Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 17
  1. #1
    Maine Pro Disc Golf
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    136

    Lightbulb Recommendations For Non-Fantasy Books/Series

    I think I have read in the Fantasy genre almost exclusively for the past couple of years. Print or audio, there was so much to get to that I never had the need to step outside and find anything new. By no means have I read through the entirety to the fantasy genre, I just need a little break.

    I need to revisit a book/series where the possibilities are not endless, and the world around you remains predictable. I've nearly forgotten what a story can be like operating under those terms.

    In an effort to branch out, I've recently started two books I am very much enjoying.... Shantaram by Gregory Roberts and The Potato Factory: The Australian Trilogy by Bryce Courtenay.




    Does anyone have anything they might suggest in other genres? I'm not a huge fan of Mysteries or Detective stories - Although I have read and enjoyed J D Robb, Connolly, and Brown.

    What is it that other people with common reading interests enjoy?




    Has anyone heard anything about Aztec by Greg Jennings?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Bren18 View Post
    I need to revisit a book/series where the possibilities are not endless, and the world around you remains predictable.
    This made me think of historical fiction. What about Sharon Kay Penman? If you haven't read her before, The Sunne In Splendour or the Welsh Trilogy, which starts with Here Be Dragons, would be good ones to check out/sample to get a feel for her style.

    And of course I can't use the phrase "historical fiction" without strongly recommending Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel).

  3. #3
    Let us know how The Potato Factory turns out. I was thinking about getting that one.

    Unfortunately, I don't have much to recommend to you. My big reading genres are sff, mystery/thriller, and romance. I've never read much of anything else!

  4. #4
    Maine Pro Disc Golf
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    136
    Quote Originally Posted by Contrarius View Post
    Let us know how The Potato Factory turns out. I was thinking about getting that one.
    I just finished it this morning, it was quite good. I'm already looking forward to picking up the next one.

    I always enjoy a story loosely based on history.

  5. #5
    Maine Pro Disc Golf
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    136
    Quote Originally Posted by Storyrook View Post
    This made me think of historical fiction. What about Sharon Kay Penman? If you haven't read her before, The Sunne In Splendour or the Welsh Trilogy, which starts with Here Be Dragons, would be good ones to check out/sample to get a feel for her style.

    And of course I can't use the phrase "historical fiction" without strongly recommending Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel).

    I like historical fiction, as noted above, I just completed one.

    I've never read any Penman or Wolf - seen the stuff on the shelf, but never investigated.

    Thanks for the recommendations.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Bren18 View Post
    I just finished it this morning, it was quite good. I'm already looking forward to picking up the next one.
    Thanks for the update!

    It occurs to me -- if you like history, and you're not QUITE burned out on sff, you should try Connie Willis' books if you haven't already read them. She's always got a lot of history in her stories.

  7. #7
    Registered User Kzinti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    ca
    Posts
    33
    Heaven's Lost Property is more sci fi than fantasy.

  8. #8
    Have you tried some of the harder sci-fi stuff? We were just discussing "The Martian" in the sci-fi forum, for example. Dragon's Egg is an old favorite of mine, although likely not nearly hard enough for purists.
    Last edited by ArtNJ; August 14th, 2014 at 01:17 PM.

  9. #9
    Goblin Princess Teresa Edgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    420
    If you are open to something "literary" and a bit old-fashioned you might try Isak Dinesen (aka Karen Blixen). She wrote short stories, novelettes, novellas, but her novellas have all the depth of characterization one might expect of a longer work. There are several anthologies of her stories. Some have elements of fantasy, but many do not. Her people are always a little off-kilter, her writing vivid, and there is a quality to her stories that I can only describe as mysterious, poignant, haunting.
    Last edited by Teresa Edgerton; August 14th, 2014 at 05:13 PM.

  10. #10
    Maine Pro Disc Golf
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    136
    Quote Originally Posted by ArtNJ View Post
    Have you tried some of the harder sci-fi stuff? We were just discussing "The Martian" in the sci-fi forum, for example. Dragon's Egg is an old favorite of mine, although likely not nearly hard enough for purists.
    I have honestly not touched too deeply into the Sci-fi side of things. Not opposed to it though.

  11. #11
    Maine Pro Disc Golf
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    136
    Quote Originally Posted by Teresa Edgerton View Post
    If you are open to something "literary" and a bit old-fashioned you might try Isak Dinesen (aka Karen Blixen). She wrote short stories, novelettes, novellas, but her novellas have all the depth of characterization one might expect of a longer work. There are several anthologies of her stories. Some have elements of fantasy, but many do not. Her people are always a little off-kilter, her writing vivid, and there is a quality to her stories that I can only describe as mysterious, poignant, haunting.
    I'll look this up tonight. Sounds enticing.

