I was not expecting to be blogging again so soon, but I read about this thing going on with the blogosphere today, Spreading the Awesome
. (I read it on io9
, which is a nerd blog and awesome as well). It's all about recommending awesome (as in 10-star) books. I thought it was not only a great idea, but something I should do. As I love to read, you can expect to have many book recommendations in the future, but for now, I'm trying to think of the absolutely best books (which means not only did I enjoy them, but I think they are actual quality books) I have read. This is kinda hard. I enjoy many books, but I also recognize that they aren't necessarily all that great. I tried to think of ones that might be new to those I know are reading my blog (yes, I know every single person in my family has heard of at least the one series, but they're so good I couldn't resist), but I apologize in case you've heard me gush about these before. Also, these might not be your cup of tea. But I think they are excellent.
First off, books that I absolutely love, but not many people seem to have read: Robin Hobb's books, starting with the Farseer trilogy, starting with Assassin's Apprentice
. She has two more trilogies that take place in the same world (and the last connects the first two), but I haven't finished them yet. (There's also some more coming out now, and she's written other books, some under a different name.) My reading stamina is oddly decreasing over the years and I don't have the attention span for epics anymore. But they are high on the list for when I feel like reading epics again.
A brief intro: it is fantasy (high fantasy?) but the magic is very subtle, not wizards in long robes waving their arms to produce big bursts of light and such. It follows the life of FitzChivalry Farseer (Fitz), the illegitimate son of the crown prince of the Six Duchies as he navigates the politics of his land while trying to defend it from raiders of the OutIslands. Warning: these aren't very happy books. They had me crying a lot. But they do end satisfyingly and are beautifully written. They really are just magnificent and so intricate it's kind of mind boggling.
Robin Hobb is one of my favorite authors because she's so dang mysterious (or at least, she used to be). Her bio was simply "Robin Hobb lives in Washington state." Then was added the bit about how she sometimes writes as Megan Lindholm, whose bios said the same except reverse. No picture, that was it. It was great.
Next, Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series, starting with The Thief
. I haven't read the most recent one, but I love the first three. Anyone who can write a first person book and still surprise me with the twist at the end deserves a prize (and I don't feel like she really cheated by just not telling you stuff, like some stories I've read). I love these books so much. And the new covers are so gorgeous.
Intro: fantasy again, but not much magic (and most of that seems to come in the first book, other than the occasional visit of a god or two). It's kind of alternate history as well, a sort of alternate Greece or something. I can't say too much, for fear of spoiling the twist, but it's largely about Gen, a charming little thief, and the shifting politics between three small nations trying to maintain their independence from the far larger nations on all sides. Man, I need to read these again...
A new series that I started just a few weeks ago: the Temeraire books by Naomi Novik, starting with His Majesty's Dragon
. Alternate history, Napoleonic wars with dragons
. I don't have to say more (although I will). Go read them. Also, Novik's style is so great, right on the nose. Very like Jane Austen/Patrick O'Brian. And the dragons are just hilarious.
Synopsis: Captain William Laurence, formerly of the Royal Navy, harnesses a rare Chinese dragonette captured from a French ship, names him Temeraire and joins the Air Corps. It's so great. I've read the first three and have the next two sitting staring at me accusingly for not having started them yet.
This is all I will write about books today, although there are so many more. These are not only enjoyable (oh so very) books, but I think they are really fantastically written as well. So, here's me doing my part to spread the awesome. You should do yours. Oh, and here's the reading list that's being assembled
(I have no idea if I will make it on, but I don't really think so or care). It is being updated over the next few days. I am sad to say that I haven't even heard of most of these, and have read even fewer, but I will definitely be checking them out in the days to come.
Update: I just found out that Spreading the Awesome started yesterday, but oh well.