Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week 6: Feist, Raymond E

Author: Feist, Raymond E

Status: Read before 

Genre(s): Fantasy

Books: 22 solo, 6 co-authored. 

Books Read: Magician; Silverthorn; and Darkness at Sethanon. (The Riftwar Saga).

Why Chosen: Enjoyable easy-to-read fantasy.

Pros: Easy to read and well written. The characters are engaging, along with the world-building aspects.
Cons: In some respects a standard fantasy offering. Also noted was, at least in the series I read, a lack of female characters. The main characters were male, with females as wives/love interests. However there were still some positive viewpoints of women.
Would I read more of this author: Yes

More Information:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Week 5: Ellis, Bret Easton

Author: Ellis, Bret Easton

Status: Never read before 

Genre(s): Satire

Books: 7

Books Read: Glamorama.

Why Chosen: Was recommended to me by my husband.

Pros: Ellis manages to convey satire and surrealism very well while still telling a story that can be read. Glamorama managed to convey a good first person viewpoint of the main character, so that I felt I was inside Victor’s head. There were little touches, such as the book having chapters numbered in reverse and the book being broken into sections, that added to the style.
Cons: I found this book difficult to read, both for it’s content and it’s writing style. Stylistically it was very frantic and I found the half page long, run on sentences hard to comprehend. Content wise, I did not like the main character, and as the book was written from his viewpoint, this was a stumbling block. I also found the random sex scenes to be jarring, uncomfortable and boring. While this may have been the point, I felt it did not add anything.
At times I had to put it down and do/read something else before coming back to it, as I just could not cope with reading any more of the book at that stage. While it is a well written surreal satire, it was not a comfortable book to read.

Would I read more of this author: No – while Ellis may be a good satirist, I don’t like his books, and have been assured that Glamorama is probably his best book.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Week 4: Duane, Diane

Author: Duane, Diane

Status: Read before 

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Fantasy

Books: 35

Books Read: Book of Night with Moon; and To visit the Queen/On Her Majesty’s Wizardly Service.

Why Chosen: Read before and loved her conceptualisation of magic.

Pros: Kitty Wizards! Characterisation and world building is well done and enjoyable.
Cons: Some minor continuity issues. There is also an issue with pacing, and I found some part have to be read a couple of times before I really understand them.

Would I read more of this author: Yes

More information:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Week 3: Clarke, Arthur C

Author: Clarke, Arthur C.

Status: Read before 

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Non-fiction

Books: 62 (Both fiction and non-fiction), as well as several short stories. Best known for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Books Read: 2001: A Space Odyssey; 2010: Odyssey Two;  and Rendezvous with Rama.

Why Chosen: As one of the “Big Three” along with Heinlein and Asimov, I felt that he had to be included.

Pros: Well written books. The science of the books was researched, and explained.
Cons: Can be very heavy on the “science” elements, which I found could break up the pacing a bit and made it difficult to wade through, as I could get chunks of “this is how it works” when I just wanted to get on with the plot.

Would I read more of this author: Yes

Friday, January 14, 2011

Week 2: Butcher, Jim

Author: Butcher, Jim

Status: Never Read before (but do own one of his books in paperback)

Genre(s): Fantasy, Mystery

Books: 21. Best known for the Dresden Files stories.

Books Read: Storm Front; Fool Moon; and Grave Peril.

Why Chosen: Was recommended to me by a Friend.

Pros: Nice, easy to read books. The world of Harry Dresden seems to be well imagined and cohesive. The stories stand-alone, but (at least in the books I read) there are hints of an overarching plot.
Cons: They do seem to tend more towards the standard mystery formula, with a supernatural element, however with the fantasy twist of the protagonist being the only one able to save humanity.

Would I read more of this author: Yes

More information:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Week 1: Asimov, Issac

Author: Asimov, Isaac

Status: Read before, but not for a number of years (10+)

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy, Non-fiction

Books: 515 (according to Wiki, however the exact count is hard to confirm for various reasons). Best known for the Foundation stories (which also comprises the Robot and the Empires series).

Books Read: Prelude to Foundation; Forward the Foundation; Foundation; Foundation and Empire; I, Robot; and Buy Jupiter.

Why Chosen: As one of the “Big Three” along with Heinlein and Clarke, I felt that he had to be included. I also felt that I should try re-reading his books and see if I get more out of them from a more mature perspective.

Pros: Asimov is a good storyteller. I found myself engaged in his books and they were well paced. Even when I could guess at the twist/reveal it was still enjoyable to keep reading and how it happened. While the stories are complete, there is a continuity to the series and a feeling that it belongs in the same universe.
Cons: They are dated, not by their “science” aspect (generally) but by their attitudes. In particular, there is an undercurrent of sexism in the books. The characters who are male (the majority) are treated far more sympathetically than the female. An example is the short story Liar! In “I, Robot” where the female character’s desire is to have a relationship with a co-worker, while the male co-worker’s desire is to become the boss. (Incidentally, in later stories, he does, in fact become the boss, while she remains single her whole life). 
There is also a feeling of “the end justifies the means”. This seems to be the main viewpoint of the Foundation books. An example is in Prelude to Foundation, where the main character is hiding in various cultures across the planet. In all cases he breaks social conventions and/or rules in order to advance his theory, and has to leave as a result. He never expresses any remorse for this, as he gained information he felt he needed, even though there was greater danger for himself and his companion as a result. 

Would I read more of this author: Yes

More information:

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Challenge (and the reason for this blog)

So... for Christmas, from my hunky hubby, I received a Kindle (squeeee!!!)

Which set up a thought in my mind - a challenge for 2011. My goal is to read, in order from A to Z, at least one book from an author a week, and blog about my thoughts on that authors and their book/s.

And in order to expand my reading list I plan to hit each letter twice - once revisiting an author I have already read, and once a new author.

I have got some thoughts already, but am having trouble with some letters of the alphabet. So - if anyone has any suggestions of authors to read, I'd take them happily! While I generally read sci-fi/fantasy/crime, I'll take any and all suggestions.