    Thanks

  12. #12
    Some excellent historical novels I'd recommend to a reader of epic fantasy:

    "Gates of Fire", by Steven Pressfield. Terrific war novel about the Battle of Thermopylae from the point of view of an Spartan warrior.

    The Cole Family trilogy, by Noah Gordon. The three books are completely independent, and they only have in common the fact that the protagonists are members of the same family with a strong tradition of being doctors/physicians, at different centuries. The first two ("The Physician" and "Shaman") are specially good.

    "Shogun", by James Clavell. About an English adventurer in Japan during the time of the samurais. Really cool way to be introduced to the strange mentality of the medieval Japanese warriors.

    "Roots", by Alex Haley. An excellent novel about slavery in America.

    "I, Claudius", by Robert Graves. About the Roman emperor Claudius.

    Something by John Irving. Irving in another excellent narrator. You could start with ""The Cider House Rules". It takes place during the first half of the 1900's in rural Maine, and tells of Dr. Larch, an obstetrician, founder of an orphanage, abortionist, and ether addict, and the orphan he takes under his wing.

    Bernard Cornwell's novels. You could start with The Warlord Chronicles trilogy, starting with "The Winter King", about the saga of King Arthur, or with the Saxon Stories series, starting with "The Last Kingdom", about the Danish invasion of Britain.

    Something by Mary Renault, for example the Alexander the Great trilogy, starting with "Fire from Heaven", or the Theseus duology, starting with "The King Must Die".

    Ken Follett's books when he is not writing spy thrillers (not that those are bad, it's just that I'm less interested in that genre). The place to start would be "The Pillars of the Earth", a novel about the building of a medieval cathedral from the point of view of a master builder and his family.

    If you like novels about the British navy around the time of the Napoleonic war, I'd recommend the Hornblower series, by C. S. Forester. They were the inspiration for the Honor Harrington series (military SF). They can be read in the internal chronological order or in the publication order.

    Some mainstream writers/novels I'd recommend:

    David Mitchell: outstanding writer (he's no stranger to the Booker Prize shortlists or longlists) who nevertheless writes very entertaining stories. You could start with "Cloud Atlas", or if you prefer not to start with something of high narrative complexity you could start with "Ghostwritten"

    Paul Auster: another excellent storyteller. You could start with "The Book of Illusions", about a college professor who is investigating a mostly forgotten comedian of the silent film era.

    Kazuo Ishiguro: you could start with "Never Let Me Go", which is kind of science-fictional, and continue with "The Remains of the Day", a novel about a British butler (you may remember the film with Anthony Hopkins).

    Cormac McCarthy: you could start with "The Road", another SF novel by a mainstream writer.

    "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay", by Michael Chabon, about pioneers of the comic book industry.

    "To Kill a Mockingbird", by Harper Lee, if for some reason you haven't read it yet.

    ...

    editing:

    I forgot Bryce Courtenay (start with "The Power of One", a powerful coming of age novel about a British boy growing up in Afrikaan-dominated South Africa during the time of the apartheid)
    Last edited by farseer2; August 19th, 2014 at 04:39 AM.

  13. #13
    Hell! Ochos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Manchester, UK
    Posts
    76
    I can't recommend highly enough, Conn Iggulden. His series about Genghis Khan (Conqueror) is awesome. Apparently his series about Julius Ceasar is just as good, it's on my "to read" list. Also to break from the genre, I read Clive Cussler, Lee Child, Matthew Rielly among others, just complete mindless adventure stuff, you can read in bed without being too taxing.

  14. #14
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    In a Cloud
    Posts
    12,289
    You might also find some recommendations in this SFFWorld Forum: http://www.sffworld.com/forums/forum...eneral-Fiction

  15. #15
    Cthulhu's Red Bucket Lucas Thorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    87
    some of my favourite "not fantasy novels" are:
    wild sheep chase by haruki murakami
    snail by eric dando (though good luck finding it!)
    the hawkline monster by richard brautigan
    zerostrata by andersen prunty
    the unlimited dream company by jg ballard
    foucault's pendulum by umberto eco

    - it could be argued my not fantasy novels are still fantasy...

    also, i do like a bit of crime anyway, but not the usual. so you might like to think about:
    the kinky friedman crime novels
    the prey series by john sandford (more so the early ones. infamous for having a minor character called del capslock named after keys on a keyboard because the author had run out of ideas for a name and picked it as a holder and, as the legend goes, forgot to change it)
    the mystery man by colin bateman

    i also possess a secret love of bernard cornwell despite his need to always include at least one rape scene per book. you always know if he has a female character she has a 100% chance of being raped.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •