Posted on Feb. 10, 2018, 3:05 p.m. by Suns_Champion
Recently commented on a "favorite bands/albums" post so I thought I'd do a post on favorite books! Let's talk about our top books and book series!
My top 3 favorite books/book series are the following:
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
No fantasy world can compare to the sheer depth of Tolkien's Middle Earth. I'm including The Hobbit and The Silmarillion here too. The massive collection of history, locations, characters, and stories make Tolkien's masterpiece perhaps the most immersive fantasy work ever written. Love these books. Movies are great too.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.
Great military science fiction that is one of the smartest books I've ever read. This book makes you think, then pulls the rug out from under you just when you think you have it figured out. movie was lackluster.
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson
The first in a series of 4 about Peter Pan and his origin. Great series, fascinating take of Peter and the world of Neverland. Does a very good job of paying homage to the Original Disney film while also blazing it's own trail. I wish they'd adapt these into movies.
So what are your favorite books or book series? Mine all happen to be fiction but yours could be anything! Let's discuss!
The Lord of the Rings is among my favourites as well. The characters are great, and the writing is unrivalled.
Keeping in the high fantasy genera, Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sandersons) Wheel of Time is another of my favourites. The writing is god-aweful (all the verbosity of Tolkien, but lacking the skill of Tolkiens execution), but the story is unrivalled. The world, magic, and characters are incredibly detailed. The plot is perhaps one of the greatest tales ever told. Easily the worst-written books that I love.
Classics are another of my favourites, particularly The Aeneid. The tale of struggle, of exile, of dutys conflict with love, the not-so-subtle propaganda for Augustus. Truly a fascinating books.
In terms of science fiction, I am a big fan of anything by Heinlein, Clarke, or Asimov. All three were talented world-builders, and capable of telling thought-provoking stories, without being preachy. If you have enjoyed Enders Game, I highly recommend Starship Troopers (the book is completely different from the filmthe director admitted he did not read more than the first two chapters). It has some very thought provoking lessons on the nature of military and citizenship, written by one of the three paragons of science fiction.
At this point, I think Ill stop writing. Im sure I can go on for hours listing all the wonderful works of literature humanity has developed.
February 10, 2018 3:27 p.m.
Favorite Sci-fi: anything by asimov. His is NAISU DESSUU....
Favorite Literature: War and Peace
Favorite Fantasy: Night Angel Trilogy
Favorite Genre: Metafiction.
February 10, 2018 5:25 p.m.
i've enjoyed reading the elric saga (michael moorcock) as much as lotr, probably a bit more. hopefully, there'll be an r-rated movie adaptation of it someday. in the sci-fi domain, there's asimov, and then there's everyone else. the robot series is pretty good and i recommend.
February 10, 2018 5:47 p.m.
Great topic, Suns_Champion; thanks for kicking it off! And I'm with you on Ender's Game ... that's probably my #3.
#1? Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash: Edgy, irreverent, and brilliant cyberpunk. Plus, it has stood the test of time, which is not always easy for Sci-Fi to do.
#2? Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl: Utterly mind-blowing biopunk.
Best series? Charles Stross' Laundry Files: Dilbert meets Men in Black, but with Eldritch horrors. The Atrocity Archives is Book 1.
Non-fiction? Edward Tufte's Visual Display of Quantitative Information: A superb look at how to present information clearly and concisely.
February 10, 2018 8:31 p.m.
The Chronicles of Amber is one of my all time favorite series.
February 10, 2018 11:26 p.m.
Personally: A song of Ice and Fire series by G.R.R. Martin, even if he never finishes it, the dark storyline and much more mature look at fantasy make me very happy. Other than that, I love Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, it's just so damn fun. Lastly, my one guilty pleasure is Looking for Alaska by John Green. The first book to make me cry in a long time.
February 11, 2018 1:56 a.m.
The dark tower series by stephen king! Game of thrones, the godfather saga and lord of the rings/the hobbit are very close 2nds thirds and 4ths
February 11, 2018 3:26 a.m.
I'm gonna have too go with a classic Bram strokers Dracula. The story telling in that book is out of this world and the detail is exquisite
February 11, 2018 9:46 a.m.
#3: GAH I CAN'T CHOOSE THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD BOOKS!!!!
#2: GAH I CAN'T CHOOSE THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD BOOKS!!!!
#1: GAH I CAN'T CHOOSE THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD BOOKS!!!!
February 11, 2018 12:27 p.m.
okay. I am okay.
5: The Seven Wonders series by Peter Lerangis
4: The Michael Vey series By Richard Paul Evans
3: Ender's Game
2: The Harry Potter series
1: The Unwanteds series by Lisa McMann
I won't get into a rant about how good these books are right now...
February 11, 2018 12:36 p.m.
