Jocelyn's Other Desk

The writings of Jocelyn Smith, aspiring author, soon-to-be lawyer, once and future politician, all-around opinionated twentysomething.

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Location: Orlando, Florida, United States

I'm a lawyer in Florida, working on three novels, a screenplay, and half a dozen pieces of fanfiction at any given moment.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Requesting Book Recommendations!

Crossposted to my LiveJournal because my imagination is just that thirsty...

I'm grumpy. I have not read a new book in months...well, okay, weeks.
But it feels like years since I've read a new book, one that I've never read before, where that book really captivated me and brought me back to it.

The Queen's Fool moved too slow. I never finished it. The two sci-fi/fantasies that one of my colleagues lent me were good enough, but I didn't feel the urge to read them again. The last few Laurie R. King's Mary Russell mysteries just haven't thrilled me as the first ones did.

Books that I've read again and again include just about anything by J.R.R. Tolkien, the Harry Potter series, of course, Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series in all its forms and her Crystal Singer trilogy, Stephen R. Donaldson's Mordant's Need, Pat Conroy's The Lords of Discipline, and Marion Zimmer Bradley's Firebrand.

I like sci-fi, fantasy, and historical fiction best. I am an escapist reader--I want a book that will carry me completely into another world, to the point where that world surrounds me. I want sympathetic, well-developed characters whom I connect with. And an exciting plotline, of course.

Can anyone help? What books have you read that completely swept you away, that you read over and over again? (The only stipulation I make is that if it's set in modern-day America or any other "everyday" setting, I probably won't like it. I thirst for magic and faraway lands or faraway times, past or future. I want my books to take me somewhere else.)

I'm thirsty for that torrent of magic and imagination. It feels like a long time since I've read a really good, really NEW book. Even Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was another Harry Potter. I liked it, but it's not really NEW anymore.


Blogger Nonny said...

If you liked MZB's "Firebrand," have you read any of her Darkover novels? "The Shattered Chain," "Thendara House," "The Forbidden Tower," and "Heritage of Hastur" are my favorites.

The Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop ("Daughter of the Blood," "Heir to the Shadows," and "Queen of the Darkness") is another I continue to go back to. Put it this way: I read it six times in the course of a year and a half. I cannot recommend these books enough.

"The Wayfarer Redemption" trilogy by Sara Douglass is also quite good.

The Kushiel books by Jacqueline Carey are also very good, but I have to be in the mood for them because of her writing style.

Piers Anthony's "Incarnations of Immortality" series. He gets panned a lot for his Xanth novels and some of his more sexually ... mm ... controversial work, but the Incarnations series is, imo, brilliant. *thinks* So's "Virtual Mode," but the last two books in the quartet suck ass.

Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance series is also very good. The first book is fairly short when compared to the later doorstops, about 250 pages, and gives a fairly accurate sample of the overall style.

Um. *thinks*

Tamora Pierce's "Song of the Lioness" quartet and "Trickster's" duet.

Mercedes Lackey's "Diana Tregarde" novels, "Sacred Ground," and her "Tarma and Kethry" ("Oathbound," etc) books.

Carol Berg's Rai-Kirah trilogy. ("Transformation," "Restoration," "Revelation.")

George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series. (Though it's currently ongoing, it's awesome.)

... and I'm going to stop here, before I make your pocketbook/library hate you. ;)

8:02 AM  
Blogger Skrike said...

This is completely wrong for your requirements, but I highly recommend, 'The Two Sams', modern day ghost stories by Glen Hirshberg. Very literate, very well-written, emotions that reach to the soul.

You've probably read this already, but I really liked 'The Red Tent' by Anna Diamant. That's historical fiction - very innovative.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

Give C.S. Lewis' adult books a shot. His scifi trilogy is excellent: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength.

Also - His 'Till We Have Faces' is fantastical, mythological and requires thought. I've read it a number of times.

I'll second 'The Red Tent'.

Give Gaiman a try. I really enjoyed his YA novel, Coraline, though it is a YA novel, not an adult novel and is paced as such. American Gods is amusing. Haven't read Anansi Boys yet.

Do you like humor? The Year in Provence titles are gut-splitting. And it takes you to France, which may be far and away enough for you.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Emily said...

I've never commented before, but I couldn't stay silent. :)

Two of my favorite 'new' books (you've read all my old favorites) are "Sorcery and Cecilia" by authors I can't recall and "Tam Lin" by Pamela Dean. Both are AU - "Sorcery and Cecilia" is Regency with magic (and completely epistolatory). "Tam Lin" is a retelling of the Tam Lin fairy tale set in Minnesota in the 70s (but give it a chance, the magic creeps up on you).

I hope you find some good books!

11:35 PM  
Blogger Rowan said...

If you're looking for a blow-you-away sci-fi adventure, then the Honor Harrington series by David Weber (begins with "On Basilisk Station") is exactly what you need. Mind you, there are now ten in the series, four short story collections and two 'Honorverse' books as well...

I can't get enough of these ones, book ten right now is keeping me away from, well, everything.

6:16 PM  

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