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A Good Read: Book Suggestions & Recommendations


Devoted Cultist
Aug 6, 2001
The Illustrateed Egyptian Book of the Dead

Dr Ramses Seleem

ISBN 1-84181-109-2

I would like to recommend Doing Business in the Adirondacks; True Tales Of The Bizarre And Supernatural ,by Eugenia Macer-Story. Very strange , very eccentric , and more than alittle paranoid. I will surely reread it as I do all of her books. See magickmirror.com
I would like you guys to make some suggestions.

Favorite series, authors, books anything. I like just about any genre and have explored alot, but last few trips to the bookstore I just couldn't find anything that peaked my interest. Usually my favorite stuff comes as suggestions from someone else.

Also serious as well as pure entertainment.
all the pretty horses - cormac mccarthy. really gritty, depressing and spiritual book about the last of the cowboys - kids who ride into mexico and into hell.

anything by bret easton ellis. great commentary on consumerist life in the 80'2 early 90's. some of his books are quite demanding. great underlying sense of menace in some.

hells angels - hunter s thompson. just funny. this guy is a laugh.

heart of darkness - joseph conrad. in my top 5. the challenge of moral purity and righteous hypocrisy. fantastic.

rocket boys - homer h hickam. easy to read, and good for a laugh. reminds you of the stupid stuff you tried to build as a kid. plus it's got stuff blowing up, which is always good.

junky - william s burroughs. very very interesting. liked it a lot.

simon schamas history of britain books. easy to read and not dull at all. has the knack of a real story teller.
IN fantasy, Charles DeLint, Neal Gaiman.

In sceince ficiton, Larry Nive, Jerry Pournelle, Charles Sheffield, Carol Willis "To Say Nothing of the Dog." Harry Harrison's "Stars & Stripes" trilogy

Mystery (more or less) Janet Evanovich, Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael books, Lindsey Davis' Marcus Didius Falco books, the McNelly books by Lawrence Sanders, the first 5 Kay Scarpetta books by Patricia Cornwell, Tess Gerritsen. Jonathon Kellerman.

non-fiction, anything by Reay Tannahill or Barbara Tuchman, or Antonia Fraser. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (and you thought Chef starring Lenny Henry was fiction). Brave Companions by David McCullough. Anything by PJ O'Rourke.

Who'd I miss...Dean Ing, Spider Robinson, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. Jeffery Archer may be a scumbag to some people, but he's a talented writer. Or at least entertaining. Nicholas Dodman's books on cats and dogs. I do reenacting, and read a lot of American history, as well as period cookbooks. Madge Lorwin's Dining with William Shakespeare is filled with interesting essays as well as good recipes. The Book of Buckskinning series gives a lot of insight into daily life in North America in the 18th Cnetury, as does Beth Gilgun's Tiding From The 18th Century.

Oh yes, Louis L'Amour's books, especially Bendigo Shafter and the Sackett chronicles. AB Guthrie's Big Sky.
I'm a horror fan. I'd recommend Tanith Lee, in particular her scary dark fantasy Kill The Dead. The back of the book reads:

Kill the dead? How can you slay that which is already slain? Yet ... sometimes the dead refuse to stay quiet. For there are times when the dead have a duty that must be fulfilled. There are times when those must walk who defy God and Nature to do so; those are times of horror and haunting. Then one must call the exorcist. There is work for the slayer of ghosts in the backlands of the world. There is work for Parl Dro, Ghost-Killer.

This is the story of two sisters who defied him. One did not belong on this earth, one did. But which was the one he must kill? Which was the one he must silence? Tanith Lee has written in KILL THE DEAD a marvelous novel of dark shadows and strange evils ... a novel to place alongside THE EXORCIST and THE STAND, a weird companion to SABELLA and THE BIRTHGRAVE.

Also, I really enjoyed Bentley Little's Dominion. Here is a quoted bit from an Amazon review:

A true master of the macabre., February 9, 2001
Reviewer: Jane Osnovich (see more about me) from Brooklyn, NY USA
Bentley Little is a genius. He manages to weave the mythology of ancient Greece into a gripping horror tale. Little catches the reader's attention instantly with a gruesome prologue that opens this captivating novel.

