A few years ago, I would have said Favorite Writer: Heinlein and Favorite Book: "The Wind in the Willows". But my tastes in many things have moved around, and now I'm only sure I appreciate both as well as dozens of other books and writers. More as it develops.
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I think I have too many to answer this question effectively. Furthermore, I like particular books for specific reasons. Finally, what books are in favor is a matter of mood for me.
Having said that, I really enjoy Mary Renault's historical fiction. I also like Gregory MacGuire, Tom Wolfe, and Robert Harris (at least his book Imperium.) Also Barbara Kingsolver, Lloyd Alexander, Tolkien, Dick Francis, Jane Austen, Steven Pressfield, David Brin, Dan Simmons, John Irving... and so the list begins. It doesn't really end.
Favorite book: Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon
Favorite writer[s]: George R. R. Martin, David Gemmell, Robert A. Heinlein, OSC, Kevin J. Anderson, Frank Herbert, Steve Perry, Mario Puzo, Robert R. McCammon, Tolkien, Bernard Cornwell, Brian Lumley, and Robin Hobb.
Oh I do love Ray Bradbury, "Farenheit 451" is on my top 15 list.
"Atonement" by Ian McEwan is my number one book & author.
My other favorites are the Alvin Maker series by OSC (so good), anything by Paulo Coelho or Kurt Vonnegut and "The Woman in White" by Wilke Collins... and my guilty pleasure... James Patterson supermarket paperbacks.
I've never read anything by Heinlein but I've seen the name so many times on this site that I think I will.
Recently I've been tearing through the historical fiction genre and am really enjoying it.
Okay. Little more time and little more thought today.
Favorite Book: still "The Wind in the Willows," Kenneth Grahame. First Runner-Up: "The Lord of the Rings," J. R. R. Tolkien.
Second Runner-Up (and Favorite in Non-Fiction): "The Coming Fury," Bruce Catton.
Favorite Writer (SF or Fantasy): Robert A. Heinlein. Runners-Up: Isaac Asimov, Leigh Brackett, L. Sprague de Camp, Lester Del Rey, H. P. Lovecraft, H. Beam Piper, Frederik Pohl, Eric Frank Russell, and Thomas Burnett Swann.
Favorite Heinlein Book: "Space Cadet." Runners-Up: "Red Planet," "Time for the Stars," "The Door Into Summer," and "Double Star." (The competition is very stiff here.)
My favorites change constantly to some extent depending on how I feel.
My all time favorite fantasy other than LotR: Deed of Paskenarrion by Moon.
Favorite fantasy of books I've read recently: Godslayer and Banewreacker by Carey.
Favorite Science fiction: Remnant Population also by Moon.
Since Elizabeth Moon wrote two of my favorite books, I suppose she is probably my favorite author.
Other favorite books not necessarily spec fiction: Pride and Prejudice, Count of Monte Cristo, Vanity Fair, The Dubliners, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Invisible Man, Fahrenheit 451, Slaughterhouse Five... Well, those are the ones I can think of right off-hand.
[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited December 30, 2007).]
That's funny that you list Fahrenheit 451 in your not necessarily spec. because I use that book as the definition of spec. That was the book that taught me what reading was all about, I suppose it is kinda a first love. (it's one of the few books I reread.)
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Off the top of my head: I'm sure some things would change given some more thought
Favorite authors - CS Lewis, Tolkien, J Steinbeck, M Twain
Favorite books (SF&F) - LotR, Narnia, CS Lewis Space Trilogy, Fahrenheit 451
Favorite books (all other) - The Day of the Jackal (Forsyth),The Stand (King), To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, and I've also enjoyed several NF books.
