Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, and Christmas is a month away. We are officially in the buying season. Or maybe the spending season, since non-profits have claimed “Giving Tuesday” for themselves, and some are making the big push for end-of-the-year donations. In all the flurry, don’t forget books.
We here at Spec Faith discuss, explore, analyze, talk about fiction, in all its iterations. Movies and DVDs and graphic novels and video games have nudged their way into the attention of our culture, certainly. But don’t forget about books. You know, novels. The source from which many of the movies derive.
Of course, I especially think those who visit Spec Faith and understand that we discuss speculative fiction from a Christian worldview, will be interested in the books that don’t get on the NY Times bestseller lists (often) or have commercials on network TV (here’s looking at you James Patterson).
Just last week I had a Facebook friend request reading recommendations for her seven children! I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. Readers who want their kids to be readers give books so that those young ones have something good to read.
But I realized something disappointing: I don’t know the field of speculative fiction as I once did. When I managed the CSSF Blog Tour and the Clive Staples Award, and before self-publishing took off, I knew the speculative novels that were coming out or ones that had most recently come out. I’ve stayed in touch with the ever growing number of books as best I can, but largely I’m limited to ones that make finalist lists in contests or ones that friends put out. And because the number of published novels is greater and greater, I can’t read all of them. Consequently, I don’t know which of those books need to be brought up to the public for recommendation.
Thankfully we have a resource: Lorehaven, the publication under the direction of Spec Faith’s E. Stephen Burnett, exists for such a time as this. Through flash reviews, the development of book clubs, and author interviews or discussion or profiles, Lorehaven shines the light on speculative books in ways that allow readers to decide for themselves.
We are, after all, in the era of review-promotion. The books at Amazon with the most reviews go to the front of the line when it comes to Amazon promotion. And the reviews that are more than cheerleading, that have some substance, that let me know what the books are about, are the ones that will likely influence my buying power.
My original intention was to start a list of books that I’d recommend. It’s pretty short since I haven’t done as much reading this year. My hope is that visitors will add their own recommendations in the comments. Above all, I want to remind us all to include books for Christmas.
Authors I recommend (I’ve read past books, may even have a book of theirs in my TBR pile, may already be part way through one of theirs, and have confidence in their storytelling):
- Patrick Carr
- Jill Williamson
- K. M. Weiland
- Matt Mikalatos
- Nadine Brandes
And of course, don’t forget the classic speculative fiction novels such as Narnia and The Lord Of The Rings. Don’t forget books that have been out for a few years like Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga or Jonathan Rogers’s Wilderking Trilogy, Karen Handcock’s Arena or her Legends Of The Guardian-King trilogy.
You may have noticed that my list doesn’t include any science fiction. Sorry. My preference is showing, though I know some good sci-fi writers and want to see their books picked up, too. But because I’m not a sci fi reader, I hesitate to recommend to true sci fi readers these books simply because I’m pretty naive about the genre. For example, is the premise fresh? It might be fresh to me, but what if 25 other writers have already put out stories with the same premise? I wouldn’t know. So I’d rather leave this category and supernatural horror and the like open for you to give your recommendations.
Please add to my list of fantasies, too. I mean, the more we know about the good books, the more we have to choose from, because this year, for Christmas, we don’t want to forget about books!