Dion Semele moves to Napa Valley after his mother is fired from her job in Arizona. He meets Penelope Daneam at his new high school and the two are instantly drawn to each other. Unlike the synopsis on this site, Penelope has not been raised by nuns, but by a group of women who run a winery. She does not know which one of them is actually her mother. Dion and Penelope do not realize that their meeting has been fated. Each has felt a force within them. Their union will bring about an evil that will forever change the world.

This is a disturbing book. Little does not flinch in his writing. The scenes are extremely graphic. When the town is gripped by the insanity that follows the rebirth of the god Dionysus, no one is safe. The violence is constant and brutal. The book is filled with drunken celebrants, satyrs, and Maenads who turn Napa Valley into a hell on earth under the rule of their new god.
Hedgewizard read the Kay Scarpetta books in the patricia cornwell series. liked The Body Farm. The whole thing was set right down the road from where I used to live. FYI where Cornwell grew up. Have you read the Alienist by Caleb Carr? I found that to be pretty good. I like just about genre really, except True Crime and that is because it was all I read for about two years and I found myself getting REALLY paranoid. If you think of anything else let me know.
General recommendation, probably doubling stuff I've said many times elsewhere but Phil Rickman and Mark Chadbourn are both brilliant - Phil Rickman's stuff is kind of detective story with a supernatural edge and Mark Chadbourn is in the midst of a "What if the age of reason suddenly ended" modern fantasy sequence that is probably my favourite reading matter at the moment.
I've met Chadbourn. Lovely bloke, don't like his fantasy though. His best novel is called Scissor Man and the conclusion is absolutley beautiful.
Graham Joyce is a writer worth looking at. I can highly recccoment two of his books, The Tooth Fairy and Indigo.
My favourite writer is a guy called Ramsey Campbell. Unfortunatley most of his books are out of print. However if you can get second hand copies of The Doll Who Ate His Mother and The Count of Eleven that is a good place to start. Check out Abebooks.com.
Fantasy wise, any of Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar stuff is wonderful. Sword and Sorcery full of humour and adventure. Philip Pullman's Dark Material's trilogy is also essential reading. Throw in some Storm Constantine (Sign for the Sacred, or Hermetech) and you have a nice brew.
Science fictio wise. I recommend Report on Probability A by Brian Aldiss, anything by Philip K. Dick but particularly Now Wait For Last Year, Dr. Bloodmoney or Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep. If you can get hold of James Tipree Jr's stuff, check that out too.

Anyway, happy reading.

All The Best

Life of Pi - Yann Martel
WINNER OF THE 2002 BOOKER PRIZE After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, one solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan, a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger and Pi -- a 16-year-old Indian boy. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary pieces of literary fiction of recent years.

Interestingly different book (that has nothing to do with Maths!). Some beautifully engaging descriptions...

Vernon God Little - DBC Pierre
Teenager Vernon Gregory Little's life has been changed by the Columbine-style slaughter of a group of students at his high school. Soon his hole-in-the-wall town is blanketed under a media siege, and Vernon finds himself blamed for the killing (rather than the real culprit, a friend of Vernon's). Eulalio Ledesma is his particular nemesis, manipulating things so that Vernon becomes the fulcrum for the bizarre and vengeful impulses of the townspeople of Martirio. After a truly surrealistic set of events, Vernon finds himself heading for a fateful assignation in Mexico with the delectable Taylor Figueros (everyone in the book has names as odd as the author's).

Hugely entertaining with an interesting undercurrent of themes. Enjoy the paradigm Shift.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Christopher is an intelligent youth who lives in the functional hinterland of autism--every day is an investigation for him because of all the aspects of human life that he does not quite get. When the dog next door is killed with a garden fork, Christopher becomes quietly persistent in his desire to find out what has happened and tugs away at the world around him until a lot of secrets unravel messily.

Haven't finished yet but a real insight into a completely different functioning mind. Very intrigueing.

All the above are booker prize nominees/winners - a phase I've just been going through. If you have to read only one go for Vernon God Little.
gl5210 said:
I like just about any genre and have explored alot, but last few trips to the bookstore I just couldn't find anything that peaked my interest.

