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Fantasy is my go-to genre. It started with fairy tales from my childhood, myths which I studied at school, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my favorite show of all time, etc. etc. Science Fiction, on the other hand, I am still dipping my toe in. Most of the sci fi books that I love are actually science fantasy or soft science anyway. So here, as promised are my favorite fantasy/sci fi books.

71. The Wheel of the Infinite by Martha Wells
Found a copy in a secondhand shop in Melbourne a couple of years ago. It's a stand-alone and I wasn't in the mood for epic stuff so I tried it. A bit of a slow start but it's really good and showcases an interesting made-up religion (something of a hobby of mine is noting down imaginary religions from fantasy/sci fi books). It's has echoes of Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy, but is of course, simpler. In the end, I got frustrated that it's a stand-alone because I want her to write more about this world.

72. Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
My sister's a big fan and has read everything by the guy. I managed this trilogy. It's brilliantly plotted, and I love how well it fits together. (I have a weakness for Chekov's gun trope.) I once recommended it to someone who's into mysteries. I also love imaginary books as the chapter epigrams are a particularly clever example.

73. F.R.E.E.Lancers and F.R.E.E.Fall by Mel Odom
What can I say? I bought the second one first, for ten pesos (about less than a quarter) at a sale at the bookstore in some strange mall back home. The cover was intriguing. I didn't know that this was a book based on an RPG called Top Secret. It features metables, a term for mutants, in a future where the states have banded together in certain alliances. It's full of messed up characters. My favorite is Download who has an eidetic memory and also is able to channel certain personalities through a machine. (Years later, watching Dollhouse made me want to do a crossover.) The first one is not as good but also features Download so I'm not too disappointed. 

74. Freedom's Landing (and rest of series) by Anne McCaffrey
This is one of those science fantasy books. It's pretty wish-fulfillment for me, featuring a bunch of kidnapped humans starting over on a new planet along with a handful of aliens. Features romance, yankee ingenuity and general resourcefulness, exploration, a bit of mystery.

75. Inda (series) by Sherwood Smith
Inda. Is hella cool. It's like military fantasy which I haven't read much of. (It's usually military sci fi.) Inda's a brilliant strategist and also the best friend of a prince who is not supposed to succeed the throne. Features gay people but there are no sex scenes. Trust me I combed the books through for a single line that still made me go squee. Also features pirates, weird magic, some really creepy men, ghosts and a lot of cool training and fighting. I like other books by her as well, especially A Stranger to Command. (Pretty standalone though the character is seen again in Crown Duel.) And the Wren books, though for a younger audience. And A Posse of Princesses. 

76. Every novel written by Janet Kagan
(All three of them, sadface) That's Mirabile, Hellspark, and a Star Trek novel called Uhura's Song. Mirabile's pretty low-stress, cute and funny, just a series of connected stories about strange biology in a new planet. Hellspark is similar in that it features the same but focuses more on different cultures and languages, misunderstandings, body language and what it means to be human. (The stakes are also higher.) As for Uhura's Song, it has humanoid cats. Nuff said. Now I'm left looking for her short stories, sadface.

77. 7th Sigma by Steven Gould
I keep meaning to read his Jumper series but instead I'm pining for a sequel to this book. I picked it up by chance at the library. And then fell in love. It's also sort of science fantasy in that a whole state cannot use metal anymore after a bug infestation so they're forced to improvise. Kid spy, martial arts (a Gould regular), mysteries, makeshift families. It hit all my buttons. It's supposedly inspired by Kipling's Kim.

78. Codex Alera by Jim Butcher
Six books inspired by Pokemon shouldn't be this damn amazing. Butcher why don't you stop writing Dresden Files books and write more epic fantasy. Features amazing worldbuilding, amazing plotting, amazing characters and creatures, amazing romance. So damn amazing. (And to think it took me forever to get past chapter one, I actually sped through the rest in a span of days.)

79. Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey
McCaffrey shows up again. Why? Because she's so good at this. I actually read the first of the Harper Hall trilogy ages ago and then picked it up again after I read the first few Pern novels (Dragonflight, Dragonquest and The White Dragon.) This one (second of three) is still my favorite of the bunch.

80. Virtual Zen by Ray Nelson
Another weird, obscure, 1980s sci fi novel. Futuristic vision of Japan. Kid ends up on the street. Starts a band. It gets big. And then the fall. And you can only appreciate the last page if you've read Basho's most famous haiku. (Plop!)

