Inspiration

bookshelf

These are books and authors that for me have gone beyond just an ‘entertaining read’.  They stick in the mind:  I couldn’t put them down; the story telling; the orginality; the humour; wow factor.  Whatever it is, in one way or another they have provided me with inspiration and aspirations.  If your favourites aren’t here it doesn’t mean I don’t rate them.  It may mean I haven’t yet discovered them, so let me know.

Recent Reads:

Sometime since I updated this.  But some new authors have recently crossed my reading path as well as some old favourites:

Self-Published Authors

As a self-published author I am making more effort to read other self-published authors.  These are some that I think are as good as (if not better than many) books from traditionally published authors:

Home World – Bonnie Milani.  Intrigue and conflict amongst the human races of the solar system.

Dragon Thief – Marc Secchia.  These are mainly aimed at teens, but if you like your dragons and fantasy I think his books are original and well written.

The Five Suns Saga – Jim Heskett.  A series of science fiction short stories that come together in the end.

Traditionally published authors:  

The Shepherd’s Crown – The last book form the late great Terry Pratchett.  It was with some sadness that finished the last new Terry Pratchett book I will ever read.

High-Rise – the J. G. Ballard classic.  Not read any of his books before.  Enjoyed it, although for me it seemed to go from normal to chaos too fast.  However, will read more of his.

Luna – Ian McDonald.  A new author for me and this is the first in a series.  A different look at Moon colonisation.  I will be returning for the rest in the series.

The Corporate Wars – Ken McLeod.  All about the emergence of true artificial intelligence.  I have been a fan of his for some time and this doesn’t disappoint.

Vulcan’s Fury:  The Dark Lands – Michael R Hicks.  I continue to read everything he writes.

Romulus Buckle and Luminiferous Aether – Richard Ellis.  Steam punk is not my normal read but I love these.

Science Fiction 

Arthur C Clarke – Childhood’s End.  I have to start with this because it’s the first ‘real’ science fiction book I remember reading.  It’s the one that got me hooked.  At the age of fifteen (ish) the ending blew my mind.  I then went on to seek out just about everything else he’d written.

Isaac Asimov.  After Childhoods end I found the ‘Foundation’ series.  I think I’ve read all his books, although I admit I haven’t gone through a catalogue.

Ben Bova and Greg Bear.  After the two giants above these were the next authors I remember scouring the library for. 

Douglas Adams.  Not sure how you class these. loved them, even if the later ones weren’t quite as good for me.

Ken Macleod.  I think I’ve read all of them. A new one is always something to look forward too.

Alistair Reynolds.  As with Ken Macleod, for me one of the best around.

Iain M Banks.  Such a shame that there won’t be many more.

Toby FrostSpace Captain Smith, and more.  They make me laugh, which can’t be bad.

 

Fantasy

George RR Martin – The Game of Thrones (what else).  Is anyone not reading / watching these.  I’m doing both.  He does tend to kill off all the characters you love every now and then

Sir Terry PratchettEach one a gem.  I like to save them for holidays.

David Eddings – I think (not 100% sure) the Belgariad series was the first Fantasy series I got into.

Raymond E Feist – Read ‘The Magician’ and then everything else.  The one-off ‘Fairie Tale’ is a favourite.

David Gemmell – Another Holiday favourite.

Neil Gaiman.  Not sure where he fits in (maybe he doesn’t).  Started with ‘American Gods’.  Always a joy when a new book appears.

Stephen Lawhead – I’m a bit of a sucker for Arthur stories and I think Stephen’s is one of the best, starting with Merlin’s father Taliesin.

Ben Aaronovitch – Rivers of London and others (see holiday reads).  A detective story with magic, ghosts and river deities.  And a good read.

Others

Included here to prove to my wife that I read more than just science fiction and fantasy

Bernard CornwellI’ve read just about everything he’s written.  More great holiday reading.  Try the Richard Sharpe, Napoleonic wars series.  Also the latest ones set at the time of Alfred The Great.

Simon Scarrow – The adventures of Macro and Cato, Roman Centurions

Non-Fiction

Bill Bryson – Always makes you smile, if not laugh out loud.  Witty observations on life, places and people.  Particular favourites are:  ‘Notes from a small Island’, an affectionate tour round the UK.  And the ‘The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid’ about his early years in Des Moines, Iowa in the 1950s.

Allan Massie – Augustus (and Tiberius).  A fantastic account of the life of the first emporer of Rome.  All the genius, intrigue, ruthlessness and brutality of the man and the times.

Tom Holland – ‘Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic’ about the life of Julius Caesar and how he came to power

Simon Baker – ‘Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire’  Describes the key events in the life of the empire

If you have a view on this, let me know: