What should I do #1 – Cat and Girl

Welcome to the first instalment of something I’m going to call “What-Should-I-do Tuesdays.”

Over the last several months I’ve received many e-mails where at some point the person says something very similar to this:

[…] I can’t wait for the sequel. Write faster! I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself until your next book comes out. […]

I usually thought of this as just a rhetorical comment until I got this e-mail:

Hi, Pat!

I was catching up on your blog and realized that one thing that would make it even better would be a list of your favorite authors, movies, games, etc… Clearly, you are a Joss Weedon fan, adore Orson Scott Card, and so on. It’s likely you could turn us, your humble audience, on to some other great stuff you like. I’d love to read your recommendations.


So I thought, why kill two birds with one stone. I turn you on to some good authors AND keep you from wasting away while you wait for book two.

Since this is the first week, let’s start at the top.

If you like good fantasy, you have to read Neil Gaiman.

If you’re into novels, I suggest starting with Neverwhere or Stardust. If you like comics, I suggest reading his Sandman series. Read it in the proper order too, or the continuity gods will strike you down.

Another of the best and brightest in the fantasy Genre is Terry Pratchett. He has written a metric ton of novels over the years. A few of them are merely great, but most of them are hands-down excellent. It isn’t that vital that you read them all in order, but I still recommend trying to start with some of the earlier books first, as there are continuing characters and plot lines.

And finally, a webcomic that I’m guessing many of you have never heard of. It’s not fantasy, but it is one of my favorites. It’s funny, clever, and has healthy doses of social satire. Other comics out there might be funnier, or have more stylish art. But Cat and Girl is possibly the smartest comic I’ve ever read. And it does it without getting snobby or preachy, and it makes me laugh too. It may not be for all of you, but I’m guessing that some of you will really dig it. Browse the archives and find out.

In other news, I’m going to be down at a new convention in Madison this weekend – Geek Kon.

Details are on the tour schedule page, but here are some of the panels I’ll be doing….

4pm – Lord of the Rings
6pm – Defining the Genres

12 noon – SF/F Roundtable
1pm – The 36-Hour Day in Flatland

On Sunday I’m also have a reading/booksigning at Room of One’s Own just off State Street. It’s at 3:00.

Note: Those of you sending books out to me to get them signed, please remember to pack them carefully. One showed up today that had just been dropped in a box with no padding at all. It was banged up pretty badly and the dustjacket was in shreds. If you want specific advice about packaging, check out the details at the end of the blog I wrote on the subject.

Later all,


This entry was posted in appearances, conventions, Fanmail Q + A, Neil Gaiman, recommendationsBy Pat30 Responses


  1. Brian Blomlie
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    I’ll probably read your recommendations. WHEN I have read the 10 other novels I’ve decided to read, including “Name of the Wind” which should be arriving from Amazon in a week or two :D

  2. logankstewart
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

    Yeah, I’m definitely not drowning in sorrow as I wait for the sequel (I fancy myself a patient fella), as I’m using all free time usually to atch up on the other novels to read. I’d recommend Terry Brooks to everyone, George R. R. Martin, or the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. This should be a great installment on the blog, Pat, to hear your opinions and likes.

  3. Arevanye
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    Totally agree about Pratchett–I’m reading <>Making Money<> right now. Who is your favorite character in his novels? I love Sam Vimes, probably because I’m a sucker for the flawed but dedicated hero type, but Tiffany Aching runs a close second. And DEATH, love him too.

  4. Melissa Heigl
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

    Mmm, George R.R. Martin’s series “A Song of Ice and Fire”. Have you read that, Pat?

  5. Jessica
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 3:15 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the recommendations. I for one especially appreciate the comics recommendations because I don’t know much about those and find them less accessible. By which I guess I mean I don’t know where to start with them. So, thanks.Another option for helping people bide their time would be sample chapters from the new book….Also, it occurs to me that anyone who hasn’t read Good Omens could start there and get both Pratchett and Gaiman in an enjoyable read. I might reread that actually. After I finish rereading NOTW!

  6. Chris Pierson
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    People who like Pratchett (or Adams) should also read Jasper Fforde. The tone’s similar, I think.