Try a section you don't usually go to. You may just need a change of scene. It's not self-aggrandizing of me to suggest the children's and young adult sections - I sincerely believe this is where the best-written stuff lurks and none of my books have British editions.

You can't go wrong with Diana Wynne Jones. Romantic comedy? Howl's Moving Castle. Political satire? Archer's Goon. Epic fantasy? The Dalemark Quintet. Parody of epic fantasy? The Tough Guide to Fantasyland/DarkLord of Dernhelm/Year of the Griffin. Family low-fantasy? The Ogre Downstairs? Mind-bending time and dimensional travel? A Tale of Time City and The Homeward Bounders. Weird horror? Time of the Ghost makes The Haunting of Hill House look simplistic. Kid with a destiny but none of the bodybuilding requirements of HP? The Chrestomanci cycle, starting with The Lives of Christopher Chant. Updating of mythology? Eight Days of Luke. Your standard tale of an amnesiac star (as in mass of incandescent gas) with a mission incarnated as a dog? Dogsbody.

The late great Joan Aiken - short stories especially. Come to that, editors of anthologies for children leave out all those pretentious experiments and collect together the best pure stories they can find. Arthur Ransome - the best camping/sailing/hiking stories ever written. E. Nesbit, the grandmother of modern fantasy. She isnt' published here in the States, but my source of British YA swears by Mallorie Blackman. From the same source I'm aware that there've been some recent Fortean YAs, on cloning and the hunt for the thylacine. So wander around and see what you find. I bet you get stacks.
More suggestions:

The late Brian Daley (the Coramonde books, the Alactrity Fitzhugh & Hobart Floyt books)

Under RE Howard, look for the Breckenridge Elkins stories.

Mark Twain's short stories, especially the Million Pound Note.

Back to American History for a sec: McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom and Shelby Foote's The Civil War: A Narrative. These can pretty much give you a complete view of that conflict that still raises turmoil here in the USA. Also, Allen Eckert's Narratives of American History; these cover the French and Indian War (aka the 7 years war) and the AWI in fair detail.

For sheer heroics, Winfred Blevins' Give Your Heart to the Hawks, about the men who opened the American West as trappers and traders. The saga of Hugh Glass is amazing.

Robert A. Heinlein, Roger Zelazny (especially the Amber books and Jack of Shadows.), Steven Barnes, C.S. Forester's Hornblower series, Bernard Cornwell, Linda Barnes, Randy Wayne White, John D. MacDonald, Carl Hiaasen, Dave Barry, Stuart M. Kaminsky (has 4 mystery series,one each set in 1940's Hollywood, Chicago, 1990's Moscow, and Sarasota Florida),
Mack Reynolds, Ben Bova, Piers Anthony (especially Firefly, Tatham Mound, The Shade of the Tree), V.I. Warshawsky.

Fair warning, I used to live in Chicago and now reside in Florida, and I tend to like to read about places I know.

Check out Spider Robinson's The Free Lunch. In it he mentions a number of excellent fantasy writers, none of whom I can recall right now. And it's a good book besides.

Non-fiction selections besides the history above would be Hunting Humans by Michael Newton, anything at all by Peter Hathaway Capstick.

There, that should keep you busy for a day or two.
I read little fiction besides detective novels. Two of the best are Sarah Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski series and Walter Mosely's Easy Rawlins. They're both good reads, but also have a bit of a social awareness underpinning the stories. Highly recomended.
my faves are James Ellroy, John Irving, Cormac McCarthy, Jeanette Winterson, and Chuck Palahniuk.....i have read everything by these authors and absolutely love their stuff

