Friday, December 26, 2008

Addictive holiday reads

Okay, I *am* visiting my girlfriend's family over the holidays, but it isn't this bad.

But that didn't stop me from packing what I hope are a couple of really fun books: 1) the graphic novel based on Prince of Persia (which David wrote about a couple months ago, and which I've been coveting as I've been contemplating getting PoP for my 360) and 2) Red Seas Under Red Skies, the sequel to the Lies of Locke Lamora.

When I was packing, I realized that's one of my personal holiday traditions (which I bet I share with many GLW readers): losing myself in a good book after the haze of food and presents and visiting--usually a fun, light book, and always something that keeps me turning the pages.

Here are a few of my favorite page-turners from past holidays:

  • The Lies of Locke Lamora: This is fantasy, but it isn't Lord of the Rings. Locke Lamora is an orphan, an incredibly gifted grifter, and the leader of a gang called the Gentlemen Bastards. Think of it as "caper" fantasy--sort of like Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser crossed with Ocean's 11. I plowed through almost all 752 pages this Thanksgiving weekend! (Not surprisingly given its fast-moving plot, it's already being adapted as a movie.)

  • Requiem for a Ruler of Worlds: This is a goofy, engaging space opera with highwire action and a Hitchhiker's Guide-style sense of humor (e.g., one of the protagonists' names is "Alacrity Fitzhugh"). The two follow-up books are equally worthwhile (Jinx on a Terran Inheritance and Fall of the White Ship Avatar), and this great author is also responsible for some equally page-turning fantasy and Han Solo stories.

  • Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords: I remember finishing this post-apocalyptic fantasy series over successive Christmas breaks in junior high and high school, and they're still some of my favorites. Saberhagen often starts with an ingenious "what if?" in his stories (much like in his famed SF Berserker series, with its self-replicating misanthropic robots), and the Book of Swords is no different. In this three-part series (with several "Lost Swords" follow-ups that'll have you combing through used-book stores), the gods have scattered twelve unique Swords of Power--with names like Coinspinner, Shieldbreaker, and Farslayer--across the world, as a game for mortals to fight over.

I'm obviously prejudiced towards SF and fantasy here, but if anybody else wants to share their ideas for good, light reads amidst the holiday daze, please add them in the comments!


Liviania said...

I second Scott Lynch's books - they're awesome.

Paul Hughes said...

So I'm just starting Red Seas Under Red Skies. Should I lower my expectations a little, after the first book? That's what I read in some Amazon customer reviews, that it kind of lagged in the middle. (Unlike Lies, which didn't ever seem to slow down, even for a second.)

Liviania said...

You're probably past it now since I missed the comment reply . . . but the middle didn't lag to me. The middle has pirates!