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Shiver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-29-08 11:34 AM
Original message
My 'To Read' List Is Shrinking Too Fast!
I read too much. On a bad week, I still manage to finish at least three books. This is not something I consider bad, mind, but as a result, I've begun running out of things to read. Instead of going to a bookstore and scouring the shelves for something (which, while a favourite pastime, is very time-consuming), I thought I would pose this query here.

Recommend some books for me, please. At the moment, I am looking for something with some pretty strict criteria:

I would prefer it to be a series, meaning at least three books. Not an absolute necessity, though.

Fantasy, but preferably not set in modern times. I'm bored of the numerous vampire and demon-fighting women set in the "real world".

Most importantly, I want a story with a strong, female protagonist. By strong, I mean she kicks serious ass.

That is the main thrust of what I am looking for. However, I welcome any and all suggestions (and if you want, take a look at a partial list of books I have read, found at this link if you would like some idea as to my tastes)

This is a desperate plea; my 'to read' list is rapidly shrinking...

My thanks in advance. :hi:
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semillama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-29-08 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
1. I'd recommend Tad Williams' Otherland series
It hits two out of three of your criteria: Strong female protagonist, and is a series of four big thick books. However, it is set in the future, but it's really a blend of fantasy and science fiction.

William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series is also very good - protagonist is male, though.

More on Otherland:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otherland
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Shiver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-29-08 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Sounds very interesting
Cyberpunk is fine with me, as long as there's a equal representation of fantasy and sci-fi.

I should have clarified in the OP, however, that any and all recommendations are welcome. The criteria mentioned is mainly what I've been searching for the past several months, but haven't found enough of.

Otherland has been added to the list, though. :fistbump:
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-29-08 05:44 PM
Response to Original message
3. Okay.
I've certainly been there. As a matter of fact, I started this thread 4 YEARS ago, and have been mining it ever since. There ARE some benefits to a slow forum, lol; threads stay alive for a long time. This one is still on the front page:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Finances have been hard this year, so I've been mining the library system pretty hard, since I'm not buying new books every month. My county library has a system in which I search the county database, request what I want, it's shipped to the library, and I stop and pick them up. The "holds" are on a shelf, with my name on them, right next to the automated check-out stations. No lines, no hassle, and I get books from the entire county. They email me to tell me when they are there, and they email me to remind me about what is coming due, since I always have a lot of books out.

Besides all the authors and books on that thread, here are some of those I've been reading and re-reading lately:

Ursula LeGuin: There's a thread close to the top of the page in this forum about her recent visit to my town. I've discovered that she wrote MANY more things, and in more genres, than I knew. I'm currently reading a non-fiction work; a collection of articles and essays dealing with a wide range of topics, from feminism in fiction, science-fiction and fantasy as a substantive genre, and more, including book reviews.

Robin McKinley: She's got some adult novels to go with her YA stuff.

Cornelia Funke's "Inkheart" series: This IS YA, but the premise is a delight for bibliophiles. The 3rd in the trilogy, "Inkdeath," was just released, and the "Inkheart" movie is due out next month.

Most of the rest I've been reading are already mentioned in the linked thread.
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Shiver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-29-08 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I saw that thread, actually
Was able to add a few names and titles to my list from it as well.

The library system has always been great for me. My mom works for the downtown branch here in Madison, and I think it's partly because of that I developed an early love of the written word - she was always happy to bring books home, and often did so without my even having to ask.

Any specific suggestions from Robin McKinley? I've read a fair amount of LeGuin, but any suggestions you might be able to make may be among those I haven't. :D
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-29-08 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Okay.
The 3 McKinley books I read most recently were "Chalice," "Spindle's End," (a reworking of Sleeping Beauty,) and "Sunshine," a futuristic/alternate setting with vampire/human complications. Published in 2003, a few years before the "Twilight" books that my teenage students are so wild about (I haven't read them.) Definitely NOT a YA version. It's probably the first vampire book that ever intrigued me, not being a vampire fan myself.