The Lute Player - Norah Lofts Frankenstein - Mary Shelley Tess of the D'Ubervilles - Thomas Hardy Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden Quicksilver - Neal Stephenson Chronicles of Tao - Ming-Dao Deng Perdido Street Station - China Miéville The Scar - China Miéville Shibumi - Trevanian Shogun - James Clavell Cry to Heaven - Anne Rice The Persian Boy - Mary Renault
Favourite philosophical story - "Time Enough for Love", Robert Heinlein Favourite philosophical treatise - "Tao Te Ching", Lao Tzu, translated by either Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English or Ursula K Le Guin Favourite sci fi stories - Asimov's robot stories, especially "Lost Little Robot" Favourite short story - Asimov again, "Nightfall" Favourite time travel story - Heinlein again, "By His Bootstraps" Favourite world building story - "Dune", Frank Herbert Favourite fantasies - LOTR and HP Favourite sci fi with AI and virtual worlds - "Dreamships" & "Dreaming Metal", Mellissa Scott Favourite thriller - any 007 book by Ian Fleming Favourite children's book - "Swallows and Amazons", Arthur Ransome Favourite space opera - the Lensman series by EE Doc Smith Favourite funny sci fi - "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", Douglas Adams Favourite punny sci fi - "Lady Slings the Booze" and almost anything by Spider Robinson Favourite "how to write SF" - "how to" books by OSC, Ben Bova and Ray Bradbury Favourite reference - Oxford English Dictionary--and Longman English Dictionary
[This message has been edited by TaleSpinner (edited January 01, 2008).]
I just noticed that all but one of the writers I mentioned are deceased. My tastes in literature, more and more, fall behind the modern trends...
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"I just noticed that all but one of the writers I mentioned are deceased. My tastes in literature, more and more, fall behind the modern trends..."
Yeah, I noticed something similar in my list too. I do read younger writers (e.g. "Carter beats the Devil" by Glen David Gold and "Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson) but compared to the others they're not favourites. These two seem to be one-offs and other younger writers I read seem to be either inconsistent in quality, or turning out more of the same.
There's a certain shift away from fiction in general in my tastes. I read a lot, but it's non-fiction, mostly.
My non-fiction tastes also shifted away from the sciences in favor of history and (more recently) political writing. I suppose reading about science could be associated with interest in science fiction---if I shifted away from science fiction, I might naturally shift away from science with it.
Of course, I'm still trying to fill the occasional hole in my fiction collection. I believe, of the published novels of Thomas Burnett Swann, I'm lacking only one to complete my collection. (Of course, I buy to read, not to collect.) Of the one living writer on my list, Frederik Pohl, I would also probably pick up a newer work of his---but would also try to grab some older work, too.
Pyre, I said not necessarily genre. Obviously, Fehrenheit is. It's not as much of a favorite as Remnant, but high on my list of favorite books over-all.
Funny. I have many favorites among living authors. Science Fiction was too much boys playing with shiny toys (I strongly disike Dune) in the old days to attract me and before LotR although fantasy existed it was pretty limited. I love a lot of what is being done now.
I think the first Science Fiction I read that I actually liked was Before the Change, a short story that won the Nebula a few decades ago. Later I delved somewhat into Science Fiction and found a few pieces I like.
And I left off some classic favorites. I left off Jane Austen whose writing I truly love and have read and re-read many times, for example. I left off To Kill a Mockingbird and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter as well.
[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited January 02, 2008).]
A year or so ago, a friend asked me to compile a top 50 of books for adults and a top 50 of books for children. Here's the best from both lists...
Typically marketed to Adults:
1 The Dune Chronicles, Frank Herbert 2 Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison 3 The Glass Bead Game, Herman Hesse 4 Angry Candy, Harlan Ellison 5 Anthem, Ayn Rand 6 Siddhartha, Herman Hesse 7 Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut 8 Lord of the Flies, William Golding 9 The Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwood 10 Brave New World, Aldous Huxley 11 The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkein 12 The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck 13 Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury 14 A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter Miller 15 A Day No Pigs Would Die, Robert Newton Peck 16 A Separate Peace, John Knowles 17 A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess 18 The Chronicles of Amber, Roger Zelazny 19 Animal Farm, George Orwell 20 Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes
Typically marketed to Children / Young Adult:
1 The Chronicles of Prydain, Lloyd Alexander 2 Bridge to Terebithia, Catherine Patterson 3 Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls 4 The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis 5 The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth George Speare 6 Summer of the Monkeys, Wilson Rawls 7 Watership Down, Richard Adams 8 House Without a Christmas Tree, Gail Rock 9 The Little House series, Laura Ingalls Wilder 10 The Dark is Rising series, Susan Cooper 11 Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling 12 Secret of the Andes, Ann Nolan Clark 13 Journey Outside, Mary Q. Steele 14 Wrinkle in Time series, Madeline L'Engel 15 I am the Cheese, Robert Cormier
[This message has been edited by Igwiz (edited January 02, 2008).]