some of my other faves are:
-Robert E Howard(Conan books was the first books i ever read, having graduated from the comics)
-Orson Scott Card(Ender/Bean series)
-Laura Joh Rowland(Sano Ichiro mysteries: luv these, murder mysteries set in ancient japan)
-Eric van Lustbader(ive read all of his stuff, but luv the Nicholas Linnear novels the best)
-Ken Follett's 'Eye of the Needle' and "The Key to Rebecca'
-Joseph Heywood's 'The Berkut'(probably my all time fave WWII novel!)
-Jean M Auel's Earth's Children's series(been reading this since i was a teen, ugh, the last one was a turd, though)
-Tim O'Brien 'Going after Cacciato'(fave vietnam war book)
-Charles Bukowski 'Women'
-'The Story of O' (read this when i was like 13, i havent been able to undo the damage yet.... )
-Richard Adams 'Watership Down' (just recently read this one, loved it)
-Dragonlance series, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman(favorite fantasy series!)
-Louis L'amour 'Last of the Breed'
-Stephen Hunter 'Dirty White Boys' (loved the characters in this book, if u like Ed Lee's redneck horror, u should read this book!)
-Dalton Trumbo 'Johnny got his Gun' (scared the hell out of me as a teen)
-Marguerite Duras 'The Lover' and 'The North China Lover' (amazing true love story, kinda like an east asian Lolita)
-Jerzy Kozinski 'The Painted Bird'
-Kenji Miyazawa 'Night of the Milky Way Railway' (great book for kids and adults alike, check out the anime 'Night on the Galactic Railroad')
-Laura Antoniou's 'The Marketplace' series, good smut
-'Battle Royale' by Koushun Takami
-Stephen King, any of his early work, 'It', 'The Dark Tower' series
-early Peter Straub

whew! i was gonna put graphic novels on here as well but thats another thread entirely.....

House of Leaves.

Guaranteed to leave you feeling confused, bemused and just a little bit shivery.
River_Styx said:
House of Leaves.

Guaranteed to leave you feeling confused, bemused and just a little bit shivery.

Reminded me a lot of Borges and Styx's observation would serve just as well for Borges best stories.

I'll also second guttersnipe’s choice of Cormac McCarthy. The books in the Border Trilogy are all great but try reading Blood Meridien. A fantastic novel but possibly the most relentlessly violent one I've ever read in any genre. Imagine Heart of Darkness crossed with Apocalypse Now, add a hefty sprinkling of Revelations and then give all your characters horses, rifles and cowboy hats. Great book - but not for the faint of heart.

James Lee Burke’s In The Electric Mist with Confederate Dead. (C’mon, what fan of Fort’s not going to read that one just for the title). Although Burke’s novels have become a little formulaic I still think he’s one of the best writers the US has ever produced. Burke’s crime novels featuring a detective called Robicheaux are set in a Louisiana which is utterly soaked with atmosphere and history. What I love is the sense you get in his books that everyone is walking on the fragile remains of their own history and that the barrier which separates the present from the past is incredibly brittle and liable to shatter with a minimal amount of effort. His characters all seem to live in what my Irish grandmother would have called “thin places”.

Robert Wilson, James Sallis, Arturo Perez-Reverte, Walter Mosely, James Crumley, George P Pelecanos, Manuel Vazquez Motalban - bloody hell I could go on all morning and that’s just the crime fiction!

Non crime-fiction recommendations - Mother London by Michael Moorcock, The Unburied by Charles Palliser, The Big Snow by David Park.

Just reread Peter Taylor’s trilogy on the modern conflict in Northern Ireland, Provos, Loyalists and Brits. You won’t ever get a better understanding of the whole bloody mess mainly because he bases the books around interviews with the movers and shakers, politicians and gunmen who actually made the speeches and pulled the triggers.

Originally posted by Peni
The late great Joan Aiken - short stories especially.

Joan Aiken and Alan Garner are the two authors that probably started my addiction to reading and I thank them and my lucky stars every day. I may be skint - but I'll never be bored.
For SF, I'd recommend Niven (esp. when partnered with Pournelle or Gerrold), Jack Vance, John Brunner, David Weber's Honor Harringtons are a good light Space Opera read, and I'd also go with Harry Harrison, but not after the first Stars and Stripes book: my feeling is that while age hasn't diminished the man's imagination, it has played merry hell with his storytelling and his craft (for this same reason avoid The Stainless Steel Rat Sings The Blues, ...Joins The Circus and ...Goes To Hell). Also recommend early Norman Spinrad (Bug Jack Barron and The Men In The Jungle are still incredibly powerful pieces of writing). And anything at all that you can find by Walter J. Miller (A Canticle for Liebowitz for example).

