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What are good books to read (for writing influence or no)? Other than Tolkien... that's obvious...
I recommend anything written by Wilbur Smith! ANYTHING!!! i haven't read one of his books that disappointed me yet. I've read about 10 of his 30+ books.

I must warn you though, that his books are not for the faint of heart. He can become quite graphic at times, and he does have the odd sex scene, but it's done with a classy taste... not like reading a porn mag or anything. He has a huge variety of different books, some are based in Egytian times, some take place 16th century, some are present day, ect... but they are all great reads, i really recommend 'The Courtney' series of his.

bottom line.... Wilbur Smith is amazing, i use to think Tolkien was the king of capturing my imagination, until i stumbled across Mr Smith's work.
David Eddings. I’ve enjoyed everything that I’ve read by him. His writing is truly gifted. He reminds me of Tolkien through the way he builds relationships between characters. What I mean is in just a few lines you feel like you have seen and met with the people you are reading of, and that is a blessed must in literature! Smoke Smilie
Another author i forgot to mention was Bernard Cornwell. He rights about medieval times, although he rights fiction his style does play out to be more reality. In other words no elves, magic, ect...

He has a series losely based on the holy grail and other mediaval fabels.

But more importantlly i recommend Wilbur Smith!!! I cannot stress that enough, even if you think i'm a dumb arse, I like Tolkiens writing so that means I have somethingt in common with you guys. You'll all love me once you read just one of his books!
He rights about medieval times, although he rights fiction his style...

Turin meant "writes" instead of the "rights" here, so in case you are confused....

Well, I would suggest Alistair Maclean. He's an awesome action/adventure writer. And I suggest you start by reading his first book "HMS Ulysses". The only book which brought tears to my eyes so far. (And I've read a lots!)
James Potterson's books, it's a little bit thrilling, the twists are good, the ideas are great andmost of all they're brilliant! The bad thing is once they're released you really have to have money(I don't know the price 'cause I don't really buy I just borrow!) and you've got to be quick to grab one!
Khalil Gibran's books, they're philosophycal and some of his ideas are just great!
Ernest Hemingway's books, they're humurous, maybe dramatic and most of all sensible!
And other's that I can't remember!
I suggest Terry Pratchett... I hope this isn't treasonous, but I actually do enjoy a lot of his books more than LOTR... The Discworld series by him is excellent- think Hitchhikers' Guide but a lot deeper and makes more sense. They're really really good!!
Christopher Stasheff and Isaac Asimov are also great authors.
anyone read Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code"?
Aside from classic authors, Stephen King is about the only other author that I read as much as Tolkien. I would reacomend The Dark Tower series to anyone who likes good Sci-fi, or just a good story about a quest. Read Smilie
Eva lilith, you might find the following link interesting to look over as well,

The Return of just what exactly are you reading right now?

Read Smilie
Stephen King's The Green Mile and Bag Of Bones. Both are really great and hard to put down. But I don't reccomend reading Bag of Bones at night, though. Smile Smilie
Stephen King's The Green Mile

I haven't read the book but I did see the movie version of it when it came out. I really liked the movie. Tom Hanks' and Micheal Clark Duncan's acting was awesome! Not to mention a classic story and screenplay. Maybe I can bring myself to read the book, if I ever get to lay my hands upon the book!
Hi. I recommend Stephen King's The Dark Tower series up through Wizard in Glass., which shows overt influences of Lord of the Rings. After that, very unforunately I think it goes downhill. I also recommend King's nonfiction book on the craft of writing "On Writing." Not only is it hilarious, it has the best advice on effective writing I have ever read.

There are many inspriing wrtiers out there and some absolutely great ones. I beleive that all reading benefits writing, one way or another. The more the better.

What writer influenced your life? Your writing? - Chathol-linn
I love TA Barron's books, especially his "The Lost Years of Merlin" series. It's a lot like Terry Brooks. His other books are good too, which I think almost all, if not all, are linked to Merlin. Terry Brooks as well, if you'd like to get inot fantasy more. I think Robert Jordna's books are one of the best around. His Wheel of Time series is great and leaves a lot of mystery and contemplation for the imagination.
Hmm, let's see...Terry Brooks is really good, George RR Martin's one of my favs, specially his Sage of Ice and Fire, and the Dragonlance series, especially the ones by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis.
Thanks, Elfstone! Not exactly the same, but it helps too! (Plus, look at all the Discworld posts at the beginning! Of course, those were a long time ago... I think...
Well id had to say.... George R.R. Martin,then....Terry Prachett, Ken Follet, and a few more i cant remember now... Ah well. Ill add them later.
Somebody agrees with me! Elf With a Big Grin Smilie About Pratchett, I mean. Yay! Well, I guess it's more that someone posted it.... still, it makes me happy to see him mentioned here by someone other than me.
I love Pratchett!!!!!!

Discworld rocks. Also Carpet People.

And Asimov, Clarke, Orson Scott Card, Weiss & Hickman, Greg Bear, Adams (Watership Down).... the list is endless.
Hey Vee, if ya love Pratchett try Neil Gaimen's "NeverWhere", not as great as "Good Omens" but still worth a look.

Bad King Smilie
Earlick!!!!!! Welcome back, sweetie. Long time no post.

Added NeverWhere to my list of books to look out for. Thanks.

I'm off to Essex today - daughter's wedding at the weekend. Wish me luck!
Hey babes... reason i posted, is cos chatroom is barred from library internet use (fair enough i guess) Wish ya all the luck and love in the world my dear.

