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Author Topic: Suggested Reading  (Read 7381 times)

Offline markaw00

Suggested Reading
« on: May 13, 2011, 03:06:31 AM »
Next week my wife and I are headed out for vacation. We've both agreed that we're going to spend most of our time relaxing on the beach. I figure I'll be able to get some good reading done. The problem is that I'm having a hard time choosing what to take with me. I was thinking of taking THE WAY OF SHADOWS by Brent Weeks, but my first attempt at reading it I thought it was very boring. This would be my second attempt and I'm kind of hesitant because I just didn't find the book appealing.

My other choices are THE KING by Gene Wolf. I've never read Wolf before but Neil Gaiman said he's the greatest writer alive, and that gives me a lot of confidence. I'm also leaning towards THE TALISMAN by Stephen King and Peter Straub. I love King so this is another book that's I'm looking forward to. My final choice is THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS by N.K. Jemisin. I've heard nothing but praise for this novel. Which makes my decision even harder.

What do you guys think?

Offline Dornish First Sword

Re: Suggested Reading
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2011, 03:23:19 AM »
I'd definitely go with The Talisman over the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Sad to hear you've heard nothing but praise for this as there are those of us out there with a much much different opinion, guess we just aren't anywhere near as vocal as it's fans anyway if you were after a different take that doesn't lump it with praise check out my review http://strangesidereviews.blogspot.com/2011/02/hundred-thousand-kingdoms.html fair warning it isn't a nice review. By choosing The Talisman you are also running a risk however, Stephen King seems to have those who love his style or those who can't stand it, depending where you fall you may end up not enjoying The Talisman at all.
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Offline WizardofWestmarch

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Re: Suggested Reading
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2011, 04:00:41 AM »
I ADORED hundred thousand kingdoms as well as the sequel. One of those books I think anyone who enjoys fantasy should check out. It's getting nominated for a ton of major sci-fi/fantasy awards for a reason.
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Offline SPAZinOL

Re: Suggested Reading
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2011, 05:17:47 AM »
I'm a King fan and enjoyed The Talisman, as well as its followup Black House.  I've also not read Wolfe, nor the 100k Kingdoms.  And since you didn't get into The Way of Shadows, I'd personally say stay away.  I forced my way through it as well as book 2, Shadow's Edge, largely on the recommendation of a friend.  I should know better, given the friend.  I will eventually muscle my way through Beyond the Shadows to see how Brent Weeks wrapped up the trilogy, but honestly, I've not much enjoyed the first two.  I don't understand the praise these books have received.

So my vote obviously is for The Talisman, of the options listed.

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Suggested Reading
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2011, 05:31:05 AM »
I don't get people taking only one book on vacation!  You need 4 at least surely? :)
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Offline Toc the Youngest

Re: Suggested Reading
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2011, 05:40:18 AM »
I liked Way of Shadows, didn't really love it.  Weeks latest, Black Prism is a pretty good one.  Loved Talisman and Black House, if you're a King fan they are two good ones.  If you haven't reAd the Godless War trilogy by Brian Ruckley it's a pretty good series.
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Offline markaw00

Re: Suggested Reading
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2011, 05:46:40 AM »
Hound, I was actually thinking the same thing. Good advice. I'm reading Terry Pratchett for the first time, and have enjoyed him. Maybe I'll pick up the second Discworld novel.

Toc, I've never heard of Brian Ruckley. Will scoot on over to Amazon to check him out.

I love Stephen King. He's one of my favorite writers. I'll for sure be taking THE TALISMAN with me.

SPAZinOL, I'll probably leave Shadows behind. Maybe in a month or so I'll pick it up and give it one more try. It seems to be a favorite on these boards, and that was part of the reason I picked it up. Maybe I need to get through the beginning. I thought the first 100 pages of THE WARDED MAN were unbearable, but after I got through Arlen's section I really enjoyed the book. Maybe Shadows will be the same way. If it's not obvious I'm really trying to hold out hope for this book. lol.

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Suggested Reading
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2011, 06:10:23 AM »
The problem with Terry Pratchett for vacation is that they are such light reads!  You can polish one off in an afternoon lazing by the pool! 

Though if you do take a Pratchett remember you don't have to read them in order:

Pyramids, Small Gods, Mort, Wyrd Sisters and Guards, Guards would be the essential 5 for me. 

