BrooksBlog: Why I Recommend The Books I Do

Why don’t I recommend more Fantasy & Science Fiction? That’s what I write, isn’t it? So I must read a lot of it, and aren’t there more books in my own field that I could suggest.

Well, no. First, I don’t read as much as you might think of what’s being written. This is because I work long hours writing it, and reading it afterwards is sometimes – often times – just too much. Also, much of it is too long. I backed away from long books after Wishsong because I thought I was using too many words and wanted to write a less word-cluttered story. I still feel that way. Almost all the long fantasy fiction I read (say, over 500 pages) needs trimming. Too much of nothing not happening, too much treading of water, too many words that don’t need to be there. I start with long books and grow tired of them too quickly. Just me, but that’s how it is. Lots of you read long books and long series and that’s just fine. But I couldn’t survive it. Even Shannara would be unmanageable if I hadn’t decided years ago to write it as an historical saga that would allow me to step away from the characters and the storyline after each series and start all over again. So only a few hold my interest, and I either recommend them to you directly and believe you will find them on your own.

I also think that writers and readers should diversify more than they do. We all need to read outside our comfort zone. We don’t often do this without a nudge, so I view this platform as my chance to give you that nudge. I want to recommend books in my own field I think you would like, but I also want to recommend books you wouldn’t otherwise find on your own. Many of my most memorable reading experiences have come from reading books that someone else told me I shouldn’t miss, frequently when they were types of books I don’t normally read. Reading is an adventure; it should be mysterious and exciting and take you to unexpected places.

Now you know how I get there.


13 responses to “BrooksBlog: Why I Recommend The Books I Do”

  1. Every time I have decided to take a chance on a book you’ve recommended – I’ve liked it. What’s more, they’ve often had unusual elements to them that made them more interesting than they would have been without them. I actually crave that in books – if there’s nothing new, I get bored quickly. So, thank you for challenging us and picking books with as much thought as you do – it’s just another example of how well you take care of your readers.

  2. I agree, but I’ve found that since I have no time to read, I’ll listen to books while I drive if I’m in the car by myself. In fact, I listened to the whole Landover series in the car as I went back and forth to work.

    Concerning your other comment about books that are too wordy: I agree with that as well. I’ve only ever read one of Stephen King’s books for that very reason. It was good, but is sure took him a long time to say what he had to say. However, this whole subject makes me very anxious because I just finished writing my first book, and I’m afraid I may have “treaded too much water.” 😀

  3. Great advice. I used to read ONLY fantasy and science fiction, but as I got older I started reading a random something else too. Usually I liked them, often I went into them with an attitude of “this isn’t going to be any good.” Then I read Jane Austen. I had to, for college. I went into _Emma_ with the same attitude, knowing it was going to suck and be a “chick book.” Wow was I wrong. That’s when I really started to see what great writing is, how genre means nothing. Great writing is just great writing. And I think the more we expose ourselves to new experiences, like you said, the better. And thanks for years of great experiences, btw 🙂

  4. I agree. When I was young, I read all of those long novels, and when I think back, some of them were EXTREMELY tedious (think “House of the Seven Gables”). I read your first book about three years after you wrote it, but I was entranced with reading long novels at that time. Now, I have to prepare myself to read them. They’re good, but I think that is why I am able to get through them. If they’re not, I find myself putting them to the side. I have a book right now that I have been trying to finish for a year (not one of yours). I also try to read all genres.

  5. Read the classics! Everyone should read at least one Charles dickens, Herman Melville, Shakespeare, Mark Twain. There are many others but that’s a good place to start. Although Terry is my favorite writer!

  6. You know, this is exactly why you’re such a great writer. You recognize that you should only write what is necessary. It’s not to say that you cut down on imagery by doing so, but your descriptions are far more to the point and interesting than most other writers I’ve been reading in the genre.

  7. Great points. I love them both, long and short, although I have found myself putting long books down for awhile later returning and trying to figure out where I left off… Short is ok as long as there’s enough background info to “feel” the story from the character/character’s point of view. I just started with your series, I’m into the 5th book and really enjoying them. I just finished the Terry Goodkind series as well as the Twilight, and Hunger games recently. I’ve enjoyed these series.
    Now where do I see your list of recommendations? I’m a little lost here, is there a link of your recommended readings?

  8. I could not agree more with Terry. when i was younger I loved the works of David Eddings, Raymond Feist, ( Brooks.. clearly), and one of my all time favorites growing up and into my 20’s was Robert Jordan.( RIP James) . But after waiting so long I have not gotten into Jordan’s last book nor the writer that has attempted to finish the series. that is not a slight on him , his books or his style.

    Knowing who and what Terry is referring to in each series doesn’t take a old reader to know. Yet, he only explains what a new read needs to know. It is not a long winded affair that so many dang writers like to ploy. Often in some series i feel as if the writer is cut and pasting a good deal of the book from the last, or is just long wind in general. whish is ok at times. IE King vs. Koontz. Love both but if I don’t have the time in my life to read it in a week I am going with Koontz over King. Hope this makes any sense to you as it is wicked late.

  9. you have no idea how much I which I could edit that… aww well the perils of not proof reading one’s late night thoughts.

  10. what u said is true. i started reading sci-fi with david eddings & your books terrry. its hooked me on the fantasy novels. after a while, i going to read other type of genre, adventure, spy novels, lawyer. i dont have many preference author, but when i found one, i will start collecting their books. clive cussler, colin forbes, sidney sheldon, john grisham, and others.

    like what terry said, some authors wrote long description of the situation, scenery etc. maybe its because how they want to describe on the characters and storyline. when i read the first 3 books of yours, it make me skimming lots of the pages. but later on, i feel i miss lots of the stories, so i had to keep reading it over and over again. and now, i still think i miss some of your stories whenever i read all ur shannara books again.

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