I read quite a lot but this past January I read some excellent books (though I do echo Spirit_Logan, so many good books to choose from)
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is wonderful, but you do need to get through the first 60-70 pages first
The Murders of Molly Southborne by Tade Thompson is an intriguing story, though sadly it is barely 120 pages
The Agent Cormac series by Neal Asher is a dark space opera of AI, aliens and invasive nanotech, brutal and beautiful at the same time
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer is another short book but great, mind bending and leaving you with a pile of questions, but no real answers
Anything by Simon R Green. No really, anything by him.
Finally, shameless plug for The Chamber of Seven, book 1 by Thaddeus Moriarty. Written by a friend and available on amazon, its swords and sorcery fantasy done well. If you have the opportunity, pick up a copy. He hasn't done anything completely new or different but he's taken high fantasy and done it well
February 11, 2018 2:17 p.m.
Vampire earth series by E. E. Knight is amazing also The Gears of war series, resident evil series, and Hellgate London series are amazing. Potty Hellgate London game got canned.
February 11, 2018 3:27 p.m.
I dont have a favorite book but my favorite series is the safehold series by David Weber, think Martin Luthers (not the black rights activists, the one who tried to reform the church) battle against the church and increase the size to a planet a little smaller than earth and add in a cybernetic Pica trying to help reform the church and you have a planet at war.. thats pretty much what the series is about. It also has one of the few antagonist I literally want to kill or see tortured and burned alive just like all his victims...
February 11, 2018 3:57 p.m.
You all ever read any of Louis L'Amor's work? He's a personal favourite. Shalako may be his best work in my opinion, but I implore you to read the book, not watch the movie. Another fantastic book he wrote was the Walking Drum. This one is set in medieval Europe. He's defintely worth stepping outside your zone for.
A nonfiction work i highly recommend is Dear Leader by Jang Jin Sung. The story literally had my palms sweating as he detailed his escape from the worst place on earth: North Korea.
February 11, 2018 4:24 p.m.
I read Lord of the Flies just about every night when I was 14. I would say that is my favourite book of all time.
It tells the real story of what would happen if a large group of boys became trapped on an island. Would power structures form? Would they devolve into chaos, or maintain an orderly society? How would outsiders interact with the rest? What about sociopaths?
I really enjoyed Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, which was suggested to me by people in my class when I did my Master of Arts.
There seems to be no surprise in the title, but this particular murderer has the most acute sense of smell you can imagine, and uses it to both perpetrate crimes in fascinating fashion, and elude being brought to justice. Sherlock's Mind Palace pales in comparison.
Another noteable mention is The Death of Napoleon, which Amazon doesn't have in eBook form but iTunes does. It's a very short read, but I just love the characterisation. Imagine, if Napoleon hadn't died in exile, and comes back to visit all the places people have attributed to him. Not all of them may be authentic ...
February 11, 2018 4:53 p.m.
All of my favorite books are by Brandon Sanderson. Love the originality of his magic systems and his worlds.
February 11, 2018 7:21 p.m.
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson I think has slowly stood the test of time for me as my favorite book I have ever read the more I think about it despite my initial dislike of it. It's short and at first the structure is confusing but after reading it a couple times the story and characters really started to hit home and suck you in. Anyway strongly recommend it not only for the story but for its accurate depiction of life on a First Nations Reserve.
I would be remiss to not mention both Tolkien's corpus and Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, both simply standing as the pinnacles of fantasy for me. Tolkien's detail is inspiring and Martin's storytelling in my opinion is second to none.
Other books I cannot help but mention are Kafka's The Castle; it's dense and Kafka's aversion to using periods can make it difficult but I like a book that makes me think and Kafka really wants that to happen. To this end Huxley's Brave New World is also a book I need to mention and a must read.
The classics are also something that should be spotlighted: the corpus of the Mabinogion (Welsh tales), The Iliad, Plautus' Pseudolus, and more are all works that have something amazing to offer.
Too many books...
February 11, 2018 10:10 p.m.
In a rather foolish move, I forgot to mention Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles. A number of you have shown a love of high fantasy--Rothfuss is an exemplar of the genera, whose mastery of language harkens to Tolkien. It's framing is unique--or rather, something old and forgotten, an echo of the Canterbury tales.
Well worth checking out if you have not read the books yet.
February 11, 2018 10:23 p.m.
Lord of the Rings trilogy, Game of Thrones series and Jurassic Park/The Lost World are my top 3 easily.
February 12, 2018 6:05 a.m.
@KnightsBattlecry001 I only got through The Hobbit. It's a good series, but I liked other books moar.
February 12, 2018 6:08 a.m.
@Spirit_Logan The hobbit I actually read last out of Tolkien's books lol. LotR was what got me hooked on the genre and I just branched out from there.
February 12, 2018 6:15 a.m.
Oloro_Magic love a bit of surreal Kafka. That style of writing is called stream of consciousness, as it's supposed to mimic how your brain jumps all over the place. You might already know that.
Monkey Beach sounds intriguing. I might give that a look.
Brave New World is outstanding. I ALMOST mentioned that myself.