Well, the books that I can read over and over and over again without getting bored are:
Ender's Game, OSC The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Heinlein Foundation Series, Asimov Wrinkle in Time (and most of her other works), L'engle Harry Potters, Rowling The Princess Bride, Good(being lazy and not looking on the shelf, I think it's goodman? Goodwin? Goldsomething?)
I was just thinking about this because of something that came up on the general forum. I don't usually admit this but I just can't read Le Guin. I know that she's one of the all time greats of speculative fiction. But after trying about 10 times I STILL haven't finished Earthsea. I get bored and annoyed 20 pages in. I've tried some of her other books and had the same reaction.
Now maybe that makes me a bad person--but I confess.
No, it doesn't make you a bad person, JeanneT, just one who knows what she likes and what she doesn't--"normal" comes to mind except you're probably not that either ;-)
I enjoyed "Earthsea" when I was quite a lot younger, not sure how I'd feel about it now. "Decision at Doona" was memorable because it was one of the first SF stories I read that focused more on people than machines--but I gave up with "The Left Hand of Darkness" which was well-written but lost me. (Some say I'm easily lost and others say I should be.)
"Decision at Doona" was Anne McCaffrey, not Ursula K. Le Guin...
I've found Le Guin less readable the further she moved away from SF and towards the New York Literary Establishment. At least the ideas are startlingly original...it's just they're encased in writing I find impenetrable.
all time favorite writer -- Mary Renault for her novels set in ancient Greece
Other than that...Andre Norton when I was young and she was younger, too. Her books from the 50s and 60s. Arthur C Clarke for short stories. You know, looking back, I never did enjoy his novels as much as his short fiction.
For general fiction -- Robert B Parker, Martin Cruz Smith, Iain Pears, Michael Pearce, Daniel Silva, Janet Evanovich, Rowling, Thomas Burnett Swann....
individual books? Moghul Buffet -- Bernard, Fire From Heaven -- Renault, The Fist of God -- Forsythe, Too Many Magicians -- Garrett. The Minotaur Trilogy -- Swann, Dark Angels -- Koen, The Other Boleyn Girl -- Gregory, The Secret of the Amulet -- Nesbit...I could go on for a long time on this line.
supraturtle, could you tell me why you like "Catcher in the Rye?" So much? What is it about that book that you love? I'm not asking out of jerkiness, I have an actual reason for wanting to know. Personally, I hated that book and was unable to find any redeeming quality. I am studying to be an English teacher, and I would like to know what it is about that book that people like so much for purposes of teaching future students about it.
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First favorites to pop into my head: 1984 by George Orwell, and Animal Farm. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. My Antonia by Willa Cather. Oh, and anything written by Steinbeck.
JeanneT, I started reading A Wizard of Earthsea and had read all I cared to by page 45.
Also, wetwilly, I quite liked Catcher in the Rye. To me, it was the first story where I disilked the MC in the beginning of the book, but genuinely cared for him by the end. I felt as if Holden opened up to me the more I read. By the end he was so vunerable. It was a very powerful thing for me.
wrenbird, while I agree that A Wizard of Earthsea had a rough beginning, it got better in the second half (and darker, too). Ged/Sparrowhawk didn't really develop as a character until he had to face his own hubris.
That's not to say it's on my list of favorites, though.
arriki- I just finished "The Other Boleyn Girl" and loved it. I've been reading others by the same author, but they don't hit the spot quite the same as that one did.
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I couldn't get into The Catcher in the Rye either...I attribute that as much to the fact that I had to read it for a school class as to that I thought the narrator was a jerk. I might've liked it better if I'd'a come on it on my own...
