Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Don’t you want to be able to assign books to your friends?

So, at Archon, it was amazing how often I’d say something like, “But there’s an excellent older female protagonist in Bujold’s PALADIN OF SOULS. In fact, Cordelia Naismith is also a great older woman protagonist.”

And then whomever I was talking to (Sharon Shinn, say) would admit that they hadn’t read much by Bujold although they did want to, someday, when they had time . . .

And I wanted SO MUCH to be able to just write out a top-ten list of books and make Sharon read them! Because she would love them! And who knows when she will ever find time to get through her whole current TBR pile to the books I WANT HER TO READ.

You ever feel that way? Because I feel that way all the time. So even though I have no authority to assign books to anyone, I’m going to indulge myself for a moment and pretend I can.

IF YOU LOVE ROMANCES, YOU MUST READ —
The Medair duology, by Andrea Höst
Archangel, by Sharon Shinn
Shards of Honor, by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Beacon at Alexandria, by Gillian Bradshaw

Seriously! I’m not kidding! Doesn’t matter whether the setting is fantasy, SF, or historical — all of these are great stories and also great romances. Trust me: if you love romances, you will love these.

IF YOU LOVE STORIES THAT IMMERSE YOU IN THE PROTAGONIST’S DAY-TO-DAY LIFE —
The Touchstone Trilogy, by Andrea Höst
A Stranger to Command, by Sherwood Smith
Thursday’s Children, by Rumer Godden

It’s hard to write a book that has that day-to-day feel and also captures the reader’s attention. All of these do exactly that. There is a strong theme of learning something or developing your ability to do something in each of these books. Don’t tell me you don’t like SF or don’t like fantasy or don’t like historical settings. If you love the day-to-day feel of a story, you will love these.

Let’s see, what’s another category of books I keep wanting to make people read? Oh, here’s one:

IF YOU LOVE GREAT SPACE OPERA —
Tanya Huff’s VALOR series

Too many people who really enjoy space opera — adventure stories with space ships instead of swords, as my agent commented recently — anyway, if you already love the Vorkosigan books (and who doesn’t?), then don’t turn your back on military SF, which intergrades very thoroughly with space opera. The one military SF series I most want to make people read is the Valor series, which I just stumbled upon by accident. Lots more people ought to read it.

So, put down all those shiny new books that just got released in September and read the above titles immediately. I’ll expect a book report on all of them before Halloween. Twelve pages minimum, double-spaced.

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8 Comments Don’t you want to be able to assign books to your friends?

  1. Maureen E

    *sobs* If only I could!

    As far as day-to-day goes, I highly recommend Jo Walton’s LIFELODE, which has the structure of Godden’s CHINA COURT (which I also love). I think Lifelode falters a bit towards the end, but the everyday details are marvellous.

  2. Charlotte

    Oh, can I recommend one to you? In the cataory of “if you like books Charlotte likes….” and always assuming you haven’t read it before–Four Ways to Forgiveness, by Ursula Le Guin….

  3. Rachel

    Well, if I am assigning books to everyone else, I guess it’s only fair to let you all assign books for me to read! LIFELOAD and FOUR WAYS TO FORGIVENESS, check. They’re now on my list!

    And yes, I’m kinda expecting to love any book you especially recommend, Charlotte!

  4. Pete Mack

    Oh, me too! You all absolutely must read Garth Nix ABHORSEN trilogy, immediately if you have not read it before. I just love the Lirael character. And the Magical Dog. Can’t forget the Magical Dog, whose bark is much, MUCH worse than her bite.

  5. Linda S

    It’s been a long, long time since I read FOUR WAYS (I checked my copy and was shocked to see that it was published in 1995), but I second the recommendation. I remember loving “Forgiveness Day”–I don’t think I’d seen LeGuin writing about a soldier in a sympathetic way before. The other stories didn’t make as deep an impression on me, but I’m pretty sure I liked them all.

    I agree with you about PALADIN–Ista is a terrific character. I’ll have to try some of your other recommendations!

  6. Rachel

    Oh, you know, I actually did read ABHORSEN, but so long ago I honestly have forgotten almost everything about it. Plainly I need to read it again!

  7. Rachel

    Glad to hear you also recommend FOUR WAYS, Linda, since I ordered a copy. If I love it — as I expect to — I’ll have to let Charlotte know, since I would never have picked up a short story collection without a very definite recommendation.

    I’ll be sure and save “Forgiveness Day” for last, since I may also like it best.

  8. Maureen E

    Oh, yes, ABHORSEN is great. Although I think I remember finding the second book a little weaker. As a side note, I love the original Leo & Diane Dillon covers–what a pity they’ve done a new version without them. (Though I suppose if it means more readers pick it up…sigh.)

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