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Suggestions - A new reader

Aries

New Member
Hi there folks.

In a nutshell, I'm a new reader. I've read a couple of books in my time, but mainly crime/mystery fiction type books. I want to start reading more but have no idea of where to start.

Could you possibly come up with suggestions? I'm most interested in the fantasy genre, though other suggestions are welcome.

Thanks, Aries.
 

Anamnesis

Active Member
If you're interested in fantasy, give these series a try (if you haven't done so already):

A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin

Kushiel's Legacy by Jacqueline Carey

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

The Rachel Morgan novels by Kim Harrison (not sure what the series is officially called)

As for crime novels, do you like historical mysteries? If so, then try John Maddox Roberts' works. They're quick and light mysteries set in ancient Rome.
 

Canker

Member
If you're interested in fantasy, give these series a try (if you haven't done so already):

A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin

Bingo
Can't go wrong there other then the series isn't finished yet and Martin is being lazy bastard :).
 

Jez

New Member
Welcome to reading! :) I guess the best suggestion is to go with what looks interesting to you. Go to a library and check out their fantasy section. Just pull books off the shelf that look like they've got an interesting title or whatever and check out the back of the book/front flap blurb. Pull out whatever catches your eye. The fantasy genre has a lot of duds in it, but also a lot of really great stories, so you'll probably find some bad ones on your quest for the good ones. Don't be discouraged. Some that I've liked are:

Tad Williams is a decent fantasy author. I've read his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy (third book was broken into two books, so four total), and his War of the Flowers (stand alone book). Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn was standard quest/epic fantasy, War of the Flowers had a more modern-ish setting.

James Clemens' Banned and the Banished series (five books total). It's also quest/epic fantasy.

William Goldman's The Princess Bride is a fun fantasy book. Not epic fantasy. Very funny.

The His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman.

Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Not quite fantasy in the standard sense, but definitely has a lot of fantasy elements. I really enjoyed it, though it fell apart a little at the end. The main character is awesome.

For crime stuff, you might like to check out some Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
 

Aries

New Member
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll be heading down to the library or book store in the week to pick up a few books you've suggested and a few random ones that look good.

Thanks again. I'll let you know what I think of them :)

Aries.
 

fabkebab

New Member
Welcome to reading! :) I guess the best suggestion is to go with what looks interesting to you. Go to a library and check out their fantasy section. Just pull books off the shelf that look like they've got an interesting title or whatever and check out the back of the book/front flap blurb. Pull out whatever catches your eye. The fantasy genre has a lot of duds in it, but also a lot of really great stories, so you'll probably find some bad ones on your quest for the good ones. Don't be discouraged.

Surely there is a better way?

One thing I like to do is go to Amazon for a book I liked and read the reviews - If I see someone who's comments I agree with, I then look at the other books they have rated highly and if any of them receive a very high average, and they are rated highly by the chosen individual, then I get the book
 

Jez

New Member
Surely there is a better way?

How do you figure? And, more to the point, what's wrong with that way? You find a lot of books that way that you'd never hear of through friends or Amazon or the like because they're not as popular or well known. Besides, your interests may be completely different from what someone else likes or dislikes.
 

funes

New Member
If you are interested in fantasy, but would like to work your way out into other areas, I'd suggest the following books because they seem like good bridges between fantasy and other types of fiction:
Little, Big by John Crowley - it's very close to the fantasy world, but also has snippets of things like historical speculation, magic-realism, etc, It's also very good.
Anonymous Rex by Eric Garcia - one foot in sci/fi-fantasy, and one in hard-boiled detective fiction. Very well written.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami - one foot in fantasy and one foot in "literature", it's a very challenging and enjoyable book.
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino - also bridges into the world of literature, but reads like something of a waking dream.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - magic realism and literature combine in this family epic. Wonderful.
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson - a kind of techno, historical speculation thriller that has a lot in common with "serious literature". Fabulous.
I can also second the recommendation of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. A different sort of fantasy, ostensibly written for kids, which plays for very high stakes thematically.
 

fabkebab

New Member
How do you figure? And, more to the point, what's wrong with that way?

Unless I am misunderstanding, you are suggesting that a new reader should judge a book by its cover- I agree that there are tons of great books which are unknown and might be passed over, but one could spend years of thier life reading well known, much loved, critically acclaimed books and still not run out of material - so whats the point of taking a chance of something obscure (and possibly a dud) if you are new to reading?
 

Jez

New Member
Unless I am misunderstanding, you are suggesting that a new reader should judge a book by its cover- I agree that there are tons of great books which are unknown and might be passed over, but one could spend years of thier life reading well known, much loved, critically acclaimed books and still not run out of material - so whats the point of taking a chance of something obscure (and possibly a dud) if you are new to reading?

I am suggesting they select a book based on what appeals to them, mainly by using the blurb on the back cover or front flap. I am not suggesting they judge a book by its cover alone, though that is a common method of selection by both new readers and seasoned readers.

You make a good point about there being a lifetime's worth of reading critically acclaimed books, but I think most people, especially before the internet became so ubiquitous, selected books in a manner similar to the one I suggested. New readers included. It's worked well enough, I'd say. It's certainly worked for me.

I also suggested it because I do not know who this person is or what they like. I don't know if they prefer epic fantasy or romantic fantasy, Bildungsroman fantasy or historical fantasy. I don't know if they prefer female leads or male. Adult or juvenile. See what I'm saying? For every book someone loves, another person hates, so recommending popular titles might be helpful, but it might also not be. The Lord of the Rings is a well known, much loved, critically acclaimed book that many fantasy lovers can't stand reading.

For someone new to reading, I would suggest they find what they like and not feel pressure to like what is popular or highly regarded. In a way, giving someone new to reading a critically acclaimed book can backfire if they dislike it. They might feel that if that is one of the best the genre has to offer, maybe the genre isn't for them.

Either way, there are of course alternative ways of finding books, but I hesitate to say better (or worse). Different ways work for different people. If this way doesn't work for you it doesn't lessen how well it works for me, and possibly others.
 

erin1980

New Member
William Christopher Baer's Kiss Me, Judas. A story about the urban legend of a guy waking up in a bathtub full of ice with one of his kidney's missing. He has to figure out what happened and who has his kidney. There are a lot of other mystery's that appear once he fiinds the person who stole it.

It's not fantasy.
 

nickb

kickbox
I just finished reading the Cryptonomicon and wanted to second that suggestion (though it's not fantasy), I just thought it was a really well written and entertaining book (warning: it is a rather thick book and can get a bit deep into the maths [but in a good way]).
 

joderu95

New Member
The Book of the Dun Cow - Walter Wangerin, Jr. (A classic fantasy about good vs. evil)

King Rat - China Mieville (A new take on a classic story set in a grimy London)

The King Must Die - Mary Renault (historical fiction/Greek mythology)

The Mount - Carol Emshwiller (fantasy about humans and their miniature alien masters)

Here are four I read at different times in my life and I enjoyed them all. These are all relatively quick reads so if you don't like one you won't be committed to it for the next several weeks of your life.
 

Ice

New Member
As you mention you are looking to venture into the fantasy genre I would certainly second the recommendation of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series :)
 

silverseason

New Member
For fantasy, take a look at the books of Ursula LeGuin: The Lathe of Heaven, The Dispossessed, and others.

For crime, consider the British classic writers: Agatha Christie, P. D. James, Dorothy Sayers.
 
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