Your favorite book/book series?

AlbertoDeSanta

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I must say, I've not read as much as I would have hoped. My current favorite (And the ones I'm reading) are the LOTR books. Yes, others will have said it. Yes you've all probably read them before. I've just been far too busy as of late to get around to reading them.
 

BathorysGraveland2

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SckizoBoy said:
Well I actually liked Virtues, and the portrayal of Alexander, though it was a little romantic (in the way ancient Greeks dramatised and romanticised their own histories). He felt really lifelike to me, as one reviewer put it "it was like sitting in Alexander's tent while he spoke his tale to you directly" (not the actual quote, but close enough). Ultimately, in the end, we have little proof about the personalities of historical figures from the classical age, so a lot of it is up to interpretation. It wasn't as good as Gates, but I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Last of the Amazons was pretty good, though trying to figure out who Steven was trying to make the protagonist was a challenge. You'd think, because of its title, the Amazons were the protagonists, but the book actively made me despise them. A certain event about a third of the way in (I won't spoil in case you wish to read it sometime) really shifted my allegiance to the Athenians, and I wanted nothing more by books end than to see Theseus smash their whole culture into the dirt. For me, that's saying something, as I usually barrack for the smaller barbarian peoples fighting with little hope against the big bad civilised empires (ala Vercingetorix, Viriathus etc). But this book certainly made me hate the Amazons, whether that was the intention or not, I cannot say. Still, it was a good read.

While we're discussing historical fiction, have you read Pride of Carthage by Anthony Durham? I recently finished reading it and it was pretty fine, though it ended pretty abruptly.
 

DeeWiz

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Newtonyd said:
Psykoma said:
DeeWiz said:
The Sword of Truth seres - can't really pick only one book out of it. A close second would be Sword Art Online, not the anime but the books, which are much better.

Would it be better to read the sword of truth series chronologically, or the order the books came out?
Do yourself a favor and don't read the Sword of Truth series at all. I've read the entire thing, and I can tell you it is the series I've most regretted reading. I continued to read it mostly because I kept getting them for my birthday from people who didn't know better, so I felt semi-obligated to continue.

If you must read it, read only the first 3 or 4 books. I'd hesitate at that, because the first few books might convince you that I'm wrong and that maybe the series is worth reading after all. After that, it turns into an extremely thinly veiled rant against socialism / communism, in which the socialists are an endless faceless army of serial rapists. Speaking of which, you'd better like reading rape and torture scenes, because rarely do a few chapters go by without some village or caravan being raped to death.

Anyway, the author's political motivations are ridiculously transparent. Just as an example, he has the main character drop what he's doing and get yanked, through plot construct, to the heart of the socialist empire, where he takes up a trade and then builds up an enormously successful business while showing everyone the limitless power of capitalism. This is an actual part of a book series that was previously all about beheading villains and using magic to fight satanists.

The last book of the series is literally just a bunch of pseudo discussions about socialism being a soul-crushing system, with the socialists essentially throwing up strawman arguments for the capitalists to demolish. The ending is a ridiculous hole to sweep the remainder of the plot into. At this point, it's not even offensive. Just lazy and uninspired.

Also, the socialists enslave and demonstratably out-evil the satanists.

Just WTF.

TL;DR Don't read it.

On topic, for fantasy, most recently I enjoyed Tigana, Way of Kings, and Book of the Long Sun. For more science-fiction stuff, I loved Neuromancer and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. These are just the books I've read most recently, I'm sure I could dredge up more favorites.
I find the people that need to ascribe political motivations to the story are the ones he is talking about. The story is not about anything political but about the individual person versus mass mentality, the ability to reason versus mob mentalilty. Its actually trendy at this point to whine that it's anti-socialism / pro-objectivism which exactly what the author was warning against. I'm not saying that it does come across as such but the real point of the story is pointing out the human base for why these institutions exist and people's need to be part of the mass and not thinking for themselves. Yes they are lots of torture and rape simply because when you give license to these things (as the main antagonist does) people will not only do it but revel in it (look at crusades, huns, etc.)
Also it helps that these are some of the more realistic characters I have read, especially females which it seems not many can do. He makes the women be able to be both women but strong characters in the own right and not defined by the men of the story. It is basically a an exploration of people, humanity and society in the setting of fanatasy, the best part of why sci-fi/fantasty exists for me, to explore the darker parts of humanity much closer then through what is comfortable to in a non-fiction setting.

As for the order they came out in chronological order (except the novella), and it's easy to find the title order.
 

DeeWiz

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Newtonyd said:
Psykoma said:
DeeWiz said:
The Sword of Truth seres - can't really pick only one book out of it. A close second would be Sword Art Online, not the anime but the books, which are much better.

