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Book Recommendations?

I am somewhat out of the loop on fresh talent and bold new entries - especially in genre fiction. Anyone have any recommendations?

I just made a list of every book I've read for the past two years (though I'm sure I missed a few) and it was sadly monotone in terms of being sci-fi or fantasy. So on one hand, I'd love some non sci-fi recommendations. On the other, clearly I'd also love some sci-fi recommendations.

For my part, I've read the most recent from Banks, Brust and Cornwell, and am currently going through Robert E. Howard's collected Conan stories.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 16th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
The new Harry Dresden novel comes out in a month...

Mar. 16th, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
I'm sure I'll pick it up when it does. Have you read any of Butcher's other series?
Mar. 17th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
I started Codex Alara but I don't think it's for me. His Spider-Man book was hilarious.

Mar. 16th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
Read those three books that I classify as "manly adventure humor" - Shantaram (less humorous, but great), Utterly Monkey (utterly hilarious), and Beat the Reaper (also humorous).
Mar. 16th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
I'm currently reading an urban fantasy called A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin. It takes the plot a little while to get rolling, but it's good once it does.

Allison Weir writes a series of biographies of various Elizabethan figures. I've read and enjoyed the Life of Queen Elizabeth I and The Six Wives of Henry VIII.

Dan Simmons' Drood is a very long book, narrated by Wilkie Collins, about the last several years of Charles Dickens' life. It's pretty good, very creepy.

Poppy Z. Brite writes some fairly good vampire fiction.

There's a book I read in college called Parallax, I forget the author. It's part nonfiction and part adventure story, as separate groups of Victorian scientists race to be able to measure the distance from the Earth to the Moon (using the parallax technique during an eclipse).
Mar. 16th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)
Everything by Christopher Moore
A. Lee Martinez
Mar. 17th, 2010 12:54 am (UTC)
Any- and everything by Terry Pratchett.

In non-SFF, I've enjoyed these lately:

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The Returners by Gemma Malley (may not be out yet; I have an advance reader's copy)
Every Last Cuckoo by Kate Maloy (memoir)
The World to Come by Dara Horn
Mar. 17th, 2010 02:17 am (UTC)
The Codex Alera is an interesting series, epic fantasy. The character names are all Roman, so nothing too outlandish.

I'm getting a kick out of the Dresden Files, but it appears you've been reading them.

Have you read any of Katherine Kurtz
Mar. 17th, 2010 03:08 am (UTC)
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.... the sequel being Red Seas Under Red Skies. A heady mix of 7th Sea style writing; excellent stories about a band of thieves. The third is due out this May.

A new writer out of Britain by the name of Joe Abercrombie. I think the first book was called By the Sword. The second was Before They Are Hanged, and the third was The Last Argument of Kings. Somewhat dark and somber series, and definitely hard to put down.

For the lover of Greek mythology, try The Orphans of Chaos series by John C. Wright. English boarding school meets Greek pantheon. The use of "science" in the story was an interesting counterpoint to literary examples of the powers of the gods.

Finally, for switch in genre, try the erotic writer Louisa Burton. The novels are still fantasy-based, but there is an actual PLOT to the short stories, and they are tied together by the same characters and backdrop. I find them to be satisfying to the intellectual in me; I can only take "women's literature" but so seriously when the story arc is always the same.
Mar. 17th, 2010 05:32 am (UTC)
Seconding the Scott Lynch recommendation, though I heard he's still got writers' block and book 3 isn't even done yet.

I've also read the Abercrombie books and while I thoroughly enjoyed them, I don't think they'd be much to Davy's liking.
Mar. 17th, 2010 04:07 pm (UTC)
I've actually read everything to date by Msrs. Lynch and Abercrombie. I liked them both very much, as a matter of fact! I passed on Abercrombie to several people, all of whom are converts. Other "newish" authors I've enjoyed are Naomi Novik (Napoleonic dragons? I practically wrote that back!) and, as recommended above, Jim Butcher.
Mar. 17th, 2010 05:59 am (UTC)
I recently read Brent Weeks' "Night Angel" trilogy, and I really liked them, though my enjoyment may be coloured because I'd just come off of reading KJ Parker's Engineer trilogy, which was beautifully written but a terrible story. Parker totally showcases how someone can be a fabulous *writer* but an awful *author*; she just creates these horribly sterile characters where you just don't give a rat's ass about what happens to them because they are SO unsympathetic you have zero emotional investment in the story. So coming straight from that onto Weeks, who is clearly not as skilled a writer (few are - I frequently had to stop and re-read certain sentences in Parker's books just because her language is so beautiful), but spins a damn good yarn, and writes lovely characters who you can't help but like. He does use ONE hackneyed plot device, though.

If you like urban fantasy, I really dug "Rosemary and Rue" and "A Local Habitation" by Seanan McGuire. They evoke Emma Bull without being derivative.

Have you read the Richard K. Morgan novels? The first Takeshi Kovacs novel is really awesome, though by the second one the premise is far less interesting, and by the third one he completely lost me. Altered Carbon is still worth the read, though.

Tim Powers is probably one of my favourite authors. If you haven't read "Last Call," you really, really should. It is possibly the most original, best told fiction novel I've ever read. You being you, however, I think "On Stranger Tides" would be rock your world. (I thought it was cool, but then, I'm not a real-world pie-rat!)
Mar. 17th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
I've ready pretty much everything by Tim Powers - and yes, pretty much lost my mind over "On Stranger Tides" ...back in the 90's. :) I recently re-read it while sailing to Catalina, which seemed appropriate!

The rest, I'll have to check out, and thanks for the recommendations!
Mar. 17th, 2010 08:16 am (UTC)
Read any Max Barry novels at all? Jennifer Government was his first. I understand he has a new one out that I haven't had a chance to grab yet. JG was a fast read. I suspect his new one is equally so, and hopefully just as good.
Mar. 17th, 2010 04:07 pm (UTC)
You actually loaned me Jennifer Government, and I really enjoyed it! :)
Mar. 17th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
War of the World by Nialle Ferguson
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )