Terry Brooks' Picks

Book Cover Image. Title: The Passage (Passage Trilogy Series #1), Author: Justin Cronin

The Passage (Passage Trilogy Series #1)

Justin Cronin

While I don't normally gravitate towards stories that smack of vampires, this one about Virals gone berserk in a world closely resembling Stephen King's The Stand is worth making an exception. A big, sprawling end-of-the-world scenario is built around terrific, memorable characters, terrifying struggles and the always surprising resilience of the human spirit.
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Book Cover Image. Title: Midnight Riot (Peter Grant Series #1), Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Midnight Riot (Peter Grant Series #1)

Ben Aaronovitch

Any of his three books would do for this pick, but I will stick with the first. The story revolves around a mostly clandestine section of Scotland Yard that deals with paranormal activity. Young newbie on the force Peter Grant exhibits certain characteristics compatible with the section's work and is brought in to aid its sole member, Inspector Nightingale. A romp with funny and scary parts both.
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Book Cover Image. Title: The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials Series #1), Author: Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials Series #1)

Philip Pullman

This is a controversial look at our own world through a telling of a tale that takes place in another. It involves a young girl, Lyra, and her efforts to find her destiny. It includes armored ice bears, the world's most dangerous mother, and God and Angels being cast out of Heaven. Well told, gripping. Read the trilogy for the full effect.
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Book Cover Image. Title: The Zero, Author: Jess Walter

The Zero

Jess Walter

The best story I have ever read about the aftershock of 9/11 and the uncertainty that accompanies such horrendous events. The main character is a policeman who has lost parts of his memory and only remembers things in incomplete snippets. It captures exactly the difficulty in determining exactly what happened and who was responsible. It is a stretch to call it science fiction, but I will take the chance. It demonstrates how confusing and unreliable things often are in the aftermath of terrible tragedy.
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Book Cover Image. Title: Zone One, Author: Colson Whitehead

Zone One

Colson Whitehead

Again, as with Vampires, I don't tend to read Zombie books. But this one is stylish and gripping, a "can't put it down" sort of book on what happens when the unthinkable comes to pass and Zombies take over the world and descend on the last remnants of civilization and humanity. Chilling.
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Book Cover Image. Title: The Mists of Avalon (Avalon Series #1), Author: Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Mists of Avalon (Avalon Series #1)

Marion Zimmer Bradley

The best book on Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table written since Mallory's Morte d'Arthur. A superb re-imagining of the Arthur story, offering a fresh look at the relationship between Arthur and the women in his life.
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Book Cover Image. Title: The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset, Author: Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset

Suzanne Collins

I debated on this one, but really it belongs. It is one of the most compelling dystopian stories ever written and has served as the prototype for dozens since. The adventures of Katniss Everdeen and her family and friends are worth all the time you can spare.
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Book Cover Image. Title: The Sparrow, Author: Mary Doria Russell

The Sparrow

Mary Doria Russell

The best first contact novel I can remember. They labled it "Jesuits in Space" when it first came out because the leader of the expedition was a Jesuit priest. But the complexity of coming into contact and making a connection with another species has never been so clearly illustrated or so heartbreakingly rendered. A powerful piece of writing with deep instrospection at its heart.
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Book Cover Image. Title: Being, Author: Kevin Brooks

Being

Kevin Brooks

No relation, a young adult novel. What happens when you wake up on an operating table and the doctor says you aren't human? Find out in this gripping story of a boy being hunted by the government because he is in some way different from others. Particularly relevant today's world.
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Book Cover Image. Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Barnes & Noble Classics Series), Author: L. Frank Baum

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

L. Frank BaumJ. T. BarbareseWilliam Wallace Denslow

I read them all, and I loved each one. I include this choice for the sake of nostalgia's pull. Read them early and still think fondly of them. Before there was Harry Potter and Hogwarts, there was Dorothy Gale and Oz.
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