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Lately, I've been reading a lot of non-fiction, and just re-reading some favorites. But these are some of my favorite books:
Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett
Lymond is the world's best anti-hero. He can recite poetry for hours, beat anyone in a sword fight, inspire mercinaries to follow him to the ends of the Earth... he is ruthless, coldhearted, gorgeous, and so good in bed that even seasoned courtesans fall at his feet!
The Lady in the Car With Glasses and a Gun by Sebastien Japrisot
This is Japrisot's only happy ending book, and I just love the main character - she is witty, cute, and the opposite of damsel in distress! (happy ending)
The Goblin Reservation by Clifford D. Simak
A perfect mix of fantasy and hard sci fi Simak is famous for. It's probably one of the best sci fi books ever written. It's the future, and Earth is the university of the galaxy, with a College of Supernatural Phenomenon, as well as, a College of Time travel. Shakespear drinks moonshine with a neanderthal, and there are goblins, trolls, banshees... and world's coolest ending. (happy ending)
The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk
It's the future and the planet is so polluted that the people are huddled in the couple of remaning cities for survival. An intolerant religion rules all but one of these cities, San Francisco. SF is an oasis, ruled by a counsil of Wise Women. Then a war begins, and one must kill in order to survive. Except, there is always a choice. This book is pagan, bi and poly. (happy ending)
Maybe the Moon by Armistead Maupin
Just a book about the realities of living as a 31 inch tall overweight female entertainer in her 30s. It's witty, sexy, and kind of sad.
The Gadfly by E. L. Voynich
There is a young boy in love with a girl and in awe of his father confessor. There is religion and politics, suicide and torture, betrayal, hate, love, hope, and revenge. It's a classic.
Jew Suss by Lion Feuchtwanger
Another classic. So good that anything I might say about the story being "powerful" and "tragic" and "noble" would just be trite. But, if you are thinking about reading War & Peace or Crime & Punishment, please consider putting that crap aside and reading Feuchtwanger instead.
Neuromancer by William Gibson
Really hard sci fi. Sexy and hopeless (but not as dark and hopeless as PKD's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep). One of those rare books where I am sad to have finished reading it.
Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
An intimate look at Russian "communism" in 1930s. Sort of a look into the heads of the first communists and those who replaced them. Probably one of the best works of fiction on the subject. This novel is the opposite of "romantic" in any sense of the word. Also displays some pretty good interrogation techniques.
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
I read it in Russian and found it funny and romantic ('romantic' NOT like a sappy fluffy chick flick but like a mix of Indiana Jones and The Matrix). As most of Bulgakov's work, this book is about censure and the bitterness that comes from lacking the freedom to choose. Ultimate evil visits Moscow and throws a party. Prophecies are fulfilled. There is mayhem, black magic, black humour, a beautiful and noble heroine (who is sometimes an unbearable drama queen), wise and tragic hero, and forgiveness for a man who has been living with guilt for centuries after he, acting in fear for his own life, allowed a death of another.