81. The Carpet-Makers by Andreas Eschbach
This book makes it to my list even though I read it once and will never read it again. It just packs a punch. I'm still feeling it years after. Linked stories in the POV of wildly different characters that somehow create an entire universe made of tragedy.

82. Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind
I confess I don't remember where I stopped in The Sword of Truth series. I've forgotten most of it and will probably never finish it either. But I still like this book, for the ending and for the rule itself. And also the Book of Counting Shadows. (another imaginary book epigrams)

83. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
The book is usually better than the movie. In this case, I liked them both about the same. The book because it delves deeper into the children's lives. But the movie added some things that made it really fun. (You are always on my mind... has become a creepy song for me because of the movie.)

84. Obsidian Butterfly by Laurell K. Hamilton
I got into the Anita Blake series after it got compared to Buffy a whole lot of times. And yes the first few books were sassy, sexy mysteries. And then sex got center stage and I stopped. (Same with her fairy series.) Anyway, even with that, Obsidian Butterfly is still my favorite of the bunch because it features Edward, aka Death. So so cool. (And a little bit creepy too.)

85. Dirk Gently books by Douglas Adams
I like the Holistic Detective Agency best because of how things fit together. It's also irritating when you get attached to a character and then find out in the sequel that he's minor and is not even there. I tried watching the series too; it focuses more on Dirk's strange, serendipitous methods. I'm a big fan of serendipity/synchronicity.

86. Life, The Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams
Just because the Hitchhiker's Guide series deserves its own spot. I love Marvin. I love the towel. The movie was just sad.

87. Any Sam Vimes book by Terry Pratchett
I've read most of the Discworld books. My favorites are the Watch novels because I love mysteries. (My least favorite are the Wizard ones because they all end weirdly, except I love Rincewind...) 

88. By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey
A standalone book in the Valdemar series, which I've only read maybe a handful of, not always understanding how they connect. Features a kickass woman and military fantasy and lots of adventures. 

89. Year of the Griffin by Diane Wynne Jones
I like this better than the first, which is The Dark Lord of Derkholm, because it's set in a school for magic. It's like if Harry Potter was more academically inclined. Also more interesting characters, each with their own reasons for studying there. I like her worlds. They have a certain fairy tale-ish quality to them that is at the same time more grounded. 

90. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
I got into her Sevenwaters series as well as other books, but I found this first one particularly powerful. It's a reworking of the fairy tale of The Six Swans. And after reading it, I was mute for a while. Bit of a TW for rape though.

91. Doctrine of the Labyrinth series by Sarah Monette
I found the books a bit uneven but wild and rich. The first was just odd because of Felix's crazy POV but Mildmay got me through it. I love their relationship. Also features gay characters (Felix), tragedy, mystery, a variety of cultures, magic and technology, etc. etc. And a damn open ending. Grr. 

92. Tamil Triad by Lynn Flewelling
Imagine if Tamora Pierce's Alanna series raised up a few notches, with politics and seriously scary magic, prophecy and war. You can't even begin to describe the awesomeness of this trilogy. The only weird thing is, if you read it first before any of the Nightrunner series, (or even after, really) the beginning and ending will disorient you because the trilogy is set centuries before and what was an immediate ending, in a span of pages, suddenly becomes history.

93. A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
Okay. I admit, I tried to read the Vorkosigan saga. I only managed the first book (Shards of Honor), a little of The Warrior's Apprentice, and A Civil Campaign. The romance made it so much easier to read. Now I'm trying to move from that point on, forwards and backwards, so I read Diplomatic Immunity, Falling Free as background to that, and my next project is Komarr. Anyway, this one I only tried because everyone kept comparing it to Austen. It's easier to read than Austen, IMO, whom I found a little too dense for romance. (Picturing the actors while reading Pride and Prejudice was distracting too.)

94. The Ruby Dice, Diamond Star and Carnelians by Catherine Asaro
They're more of latter books in sequential order from the Saga of the Skolian Empire. I love how she presents this impossible dilemma of a war between two really antagonistic groups of people and then uses a game, music, etc as weapons. The war they're locked in is not to my taste, but those three books end in a sort of hope. A little too sadistic for my tastes though. Among the three, Diamond Star is my favorite. (I love music in books) I read the first one in the series but have no desire to read the previous generations' romances. 

95. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
Graphic novel. Really powerful and hopeful at the same time. The movie is about as good.

96. Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
Read this before Old Man's War. It's pretty good and easier to get into. I also love how he tried to get into the mindset of teenage girls. 

97. Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
I have this thing where I can't abide to finish certain series. So I've read the first two and cannot read the last. I loved this one anyway. (Movie ending felt like a cop-out; it sucked period.) I mean who doesn't love the idea of daemons and warrior polar bears and mysterious mechanisms and so on... 