Oh and so the monitors dont give me grief for going off topic, here's another book i'd like to recommend... "Ham on Rye" by Charles Bukowski. It's grim, gritty, earnest and American - in the Steinbeck mold but not as good.
What??!! Lord Aelric is alive??!! That would mean the assassination attempt failed. My God! And those mafia told me that the deed was done. They swindled my money. Tut! No fair. Two lords ruling the same planet and what more both are "LA". No fair! Another attempt shall be peaceful reconciliation.
I recommend anything written by Wilbur Smith! ANYTHING!!! i haven't read one of his books that disappointed me yet.

Yes to Wilbur - his books are great
I quite enjoyed "Le Morte D'Arthur". It's really good. I can't remember who it was by, but it is a good book. A little lengthy, but still good. There are a lot of good books about King Arthur that I enjoyed. I can't remember what they're all called, but I'll try to track 'em down!
O! I just thought of another one! if you're interested in some original online reading by a good friend of mine, check this site out! She's a close friend of mine, and she's really good. Especially the one entitled, "the drip, drip, drip"....or it might be called "killing me" now. It's a very good original story. full of emotion and adventure...and sometimes, confusion...but good confusion!
Garth Nix is one of the best fantasy writers Ive read and Ive read a few. Especially his Abhorsen trilogy
Le Morte D'Arthur was by Sir Thomas Mallory
Gibbon, I tried the Abhorsen series but i didnt like them
I love the Da Vinci Code , Angels and Demons, and Deception Point all by Dan Brown
Am late coming to this thread but I'd recommed Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series, Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series and Stephen Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant(if only to pick up new wordsSmile Smilie
In response to Eva's original question pertaining to books that offer a "writing influence," I must mention Samuel R Delany. He started his career writing SF in the mid-60's, but now-a-days he writes gay fiction. I strongly recommend reading his SF work ("Triton," "Dhalgren," "Nova" "The Einstein Intersection," "Babel-17" just to name a few).

I have never read another author that has such a command of the English language as Delany. Here's an example from "Dhalgren" [Bantam paperback edition, page 17]:

Beyond the bridge-mouth, pavement shattered.

One live street lamp lit five dead ones - two with broken globes. Climbing a ten-foot, tilted, asphalt slab that jerked once under him, rumbling like a live thing, he saw pebbles roll off the edge, heard them clink on fugitive plumbing, then splash somewhere in darkness . . . He recalled the cave and vaulted to a more solid stretch, whose cracks were mortared with nubby grass.

No lights in any near buildings; but down those waterfront streets, beyond the veils of smoke - was that fire? Already used to the smell, he had to breathe deeply to notice it. The sky was all haze. Buildings jabbed up into it and disappeared.

I would also recommend his collection of essays and college lectures entitled, "The Jewel-Hinged Jaw." It contains one essay in particular, titled, "About 5,750 Words" in which Delany explains what the brain does while reading one sentence. It's absolutely fascinating!

Other authors worth mention for writing influence would be, Thomas M Disch, Joanna Russ and Philip K Dick.
I'd recommend MIchael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibon’ and Dorian Hawkmoon series.
Reading Tolkien led me to explore many fantasy Authors. Those whom I have come to like were Stephen Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series, Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. I have also delved into the worlds of Arthur Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Stephen Baxter, Tad Williams, Robert Howards Conan stories, JV Jones and numerous others. The best ones I have come across from a 'writing influences' point of view would be Howalrd Philips Lovecraft and Robert E.Howard. All the short stories are good places to start IMO.
Stephen Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant(if only to pick up new words[/quote}
I know exactly what you mean. I usually don't have to look up too many words from any one book, but I had to keep a piece of paper beside me while I was reading those to keep a list of words to look up later! He uses some of the wierd ones over and over, too... but they're really good books.

I must mention Samuel R Delany.

I shall look into him, thanks!

Anyone here read the Temeraire series? It's new, and it's about the Napoleonic Wars- but with dragons. It's pretty good, there are three books of it out right now: His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade, and Black Powder War
My all time favorite author is Valerio Massimo Manfredi Most of what he writes is historical fiction, spanning from Ancient China to more recent history. Some of my favorites written by him are:The Alexander trilogy, The last legion, and spartan. He is a great writer, and I recommend him to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Jane Austen is absolutlely AMAZING!! Her books are decent...witty and you can really get into them. Pride and Prejudice is the best.

I also like Christopher Paolini's books Eragon and Eldest. I know they are very LOTR influenced writings...but I still really enjoy them.

Brian Jacques is really good. The Castaways of the Flying Dutchmen series is just as good as the more well-known Redwall ones.

Ted Dekker!!!!!! He writes THE most thrilling and THOUGHT-PROVOKING books I have ever read and I have read A LOT of books. They are classified as Christian novels...but you seriously can enjoy them no matter what you believe. I mean...I almost can't go on enough about how GREAT they are! I recommend reading his Circle trilogy (Black, Red and White) first as a lot of his books take place before or after this series. Obsessed it probably my all time fave...although Saint is a close second. You will be blown away!!!

I have lots of others...but I'll stop right here for now.
One of my favorite books (it has a permanent home in my nightstand alongside Tolkien and Watership Down) is Awen by Susan Mayse. Its a little known book that I got from a seller of overstock books. Its the only book I've read by this author but her words flow like water and just sing. I love the story which takes place in medieval Wales before the Norman Conquest anad has an apprentice bard as the main character, but the writing style alone is beautiful and lovely in an etheral way that I've never found before and I can't recommend it highly enough.
I googled Canadian 'Susan Mayse' and found she has also written Merlin's Web, which I have not read. It seems to be a modern kidnap adventure story set in England and Wales of the similar genre to that of John le Carr’.
Oh, that sounds interesting too, Grond! Now I know what my Amazon gift certificates are going to be spent on (besides the C of H) :-)