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Which sci-fi/fantasy books are your favourite? Which first hooked you into these genres?

As you may know by now, January's blurbing book club selection this month is Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.  I really hope that you're doing everything that you can to find a copy of this book, read it and discuss and blurb the book in the dedicated discussion thread.  It's a really wonderful book with a huge fanbase and I've been loving every single comment I've read about it in the forums. 

 

 

A lot of people have mentioned that it's the book that got them into reading science fiction.  So I thought today that I would highlight some of my favourite science fiction/fantasy books to get you going.  I don't read very widely within this genre, so please don't be offended by my simple and possibly obvious list of suggestions! I'm trying, feel free to leave a more comprehensive list of recommendations in comments. (Or, read this great discussion thread, Great Sci-Fi and Fantasy authors, series and books)

 

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - I wouldn't have chosen this book for January's blurbing book club selection if I didn't love it with every fibre of my being.  I resisted reading it for a seriously long time and once I'd started and was instantly hooked I really kicked myself for waiting for so long.  It's an excellent and incredibly engaging story of intelligent children being trained to become the fighting force against an alien race. I really loved it and soon after reading Ender's Game for the first time I read Ender's Shadow which tells a similar story but from another character's perspective.  I have two more of Ender's sequels to read on my to-be-read shelves and hope to get to them very soon. 

 

Anything by Terry Pratchett - I have to admit to being a recent convert to Terry Pratchett. I only read my first Pratchett book after attempting the first Discworld novel and not really getting it.  I then went on to read the first book in the Death series, Mort and really liked it but found love with Terry Pratchett's books for young adults.  The Tiffany Aching series, Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents and especially, especially Nation.  Nation isn't Discworld, but is certainly amazing.  I found this Discworld Reading Order Guide to be useful.(click on it to make it larger?)

 

 

Lord of the Rings by Tolkien - I love these books very much. A friend of mine reads the entire book every year beginning it on the same day every year (do you know which day?) I wanted to read them before the films came out and I found that once I started reading them, I couldn't stop or put them down.  I was fascinated by it all.  I think it's very nearly time for a re-read myself. 

 

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman -This is my favourite fantasy series ever, I think.  I love the world that Pullman created, the characters and the story.  I think some of the messages in the third book are a bit much for me, but I can still remember the way that I felt reading Northern Lights for the first time.  It was a magical experience for me.

 

The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness - This isn't the first time I've recommended this series of books. It begins with The Knife of Never Letting Go, followed by The Ask and the Answer and finally concluding with the explosive Monsters of Men.  It's an incredible series and I was blown away by it.  Set on another planet, the first book introduces us to Todd Hewitt, a boy living in a village where men's thoughts can be heard by everyone. When things go very wrong, Todd finds himself on the run with a girl, Viola who has crashlanded on the planet ahead of a colony of other humans looking to settle.  Seriously great stuff, this series.

 

Other recommendations I gleaned from the above forum thread were to read books by George RR Martin, Robin Hobb and David Gemmell.  It's also reminded me that I'm a pretty big fan of Trudi Canavan and have read all three of the series that she has come out with.  I expect you all to be better and more helpful experts than I am, but I hope with this blog other sci-fi/fantasy enthusiasts will come out and give us (me) an education. I look forward to it.

 

And onto the bookish news.  These are the interesting news articles that I found this week, feel free to share something else that fascinated you recently (to do with books in some way, preferably, but anything will do,really)

 

I love this post by the Huffington Post about the weird things that happen in libraries.

 

And from Flavorwire, Libraries of the rich and famous.  I am SUCH a sucker for photos of other people's books. I love, love, love things like this.  Which is your favourite?  Feel free to share your own pictures of your books/libraries.

 

I think this is equal measures of hilarious and ridiculous.  Apparently there will be a graphic novel published about Prince William and Kate Middleton.  I really can't take this seriously at all and have to giggle every time I look at it.

 

You might not have heard, but a fair few UK libraries are facing closure lately.  One library is battling being shut down in a drastic way: As a protest, library patrons have checked out every single book in their library.

 

This article, from the Guardian, discusses how books are slowly coming to terms with technology

 

One of my favourite authors is Sarah Waters.  Two of her books have already been adapted for tv and the mini-series of Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith were both excellent.  Plans for the BBC to adapt The Night Watch have been announced.

 

What does everyone think of this book-scanning device?

 

There's just a few days left to sign up to be a Book-Giver for World Book Night.  The plan is to give away a million books in one night. 

 

And no link to it, but you may have heard recently of the big controversy on Twitter regarding illegal downloads of books.  Apparently a woman in Australia tweeted at a YA author that she'd just torrented this author's book.  From the author's perspective (and from mine and many others') this translated into 'Hey Favourite Author, I've just stolen your book' and lots of controversy and chaos ensued.  The lady who originally tweeted kept trying to defend herself by saying she can't afford books, the book isn't stocked in her bookstore etc etc.  What do you think?  Is downloading an ebook stealing? Or justified? And if you think it's justified, please explain why.  (I think it's stealing. If you want to read a book for free, go to your local library.)  Let's open the floor for discussion.

