I read a lot, half science-fiction and cartoons, half novels and essays.
Here is a list and reviews of the books I’ve been reading.
As far as science-fiction is concerned, the two authors I like best are:
William Gibson, because I like his writing and his ideas. His books are very powerful, my favourite are Neuromancer, and Idoru.
The most recent book from him I read, Pattern recognition, is not science-fiction but a very stylish description of our consumption society, between London, Tokyo and Russia, a sort of industrial and marketing espionage story, I really loved it.
David Brin, whose Uplift novels are marvellous, especially Startide Rising and The Uplift War.
There’s also a second Uplift trilogy, taking place on the planet Jijo and featuring 6 races who have gathered to be forgotten here. The uplift universe is a very good construction.
One of his latest books, Kiln people, tackles the subject of cloning with an unusual angle (clones as disposable copies), following a detective story pattern.
A discovery: Neal Stephenson, I’ve read Cryptonomicon, it’s an excellent book mixing history and computers. Two parallel stories involving members of a family, one set during World War II and involving the enigma code machine, the other about a computer and finance company building a data haven.
Another of Neal Stephenson’s books, Snow crash is very good too, the hero delivers pizzas for the mafia, and is also the best samurai of the real and virtual world.
Another writer I like a lot: Iain M. Banks, my favourite books are The player of games, which belongs to his excellent series about the Culture, and Feersum Endjinn, which way of playing with a phonetic language is very interesting.
If you want to visit Mars, I’d advise you to read the Kim Stanley Robinson trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars), it really feels like Robinson has somehow been on this planet, and if you’re into cold, his novel called Antarctica is very good too (this time he’s really been there).
A writer from the 70’s, John Brunner, got a very clear picture of our world 20 or 30 years in advance. Check out Stand on Zanzibar (he displays a little optimism in this one), Shockwave rider (he imagines the future of computing), Sheep look up (a totally despaired book about pollution, I strongly recommend reading this one).
I’ve started reading the Anne McCaffreyDragon of Pern books and will eventually read them all, I’m just not swallowing the whole series all at once to make the pleasure last. She also wrote good science-fiction books like the Killashandra, the crystal singer and Freedom’s landing series.
I like the Terry PratchettDiscworld books a lot, the series starts with The colour of magic.
If you want a good laugh, do read Good omens, a wild and funny novel he wrote with Neil Gaiman. You’ll discover the Apocalypse can go slightly wrong…
And to follow this thread, I recently read a Neil Gaiman book called American gods, and I liked it a lot.
Among novellists, my favourites are John Irving (for example A widow for one year, characteristic of his style), David Lodge, whose books Paradise news and The Rummidge trilogy I like a lot, and William Boyd (The new confessions are marvellous and so is Armadillo).
In the suspense and crime department, I like two different authors with a similarity: Tony Hillerman and his American-Indian detective, the last book of his I read was The first eagle, mixing Indian customs with very modern concerns about drug-resistant diseases.
The other author is Arthur Upfield, and his part-aboriginal, part-white detective Napoleon Bonaparte. I love Upfield’s writing and the way Bony solves the mysteries.
Among the classics, I’d advise anyone to read The three musketeers from Alexandre Dumas, it’s a page-turner, very good.
Bandes dessinées & manga
I like what we call “Bandes dessinées” and it’s very difficult to describe to people from outside France or Belgium. Just imagine that we have hundreds, thousands of books similar to “Asterix” or “Tintin”, in all kinds of different genres (suspense, historic, science-fiction, comic…) and all different kinds of drawings (from “clear line” to very artistic). My favourite authors are Enki Bilal, Schuiten and Peeters, Loisel.
I also like a lot the books from the storyteller and illustrator François Place, like the three books in the Atlas des Géographes d’Orbae and Le vieux fou de dessin.
My favourite mangas are Nausicaa of the valley of the wind from Hayao Miyazaki and Yukito Kishiro’s Battle Angel Alita. The last, also known as Gunnm, is about a nice girl’s nice brains in a metal body. I’ve seen a soviet movie from 1925 called Aelita, where Aelita is a Martian woman. I’d say Gunnm’s name might very well come from here, or else it’s a weird coincidence.
I also like Crying Freeman, the manga from Ryoichi Ikegami and Kazuo Koike as well as Christophe Gans’s movie.
As far as anime goes, I like Akira, of course, and I find Ghost in the shell fantastic.