it's hard to make recommendations. Tolkien, as mention goes without saying, as OSC.

As for OSC, I do second that the last few Alvin books have left me empty. Crystal City more so. Even the latest installment in the Shadow series left me a bit empty.

As someone said above, Roger Zelazny's Amber series (but don't touch the prequals written by Betancourt).

Herbert's Dune series, deep rich plots. Sometimes a bit hard to follow later on. But the prequals can't hold a candle to the original series. They're OK, but I don't think it's what Herbert had envisioned.

I second David Farland's Runelord series.

Mary Stewart's Hollow Hills series is pretty good.

What I've read from Octavia Butler is good, Wild Seed, its sequal Mind of my Mind, and Parable of the Sower.

Phillip Jose Farmer's Riverworld series and his World of Tiers series.

Donaldson's dualogy, Mordant's Need.

King's Dark Tower series. I've only read the first four so far, in part because of the forth was bitterly disapointing. Good but it did not measure up to the 3rd.


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Jeraliey
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Wow, Chris, I thought the fourth was pretty good. Unfortunately, the series starts to read like King got tired of it and only wrote more because of an obligation to his readers, around the fifth book.

However, Stephen King at his worst can sometimes be better than other authors at their best. I'd definitely recommend finishing the Dark Tower Series, especially because he ended it in exactly the way that I wanted him to.


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Corin224
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If you're up for a marathon, Shogun, by James Clavell. GREAT book. Of course, anything by OSC, any Phillip K. Dick short story collection, Some Asimov or Niven if you're into hardcore Sci-Fi. (Asimov's Robot trilogy is good.)

If you're more into brain candy, Hunt for Red October's always entertaining, Jurassic Park, (the ONLY Crichton novel I can stand to read repeatedly.) or my personal favorite, Design Patterns Explained, by Alan Shalloway.

Wait . . . that's a programming book. Who slipped that on my reading list?!!

- Falken224 - posing as Corin

[edited to add]
And I COMPLETELY forgot Starship Troopers by Heinlein. KILLER book. Don't judge it by the movie!
[/edited to add]

[This message has been edited by Corin224 (edited May 03, 2005).]


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Debbborra
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Modern Lit I think the best thing going is Colson Whitehead. Gregory Maguire is another favorite of mine. For Sci/fi Nancy Kress or Melissa Scott and for Fantasy, there's no one better than George RR Martin.
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Debbborra
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Oh and for short fiction you have to read Dubus. For a longer read, his son Andre Dubus III is also more than worthwhile.
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Jeraliey
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The Andromeda Strain. It's brilliant, even though it reads like the correspondence preceding a peer-review journal article. Although, that's part of the appeal for me, I guess....
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Jules
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Books I've read recently:

Charles Stross, Singularity Sky
Very amusing story about a technologically backwards world suddenly being given miraculous AI/nanotechnology by posthuman visitors and the effects it has on them. Great characters.

Stephen Baxter, Coalescent
Still reading this one, but it's... interesting. Combines two story threads, one set in modern times and one set during and following the Roman withdrawal from Britain.

Wen Spencer, Tinker
Urban fantasy with a technoligical spin. Intriguing worldbuilding. Amusing characters. And the author hangs around on another site I visit regularly.


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Rahl22
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Jules,

That wouldn't be Forward Motion, would it?

I'd second the Wen Spencer suggestion, actually. She won the Campbell award, and there's a reason for it.


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Jules
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Yep.

Tinker's a great book, and I just made the mistake of reading the sample chapter of the sequel off her web site. Now I'm going to be impatient for it to be released...


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MaryRobinette
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*bump*

I'm going to add The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale to this list.


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