Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Friday, October 18, 2013

To-Read Lists

Today, another installment in Worldcon Treasures was scheduled, but I’ve misplaced my notebook with all my notes for it. So, until next time when I will--hopefully--have found it again, we’ll turn to something else.

How many books are on your to-read stack?

I have dozens. Perhaps well over a hundred. Busy as I am, I buy books faster than I can read them, to say nothing of those given to me as gifts. That isn’t to say I buy books constantly. I don’t. Rather, my reading time is limited just because of how my life is arranged right now. But today, let’s turn to that Leaning Tower of Pisa list of books. What does yours look like?

Here are a select few from books I’ve already purchased and are waiting for their turn to be read. I’m not even touching the vast numbers I would like to read and haven’t gotten around to buying yet. Maybe some of these are on your list too. Here are mine in no particular order...

A war fueled by the dark powers of sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard--for Prester John, the High King, slayer of the dread dragon Shurakai, lies dying. And with his death, an ancient evil will at last be unleashed, as the Storm King, undead ruler of the elvishlike Siti, seeks to regain his lost realm through a pact with one of human royal blood. Then, driven by spell-inspired jealousy and hate, prince will fight prince, while around them the very land begins to die. Only a small scattered group, the League of the Scroll, recognizes the true danger awaiting Osten Ard. And to Simon--a castle scullion unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League--will go the task of spearheading the quest for the solution to a riddle of long-lost swords of power...and a quest that will see him fleeing and facing enemies straight out of a legend-maker's worst nighmares!  (Copied from Amazon’s blurb.)

So why is this book on my to-read list? First of all, multiple people have recommended it. Second, I’ve like what I’ve read of Williams before. And third, my brother, one of those who recommended it, swears it’s right up my alley with the sort of character struggles I like to see in stories.

The rest of Orson Scott Card’s Women of Genesis series: Sarah and Rachel and Leah


In Sarah, author Orson Scott Card uses his fertile imagination and uncanny insight into human nature to flesh out a unique woman — one who is beautiful, tough, smart, and resourceful in an era when women get short shrift in life as well as in the historical record. Sarah takes on vivid reality as a woman desirable to kings, a devoted wife, and a faithful follower of the God of Abraham, chosen to experience an incomparable miracle.

Set in the splendor and excess of Egypt and the starkly beautiful desert landscapes of the Sinai peninsula, Sarah is an altogether believable and provocative drama. This first novel in a trilogy on the women of Genesis illuminates the hardships and the triumphs of a woman destined for greatness. (Copied from Amazon’s blurb.)

Rachel and Leah

Leah was so young when her sister Rachel was born that she could not remember a time when Rachel was not the darling of the family — pretty, clever, and cute, whereas Leah plugged along being obedient, hard-working, and responsible. Then one day a good-looking marriageable kinsman named Jacob showed up, looking for a haven from his brother's rage, and Leah fell in love at once. It didn't surprise her at all that Jacob saw only Rachel. But surely, as the two sisters worked and lived alongside Jacob for seven years, he would come to realize that Leah was the one he ought to marry... (Copied from Amazon’s blurb.)

I’ve read Rebekah, the middle volume of this series and absolutely loved it. Whatever you believe, these biblical women don’t make much sense in Genesis. Why would a mother help one of her sons to cheat the other out of his inheritance? Why would a woman pretend to be her husband’s sister and nearly end up the paramour of a king? Yet with exquisite skill, Card managed to make Rebekah make sense. In fact, by the time she helps her son Jacob cheat his brother out of his inheritance, I completely cheered for their success. Card painted such a vivid, layered, believable story that I have to read the others in this series.

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to death before--and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will start having to make choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. (Copied from the back of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.)

Isn’t that an awesome back cover blurb? Blurbs have to be really good to snag me. Most don’t manage, but this one is excellent. However, I didn’t add The Hunger Games to my to-read list because of the blurb. I added it because it became hugely popular, and the premise intrigued me. And, yes, I know, I’m a very bad reader for not having already devoured it.

Everything I haven’t already read by Patricia Briggs and Brandon Sanderson.

Why? Because I adore them. Need I say more?

The Keep by F. Paul Wilson

"Something is murdering my men."

Thus reads the message received from a German commander stationed in a small castle high in the remote Transylvanian Alps. And when an elite Nazi SS extermination squad is dispatched to solve the problem, the men find a something that's both powerful and terrifying. Invisible and silent, the enemy selects one victim per night, leaving the bloodless and mutilated corpses behind to terrify its future victims. Panicked, the Nazis bring in a local expert on folklore--who just happens to be Jewish--to shed some light on the mysterious happenings. And unbeknownst to anyone, there is another visitor on his way--a man who awoke from a nightmare and immediately set out to meet his destiny. (Copied from Amazon’s blurb.)

One of my friends recommended this one. I like the paranormal implications, the horror, the intrigue, the suggestion of emotional and sociological drama, and I have a fascination with books set in this time period. It was such a desperate, mad point of history that spanned the bounds of human nature from the most horrific to the heights of heroism. And that sort of thing tugs me in and makes me wonder. How could all that have happened? What was it like to see your world splitting apart at the seems? And so this one has made it onto my to-read shelf.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Often called the greatest novel ever written, War and Peace is at once an epic of the Napoleonic Wars, a philosophical study, and a celebration of the Russian spirit. Tolstoy’s genius is seen clearly in the multitude of characters in this massive chronicle—all of them fully realized and equally memorable. Out of this complex narrative emerges a profound examination of the individual’s place in the historical process, one that makes it clear why Thomas Mann praised Tolstoy for his Homeric powers and placed War and Peace in the same category as the Iliad: “To read him . . . is to find one’s way home . . . to everything within us that is fundamental and sane.” (Copied from Amazon’s blurb.)

Yes, I’m a fan of classics. I’ve actually attempted this one twice. It fascinates me, but I have to jot notes to keep track of who’s who. It is a book I intend to finish one of these days.

The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher

Technically, I’ve already read part of it and loved it, I might add. But I still need to finish it. I know vaguely what happens because my husband and dad, both avid fans, talk about it a lot, and even when they try to be cryptic, there are certain things you pick up on. To put it simply, though, Harry Dresden is wonderfully fun to read, the books have a great amount of depth, and Butcher managed to make them stand alone while still telling a story that’s epic.

So what’s on your to-read list?


  1. Right now my to-read list is a collection of various romance novels, mysteries and thrillers. Two books that have been calling to me are The Returned by Jason Mott and Doctor Sleep by Stephen King.
    The Dresden Files are on my list and I read Tad Williams series ages ago. I can't remember if other than I loved it. And I've just added The Keep to my wish list on Amazon. That one sounds like something I'll enjoy :)

  2. I've read The Keep. It's very, very good. You have a well-rounded list, Laura! Much more well-rounded than mine, which is almost exclusively romance.

    My TBR has on it Kristen Ashley, Susan Mallory, Jaci Burton, Maya Banks, and some inspirational romance, which is a pretty new genre for me, but one I want to explore.