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  • Good books & authors (Sci-fi, Fantasy, Mystery)

    My wife and I own a bookstore and we're always looking for good recommendations on books and/or authors to read, especially in the Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Mystery genres. So, I thought I'd start a thread to see if anybody wants to share.

    I'll start off by recommending a great Fantasy author: Robin Hobb. The first book you should read is Assassin's Apprentice. I love authors in any genre that write books that are intelligent, fascinating, and damn near impossible to put down. Hobb definitely qualifies and is my top pick for a Fantasy suggestion.

    So, let's hear your favorites...
    "You can't take the sky from me..."
    ------
    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

  • #2
    You own a bookstore!!! I always wanted to do that. i LOVE books (but as a writer of fiction, who doesn't? ). One of my favorite quotes: "The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book." (Samuel Johnson)

    I could give you a great list of literary fiction if you're interested? I'll name off a few just in case: The Secret History (by Donna Tart), anything by Ethan Canin (i liked For Kings and Planets or Carry Me Across the Water), Bel Canto (by Ann Patchett), Waltzing the Cat (short stories by Pam Houston), Sister (by A. Manette Ansay), Smithereens (by Susan Taylor Chehak), Charming Billy (by Alice McDermott). Don't worry - NONE are romances. I tend to like dark fiction. I could try and think of more, but i know you were hoping more for sci-fi...
    Orange/Blue Girl in L.A.

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    • #3
      Re: Good books & authors (Sci-fi, Fantasy, Mystery)

      Originally posted by Javalon
      My wife and I own a bookstore and we're always looking for good recommendations on books and/or authors to read, especially in the Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Mystery genres. So, I thought I'd start a thread to see if anybody wants to share.

      I'll start off by recommending a great Fantasy author: Robin Hobb. The first book you should read is Assassin's Apprentice. I love authors in any genre that write books that are intelligent, fascinating, and damn near impossible to put down. Hobb definitely qualifies and is my top pick for a Fantasy suggestion.

      So, let's hear your favorites...
      While I am not huge into fantasy/Sci Fi, I do have some favorite authors in other genres.

      I think Tom Robbins is hilarious, his wordplay outstanding.

      My wife has turned me on to Irving Stone. She likes Robert Jordan, I tried reading book one of "the Wheel of Time" series, but I just could not get into it (she has all of them so far)

      none are obscure, but I don't know if you have read any of them.

      Where are you located? anywhere I could shop?

      Everybody's gotta elevate from the norm...

      The greatest list of music I don't own on CD :sad:
      You should check these guys out

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      • #4
        I'm sure many of you have read To Kill A Mocking Bird. That is one of the best books I have ever read.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by orang/blu in LA
          You own a bookstore!!! I always wanted to do that. i LOVE books (but as a writer of fiction, who doesn't? ). One of my favorite quotes: "The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book." (Samuel Johnson)

          I could give you a great list of literary fiction if you're interested? I'll name off a few just in case: The Secret History (by Donna Tart), anything by Ethan Canin (i liked For Kings and Planets or Carry Me Across the Water), Bel Canto (by Ann Patchett), Waltzing the Cat (short stories by Pam Houston), Sister (by A. Manette Ansay), Smithereens (by Susan Taylor Chehak), Charming Billy (by Alice McDermott). Don't worry - NONE are romances. I tend to like dark fiction. I could try and think of more, but i know you were hoping more for sci-fi...
          You need to move to Texas and you're hired! Actually, that's what we miss right now is a bookseller who is big into literary fiction. I read them on occasion when enough customers beat it into my head that a book is a must-read but usually not until then.

          Owning your own bookstore has its ups and downs. One of the positives is that I'm my own boss so I can leave the this forum up on my computer and check it every day. Getting books at cost is another handy benefit.

          One thing you already share with booksellers is that the vast majority of us (at least the full-timers) seem to be writing a book. It sounds like you'd fit right in. So, either open your own shop or move to Texas and we'll hire you...if you don't mind minimum wage to start, that is.
          "You can't take the sky from me..."
          ------
          "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Re: Good books & authors (Sci-fi, Fantasy, Mystery)

            Originally posted by Jared
            While I am not huge into fantasy/Sci Fi, I do have some favorite authors in other genres.

            I think Tom Robbins is hilarious, his wordplay outstanding.

            My wife has turned me on to Irving Stone. She likes Robert Jordan, I tried reading book one of "the Wheel of Time" series, but I just could not get into it (she has all of them so far)

            none are obscure, but I don't know if you have read any of them.

