Lost in the library: what to read next?
Looking for a new dreamworld to get lost in? Me too!
So many things to read, so little time. I’ve been meaning to get around to reading a number of books, finishing a number of series, but I’ve been so busy writing that I haven’t read one in ten that I wanted to over the last few years.
The big one, the obvious one that I know I should have read, is George RR. Martin’s Game of Thrones series. I’ve been watching HBO’s fantastic adaptation on the big screen, but I haven’t read a single one of the books yet. Shocking, I know. What kind of fantasy fan doesn’t read the biggest fantasy series in the world right now? I know, I know. I’m getting to it!
I read The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie some while back, and I loved it. Absolutely loved it for its grittiness and darkness and humour and the twists on expectations. I’ve also read practically all the rest of his standalone works, apart from Best Served Cold, which is on my Audible listening list. Despite loving The Blade Itself, I haven’t yet got around to reading the rest of the First Law Trilogy yet. That’s one that really bugs me, one I really want to finish reading someday soon.
Another read that I thought was an interesting concept was Celia Friedman’s Black Sun Rising, which was full of nightmares-become-real and a dark sorcerer who could control the nightmares, which was very cool. It reminded me a little bit of Trudi Canavan’s Black Magician series, where the young girl falls in love with the dangerous older guy. Anyway, I liked the magic and mystery in the first book, and I fully intend to read the rest of the series as soon as I can manage it.
Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay, did not really tickle me, so to speak. It was beautifully written, I would never argue that, but I guess I prefer faster-paced, more action-packed books. It was an interesting concept, though. Anyway, what I am trying to say is Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay is on my reading list, just sitting on my bookshelf, looking rather neglected. It’s a more Chinese-themed novel than Tigana and sounds interesting, although I worry it, too, might be a little slow on the pacing front.
The Suns of Scorpio has been sitting on my bookshelf for a while now, unread for the most part. It sounds interesting – it’s basically a John Carter deal where a guy gets transported to an alien world and experiences alien culture shock. The problem is it’s written in such a tiny script and such old, heavy-handed language that it was tough to get into. I’ll read it one day.
Monkey, by Wu Cheng’en, is one of my favourite stories, and I’ve never even read the book. I can’t wait to read it one day soon and learn all about Monkey’s adventures with Tripitaka, flying on a cloud and replicating himself at will. It’s been a tremendous inspiration already.
The Conan Chronicles, by Robert E. Howard, are near the top of my reading list, too. I’ve read some, but have yet to finish the heavy tome. Just good old-fashioned fun, although some of the language can be a little bit off-putting. (It’s kinda racist!) I just ignore that aspect of it and focus on the swords and sorcery. Conan – what a legend.
The 100, by Kass Morgan, is high on my list, thanks to the TV show based on the books, which I absolutely loved. It’s a futuristic story about kids on a radioactive world and their parents in space, and it’s like a modern Lord of the Flies, but with enemies as well as inner problems. It quickly became one of my favourite shows. So, I’ll read the books one of these days!
The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas, is a well-known classic that I’ve yet to plough through. I’m looking forward to it, though. It’s about French musketeers, obviously, and their battle to keep France and the King safe from the Machiavellian machinations of the cruel Cardinal. I loved the various films based on the book.
The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri, is on my reading list, but it’s a bit of a slog, to be honest. I started reading it a while back, and it takes a great deal of concentration to understand and enjoy, and often that’s just not what I’m looking for when I finally get a minute to relax and read. It is interesting, though – a poetic tale about a journey through the afterlives. Seems like a must-read for me, so I’ll try to finish it eventually.
Terry Pratchett’s beloved Discworld series is largely unknown to me, I’m sad to say. I’ve read the first two books – The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic – but I haven’t yet got any further, despite having bought the next two already. I loved the first two and can’t wait to read more. A parody of classical fantasy and of life in general, the books are both clever and incredibly funny.
I have various Merlin-related books that I want to read someday soon, because I want to write a story about Arthur and Merlin. Vita Merlini by Geoffrey Monmouth and The History of the Kings of Britain are top of that particular list. The Once and Future King, by TH. White, is also up there. Writing about Arthur has been done before, I know, but I love the old story and I’d like to try to put a new spin on it somehow, one of these days. So, look out for that in the future! As soon as I get around to reading those books and absorbing their knowledge, I’ll be writing a tale about a little boy called Art …
Darien, by Conn Iggulden, is high on my list of to-reads. I loved his historical fiction Gates of Rome series; I really felt like I got to know Julius Caesar through them. Looking forward to seeing how Iggulden does pure fantasy.
The Drawing of the Three is up on my list, but I’m not so keen to get to it as some of the others. Stephen King just isn’t my guy, I think. I did quite enjoy the Gunslinger, so I want to finish the Dark Tower series, because it sounds interesting, but not everything King does is for me. I couldn’t finish The Stand – a story about survivors after an apocalyptic event. I thought it was incredibly dull.
The Dune series, by Frank Herbert, is one that I definitely want to get through one day. I loved the old film based on the books, and I had a friend when I was young who was always recommending them. They’re about an interplanetary war between different ruling families, who all compete for control of Arrakis, or Dune, and the spice that allows intergalactic travel.
There are many more books I need to read, so if you’re interested, check back soon and I may have updated my list!