Fantasy-wise, I unreservedly recommend Hope Mirrlees' Lud-in-the-Mist, and anything at all by Tim Powers except, maybe, Earthquake Weather (still recommended, just not unreservedly). Barry Hughart's Master Li Trilogy (The Bridge of Birds, The Story of the Stone and The Eight Skilled Gentlemen) is also recommended, as are any of Holdstock's Mythago Wood stories. Beyond that, most every fantasy novel seems to end up being a complete waste of time. Especiall avoid Anne Perry's 'religious fantasy' Tathea and sequel, or you could feel a strong and slightly hysterical urge to go out and nut a randomly selected religious person.. Nothing heavy, just to get your own back as it were. ('Admirably well-written' -The Guardian: pfui! Linear plot, 1-dimensional characters, and absolutely no tension or excitement or, worse still, humour. Nothing there I'd describe as 'well-written'. Unless they were talking about grammar, spelling and sentence construction...)

Crime fiction: Reed Stephens has a couple of cracking detective thrillers, The Man Who Killed His Brother and The Man Who Risked His Partner. Dashiell Hammett was incapable of writing anything put-downable at all until they jailed him for not naming names: esp. recommend The Maltese Falcon, Red Harvest, The Glass Key (3 great books about moral responsibility) and The Thin Man. Lighter in tone, anything at all by Rex Stout (he wrote far more than just Nero Wolfe), and Chester Himes is almost always good. While avoiding Robert B. Parker's later stuff, if you can forget the TV show the Spenser novels are actually quite undemandingly entertaining, until Parker had him go all James Bond/superman towards the end of the series.

Westerns: Louis L'Amour of course. Anything at all. If you find a napkin he scribbled on, go ahead and read it. The only western writer I'd really recommend. The only one you really need.

General fiction: the usual suspects, basically: Ken Kesey, Joseph Heller, Harper Lee, William Kotzwinkle (esp. The Midnight Examiner and, if you can find it -and if you do, send it to me once you're done with it- The Fan Man), and so on. Rant Alert: Avoid Martin Amis and anyone who's ever won a prestigious 'literary award': OK, there are exceptions, but most such are psuedo-intellectual semi-illiterate wanking exercises by folk incapable of telling a story. And if you're writing a novel, There Is No Other Point. (And that's not just an opinion. Writing for art's sake is the usual reason people keep telling me, "I read a book once. Took me three months. It was crap. Never again." The real reason 'artistic' writers eschew 'mere' story-telling is because It's Hard, And They're Not Up To It. End of, pardon me, story.) And even Martin Amis' dad (Kingsley Amis) thought Martin's stuff was "not good" (IIRC the quote I saw). Rant ends. Also recommend Journey To The West: the Arthur Waley abridged translation's still available from Amazon and other places, along with 2 or 3 other versions, including the 4-volume Anthony C. Yu unabridged translation with full annotation. In case anyone doesn't know, this is the Ming-dynasty Chinese novel telling the story of Monkey, Pigsy, Sandy and the monk Tripitaka's journey to India to fetch Buddhist scripture: but the journey's more important than the destination. It's a sort of Buddhist Pilgrim's Progress only hilariously (and intentionally) funny and readable, and it doesn't make you want to End It All in gloom and despair after a chapter and a bit (the way Pilgrim's Progress does).