  7. rob
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

    Hey Pat!I’v never posted here but since we’re talking about recomendations… Hmm, I’d like to agree w the previous posters about George R R Martin, Pratchett, etc. and add the late James Riggney (Robert Jordan), and Raymond Feist nothing new or ground breaking but great stories. Finally, I’d like to recomend your book, buy a second copy and re-read it! It’ll be just as good the second time arround, promise. Keep it up Pat! :D I just posted a review on Amazon. I know I’m preaching to the choir here about NOTW being wonderful but I don’t think I successuflly articulated the nuance of my point about why NOTW is unique (anyone know what I’m trying to get at here?):“I read a lot of fantasy, as much as I can get my hands on, I’ll give almost any book or series a chance. Sadly, most good fantasy falls short of true literary distinction due to issues of pacing, prose, overly heroic characterization, or editorial discipline. Over the past 30 years the genre has matured significantly, producing a few extraordinary books characters and series, Name of the Wind stands out among these as an elegantly crafted book. The prose is excellent the pacing and characterization never feel forced, and the world building original. The hero of the story Kvothe, though exceptional, possesses many humanizing and frustrating flaws. His motivations and mistakes drive the story forward dynamically. He is not some scion of prophecy nor is he simply at the right place at the right time to take on a cascade of events that will alter the world forever. He feels alive, he makes decisions he makes friends… he makes enemies. Basically, he appears to have free will. This is a rare thing in this genre since plots tend toward the epic leaving little room for characters to influence their existence and environment. When characters take part in events that shape, save, or change the world it often seems like they are merely surfing on wave of events improbably manufactured by the author, making the logical decision the heroic decision or in the case of some authors the most cynical decision possible which yields an all too predictable result: massmarketed canned fantasy. These types of stories can be captivating and entertaining and have their place but ultimately lack craft. A French aphorist once said: “An original writer is not one who imitates nobody but one whom nobody can imitate.” This lofty characterization might eventually prove applicable to Patric Rothfuss if his future work conforms to the high standards set by his first.”If you read this far: thanks!

  8. Jordan R
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

    American Gods was fantastic. I have yet to try Pratchett….My other favorite Author is Tad Williams.

  9. Paixe
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

    I like the idea of this new feature very much. :-D So far I’m doing well as I’m in love with both authors you mentioned. Hogfather is my faaavorite Terry Pratchett. The crazy Brits are making a movie of it around Christmas, yay!My other favorites at the moment are Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series, Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, and Naomi Novik’s Temeraire. That last one.. Everyone in the world should read those books. Totally.

  10. Paixe
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 8:59 PM | Permalink

    Oh, and Joss Whedon is my master.I just got the new Buffy comic! Squee!

  11. King Sheep
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 9:19 PM | Permalink

    If you’re looking to bring more graphic novels into your literary diet, I would recommend the following categories of authors.Literary/mature: Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Brian Azzarello, Frank Miller Intelligent/Superhero: Warren Ellis, Brian K Vaughn, Ed Brubaker, Joss Whedon, Robert KirkmanOn the rise: Bryan Lee O’Malley, Andy Diggle, Nate Taylor

  12. Anonymous
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    No offense to all those who mentioned George R.R. Martin but I find literally all of his work to be terribly suffocating. Its written in a way that completely turns me off and I find most of the complex plotlines to be utter hogwash(or something of a like consistancy).That being said Im a big fan of Gaimon, Neverwhere and American Gods rock my socks. However the first time I read Stardust from the moment I started reading I loved Dunstan Thorn(thats right Dunstan not Tristran)! And when the whole book started focusing itself on Tristran I really felt disappointed and put out. I have yet to find anyone who had the same reaction.And Pratchett is just the shit, nuff said about that.Ok and finally my commentary on name of the wind. Loved the book, truly I did. Is it jesus christ in book form!?..no! My god Im a constant lurker on your blog and I have never seen so much sucking up in my life, though Im sure you love it. What really exited me about NOTW is that it set me up for an amazing sequal book. What I saw was raw potential in writing, a great set of ideas and charcters, and the book gradually introduced me to who those characters were and what made them, them. That being said while the NOTW wasnt my favorite book ever I think the next one very well might be.

  13. Jessica
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

    Thanks King Sheep for graphic novel recommendations. And thanks anonymous for another perspective on Martin. I keep getting recommendations to try him, but I’m leery for some reason. I guess because the first guy who recommended it emphasized that they are so dense and intricate. A description that makes me go hmmm. Not sure if that’s what I like. Well anyway this is a promising thread, since we all like NOTW, then it would be good to share recommendations with each others (as well as get Pat’s recommendations).

  14. Amanda
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

    Have you ever read Good Omens? It’s by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. It’s what turned me on to both authors. :D

  15. Anonymous
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

    I am also interested whether you have read G.R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” (which you should have as a devoted fantasy fan AND newborn god admitted to the distinguished olympus of fantasy authors). If you have read it, I bet you agree that it is just pure awesomeness in book form and if you have not, you REALLY SHOULD! It’s a story of such epic proportions that even in book 4 (8 in Germany where I live) you cannot possibly tell how all the different storylines will be finally joined together and the characters are diverse, loveable, hateable, young, old, but always authentic within their roles (as there are chapters for each individual character the latter point is very important for me). I know some new authors who have been inspired by Martin’s style and do a fairly good job at imitating it and coining it on their own fantasy worlds but I also love your style and hope you stick to it in the future. eagerlyawaitingyou know what:)greets

  16. Nick
    Posted October 4, 2007 at 2:00 AM | Permalink

    Wow, this wins the award for long-winded replies. Keep up the good work! :)

  17. tycho
    Posted October 5, 2007 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    These kinds of discussions are usually where I suggest “The Name of the Wind” but I feel this might not be appropriate here.

