Monday, 14 June 2010

Book Fail (plus sneaky, fabulous giveaway!)

A few days back I was talking on Twitter (as is my wont) and the idea came up about #bookfail. This is the idea that there are books you haven't read that the whole of the rest of the world has read and raved about.

My particular #bookfails are the following:

1) Joe Abercrombie

I don't even know why I haven't read these books. They sound just up my street (some people have compared him to a more ambiguous David Gemmell, which is just so exciting for me); I actually own all three books; I've spoken to the guy (albeit briefly) and watched him on panels, and thought the books would be ever so entertaining based on his own personality. Why haven't I read them? Really not sure. Maybe because of the hype, and the fact I'm worried that they won't live up to the billing.

2) Patrick Rothfuss

When The Name of the Wind was released, I distinctly remember being on an historical fiction reading stint. Every book I picked up was historical fiction. I diligently brought The Name of the Wind, stuck it on my TBR pile, and continued reading in other genres for a while. By the time I moved back to fantasy, I found other books I wanted to read more. So, again, despite the hype, I haven't managed to give this guy a go.

3) Scott Lynch

Shamefully, I didn't even buy this guy's books! I heard the first book was excellent and the second book didn't live up to it. I now know the third book has been delayed but should be released next year. I have been interested in reading it, but never quite got around to it!

Amusingly, when I announced on Twitter that I had not read Scott Lynch, I received the following email from Mr Simon Spanton, editor supreme of Gollancz:

Amanda, Amanda, Amanda,

Do I gather from Twitter that you haven’t read Scott Lynch? As in, you know, not read Scott Lynch?

It’s distressing enough being referred to as Uncle Simon by various young bloggers without actually being forced into ‘stern uncle’ mode by a lapse like this . . .

This state of affairs simply cannot stand. What’s to be done?

Do I, for example, send you a very rare first edition of his first book for use a competition prize on your blog, said competition to accompany the review of same first book which I will also send you an even rarer proof of and a pb to, you know, actually read?

As in reading Scott Lynch’s first book. You know Scott Lynch? One of the most important new fantasy authors of the last ten years?

What do you think?

All the best


So, I have been challenged to read Scott Lynch. Which I will be doing over the next week or so!

The above also means I have TWO AMAZING AND RARE books to give away: a hardcover first edition of The Lies of Locke Lamora and a rare proof of same. Seriously, these two books arrived over the weekend and they look so shiny and glorious. In fact, you should all be dead proud I am, in fact, giving these away and not hoarding them! So pretty!

The giveaway is very simple. I want to see comments on this post - lots and lots of comments. Basically, if you comment telling me about your personal #bookfail (the book you really feel you *should* have read) and leaving your email address, you will be entered into the draw to win one of these two wonderful books (rare, doncha know?!) The competition is open worldwide! Get commenting! I'll let this run for a week before picking my winners.

p.s. I will also accept lambasting comments towards the fact I haven't read the above three authors - tell me all the reasons why I should!


  1. Interesting that you haven't read Patrick Rothfuss. I'm more a casual fantasy fan than a dedicated one, and picked this up on a whim after hearing a hilarious interview with him on a podcast.

    It was, quite simply, astonishing. There are many good books in the world, and a few great ones, but it is rare that a book takes you so completely by surprise. Likewise, so many people will say "OMG, you must read this book and that book and the other book" that it quickly becomes tiresome, but I think The Name of the Wind is one of the very, very few books where this is actually true. So read it, and read it now!

    As for my own bookfail, I have a bundle, but the one that sticks in my mind is The Stand, by Stephen King. This is another book which, when I tell people I haven't read it, they look at me blankly for a moment like I've just spoke Swedish, then ask me to repeat my blasphemy. But it's ready and waiting on my shelf!

  2. My most recent #bookfail was definitely Paul Hoffman's The Left Hand of God. I admit that I had high expectations however the book failed pretty badly.

