It’s that time of year again, folks, when I look to the nethercorners of the Internet for reading suggestions and general bookish counsel from fellow book worms.
Last year I suffered through a rather lengthy, severe, and most objectionable case of Readers Block, which conveniently coincided with my lengthy, severe and objectionable case of Writer’s Block. Being a book worm for as long as I can remember, it was a surprising and unwelcome shock to my inner literary nerd to find that no book would satisfy and none could hold my attention. In fact, I could probably count on two hands how many books I read last year, which is most unusual for someone used to getting through a book a week. That said, there were a few stand outs that succeeded in breaking through my relentless book drought. Robin Hobb’s Rainwild Chronicles, Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, and Joseph Delaney’s Spook’s Apprentice, to name a few.
You’ll be pleased to know I have since overcome that troublesome period in my young life, and have returned to the far more familiar world of books, books, BOOKS!
To commemorate my return, I thought it only appropriate to set myself an assignment to finish a series I had long ago started. A series that somehow always seemed to necessitate lengthy intervals between volumes. C.S. Lewis once said,
“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”
Otherwise known as a book hangover. And such I found was definitely the case with George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, of which I have just finished the latest in the series, A Dance with Dragons. There is some serious world building happening in that man’s head. Seriously. The series is well and truly alive and three dimensional, helped along considerably by the success of the HBO series adaptation, which is widely considered one of the best things on TV screens right now. And while I genuinely stand in awe of all the characters, places and stories Martin has created, I can’t help but feel for the editors who have the mammoth task of making sense of it all. It’s a great read, but I wouldn’t say a smooth sailing one. It sinks deep in details, is often messy, and lacks the feeling of continuity that made the third in the series, A Storm of Swords, an absolute killer read (pun intended). Even so, I can’t help but feel a certain sense of satisfaction at having conquered the biblical volumes whose spines seem to expand with each new publication.
In between the dragons, murder and intrigue that is the world of Westeros, I have indulged in a few olden goldies that never fail to bring me joy, no matter how many times I read them. Pride and Prejudice being one of them. Apart from it bringing intense literary delight and wordy wit, this is one of the only books that gets me actually laughing out loud in the reading of it.
Other books I have reread in the last six months include Patrick Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind and Tolkien’s The Hobbit, between them covering the classic and modern fantasy with divine prowess. I also had my first proper delve into the world of historical fiction with The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir, which got a bit too Mills & Boony for me from the middle onwards, but carried me through to the end thanks to my massive fangirl crush on anything Tudor related.
So, on to what to read next. The list is ever growing and presents itself as an unattainable challenge of the most delightful nature. Of recommendations old and new, from blog readers and beyond, I have the following at the top of my list:
Player of Games by Iain Banks
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
Harpy’s Flight by Megan Lindholm
Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb
The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb
The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (another series requiring serious dedication to return to)
But the list is incomplete.
Are there any new release rock-your-socks-off reads you’d recommend I add to the list? Or old classics that deserve my attention? As you can see, apart from the exception of the lonely Dickens singing out for my attention, it’s all speculative fiction. Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Classics may be my weakness, but I’m never shy to branch out beyond the speculative genre. Hit me up peeps!
Hi Katy! I’m glad your reader’s block has passed. I’m still struggling with mine, and it *is* frustrating. I’ve started several books in my attempt to shake it, but haven’t made it through them.
One book I did manage to finish though, and enjoy, was Crimson Footprints by Shewanda Pugh. Totally not my genre, yet I found it interesting: interracial relationships, family dynamics, and architecture. I also enjoyed The Witness by Nora Roberts. Also not fantasy, sorry. ;p
I’m sorry to hear it Angela. I feel your pain! But contrary to anything Gandalf might have to say about it, it *shall* pass. Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll add them to the list. Along, of course, with your own award winning books! How could I forget! :)
Ohh no, so sorry to hear you had reading slump issues. It happens to the best of us!
I’ve dived into the Game of Thrones series very recently and I’m loving it so far although I’m only nearing the end of book two. I’ve heard that the series goes downhill so I’m a bit nervous about that. Considering how big the books are I’m devouring them quite quickly. I own but have yet to start the Wheel of Time series, I figured I’d stick to one massive fantasy series at a time for now!
I’m trying to rack my brains for something fantasy related I can recommend you that you may not have read…hm. Or anything else that would appeal. Have you ever read any Trudi Canavan? She’s one of my fave fantasy authors, her Black Magician Trilogy is great and she’s an Aussie. I would also throw Kelley Armstrong’s hat into the ring, she’s urban fantasy and has books in the YA and adult section and she’s a brilliant writer.
So far my favourite reads this year have been A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff. The last book really took be by surprise because it’s contemporary which is a genre I don’t dip into that often but I found it really unique. The author doesn’t use speech marks and it had a strange but awesome effect on me as a reader, making me feel even more immersed in the story and the characters head. It might be interesting to you from a writing point of view and also because there’s a lot of travel across Amerca. :)
Hope that’s in some way vaguely helpful!
I just finished “When We Have Wings” by Claire Corbett. It’s a mystery novel set in a future wherein the wealthy and privileged undergo extensive procedures to give themselves wings. It was really quite brilliant. :)