To All the Books I've Loved Before
I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember. When I was little I enjoyed such classics as Whose Mouse Are You?, One Monster After Another, and just about anything by Richard Scarry. Ever since elementary school, though, I’ve been smitten by the traditional staples of geeks everywhere: science fiction and fantasy.
Larry Niven carried me through elementary and middle school. I think I’ve read almost everything he’s ever published, except for a few books he’s done in the last decade. From there, I discovered Greg Bear (though, truth be told, his stuff is all trash anymore—so full of foul language and sex that it’s hard to see through it to the plot). I also read a lot of [Piers Anthony], including Macroscope, the Cluster series, and many of the Xanth books.
Interestingly enough, I’ve tried many times to read Heinlein, and despite all wonderful things people say about his books, I can’t stand them. The man couldn’t write a decent ending to save his life, and his books (especially Stranger in a Strange Land) read like a bad porn flick. I swear I’ll never read another piece by Heinlein as long as I live.
I got into fantasy around middle school, when I was introduced to Dungeons & Dragons. Consequently, I read “The Hobbit” (which I believe my mom actually read to me when I was little) and “Lord of the Rings.” Nothing else seemed to compare to Tolkien, so I returned to sci-fi (although I did enjoy Niven’s forays into the fantasy genre).
It’s really only been in the last 10 years or so that I’ve returned to the fantasy genre. I’ve really enjoyed Tad Williams (his Otherland books were pretty good, and I’m almost done with “War of the Flowers”). The best series I’ve ever read, though (and that includes Tolkien!), is the “Wheel of Time” by Robert Jordan. Ten volumes long and still growing, it is by far the most epic, the most well-written, and the most enjoyable fantasy series ever.
Other fantasy books that have been recommended to me (and which I did not enjoy) are Goodkind’s “Sword of Truth” series (of which I’ve tried to read the first one several times and couldn’t get past the two-dimensionality of the characters), and “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin (of which I started the first book and was turned off by the strong language—it doesn’t belong in a fantasy series, IMO).
I think I’m going to try to put together a list of all the books that I can remember having read. It’s an ambitious project, considering that I’ve been reading almost constantly for the last 25 years, but I’m going to try anyway. :) Perhaps I’ll include the books I want to read, of which there are more than a few.