Sunday, January 28, 2007

Help a Girl Out

I've been in a reading lull lately. A funk. I can't really find anything I want to read. Does this ever happen to you? I've got shelves full of books, most of them I've read, but there are quite I few that I've only thumbed through, or read a chapter or two. I know I'll go back and re-read a lot of them in the future, and probably like a lot of them. But right now? Nothings appealing. What do you do when this happens? Do you keep on in search of that perfect book? Or do you go back and read an old favorite? I'll tell you what I am going to do, I'm going to ask for recommendations. From you. First, let me give you an idea of what I've read and what I like. I've read pretty much everything written by Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, J.V. Jones, Dennis Lehane (not fantasy but awesome)-- same goes for John Sandford, Stephen King, Charlaine Harris (yes, I said it Stewart), Anne Bishop, Lynn Flewelling,-- Okay this is going to be a long list. Never mind. I really like fantasy, but I'll go for a good detective novel or thriller. What rocks your world? Really. Tell me what to read.

29 comments:

Lee said...

This is an oldie, but I just had my son read Faerie Tale by Raymond Feist. I loved it, he loved it.

We loved it.

Have you read it?

Stewart Sternberg said...

I set aside ten books and when I am in a reading funk, I go to that special shelf and pull one. That's how I ended up reading Grapes of Wrath this winter.

So, here's Papa Sternberg's Ten Suggestions

1) Donald E. Westlake (THE HOT ROCK) If you haven't read Westlake, it's time to be introduced. He is hilarious, and his characters Dortmunder and Kelp are theives who plan extraordinary capers where things constantly go wrong.

2) Christopher Moore (THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO BIFF, JESUS' BOYHOOD PAL,or BLOOD SUCKING FIENDS). Moore is another funny funny man. The first book is irreverent and sacrilegious. As the title says, it's the story of Biff and Jesus on a trip through the world, trying to find the meaning of life. Bloodsucking Fiends is a vampire tale, but again, with Moore's black comedic take.

3)Joseph Heller (CATCH 22) I think I am going to reread this myself. Heller is brilliant. The book, set in WWII tells the story of a group of pilots who only want to go home. It's about the madness of war.
Also, black comedy.

4)Peter S. Beagle (A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE) Since I was twenty one, this was one of my most recommended novels. It's the story of a man who has run away from the world to live in a cemetery. There he finds two ghosts, and tries to help them find romance. Bittersweet.

5. Raphael Sabatini (SCARAMOUCHE, CAPTAIN BLOOD, SEA HAWK)..Yep, the grand daddy of swashbuckling, Sabitini's source work was Errol Flynn's delight. These novels are great fun. Chew through them, drink lots of pop, eat pizza. These are fun fun reads.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Okay, that was only five...
Ten suggestions would have been presumptuous of me.

SQT said...

Lee- I've read most of Feist's books, I think he's great. If you haven't read any of his other stuff, you should.

Stewart-- presumptuous? Never! My brother bought me a Christopher Moore years ago (Practical Demonkeeping) I need to go back and find it. Moore is hilarious.

I haven't read Beagle in years either. I haven't read Westlake, Heller or Sabatini at all, so I'll have to check them out. Thanks!

Crunchy Carpets said...

Guy Gavriel Kay? Sailing to Sarantium or The Lions of Al Rasan - my personal fave.

Anything by Joan D. Vinge..she is VERRRY Anne McCaffrey like.


Do check out Sheri Tepper..I cannot stress her stuff enough...Raising the Stones is great as is Grass and I really liked Family Tree too.

For sci fi...Vernor Vinge, John Varley, Walter John Williams, Greg Bear - Darwins Radio....

Or supernatural..Tim Powers...I love him.

Lee said...

Okay, I don't read much sci-fi/fantasy anymore. How about somethin a little more spiritual? The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell. The book is actually the transcripts of Campbell's interviews with Bill Moyers. I think Joseph Campbell is transcendent.

And if you've got about 874578 years, James Michener's, The Source is a fascinating chronicle of the origins of Christianity.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

nothing from me sqt because our tastes are so different. but i just wanted to say "hey"! i like to read the girly stuff mostly. and light mysteries with no gore. i guess i'm just a simpleton, i mean simple person! ha ha

smiles, bee

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I just finished reading Charlott's Web to my daughter. Great book, though the last two chapters are really sad, if you recall.

SQT said...

Lee-- I'm good for other genre's. I like mysteries, detective novels, thrillers and so on. It doesn't have to be too deep.

Jon, I loved Charlotte's Web when I was a kid. I also loved the book 101 Dalmations written by Dodie Smith when I was a kid. (Stewart, that one was written by the dog's perspective if you recall)

ShadowFalcon said...

I've just read the Bartimeus Trillogy by Jonathan Stroud. Its a series of kids fantasy books (I LOVE kids fantasy, they have so many fresh ideas and are sometimes better then the adult offerings), that are fun, easy to read and rather addictive...

book 1: Amulet of Samarkand
book 2: golems eye
book 3: ptolemy's gate

Then their is anything by Garth Nix...

SGT DUB said...

A great selection of books here, I guess I will try to find some of these on the net. I have six books looking at me now, I need to start one this week.

jedimerc said...

