Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by CeNedra, Aug 4, 2001.
I agree with Melyanna on that one.
Well, here's my list of greats. They probably parrallel a lot of yours, but I know for sure no ones has mentioned the first one:
The Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Trilogy (The Dragon Bone Chair, Stone of Farewell, and To Green Angel Tower) by Tad Williams.
Anything Tolkien, especially Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit
Stephen R Lawhead had three good series: The Song of Albion trilogy, the Pendragon series (about five books and counting), and the Dragon King trilogy. I liked "Byzantium", a stand alone novel of his as well.
Timothy Zahn's "Icarus Hunt" (sorry if I misspelled it) is another great book.
Finally, Raymond E. Fiest did an excellent group of books that were previously mentioned. I'll second them.
Well, there's more that I've read that's not Star Wars, but these are some of my favorites. Of all of them, the ones I'd reccommend most are Tad Williams'. They're drang good.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (one of the greatest novels ever written, and in my mind one of the scariest)
Oh, man, how did I forget that one?! My ninth grade teacher assigned us to write a final chapter, back in England... one of my early fanfic experiences. What an incredible novel. Absolutely gripping, scary as the devil, and it resounds in the mind. There's a great scene in Misery where the narrator, Paul Sheldon, is remembering reading LotF for the first time, and he keeps thinking he's just fine, then suddenly has to run and throw up. It's that kind of book -- it just hits right in the solar plexus. And it has a wonderful understanding of beauty and ugliness; the scene where Simon finds the candle-buds is terrific -- Simon is simply enchanted, Ralph is (practically) trying to explain how they aren't really candles, and Jack just slashes at them: in a paragraph, you get the mystic, the pragmatist, and the demon, all in a nutshell.
Great Gatsby surprised me by being entertaining and well-written (as well as "important"), as did The Scarlet Letter.
I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier -- one of the best uses of an unreliable narrator I've seen.
Chaim Potok. Potok's wordy as all get out, but a great writer of lyric prose, both in fiction (I'd recommend either The Chosen or Davita's Harp, though My Name is Asher Lev is also good, particularly for artists) and non-fiction (Wanderings). In Wanderings, he manages to use good poetic and prose techniques for a very long history of the Jewish people, to tie it all together with an image from the Sumerian Kings List -- Who was king? Who was not king? For all his wordiness, he spends less than 200 words on the Holocaust... and they are the most emotionally effective words I've ever read.
Orion Star- I mentioned the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series on the first page of this thread. It's good to know I'm not the only Tad Williams fan here, though. I finished TGAT in record time.
Here's a few more books I forgot:
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee- Dee Brown. A non-fiction account of Native American history. It's a tough book to read. Very hard, very brutal, very honest. Sheds new light on who we were taught were American heroes in history class. This is the other side of what we were taught.
Black Elk Speaks- John Neihart for Black Elk. A first person biography of Black Elk, an Oglala Sioux medicine man & warrior. Very moving book. Black Elk was a wise man. Should be required reading for everyone.
Xanth series- Piers Anthony. Think of "The Hobbit" and "Through the Looking Glass" and put them into a mental blender. What you get is the Xanth series. Do not read these books unless you have a sense of humor and a love for sick humor and puns. I can't say enough about Mr. Anthony. Brilliant writer.
Hemingway is truly overrated. Did anyone else have problems understanding "The Old Man and the Sea"?
Another to add to my list is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick. If you've seen Blade Runner, don't be fooled, the book is nothing like the film. It's infinitely better, with an amazing story and an amazing ending. PKD's style is incredible. One of the best.
And I know this isn't a book, but I just think that every author should, at least once in his/her life, see O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Even if you haven't read The Odyssey, on which it is loosely based, OB,WAT is one of the most entertaining films of all time, with awesome writing and an even better soundtrack. I didn't know I could like bluegrass before I saw that movie.
Okay, that's the only film that will appear in my list, I promise. I just had to plug it a little.
Sticks- I love the last two lines of your sig. You should put the rest of Bilbo's speech in there. That's one of my favorite parts of the book.
More good books:
Jurassic Park- Michael Crichton. I was fortunate enough to read this two years before I knew it was going to be a movie. While I liked the movie, it and the book are almost completely different. If the shooting sctipt had followed the book, it definitely been R rated.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow- Washington Irving. While not so much a book as a short story, it's still an amazing read. The Tim Burton film, I thought was awesome. Far removed from the book in most aspects, but Burton did an incredible job with his retelling of the story. Irving himself was a fantastic writer. I highly recommend picking up an anthology of his works.