LeGuin:

The Left Hand of Darkness
Always Coming Home
Lavinia (this is a fictional translation of the Aenid from a female character's perspective)
Searoad

The non-fiction volume of essays, articles, etc. that I'm currently reading is Dancing At the Edge of the World: Thoughts On Words, Women, Places

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Sabriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:07 AM
Response to Original message
6. Here are a few
The Hunger Games (highly recommended)
The Knife of Never Letting Go
The Graveyard Book

And of course Nation, by Terry Pratchett.

No series in there, although I believe The Hunger Games is the first of a trilogy. Same author as the Gregor the Overlander series.

Really good reads, all of them.
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Shiver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-28-09 08:11 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. Those sound very interesting.
I'm slightly wary, however, that they all seem to be young adult novels. I've never been able to get into books aimed at younger readers - I read The Lord of the Rings in first grade, so you can imagine what I have considered "for younger readers" for most of my life. ;)

I will give them a look, though. The Hunger Games sounds fascinating - I have a thing for post-apocalyptic; Post-apocalyptic Shiver. I drew it at work a few years back :rofl:

And Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman are always on my to-read list ;)
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davidinalameda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 01:17 AM
Response to Original message
7. anything by Charles deLint is a good read
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Shiver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-28-09 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. I have de Lint on the list
I just need a recommendation on which book to start with. A guy at Barnes & Noble suggested 'The Onion Girl'...
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davidinalameda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-09 01:49 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. I just finished Spirits in the Wires
it's not a bad one to start with

you get a good introduction to a lot of the characters

he purposely writes so you can read the books in any order


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Shiver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-09 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. That would, uh, drive me nuts, to tell the truth
I need a specific order in which to read. I won't be able to start otherwise - it's the reason I can't read a lot of Salvatore, Dragonlance or Star Wars novels. I have no idea where to start, or what order to go in once I have. :(
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-15-09 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #12
21. I found this
on Wikipedia. If I were starting with de lint, that's what I'd do. Read through all the newford books in order. I don't think they are all WRITTEN in chronological order, but it's a good way to follow Jilly. She's not always the protagonist, or even in every story, but she's the heart of the Newford stories, and a wonderful female character.


The Newford Series

* The Dreaming Place (1990)
* From a Whisper to a Scream (originally credited to "Samuel M. Key")(1992)
* Dreams Underfoot (1993)
* I'll Be Watching You (originally credited to "Samuel M. Key")(1994)
* Memory and Dream (1994)
* The Ivory and the Horn (1995)
* Trader (1997)
* Someplace to be Flying (1998)
* Moonlight and Vines (1999)
* Forests of the Heart (2000)
* The Onion Girl (2001)
* Seven Wild Sisters (2002)
* Tapping the Dream Tree (2002)
* Spirits in the Wires (2003)
* Medicine Road (2003)
* The Blue Girl (2004)
* Widdershins (2006)
* Promises to Keep (2007)
* Old Man Crow (2007)
* Dingo (2008)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_de_Lint#The_Newfor...
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 08:11 AM
Response to Original message
8. I just got done reading "Hyperion,"
by Dan Simmons.

To be accurate, it's science fiction, not fantasy. Except, perhaps, for the mysterious shrike.

Futuristic space science-fiction stuff doesn't usually resonate with me, but this one grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I'm incredibly frustrated that the local library system doesn't have the second book. I believe it's a trilogy, or started out a trilogy, with a 4th book added.

Anyway, it was great, and I feel called to look into other stuff that he's done.

:hi:
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semillama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. I haven't read Hyperion yet, but if your library has Ilium and Olympos
go check them out. Impossible to put down. Fantastic works of sci-fi literature.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-28-09 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Will do.
I'd like to finish the Hyperion series first. Of course, the library doesn't have the 2nd book; the whole SYSTEM doesn't have it, so I need to buy it.

