Recommended novels topic

There was one of these topics some time ago, but new people have joined and tastes have changed. Lets discuss books that we’d recommend each other to read.

The Lord of the Rings - Need I give an explanation as to why I’m recommending this one? :slight_smile: It really is an amazing tale from start to finish, and it’s author basically started the High Fantasy genre. I’ve read a number of what I like to call “Lord of the Rings clones”, but none of them can compare to Tolkien’s trilogy.

The Children of Hurin - Another book by J R R Tolkien (edited by his son) which came out this year, and is actually really good. If you’re like me and found it hard to get into The Silmarillion, this story is much more readable and is only 300 pages or so, so you don’t have to dedicate a lot of time to it.

The Clan of the Cave Bear - I read this book recently and enjoyed it, perhaps mainly because it’s set in quite a different time period than most other stories of its kind. It’s followed by four sequels, but I found that the story went downhill and became repetitive so stopped after the second book.

The Harry Potter series - Predictable in places, but the author has come up with lots of “loveable” characters and a reasonably unique world. I’m looking forward to reading the ending soon.

Tommorrow, When the War Began series - a series of seven books about a fictional war in Australia, told from the perspective of a group of teenagers who are away from civilization when the war breaks out. It does get a little bit repetitive in later books, but the first three at least contain a lot of exciting moments. There was also a follow up trilogy, but I prefer the original seven books.

A Song of Ice and Fire - This has become my favorite series of books. The author, George R R Martin has become a modern Tolkien IMO, telling an epic historical-fantasy story that spans thousands of pages. This series is one that I’ve been able to read page after page without getting bored. There’s always a lot going on, with hundreds of characters, questionable heroes and villains, gritty wartime descriptions, and a complex story that is told from more than one side of the battlefield. The fifth book is coming out (hopefully) some time next year. Very well written and with an unpredictable storyline; read the first book “A Game of Thrones” and you won’t regret it.

Well, those are some of the books/series that came to mind which I have enjoyed in the past or recently, although I’ll probably think of others after I log off. I’d be interested in hearing the recommendations of other people here, especially stories that stray away from the common formulas.

I eagerly await the day when the next book of A Song of Ice and Fire comes out. Martin writes some incredible stuff!

I have not been reading as of late, as I always sit in front of the PC working in Photoshop, but I have a Audible account and so got into the habit of listening to Audio books while I draw. The first book was Eragon. I do not recommend it.

Currently I am listening to Dune. I have not listened very far into the book, but I am enjoying it.

I finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo a few weeks back and I loved every minute of it. The characters are interesting and engaging; and even though the Count is out for revenge you’re always rooting for him, even as you watch his enemies fall. Moves along at a fair lick too.

Hard Times by Charles Dickens. No, srsly, best book I have ever read. EVER. You just have to love Louisa, she’s a bigger emo kid than Oliver Twist. Plus there’s Sissy. And Sissy defines the word Awesome. Plus they are totally in love but I don’t dwell on that (much).

W.B. Yeats (the Everyman’s Poetry collection) it is ?2.00 so you have no excuse. You have to buy this book. It’s really good. I suppose the highlights are An Irish Airman Foresees his Death (the very same poem that inspired Keane to write ‘A bad dream’) which offers a different view of the soldier, a figure which is often used for patriotism and jingoism, and his dialogue poems (The Man and The Echo is my favourite). It also has He wishes for the cloths of Heaven which apart from that one famous line (“Tread softly because you tread on my dreams”) is kinda boring.

Time waits for no mouse is a really good kid’s book, as is anything by Gary Paulson.

The Agatha Christie’s can be good. And then there were none is alright and there is a really rather brilliant series by her about an old man and his meetings with death. I suppose I like the Miss Marple series bestest. The new series of it on itv is hilarious and Nemesis is my favourite one because Marple is genuinely scary in it. A murder is announced is good too. The Poirot series is also excellent.

REBUS - The Rebus series by Ian Rankin. Love love love. It would be best to start out by reading tooth and nail or knots and crosses since those are the beginning books, but the naming of the dead (the newest one) is set during the G8 and is quite easy to get into.

Mma Ramotswe. Can’t remember who wrote this series but it is still very very good. Nice, easy reading. Each chapter feels like a self-contained short story with inter-connecting themes and ideas pulling them all together. Besides, it’s nice to read about gentle mysteries in Africa while you’re stuck in a monsoon in London. Fo rizzle.

