Enough of this negativity, let's move away from the books you hate and onto the books you love. Or even love to hate, I'm not picky.
Besides, I've run through a few authors I discovered recently and need to find some new stuff to read. So, while you're at it, could you give me a brief (no spoilers) synopsis so I know if it sounds like anything I'd like to read? I'd particularly love to see some little known books and/or authors. Something special and not in the mainstream. (ie no George R. R. Martin or Robert Jordan...that holy war is getting a bit old anyway. Also, no Orson Scott Card..we probably all like/love his stuff or we wouldn't be here.)
I'll start with Soothsayer by Michael Resnick. Actually, he's got a few good reads, but this one is my favorite by him. It's a scifi story featuring a little girl with extreme precognitive abilities. I think it's a more realistic look at what would happen to a child with unchecked power than basically anything else I've seen or read.
[This message has been edited by Christine (edited January 05, 2006).]
Okay, it starts out with what is now a cliche, a man wakes in a hospital with amnesia, but soon he bluffs his way into another universe. He learns who he is, but his time on earth has changed him. By the end, he's not who he thinks he is and neither are the people he knew. But it takes a journey that leads him from one pole of existance to the other to find that out.
[This message has been edited by ChrisOwens (edited January 05, 2006).]
Favorite book of all time: Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It's the book I take with me when I have to wait in an airport or for an appointment. So easy to dive back into, and I never get tired of it.
Posts: 184 | Registered: May 2005
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I recently read "Coyote" by Allen Steele. It's about political dissidants in the future who steal a space ship and colonize a new planet. It's the first in a short series. I haven't read the rest, though. He also has a very good short story in the January edition of Asimov's.
Also, "Red Mars" (forgot the author's name) is a good story about the first settlers on Mars. It gets bogged down a bit in places, but I just skipped over those to get to the more exciting parts. The descriptions of the planet are fantastic...I could almost swear the author had been there.
THWhite's The Once and Future King - I remember sitting on a train station platform waiting for the almost-eternally delayed train to hell reading it and just laughing out loud while everyone else scowled and muttered and shuffled their feet. I don't think it went down very well with them.
Red Mars is by Kim Stanley Robinson, I think.
One of my favorite books (and I know I've sung its praises here before ) is If on a Winter's Night a Traveller, by Italo Calvino. It's a metafiction; the perfect book for people who are in love with the written word and an amazing study of the implicit promises made to a reader by a writer. If you want to see a study of what a good hook can do to a reader, among other things, that's the book for it. Add in that his prose is beautiful (he has a fantastic translator), and that he has accomplished the remarkable feat of writing an entire novel in second person, and you have one of the best books ever written about the nature of reading and writing. In my humblest of opinions.
Cosmicomics (same author) was also cool, but more surreal and not about writing....
It isn't a novel, but Theodora Goss's "The Rose in Twelve Petals and other stories" is a wonderful collection of well written stories. "The Once and a Future King", "Phantom Tollbooth" and "The Last Unicorn" get my votes for favorites from the past. Has anyone read "Magic for Beginners" by Kelly Link? I've been wondering if it was good.
Posts: 397 | Registered: Mar 2004
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It's been years since I read it, but I remember loving The Girl Who Owned A City by O.T. Nelson. It's about a plague that wipes out everyone but kids twelve and under, and it covers how the children reacted to the crisis over a two-year span.
I also liked Lot by Ward Moore, and Vandy, Vandy and The Little Black Train by Manly Wade Wellman. They're short stories, and I found them completely by chance, but I'm glad I did.
By the way, I'm reading The Once and Future King right now for the first time, and loving every minute.
The Last Unicorn? That's interesting. Assuming we're thinking of the same one (which we most likely aren't), the author lives in the same town I live in. I haven't met her personally, but one of my friends parents is one of her best friends (if that made any sense).
[This message has been edited by The Fae-Ray (edited January 05, 2006).]
Well, since we can't say OSC books, I'll have to list my favourite manga. =o Yotsuba&! Love Hina A.I.Love You Negima Naruto Shaman King (Mankin) Pet Shop of Horrors The Ring Fruits Basket (Furuba) Zatchbell And basically every manga. =3
My non-manga favourites are... The Snow Spider Trilogy, by Jenny Nimmo A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O'Dell (I'm pretty sure.) Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery (Is that how you spell the last name?) And of course OSC books. =D
I adored Dianna Wynne Jones' The Chronicles of Chrestomanci. Great read, great fun. Most of her work is great.