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Offline markaw00

Re: Suggested Reading
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2011, 06:19:08 AM »
I'm kind of a slow reader though. What takes most people a day takes me about two or sometimes three. I wasn't sure how much the chronology mattered with Discworld. It's good to know it doesn't. There were some I really wanted to get to. Small Gods being one of them.

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Suggested Reading
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2011, 06:23:29 AM »
Small Gods is one of my all time favourite books.

I would recommend take two of your four earlier suggestions, and then packing both Pyramids and Small Gods.  Its always good to have a spare book or two in case of plane delays, or bad weather etc...
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Offline Funky Scarecrow

Re: Suggested Reading
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2011, 07:14:49 AM »
I haven't read anything by Weeks or Jemisin yet, but I can heartily recommend The Talisman by King & Straub, as well as the sequel Black House if you have it; easily my two favourite full length novels King has been a part of. Gene Wolfe is as good a writer as there is. Wolfe is one of the true blue, no hyperbole is too much, greats of American SF&F, along with Ellison, Le Guin and Bradbury.

I'd recommend taking the King & Straub, the Gene Wolfe and a collection of shorts by either Ellison or Bradbury. That should cover all moods and eventualities. :)
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Offline Dan D Jones

Re: Suggested Reading
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2011, 06:44:24 PM »
I can't find anything on a novel called The King by Gene Wolfe.  Did you perhaps mean The Knight?

Wolfe is an outstanding author.  I'm a huge fan but he's not to everyone's taste.  His books are nothing like your typical fantasy.  They are dense and convoluted.  That description applies to other works, like Steven Erikson's Book of the Fallen but in a different way.  Wolfe's books are more like puzzles.  Key plot points are often revealed in asides and hints that a casual reader will gloss right over.  He is a master of the unreliable narrator.  You finish a Wolfe novel, give you head time to quit spinning, then sit down and try to figure out what the hell just happened.  To give you an idea, Robert Borski wrote an entire book called Solar Labyrinth that attempts to unravel the plot and the relationship between the characters in Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series.  Wolfe will amply reward the effort you put into reading him, but reading him does take effort.  If you're looking for a book to pass the time while relaxing on the beach with a cool beverage, Wolfe is probably not a good choice.

A better choice for that might be The Way of Shadows.  I picked up an omnibus edition of the series based on the praise I saw for it at various sites like this one.  I read the first two books but haven't read the third one.  I may go back and finish the series if I run low on things to read but I'm not particularly concerned about it.  The series is entertaining and action filled, but I think the writing is a bit amateurish and the book lacks depth and polish.  The book had a lot of potential but Weeks doesn't have the writing chops to achieve it.  It's the written equivalent of a B-movie action flick.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is one of the best books I've read this year.  The writing was excellent, the characters well developed and the story original.  I highly recommend it.

Offline Rhevian

Re: Suggested Reading
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2011, 08:11:31 AM »
I think The Knight (and the sequel, The Wizard) are probably the closest thing to conventional fantasy that Wolfe has written. They are not as inaccessible as DDJones has suggested above. I wouldn't want anyone to be put off reading him.

Offline pornokitsch

Re: Suggested Reading
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2011, 01:50:28 PM »
Just to balance out the numbers, I really struggled with The Knight and flat out loathed The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

(No value to add here.)

Offline Overlord

Re: Suggested Reading
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2011, 08:28:55 AM »
Next week my wife and I are headed out for vacation. We've both agreed that we're going to spend most of our time relaxing on the beach. I figure I'll be able to get some good reading done. The problem is that I'm having a hard time choosing what to take with me. I was thinking of taking THE WAY OF SHADOWS by Brent Weeks, but my first attempt at reading it I thought it was very boring. This would be my second attempt and I'm kind of hesitant because I just didn't find the book appealing.

My other choices are THE KING by Gene Wolf. I've never read Wolf before but Neil Gaiman said he's the greatest writer alive, and that gives me a lot of confidence. I'm also leaning towards THE TALISMAN by Stephen King and Peter Straub. I love King so this is another book that's I'm looking forward to. My final choice is THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS by N.K. Jemisin. I've heard nothing but praise for this novel. Which makes my decision even harder.

What do you guys think?

THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS is interesting... I think it is more for female readers than males, but that's just me. The female voice is very, very, very powerful... almost angry... which can make hard reading at times... but it's fairly unique I guess.

Way of the Shadows is very, very good. I'm sorry to hear you struggled to get into it... Have you read 'The Painted Man' / 'The Warded Man' depending on your country (same book - different title). A quick read and is probably slightly better and easier to read than Weeks's stuff.
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