One Step Behind by Henning Menkal. This has been translated from the original Swedish soooo the prose and the speech is a little blocky sometimes, but the characters are lovable. They aren’t attractive and they all define the word mortal with their faults (one was homophobic but secretly gay, the one great hope for female policewomen is shrill and vulnerable and the lead is diabetic but will not admit it) and even though both teams are likable they are instantly preferable to the CSI casts. Also really good mystery where you really are one step behind. So awesome.

Out - I really like this one. It’s translated from the Japanese but while the prose can be a bit blocky it isn’t nearly as bad One Step Behind and the characters are mostly the sorts you’d try to stay away from in real life (yuppie fallen on hard times, cold ex-accountant, loan shark, etc) which means they’re instantly attractive in a fictional form. It really is good. This story is from the point of view of both the murderer and the friends that help her get rid of the body, as well as the man that they framed for the crime. Cool stuff.

In The Miso Soup - another translated Japanese novel. Really really tense and good. It’s about a translator and tour operator (sorta) who is pretty much taken hostage by this crazy American serial killer. And by crazy I mean utterly utterly insane. It’s quite good.

Oh wow, that got real long. Oh and, if anyone knows of any really good books about redemption please tell me. I’m in the mood to read some.

I guess I’ll just champion anything by Sean Russel, and the same for Susan R. Mathews. Both cater to my need for intellectual stimulation in a context of shameless escapism.

And Kimimi, Le Comte De Monte Cristo (forgive me and it’s not like I even know the French language AT ALL…) is one of my favorite novels of all time. About the only thing I didn’t like about it, even when I was 14 the first time I read it, was how easily the one nemesis who was the most despicable got off… but I can only imagine it works perfectly for the Catholic readership it was tailored for at the time. shrug

All of you have to read The Lies of Locke Lamora. Now. Just, stop whatever you’re doing and grab the book and read it. Holy shit, best book I’ve ever read. Certainly best book in the fantasy genre that I’ve ever read.

I started reading this novel a few days ago. Although I have only read a few pages so far, I like what I’ve read so far.

I’ll let you know what I think of Lies once I’ve read the whole book…

That’s kind of eerie that you mention it, I too had just picked it up a few days before your post. Haven’t had time to read too much, but enjoying it so far as well.

I saw the second book first near the front of the store on display, which led me to track the first down.

Wow, looks like we all picked up the book at around the same time. That is…pretty freaky. There are parts near the ending that are very satisfying, and I think it’s the only book that’s ever made me shout out loud in frustration for the characters. :anjou_embarassed: And it is so twisty-turny in regards to plot. Some of the revelations I was able to call, but a lot of the time they came out of nowhere. Really good writing. I think you’ll probably enjoy it.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Can we say very witty and hilarious? Oh yes we can. <3 We miss you Douglas, oh master artisan of the english language!

‘The Thought Gang’ by Trebor Fischer is excellent.

Wow, I’ve been reading a lot lately.

Exit Music, the last Rebus novel just came out, and it is quite good. I couldn’t help but feel that the mystery itself was a bit anti-climatic (like Rebus himself says, “There should be mess. There should be fuss. There should be blood…”), but the interaction between the characters seemed to be fore-front and since Rankin writes some of the best dialogue I’ve seen, I’m not complaining.

Red Seas under Red Skies, the sequel to The Lies of Locke Lamora is also pretty fantastic, even if it does conform to the formula of his last book (read it and you’ll see what I mean). Just about every character is fleshed out well, and some of the lines are very entertaining. Pirates pirates pirates…

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive is another Mma Ramotswe book, and very relaxing and nice and stuff. The sort of thing you read while lying in a hammock. There aren’t any serious threats, despite it being a novel about a private detective. It’s just a sweet, entertaining little book.

Fluke or I know why the winged whale sings, was pretty good! I have to admit, I had to force myself to read through some bits so that I could get to my other books faster, but the easy-going, gentle humour is fairly appealing.

I finished The Lies of Locke Lamora, and am currently reading through the sequel at the moment. It’s an excellent story; there’s some brilliant ideas in it. I really liked way Lynch didn’t make Locke out to be a Robin Hood character - he’s in it for himself and his gang, as well as the thrill of ‘the game’.

I’m not enjoying Red Seas Under Red Skies quite as much because, as you mentioned Daz, it seems use the same formula as the first book in many places. Hopefully this will change as the story progresses. It’s still a great story though.

I haven’t read anything in a while, but I definitely can recommend these:

-Catch 22

-Crime and Punishment

The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

On one level it is a science fiction/conspiracy novel. On another it is absolutely mind-blowing and life changing. It is my favorite!

The Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey.

