Oct. 21st, 2009 09:55 pm
prince_corwin: (Default)
[personal profile] prince_corwin
Recommend some to me, please.

(Because I just got my great big birthday gift certificate from my parents, a little early this year.)

No particular topics I can think of.

Date: 2009-10-22 03:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I just finished Lev Grossman's The Magicians. Didn't seem promising when I started it, but I ended up enjoying it a fair bit. It's been described as "Harry Potter Goes to College", but I'd be more inclined to say that it's Harry Potter meets Less Than Zero meets the Chronicles of Narnia.

You'll like it if that's the kind of thing you like.

Date: 2009-10-22 03:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've looked at that three or four times in the bookstore and thought about buying it. I think it comes down to, "If it's a really good example of what it's trying to be, I'll like it," but I could never figure out if it was that, or just cashing in on the end of Harry Potter and trying to fill the niche.

Date: 2009-10-22 01:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't think it's the latter; it's too cynical for that. (Though it might be cashing in on the cynicism of those of us who like Harry Potter but are just a little too jaded for some of it. It's a very Gen-X sort of novel, in its way.)

If you'd asked your question when I started the book, I wouldn't have recommended it because there were a number of things about how it started that I didn't care for. But it intrigued me enough to keep reading and at the end I didn't feel like I'd wasted my time. (That said, I also thought the ending a little pat given the point the author was trying to make...but it was fun getting there.)

I stayed up late reading as I got toward the end, and that's something I rarely do these days.

Date: 2009-10-22 03:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hrm, I think I've mentioned Watership Down before. Not sure if it'd be your thing or not, but it's a classic!

(I think you'd like it, but it's in its own category enough that I wouldn't want to swear up and down to it.)

I forget, have you tried any of the urban supernatural stuff or not? I have absolutely *zero* idea if you'd like the sub-genre or not, but it'd at least give us a fellow reader to hash things out with, since I know there are a few readers of it already in the "group."

Date: 2009-10-22 03:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can make a recommendation for urban supernatural--Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire--but I have to admit to bias, as she's a friend of mine (but the book is still really good). And that's to you as well as Corwin.

Date: 2009-10-22 04:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Heh, so noted. Will probably pick it up sometime vaguely soonish. Although I've been bitten before by urban supernatural recs. *shifty eyes*

Date: 2009-10-22 04:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Don't worry, no biting. Literally--no vampires.

Date: 2009-10-22 03:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
On paper, it seems like the sort of thing I'd like, but when I pick one up in the bookstore, they all look so... formulaic.

Date: 2009-10-22 04:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, possibly because some of them are.

Depends on which one you picked up. And really I guess in some ways even a lot of the good ones are formulaic, but as TV Tropes says, tropes aren't (always) a bad thing.

Date: 2009-10-22 12:26 pm (UTC)
ext_12920: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Try Mike Carey's Felix Castor books (first one: _The Devil You Know_).

Date: 2009-10-22 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Seconded; I think the superior quality of the writing, the particular character of the protagonist, and the remarkable SFnality of the world compared to most urban fantasies (though this is a thing that only gradually becomes apparent over the series) are all things that would make this [ profile] prince_corwin suited.

Date: 2009-10-22 01:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can second Watership Down, with the same cautious "I think you'll like it." That's assuming you haven't read it.

Steven Pinker's The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature might be a little light for you, but it was a delight and a half for me.

Date: 2009-10-22 04:48 am (UTC)
kjn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kjn
Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn. Haven't finished it, but what I've read is good stuff.

Date: 2009-10-22 04:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That actually looks really interesting, and is somewhat in line with other books I've been reading, recently.

Date: 2009-10-22 06:26 am (UTC)
kjn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kjn
If nothing else, I think it can give you lots of food for thoughts for your philosophy of GM‑ing.

Date: 2009-10-22 03:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I picked this up at WorldCon, and though I've only read little bits of it so far, it seems really well done.

Date: 2009-10-22 10:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
A while back I read Grimoires: A History of Magic Books, by Owen Davies, which I found quite interesting.

Other than that... I read Volcano Cowboys: The Rocky Evolution of a Dangerous Science, by Dick Thompson five years ago, and I recall it as a rather fun book. Right now, I'm reading Neil Roberts' The Holocene: An Environmental History, though it's 20 years old and thus not really cutting edge science these days.

Date: 2009-10-22 01:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I haven't read that Davies, but I did read his book on cunning folk a few years ago for a report on the subject (for my coven training, natch) and found it really good. A lot of the published material in this area is laden with wishful thinking, speculation, and bad writing, but Davies is solid.

Date: 2009-10-22 01:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm enjoying Buckell's Ragamuffin (sequel to Crystal Rain, and thankfully not as much (read: at all) about steampunk pirates as the cover might make you think) kind of a lot.

Have you read Sanderson?

Date: 2009-10-23 02:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sanderson: Read the one about the zombie city. Well, read about half of it, got bored, and made Desdenova and Publius just tell me the end of it.

Date: 2009-10-23 06:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That one was OK. I liked the trilogy better.

Date: 2009-10-22 03:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Have you read Daniel Abraham's Long Price books ? If not, I would highly recommend them; a notably intelligent fantasy series with a really good world and characters and grown-up issues that genuinely builds from volume to volume; also they're not hugely long and it is complete.

Also, I have just read Empire in Black and Gold, the first volume of Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt, which while it is nothing hugely deep or original in some ways - in that it's about a bunch of squabbling city-states threatened with assimilation to a newly arisen Empire, with one academic who believes there's a danger and can't convince much of anyone else and a bunch of teenagers serving as his agents and having adventures - it does do some nice things in other ways - the various races of people in this fantasy world are all insect-aspected in some way or other, and Tchaikovsky seems to enjoy giving each race traditional aptitudes and powers at least as much to then talk about individuals who are misfits within each race's expectations as because insects are cool; also it's at an industrial revolution/early 20th century tech level done reasonably sensibly without steampunk excrescences, and there's a rather nice intelligence-officer on the enemy side POV. There are two more of these in print which I've not read yet.

Date: 2009-10-23 02:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Long Price: I've read about half the first one, and while I don't remember why I stopped reading, I put it on my list to pick up when everything is out in paperback.

Empire looks like a definite maybe. The reviewers all start by saying my first thought: "This sounds like a stupid premise," but then go on to say that it's used well, so, maybe.

Date: 2009-10-22 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer is excellent reading.
Edited Date: 2009-10-22 04:05 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-10-23 02:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You know, it's hard to argue with a book that's more than half off. I seem to remember looking at a different Crazy Fundamentalist Mormon book not long ago, though. I think it was a personal story of someone who made it out and ran away.

Date: 2009-10-23 02:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This one is done in the journalistic novel style of "In Cold Blood", which adds to its interesting..ness.
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