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Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
#1 Copy

Stonecrushinglizard

In a blog you recommended Rothfuss and after reading his books I have decide you are truely a god of the written word, oh great God, recommend other good reads, I will happily pay the required sacrifice of one greedily consumed chocolate cake.

Brandon Sanderson

Ha. Well, it depends on what you like.

Guy Gavrial Kay is very, very good. Read his newer work, or his classic stand-alones (like Tigana or the Lions of Al Rassan.) Don't start with his first few novels.

He's a little more literary than myself or Pat, but he sure can turn a beautiful phrase, and is one of those authors that seems to be able to do it all--storytelling, prose, character, humor, drama. N.K. Jemisin is another author who has been doing very beautiful writing lately, with solid plots, who could give Pat a run for his money.

For things that skew a little more adventure, I love Robin Hobb's work, and if you liked Mistborn, I think you'll like her books. Start with Assassin's Apprentice. Same goes for Brian McClellan and Brent Weeks.

I really liked Naomi Novik's Uprooted, which is a Hugo nominee this year. But it's very different from the ones I just listed. A dark fairy tale with historical roots.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

What are you reading right now?

Brandon Sanderson

What am I reading right now? So I most recently finished The Martian by Andy Weir, which is big thumbs up, it is fantastic. By the way, he has a potty mouth so kids, be aware, but fantastic book. After that I read Naomi Novik’s new book, which comes out in June--I get them early! It's called Uprooted and I liked that a lot too. Those are both very solid. Otherwise I am reading-- let's see, I've got a couple. Oh, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, read that, really liked that. So those are my three, I read them all in December.

Right now I'm reading Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett, one of my favorite writers, and I'm also reading Peter Orullian's second book. He's a fantasy novelist who would really like me to give him a cover quote, so I'm reading his book to see if I can give it a cover quote or not. He's a Tor author that writes epic fantasy.

Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

As someone who's taught people to write and studied creative writing, and obviously you're a writer, very much into writing, do you read *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh do I read science fiction and fantasy journals. I do not spend a lot of time in the journals, I spend a lot of time reading fiction and nonfiction. My reading time is so, so hard to come by these days that I feel like I need to be focusing on what my peers are doing, and on good nonfiction books to give me ideas. A lot of my ideas come from nonfiction. I do get a bit of reading done, and people ask me for recommendations…

Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
#5 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What are you reading?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Right now, I actually just started reading [Under] the Pendulum Sun... I read two chapters of it, it was very good. It's by an author [Jeannette Ng] who is British, who came to one of my signings earlier, so I looked it up... She came in costume, she came as Jasnah, and she's a professional writer herself, so I'm like, "I've got to read her book." ...The first two chapters were delightful. Missionaries going to fairyland, the land of the fae.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

Is there anything you've read recently that you are championing, like--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, yeah, some stuff that I really like recently. If you haven't read Naomi Novik's book Uprooted, it's delightful. Like a dark fairy tale written for an adult audience. We get a lot of fairy tale retellings that are kinda YA or middle grade targeted. This one's-- she's got Polish descent, she kinda picks-- there's no specific fairy tales, she just kinda came up with her own. And it's wonderful. It's a little romance-y, but some fun magic and it's kinda dark, but highly recommended.

Brian McClellan, my old student, Promise of Blood, he writes fantastic stuff, and I'm jealous of his magic system, it's really good.

Nora [N.K.] Jemison's new book, I mentioned that, if you like literary style stuff... The Fifth Season. And, it's got a character whose viewpoint in the second person, and it works. So, it's the only thing I've ever read in second person that works. It is so good. There's a few for you.

Some of my classic favorites, if you haven't read them, are Fire Upon the Deep by Vernon Vinge. It's the closest thing to reading Dune again that you will ever have. It's got that same epic worldbuilding, really cool epic scope in a science fiction novel, and I love that book.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#7 Copy

Questioner

I love your books, and I'd like to know (not big authors), but what smaller authors do you like?