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Kstar...Read it. Loved it. Bought some of her books written after that one. THE CONSTANT PRINCESS I never finished, but THE VIRGIN'S LOVER and THE BOLEYN INHERITANCE were pretty good. Have you read DARK ANGELS by Koen? I think that was pretty close to as good as THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL. I don't usually like historical romance-y things but I did enjoy these.
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Hmm . . . let's see. Heinlein wrote some of my favorite books (The Puppet Masters and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, for adults, and Have Space Suit, Will Travel in the YA category), but he's too irregular for me to consider him one of my favorite authors. He also wrote some of the worst books I ever read.
I love Asimov's novels (even the later ones which are fluffed out a lot, but that's just me), as well as some of his short stories: the best single story collection is Nine Tomorrows. His best single novel, in my opinion, is the rarely mentioned The End of Eternity. I'd say it's the best, most complex time travel story ever written.
Definitely non-genre here, but my favorite kid's author is Louis Sachar. I tell you, this guy's hilarious. Holes is good--maybe his best--but it's not quite typical, either. It's a bit darker and reaches a bit deeper than most. You can see that tendency in his other books, but to a lesser extent. Favorite novels: Sixth Grade Secrets and Someday Angeline (as well as any of the Marvin Redpost early reader books: but start with the first--Marvin Redpost: Kidnapped at birth?). Give these books a chance! If you don't like them, at least you won't have wasted much time, as they're all pretty short (and Marvin Redpost you can read in an hour).
Arthur C. Clarke: A number of wonderful short stories. But I agree with arriki that his novels aren't as good. He doesn't know how to plot a novel. They all read somewhat like travelogues. That's why my favorite novel of his--without question--is Rendezvous with Rama. It is a travelogue, but a really, really interesting one. I absolutely loathed the sequels written with Gentry Lee, however.
OSC is probably, overall, my favorite single writer.
Roger Zelazny is also wonderful. He tends to lack resolution, so when I finish something by him I'm afraid I usually have this little sense of disappointment--but the journey getting there is usually so good that I forgive him. And his use of language is wonderful.
I'll think about this. Possibly more later.
[This message has been edited by rickfisher (edited January 14, 2008).]
I think it's true that certain books call to you at certain times in your life, and reading The Last Unicorn as an adult resonated with me. That feeling of lost innocence and childhood, a longing for magic and wonder to still exist in the world.
Favorite Author: Ray Bradbury
He writes like I wish I could, I still think he's one of the cloesest things to Shakesphere we have in the modern world. Some of the images he's painted still stand with me after years of reading them.
Guilty Pleasure: Terry Brooks
I've heard this man refured to as "the poor man's Tolkien", but I can't help but love him. While it's true his story or world or univerese, isn't as deep and encompassing as Tokien's stories, the way he writes is more to the point, and strait to the fun. I love the grand adventures, the fast paced rollar coaster with strange and amazing characters and epic situations, showdowns, and battles.
Favorite Fiction Writer: Chuck Palahniuk
Some of his stuff is borderline Sci-Fi/Fantasy, like Lullaby. Best known for Fight Club which they made the Brad Pitt, Edward Norton movie from, the story is almost exactly the same. His books lead you down a wild ride of strange modern day facts mixed with some of the oddest journies into the strange world of every day life. There's no way to discribe Chuck's Books other than to say, be prepared to have your reality altered. I'm not kidding.
In total awe of: Neil Gaimon
The guy went from writing amazing graphic novels like 'The Sandman' Vertigo comics series and began to write some serious and wonderful Fantasy novels. Every one of Neil's books takes place somewhere you would just LOVE to live, his worlds are magical, deep, intense and yet leave you feeling happier to have visited there.
Others: I also love the classices of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Authors include, Orson Scott Card (of course), Tolkein, Assimov, Heinlein (who taught me to be a careful observer of my world and not to take anything at all for granted, a gift I would never be the same with out), Steven King ( The Talisman, Black House, The Dark Tower series), Micheal Cricton, Dan Simmons, and Douglas Adams.
I think I could go on for a great deal longer but those are some of the bigger ones I enjoy.
