Posts Tagged ‘fantasy books’

“The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” – Dr. Seuss

Don’t Do That To Me Robin

Look what you did to me Robin. My hair might not last until the fourth Rain Wilds book is published. -- Art by Pat Bean

I’m a big fan of fantasy books, but particular about which ones I read. Actually I’m that way about all the books I read, which includes just about all genres except horror, or books where the dark side dominates the pages.

Along with wanting a good plot that keeps me turning the page, a book’s characters must have both strengths and failings and grow in depth as the story progresses.

Without a character with whom I can connect, a book gets tossed aside at my self-imposed 50-page benchmark — or at the end of the first free chapter that Amazon provides Kindle users.

Poor writing, naturally, will turn me off much sooner.

I have many mystery authors that I follow but far fewer fantasy authors. That’s because an abundance of them seem not to measure up to my 50-page limit. This means when I find an author I enjoy, I usually read everything they write, and eagerly await their new offerings.

I took this photo today at the Sonora Desert Museum in an area that talked about prehistoric Arizona. It's only connection to this blog is that it reminded me of the kind of creatures on finds in fantasy books. -- Photo by Pat Bean

George Martin, whose series, “Game of Thrones,” I started reading when it first came out, taught me a lesson, however. His lengthy sabbatical between books convinced me to wait until a series was completed before beginning it.

With this in mind, it was with great delight that a few years ago I came across the work of Robin Hobb. I read her first book, “Assassin’s Apprentice,” in the Farseer Trilogy and was deeply hooked. In rapid succession, I absorbed the other two books in the trilogy and then continued n with her Liveship, Tawny Man and Soldier Son trilogies.

Soldier Son was weird, but even that I couldn’t put down. Of the other three trilogies, I would be hard-pressed to name a favorite as I loved each and every one of them.

At the time I discovered her, Hobb was still writing her Rain Wilds Chronicles. I patiently waited until the trilogy was finished before I began reading them. Last night, I finished the third in the series, only to be left hanging.

Unbeknownst to me, this series has a fourth book, which isn’t out yet.


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Sunflowers and books brighten all my days. -- Photos by Pat Bean

“A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile through without breaking it, or explore and explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.” – Edward P. Morgan

Travels With Maggie

As this morning’s writing prompt, someone in my Story Circle Network writing group asked the following questions:

“What is your all-time favorite book … what does it say about you?.” I immediately started writing down the names of books and authors and couldn’t seem to stop.

I finally realized that I had used up all my blog writing time, especially since I have to get on the road today and drive 300 miles on vehicle-jammed California interstates that annoy my nature-loving soul.

Sadly, I had to stop writing, because when it goes to favorite authors I could ramble on for pages. And since I don’t have time to post a blog, you get this list instead.

Favorite Books:

“Your Erroneous Zones” by Dwayne Dyer, which I read in the 1970s, was the most influential book in changing my life that I ever read.

This red-rock country, which Edward Abbey described in vivid detail in his "Monkey Wrench Gang." -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell was the most fascinating book I read as a teenager. I read it three times and each time imagined a different meaning for Scarlett’s final words “Tomorrow is Another Day.”

“Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand was the most mind-blowing book I ever read. It got me, for the first time in my life, thinking about who I was. .

Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books have given me many floor-rolling laughs and I buy each new one as it comes out.

Robin Hobb’s fantasy books have given me many hours of reading delight. Her characters are vivid and vibrant, her plots surprising, and her writing superb. Start with the Assassin’s Apprentice trilogy, then on to the Liveship series, and then to the Fool’s series to begin. I love how she brings all her plots and subplots together in the end. And she’s a great writer. I read her books way too fast because I want to know what’s going to happen. Unless you’re really into the weird, however, I’d skip the Soldier’s Son trilogy.

Other fantasy writers that top my list are J.R.R. Tolkien (of course), Mercedes Lackey (especially her Valdemar series and more recently her Elemental Masters’ series), Jane  Lindskold (Through Wolf’s Eyes), David Eddings, J.K. Rowling and Marion Zimmer Bradley.

And what fan of Harry Potter doesn't know about Track 9 3/4? -- Photo by Pat Bean

Osa Johnson, Tim Cahill, Charles Kuralt, John Steinbeck, Peter Matthiessen, Edward Abbey, Bill Bryson, Beryll Markham and William Least Heat Moon’s books have fed my love of nature and travel.

Agatha Christie, John D. MacDonald, Blaise Clement, Susan Wittig Albert, Rhys Bowen (my latest great discovery), Lillian Jackson Braun, Anne George, Mary Stewart, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Nevada Barr have all intrigued my mystery-loving soul. I find it interesting, since I just jotted these down off the top of my head, that all but one of these are women, the lone exception being John. D, but I read every single Travis McGee book and actually cried when MacDonald died.

Irving Stone, Carl Sagan, Margaret Mead, Shirley Maclaine, Dr. Seuss, and Charles Darwin have all fascinated and educated me.

I’m stopping here only because I’ve run out of time. I know I’ve left out at least a hundred more books and authors. The ones above, meanwhile, have done everything from simply giving me pleasure to changing my life.

What do my choices says about me?

Simply that I love to read, I think.

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