I just started reading Once and Future King, and it's amazing.
Zelazny's Lord of Light is a great book. I also liked Neil Gaiman's American Gods, and felt the need to include both in the same paragraph for thematic reasons.
OSC, of course, though he's off-limits.
And, possibly the easiest fantasy book I've yet read to fall back into, Garth Nix's Sabriel (and the others in the series). They are amazing, and the world is so wonderfull crafted, every time I read it I feel like I'm visiting a new place. It's one of those books that, once read, you feel that--if you could only buy the right ticket at the right time--you could take a plane there.
[Edit: "an plane." Hehe.]
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When I think of books that I love I have to go nostalgic. Lord of the Rings is always at the top. I started reading that right after the Hobbit in 6th grade. I also have fond memories of the original DragonLance series. I read that in High School. It was a bit juvenile, but a good read for me at that age. I would rank The Death Gate Cycle, also by Weis and Hickman as one of the best world building stories ever. Man, that is a great series! Haplo is one of my all time favorite characters. I'll have to add The Knight of the Word series by Terry Brooks in there too. Great characters and description.
I have to mention Robert Jordan, although it seems around here I am in the minority. I will agree that the series is stretched out way farther than is necessary. But, his grasp on all of those characters, and the world he created, that is astounding! A feat worth recognizing, even if you don't like what he's done with the series. (sorry Christine)
And lastly, The Poisonwood Bible... Not really, just kidding. I hate that book with every fiber in my being! My corpuscles are crying out for revenge! It took me months to rid my body of all the extra estrogen I built up while reading it. BLEECHH! Sorry, I just threw up a bit, thinking about it.
[This message has been edited by TruHero (edited January 06, 2006).]
I don't see people mention Tad Williams much, and he's an excellent fantasy author. He's developed some very interesting characters that give a new spin on things.
I particularly enjoyed "The War of the Flowers, the series Memory, Sorrow and Thorn (first book was the Dragonbone Chair). My favorite character in that series was the troll. He reminded me of a combination of Tom Bombadill and Gandalf.
His Otherland series is ... bizarre in the beginning. You feel like you are watching TV and someone keeps switching channels. It takes a while to figure out what, exactly, is going on. It eventually makes sense. Somewhat. But it IS entertaining.
Last year I was given a copy of Shadowmarch to read. It was a cruel gift, because Tad hasn't completed the series yet, and ah HATES reading book one and then having to pine for another couple of years for the next volumne.
Tad has his own internet online community, similar in many ways to Hatrack. There is even a writer's forum at: http://shadowmarch.com/
The website that has info about his books is: http://www.tadwilliams.com/ Click on the pictures at the bottom and it will pull up a synopsis of the book.
2001/2002 I read the Otherland Series, good stuff. It may be the first and last word in VR stories. Nice mystery. I really never guessed what mechanisms behind the VR, it was a slight letdown when it was all revealed.
Posts: 1275 | Registered: Mar 2004
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quote:In Enchantment, Card works his magic as never before, transforming the timeless story of Sleeping Beauty into an original fantasy brimming with romance and adventure. The moment Ivan stumbled upon a clearing in the dense Carpathian forest, his life was forever changed. Atop a pedestal encircled by fallen leaves, the beautiful princess Katerina lay as still as death. But beneath the foliage a malevolent presence stirred and sent the ten-year-old Ivan scrambling for the safety of Cousin Marek's farm. Now, years later, Ivan is an American graduate student, engaged to be married. Yet he cannot forget that long ago day in the forest - or convince himself it was merely a frightened boy's fantasy. Compelled to return to his native land, Ivan finds the clearing just as he left it. This time he
Fay by Larry Brown
quote: She's had no education, and you can't call what her father's been trying to give her "love." So at seventeen, Fay Jones leaves home, carrying a purse with half a pack of cigarettes and two dollar bills. She's headed for the bright lights and big times of Biloxi, and even she knows she needs help getting there. But help's not hard to come by when you look like Fay. There's a highway patrolman who gives her a lift, with a detour to his own place. There are truck drivers who pick her up, no questions asked. There's a crop duster with money for a night or two on the town. There's a strip-joint bouncer who deals on the side. And in the end, there are five dead bodies stacked in Fay's wake.