  18. Anonymous
    Posted October 6, 2007 at 12:24 AM | Permalink

    I’ve been unusually busy lately, so I had been away from the blog for awhile. I’ve really missed it and was happy to come back to lots of posts to read. I hope ya’ll don’t mind, but I’m going to do a mass reply right here.First (ever so briefly) my sincere condolences about your mom. Moms are just irreplaceable. But thank you so much for that post. It really touched me and I appreciate your honesty. (Just one more thing to make you so cool.)Second, you TOTALLY have my Quill vote!Third, I’m currently reading “The Last Unicorn” which you recommended to me. Though I’m not far in, so far I’m really enjoying it. Last, I just have to say this is the only author blog I follow. I love the book, I love the blog, and I can’t wait for the sequel. Thanks for being a classy guy and a knock out writer. The world needs plenty of both.

  19. Sean T. M. Stiennon
    Posted October 6, 2007 at 2:47 AM | Permalink

    I’m supposed to show up for the “Defining Genres” panel. . .see ya there!

  20. Anonymous
    Posted October 6, 2007 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

    also if anyone on this set of comments is actually still looking for ideas of things to read, and is looking for comics, of course there is lynda barry and ernie pook’s comeek (at http://www.marlysmagazine.com)and pat’s right that cat and girl is hilarious

  21. Kelly Nevins
    Posted October 6, 2007 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Pat, for adding this feature to your blog. Being female and all, I tend to like books with strong female protagonists (probably why I like Buffy & such), so I recommend to the crowd out there “Grass” by Sheri Tepper and “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler. I’d love recommendations from anyone along this line of interest if you’ve got them…

  22. Jessica
    Posted October 8, 2007 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    Thanks Kelly I’m always looking for those too!

  23. Anonymous
    Posted October 15, 2007 at 4:12 AM | Permalink

    Hey Pat,I was just wanting to read The Road to Levinshire (probably mispelled that), and then it hit me……if i read your short story will it hold spoilers to the trilogy? I’m betting so. Also, have you ever thought about doing a mailbag type of deal (see Bill Simmons on ESPN.com) where you take email questions and answer them for like an hour or two…this would be greatly entertaining i’m sure, give that all your published interviews have been so much fun to read.

  24. Diane (with one "N") from California
    Posted October 18, 2007 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    Ok, I have to come out of lurk mode here (with good will, don’t mean to scold) to say to Rob – no offense buddy, but did you actually say “nothing new or groundbreaking” about Robert Jordan and Raymond Feist?? You’re kidding, right? You do realize those guys have been writing fantasy since the ’80s? Respect is due, my friend! Also must second and third George R.R. Martin (my favorite series by far) and Naomi Novik. I’m in the middle of Empire of Ivory right now. Novik is brilliant! Must-read series. Nobody has mentioned David Eddings or Robin Hobb. The Farseer Trilogy and The Liveship Traders are very unique and completely brilliant! And if you haven’t read The Belgariad and The Mallorean you have missed out on great books! Don’t mean to ignore you, Pat. I’m just catching up on your posts when I should be going to bed. Recommending books is one of my favorite pastimes!

  25. name
    Posted October 27, 2007 at 7:14 PM | Permalink


  26. Anonymous
    Posted December 26, 2007 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    the amusing portion of this particular blog is that Neil Gaiman is mentioned. odd thing about it is, i found a copy of ‘Neverwhere’ and read it before i picked up a copy of ‘The Name of the Wind.’i must say, i share the sentiment. great writer. being the stand alone novel that it is, it was well played out and covered all the bases for me. guy needs more recognition, if you ask me

  27. HerrQuixota
    Posted June 14, 2009 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    Dear Patrick,

    I am writing to you like this because of the intense and somewhat compulsive need to ask you for a favor.

    Please make a Castlevania novel. If not that, then at least make a note to Konami and Kojima to explain to them the frustration of the Castlevania Fanbase when it comes to it’s Story. Honestly I cannot stand another piece of shit story like Lament of Innocence. Honestly, the glory of the Vampire Killer that has scourged Dracula for Centuries shouldn’t have been degraded by the essence of a LESSER VAMPIRE giving it its power to slay DRACULA or even DEATH, and a whole slew of other abominable creations.

    I hope you agree with me on some intellectual level that this just isn’t something that should be in Castlevania.

    PS: you seem like a guy who likes dark, heroic, and extremely coherent stories, Castlevania *IS* suppose to have one.

    Michael J. G.

  28. Erin
    Posted July 23, 2009 at 6:25 AM | Permalink

    Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman are both wonderful authors. Excellent suggestions, Mr. Rothfuss.
    Good Omens is hilarious, and one of my absolute favorites. It’s also the only book to ever get me on a teacher’s bad side. I have a very loud laugh, which does not bode well for “silent reading time.”

  29. superfan123
    Posted October 31, 2016 at 10:38 AM | Permalink


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