Some time ago a member asked for recommendations for books (and other things). I found it quite difficult to do that on the spot. But I do know that I read a lot of dross to find good stuff. It occurs to me that it might be useful to have a thread where people can record books they have particularly enjoyed. If a person enjoys some books you have already read, then they might be a good guide to other things you might like but have not yet come across. It's just a thought.
Things that I have particularly liked include:
Everything I have read by Robin Hobb. She has written 3 linked fantasy trilogies, and has recently published a new book called Shaman's Crossing which is not yet in paper back here. Her world is quite an interesting place. The first trilogy deals with a royal dynasty through the eyes of an illegitimate son. He has talent in the two kinds of magic common in the realm. The ability to bond with beasts is seen as an abomination, and those who have it are oppressed and form an underground body. The realm is under threat.Our hero needs to bridge the gap for the greater good (obviously) The second trilogy deals with the origin of the Liveships and has a lot about dragons but also about relations between a central government and its colonies. I have not yet finished the third set.
The characters seemed to me to be well drawn,and the situations believable (within the context of the fantasy)
Edit. I have pinched Kipi's idea of putting in a link.
The other thing I have mentioned before in another thread. I really liked the Patrick O'Brian books about the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars. This is a series of 20 books. It is very well researched and the historical detail is said by historians to be accurate. Again the characters have depth. There is quite a lot about naval battles (again accurate) which does not appeal to me. Nevertheless the social history and the information about the politics of the time over-rode my distaste for war stories. And I was well-impressed by how much these people ate.
A third series I found worth reading was the one about Lanny Budd, by Upton Sinclair. I confess I do not know if these are in print, because I bought the first couple second hand from a library which was having a clear out, and completed the series from second hand book shops. These books are of very broad sweep starting more or less at the conference of Versailles and continuing through the second world war. They were written in a hurry I think, and the characters are not detailed; they are rather stereotypes. The books have a socialist bias. They do recount a lot of the history of the period in a fairly accessible form, and although you can see the strings I think there is enough there for the non-historian to learn something.
I would be glad to hear about other books. As you can see I'm not that good at reviews, but some of you probably are. A flavour would help others to know if they might like the book, IMO