Would it be better to read the sword of truth series chronologically, or the order the books came out?
Do yourself a favor and don't read the Sword of Truth series at all. I've read the entire thing, and I can tell you it is the series I've most regretted reading. I continued to read it mostly because I kept getting them for my birthday from people who didn't know better, so I felt semi-obligated to continue.

If you must read it, read only the first 3 or 4 books. I'd hesitate at that, because the first few books might convince you that I'm wrong and that maybe the series is worth reading after all. After that, it turns into an extremely thinly veiled rant against socialism / communism, in which the socialists are an endless faceless army of serial rapists. Speaking of which, you'd better like reading rape and torture scenes, because rarely do a few chapters go by without some village or caravan being raped to death.

Anyway, the author's political motivations are ridiculously transparent. Just as an example, he has the main character drop what he's doing and get yanked, through plot construct, to the heart of the socialist empire, where he takes up a trade and then builds up an enormously successful business while showing everyone the limitless power of capitalism. This is an actual part of a book series that was previously all about beheading villains and using magic to fight satanists.

The last book of the series is literally just a bunch of pseudo discussions about socialism being a soul-crushing system, with the socialists essentially throwing up strawman arguments for the capitalists to demolish. The ending is a ridiculous hole to sweep the remainder of the plot into. At this point, it's not even offensive. Just lazy and uninspired.

Also, the socialists enslave and demonstratably out-evil the satanists.

Just WTF.

TL;DR Don't read it.

On topic, for fantasy, most recently I enjoyed Tigana, Way of Kings, and Book of the Long Sun. For more science-fiction stuff, I loved Neuromancer and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. These are just the books I've read most recently, I'm sure I could dredge up more favorites.
I find the people that need to ascribe political motivations to the story are the ones he is talking about. The story is not about anything political but about the individual person versus mass mentality, the ability to reason versus mob mentalilty. Its actually trendy at this point to whine that it's anti-socialism / pro-objectivism which exactly what the author was warning against. I'm not saying that it does come across as such but the real point of the story is pointing out the human base for why these institutions exist and people's need to be part of the mass and not thinking for themselves. Yes they are lots of torture and rape simply because when you give license to these things (as the main antagonist does) people will not only do it but revel in it (look at crusades, huns, etc.)
Also it helps that these are some of the more realistic characters I have read, especially females which it seems not many can do. He makes the women be able to be both women but strong characters in the own right and not defined by the men of the story. It is basically a an exploration of people, humanity and society in the setting of fanatasy, the best part of why sci-fi/fantasty exists for me, to explore the darker parts of humanity much closer then through what is comfortable to in a non-fiction setting.

As for the order they came out in chronological order (except the novella), and it's easy to find the title order.
 
Dec 10, 2012
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Man, so many. Too many to pick, too many to mention. If I have to pick one book, the first one that always comes to mind is Frank Herbert's Dune. Read it ten years ago when I was a teenager, and sufficed to say that I have rarely been so in love with a single story. It is a flawlessly crafted novel, does a peerless job of world building, and does better at making political power plays interesting than anything I've ever read, watched, or played. The sequels range between almost as good and just plain bizarre, but the first Dune was one of those life-changing books that I have not stopped adoring for a second.

However, my favorite series is a much harder question. There's LotR of course, there's The Wheel of Time which I'm currently rereading in preparation of purchasing the final part of the series, there's the Foundation Series and the whole canon of Asimov's Robots, Empire, and Foundation universe. There is the Ender series, though it's really just the first 2 books that I truly love. I was deep, deep into Harry Potter for a while, but not so much any more to call it a contender for favorite. And although the second half of the six Dune novels get pretty dang weird, that's another favorite set of books. It's very hard to pick one series.

Other possibilities for individual favorites include: Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Slaughterhouse 5, The Catcher in the Rye, Foundation, Catch-22, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Neuromancer.
 
Apr 5, 2008
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Smiley Face said:
KingsGambit said:
Other cool news I learned about Patrick Rothfuss....he's going to be involved in the writing of Torment. That's write, the Kickstarter record-shattering title I already backed because of how incredible it is going to be, has an equally incredible fantasy novelist involved in writing it. If I could back that baby twice, I would've! :)
WHAT? Dammit, this is one of those days where I fucking hate linear time. December 2014.... graaagh...
I know, right! I think he's excited about it as the developers and the fans of both the original game and his books.

Here's his FB page [https://www.facebook.com/Patrick.Rothfuss?ref=ts&fref=ts] (I hope this link works for you!). Currently about 3 posts down, posted "Sunday" and beginning "Since facebook neuters everyone's posts these days..."

When I read that I thought it was incredibly (I need a new word!) cool. He's not content with just writing great books...he has that charity, his store (with a lot of products discussed with him, by fans and his blog readers), did that calendar with Butcher, Martin, Sanderson and others, those web-isodes on fantasy writing. Great stuff. But my favourite quote from his update:

"There's a computer game coming out that focuses on character development and good storytelling. Two things I'm rather fond of.

