My mom called me the other night seeking help which I was particularly qualified to give. Through her church she was supplying Christmas gifts for an underprivileged young person. Clothes, toys, etc. On his wish list he had asked for SF/Fantasy books. Mom wanted to know if I wanted to take care of that part of his list. Well of course I did.
I went out this morning and bought an assortment. I picked up Magician Apprentice by Raymond Fiest. I think Fiest is the best guy working in the Tolkien tradition right now. Fast paced and well written, with an appealing young hero. Got The Wish Song of Shannara by Terry Brooks for much the same reasons. Traditional fantasy with lots of heroics and derring do. And it's a self contained story. Not part of a trilogy. Shifted gears a bit and got Fool Moon, one of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden books. Don't know what the kid might like so I figured I'd get him something different. Also got S.M. Stirling's The Sky People, which was a recent SF novel that I enjoyed. Then David Webber's Oath of Swords, which straddles a line between fantasy and SF. Finally got the standard size paperback edition of Beyond the Black River, which is a collection of Robert E. Howard stories with three Conan yarns and a couple of other tales. I managed to restrain my own tastes for the most part. but there's no way I could pass up giving a 12 year old boy at least a sampling of REH. Overall I think I did well not throwing in Lovecraft, Smith, Burroughs, and Lieber. Anyway, I hope the kid enjoys the books. Not used books but brand new paperbacks that are his and his alone. Would have made my Christmas at age 12 for sure.