Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tell me what to read

I’ve been reading a lot of discussions about genre diversification among reviewers recently. I won’t weigh in on these discussions one way or another but I will say they've made me rather thoughtful about my own reading habits. Because of this, I want to start an experiment of my own wherein you, my dear reader, tell me what to read.

I only have a few rules. No paranormal romance, please. And please keep all suggestions in the speculative fiction genre. I consider myself a pretty widely read person, so other than my PR restriction, I’m open to pretty much anything. Now, whatever book gets suggested, I’ll get from the library. If the library doesn’t have it, I’ll buy it so make sure it’s not some really rare, out of print thing that will cost way too much money.

I would like this process to be wholly dictated by you. Basically, I want all of you to make up my mind for me. So, feel free to nominate books in the comments below. You can either nominate a book and leave it at that, or explain your nominations; whatever you want to do. If I get enough nominations, I’ll make another post in a few days with the list of all the nominated books and let all of you vote on which one I should read next.

I usually read three to four books at the same time. So, I’ll read 2 of my choice (one to review, one I chose) and the last one will be whatever book you chose for me. I’d like to get a fairly hefty nomination list. The book with the highest votes will be the book I read first, and the rest will fall in line after that. I’ll remove the books from the list that I’ve already read. If you are on Goodreads, you can look at my account and see a fairly substantial list of books I’ve read/plan to read. Feel free to get creative with your nominations. 

I’m hoping that this experiment will help me explore books I would otherwise not read and thus, diversify my reading within the genre. Speculative fiction encompasses a lot of sub genres, which should allow you a lot of wiggle room for suggestions. I also hope that it might spark some interesting discussions.

So, there you have it. What, dear readers, should I read next?

Addendum: I will accept nominations until Wednesday of this week at which time I will make a post with my nominations list to let all of you vote on which book I should read first. Each book nominated will be read in order of votes from highest being first and lowest being last.  

29 comments:

  1. Read 'Empress' by Karen Miller

    Or

    'Cast in Shadows' by Michelle Sagara

    Or

    'Hunter's Oath' by Michelle West

    :D

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  2. Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry - one of my favorite reads this year!

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  3. Wonderful suggestions so far. I've never read (or heard of) most of them. I'll put them on my list!

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  4. Weird, I made a comment and then it disappeared. Anyway, "Stories of Your Life and Others" by Ted Chiang was the suggestion - one of the best short story collections I've ever read.

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  5. (I think I figured out why it didn't post - I hadn't noticed it was a "preview" before it would be posted. My bad.)

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  6. Stefan, I really haven't ever read a short story compilation. That is a great suggestion as it really will get me to read something I otherwise probably would not read.

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  7. Staying within "core" speculative fiction I would suggest:

    Use of Weapons by IM Banks
    Spirit by G Jones
    Desideria by N. Kornher-Stace
    Kushiel's Dart by J. Carey
    The Etched City by KJ Bishop

    Stretching to its edges:

    Master and Margarita by M. Bulgakov
    Cloud Atlas by D. Mitchell (Thousand Autumns would do too, though it's sff content is marginal but there)

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  8. The one book that still sticks with me to this day is "House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski. It's has 3 different stories wrapped up in one. It's about a man who finds a manuscript for a book that his dead neighbor had written. The manuscript is about a family that lives in a house that measures larger on the inside than the outside...which turns into a whole other matter. It is also about a movie (that the first man can find no record of) which documents the goings on of the house. It's really hard to explain but worth the read!

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  9. If your library has it, I nominate The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge. It is out of print, so if it's not a book your library actually has, consider it not nominated and in its place My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due.

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  10. I looked through your goodreads 'read' shelf, but I do admit it was pretty cursory, so I have a few books not on your list (I think).

    Dragon Prince trilogy - Melanie Rawn (Dragon Prince, The Star Scroll, and Sunrunner's Fire)

    Tyrants and Kings trilogy - John Marco (The Jackal of Nar, The Grand Design, and Saints of the Sword)

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  11. In that case, another very highly recommended short story collection: "The Best of Gene Wolfe" (by, yes, Gene Wolfe).

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  12. TIGANA by Guy Gavriel Kay. It's full of epic sweep, but it's also a complex, deeply personal story (and my favourite book of all time).

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  13. What about Zero History, and if you have not read them Pattern Recognition and Spook Country by William Gibson. I loved them and though set now still probably have to be labeled Sci Fi. And if not one of those what about one of Angry Robot's books really from any one of them, so far what I have read I have liked.

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  14. I second Memory's recommendation of Tigana (Actually anything by Gavreil Kay is usually a good choice), and Joe's recommendation of Gibson's Pattern Recogntion.

    here's a few more, I went through your review index and your GOodReads read list, so hopefully these will be new titles for you. None of these are new, the library should have them all.