Whenever I am in a funk, I usually hit Half Price books and go over old gaming material or I read my Harry Turtledove books (which I'm reading at the moment to help with my reading funk :)

I also use non-fiction to get me out of a funk too, but I am sort of strange that way...

SQT said...

Shadowfalcon, I've heard lots of good things about Garth Nix. Kids fantasy is sometimes more satisfying.

DesLily said...

oh man I hate when I get like that! At times I search and search and nothing seems appealing.. it's like looking in the refrigerator when you are hungry but don't know what you want! grrrrrrrr

After I get to the point that I just can't look anymore I reread something I know I will like..'cause if I don't I'm always disappointed in something new I choose out of desperation!

some of my "rereads" are eddings Belgarth series, Weis and Hickman Dragonlance series, (pern of course) and stephen r donaldsons Thomas Covenant series.

Angela/SciFiChick said...

Since I have about 50-60 books in piles that I still need to read, and review copies constantly coming in the mail, I don't think I'll ever lack for something to read..

Have you read any of the Noble Dead series by Barb and J.C. Hendee? Dampyr, being the first.

Crunchy Carpets said...

deslily..the Thomas Covenant books always deserve a re read...I liked em better the second time around.

Same with Simmons Hyperion series.

I love the diversity of tastes here....

Oh and for non sci fi..Read Kate Atkinson....amazing writer...she started with dark comedic stories about people's lives..always felt a bit biographical and now she has moved into a mystery series with this 'retired' private dick ...all set in the UK.

SQT said...

Angela-- Yeah, I have the Dhamphir series; right up my alley.

Btw, how do you get your review copies to read? Do you approach the publishers or do they approach you? I'd love to do more reviews.

And thanks for the all the recommendations everyone! They're just what I needed.

Avery said...

Every once in a while I'll dig through my trunk of old paperbacks and haul out The Once and Future King. It's the book I read when all other books fail to please me. That, and the Mists of Avalon. I know, I have sword envy.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Historical fiction has a lot of daring twists and turns in actual places.

Sarah said...

Have you read any Robin Hobb?

This year in new fantasy I loved "Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch and "Privilege of the Sword" by Ellen Kushner.

DesLily said...

Hey Crunchy.. did you read his latest book Runes of the EArth? I didn't think he could suck me back in since Covenant was, ummm gone ..but he did!

Angela/SciFiChick said...

SQT - I've had several publishers/PR people and new authors seek me out to review.. just a day after I put my email on my "About Me" page, and said that I was willing to review other books.
I'm a little overwhelmed at the moment, in fact. I'm glad the release dates are a month or 2 off.

MOobs said...

I'd be amazed if you hadn't read this already but Meal Stephenson's Quicksilver, the Confusion and the System of the World. I darn near cried when I had finished.

crunchy carpets said...

des no.but it is on my list and being that I really need something good to read....I have TRIED to read Eragon, but it actually hurts my head trying to get through it as the writing is so poor and so 'teen.' Ick.

Moobs...that sounds interesting...will have to check that out! Don't cry!!!!

SQT said...

I don't think I'll buy Eragon. I might check it out of the library and see if it's worth reading. But I don't think I'll bother paying for it.

Alex said...

If you haven't read the classics by Fritz Lieber, then, first of all shame on you! Second, go pick up a collection. They're bawdy, imaginative, and the epitome of fantasy brain candy.

I was reading a lot of Pratchett this summer, when I had time to read for fun (grad school! *grumble*). I also enjoy historical fiction from Greece and Rome. The best is Robert Harris's "Pompeii," followed closely by Steven Pressfield's "Gates of Fire."

Michael Curtis Ford's "The Ten Thousand" is also good, but much more obscure for non-history-nerds. Steve Saylor's Gordianus the Finder series is much lighter - Roman detective fiction, with all that is positive and negative from both genres (hist fic and detective fic).

When I'm in a total reading funk, and since I'm a classics nerd, I normally turn to some light poetry. Ovid is especially good for entertainment value - if you don't read Latin, there are some excellent translations in verse (don't bother with anything in prose - it ruins the spirit of the exercise). I would suggest grabbing the Oxford collection of "Love Poems," which are not what you would expect, given the horribly inapt title they've applied. Robert Browning is also fascinating, if you prefer something a little more modern - his dramatic monologues just suck you in. It's like getting dropped in the middle of an extremely personal conversation, and no one knows you're listening.


Stew: I love Catch 22, but I have not been able to bring myself to read the sequel. I've heard too much bad press, and I don't want to tarnish my image of the original masterpiece.

x said...

Avery turned me onto the Juliet Marillier triolgy Daughter of the Forest, Child of the Prophecy, and Son of the Something. I figured they'd be gay imitations and pale reflections of The Mists of Avalon but I was so entranced that I read the second one two or three times in a row. Bran is a big burly guy you probably don't want to smell but will want in your corner indefinitely.

SQT said...

I LOVE Juliet Marillier's trilogy! It is so well written. I have another book of hers called "Wolfskin" that I haven't read yet. If it's even close to being as good as the others then it would be fantastic.

Scotty said...

The 'Gap' series (5 books) by Stephen Donaldson is a pretty good read, quite gritty and in-your-face at times.

Regards,

Scotty