Thanks to xkcd for this.
Anyone else notice that it seems to be impossible for a story to be contained in just one book, these days? I love a good series, and more writing from authors I enjoy is always a good thing. It is, however, becoming more and more difficult to read a story from beginning to end without buying at least three books, sometimes more ( a lot more if it’s Robert Jordan).
I’m not sure if it’s authors or publishers who are pushing for the three book arcs, but it is resulting in a lot of book series that start off great, but leave you less than satisfied. The Hunger Games trilogy is one that I was disappointed with – I loved the first two, but it seemed like Collins couldn’t figure out how to finish it, and eventually said “whatever, stuff happened, the end.” Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder, was fantastic, but I was not as thrilled with the books that followed, and gave up on the series. I love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, but I think part of the reason it works so well is it isn’t tied to a single storyline. Also, he’s Terry Pratchett. Ender’s Game was great, the rest of the books, meh. Also, don’t get me started on Orson Scott Card.
If you are getting series fatigue, here are a few great books that can be read on their own:
David & Leigh Eddings’ The Redemption of Althalus was written in their classic style, epic fantasy with sly humour and cutting satire. One of my all time favorites, and completely re-readable.
Most of Neil Gaiman’s work is standalone, Stardust is a lovely fairytale, magical and gorgeous.
Always amazing, the hardcover illustrated edition of The Princess Bride is coming out in November (on the fifth!). I’ll be ordering my own copy of William Goldman’s book, re-watching the movie, and saying “As you wish” a lot.
Guy Gavriel Kay is my favorite author, and this is one of my favorite books by him. It was this book that convinced my dad that he liked fantasy. If I had to make everyone read one book, Tigana might be it.
Go forth and read with no pressure! The only next book you need to read is one you choose. If you have any books that are standalone to recommend, I’d love to hear about them.
On a completely unrelated (snort) note, apparently the paperback edition of Dance With Dragons will actually finally come out this month, since we checked store inventory, and it is in fact in the process of shipping. See you in a few days!
Happy (stress-free) reading.
Some big news in the book world. Some of it is only big for me, some of it will cause some major changes, but all of it is going to be interesting.
That’s right, Penguin and Random House have merged. The official day one for the now global publishing company was July 1st, and they are going to be a powerhouse. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some more mergers in the near future as other publishers scramble to have the same kind of reach. The official website is www.penguinrandomhouse.com
New Discworld book! Terry Pratchett has announced there will be a brand spanking new novel out before Christmas, called Raising Steam. It will be out October 24th, and I will be snatching up the first copy I can. I will hurt old ladies if necessary.
Although Maurice Sendak swore never to write a sequel, apparently some people have decided to do it for him – or at least try. HarperCollins has filed an injunction with Kickstarter against a couple of guys who are trying to raise funds for an illustrated poem they’re touting as the spiritual sequel to Where the Wild Things Are. More info here on Galleycat.
Just thought I’d share one of my birthday presents. So awesome!
I’m pretty sure this will be the source of my new tattoo. If you haven’t read this before, do so now; it’s Terry Pratchett at his wacky finest, with some very astute observations buried under the sublime hilarity.
Happy (birthday) reading!
Happy 61st birthday to Douglas Adams. He is best known as the writer of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, A Trilogy in Five Parts, one of my favorite sci-fi series. If you haven’t read it yet, I’m not speaking to you until you have. So there.
Adams died young, at the age of 49 of a heart attack. He is well known enough that today’s Google doodle is in his honour. He is, to sci-fi, what Terry Pratchett is to fantasy: a comic genius. Sci-fi and fantasy tend to have a dedicated reading community, and most people who aren’t sf/f readers don’t tend to read its authors. Douglas Adams was one of the few, among them Neil Gaiman, Aasimov, and Bradbury, who managed to gather readers among the mainstream book audience.
If you love Douglas Adams, and are looking for writers in a similar vein, I have a few suggestions. My criteria are as follows: excellent wordsmiths and a love of language, beautifully done satire that you don’t have to be a member of the sf/f in-crowd to understand, and great stories that make you want to share the books with others. My candidates are as follows:
Terry Pratchett, particularly his Discworld series. Start with Guards, Guards! Then Men at Arms. Don’t limit yourself only to his adult titles, because his writing for children and young adults is equally adept, and well worth a read. Nation is one of my favorite books, still, and probably always will be.
Neil Gaiman. Stardust was… perfect. Anansi Boys, I loved. And the paragon of funny books, written by Gaiman and Pratchett together is Good Omens.
Jasper Fforde for a fine sense of the ridiculous, and nods to lovers of literature like Austen and Bronte – read his Thursday Next series.
Christopher Moore. I think my favorite was You Suck: A Love Story.
Go forth, and snicker.
Labour Day weekend here in Canada was… interesting. There were more eccentric characters than usual wandering around my bookstore, and some excellent stories they made, too.
So you’re up to date on the new hot releases – or at least ones I noticed:
No Easy Day by Mark “no longer anonymous” Owen
Thank you to whichever publishing staff member pointed out that launching this autobiography about killing Osama Bin Laden on September 11th as a marketing ploy might not be such a great idea.
Diary of a Submissive by Sophie Morgan
Non-fiction, cashing in on the Fifty Shades phenomenon. I’m guessing she didn’t send Grandma a copy.
The third in the I Am Number Four teen series by Pittacus Lore, who managed to turn his embarrassing outing as a fraud in non-fiction into a successful career as a fiction writer.
The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
This involves Terry Pratchett, therefore I am currently reading it. So far, as a writing duo, they’re pretty great. Plus, it involves travel through parallel universes, via potato. Why would you not read it? I will also mention that while reading it, I have also read Nation (an amazing, amazing YA book which you should read immediately) and Men At Arms, both by Terry Pratchett, on my Kobo. I think I have a problem.