 

Also, I've been thoroughly enjoying this discussion thread, What do you see in the YA section.  It started off as a discussion on the merits of YA literature at the moment (which I am a fan of) and it's sort of progressed to a place to go for people to bash YA books/authors.  Let's help it return to something more useful/interesting to discuss, eh?  I don't agree with the argument that reading YA romance books changes or influences teenage readers' values.  I would argue that books only confirm or deny reader's already held beliefs. (Also, I think people are too worried about being tainted with the Twilight brush.)

 

I do very much enjoy these types of discussions in the Books forums.  More people should be discussing bookish related things intelligently and respectfully.  Also? Those people who have begun writing book reviews in the Blogs sections? And the people writing blog posts chronicling the books you've read so far this year? I salute you.  Please share your links in the comments to your bookish posts so that everyone can read them.  Also, anyone who writes a book blog or does book vlogs. 

 

And if there's ever anything you'd specifically like to see here, please do let me know. Either in comments below or leave me a wall comment or message. I love to hear from all of you.  You make my day by talking books with me, seriously. 

 

Best wishes and DFTBA :)

 

 

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Tags: blurbing, book, books, clover, ender's, favourite, game, january, scifi/fantasy, selection

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Comment by Meredith McKee on January 24, 2011 at 9:03am
Tamora Pierce opened my eyes to the world of fantasy when I was in 6th grade. I started reading "Wild Magic" and ended up finishing that entire series in a week. Her books were like a gateway drug, leading into Lord of the Rings and so on and so forth. I still reread those books from time to time. :)
Comment by Jordan Barnes on January 21, 2011 at 9:33am
David Eddings' series "The Elenium" was my first fantasy series and I've read most of his books twice.
Comment by Whale on January 21, 2011 at 8:59am
I really liked the first book in the 'Wheel of Time' series, called 'The Eye of the World'. It has a big, realistic, fantasy setting, with some creepy creatures too.
Comment by Waylanderer on January 20, 2011 at 7:04pm
Has anybody read Scott Lynch's stuff?   I've read LOTR, HP, David Gemmel, Phillup Pullman, C.S. Lewis etc., and Scott Lynch is up there with those authors in my mind.  You should check him out.
Comment by Mark Smith on January 20, 2011 at 2:22pm

The Hobbit was also my first fantasy novel.  I stole it from my older brother's room in 6th grade because I was so frustrated by the short kiddy books we read in class.

 

The only fantasy novel that comes close to the joy of that book is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.  I was blown away by that book when I read it last year, and the second in the trilogy comes out this March!

Comment by Princess on January 19, 2011 at 6:53pm
Harry Potter is definitely my favourite. Common, but true. I also really like the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield. It's a pretty cool science-fiction utopia novel and really makes you think.
Comment by Gabrielle Schwabauer on January 19, 2011 at 6:46pm

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy were the first really good fantasy books I read, as well as a ridiculous number of Star Wars novels for the Sci-fi category when I was 9 or so. I must have read The Hobbit at least 30 times in a row in 2nd or 3rd grade. It was very possibly an unhealthy obsession.

The Lord of the Rings is one I still love today. It manages to immerse me in the story so completely every time I read it, and the characters are some of the best I've ever found. (Sidenote: is the day you speak of September 22nd? My best friend and I used to celebrate that day ever year in elementary school by dressing up as Sam and Frodo, respectively, and going out to eat. We were awesome.) Terry Pratchett's Going Postal is just brilliant, as well as absolutely hilarious. I never knew a book could be so witty.  N.D. Wilson's 100 Cupboards Trilogy surprised me with its depth and creativity. I've read through the trilogy twice now, and it only gets better with a second read. One of the most compelling and realistic uses of magic I've seen in a book, as well as a thoroughly creepy evil character, while at the same time a series that manages to remain completely enjoyable and fun.

Yeah, I'm a book nerd as well.

Comment by Mdanx on January 19, 2011 at 3:53pm
Frank Herbert's Dune is an absolute as well as Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.
Comment by Incredible India on January 19, 2011 at 3:47pm
I like David Brin's Kil'n People, am looking forward to reading more of his stuff. And I also like a New Zealand authour called Brian Faulkner, that I would reccomend for anyone, if they can find it. :)
Comment by Bobby Vandevere on January 19, 2011 at 1:31pm

My absolute favourite fantasy series is Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series. The first book wasn't that great, but when I kept reading, it started to blow me away, book by book. It has a good combination of action and thoughtfulness, and I just love the writing. It's not for everyone, though, and it is a heavy investment, with (almost) ten books, and at least 700 pages a book.

 

And I agree with Ana about The Dresden Files being pure, distilled epic.

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