Good In Bed by Jennifer Weiner
quote: Pop culture reporter Cannie Shapiro writes about other people in the Philadelphia Examiner. One day she opens a women's magazine and finds her ex-boyfriend has chronicled their ex-sex life together. She had not known Bruce thought her a "larger woman," or that he felt loving her had been an act of courage. Life wasn't always easy.
Smithsonian Institution by Gore Vidal
quote: It's 1939, and a teenage math genius is mysteriously summoned to the Smithsonian Institution, where a crash program to develop the atomic bomb is being conducted in the basement. The boy turns out to hold the key to both the secrets of nuclear fission and breakthroughs in the time continuum. As he brainstorms with Robert Oppenheimer, he catches a glimpse of the coming war and becomes determined to ward off the cataclysm. In a race against time-and surrounded by figures from American history past and present, including Albert Einstein, Grover Cleveland, and Abraham Lincoln-he battles to save not just himself, but humanity. Gore Vidal has written some of the finest and most inventive novels in modern times. Readers of such bestsellers as Burr, Lincoln, Duluth, and 1876 will revel in this, his latest
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
quote: Valentine Michael Smith is the stranger. A young human, reared by Martians on Mars, he is brought to Earth where he must adapt not only to the planet's social injustices and its population's foibles, but to its strong gravitational field and rich atmosphere.
Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
quote:A nation born of angels; vast, intricate, and surrounded by danger... A woman born to servitude, unknowingly given access to the secrets of the realm... A plot borne of evil, too cunning to be fathomed, too deadly to be known... Sold into indentured servitude in the sumptuous and exotic Night Court as a child, Phèdre nó Delaunay is a woman who struggles for honor and duty, whose loyalty to the land she loves will take her to the edge of despair—and then beyond. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel's Dart—a tale about the violent death of an old age and the birth of a new. It is a novel of grandeur, luxury, sacrifice
The Diamond Throne by David Eddings
quote: Sparhawk, Pandion Knight, and Queen's Champion have returned to Elenia after ten years of exile, only to find young Queen Ehlanda trapped in a block of ensorcelled crystal. As Sparhawk sets out to find a cure for Ehlana, he discovers that only he can defeat the evil plots that threaten her rule....
Only 13 lines of published works, please.
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited January 06, 2006).]
The series that got me into fantasy as a child-- other than fairy tales-- is "A Wrinkle in Time." I still love to read them. The third book in the series, "A Swiftly Tilting Planet" is my favorite!
LOTR is a joy to read, and though I know others don't like it, I thoroughly enjoyed "The Silmarillion." And, I must admit that I am a raging Harry Potter fan!
Other than those above, I love 19th century English Literature like "A Tale of Two Cities," "Vanity Fair," anything by Austen, and L.M. Montgomery's books, etc. Oh, and Shakespeare always inspires and entertains!
Edited to add: C.S. Lewis' Narnia series. And I love the new movie!
[This message has been edited by Lullaby Lady (edited January 06, 2006).]
Robert A. Heinlein: "Methuselah's Children," "Space Cadet," "Red Planet," "Farmer in the Sky," "Between Planets," "Starman Jones," "The Star Beast," "Tunnel in the Sky," "Double Star," "Time for the Stars," "The Door Into Summer," "Citizen of the Galaxy," "Have Space Suit Will Travel," "The Moon ia a Harsh Mistress," "Time Enough For Love," "Job," "To Sail Beyond the Sunset," and "Tramp Royale." (You'll note that I do not include every Heinlein book. Some are certainly lacking, at least from my point of view.)
Isaac Asimov: "The Foundation Trilogy" (the original parts), "The Caves of Steel," and his memoirs: "In Memory Yet Green," "In Joy Still Felt," and "I. Asimov." (The role model for geek writers everywhere.)
Arthur C. Clarke (to round out the Big Three): "Earthlight," "Rendezvous with Rama," and "Imperial Earth."
Kenneth Grahame: "The Wind in the Willows." (Probably my all-time favorite book.)
J. R. R. Tolkien: "The Hobbit," "The Lord of the Rings," and the three-and-a-half posthumous books that make up the history of the writing of "The Lord of the Rings."
