Being picky results in a limited book intake, but it cannot be helped. Surely everyone has seen the drivel that has been passed off as books. It is vexing that the success of Laurell K. Hamilton’s “Anita Blake” series has resulted in a glut of poorly contrived urban fantasy books tossed up on bookstore shelves.
This is just my unresearched and unsupported opinion.
To keep people from thinking that I am a grumpy curmudgeon that simply grouses about books he or she cannot stand, here are my recs (books that I would recommend unconditionally), and a list of blind-read authors.
1. “Curse of Chalion” by Lois McMaster Bujold. Every time I lend this one out, the person tells me they could not put it down. M tells me that he forgets how well-written and thought out it is until he rereads the book and cannot put it down.
2. “Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin. This was lent to friends years ago, when it was the only book out in the series. All the friends returned it when done and said, “I hate you, L. I hate you. I want to read more and the second book isn’t out.” I will say that I am not up to date on the series because it’s been too long and I don’t remember everything that happened. It’s also a downer of a series, and I don’t want to end a book on a depressing point and have to wait 3-5 years for the next one.
3. “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman. I enjoy several of Neil Gaiman’s works, but a lot of it is hit or miss with me, ex “Coraline” which I simply did not understand (not that this prevented me from enjoying the movie and oh god, stupid M putting buttons over his eyes and waking me up one morning). Creepy and good and all that wonderful fantasy stuff.
4. “Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss. This book I have never lent to anyone, because every time I think I will, I start rereading it and then refuse to let go.
5. “Top 10” by Alan Moore, and only the ones written by Alan Moore (First two “Top 10” graphic novels, “Smax”, and “Top 10: The Forty-Niners”). So many subtle digs at old comics, heroes, TV shows, etc, and so few pages to enjoy them. Alas.
6. “The Rook” by Daniel O’Malley and its sequel, “Stiletto.” Urban fantasy where the secret service consists of metahumans. Your narrator is the most unprepossessing and meekest one who has risen through the ranks of the organization, and has totally lost her memory. This was so much fun to read.
Blind Reads! (authors whose books I buy whenever something new is on the shelf)
1. Lois McMaster Bujold, especially if it’s in the Chalion universe.
2. Neil Gaiman
3. Jim Butcher
4. Robin McKinley
5. Jasper Fforde
6. Umino Chika (if any more of her comics get release in English, anyways)
7. Mike Carey