Nico (vilakins) wrote,
Nico
vilakins

Book meme, but with reviews!

A book meme from sallymn; an interesting one because I get to comment on the books I've read.

1) Copy and paste the list into your own journal.
2) Mark those you have read however you want.
3) Feel free to tell your friends what you thought of them.


I've bolded those I've read, or read most of in the case of series, struck out those I disliked, and put question marks under those I've never heard of. Do tell me about those if you think they're worth reading.

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
I read this at uni, and still remember lying on my stomach in the sun with the first book during exams (my way of relaxing during the tension), chilled despite the heat as I read about the Black Riders. I raced through it, eager to find out what happened next. I loved it, but admit to skipping all the songs. Since then, I've read so many other fantasy stories that are pale copies with similar races and backgrounds.

2. The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
A fun read for anyone, with a lot of humour, and some background to LOTR.

3. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien

4. Foundation series, Isaac Asimov
I loved this, especially for its feel of the decline and fall of a galaxy-wide Roman empire. I know the characters are flat, but the real star is the society, and Asimov has some great ideas. I bet Blake's 7's psychostrategists are based on his psycho-historians. I like the first three best, but the others weren't bad, even if they were professional fanfic.

5. Robot series, Isaac Asimov
Another great series! I love the Golden Age of SF for its fascination with science and technology and, usually, its optimism. Asimov's three robotic laws are still quoted by other authors.

6. Dune, Frank Herbert
Just this, the first book. I enjoyed it, but was warned than each successive one was worse than the last, so I quit while I was ahead.

7. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
I didn't like it, but then I dislike most Heinlein for preaching his own sexual weirdness and other beliefs. My favourite of his (and possibly the only one I really like) is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress for its AI.

8. Earthsea series, Ursula le Guin
I am just now rereading these! It's odd to see how much the first three exclude women or give them no autonomy when her writing later became so feminist, but the spare and considered language is already there, and so is the inclusiveness about race. The magic systems are also unlike most, and very original. One jarring note in the third, to me, was the use of our month names on another planet. And while we're at it, why are almost all stories in the northern hemisphere no matter which planet they're on?

9. Neuromancer, William Gibson
I read this while extremely ill and feverish with flu, and dreamed of the universe every time I slipped into sleep. My memories are therefore strange, heightened, and probably distorted. I do remember it was very visual as I had no difficulty 'seeing' the world and people.

10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
A classic and therefore the central idea has lost a lot of its impact now.

11. The Day of the Triffids, John Wyndham
Another classic, and still rather scary.

12. A Book of the New Sun series, Gene Wolfe
???

13. Discworld series, Terry Pratchett
I'm working my way through them and an now reading The Last Continent. In general I love them though there were a couple (Eric, Small Gods) which I didn't like (boring, and preachy respectively). The City Watch books are my favourites, and I love Vimes, Vetinari, the Witches, and Death very much indeed. I'd recommend these to anyone for their humour (often biting) and sheer fun.

14. Sandman series, Neil Gaiman
I really should get round to this.

15. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
Several times! Plus the radio and TV series.

16. Dragonriders of Pern series, Anne McCaffery
I tried it but didn't like it.

17. Interview with the Vampire series, Anne Rice
A friend made me read this and I got about 10 pages in before giving up with disgust.

18. The Shining, Stephen King
I don't do horror.

19. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula le Guin
An excellent study of a society, gender, and two people. I just reread this a few months ago and enjoyed it all over again. I think my favourite or hers is The Dispossessed though, which I rec to people who say they don't like SF.

20. The Chronicles of Amber, Roger Zelazny
I loved these as a teenager, enchanted with the idea of walking into other worlds. I'm not sure how I'd like them now. Maybe I'll give them a go. I seem to be going back to old favourites lately.

21. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke
It was OK. I find Clarke has interesting ideas, but such a distant, detached, and dry style I just don't care about the characters.

22. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke.
Another one that was interesting for the science but mot a lot else.