Robert Silverberg: "The Silent Invaders" and "Downward to the Earth." (One obscure title, one less so. But both favorites of mine.)
John Rackham: "Treasure of Tau Ceti" (Obscure author, and half of an Ace Double, but a long-time favorite of mine.)
Edgar Pangborn: "A Mirror for Observers" and "Davy."
Niel Hancock: all four volumes of "The Circle of Light." (This came out in the seventies as a "cash-in-on-Tolkien" set. There have been a lot more since, maybe better plotted or better written...but I keep coming around to this: I like it better than most other fantasies.)
I reserve the right to post more---as I think of them. Besides, all the works are science fiction, fantasy, or associated works, and there are certainly other fields of literature to be explored...
Oh here’s an absolutely hilarious book by one of my favorite authors I totally forgot about.
Sir Apropos of Nothing by Peter David.
quote: They were dark and stormy knights...and when they had their way with a helpless tavern wench one terrible evening, they had no idea that the result of that twilight brutality was going to come after them years later, looking to settle the score...
The "result"'s unlikely name is Apropos: a rogue, a rascal, a scoundrel, a cheat...and those are his good points. Lame of leg but fast of wit, the only reason Apropos doesn't consider chivalry dead is because he's not yet through with it. Herewith, Sir Apropos of Nothing—his sotry in the words of the knave himself.
Apropos, all too aware of his violent and unseemly beginnings, travels to the court of the good King Runcible, with three goals in mind: to find his father, seek retribution, and line his own pockets.
[This message has been edited by JOHN (edited January 06, 2006).]
Note from Kathleen:
Only 13 lines from published works, please.
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited January 06, 2006).]
I gave this some thought and came up with a few more stories I enjoyed. Some classics are The Iliad by Homer, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, and Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare.
Some contemporary favorites are The Firm and The Client by John Grisham, Redwall by Brian Jacques, Disclosure by Michael Crichton, and though it's an anthology, I think Visions of Future edited by David G. Hartwell and Milton T. Wolf is an outstanding collection of spec fiction.
TruHero, I'm also in the minority with liking Robert Jordan's series. The ending is way overdue, but I still love the story and the people in it.
[This message has been edited by Ray (edited January 06, 2006).]
I was kidnapped today by a book I found on the book cart at my volunteer department. It's called Shadow of the Wind, and it's by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Holy crap, is it sucking my mind away! I can't write anymore; I have to finish this book!
Posts: 1041 | Registered: Aug 2004
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I've heard people gripe about The DaVinci Code, but a friend I respect said she got sucked in by it and read it in two days flat. She is telling me I HAVE to read it. Guess I'll give it a try, but I believe I'll try to check it out from the library.
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Sorry about that. I just went to Barnes and Noble's site and copied the "blurb" posted there for each book. The 13 line rule crossed my mind as I was posting. I'm sure the text I quoted is copyrighted, but it's free advertisement for the books in question.
Elan, I found THE DAVINCI CODE interesting structurally. Brown used flashback a lot, but always seemed to stick it in when the characters were on their way to somewhere (and the journey itself wasn't that important).
He also jumped among POV characters a great deal, and there were some I really wasn't interested in spending time with (and which can really irritate me as a reader).
I read it as a writer as much as I read it as a reader, and it was kind of fun that way.
I almost mentioned Philip K. Dick's short stories. I like them better than his novels. "The minority Report" caught me off guard. It's nothing like the movie.
Zelazny, too, is better read for his short stories. I read the Amber series and only thought it was ok. Apparently, he disliked writing novels but couldn't mind a living writing short stories so...it shows.
DaVinci Code? HAHAHA! Don't make me laugh. Do me a favor, go back and read one of his earlier novels called Deception Point. I'll wait. Done? Sound familiar? Deja vu? Thought so. Dan Brown's a one-hit-wonder, people just don't know it yet.
Now that I've got that out of my system, let's see. Good novels.
Being named Thomas, I just had to read Dean Koontz's "Odd Thomas" when I saw it on the shelves. Wow. Read it. Good stuff. There's a sequel, too.
Not for the faint of heart, but Christopher Moore is hilarious in small doses. "Lamb" and "The Stupidest Angel" were brilliant, though I couldn't bring myself to finish "Island of the Sequined Love Nun".
