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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:54 pm 
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You will likely not hear a great deal of viewpoint on Terry Pratchett from me, since I was loaned the first three of his Discworld books and found them not to be my style. The fellow who loaned me the books said that the later books are considerably better, but for the moment, I have not bothered with them, or his standalone books.

Horror is certainly not my normal style, but I find myself enjoying books so dark I would not have touched them ten years ago. Simon R Green is probably my best example of this, although his books are certainly not horror. They are set in worlds where extremes of good and evil happen and most people never realize how close they are to events and powers outside their imagination. The way he injects humour into the matter though makes the dark readable. Drinking Midnight Wine is a good example of this, since it involves a fellow who made the mistake of following a pretty girl through the wrong door and ends up a pivotal character in unfolding events, even if people do not seem overly willing to tell him what the events are, why he is pivotal, or even where exactly he is, and the pretty girl certainly does not want him around, much less willing to assist him with anything. He does get by though, by convincing the King of Cats to climb a tree to avoid the confusing questions he asks, or his solution for an uncooperative magic mirror.

I am a bit surprised you like Feist though, since his books have gotten so dark over the years. I consider myself fairly fortunate that my tastes have darkened at roughly the same rate that his books did and he remains my favourite author within the fantasy genre. I have read critique of his tendancy to jump generations, and it is valid, but to my tastes, not knowing every event within every character's life impresses me. They lived, they died, some of them in futility, and they are more 'real' for that. The glue that holds the various books together are impossibly powerful creatures/beings/people who do not always have any significant part in the books, but remain the familiar faces that we look for to give framework to the world.

I suppose Piers Anthony would constitute my love/hate author. I have read a number of his books, have his Incarnations of Immortality in my library, certainly have enjoyed a large number of his stand alone books, but Xanth was not to my tastes at all, and his Bio of a Space Tyrant books were among the very few I have tossed in the trash over the years I have been reading. I absolutely refuse to read any series with that many gratuitious rape scenes included and I am certainly not giving them away so somebody else can read them. A skilled writer, but his subject matter leaves much to be desired.

Cherryh's The Paladin is in my 'to read' pile, but not one I have gotten to yet. The author was on my list until I bought that book and may return to the list should I enjoy it, assuming I can convince myself to read it. When my 'to read' pile had a dozen books in it, I could dip into it when I had a couple hours to kill, but now that it has a couple hundred books in it, I look at it, feel guilty, and reread something else.

Rick Cook's Wiz Biz and the following book Cursed and Consulted both have a prominent place in my library, and not just because of the presence of a red-haired witch (ah, hair of flame and emerald eyes). Humour mixed with programming is hard to beat and although I feel like reaching into the book and shaking the odd character, I guess that makes for a good book to have characters real enough to be frustrating.

And I suppose, since you have mentioned an author off a different bookcase, I can do the same and bring Ryk E Spoor into the conversation. His Digital Knight book is one I reread every six months, and I could not really tell you why. It is a good story, some humour, some minor league horror, although any dedicated horror fan would immediately deny that, mostly just solid alternate world fantasy. He has other books, but I want to read more from that particular world and so far, Spoor has not obliged.

And since it is also a book I read once or twice a year, Michael Stackpole's Talion: Revenant can be added to the list. The book sits in a perfect balance between action, fantasy and politics. I am on my second copy of the book after reading the first one to death. The peculiar thing is, the author has written a number of other fantasy books and some science fiction, but his writing style is completely different depending on his genre and completely different between each of his series (I will admit though that since I have never seen Star Wars, his fan fiction books in that world are lost on me).


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:25 am 
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No no Xerius, I did as a matter of fact read the first books in The Wheel of Time series, and the first one is why I got hooked enough to read the rest. But I believe I lost faith after book five or six or so, and after that, I have only borrowed one of the books every here and there. I can't say if I ever read book seven, and I know for sure I didn't read nr. eleven. And I probably never will unless I find a friend to borrow it from, since I don't intend to waste money on them.

You know... this feels horrible to admit... but I once had a really nicely filled bookshelf. And I threw them all (almost all) away when I moved to germany, simply for not being able to bring them and not having anywhere to store them. All lost... it was the worst thing I ever done. It was like throwing away old friends. I thought, that, well, it's just books, and I can buy new ones whenever I feel like reading them again... yeah, right. Since I started out with art I haven't had money to buy new socks for. One always have to sacrifice something to gain something else... but ouch, it stings. :?

Oh, but I did save my Terry Pratchett books! Those were something I couldn't get rid of, simply for the re-read value. If I'm to recommend one of his books it would be Hogfather (been made into a movie, even), or Guards, Guards! and my recent favourite, The Monstrous Regiment, which follows a small group of soldiers (who all happen to be of the female persuasion, but covers it well) in a country that has been at war for just about as long as everyone can remember. I'm always wondering if I enjoy it so much because I happen to be female as well, or if it is just an amazingly great story.