They have a lot of great writers involved, people that have written some of the best games I've ever played."

He's not only a gamer, he plays RPGs and clearly has impeccable taste :)

I like how he also shares artwork from his fans. One fan sent him a portrait she painted of Kvothe with Devi (Devi of all people! She'd eat Kvothe alive) and he was really keen on it. Great guy.
 

Amanda Diamond

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Well, There are the Dragon Age novels, The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson(If you haven't read that series why are you sitting her reading this post? Go read it!) and the Chronicles of Amber if you are feeling vintage-y.
 

Adam Galli

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I don't really read series of books I read mostly military non fiction from ww2 to the present. I just finished American Sniper by Chris Kyle (R.I.P). I would place that in my favorites.
 

MiskWisk

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Oh, let's see:
-Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey is probably my favourite overall but...
-The Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix is really good too, focusing on a different kind of Necromancer,
-The Book of Words is a very good series although does get a bit odd at parts
 

Ocelano

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Miss Layton said:
Favourite book? Slaughterhouse 5 is a pretty good contender, as are Good Omens and Hogfather. Favourite book series? Discworld, bar none.
Beaten to it The discworld is my favourite series was first introduced to it through those 2 animated series "soul music" and "weird sisters" and spent the next ten years filling out my collection, sorcery was the hardest for me to find. Never looked back, now have them all a second signed copy of the truth a second German copy of men at arms or helle barden if I remember correctly. My latest big acquisition was actually the discworld board/card game where you play for control of ankh morpork. and to top it all off am currently midway through rereading the Vimes collection
 

Smiley Face

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BloatedGuppy said:
If you like Martin and Lynch you should check out Abercrombie.

If I could put the three stand alone novels set in the same universe and starring many of the same characters in with the trilogy, I'd put Abercrombie's "First Law" series in first place, followed closely by ASoIaF and the Kingkiller Chronicles.

Dresden Files are fun, but they're more of a guilty pleasure than great literature.
I've read the First Law Trilogy, and I've gotta say, it didn't really do it for me. I started out really quite interested, The Blade Itself was great, particularly anything with Glokta in it (that cleaver scene is fantastic, I don't even have the words), it really set things up - but as a series... I dunno, it's been a while, but if memory serves, it just seemed like it wasn't going anywhere - either because it didn't, or because Abercrombie couldn't keep me engaged. I dunno. At some point I'll pick it up and give it another read, maybe I'll be more into it the second time around, and then move on to Best Served Cold and Heroes and whatnot, but as a series, it's not making my favourites any time soon.
 

jacob97900

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Two of my favourites recently have been The Painted Man series, and The name of the wind. Two really great fantasy series. Also started reading the Magician from Raymond Feist and loving it so far.
 

Reven

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KingsGambit said:
Smiley Face said:
KingsGambit said:
Other cool news I learned about Patrick Rothfuss....he's going to be involved in the writing of Torment. That's write, the Kickstarter record-shattering title I already backed because of how incredible it is going to be, has an equally incredible fantasy novelist involved in writing it. If I could back that baby twice, I would've! :)
WHAT? Dammit, this is one of those days where I fucking hate linear time. December 2014.... graaagh...
I know, right! I think he's excited about it as the developers and the fans of both the original game and his books.

Here's his FB page [https://www.facebook.com/Patrick.Rothfuss?ref=ts&fref=ts] (I hope this link works for you!). Currently about 3 posts down, posted "Sunday" and beginning "Since facebook neuters everyone's posts these days..."

When I read that I thought it was incredibly (I need a new word!) cool. He's not content with just writing great books...he has that charity, his store (with a lot of products discussed with him, by fans and his blog readers), did that calendar with Butcher, Martin, Sanderson and others, those web-isodes on fantasy writing. Great stuff. But my favourite quote from his update:

"There's a computer game coming out that focuses on character development and good storytelling. Two things I'm rather fond of.

They have a lot of great writers involved, people that have written some of the best games I've ever played."

He's not only a gamer, he plays RPGs and clearly has impeccable taste :)

I like how he also shares artwork from his fans. One fan sent him a portrait she painted of Kvothe with Devi (Devi of all people! She'd eat Kvothe alive) and he was really keen on it. Great guy.

That is awesome! :) but one thing i noticed, on the kickstarter page says that he will join when they reach the 3.25$million goal, not impossible considering they are past the 3 million mark, but I'm totally chipping in if it means he joins the team :)
 

SckizoBoy

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A Hermit's Cave
BathorysGraveland2 said:
Well I actually liked Virtues, and the portrayal of Alexander, though it was a little romantic (in the way ancient Greeks dramatised and romanticised their own histories). He felt really lifelike to me, as one reviewer put it "it was like sitting in Alexander's tent while he spoke his tale to you directly" (not the actual quote, but close enough). Ultimately, in the end, we have little proof about the personalities of historical figures from the classical age, so a lot of it is up to interpretation. It wasn't as good as Gates, but I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Well, I've read Arrian's Anabasis and the portrayals are very different. And the picture I have of Alexander is a guy who's a brilliant soldier to the point of autism, ill-tempered, capricious, ambitious to a fault and generally highly inconsiderate to most unless goals coincide. However, I will concede that his adoption of a lot of Cyrian policies tempers this (largely) negative picture.

