Off development topic on this one...
One thing that I love to do to relax is read Fantasy and Sci-Fi novels during my spare time. A chapter here before sleep, a chapter there while eating, a chapter while ...., well *cough* *cough*, use your imagination. I've been working my way through a couple of excellent titles / series for some time now. One of them is Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series and the other is Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game series.
The first is in the fantasy camp with magic, sword fighting, bad god, prophecy, evil creatures, big scale battle, etc. etc. If you need a better mental picture, picture Lord of the Ring movies on steroid. Personally, I love this work better than J.R.R. Tolkien's LoTR series. I found it more to my pace and style. Vivid battles, tension, etc. Tolkien's a bit of boring read compared to this series (the movies were great though). Too bad the author has not finished the last book (Memory of Light) in which he promise will bring the series into conclusion. I hope Robert can finish this book before he pass away, I can't wait to read it. (Robert Jordan is suffering from amyloidosis and cardiomyopathy, which I think is not curable).
The second one is in the Science Fiction camp, particularly intergalactic war, space opera sort of thing. I've just started reading the series (finished Ender's Game and halfway through Speaker for the Death) and so far, I like it a lot. The pace is just right, the characters are interesting and the plot are moving along just nicely. Looks like there are some more books yet to be written in this series also. But, I am not desperate for them yet since I am just starting on this series.
Other authors whose books I often frequent are R.A. Salvatore, specifically anything with Drizzt and his companions in them. They are just awesome. If you are into fantasy Dungeon and Dragon style, go pick his books up, you won't regret it.
Piers Anthony is another favorite author of mine. His books are a little bit out there, but they make interesting read, especially the Immortality series. I also read some of his Xanth's novel and the Geodyssey series.
Last but not least, David Eddings. Edding started me reading on series that span multiple books, starting with the Belgariad, which I still think is excellent. Although lately, I've been having a different opinion about this particular author. I am not sure I am a fan of his anymore since his books lately are not up to par with his earlier works. I suggest reading Belgariad, Mallorean, Elenium, and Tamuli series and stop there. The rest are ... uhm ... well, crappy, predictable and boring. I supposed I read too many Eddings at that point and so he seems to be repeating the same story over and over again. Good gods help heroes beat bad gods. Hero is pretty much invincible and blah blah blah. Been there, done that. Don't feel I need to read more of these kind of stories.
I also picked up other authors from time to time in these genre, for example, Timothy Zahn wrote some excellent titles revolving around Star Wars universe, and I also found some other authors that are not quite to my taste like Terry Brook. I found his book a bit bland and there was just too much description and narration and very little dialogue between the characters thus I found it quite boring (I'm talking about Sword of Shannara), well that kind of put me off from ever picking up his other books.
I also read the DragonLance series by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickmann. I supposed those are a classic when it comes to Dungeon and Dragon. They were okay, but I think R.A. Salvatore's are much better :).
Well, don't just take my words for it, go give them a try, perhaps you'll agree or disagree with my opinion, but we'll never know if you don't try, yes?. Happy reading.
Let me know if you find good fantasy / sci-fi books that are worth reading
Next time, we'll discuss computer gaming ...