There are only a few authors that I have read that kept my interest long enough to finish the books, but the ones that I've read have been quite enjoyable.
Stephen R. Donaldson - All of the Thomas Covenant Books Terry Brooks - All Robert Jordan - Wheel of Time Ursala K. LaGuin - Earthsea Trilogy Christopher Paolini - The Eldest is the better book J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter C.S. Lewis - The Chronicles J.R.R Tolkien - Trilogy and Hobbit Robin Hobb - The stories are good, but the trash novel love scenes are a bit much
I am probably leaving some out.
I guess you could say that I am a mainstream reader. I do not know if that is a good or bad thing?
OSC - the Shadow series. Arthur C. Clarke - The Rama series Terry Brooks - Elfstones of Shannara (mostly for the relationships) Toliken - The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit Ben Bova - Voyagers series.
I don't want to try to compose the "long list" right now, so we'll go with the "short list".
Favorite Book: Tossup between "Anthem" by Ayn Rand and "The Great Divorce" by CS Lewis.
Favorite Author: I think I still have to go with Terry Brooks, though I haven't read any of his newer stuff in about 10 years (I need to catch up).
Other fave books: Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand Original Shanara Series - Terry Brooks Magician - Raymond Feist Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkein Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert Heinlein 1984 - George Orwell Night - Elie Wiesel Star Rover, Sea Wolf - Jack London Elric, Corum (Eternal Champion) books - Michael Moorcock
Other favorite authors: Pretty much all of those in my list there.
[This message has been edited by kingtermite (edited February 17, 2008).]
Let's see if I can establish a sequential list of books that affected me in a major way.
StarBeast- Robert Heinlien Foundations of Paradise- Authur C. Clarke Anthem- Ayn Rand Dragonflight- Anne McCaffrey Ender's Game- OSC Dragonlance series(Chronicles)- Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman Seventh Son- OSC Valis- Philip K. Dick The Merchants War- Fredrick Pohl Moving Mars- Greg Bear
My all time favorite read is Ender's Game hands down with Ender's Shadow coming in at a close second.
Some others include (in no particular order):
The entire Ender's Series- OSC Enchantment- OSC The Chronicles of Narnia- C.S. Lewis Lord of the Rings- J.R.R. Tolkien The Rama Series- Arthur C. Clarke Jurassic Park and The Lost World- Michael Crichton Eragon and Eldest- Christopher Paolini The Celestine Prophecy- James Redfield
I am also currently reading Otherland: City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams, which is very good so far.
Oh, man, what a question. I'll make a list.
Top ten "Adult" (or at least "more mature") books: 1. The Count of Monte Cristo (my all time favorite) 2. Anything by Poe (He's my idol) 3. Ender's Game (made me cry for no apparently random reason) 4. Speaker for the Dead 5. The Worthing Saga 6. LotR (also made me cry, when I read it when I was 10) 7. Animal Farm (All animals are equal.....) 8.Frankenstein 9. Watership Down (Good bunny story) 10. Twelfth Night, the Merchant of Venice, and other Shakespere stuffs. (see how sophistacted I am? I like Shaskpere!)
Top ten "kid" books: 1. The Giver 2. Redwall (the entire series) 3. The Horrible Histories books (these teach history...but the author focuses on the weirdest, most voilent and unpleasant parts of history, and he's sarcastic and cynical, which makes it fun to read) 4. the Narnia books (I've loved these since I was six.) 5. the Harry Potter series 6. The Fire Thief Trilogy (by the same author as the Horrible History books...) 7. Calvin and Hobbes. 8. Number the Stars 9. Fruits Baskets (it's manga....and yet weirdly addicting) 10. The Ramona books (I used to LOVE these. I don't really LOVE them anymore, but they're still decent).
Hard to say what my fav. book is.... I love all OSC equally. I guess I'd say that right now I'm into Empire... but favorite of all time is Ender's Game
I'm interested to see if any of you have read another author who probably ranks second on my list- Ian Irvine - I loved his "View from the mirror" series and I'm still reading "Well of echoes" his eco-thriller "The Last Albatross" is pretty wonderful too. Anyone else ever read any of these?