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Good books that are driven distinctly by outstanding dialogue?

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message 1: by Paolo (new)

Paolo There are many narrative and literary techniques available to a writer to move their story forward. The more I read, the more I find myself drawn particularly to books with exceptionally good dialogue above all other styles of writing. I feel like noteworthy dialogue draws me into a book more than anything. I'm easily able to imagine the characters and events in a story with good dialogue.

Having said this, are there any books in particular that you can recommend especially for having distinctly good dialogue?


message 2: by Joanna Chaplin (new)

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments One of the reasons I like Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series is the fun and often insightful dialogue.


message 3: by Paolo (new)

Paolo oh cool. I got her book The Curse of Chalion via humble bundle a few weeks ago. How's that one?


message 4: by Joanna Chaplin (new)

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments I enjoyed The Curse of Chalion also, but for different reasons. The fascinating practical theology, as it were. The dialogue was more formalized and less zippy than in The Warrior's Apprentice and the rest. But there's still lots to love, there. It's fast for a bit, then slow for a bit, and then it picks up again neatly at the end.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Terry Pratchettis such a king of dialogue that oftentimes he doesn't even write which character says what. You immediately know.


message 6: by Joanna Chaplin (new)

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments Anja wrote: "Terry Pratchettis such a king of dialogue that oftentimes he doesn't even write which character says what. You immediately know."

And the narrator in the Discworld books is so witty that it might as well be another character in its own right.


message 7: by Brandon (new)

Brandon Draga | 4 comments For as pulpy as the Forgotten Realms books can be, I'm in love with Erin M Evans' novels largely because of how well she writes character dialogue.


message 8: by Phil (new)

Phil | 1159 comments Spider Robinson's books, particularly the Callahan series, are pretty dialogue (and pun) driven.


message 9: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4142 comments LOVE Spider Robinson. He did several book length followups to the Callahan shorts. Not quite as good as the short stories but excellent on their own.

They are not genre, but I enjoyed the dialogue in several Dumas books. Count of Monte Cristo and the followups to Three Musketeers come to mind. All free on gutenberg.org.


message 10: by Joe Informatico (new)

Joe Informatico (joeinformatico) | 888 comments Steven Brust's early Vlad Taltos books. The dialogue goes from rough criminal speech to high-falutin' court dialogue, to conversations with Vlad's grandfather, who sounds like the grandfather of almost every child of European immigrants. And it's all sharp and witty and very human. You can also check out his Khaavren Romances, which are Dumas pastiches set in the same world.


message 11: by Paolo (new)

Paolo Joanna wrote: "Anja wrote: "Terry Pratchettis such a king of dialogue that oftentimes he doesn't even write which character says what. You immediately know."

And the narrator in the Discworld books..."

Can I just jump into any Discworld book and read them in any order?


message 12: by CatBookMom (new)

CatBookMom Paolo wrote: "Can I just jump into any Discworld book and read them in any order ..."

Um, it's probably better that you are at least aware of the recommended orders of reading. Here's a link: (http://tinyurl.com/33gn2bo) ; click on the scroll to make it larger. There are several subsets/sub-series(?) within the Discworld stories, and this shows how the various novels are related to one another.

Honestly, many Discworld fans recommend starting with *Equal Rites* or *Guards, Guards* and following those subsets, rather than starting with *The Colour of Magic*, which is less funny than either the Watch or the Witches. You could even start with *The Wee Free Men*, which is one of my favorites.


message 13: by Paolo (new)

Paolo CatBookMom wrote: "Paolo wrote: "Can I just jump into any Discworld book and read them in any order ..."

Um, it's probably better that you are at least aware of the recommended orders of reading. Here's a link: (h..."


oh that's a shame, but thanks for the link!

I wanted to jump directly into Night Watch, seeing as it's the highest rated book in the Discworld series - but according to the link you provided, I have to go through...

Guards! Guards! --> Men at Arms --> Feet of Clay --> Jingo --> The Fifth Elephant

...before I can read Night's Watch.


message 14: by CatBookMom (last edited Sep 30, 2014 07:14PM) (new)

CatBookMom Paolo wrote: "CatBookMom wrote: "Paolo wrote: "Can I just jump into any Discworld book and read them in any order ..."

Um, it's probably better that you are at least aware of the recommended orders of reading. ..."


No, you don't HAVE to read those first; they just explain some of the background that you might like to know on the characters and so forth. This is a recommended reading order, nothing is mandatory.

OTOH, I think the first Discworld book I read was *Going Postal*; there was a lot of 'suspending disbelief' on my part, but that book says a lot about Ankh-Morpork, the Patrician, the various denizens of A-M, and so on. I often think of the Discworld as being somewhat very distantly related to Saturday Night Live of the 80s, with Loraine Newman, John Belushi, Bill Murray, et.al: you may have to learn to 'get' the humor.


message 15: by Joanna Chaplin (new)

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments I read Discworld pretty much all out of order the first time, too. Until the most recent few books, it works pretty well. As for Night Watch, I'd recommend reading Guards! Guards! first, but you could skip over the others from there. Although there's some good stuff there two, but Night Watch is probably one of the best.


message 16: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2520 comments I'm in the minority I guess. As an old school D&D player I thought The Color of Magic and the first few books far funnier than the later ones. They had a lot of inside jokes that non players wouldn't get.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

AndrewP wrote: "I'm in the minority I guess. As an old school D&D player I thought The Color of Magic and the first few books far funnier than the later ones. They had a lot of inside jokes that non p..."

I think everyone has a favourite Discworld sub-series and luckily for us, Terry Pratchett wrote one for every kind of person. : )

I would look at the book summary for the first book of every sub series and see which one interests you the most and start there.

The older the book is, the less polished it may be. Terry Pratchett improved significantly as he wrote more. But all of them are great.


message 18: by Rob (new)

Rob  (quintessential_defenestration) | 1035 comments I'm going to throw out PG Wodehouse, which counts as SF because George Orwell declared his stuff to be althistory! Not just the dialogue, but the internal monologue is insanely genius.

If you're looking to get into Pratchett without starting a massive series, Good Omens has great dialogue, iirc.


message 19: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4142 comments Yep, Good Omens is more awesome than should be possible. Definite recommend.


message 20: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6376 comments I was searching for "dialog", and couldn't find this.

If I could play the comics card, Brian K. Vaughan writes good dialog, especially lately in Saga.


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Tamahome wrote: "I was searching for "dialog", and couldn't find this.

If I could play the comics card, Brian K. Vaughan writes good dialog, especially lately in Saga."


Definitely in comics a talent in writing good dialogue would be even more crucial.


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