Brandon Sanderson

I really like Daniel Abraham's work in all its various forms. Tor has a series by Daniel that's been very good. Recently, I've liked Brian McLellan's book that came out. That was very good. I liked N.K. Jemisin a lot, though I'd put a content warning on her books just in case. There is some more explicit content. She's really good. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay should be something that everyone knows, but a lot of people don't know of it. It is the single best single-volume epic fantasy ever written. Guy Gavriel Kay is Christopher Tolkien's friend in college, who help him put together the Silmarillion. A lot of people think he ghostwrote parts of it, but he's not allowed to say, so we're not sure. He's a fantasy writer into his own right; all of his stuff is amazing. He is lesser-known, and should be better-known than he is. I think there's a Tor book I just covered for, but I can't remember what it is.

Questioner

Was it The Emperor's Blades, by Brian Staveley?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I think it was that. Yeah.

Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What do you think a world without non-consensual death would look like?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You know, a lot of science fiction writers have done some really good jobs with this. And I don't know what it would actually look like, it's a good question... So, you can choose. It's gonna look something like...

Have you read (this thing was really brilliant) Football in the Future? Oh my goodness, you guys probably haven't read it because (it's brilliant, it's super brilliant) but it's a new media story, and it's written-- Look up Football in the Future, it's not actually about football. And telling you anything more than that is, like, a super-big spoiler. But I read it last summer, and it blew my mind. New media meaning it's, like, hypertext and videos and music and things like this, and, I don't want to spoil it for you, really, but go read Football in the Future. You will love it. That was a really cool take out, but it's obviously exaggerated, like, that one's done for sarcastic effect. Maybe something more along the lines of a post-scarcity society, like the culture. I think the culture really has a lot of good science fiction.

The thing for me, the difference between science fiction and fantasy for me is, really good science fiction makes me say "I can see how you take something we have now, and you extrapolate to the plausible, even though it can be very far from what we are." And fantasy, I believe, takes what's impossible, and then tries to make it plausible, and we kinda meet in the middle.

So, yeah. I'm not sure, but there's an answer.

Oathbringer Newcastle signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you have any magic systems outside of your own books that you particularly like, or were inspired by?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Ooh, good question! One of the ones when I was young that really inspired me was Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner. I love her magic system even still, and I would recommend that to you. But I like all kinds of magic systems, I don't like just the scientific ones. I like all different types. I think Guy Gavriel Kay does a great job with magic, even though they're often low-magic systems. David Farland's Runelords--he's a friend of mine, so I'm biased--but his is one of the best magic systems around. Pat Rothfuss does a very good mix of a hard magic system and a soft magic system in the same system. Which really lets him play off of the concepts of, you know, you've got this magic where it's like, "We discover the names of things, we don't even know what that means!" Versus, "Hey, we build mechanical, magepunk artifacts using the rules." And the play off of each other is very fun. N.K. Jemisin's Hundred Thousand Kingdoms had a brilliant magic system that really walked the line between hard and softball. So, that's just a few of them.

Firefight Houston signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

Who is your favorite author to read? Fantasy author to read?

Brandon Sanderson

My favorite fantasy author to read right now is Terry Pratchett. I think Terry is very, very good. But a very close, maybe tie to Terry Pratchett would be Guy Gavriel Kay, whose works are amazing. Also up there are Robin Hobb, who's quite amazing. The three most recent books I read are Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett, his newest one from last year. I'm a little behind on that. Robin Hobb's Fool's Assassin, very good. The Martian, by Andy Weir. If you haven't read that, it is really spectacular. But by the way, language warning, for you young kids. The main character has quite a bit of a potty-mouth. I also read Naomi Novik's book coming out in June. (I get them early. Ha ha.) And it was spectacular, it's called Uprooted, and it's kind of like a dark fairy tale, and it was very good.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

I struggle because I go through books so quick, and so I've gone through a lot of your recommendations, and a lot of other recommendations from other people on reddit, on your reddit page, but where do you find books that you read?