I was thinking about these stories again in relation to how my own view of Panzer Dragoon may be influenced by them. One way or another there’s some degree of influence that could be traced to these novels, and it is the signature franchise of a fairly legendary author. I assume many people have at least heard of it but if you’ve never read any of the books they’re probably quite different from what you might imagine.

The idea of a bonding between a dragon and it’s rider as a necessary part of the dragon reaching it’s potential, is one of the most obvious similarities with PD. There’s another striking parallel that as I recall only becomes fully apparent in the third book of the main storyline, so it’d be sort of a spoiler to mention…

I can wholeheartedly recommend the first two Dragonrider books, Dragonflight and Dragonquest, I remember being completely immersed by them when I started reading many years ago. And the three books that began the side storyline of the Harpers were really good too. But the third main book, The White Dragon… is where the series started to lose it’s integrity to me, though still a great read. I think I only tried to read one other after that, and I can’t even recall if I finished it, and I think that says it all, I really don’t even want to remember. :anjou_sad:

Anyone who really likes the whole dragons in sci-fi angle needs to check these stories out though, since McCaffrey basically defined the archetype.

I’ve considering reading the Dragonriders of Pern series in the past, but one thing that put me off getting started was the sheer number of titles in the series - if I started it, I don’t think I’d ever finish.

So, my question is, are the books stand alone stories, or must you read all the books to get the complete story? Or are the books grouped into “sets” of stand alone stories?

Well in one sense I can’t answer to that, since as I said I only read seven (maybe eight?) books. But I can say that most that I read do stand alone as very satisfying stories, though you will certainly be compelled to read the second after the first, and those are very much part of the same saga. Part of what I maybe disliked about the third book is that it started to feel like a bridge to the expanded themes that (I presume) the series explores later, but the story arc didn’t have the same personal quality. But it’d be required reading for resolving things hinted at in the previous books. And it actually does end with a sense of both new beginning and closure, so it’s a good place to let go anyway.

The three original Harpercraft Hall books, which are actually all shorter (certainly much thinner as I recall) than the Dragonrider books, could be considered optional. But aside from being about a very separate aspect of the society from the Dragonriders, there’s some elaborations on the more technical back story that I seem to recall you don’t get in the big books, that lead into the revelations in The White dragon.

I know I read the Moreta book, which is a prequel I think, and it was just a mess. Almost didn’t feel like it was written by the same person, though I did read enough of her other stories to have a sense of McCaffrey’s different ‘faces’, like you can tell when she’s genuinely in the groove and when she’s just sort of taking care of business. I have a feeling there’s one other, and maybe that’s the book I couldn’t finish, but regardless I was perfectly happy to close the door on that world at that point, for myself. Still, as a whole it’s easily in my top five or so ‘escapes’ very personally, I think it’s been around 20 years since I read them, so it’s perhaps somewhat faded compared to some others.

There’s some recurring elements of her style that probably hold McCaffrey just outside of a total mainstream appeal zone, even though she’s incredibly influential on what’s basically “pulp” territory. There’s usually definite erotic scenes somewhere or another, but she’s never been shy about overstepping standard comfortable boundaries for it either. There’s a certain structured homosexual theme in this series, and as a matter of fact I vaguely recall that it may have been closer to the surface in that third book, and may have even contributed to my own lowered comfort with that story. heh

I’m actually really thinking about reading some of the originals again, it would be quite fresh to me again, at this point…

Technically not what was suggested in the topic, but I’ve been reading graphic novels a lot lately, thus taking the nerd stereotype to the next level. I’ve recently picked up Grant Morrison’s “The Invisibles” and have found it enjoyable, though unfortunately I have less and less time to read lately because I’ve been so involved in theater…

[quote=“Atolm”]I have not been reading as of late, as I always sit in front of the PC working in Photoshop, but I have a Audible account and so got into the habit of listening to Audio books while I draw. The first book was Eragon. I do not recommend it.

Ugh. Eragon was painful. I was so disappointed. Besides, what sort of hero is unconscious for half of his adventures??

I really recommend Neil Gaimans work - graphic novels included. I liked The Feast of Love, although it might be a little too mushy for some of you. It’s not a romance novel, by the way - yuck! - but rather, a philosophic approach to relationships between people of varying ages and the similarities and differences they share. It does have some sex in it, though, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. I also like The Snow Queen. I am currently on Book 1 of His Dark Materials, aka The Golden Compass. I’ve wanted to read them for a while, but I’ve just not had the time. I also want to reread my copy of House of Leaves. It gave me nightmares reading it for the first time when I was 18. Exciting. ^^