            Where are you located? anywhere I could shop?
            Well, Sci-Fi and Fantasy aren't for everybody and I won't hold that against ya.

            As far as Robert Jordan goes, I used to think he was a good author, although never on the level that some viewed him, but his last few books have convinced me that he is only writing for money now and is drawing his series out interminably. Now, I have no problem with authors trying to make money but Jordan has gone way overboard. His storyline has ground to a halt; the final 100 pages of his last book and the first 400 pages of his current book all took place over the span of a single day. And in the latter's case nothing of note occured. It was downright boring and I've finally given up on him because his last three books have been progressively worse in this regard. And I'm sure you really wanted to know all that.

            You might recommend Robin Hobb to your wife or read her yourself if you're willing to give Fantasy (not the Elves and Goblins variety) another try. Hobb is a far better writer than Jordan could hope to be and, in my opinion, a better story-teller, as well. I've rarely been as emotionally attached to fictional characters as I have become to those created by Hobb.

            Finally, for you or your wife, I would recommend Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. It's Sci-Fi but don't let that deter you, it isn't hard sci-fi. It's just a great story that I've recommended thousands of times over the years and have never had one disappointed customer. I'm not claiming it should win the Nobel Prize or anything but it's a great read.

            Oh, I do own a couple of Tom Robbins' books but I haven't read him yet. Part of the problem with owning or working in a bookstore is the pile of books that you intend to read is constantly growing faster than you can read them. :0
            Last edited by Javalon; 12-02-2003, 09:48 AM.
            "You can't take the sky from me..."
            ------
            "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

            Comment


            • #7
              Javalon - Who knows, one day you might find me in in Texas at your doorstep! My (day) job now involves Development for films etc, so i get to read a lot of books to see if they'd be good movies - but it's a whole other set of criteria and usually they're not books i would chose to read on my own for pleasure/inspiration. sigh.

              Another book (actually, it's a memoir) you should look into is All Over But the Shoutin', by Rick Bragg. Beautiful writing, amazing story. Oh, and Charles Baxter is a great writer, i especially liked The Feast of Love. The one i mentioned earlier, The Secret History, is a MUST. Great writing and i guarantee you won't want to put it down. I also like Music For Torching (by A.M. Holmes), Blackwater (by Joyce Carol Oates) and The Giant's House (by Elizabeth McCracken). Then of course there's better known current fiction, like The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold or The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. I really enjoyed both those books. I wish i was at home with my books - there are so many more! My memory is failing me.

              SO i take it you're writing a book? Is it sci-fi? fantasy? You DO have the perfect job for a writer...
              Orange/Blue Girl in L.A.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by orang/blu in LA
                You own a bookstore!!! I always wanted to do that. i LOVE books (but as a writer of fiction, who doesn't? ).
                You write books? awesome. would I have read anything from you?


                If you take what I have to say seriously, then I'm embarrassed for you.

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                • #9
                  also, ive read my share of fantasy, mostly forgotten realms. some of that stuff is good, mainly cuz of the graphic detail of the fights, but also because you can get pulled into the story. just a thought


                  If you take what I have to say seriously, then I'm embarrassed for you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Broncofan-13
                    You write books? awesome. would I have read anything from you?
                    Not yet! i'm still editing my first one. Amazing how i can spend two hours on ONE PARAGRAPH, only to change it the next day. it's a long process, especially when working a day job. My goal is to have it finished around Christmas, then hurl the computer out the window so i won't be able to edit anymore! kidding - losing my computer would be like losing a limb. okay, slight exaggeration, but you know...
                    Orange/Blue Girl in L.A.

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                    • #11
                      well, send a copy my way, I always like a good book, and nothin much is comin out lately. you think i can get a fellow broncos fan discount?


                      If you take what I have to say seriously, then I'm embarrassed for you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by orang/blu in LA
                        Not yet! i'm still editing my first one. Amazing how i can spend two hours on ONE PARAGRAPH, only to change it the next day. it's a long process, especially when working a day job. My goal is to have it finished around Christmas, then hurl the computer out the window so i won't be able to edit anymore! kidding - losing my computer would be like losing a limb. okay, slight exaggeration, but you know...
                        Heh, you're further along than I am. I have started about a half dozen books and always get about six or seven chapters into it and start revising what I wrote earlier, and then I find that's all I'm doing until I get frustrated and quit. I'm a bit of a perfectionist about certain things and writing is one of them.