23. Ringworld, Larry Niven
Ah yes, Niven when he could write. Great stuff, inventive, adventurous, and fun! Avoid all recent work by him though. He's either lost it, or he's paying a really, really bad ghost writer.

24. Elric of Melnibone series, Michael Moorcock

25. The Dying Earth series, Jack Vance

26. Lyonesse series, Jack Vance

27. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever, Stephen Donaldson
I rather enjoyed this despite absolutely hating the main character. Lord Mhoram and Foamfollower the Giant made it worthwhile. Donaldson seems to like writing unlikeable main characters; he wrote another trilogy about a woman who ended up in another universe where only she was immune to the power of mirrors--and could use them. But did she? No, she stuffed around and didn't use her power.

28. A Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin
???

29. The Worm Ourobouros, E.R. Eddison

30. Conan series, Robert E. Howard

31. Lankhmar series, Fritz Leiber
???

32. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
Yep, and very good it was too.

33. The Time Machine, H.G. Wells
Oh, yes. Bleak though.

34. The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells
Interesting, and I liked that he did cover food being digested. I'm like that. I like my science to at least try to be real.

35. The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells
Yes again, and the radio series.

36. Eon, Greg Bear
I can't remember much about it though.

37. Book of the First Law series, Joe Abercrombie
???

38. Miss Marple stories, Agatha Christie
I like her! Such a nice idea, having an old woman using her brain to solve mysteries.

39. Hercule Poirot stories, Agatha Christie
With his little grey cells, yes! Fun holiday reading.

40. Lord Peter Wimsey stories, Dorothy L. Sayers
I've just reread most of these, and they're still great! Like Sally and others, I agree that Ian Carmichael was miscast as Wimsey. He doesn't look like that at all.

41. The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett

42. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
I read it at school, but can't remember much about it now.

43. Sherlock Holmes stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I've been slowly rereading these on line.

44. Cthulhu Mythos, H.P. Lovecraft

45. Inspector Wexford stories, Ruth Rendell
I don't usually go for modern detective stories as they tend to be very graphic and gory, but these are good.

46. Adam Dalgliesh stories, P.D. James
And these are much the same, also good.

47. Philip Marlowe stories, Raymond Chandler
I've read some, but not enough to bold.

48. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
Oh yes! I read this as a teenager, but I actually think I prefer the one he wrote about Italian immigrants in NY, The Fortunate Pilgrim.

49. The Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
Yep! A good example of the thriller.

50. The Fourth Protocol, Frederick Forsyth

51. Smiley series, John le Carre
Only the first one; too cold and bleak for me.

52. Gentleman Bastard series, Scott Lynch
???

53. The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Steven Erikson
???

54. Watchmen series, Alan Moore

55. Maus, Art Spiegelman
Ages ago.

56. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller

57. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi
???

58. Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
They're fun and I like how they grow with Harry, but the last one needed a good editor; the camping scenes went on far too long. I've read much better children's books though...

59. Chrestomanci series, Diana Wynne-Jones
... like these ones! The magic system in these books is original, not at all the usual. All her books have fascinating worlds not quite like ours, interesting and flawed characters, and unpredictable plots.

60 Ryhope Wood series, Robert Holdstock
???

61. Wilt series, Tom Sharpe
Some of them.

62. Riftwar Cycle, Raymond E. Feist
???

63. Temeraire series, Naomi Novik
???

64. Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
I loved those as a kid, except for the last book which upset me--and I didn't get the allegory till then. I've reread and enjoyed all but that one recently. I think that if you leave out the last one, you can read them all as pure fantasy, and, leaving aside the Problem of Susan, the characters are very well drawn.

65. His Dark Materials series, Phillip Pullman

66. Dragonlance series, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Isn't this based on a game and therefore for an in group?