Where the Wild Things Are- Maurice Sendak. The story itself can be read in less than ten minutes, but what a great story it is. The artwork is simply beautiful. It was one of my favorite books while growing up and will be one of my favorites until I die.
The Goblin Companion; Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book- Terry Jones & Brian Froud
These two books also contain a wealth of art, but they are also very very funny. Most who are familiar with Terry Jones will remember him from Monty Python's Flying Circus. Brian Froud is best known for his brilliant conceptual work on Jim Henson's movies "The Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth". Froud is one of those artists who just pulls you into a fantasy world you just don't want to leave. Pure magic is the best way to describe his work.
All of the books recommended so far are excellent and many of them are in my personal library. But I am surprised at two ommisions --- especially given the number of female contributors:
Anne McAffrey's Dragonslayer of Pern series is wonderful and so is her Crystal Singer series. She brings a different perspective to what was, and continues to be, a male-dominated genre --- science-fiction.
Ursula LeGuin also has written many fantasy-oriented works that deserve a read.
And if we are considering golden age sci-fi authors, John Campbell is the author who started the pulp fiction side of sci-fi. He gave a start to so many writers in the 30s and 40s. Same for an author whose progeny many of us hate: Lester DelRay (yes, he was the one who started DR) as well as A.E. van Vogt and Poul Anderson (who died last week).
If you are looking for ways to talk technical without boring the reader to death, read Michael Crichton.
Other goodies include:
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Catcher in the Rye
To Kill a Mockingbird
A Separate Peace
Most oldies but goodies.
First, covering the Fantasy angle:
R.A. Salvatore: Mainly the "Dark Elf" novels.
Robert Jordan: "Wheel of Time".
Margaret Weis/Tracy Hickman: Any of their "Dragonlance" novels.
Terry Brooks: The "Shannara" series.
I also agree that "Lord of the Flies" is an excellent novel, as well as "1984" by George Orwell. For a bit of light-hearted reading, I recently finished two of Louise Rennison's novels, which were quite fun. Also, most anything by Shakespeare is excellent. (My personal favorites are "Hamlet", "Romeo and Juliet", and "Richard the Third".) Oh yes, and the "Divine Comedy" by Dante.
A word on Chaim Potok. His works are very controversial. My class read The Chosen and we were split 50/50 on liking it. I've read eveything my library has of him and I hated with a passion every single one. But one of my friends liked a couple of his. Don't get into an arguement with someone who has an opposite opinion than you on Chaim Potok. his works are such that either you love 'em or hate 'em.
Good Funny Book: To-Do Lists of the Dead. Very hilarous, very good, very short (100 pages and it's small).
Hmmmm....many authors have already been mentioned for me.
To Healer Leona , right now my personal favorite Stephen King novel is "The Stand."
Right, some others.
The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake is VERY good. It's like Lord of the Rings meets a Charles Dickins novel. Wonderfully colorful characters, love, honor, valour, treachery, evil, scheming, it's all in there.
Fathers & Sons by Ivan Turgenev is also wonderful. I'm an avid fan of Russian Literature but this one has to be my all time favorite story written by a Russian thus far. It's an absolute tearjerker and heart tugger and has actually inspired a SW story from me.
Equus by Peter Shaffer. It's a dark, disturbing look into religion, fanaticism and personal prisons. It's a play I read in high school and was blown away by it.
Three Days of Rain by Richard Greenberg. It's also a play. A very short and simple one about ordinary people but it's got those few packed in lines that just knock you out.
Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor. It's a modernized revision of Dante's "Inferno" with an original twist. I read this along with "Equus" and though both are really dark, I loved them both equally.
The Cider House Rules by John Irving. Okay, read the book before seeing the film. Or if you've seen the film and didn't like it, read the book. The movie wasn't horrid but it encompassed way too many events in a really short period of time. The book takes place over a longer span of time. And it's a great book. One of Irving's best. His Homer Wells is one of the greatest passive protagonists out there.
Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin. Talk about unrequited love!!
Some Favorite Authors Include:
Shakespeare (Can't beat the Master!)
Sue Townsend (Her Adrian Mole Series are hilarious!)
J.K Rowling (Yep, caught up in the Harry P. craze)
Alfred Lord Tennyson (His "In Memoriam" is heartbreaking)
Right, there's lots more but I'll stop now. Sorry about the long list. I'm an english major. I can't help it.
I have to reccomend almost everything on this list; and the stuff that I can't, it's because i haven't read them yet. Most of what I was goign to is already here... but I raelly have to reccoment all of the Dune books. They're fantastically written... and just plain good.