"Life of Pi" by Yann Martel. Whoa.
A little further back in history, The Count of Monte Cristo is a wonderful book, and the movie got it all wrong. If you want the true experience, read the book. The ending is darker, yet much more satisfying.
Since we are listing non sf, too, I add my favorite book.
When I was about 11, my father (who knew I loved reading about ancient Greece) gave me a copy of Mary Renault's THE LAST OF THE WINE. It is set in Athens during the Peloponesian (sp?) wars.
For thirty years I read that book AT LEAST once a week. Usually more like three or four times a week. I read it until our dog got hold of the book and chewed it up. I bought another copy but the magic was gone somehow. I still like it and read it occasionally, but not like I did. I also read MANY times Renault's biographies of Alexander the Great -- FIRE FROM HEAVEN and THE PERSIAN BOY.
These days I don't seem to have favorite books so much as favorite authors. People whose books I buy as soon as they appear in the stores, hardback! - Robert B. Parker, Anne Perry, Martin Cruz Smith, C.J. Cherryh, Iain Banks, Daniel Silva, Brian Haig, Janet Evanovich, Phillipa Gregory ...people like that.
[This message has been edited by arriki (edited January 07, 2006).]
Ransom, I read Deception Point after reading The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons (a sort of prequel to The DaVinci Code). Take one hero, a conspiracy, and bad guys with nearly infinite resources, mix them together, and voila! Instant bestseller, plus follow up novels. I enjoyed The DaVinci Code, but by the time I read Deception Point, I could predict what was going to happen. Yuck!
Oh, yes, I almost forgot to mention... Right now I'm reading "I Am Charlotte Simmons" by Tom Wolfe. His perspective on the comtemporary undergraduate university experience as seen through the eyes of Charlotte Simmons is interesting. It makes me glad that I stayed home for undergrad school.
Posts: 97 | Registered: Aug 2005
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NMgal, yuck is just the perfect word. Maybe he thought, "Hey, using one plot over and over works for romance novels. Why not action thrillers?"
Let's see, what else did I leave out.
Judging from the fact that Ender is only mentioned once in this discussion, OSC is probably taken for granted in threads like this, but I have to comment on the sheer volume (no pun intended) of people that I've gotten to read Ender. I just got a new copy of Speaker after my roommate dropped it in the toilet. To quote another member, yuck.
Bringing up more Dean Koontz, he's doing a modern day Frankenstein trilogy - books one and two are already out, and number three appears this summer. Wonderful stories. The Monster is now the single coolest character I've ever read about (though I'll probably go back on that once you get me started with other books).
And I suppose I ought to comment on the original Frankenstein. Wildly depressing in a predictable sort of way. Lots of death. Read it if you decide you're just too happy.
Freakonomics! The single best mind-expanding non-fiction I've ever read, er, listened to on audiobook. Wow. It was so good I got a print copy for Christmas. It teaches you how to sift and understand information, and it has some great stories to boot, like how children killed the Ku Klux Klan.
If you like Koontz check out "The Bad Place" it's my favorite Koontz book so far. Something about a 6'5" 4 testicled sociopath just spoke to me :-) Naming him Candy just put it over the top.
I will check out his new Frankenstein inspired books...I like Koontz in small doses.
Dan Brown books are kind of like good porn, you don't like to admit you have them and enjoy them, but they lurk hidden in most of our homes...
Also for Count of Monte Cristo fans, Raymond Feists had a series that is basically a fantasy version set in his world. Talon of the Silver Hawk and King of Foxes and Exile's Return are his version of Monte Cristo.
One of my most favorite reads is an article written by Malcolm Gladwell, entitled: "The Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg." Not only does he detail how the "six degrees of separation" theory came about, but he gives some great insights about how some people function as primary hubs for connection.
In my opinion, anyone who writes about society at large would benefit from reading this article. It's lengthy, but always amusing.
Robert Nowall, did you know that Barbara Hambly's ISHMAEL is also a HERE COME THE BRIDES novel?
Yes. Definitely. Somehow I've always been drawn to the odd notion that, unless some character on any show specifically mentions watching another show, then the characters from that show exist in their universe.
[I quoted by dragging and dropping, but---alas!---it looks like part of my post. Did I do something wrong?]
[This message has been edited by Robert Nowall (edited January 08, 2006).]