Brandon Sanderson

These days normally it is people ask me for cover quotes. And so what people send in, I read the first few pages, or my wife, she reads voraciously and what she finds-- Like The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks, I got that from her, if you haven't read that it's really good. It's like half non-fiction book, well it's all non-fiction but half like science writing and half biography, it's really cool. Definitely check out Uprooted when it comes out, that's very good. You've read the Hyperion books?

Questioner

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

Ok, what else is good that you may not have really read? My recommendations right, if you've read Guy Gavriel Kay...

Bystander

Yeah...the student of yours who wrote a book?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah yeah Brian McClellan's. You've read Brain McClellan's? You've read everything! Something old and long...Elric [by Michael Moorcock]. Elric's pretty decent. It depends on if you like heroic fantasy, you know more of-- that, and David Gemmel, both of those heroic fantasy, try one, see if you like that style there's a ton of them out there.

The Book Smugglers Rithmatist Interview ()
#12 Copy

The Book Smugglers

Do you read YA speculative fiction? Which books or authors are your favorites in the young readers category?

Brandon Sanderson

I've already mentioned a bunch of my favorites, but I could go on! I'm quite fond of Westerfeld's work. I think it's quite marvelous. I've read Terry Pratchett's teen books. If you've only read his adult work, you're really missing out. He is quite good. I've also enjoyed James Dashner's and Eva Ibbotson's books.

I got into a lot of the YA classics in the late 90s, well after everyone else had been into them. Things like The Giver by Lois Lowry and Dragon's Blood by Jane Yolen. Jane Yolen has long been one of my favorite writers. There's just a lot of exciting things happening in YA, and I feel inspired by a lot of the works by those authors I've mentioned

JordanCon 2016 ()
#13 Copy

Questioner

When you're not writing or doing everything else, what series or authors do you enjoy.

Brandon Sanderson

Who do I read? I read… last book I've read was Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller, because everyone I know - I'm like, why have I never read this before? And everyone's basing every movie off it nowadays, so I finally read Dark Knight Returns. Before that, I read the first book of the Expanse, because it's another one that I've just never gotten to. I like that, those were both good. Dark Knight Returns was good, I was expecting something like Alan Moore level, and it was more… it was good, but it wasn't as mind-blowing, and I think that's partially because everybody's based every movie in existence on Batman since, you know, Tim Burton, on Dark Knight Returns, and so it doesn't feel as fresh as perhaps it would've if I'd been reading in '86 or whenever it was released.

Um, my go-to is Terry Pratchett, or Guy Gavriel Kay, but if you didn't read Uprooted by Naomi Novik last year, it was extremely good. If you like stuff a little more literary, N.K. Jemison's The Fifth Season is really good, but again that's kind of… that's kind of almost for English Majors, that's got viewpoints in second person future tense, and they work, and they're really good. Nora is a very good writer, if you guys haven't tried A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which is a little bit more accessible than Fifth Season, she's just a really spectacular writer. Um, what else did I read last year that I liked… I mean, yeah, that's a couple. Brian McClellan's Powder Mage, if you like my stuff, you'll like Brian's stuff most likely, he's an ex-student of mine that I can't take much credit for because he was, he was very good when he took the class. But, he's writing flintlock fantasy that is just really good.

Bystander

Listen to Writing Excuses…

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, Writing Excuses! We recommend a book on every episode of Writing Excuses, um, so.

Moderator

Have you read Pat's books?

Brandon Sanderson

Have I read Rothfuss? Yeah, I've read Rothfuss' books. I've got… I get them early! Um, so, um… I've got my Wise Man's Fear and my The Slow Regard of Silent Things, and both came with a number in the corner like "if this ends up on eBay, we know who we gave it to" sort of thing, it was watermarked, "this is Brandon's copy, don't sell it".

Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
#14 Copy

Questioner

After reading your entire bookology--

Brandon Sanderson

Bookology, I like that.

Questioner

It got to the point where I was running out of books so I went on your website and found your recommended reads and after talking to some other authors I found some other connections to you, David Farland, Brian McClellan. Is there anyone else you would recommend down the same track?