98. Ang Kagilagilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah (The Amazing Adventures of Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah) by Carlo Vergara
Wow, a Filipino entry. It's a comic book, that got turned into an amazingly funny musical then got freeze-framed into a lackluster movie. It's based on Darna, another Filipino comic book hero, which is in turn based on Wonder Woman. In Darna, Narda becomes Darna when she swallows a pearl. In Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, a gay hairdresser named Ada swallows something and becomes a female superhero. Enter phallic jokes. And all the other jokes. Also features best friend Didi. And love interest Dodong.

99. Dreamhealers duology by M.C.A. Hogarth
I picked these up at smashwords. Mindtouch and Mindline are not conventionally published for a reason. They feature an asexual relationship between a space elf and a centaur-like creature. And the pacing can be a bit odd. The first book can be a little slow, almost dream-like (pun unintended). And the second one is fast for the first half and then slows down again. And yet. I love love love it. I have reread it like four or five times within the last two years. It's set in college for one, which I'm a sucker for, and features a lot of domesticity, plus children. All my buttons. Anyway it's also available on Amazon and in hard copy.

100. The Liaden Universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
I saved the best for last. This year I have been devouring all the novels in this universe. The only stuff left for me are the short stories and I've read the first two collections of those as well, and a couple from their website. It all started with Fledgeling, which Baen offered for free. I fell in love from the first page on. So I read forwards and backwards until I'm done. And the more I got to know the characters, the more I cared for them so some books I read more than once, others more than twice focusing on different characters. (Theo at first, then Miri and Val Con, then for Theo and Val Con's father, even side characters like Theo's future co-pilot and the character of "Changeling" which showed up in the latter books.)  

So I am done. So what am I reading lately? Mysteries set in France, mostly. I'm on a French kick.
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Even though I'm a Lit major, I actually dislike classics. A lot. So the few that I liked are:

51. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I grew up on this book. 

52. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
I hated the movie, any movie. I found it terrifying. And then after reading quotes from it in Princess Diaries of all places, I tried it and wowza! Puns! Wordplays! I guess what makes it so great is not as transferable from print to screen.

53. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Confession: I did not read this in high school even though we were supposed to. Instead I read it years later, long after I graduated college. And the lyrical writing got to me. 

54. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
I picked up the two volume set years and years ago, and can barely remember the cases, except for the last one in Australia with the lion's head and the one with the bloody print that proved the dead guy was still alive. But I fell in love with Holmes, and remembered thinking how he'd find it terribly difficult to deduce people nowadays because the tattoos can mean just about anything, etc. (I guess I didn't calculate the fact that he's a methodical genius and would adapt to current tech.)

55.  Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montogomery
I like how Anne thinks and this is a perfect example of hate to love. Also: best friends! Mostly I read this because it's there. (My mother must have bought it.) I followed the series until Anne's kids, but I don't remember them that much. 

As for general fiction, I don't read it that much. I tend to get bored unless it's by an author I already trust. I actually read one book on this list recently and got depressed because it was so good. And I can't stand wading through all the other fiction books out there to find one just like it.
Read more... )
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 It has literally been years since I logged in. And I had to scour through my computer to look for the next books on the list. I promised sci fi and fantasy but maybe I'll do that for the last part. Here's some more kids' stuff that I've read in the past year or so.

33. Applewhites at Wit's End by Stephanie Tolan. 
Which should count together with the first I guess but it's just so great. More independent learning, more creative kids.

34. Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
What you wish Hogwarts had been like. There's a nice sequel too but that one ended more abruptly and no third book yet in sight. 

35. Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry
Lowry's pretty good at writing. This is for a much younger audience than Anastasia Krupnik but still really amazing, though I've only read around three in the series. (The poetry themed one is the third I think.)

Next part is Non-fiction. I have a lot of non-fiction books on my shelf that I haven't read. The little I have that I've loved are:

36. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
I'm not a taoist but there's something about it that appeals, especially if you use Winnie the Pooh metaphors.

37. Uh-Oh by Robert Fulghum
I think I read most of his work. I also like Words I Wish I Wrote. I'm not as religious as I used to be but I still think his books are lovely.

38. Anatomy of a Rose by Sharman Apt Russell
A lyrical book about flowers. The language is gorgeous. The main thing I remember from the book, however, is the point that flowers developed for bees/birds and other pollinators who don't see in the same spectrum that we do. So we can only imagine what colors they are offering. 