    (BetweenTwoBooks [at] gmail [dot] com)

  3. The Lies of Locke Lamora is one of my favourite fantasy books! And I liked the second volume too. My #bookfail would be Neal Stephenson's Baroque trilogy. I have all three volumes sitting on my shelf and really want to read them (everyone says how amazing and inspiring they are) but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

    My e-mail:

  4. I adored Locke Lamora - wonderful, witty book.

  5. Yay, well done for getting on with Scott Lynch and Lies of Locke Lamora. He has essentially created a new fantasy niche of his own as it's not like anything else I've read, but then again I have my own Book Fails, so I'm sure someone will point out what it is similar to. My own books fails I realised from the weekend, The Once and Future King, and eeeesh, Juliet McKenna. I know, I know, she's wonderful. I've heard a lot about her, but I've just not managed to get around to reading anything by her, and after hearing her speak at the weekend and how lovely she was, I will add her to my To Buy Pile, along with some Erikson.

    Rothfuss - his novel is sort of like a fairy tale, it's a myth in some ways, it has some familiar archetypes, but he claims them as his own very quickly. It also doesn't sit in any category as such, it has elements of many, dark street level fantasy, wizarding school fantasy(sort of), questing fantasy, and it is a both a story that is local and global. Again, the best way to describe it is unique. Is it the best fantasy book ever EVER in the world? No, in my opinion. Is it a remarkable fantasy debut? Absolutely and I get the feeling that he is barely scratching the surface of his talent. I think he is only going to get better and better, as he has a unique voice, a remarkable imagination and despite the heft of the book I flew through it and then wanted more. A deliciously epic read without one single battle.

  6. My biggest #bookfail is The Time Traveler's Wife. Not only is it being made into a movie, it's on every book club's lists, every best-selling list. And worst of all, my boyfriend gave me this book for my birthday a whopping TWO years ago and I have yet to read it ... hangs my head in shame!

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  8. My biggest #bookfail (there are many others) would have to be The City & The City by China Mieville or in fact any Mieville apart from Kraken.

    BTW, I had the exact same #bookfails as you above until this year when, along with starting my blog, I decided I should get to them. Now that I have, I can say they're all pretty great.


  9. Any of the books listed above are well worth the time spent reading. I loved The Lies Of Locke Lamorra, found Patrick Rothfuss' prose really rewarding, and I'm a big fan of Abercrombie's dark humour and no-nonsense storytelling.

    My #Bookfail would have to be The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. I just can't get past Tom ****ing Bombadil.


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  11. I stopped reading epic fantasy when the bearings went and the spokes came off The Wheel of Time. It put me off for years. The book that brought me back to epic was The Blade Itself: Joe Abercrombie, and I am temporarily grateful to Joe for that.

    My #bookfails are twofold, the first being The Lies of Locke Lamora, which I really should read, and want to read, but have somehow never got around to reading.

    The second is George R R Martin. I have never read any GRRM, though people rant and rave about him and tell me how brilliant his books are and why there are ten thousand reasons why I should read him. He comes high on all the lists and is endlessly debated in reviews and discussion forums. Still, there is a nagging doubt that if I start I will hate it but be unable to stop.

  12. Oh wow, The Name of the Wind is actually my fave book of the last year - it's exceptional, seriously the best thing I've read in ages. I can't wait for the sequel. My #bookfail, funnily enough, is The Lies of Locke Lamora. It's been sitting on my Amazon wishlist for MONTHS and I still haven't got around to buying it...and there's a sequel to get through too! I'll read them one day...promise!


  13. I'm shamed to say that despite having had at various times copies of Scott Lynch books I've failed to read any of them.
    But, worst #bookfail has to be 'Lord of the Silver Bow' by David Gemmell. This is the 1st in the Troy series and I've got a very nice limited edition, signed hardback which I've been too scared to open. And I've completely failed to get around to buying a copy in a more readable form!

