[The Modern C# Challenge] [WPF 3d, Three-Dimensional Graphics with WPF and C#] [The C# Helper Top 100] [Interview Puzzles Dissected] [C# 24-Hour Trainer] [Beginning Software Engineering] [C# 5.0 Programmer's Reference] [Essential Algorithms: A Practical Approach to Computer Algorithms] [MCSD Certification Toolkit (Exam 70-483): Programming in C#] [Learning Data Structures and Algorithms] [Learning Visual Basic .NET]
  Home Blog Index Search Articles Books Contact Me About Rod
Follow me on Twitter RSS Feed Donate Favorite Books
Favorite Books
I have a pretty big library; roughly 2,000 books. This page lists some of my favorites. In many cases, the books listed here are either the beginning of a series or by an author who has written lots of similar books. That means if you try one of the books and like it, you'll have a big list of other titles thaht can keep you busy for a while.

Currently Reading

Mission Python by Sean McManus
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Top Picks

These are my current top favorites. I turn to them when I need a break from reality.

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde - This is probably the weirdest book I've read and it's also one of my favorites. The book is set in the country of Chromatacia, where social position is determined by which shades of color you can see. The main character, Eddie Russet, is sent to a small town for humility duty where he must deal with all sorts of strange rules and local politics. (I can't wait until Mr. Fforde finally publishes the sequel.)
Tales From the Radiation Age by Jason Sheehan - This book is set in a weird post-apocalyptic future, but not necessarily our future. The book includes all sorts of strangeness springing from rogue artificial intelligence, gene editing run amok, both high and low tech weaponry and toys, misguided nanotechnology, and all manner of the other weirdness created by the mad scientists of the day.
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore - The Bible tells us that Christ was born and then later he died, but it's noticeably lacking in details about what he did in between. This book fills the gap by describing what Christ and his best friend Biff did during those years. The story, written as Biff's biography, is filled with magic, demons, kung fu, cranky monks, and yetis.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - Set in the year 2045 when many of the horrors we are currently ignoring have come true. Income inequality on a scale so extreme that mosgt people are reduced to virtual slaves; poverty on a global scale; power so unreliable that rolling blackouts are a fact of life. In the face of unending misery, most people spend much of their time in the virtual world of The Oasis. It is in that virtual world that Wade Watts struggles to solve the puzzles that will win him a fabulous fortune and freedom in the real world.

This book was made into a movie of the same name. I thought the movie was good, but as is so often the case, the book is much better. The two stories are very different, however, so don't think having seen the movie will spoil the book for you or vice versa. They're both worth your time.


Other Favorites

Initially I wanted to create a list of all of my favorite books. I quickly realized that the list would contain hundreds of titles so it wouldn't really be much use to people. You may as well search Amazon for fantasy novels. To make the list more useful, I decided to just describe some of my favorite authors and series, and provide one or two example books to get you started. Then, if you decide you like what you see, you can continue the series on your own.

A. Lee Martinez

I'm listing A. Lee Martinez first in this section because he's one of my newest favorites. His books are all extremely creative and weird, although not in the same Kafkaesque way that Jasper Fforde's books are. Almost none of Martinez's books follow from previous ones. The current main exception is Constance Verity Saves the World, which is ironically a sequel to The Last Adventure of Constance Verity.

The other exception is Robots Versus Slime Monsters, a collection of short stories each based in a different universe created in one of his other books. Despite the amazing variety of details in the universes, each story is true to its universe and adds greatly to its particular mythos.

A few of Martinez's books are similar to some of Tom Holt's in the sense that they are set in a normal, everyday world ... with some huge exception. For example, a normal world except myriad gods take a day-to-day interest in their worshippers' lives. Or the main characters (one of whom is a minotaur) take a road trip while being chased by an orc motorcycle club. Or a typical city except one of the main characters is basically a dog catcher for monsters.

Anyway, they're all different and all extremely entertaining.

Divine Misfortune

Chasing the Moon

Helen and Troy's Epic Road Quest

The Automatic Detective


Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett was a remarkably prolific author who is best known for his Discworld series. The Discworld is a round disc held on the backs of four elephants that are standing on a giant turtle swimming through the cosmos. Parts of the world reflect pieces of this world, both physically (some places bear a remarkable resemblance to Egypt and Australia) and morally (stories address modern issues such as prejudice and racism). His first Discworld novel was The Color of Magic, so that is a reasonable place to start the series, although Sir Terry recommended that readers start with Sourcery. The books stand alone very well, however, so you can read (or re-read) them in any order without being too confused. (See Wikipedia's Discworld Reading Order Guide 3.0.)

Sir Terry also wrote several books aimed at younger readers, such as his Tiffany Aching books, Nation, and Dodger.

The Color of Magic

Sourcery

Wyrd Sisters

Nation

Dodger


Jasper Fforde

I'm listing Jasper Fforde this far down in the list because his book Shades of Grey is already at the very top. Forde has written several series including the Thursday Next series, the Nursery Crime series, and the The Chronicles of Kazam.

Note that the Nursery Crime and Chronicles of Kazam series are a bit easier to read than his other books. That makes them a nice break when you want to read something lighter and fats moving. Some of the others are too much for some people.

His most recent release is Early Riser, a post-apocalyptic (?) novel set in a world where people hibernate for four months of the year. (It's quite strange, although not as strange as Shades of Grey.)

Shades of Grey

The Last Dragonslayer
The Chronicles of Kazam, Book 1

Early Riser

The Eyre Affair
A Thursday Next Novel

The Big Over Easy
A Nursery Crime


Christopher Moore

Many of Christopher Moore's books are set in a more or less normal world, but with supernatural conflict: vampires, zombies, aliens, and so forth. Some of his books use the same universe, but most take place in widely scattered locales such as San Francisco, Pacific islands, Hawaii, and the American southwest. His book Island of the Sequined Love Nun also has one of the most ridiculous titles I've ever seen. (When you read the book, the title does make sense.)

Lamb: The Gospel
According to Biff,
Christ's Childhood Pal

Island of the
Sequined Love Nun

Practical Demonkeeping
(Pine Cove Series)

Bloodsucking Fiends:
A Love Story

Coyote Blue

Fluke: Or, I Know Why
the Winged Whale Sings