39. An Alchemy of Mind by Diane Ackerman
Another lyrical writer who also pulls together lots of interesting facts. I've read  A Natural History of the Senses for a poetry class and I still really love it. I've also read her books on whales, crocodiles, bats, etc. And some of her poems. This one is about the mind, and the part that impacted me most was the one about us lying to ourselves and our minds believing that lie.

40. Ordinary Genius by Kim Addonizio
A how to book on poetry, with interesting prompts. She also co-wrote The Poet's Companion.

41. How to Be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith
I was following Keri's Wish Jar Journal long before her Wreck this Journal stuff took off. Most of her entries are gone now, which makes me sad as they were really beautiful gems, full of sense-memories, art projects and ramblings. Of all her books, I love this one the most and secretly want to write my own version. If I were to name one role model in life it would be Keri Smith.

42. Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman
One of the most expensive books I own, but so totally worth it. Gorgeous and really resonant. I wish I could think like she does. 

43. Dreams and Wishes by Susan Cooper
A collection of essays I first read from my university library over ten years ago. (The nearby library also has a copy!) This is the book that had me determined to bring my sisters to watch plays. (We're regular goers to Bard on the Beach every year and I took the youngest to watch Wicked this last May.)

44. A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle
A deep, lyrical, contemplative book full of things that resonate with me especially when it comes to faith. 

45. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
A small book. I remembered reading it while waiting at the dentist's office last year. It's one reason why I bought a Record Book which is almost full. Really inspiring. (His tumblr's nice too!)

Lesbian/Gay fiction. (Haven't read much of BTQ.)

46. Sister Safety Pin by Lorrie Sprecher
Found this gem in a dark corner in a BookSale back home. The cover's peeling and in a neon color. It's about punk lesbians, and features literature and music. And it's pretty much just a romance that features two women. So cute! 

47. P.S. Your Cat is Dead by James Kirkwood
Another BookSale purchase I think, which someone bought off me in college. I've since found a new copy. There's nothing explicit here. Just lots of suggestive dialogue and macabre humor. The ending is so subtle it might as well not be there. And I think in the movie version they cut the gay out completely. Grrr.

48. The Object of My Affection by Stephen McCauley
I read this years and years before I finally watched the movie. (The book has more sex in it!:P) It's great and it made me cry.

49. The Fires of Bride by Ellen Galford
This is one of those books I feel ambivalent about. On the one hand, gorgeous descriptions of satirical art, very lyrical and witty writing, and yes lesbian couples. One the other hand, it feels a bit uneven and open-ended. Another BookSale purchase. And I have to admit, when I read the blurb in the back I thought it was fantasy. Instead it's about an artist in the Hebrides. Not that disappointed.

50. Vampires Anonymous by Jeffrey McMahan
Why did I give this book away? Granted the copy was really ratty and it was an ARC at that. I just miss it. It's pretty much an Interview with the Vampire parody with gay sex. 

So I'm back. Let's see how long that lasts.
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 Young Adult and Kid's books that I love

11. Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry
In which Anastasia writes lists, learns a bit about poetry and names her new brother. I read this when I was very young, in the library at school, and I think what stayed with me is that poem she writes, on which she got an F and her poet-father changed it to Fabulous or Fantastic or something.

12. Notes from a Liar and Her Dog by Gennifer Choldenko
Picked this up at a booksale in Alabang. I was in college already, I think. I loved it for the angst, especially the complicated relationship between mother and daughter. (Maybe I'm projecting.)

13. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Another old favorite first read from my high school library. It's a mystery and I love Turtle and how it turns out. Still on a look-out for the movie though.

14. The Chinese Egg by Catherine Storr
I think I inherited this book from a cousin. I remember the copy's really old and probably out of print by now. It's about a guy with a Chinese puzzle egg which breaks into pieces, and allows him to meet this girl. Because of the egg pieces, they end up getting visions of the future, involving them in a kidnapping case. Sorely demands a sequel in my opinion. 

15. What Katy Did at School by Susan Coolidge
I'm not a big fan of the first book, but I love this one because of the boarding school setting. I also loved the poetry writing game they played. (Are you noticing a theme yet?)

Read more... )
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Old favorites, childhood friends, and teddy bear books:

1. Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce. (Actually make that all of her Tortall books.)
Fantasy and YA. A friend got me Alanna: The First Adventure in high school, and I snapped up the rest. I left them behind when we migrated, then promptly bought them again.
Read more... )

100 Things

May. 13th, 2012 06:00 am
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I'm going to do my 100 favorite books, just so I can post more often. 

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