While we're discussing historical fiction, have you read Pride of Carthage by Anthony Durham? I recently finished reading it and it was pretty fine, though it ended pretty abruptly.
I have... rather mixed feelings about it. It was a very well written book and the story clocked along nicely and it was all very gritty and earthy as it should have been. However, I found it excessively partisan, some of the characters (i.e. inter-character relationships) made no sense, even literarily, never mind historically. I saw little, if any, reason to involve the Romans in it whatsoever, and I thought Durham missed a chance to portray military intelligence in its infancy (Hannibal being one of the best propagators and users of whatever passed as 'spies' at this time). Further, though it brought across Hannibal's tactical genius, I felt he rather gave up way too easily in the lead up to Zama, and truncating the war to basically five years (ish, from eighteen?! WUT?!) there was no time to full illustrate Hannibal's perpetual tactical invincibility in Italy (or as much as), his increasing frustrations with an obstructive Punic Senate etc. etc. etc.

On the whole, if I didn't know so much about the Second Punic War, I'd call it a brilliant book (if a bit disjointed at times), but now, I call it a great novel, just not a great historical novel. In not really doing much justice to how deep Rome dug to win and how good Africanus/Fabius/Marcellus were, it consequently does little real justice to how brilliant Hannibal was and just how high the odds were stacked against him.

*le sigh* Opportunity missed... and on that note, don't even get me started on Ross Leckie's appalling trilogy, pure sacrilege, all of it, pure unadulterated sacrilege.
 

BathorysGraveland2

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SckizoBoy said:
a snip worthy of Alexander's conquests
Well, I admit, I haven't read too much historically accurate sources on Alexander's personal life, so I can't honourablly debate that.

As for Pride of Carthage, I see what you mean. I did find the buildup of Zama and the confrontation between Hannibal and Scipio to be very rushed, and I was expecting to at least see some of the life after the war, as Hannibal remained in Carthage for several years as some kind of civilian officer (forgot what he was exactly), but after a hasty depiction of Zama, it just.. ends. In the non-historical side, some of the character arcs remain unfinished as well (what ever happened to Imco Vaca? Did he perish in Zama or did he re-unite with his love? What of Sapanibal and Hannibal's wife?). I understand the narrative decision to strip down the war to five years though, nothing breaks a story more than several "3 years later" jumps. This is an area where I think Tides of War suffered, it jumped ahead great deals of time too often.

In any case, the author doesn't appear to have done any more historical novels, so I guess it was a one-time thing that didn't work out for him. Unfortunately.

I have not heard of Ross Leckie, though given your reaction, I'm not sure I really want to. Haha.
 
Apr 5, 2008
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Reven said:
That is awesome! :) but one thing i noticed, on the kickstarter page says that he will join when they reach the 3.25$million goal, not impossible considering they are past the 3 million mark, but I'm totally chipping in if it means he joins the team :)
Do it! Else everyone on the Escapist will blame you if it falls short :p Hah. I've backed about 5-6 projects on Kickstarter since Obsidian announced Project Eternity, and with those I've always gone for the "Early Bird" option, whatever gets me the game for the least money. Torment however i went straight in at $45 (though I admit the inclusion of Wasteland 2 (whose kickstarter I missed) helped here).

jacob97900 said:
Two of my favourites recently have been The Painted Man series, and The name of the wind. Two really great fantasy series. Also started reading the Magician from Raymond Feist and loving it so far.
Never read the Painted Man, though have seen it around. I just finished Magician actually, good but you can tell Feist isn't as great a writer as he is now. Got about a third way through Silverthorn before getting bored.

Currently reading William Gibson's "The Sprawl" trilogy. I read somewhere that this series did for Cyberpunk what The Hobbit did for fantasy so wanted to read it for myself. You can clearly see the influence on Shadowrun, probably even the Matrix films.
 

Pescetarian

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Dresden Files are nice, but I still feel both the Discworld and Hitchhiker's Guide series outclass it.
 

Cheesepower5

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Bernard Cornwell's The Warlord Chronicles. Bold, atmospheric and unappologetically realised telling of the King Arthur mythos. Any book that can drop names like "Culhwch" or "Gorfyddyd" and keep me reading is a 10/10, really. (No offense to any Welsh users whose parents happen to have a thing for the first millenium A.D.)