Pulp Fiction: poss. a bit of an acquired taste, esp. the fantasy and adventure pulps, but if you like HP Lovecraft and/or Dashiell Hammett and/or Raymond Chandler and/or Robert E. Howard and/or Edgar Rice Burroughs, and so on, you'll be halfway there. The Doc Savage novels: only go there if great story-telling is far more important to you than writing craft: they are for the most part ripping yarns ("Apocalyptic Sagas' as Philip Jose Farmer called them), but technically most of them are quite literally first drafts of the stories, funnelled straight into the publisher, unpolished, from the writers' (usually Lester Dent) minds. Same with The Spider: if you read them like they're breathlessly enthusiastic novelizations of Die Hard/James Bond-style action movies, and if you like that sort of action movie, you'll love them (e.g. nazi agents infect NYC water supply with cholera, or a madman designs a chemical that eats steel, destroys the Empire State building with it, then threatens more destruction unless paid millions): if you're looking for great -or even just good- writing, you'll be driven up the wall by them. Bold Adventure are republishing them (concentrating mainly on the ones written by Norvell Paige first) and you can usually track them down in Forbidden Planet. The Shadow fares slightly better in terms of writing craft, if you can find any: tightly plotted little mysteries for the most part, with very little lurid weirdness (that was usually left to the radio show) by mystery pulp standards. Altho' they were published nearly fortnightly, Gibson still managed to give them a couple of polishes before he submitted them: story goes his housekeeper was forever having to clean blood off of his typewriter keys while he caught up on his sleep after a deadline. A lot of them used to be available for free download online, but Simon & Schuster apparently have plans for The Shadow -or so their lawyers claim- and have shut everyone down. That said, you might find paperback reprints from the 60s and 70s in second-hand bookshops. G8 And His Battle Aces: reprints easily available from the likes of Forbidden Planet, but not recommended -great imagination, but the story-telling is almost as weak as the writing, and the writing's really bad, even by adventure pulp standards. Even I find them hard going, and I love this kind of stuff (giant plague-carrying robot vampire bats dogfighting with biplanes over the WWI trenches, for example.) ! Any of Sax Rohmer's pre-1949 Fu Manchus are recommended: after that date Rohmer seems to give in (poss. distraught at the CCP victory and Jiang Jieishi's retreat to Formosa), and abruptly starts depicting Fu Manchu as the kind of 2-dimensional maniacally sadistic evil oriental supervillain, devoid of any redeeming humanity, that people generally assume him to be if they've only seen the Chris Lee and Boris Karloff movies, or read Marvel's Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu comics in the 70s. Originally published in magazines like Collier's, so far more well-written than is typical for adventure pulps. Another untypically polished pulp writer was Brit-based Rafael Sabatini, who wrote the books every really great swashbuckler ever filmed were based on: Captain Blood, Scaramouche etc. Sabatini's stuff is currently ALL in print, and ALL of it is highly recommended. The guy wan't just a great story-teller, he was also a damned fine character-writer and a master craftsman. His stories just leap off the page and live and breathe for you. Some of his history's a bit -ehr- 'eccentric', but who the hell reads swasbucklers to learn the real history of a period? Hammett and Chandler's short stories from the pulps are nearly all currently in print, and Lovecraft's never unavailable. Another good pulp detective writer worth checking out is Cornell Woolrich (Rear Window etc.)
You might also look up Laurell K. Hamilton's books, both Anita Blake and Meredith Gentry.

There's a lot to avoid, IMHO, in fantasy and horror. Much of it a simple rehash of northern European mythos (dragons, elves, dwarves, wizards, ad nauseum), or derived from Dungeons & Dragons. There are also abominations like Alice Borchardt's "The Silver Wolf." I'm sure it was published only because, being Anne Rice's sister, she's marketable. The actual writing stinks.
I also have a problem with multi-volume books, when sold piecemeal. I prefer to be able to sit down and read the whole thing, not wait 3-5 years between installments.
BTW, I have a question for my fellow readers: has anyone noticed that certain authors are only available in trade paperback and not pocketbooks? Any theories on this?
Robert Rankin's Website story is a fantastic read. Rankins books can tend to be vaiable but this book is undobtably his best (and when rankins good he's very good). Other truly excellent books by rankin are The book of ultimate truths, Raiders of the lost carpark, the most amazeing man who ever lived, Hollow chocolate bunnies of the apocolypse, the dance of the voodoo handbag, Nostrodamus ate my hampster and Armagedden the musical. All of his books are extreamly Fortean sci-fis and I really recomend you pick up one of the books I mentioned if you haven't tryed him out already.

