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Top 3 books or series you discovered for yourself

   
The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding - And then every other Chris Wooding book since ever. I would have listed his Broken Sky series, since I read that first, but technically my stepmother bought those books for me (because she saw the cover and thought I would like the vaguely anime-inspired art). I loved the Broken Sky books, so when I saw Chris Wooding's name of the cover of Haunting, I picked it up immediately. I have since gone on to immensely enjoy (and get my friends hooked on) many of his other series. The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray is still one of my favourite books of all time.

Fairest and Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine - Yes, there was a movie made out of one of these. Fairest is the one I found first, and my favourite of the two books. The two are not technically a series, but they take place in the same universe, and some character do cross over. Both books are fairytale retellings, with engaging characters and roller-coaster plots, set in an interesting universe. (I have also read her book "Ever", which was quite good as well.)

The Life and Times by Jewels5 - Okay, so, technically, its a fanfiction. But it is more entertaining than the actual books, so as far as I am concerned, it still counts. Incomplete, as of then this post was made, but progressing at a relatively steady pace. I've been reading it for almost three years now and I check every month for a update. If that doesn't say something about the story then it says something about my life I don't know what does.

I would have added Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman to the list, but I read it because a couple of the characters appeared in a webcomic I enjoy. I'm not sure if that technically counts as a recommendation, but all the same. Good Omens is quite possibly the best book of all time, by the way. The Gem Series (Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, Emerald Green) by Kerstin Gier almost made this list as well, but I am reserving judgment until I have finished reading all of the books. So far I have only read the first book, and that was a year or so ago. When I finished I was chomping at the bit for the next instalment, but it hadn't been translated yet, at that time. So I must have really enjoyed it, even if I seem to have forgotten many of the details now.

I'm going to post again, because while the OP did specify recent or at least contemporary, I do need to share the story of one of my first discoveries. As with most grade school classrooms, the fourth grade classroom in my school had a bookshelf. I suspect most of the books were donated, and most of them were exactly the sort of horrible dreck you'd expect to find in a rural midwestern classroom in the early 70's. But two of them were different. I'd read a few bits of generally bad and forgettable little kid SF before (although Spaceship under the Apple Tree does stick in my mind) but these books weren't at all like that. Whoever left copies of Star Man's Son and Runaway Robot on those shelves has a lot to answer for. Over the years since, I've heard a lot of fans credit Norton in general and SMS in particular for their introduction to SF, so there's a good chance that whoever did that knew exactly what sort of bait they were laying out. Thank you, whoever you were.

I have never heard of those books, are they advanced for an elementary school reader or are they suitable for me to read to my head start aged son?

Always looking for new ways to introduce genre to my children.

He's only 3 but when I can get him to sit still I love to read to him.

If you can find a copy of it, either a book or an e-book, I can highly recommend the book The 13 1⁄2 Lives of Captain Bluebear.
It is a great book, fun to read for adults, but also fairly easy, though perhaps the encyclopaedia parts might be a bit too hard to understand at some points.

1) The Count of Monte Cristo -- I might have picked it up because it was written by the same author as The Three Musketeers, but it's more likely that I picked it up because it was the largest bound novel I had ever seen in our local public library. In any case, I was transported by the intrigue and the action. The summer that I discovered that book (which I read at least twice in a row) remains a vivid memory.

2) Watership Down -- I found this book in my school's library and read it in the space of an afternoon. Since the book is nearly 500 pages in length, I'm not sure how I did it. The feat sticks in my mind not as a personal accomplishment, but rather as a mark of how engrossed I was in the story and the world.

3) The Marvelous Land of Oz -- Until I read this book, everything I knew about Baum's fantastical world was taught to me by rainbow songs and Technicolor (tm). This book introduced me to the real Land of Oz. As I read through the series, I learned to love the one-off and quirky characters who inhabit a fantasy world not dependent upon elves, dwarves, or dragons.

1) The Malazan Books of the Fallen - Steven Erikson - Superior fantasy and a great author. Very little in the way of tedious fluff which infects so much of the fantasy genre of recent years. The depth of his world, the characters and people not being mostly ridiculously black and white but mostly grey, and superior witty dialogue of the marines and others throughout was simply amazing!

2) Stephen King's The Dark Tower series - I really didn't like his old school horror until I got the edge of his writing in fantasy. Roland Deschain is an amazing character to me and the bleak but dutiful pitch prevalent throughout I enjoy, because I think it's a good mirror for the struggles everyone faces in their own way. This series interested me in other books of his (mostly later horror) that I also enjoy.

3) Gene Wolf - Wizard Knight series - The Book of the New Sun was simply the most awesome fantasy I had read at that time and this new series was a beautiful return to the heaven and earth high fantasy of Greek legends and such. I loved it! I wanted more though!

Glad to see someone else appreciated this book as much as I did. Thank you, PolkaBear! My number one, all time favorite book series is Watership Down.

So:
1 - Watership Down, by Richard Adams: Watership Down defined the pace of my childhood, I think. It really made me think of the world around me not in terms of how the world affects me, but how I might affect the world.

2 - The Great Tree of Avalon, by T. A. Barron: The Avalon series was one of the first great introductions to high fantasy for me, and is what opened me to other series such as the Lord of the Rings series and other tales of Merlin.

3 - The Songs and Swords series, by Elaine Cunningham: The Songs and Swords series was my first introduction to a D&D setting outside of Greyhawk, and to this day remains my favorite, Forgotten Realms. The series refined my interest in PnP RPGs and helped me develop more in-depth characters.

1.) The Black Cauldron Series.
2.) The black magician series.
3.) The legend of eli monpress.

1.) DarkMage, by Barbara Hambly. It's an interesting mix of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Perhaps it's just me, but I love the nice, insane, super-witty insane people one can find in various novels. I'm not a huge fan of reading Shakespeare's plays, but there is a LOT of wit in them, and more than a few crazy people in Tragedies, like Hamlet (whether or not Hamlet himself is just pretending to be crazy).

2.) The Kiesha'ra Series, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, is a series of novels from different points of views at different times in a world of Shapeshifters.

3.) Ranger's Apprentice Series, by John Flanagan, entertained me quite a bit about a year ago. It's a long series, and this guy chucks out books like there's no tomorrow. Based on the description of his latest release which I have yet to read, it is the last of the series. This one even has a nice, interactive website!

Digger.
Errant Story.
And of course Dune by Frank Herbert.





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