If you like novels with dystopian futures you might also enjoy the Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.
I always preferred the Odyssey to the Iliad.
You have excellent taste in literature.
February 12, 2018 6:31 a.m.
Argy First off I must say thank you, you as well have excellent taste in literature from what I can tell. The Handmaid's Tale has been on my list for a very long time maybe I should finally get around to opening it up.
As for Kafka's stream of consciousness, you may already know this but his stream of consciousness has a very specific reasoning behind it. In a diary passage from 1911 he explains how without the period the sentence, being longer, releases it's "full breath" on the listener without the break that returns it to the speaker. Truly genius in my eyes.
I forgot to mention the Odyssey, a great book and a great tale I agree, the Aeneid is another exclusion and if you are able I strongly recommend reading it in the Latin or with the Latin to the side, an amazing experience struggling through that text. Another classic that doesn't get attention is the Tale of Sinuhe, a Middle Egyptian tale of a man who upon learning of the King's death abandons his home to live with a group of Asiatics.
To finish quickly I must recommend Monkey Beach again. I will admit the first time I read it I did not appreciate or even like the book but there is no book that has stuck with me like that one, and upon reading it again I have no shame in saying that it is the closest a book has come to reducing me to tears, the story of Lisamarie really captured me.
February 12, 2018 7:51 a.m.
NO ONE HAS MENTIONED THE INHERITANCE SERIES?!?!!?!
February 12, 2018 11:29 a.m.
Oloro_Magic there is something magical about understanding the full meaning of a text that isn't written in our English.
When I studied The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer for my BA, we had to translate it from Middle English, which is a more difficult task than one might expect.
The richness of the language was exposed, as some of the words had a double layer of meaning.
February 12, 2018 2:50 p.m.
im_tapped_out_man that is high on my list of series that I liked, however the fact that I didnt really like eldest really hurt the standings of it for me.... I couldnt even finish it at the time hopefully it would be different if I were to read it again...
February 12, 2018 3:04 p.m.
Argy I completely agree the real plight of the translator is communicating the little implications, the double entendre, the patterns, and the overall spirit of the text in translation. Even little things such as dialectic expression and unordinary sentence structure are sadly lost in the translation. I would love to have the opportunity to read Chaucer in Middle English. My grasp of paleography is fine but I fear some of the more Norman elements would at times throw me off. Though I imagine the largely simplified case endings make the process both more challenging and engaging.
February 12, 2018 3:41 p.m.
Recently Tolkien's estate published Tolkien's translation of Beowulf, complete with his annotations and notes on the subject. He frequently goes into substantial depth regarding the inaccuracies of his own translation, and the problems the translator faces. He does a great job explaining why he hates the literal translation, and explains how a more accurate translation would read. The translation itself is less lyrical than many other Beowulf translations, as he tries to more accurately capture the language than the rhythmic prose of the story. This makes it a unique and new read, even for those who are intimately familiar with the story.
From his notes, you can really tell Tolkien's love of the myth, and his unparalleled grasp of Old English culture and language. If you guys are interested in translations, and the difficulties in conveying nuance, I highly recommend this read.
February 12, 2018 3:51 p.m.
Been loving hearing all of your favorite books! If I had time I'd read them all!
cdkime I can't wait to get my hands on Tolkien's Beowulf. Done a fair bit of study on Tolkien's work and life. Remarkable man, and as you mentioned, his love and knowledge of English myth and language went unrivaled.
You can clearly see that love in The Lord of the Rings and his other works, for which he created, from scratch, around 10 languages, with the Elvish languages Quenya and Sindarin being the only ones with substantial vocabulary. Point is, that is why I love Tolkien and his mythos so damn much.
So many great works mentioned! Many that I've read, that are on my list, or that I've never hear of! Fantastic taste in literature you all have!
Another I forgot to mention was Mark Twain's Joan of Ark. Read that when I was 13 and will never forget it.
February 12, 2018 5:04 p.m.
To add more Tolkien facts (I, quite literally, cannot help myself) in addition to the 10-ish languages he invented for The Lord of the Rings, he invented a secret dot-based code that he used for communicating with his wife while in the trenches of WWI. This allowed him to bypass military censorship and communicate unimpeded. He also was families or fluent in 20+ languages--he knew most all the contemporary European languages (including the assorted Scandinavian countries, which are notoriously difficult languages for non-native speakers). He also knew the archaic and obsolete version of these languages, such as Middle/Old French, Old Norse, etc.
Modern English is a bastard language--an abhorrent and beautiful amalgamation of countless root languages. Tolkien made it a point to know them all.
February 12, 2018 5:25 p.m.
I forgot to mention:
The Divergent series
The Hunger Games series
Any Rick Riordan book
The Maze Runner series
The Matched series
how did i forget so many...
February 13, 2018 2:45 p.m.
Also Kurt Vonnegut, in particular Cat's Cradle, Hocus Pocus and Player Piano. 2BR02B is also a good quick read by him.