    But to a previous poster go read GRRM - brilliant!

  14. Ahhh! Every single one of those books are on my favourites shelf! I can't believe you haven't read them! Oh, Amanda. You are in for such a treat and I envy you! Especially with The Lies of Locke Lamora and The Blade Itself - I was almost stapled to both books for the duration!

    My #bookfails? I've never read anything by Jack Vance, Gene Wolf or Michael Moorcock, though lots of people have tried to make me pick up their books over the years. I've never read Stephen King's Dark Tower series even though The Stand and IT are two of my favourite books, and I really should, considering I somehow (weirdly) have the middle three books.

    I probably have lots but they're mostly "literary fiction" i.e., they're in a different part of the bookshop to the fantasy/sci fi/humour/YA, and I'm a lazy cow. :D

  15. Oh my! I'm torn as to whether or not to participate in this contest, as I recently acquired a copy of The Lies of Locke Lamora for myself anyway! But a first edition copy, ooh, now that would be a real treat!

    Regardless, I'll mention my own secret shame of bookfails. I have not read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Yes, yes, I know, I'm a terrible fantasy bookblogger for that, but it's true. I've read the first book, part of the second, and then got distracted and never went back to the series. There are plenty of famous authors and novels I haven't read yet, but that one's my biggest shame.

  16. I'm going to guess that this is for the UK readers only but I can share my bookfail because everyone will be slightly horrified.

    I have never read Tolkien.

  17. Only you would post a #bookfail on Twitter and get sent hard to find copies of said books. I don't know how you do it, Rutter.

    As for #bookfail, I've not read GRRM nor Erikson, despite owning every volume. And these are only a few of the crimes to which I am guilty.

  18. I agree with what Patrick said above. What's your secret to getting all these awesome books, anyway? :P

  19. Thanks for all the comments!

    @WonderBunny - this is indeed open worldwide, so consider yourself entered :-)

    @Patrick and Tea and Tomes - I really don't know why people keep giving me awesome books! These ones I have to give away though, which makes me sad ;-)

  20. I have to admit I also have The Lies of Locke Lamora unread in my TBR pile...

    And I really should get started on The Wheel of Time series, especially since I enjoyed Robert Jordan's Conan books. I think that is my biggest #bookfail.

    But I also have lots of other books I want to read, but have never gotten too.

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  23. Ok, here goes...!
    My biggest #bookfail has to be 'The Lord of the Rings'.
    As for Scott Lynch - I haven't read any of his books, so I guess that counts too.
    And while we're at it, include Patrick Rothfuss and Joe Abercrombie - what a doofus I am!

    Anyway, if I was to win 'The Lies of Locke Lamora', then that would go a long way to restoring my sanity.
    Thanks and have a nice day.

    e-mail -

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  25. Never managed any Tolkien and I'm sorry to say I have never read any Robert Jordan. I have the first four books in the Wheel of Time but just cant get into them. I love George R R Martin's Wildcard books but have never managed any of his fantasy stuff.

    If this cloud has a silver lining I've also managed not to read any Stephenie Meyer so it's not all bad.

    Everytime I try to go back to older books a new one comes out that sounds great so end up buying that instead.

    My inability to post a comment on a blog correctly should as be more pitied than scorned.

  26. I haven't read any of Michael Moorcock's Elric stories, even though I loved his Gloriana...

    I often get asked why I haven't read things by the older guys in this office. it's like hey, you've had longer than me to buy and read all this stuff...

  27. Silmarillion. Although it only half counts, as I've started it three times, and just quit through boredom. Ditto the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (2 chapters! Woohoo!) or the Dark Tower series (plowed through to book 3, got reeeeeally bored, quit.)

    Hmmm... I'm actually going to go with Tom Holt. Not a big name like all the above, but I've had him recommended to me something like 85 times, and never tried once. Oops.