Brandon Sanderson

Ok, authors I would recommend-- I'm going to go in a couple of different directions because not everyone might like the same sorts of things. I'm going to tell you what I've been reading lately. Brian McClellan's very good, and Brian McClellan was one of my students but I can't really take credit for Brian because he was really good when he came to class in the first place. Brian's books, if you haven't read them, Promise of Blood is the start. They are flintlock fantasies and they kind of combine a little bit of hard fantasy magic, like I do, and a little bit of the kind of grimdark grittiness and kind of combine them together into this cool mix. So the magic isn't quite as hard as the magic I do, meaning quite as rule-based, but the grimdark isn't quite as grim as the grimdark tends to go. The mix works really well.

I read Naomi Novik's new book, Uprooted, which is really good if you haven't read it. It's kind of like a dark fairytale YA but really twisted, so it's not intended for a teen audience because it is pretty twisted, but it's like how the fairytales really were, it's that sort of thing, it's really cool, it's very well written. Let's see-- I'm currently reading Dan's new book, that's not out yet. But I Am Not a Serial Killer. If you haven't read Dan's books they are great and they are creepy. It's about a teenage sociopath who hunts demons, to get that whole "I'm a sociopath and kind of want to kill people". Not that all sociopaths want to, but he does. And getting it out of his system is going and killing demons. 

Let's see, what else have I really loved. I like Robin Hobb's books a lot, if you haven't read Robin Hobb. Brent Weeks, a very similar writer to me. Brent Weeks, The Black Prism. It seems like Brent and I must have read the same books, a lot of the, growing up, and have the same-- because we both kind of independently started doing this kind of epic fantasy rule-based wacky magic kind of thing right about the same time. I really really like NK Jemisin, Nora Jemisin, her books are very literary so if you're not on the literary side of fantasy-- but the new one is fantasic, it's written in the second person, at least one of the viewpoints is. It's like the only book I've ever read in second person that works. And some of my classic favorites are A Fire Upon the Deep, by Vernor Vinge, it's very Dune-like, in that it's a science fiction that blends the best parts of epic fantasy together with it, and if you haven't read that and you like Dune, you'll probably like A Fire Upon the Deep. There we go.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#15 Copy

Questioner

In terms of books that you wish you could have written yourself?

Brandon Sanderson

I read a lot of things for pleasure. I think I need to stay up on what everyone else is doing. As a teen, my favorite writers were Anne McCaffrey, Melanie Rawn, Barbara Hambly, Robert Jordan, Tad Williams, it would probably be. David Eddings too. I grew out of David Eddings, happens when you get into your twenties, but during my teens he was the bomb. Do kids still say that, the bomb? I'll have to figure out what they're saying now. Nowadays I read Pat Rothfuss, I really like Pat, I really really like Naomi Novik's Uprooted, if you guys didn't read that this summer it's a fantastic novel. I like Brent Weeks' work a lot, Brian McClellan's, Nora Jemisin, you guys read NK Jemisin? She writes very literary fantasy; if you're an English major and you like that kind of stuff, which I do, it's amazing. Her most recent one has a character who writes in the second person, and it works. It's the first time I ever read a book where the second person, which is you do this, you do that, it actually works, it works really well. The second person past tense, so you did this, you did-- it's a person telling themselves a story so it actually, it really works. The Fifth Season. So, yeah, I read a lot of stuff.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
#16 Copy

Argent

I've been listening to this year's Writing Excuses, and in one of the more recent episodes you had a romance author (whose name I can't recall right now), and the topic of how popular the romance genre is, and how good some of its authors are came up. I don't think I've ever read a romance novel, but I wondered whether you can recommend one that might appeal to your readers? I am curious to see what makes those books so popular, but I don't want to just pick something from the bookstore's shelf...

Brandon Sanderson

I might start with something in-between, like Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince. It's shelved in fantasy, but has some strong romance roots. (The author has even written a romance novel or two.)

Mary's own Shades of Milk and Honey is a romance novel that is shelved in fantasy as well.

As for straight up romance, let me think about it. Most of what I enjoy is hybrid.