My personal library is made up almost entirely of eclectic yet mainstream pop fiction. You’ll find sections dedicated to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, J.K. Rowling, Michael Crichton, George R.R. Martin, Jim Butcher, and Orson Scott Card. I have the whole A Series of Unfortunate Events on my top shelf beside hardcovers of all four A Wrinkle in Time novels, and there is even a whole separate area in our bedroom for my Star Wars novels.
The reason? I have fun reading those authors and series because of and despite their popularity.
But lately, I’ve been feeling a bit boxed in by my tendency to stick to authors I know and love, the tried and the true. I mean, I absolutely adored Under the Dome, but I read it while also listening to Needful Things on audiobook—kind of a King overload. I feel the same way about the new Michael Crichton novel, Pirate Latitudes. And the new Dan Brown. And the new Audrey Niffenegger. And the…well, you get my point.
Reading John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series has really lit a fire under me to seek out authors I may have either never heard of or overlooked for some reason.
And because I enjoyed my introduction to steampunk lit, a friend on Twitter recommended The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, which also got me thinking about needing to read Gibson’s cyberpunk masterpiece Neuromancer, especially after hearing a wonderful presentation on it at last year’s Pop Culture Association conference.
My high school buddy and now cousin-in-law John has recommended the novel Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks. I’ve added it to my Amazon Wish List and certainly intend to Kindle this one in the future. It’s a dark fantasy with magic, ninjas, and assassins. And I’ve never heard of Brent Weeks. Sold.
Syp recommended that I try the Tuesday Next series, a British alternate history that’s said to be incredibly funny in a Douglas Adams kind of way. And there are literary allusions that back up the humor? Done and done. Wishlisted.
And then on my own accord, I’ve decided to revisit Alan Campbell’s Deepgate Codex (a dark fantasy series about a city suspended on chains above Hell) that I started with Scar Night a few years back and never bothered to continue. I also plan on reading Christine and Ethan Rose’s Rowan of the Wood and Witch on the Water (young adult fantasy from incredibly nice tweeps). And then there’s Brisingr, The Song of Ice and Fire, Fablehaven, and others on my Wish List, too.
On top of all this intended for-fun reading, I am teaching only literature-based courses this semester. So I am literally going to be inundated with words for the foreseeable future. And I love it.
So that brings me to my point: I need you fine folks to tell me what authors and novels you think I need to add to my list. I have the reading bug and want to expand my literary horizons. Who do you think I should read?