    The Anubis Gates, by Tim Powers
    Shadow & Claw, by Gene Wolfe
    Someplace to be Flying, by Charles deLint
    Nightwatch by Sergei Lukyanenko (this one, you might have to interlibrary loan)
    Whitechapel Gods, by S.M. Peters, one of my favorite steampunks.
    City of Saints and Madmen, by Jeff Vandermeer

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  15. Do not read anything by Karen Miller, she made my brain feel like it was shat upon.

    I'll second David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas and The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers.

    And I'll put forth:

    Memoirs of a Master Forger by William Heaney (by Graham Joyce)
    The Prestige by Christopher Priest
    Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow
    Last Dragon by J.M. McDermott
    Thunderer by Felix Gilman
    Sleepless by Charlie Huston


    If you haven't read them you also need to read: The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham and The Warlord Trilogy by Bernard Cornwell

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  16. Looking at your Goodreads books right now :-)
    From your To Read list, you should get on with:
    -Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
    -Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

    And since liked River of Gods by Ian McDonald, you should read Brasyl, I thought that was better.

    And here are some other suggestions:
    -Changeless by Gail Carriger
    -The king of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany
    -Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes
    -The Mars-Trilogy (Red Mars; Green Mars; Blue Mars) by Kim Stanley Robinson
    -Legends edited by Robert Silverberg

    All books that have given me great enjoyment :-)

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  17. I can totally recommend:
    Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
    Also for short story collections:
    Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
    Black Juice by Marogo Lanagan
    The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

    And now for something completely different:
    The Sandman Graphic novels by Neil Gaiman
    Farenheit 451 Graphic novel

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  18. I suck at listing novels. BUT you definitely need to read:

    Slights by Kaaron Warren
    Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
    Angel of Death by J Robert King
    The Amanda Feral series [it's Urban Fantasy, not paranormal romance and it's hilarious]

    Mhm, those are that come to mind. No wait:

    FABLES graphic novels! You can't go wrong with them.

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  19. I'm going to go a bit more old school;

    Since you liked Janny Wurts I'd recommend the Empire trilogy by Janny Wurts and Raymond E. Feist.
    Also Magician by Raymond E. Feist. I know there are a lot of people who dislike his later books, but Magician is fantastic.
    And Ash by Mary Gentle. It's alt-history, I really liked it.
    Finally Myrren's Gift by Fiona McIntosh. I bought and read that in a day during our honeymoon in London, when I went home I had everything of hers available at the time in the big shops on Charing Cross lol

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  20. I would suggest "The God Stalker Chronicles" by PC Hodgell. This is actually two books in one; "God Stalk" and "Dark of the Moon".
    And I found it to be a very worthwhile and enjoyable read, which I still regularly retrun to reread every year or so.

    I hope you find the time to read and review them someday.

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  21. If you're looking to start a new series, here are a few suggestions:

    A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham
    Farthing by Jo Walton
    WWW: Wake by Robert J. Sawyer
    The Darkness That Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker

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  22. Just a few books I would like to recommend to your attention and that do not seem to be listed on Goodreads; my apolobies if you should already have any of those:

    "Titus Groan" / "Gormenghast" / "Titus Alone" by Mervyn Peake - true classics that show what speculative fiction is capable of in the hands of a great writer.

    "Little, Big" by John Crowley - one of the best fantasy novels ever, beautifully written and, though there have some books in a similar vein since its first publication, still quite unique in what it does.

    "The Book of Jhereg" by Steven Brust - fantasy with a difference, his Vlad Taltos are a rollercoaster of a read, one is usually so taken by the action and the narrator's voice that one barely notices how insanely cleverly written they are.

    "Lifelode" by Jo Walton - might be a bit hard to get hold of, but well worth the trouble - the most exciting fantasy novel I've come across in recent years.

    "Rediscovery of Man" by Cordwainer Smith - he died early and left only a small body of stories and one novel but those belong the greatest works the science fiction genre has brought forth so far.

    "Nova", or "Babel 17", or "Einstein Intersection", or "Dhalgren" or really anything else by Samuel R. Delany who in my opinion is the greatest science fiction writer ever and whose works explore both in form and content areas dared go.

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  23. I challenge you to go to your local, second-hand bookshop (or library) and read/review the 23rd, 68th and 112th books on the shelf.

    Precision counting is mandatory. If it turns out to be a volume in a series, you're allowed to start with volume 1 instead.

    Libraries are free, but second-hand bookshop turns up books in paperback that a library won't carry. Your choice.

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  24. Looks like you have quite the list, but one I forgot and that I could read over and over (but I know not everyone can) is:

    Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

    It's just awesome, but very slow.

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  25. My apologies if you already own these or have read them but:

    Archangel by Sharon Shinn
    Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

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  26. I'll second the nominations for The Prestige, The Long Price Quartet, and Guards! Guards!.

    Some suggestions,
    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
    World War Z, Max Brooks
    Crystal Rain, Tobias Buckell
    The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
    The Monarchies of God, Paul Kearney
    Lavinia, Ursula Le Guin
    The Orphan's Tales, Catherynne Valente
    Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld

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  27. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak

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