I agree about some authors, you read their stuff and wonder who read this and thought wow this is great. I sometimes wonder how some people get published. Lovely thing about Barnes and Noble or Books-a-million. Go in have a cup of joe and read part of the book before you buy, then you know if it is trash and you don't waste your money. THe book Forest Gump for example had to be the absolute worst book ever written. The author is from my home town so that is how I ended up reading it. I like to read regional stuff. I used to live in Asheville, NC and there was some pretty good regional work. Now live in N.W. Florida and I haven't found as much. If you have any suggestions...
Florida Writers

Randy Wayne White, John D. MacDonald, Carl Hiaasen, Dave Barry, Stuart M. Kaminsky (has 4 mystery series,one each set in 1940's Hollywood, Chicago, 1990's Moscow, and Sarasota Florida),
Piers Anthony (especially Firefly, Tatham Mound, The Shade of the Tree),

Them above are all Florida based writers/storeis. White is over near Tampa. MacDonald lived in Sarasota and set his Traves McGee books all over the state. Hiaasen and Barry are in Miami. Piers Anthony lives in Citrus County. Ben Bova is a Florida writer, although his SF is set elsewhere (naturally).

Marjorie Kinan Rawlings is probably THE Florida writer. If you've not had the pleasure, check her stuff out. Although she was writing some 70 years ago, the people and the land she wrote about are still here. Her home is a state park, and certainly worth a visit.

Other Florida writers include Jimmy Buffett, Lawrence Shames, Lee Gramling (writes cracker westerns).

Check out Pineapple Press ( http://www.pineapplepress.com ) for books of Florida interest.

Now, to be fair, tell what you read.
Martin Amis' first book The Rachel Papers is an enjoyable coming of age novel. His memoir Experience is very entertaining, with its many stories about KA or Dad as he called him.

Dad's ghost story The Green Man is a goodly read, Amis with a big helping of MR James added to the mixture.
I'd just like to back up Zygon's recommendations for Tim Powers and Robert Holdstock.

This year I have also been impressed with the K J Parker Scavenger books - dark fantasy that keeps you on your toes with devious twists happening on a regular basis and characters who retain their sense of humour in awful situations. Quite hard to explain, but if Iain M Banks wrote fantasy it would read a bit like that.

Also, if you haven't read any Iain M Banks he is very good for hard sci-fi but don't start with Inversions.

I have a particular soft spot for Doris Lessing's Canopus in Argos archives - a renowned "serious" author letting herself cut loose a bit in a sci-fi setting makes for an amazing set of books, all different but intriguing in their own rights and essential reading for forteans everywhere.
Not at all Fortean, but let me recommend the Poldark books by Winston Graham.

There are about a dozen of them, ranging from the late 18 century to the 1820s. Cornish tin mines, tragedy, romance, war, action, comedy, a wealth of brilliant characters. I read them over and over again and never tire of them.

The Dante Club, Matthew Pearl - first novel but not bad. Longfellow and others solve a serial killer. Nice touches.

The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown - preferred this to Angels and Demons, which was actually quite a good book. Lots of symbolism again, rather like the Dante Club, but with the Vatican. Entertaining.

The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland - a wonderful book for dipping into and just reading portions of. Great stuff.

Medieval Lives - Terry Jones - great history, very readable.

I love the Richard Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell. Particularly the Penisular War ones. Sharpe's Rifles, Sharpe's Gold, Sharpe's Waterloo in particular is fantastic stuff. He really does know his stuff, so you learn something as well. And whatever happens, you always promise yourself you're going to finish this chapter and go to sleep, when something comes dashing over the hill or something so you just have to read on! Brilliant stuff.

Any Guido Knopp Second World War stuff - Hitler's Holocaust; Hitler's Henchmen; Hitler's Children. Great stuff, very well written, eminently readable.

I, Claudius - Robert Graves - and Claudius the God of course. Great books that I just love to read again and again. As well as Suetonius' Twelve Caesars.

Allan Massie's Caligula is one I've just finished reading. Wasn't too bad, but not quite in Graves' class, whatever the The Times thinks.

Sherlock Holmes' pastiches? Can't beat Barrie Roberts, then. Sherlock Homes and the Harvest of Death is one favourite, as is The Crosby Murder, The Royal Flush and The Rule of Nine. Great stuff. Not big books so quickly read, easy to read and to follow, but not too obvious or boring at all.

George Macdonald Fraser - The Pyrates - bloody hysterical! :D

And Terry Pratchett. Although you probably have to have a taste for him, which I do. I love his Discworld stuff.

Probably obvious, but G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown stories are something else I enjoy going back to. Sweet stuff.