67. Twilight saga, Stephanie Meyer

68. The Night's Dawn trilogy, Peter F. Hamilton
???

69. Artemis Fowl series, Eoin Colfer

70. Honor Harrington series, David Weber
A female admiral and her sentient cat companion, what's not to love? I do skim the gory battle scenes though. I must get back to this; I still haven't read them all.

71. Hannibal Lecter series, Thomas Harris
I don't do horror. This applies to the next two as well.

72. The Dark Tower series, Stephen King.

73. It, Stephen King

74. The Rats series, James Herbert
???

75. Dirk Gently series, Douglas Adams
Hey, I liked this! What?

76. Jeeves and Wooster stories, P.G. Wodehouse
Sheer joy and escapism with its world of idle and amiable idiots and seemingly endless summers. The language alone is an intense pleasure.

77. The da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
I admit to reading this on the plane to England in 2004. The best thing I have to say about this is that I solved all the puzzles myself and that was sort of fun. The worst? I have no words. I do wonder though how bad writers get published when good ones aren't.

78. The Culture Series, Iain M. Banks
Not really a series in that most seem standalone, but lots of often violent and gory fun, and Banks has the best ship names ever. Surprisingly I don't mind the mayhem in these because of the black humour.

79. The Duncton series, William Horwood

80. The Illuminatus! trilogy, Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson

81. The Aberystwyth series, Malcom Pryce
I've only read the first, Aberystwyth Mon Amour, but as I intend to read the rest, I've bolded it. Thanks for the reminder, meme! This is a noir alternate history in which Wales is a republic full of eccentric characters, and has sent an army to South America in a past conflict.

82. Morse stories, Colin Dexter
I've read a few, and it's interesting that the Morse described in them (dark-haired and sour) isn't quite the one on screen. There are also some good short stories which I listen to on audio.

83. Navajo Tribal Police stories, Tony Hillerman
These are excellent: good mysteries with interesting characters and a fascinating background.

84. The Ipcress File, Len Deighton

85. Enigma, Robert Harris
???

86. Fatherland, Robert Harris
???

87. The Constant Gardener, John le Carre

88. The House of Cards trilogy, Michael Dobbs
Is this anything to do with the excellent TV series about politician Francis Urquhart? [looks it up] Yes! OK, it goes on my reading list.

89. The Dark is Rising saga, Susan Cooper
???

90. Psychotechnic League and Polesotechnic League series, Poul Anderson
Why haven't I seen these around? I thought I'd read a lot of those old SF series.

91. Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton

92. Star Wars: Thrawn trilogy, Timothy Zahn .

93. Ender's Game series, Orson Scott Card
The first was the best; I liked it. Avoid his Homecoming saga though; it's basically a rewrite of the Abraham story but In Space (or on another planet anyway). WTH? I gave up partway through the first, at the point where he retells the Jacob and the goats story.

94. Gormenghast series, Meryvn Peake
I love this for the characters and the setting and the richly visual details of the strange and closed-in world. Whole scenes live in my mind. The first (Titus's first year) and the second (Titus as a boy)  are wonderful. The third, sadly, was patched together from Peake's notes by his son, and it shows.

95. Miles Vorkosigan saga, Lois McMaster Bujold
Wonderful space opera, full of ripping adventures, good characters, and some surprisingly moving and disturbing themes. I rec these to any SF fan.

96. The Once and Future King, T.H. White
I loved this as a kid. I should read it again.

97. Fighting Fantasy books, Ian Livingston & Steve Jackson
???

98. The Stainless Steel Rat series, Harry Harrison
Lots of felonious fun!

99. The Lensman series, E.E. 'Doc' Smith
Oh, man! I tried to read these but I was put off by the sexism, my lack of interest, and Smith's fondness of words like "coruscate". Space cannons always coruscated. I'm sure Star Wars'  Coruscant was named that in homage to him.

100. The Cadfael stories, Ellis Peters
Not all of them, but most! I liked the TV series too, though I thought the wonderful Derek Jacobi too old for the role.

I've read about half (55, I think).
Tags: meme - books, recs
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