                        Do you write a general outline, a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline, or just wing it?
                        "You can't take the sky from me..."
                        ------
                        "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Javalon
                          Heh, you're further along than I am. I have started about a half dozen books and always get about six or seven chapters into it and start revising what I wrote earlier, and then I find that's all I'm doing until I get frustrated and quit. I'm a bit of a perfectionist about certain things and writing is one of them.

                          Do you write a general outline, a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline, or just wing it?
                          Well, first, DON'T REVISE as you're writing! Don't look back! Just charge through! First drafts are ALWAYS be bad, that's why they're first drafts. I've gotten that advice several times, and that's the only reason i kept going. I'd revise maybe the last paragraph or two that i'd worked on the day before, just to get back in the flow, and then keep going until it was done. Before i adopted that practice, i did just what you did. I have STACKS of what i call "False Starts."

                          As far as outlines go, i had to have an outline. It just helped me to know where i was going, even though it's not a plot driven book. Most importantly, the outline took the pressure off of sitting at the computer and getting started every morning. Before this, i wrote short stories, and pretty much let them write themselves - no outline, nothing but a first line. But with the novel, i used a really sparse outline - which of course i strayed from time to time. Then after the first draft was done, i had fun editing and cutting and adding - until this draft that i'm on (not sure what it is, maybe the 4986th draft? lol) looks nothing like the first one did. But that's why i say just charge forth - don't let yourself get frustrated. just remember that first drafts are always bad - that's why there are second drafts, and fourth...and 500th drafts...
                          Orange/Blue Girl in L.A.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by orang/blu in LA
                            Well, first, DON'T REVISE as you're writing! Don't look back! Just charge through! First drafts are ALWAYS be bad, that's why they're first drafts. I've gotten that advice several times, and that's the only reason i kept going. I'd revise maybe the last paragraph or two that i'd worked on the day before, just to get back in the flow, and then keep going until it was done. Before i adopted that practice, i did just what you did. I have STACKS of what i call "False Starts."

                            As far as outlines go, i had to have an outline. It just helped me to know where i was going, even though it's not a plot driven book. Most importantly, the outline took the pressure off of sitting at the computer and getting started every morning. Before this, i wrote short stories, and pretty much let them write themselves - no outline, nothing but a first line. But with the novel, i used a really sparse outline - which of course i strayed from time to time. Then after the first draft was done, i had fun editing and cutting and adding - until this draft that i'm on (not sure what it is, maybe the 4986th draft? lol) looks nothing like the first one did. But that's why i say just charge forth - don't let yourself get frustrated. just remember that first drafts are always bad - that's why there are second drafts, and fourth...and 500th drafts...
                            Easier said than done! Heh, I've started a couple times with the complete intent of just typing until I was done (okay, not all in one sitting). But I'll pause to correct just one or two things in what I've just written, which in turn causes me to think of something else I should change...and then the snowball starts rolling.

                            One of these days, I really hope to do exactly what you say. Just accept that the first (and subsequent) draft is going to suck and worry about revising it later. But it's contrary to my nature and I have to constantly fight the urge to fix things.

                            I just need to isolate whatever childhood trauma I must be suppressing that makes me this way.
                            "You can't take the sky from me..."
                            ------
                            "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Javalon
                              Easier said than done!

                              One of these days, I really hope to do exactly what you say. Just accept that the first (and subsequent) draft is going to suck and worry about revising it later. But it's contrary to my nature and I have to constantly fight the urge to fix things.

                              I just need to isolate whatever childhood trauma I must be suppressing that makes me this way.
                              LOL. i know, much easier said than done. i'm a perfectionist as well, which is why i CAN'T SEEM TO STOP EDITING THIS BOOK! Fighting the urge to fix things is a hard one. people keep telling me that it's ready - that it just needs someone who really knows what they're doing (ie. editor) to look at it and give final thoughts, but how can i let someone like that look at it when i know that there are too many things that still need to be changed? Changing one word here or there makes a difference to me - it could be never-ending. To that people say to me that that's editors' jobs, and that they wouldn't have jobs if things arrived to them in perfect form. But still, i can't seem to even print a copy without looking at the first page and thinking i just wasted 530 pages of paper b/c already something needs to be changed... So i don't know. Guess we're in the same boat, just sitting in different locations.
                              Orange/Blue Girl in L.A.

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