No matter what, Terry Pratchett always manages to raise questions about the real world (since many of his topics are, of course, fetched from our mundane world and certain events here) and he also makes me view the stupidity and things we take for granted here, in another light. No, the first two books, at least, are not such, but the later ones are, and well recommended for both the fantasy theme and a good story with interesting characters.

Raymond Feist I had to think about a moment before I recalled what I read from him. Since many books I have read in swedish rather than english it can be tricky to recall. However, I remember Silverthorn, which was mildly entertaining, and The Empire trilogy, which I quite enjoyed, but nothing so much as to cheer for. Nice fantasy, but nothing exceptional.

One set of books that will always loom large in my life is Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion trilogy. That is a great example of books picked up by cover alone but turned out to be a fantastic story that held me spellbound from the first page to the last. I read those books over and over during the years, until I was stupid enough to lend them to a working mate and never got them back. Bleh.

What I like so much about Moon's books is that you discover the world in which everything takes place in the same pace as the main character, and it grows as she becomes more knowledgeable and experienced. Plus, I'm also attracted by the topic of a woman strong in both heart and arm that uses her strength as an idealist. Paksenarrion is an excellent example of a character that learns and matures during the story, from the young girl that sets out from her parent's cottage to the paladin with divine power she becomes in the end. It's beautiful, absolutely marvelous! :D

Okay... time for breakfast. And work, darnit! :P

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:25 am 
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I find it absolutely amazing how different the tastes of so many widely read readers range. One person loves a series; another hates it...and both have very valid reasons for their viewpoint. I don't quite understand it, although I believe it must be rooted in the person's own experiences from childhood onwards.

It doesn't really matter where the huge differences stem from--what matters to us writers is that it exists. Therefore, we need to be true to ourselves when we write, follow our own hopes, fears, passions when we write, so that the people who are looking for our work will find it. Trying to write what others want us to write is a betrayal of ourselves and probably ends up with novels like those we are describing...authors forcing themselves to write later books in their series that are not so good...writing because they are forced to and not from their passions.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:45 am 
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"I don’t write for an audience. Audiences are impersonal and distant. When I think of writing for an audience, I feel obligated to put on a show and be properly entertaining. But, although I do hope my readers enjoy what I write, my primary goal isn’t to appear larger-than-life. Therefore, when I write, I initiate an intimate conversation with one reader. Not an audience—just one person. Being a faithful writer, in this context, means being devoted to my reader and being consistent in my attempt to craft a quiet dialogue with him. I imagine him sitting before me, asking questions, making suggestions, wanting to know more. I consider my obligation to this person. If I imagine that I am inviting a single person to journey with me, I am much more likely to reach his heart and mind, and this is what I want. I want him engaged—I want him glad he invested his time with me. Why should we spend so much time carefully crafting a relationship with a reader who might not be interested in making a similar commitment? For me, the answer is very simple: If just one person is enriched by the reader-writer relationship I have attempted to establish, I have done my job. I don’t have to reach everyone, I just have to reach someone. If I consider that even a single reader is worth my time and write with that level of individual respect, it is also likely that I will reach many more people."
~Amber Simmons


:D

As for Terry Pratchett...when I can get started & get into his, I can keep going for a while. It's light & entertaining & he has some fun & strange viewpoints that can make me both laugh & think at the same time (kinda like George Carlin but much less cynical, lol). Though I'm nowhere near as in love with him as some of my friends are...

A word on some of the 'old school' guys listed that I know I've avoided a bit. First off, I love, love, love Bradbury. Love him. Spell-binding & thinky, original & yet so very relatable...and dammit, he just tells a good story!

Heinlein, Nietzsche, Kant, etc...Brilliant men, simply brilliant. I've found really wonderful ideas & quotes (especially from the first two, in my limited experience) from them. Yet I have a hard time starting in on them, not from any complicatedness on their parts but simply because of the kinds of people I've met who've gone on & on about them. It's sad and I suppose a rather narrow-minded of me but I've met so many pretentious fine arts major-types who have really put me off of them by their over-analyzing & their "you couldn't possibly understand because you haven't studied it" attitudes. It makes me too sad to begin. Does that make any sense? Once I can better put aside all that, I know I'd enjoy them more. (After all, it's not their faults that others have poisoned them for me almost before I began!)

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:31 pm 
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DragonSnail wrote:
No no Xerius, I did as a matter of fact read the first books in The Wheel of Time series, and the first one is why I got hooked enough to read the rest.


