I started reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars three times before I really pushed through and finished the first part. And then everything changed. It’s really a compelling scifi book about future colonization of Mars and the issues and problems that could arise. I’m enjoying it so much that I just got the second and third books in the trilogy, Green Mars and Blue Mars.
In the last year I’ve changed my approach to reading new science fiction. Whereas I used to read more and more books by the same authors, I’ve now decided that I should read with more purpose and look for better quality books. That is, if I’m going to read new books, I should read really good new books and not random ones. (It’s not a good idea to buy a scifi book by an author unknown to you just because you like the book cover or think the blurb on the back of the book is interesting.)
Therefore I’ve been trying to focus on reading books that have won either the Hugo or Nebula awards, the top literary awards for science fiction. Red Mars won the Nebula and the other two each won Hugos. Once I’ve read one of these well rated books I may then go off and read sequels or other books by the same author, but at least I have a better starting place and a higher probability of a good reading experience.
I don’t think I’ll read all the award winning books, but at least it’s a practical way to look for new scifi books to potentially attack.
I’m also reading the The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. I’m really having a tough time slogging through it since it seems rather predictable and very much in the vein of Lord of the Rings. I’m not reading it because I feel compelled to do so, I’m reading it out of convenience when there is nothing else handy. I’ll probably finish it eventually. There are many many sequels to it (18?), but I think I’ll let them be.
Finally, though not scifi per se, I read half of The Stand by Stephen King and then put it away. For me it just wasn’t an enjoyable way to spend my time. It’s a high quality book, it’s just not for me.