One of the great things about discovering a good new author is knowing that you won't run out of stuff to read for some time to come. :D
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Shiver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-28-09 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. I've read Hyperion
Edited on Wed Jan-28-09 07:48 PM by Shiver
Back in... 11th grade? Whenever the last time I took a French class was. Borrowed it from my friend Mike, who was in love with the books. I started on the second one, but it skipped ahead a few centuries - something which, at the time, I didn't care for. I like sticking with the same characters.

Incredibly well-written, though. I don't usually go for scifi either, but it had enough fantasy elements to draw me in.
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Mudoria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-30-09 11:39 PM
Response to Original message
14. You may want to give this a try..
"The View From the Mirror" series, a 5 book set by Ian Irvine. It starts out a bit slow but once you get a feel for it I believe its well worth the effort. I really enjoyed it. And yes, it does a have a very strong female heroine.

http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Glass-View-Mirror-Book/dp/...
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Shiver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-09 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. That does sound pretty interesting
Exactly the sort of series I'm looking for, come to think. And actually it looks to be a twelve book series, divided into two quartets, a trilogy, and a single novel (that reports say might become another trilogy). Anyway, thanks a lot for the suggestion! I'm definitely going to check this out.
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Mudoria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-09 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. I can suggest a few other series...
These don't meet all your criteria but are excellent reads:

Paul Kearney's "Monarchies of God", a 5 book set, the female heroine isn't really a strong presence in most of the books although she does a play a central role in the series. I have to admit book 5 isn't the strongest finale I've ever read though.
http://www.amazon.com/Hawkwoods-Voyage-Monarchies-God-B...

Sara Douglass' "Wayfarer Redemption" I liked it although some reviewers on Amazon were less than impressed. http://www.amazon.com/Wayfarer-Redemption-Axis-Trilogy-...

Simon Brown's "Keys of Power" trilogy. One of personal favorites.
http://www.amazon.com/Inheritance-Keys-Power-Simon-Brow...

Jo Walton's "The King's Peace" and "The Kings Name".
http://www.amazon.com/Kings-Peace-Sulien-Jo-Walton/dp/0...

Fiona McIntosh's "The Quickening" trilogy
http://www.amazon.com/Myrrens-Gift-Quickening-Book-One/...

And lastly, although this may be hard to find..
Alma Alexander's duology "Changer of Days" and "The Hidden Queen".

Good place to find other Fantasy and SF books and waste time on yet another forum:
http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum /

Hope this gives you something to keep you occupied a bit :7

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Shiver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-01-09 10:03 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Thank you very much
Many of those look like excellent suggestions, especially the one by Fiona McIntosh - I've read Odalisque, the first book in the Percheron Saga, and greatly enjoyed it. Planning to pick up the next two first chance I get.

I'm going to have to reject the Wayfarer Redemption series; I read up to the third book, and hated how Axis treated Faraday. She was my favourite character, I thought she got shafted. I couldn't even bring myself to finish it, especially after how I heard the whole thing ended... I might pick it up again someday, but not anytime soon.
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Ohio Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-10-09 09:10 PM
Response to Original message
20. Gene Wolfe
Book of the New Sun
Book of the Long Sun

Great stuff.
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dalaigh lllama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-08-09 10:38 PM
Response to Original message
22. Here's some of my favorite fantasy reads not mentioned yet
The Empire trilogy by Raymond Feist & Janny Wurts: Daughter of the Empire; Servant of the Empire; Mistress of the Empire. Mara of the Acoma is not only strong but smart and savvy. I didn't really enjoy Feist's Riftwar Saga, but this series is set on the alternate world and has lots of political intrigue with a Japanese/Roman empire flavor.

The Web Shifter trilogy by Julie Czerneda. Enjoyable both because of the humor she uses -- even in dire circumstances -- and because Czerneda's biological background makes the various life forms Esen assumes seem believable.
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