I did gather that, and had said that you had only read one of the three books in that series I enjoyed most, with books six and eleven being the other two.

You do well represent the reason I do not read Pratchett. I could probably borrow his books from a friend, but I do not currently intend to waste money buying them.

I recognize the name Elizabeth Moon, but could not tell you at the moment whether I simply know the name from a review I have read, or whether I have some of her books in my collection. I did not see her in a quick scan of my 'to read' pile, but that does not really mean anything these days. Too many books, too many authors and they all start to blur when I look at them stacked there.

I never refuse a new author for my list though, even if it may be awhile before I catch up enough on series I already have on the go to buy new names.

Bradbury is an odd one to me. I read his work, but not often. Some days I simply want to read the kind of thing he writes, most days I cannot twist my mind enough to read it. I like his short stories better than his novels, and reading The Fog Horn always depresses me, but he writes it well.

Philosophy is situational as well. I really had no particular interest in it, but quotes from Critique of Pure Reason eventually made me buy the book, and I found it hard to read just one philosophy book after that, since every one I read led me to another one. Kant's Critique of Pure Reason led me to Kierkegard's A Sickness Unto Death, and that pushed me to read Critique of Practical Reason, and so on. So many of the classical philosphers delved into politics, which led me to Plato's Republic, and from that to Nietzsche, and I found his Thus Spoke Zarathustra instrumental in understanding the politics of the american people through the last decade.

The idea behind philosophy though is not to analyze, or over-analyze. Each person reads their own background into it, so there is no right or wrong answer to the questions philosophy raises. I suppose studying may help to understand the intent of the author, but I have never studied it formally, so I am happy simply to understand what parts are pertinent to what I am doing now, or at least to give me the viewpoint of the author, whether I choose to agree with it or not.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:56 pm 
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Alan Dean Foster - I have not heard that name since I read his Spellsinger series :) Excellent series of books that I would highly recommend to anyone to read. It is about a paralell world where animals walk upright and are the norm. Our entrepid hero Jonathon Thomas Merriweather is pulled into this world by a turtle wizard named Clothahump. Jon Tom finds his ability is to make magic with songs, not quite like a bard, but like a combination of bard and screwed up wizard.

Also, Roger Zelazny - His amber series. This is a truly awesome set of books.

Piers Anthony - The Apprentice Adept series. Totally awesome series about paralell dimensions.

There are many many more. Far to many to list here. These are just three that are not generally known that I thought you guys might like


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:14 pm 
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Marconis wrote:
Also, Roger Zelazny - His amber series. This is a truly awesome set of books.


I have read many of the Amber books over the years, although I do not have them all. Another author recently started writing in that world and I am tempted, but have not picked up any of those yet.

I reread Jack of Shadows this week by Zelazny. A well written book, a bit surreal, to be read only under certain circumstances.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:28 am 
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Xerius wrote:
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I reread Jack of Shadows this week by Zelazny. A well written book, a bit surreal, to be read only under certain circumstances.


Indeed. Those circumstances involving, more often than not, the ingesting of certain mushrooms before hand!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:11 am 
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Not offhand. I just need to be in a quiet state of mind and willing to accept that all books do not end well. Jack of Shadows is written very well, but the main character is more flawed than most modern writers tend to like to write.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:54 pm 
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Xerius wrote:
Horror is not really to my tastes I suppose. I have two Steven King books (Nightmares and Dreamscapes, and Snake Eyes), one Bachman book (oddly enough, called the Bachman Books),


LOL Ok, you actually have THREE Stephen King books then :) Richard Bachman was a psudonym that King wrote under to see if it was his writing or his name that was selling books. Turns out, at that time, it was the name, as the Bachman books did not do very well.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:00 am 
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Marconis wrote:
LOL Ok, you actually have THREE Stephen King books then :) Richard Bachman was a psudonym that King wrote under to see if it was his writing or his name that was selling books. Turns out, at that time, it was the name, as the Bachman books did not do very well.


Yes, and then he rereleased The Bachman Books under his own name, at which point they sold better.

Odd though, since I read one of the short stories written by Bachman years before I ever read Steven King and considered them better writing than King. It was surprising when I ran across The Bachman Books years later and saw who the author was.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:16 am 
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Xerius wrote:
Odd though, since I read one of the short stories written by Bachman years before I ever read Steven King and considered them better writing than King. It was surprising when I ran across The Bachman Books years later and saw who the author was.


I know what you mean. I had actually been reading King for a while when I came across The Running Man by Bachman. Sounded interesting and I picked it up. Thought the writing, style, and characters were so much more intriquing than King, I started looking for others. Thats when I found out who Richard Bachman really was. Quite a shock, I can assure you :)

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