Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Fantasy -New Yorker article, 7 essential adult books

Thanks to Tanabata at In the Spring It is the Dawn, I came across a link on her sidebar to the New Yorker, which has a lovely little article on some good adult fantasy books to read, especially for those who are new to fantasy, or who have read all the good young adult series and want to graduate to adult fantasy (and yes, it does exist!). The New Yorker post is here. I read the article, thinking, "Oh, I've read them all." Well, surprise on me, there were two listed that I have seen everywhere, that I never got around to reading: Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind, and The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams. Luckily, due to a rave review by a blogger recently (Nymeth, I think) I had just picked up Wizard's First Rule. So onto my TBR shelf it goes. Just because I have been reading fantasy ever since I was 15 or 16, doesn't mean I have read everything good yet! Sometimes I'm really glad I love books; it's hard to be jaded when there is always something new to read, or some forgotten treasure I've overlooked. And I have read most of the others on the list; the Steven Erickson I haven't, but I have read many good things about it. I think I am awed/a little overwhelmed at it having 10 books in the series, so I've been hesitant to start it. I agree with all the choices by the way, although the Scions of Shannara does raise my eyebrows - I did read the original Shannara series, and never got to the Scions series, thinking it was as cliche ridden as the Stones of Shannara were - very enjoyable, but very derivative of Tolkien, even I knew that at 18! So.....now I will have to give Scions of Shannara a try too, one day. Maybe reading keeps me a little humble too - I haven't read everything, and there is so many thousands of good books still to read!

By the way, Tanabata also discusses this week's Monday Musings, which is an interesting question: do you buy books because of the publishing house? In other words, do you look at publishing catalogues to buy books, and does the name on the spine of the book mean anything to you, or do you buy whatever edition of the book you come across? Please let her know; I left my comment there, but I thought it was a very interesting question, especially as a former bookstore clerk who used to deal with publishers, and so I know many books, titles and authors by who has published them.

13 comments:

Hazra said...

Hey thanks so much for the article. Except for Terry Goodkind and Terry Brooks, I haven't even heard of the rest of the authors on that list. It's a great help to someone like me who wants to read more fantasy, but isn't sure what to pick up.

Table Talk said...

Susan, I'm off to check this article right away because, as you well know, I love adult fantasy. I had similar problems with the Shannara books and I have tried on several occasions.

As to the question of publishing houses, yes, I often am swayed at least in as much as I am likely to pick up a book and give it a good browse if it's come from someone like Virago or Cannongate. It doesn't necessarily mean I will read it, but I'm much more likely to take a risk if I respect the house book has come from.

Nymeth said...

I'm going to have to discard the blame this time - I'm afraid I've yet to read Terry Goodkind :P Also, you're not the first to say that about the Shannara series.

I forgot to mention them in my comment to tanabata, but like Table Talk I like Virago and Canongate. I adore the myths series in particular. And there's Persephone too - I'm new to them, but I can see myself getting hooked.

Susan said...

Hazra: You are welcome! And I'm glad the article could help, that's what I was hoping for. I can really recommend the Kay trilogy, they are excellent.

Table Talk: Have you read them all? I would have thought so, but let me know! Except the Shannara ones, of course. I'll try and get one of the Scions and see if it's good.

I'm not surprised that you would know about publishing houses! Not after knowing that you were specializing in Shakespeare and the theatre - only a few publishers would specialize in that area, for texts. I haven't heard of Cannongate, but I'll go look them up. I do like Virago too. And I know what you mean by respecting the publisher it comes from! that used to be the case 20, and even 10 , years ago- certain publishers would specialize in types of books or literature. I think that's why I like Subterranean and Persephone, they are making a name for themselves in quality specialized books.

Nymeth: I'm sorry, then! I was sure it was you I read the post about Goodkind on! Hmm, I guess you and I have to read it still!! Did you read any Shannara (good series, or the bad one) yet?

Which myth series are you talking about? Like I said to Table Talk, I don't know who Cannongate is, so I have to go look them up. Persephone is so easy to get hooked on! I bought one book from them while in London - at Hatchard's, but there were at least five others I looked at. The catalogue I end up marking up with wild dreams of ordering everything, they make every book sound interesting! lol Interesting both you and Table Talk like the same publishers too.

Becky said...

Thanks for the link to the New Yorker article. I'm trying to dip my toes back into the fantasy waters, and I've been wondering where to start. Guy Gavriel Kay was a good reminder, I read Ysabel by him, and enjoyed it - seems like a YA/adult crossover novel.

Susan said...

Becky: Oh, do read the Fionavar Tapestry! In so many ways, it is better than Ysabel, which is very good. Then there is the Sailing to Sarantium series by him, very different, and equally good. There is a lot of good fantasy to read! Have fun dipping your toes back in!

Susan said...

Becky: do you have a blog? I went looking to see if you do, but there is only the Outmoded author on your profile.

Jeane said...

I read the Dragonbone Chair, once. It was pretty good. But I had trouble finishing the rest of the series.

Susan said...

Jeane: that's interesting, that's not what the article said! I'll give the Dragonbone Chair a chance, and see. Thanks for giving your opinion, I'm not sure if you are the only one so far who has read it!

Jeane said...

Well, I was pretty young when I read it- fourteen maybe? and I think I just didn't have the concentration for such long books in a series. I really ought to go back and read them again. But I say that about so many books...

Susan said...

jeane: Plus, there are so many series that I like that I want to go back and read too,do you feel the same way? I find as I get older, I've forgotten much about the books I read 20 years ago, and i want to revisit them again. So if it's a choice between a new book that 'might' be good versus a book i loved before, sometimes I'll pick the one I know and love. It's like a game of chairs, because sooner or later I try to get to all the books I want to read, new and beloved! lol

Jeane said...

Yes! I'm the same way. I really enjoy re-reading favorites, and sometimes it's hard to choose- something dear and familiar, or something new and exciting?

bks2plz said...

There is a great fantasy novel, Gateway to DreamWorld, which was released recently.

Synopsis: On their way home from baseball tryouts, Brad Colby and his two sons are involved in a terrible car accident that leaves six-year-old Pete in a coma. When Pete awakens, the family is crushed to learn that he is paralyzed.

Meanwhile, Pete’s eight-year-old brother, Jason, has been having powerful dreams that lead him to a mysterious realm known as DreamWorld. Jason discovers that all of his desires can come true in DreamWorld, but the time is fast approaching when he will have to choose between his two worlds.

And when more devastating news strikes at the heart of the Colby family, Jason and Pete set out on a desperate attempt to find the Gateway to DreamWorld and save their family. With time running out on their dangerous path, will Jason and Pete’s fear of the Unknown keep them from reaching the paradise of their dreams?

I invite you to order your copy now from Amazon.com or Barnes&Nobles.com at a discounted price.

Please help by spreading the word to your friends who enjoy reading a good book and be one of the firsts to pick up your copy of Gateway to DreamWorld.

Thanks for your time and I hope you enjoy the fantasy.

Brenda Estacio