  28. Ha! Do you really want to know my biggest book fail? Every time I say it someone raises pitchforks or torches and takes after me... *shudders* but yeah... I've never read Stephen King- EVER! I want to, but I have not been able to *shame* I know...

  29. My two big #bookfails are Joe Abercrombie and GRRM. I've sort of got an excuse for the latter: I want to wait until A Song of Ice and Fire is complete so I don't have to reread the whole series every time a new one comes out. Abercrombie, though... nope. No excuse. I've got easy access to his books through the lirary, but I haven't gotten around to checking them out. Soon, I hope.

    I think you'll like THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA. It's one of the few books I've loved right from the first word to the last. I can't wait for THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES; it's been my most anticipated release for, like, three years running.

    xicanti AT

    (And I'm sorry if you get two similar responses for me. Blogger did something strange the first time I tried to comment).

  30. My #bookfail is definitely Joe Abercrombie. I keep hearing great things about the series, even from my Dad! But I've yet to read it >.<

    I love Scott Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss, they are fabulous! You have to read their books! And Pat's blog is made of win and cake :D

    My email:

  31. My #bookfail is Scott R. Bakker's "Prince of Nothing" trilogy.
    I read about 100 pages from the first book off a pirated scan (shame, i know) and then bought all three books. Ever since they have been sitting on my shelf, almost 2 years now.
    Yes, I loved what I read. Yes, the reviews were all raving. Yet I am somewhat never in the mood to start em - such a fail!

    As for the Abercrombie trilogy - it's just damn refreshing! So nice to read something different from the typical fantasy stereotypes, yet still fitting the same theme.
    Read them as soon as possible!

    If somehow I get the insane luck and win a book - email's hadeanbg(at)gmail(dot)com

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  33. Oh man, Lies of Locke Lamora is awesome! You're gonna love it :)

    My #bookfails are probably numerous, like you I haven't read any Abercrombie and I have In the Name of the Wind on my to be read pile.

    There's a lot of 'older' books/classics I haven't read (yet) but one of my major new #bookfails would have to be Blake Charlton's Spellwright. Everyone is raving about that and I haven't run across it in bookshops here yet, so I told my OH that I want it for my birthday (in three weeks lol) so hopefully that one will be fixed soon :D

    If I should be really lucky, my addy is kechara(at)xs4all(dot)nl

    (Ahum reposting this so I can add my email addy and now to figure out how to delete my previous comment lol, can you believe I actually did this and still forgot my addy *bangs head against desk*)

  34. My #bookfail is Taylor Anderson Distant Thunders series. I fell asleep reading the first book finished it though. The second was what got me thinking why am I reading this.

  35. Can I just say to Shevdon PLEASE read George R R Martin. Brilliant!

    I have to admit that all those mentioned in your post are also my fails but after reading the comments here they will be going on my wishlist sharpish!

    Another which I hope to remedy - I've never read any J.R.R Tolkien. Oops!

  36. My biggest #bookfail is "The Agony and the Ecstasy" by Irving Stone. I've started it three times but stop to read someting else and then don't go back. Is that telling me that it's boring or that I cant commit? Oh well, one day....

    keithandmichele (@) msn (dot) com

  37. Funny thing. Just found this blog via DarkWolf and his "Fail Pile".

    Apart from many many others, All the books on your list are on mine too (Have bought them all) with the exception of the 1st Abercrombie (That I have read and liked very very much, so I can't really say Why I haven't gone forward with the second one).

    I have some of JRRT there (Though Managed to remove LOTR from the pile 2-3 years back), and
    the 2nd Larsson Milenium book (Not SF/F but still) as well as some Malazan empire books.

    I have "Acacia" there, which I got for my b-day
    (Nicely written, but a babble of words), some
    Robin Hobb's (Ship of Magic done me for with her
    books), and "Shadowbrige" by Frost which I am dying to read but somehow keep bumping back...

    druminy (@) hotmail(dot)com

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