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Short stories is what has kept me reading despite having very little time these days. Since I've become a mother to two very active boys my days of binge reading entire books in one sitting are now sadly a thing of the past. I've been a huge reader since my school days, so it was kind of sad for me to neglect this hobby, but after my husband saw my plight he went and bought me a book that was filled with short stories. These gave me the reading fix that I needed, but I could also put down the book and handle whatever crisis that needed dealing with and come back without having to skip back to chapters just to remember what I was reading. I am now the proud owner of a kindle that is filled to the brim with short story compilations, so if you would like to read a few of my favorites here goes:

1. Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd - Confession time, I'm a big nerd at heart and before my boys took over my life I could flaunt my pop culture references and meme knowledge with the best of them. I also loved young adult books when I had the time to read them, so Geektastic is a match made in literary heaven to me. It is a great collection of geeky stories that were written by a nice selection of hotshot young adult authors. I would say that even if you are not much of a geek, these stories are still charming enough to hold your attention. OK, I won't lie, the first couple of stories requires that you at least know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek, but on the whole this is such a good compilation. The drawings are delightful as well!

2. After. Once again, it might just be the young adult loving side of me that adores this book, but I think it is really good. If names like Garth Nix, Carry Ryan, Jane Yolen, Susan Beth Pfeeffer and Gregory Maguire mean nothing to you and you don't like post apocalyptic stories, then you will probably not miss anything by skipping this book. BUT, if you like the genre then do not miss your chance to read this book. Instead of focusing on the disasters, the short stories in this book deals with the lives of the teenagers affected by them. Some of the stories take place just after what catastrophe caused the end of the world while others are set far in the future. They all have one thing in common, they are really, really good.

3. Firebirds Rising. It pains me to say it, but even in the best short story collections you are going to find a few that you don't like. It is inevitable and just how these things go. To me it is like buying a big pack of assorted chocolates and then complaining that amongst all the delicious ones there are a few hard toffees. Anyway, back to the book. There are some really, really good science fiction and fantasy stories in this book and then there are also a few that are not so good. That's what’s cool about anthologies though, you can skip the ones you don’t like and get straight back to the good ones. I'm not going to try and describe all the stories in this book, but I will say that I liked the ones by Kelly Link, Ellen Kages and Kara Dalkey a lot.
In my mind there will never be a writing duo that is as creative and talented as Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. These two met up when they worked at Tactical Studio Rules and were given the task of working on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons modules, which was supposed to include a novel. Instead of using an author to write the novel, the two went ahead and wrote it themselves and from this grew the Dragonlance Chronicles. After this they wrote the Dragonlance Legends trilogy along with a slew of other books that were set in the universe that they created. Even after they left TSR they continued to collaborate on books, including the Darksword trilogy, the Deathgate Cycle as well as the Sovereign Stone series. The two have also written some books on their own, but it is as a collaborative duo where I think their talents shine the most. Here are a couple of highlights of their work so far:

1 Dragons of Autumn Twilight (1984) - This was their first book together, I believe, and was actually based on a bunch of Dungeons and Dragons game modules. The Tolkien influences are very clear to see, but it is a great starting point if you want to get into the Dragonlance books.

2 Forging the Darksword (1988) - This is the first book in the Darksword Trilogy, which is about a world in which everyone is born with magic. However, the protagonist, Jorma, does not have this gift and there are prophecies about him destroying the world because of this. Due to this he was condemned to die, but thanks to a twist of fate ended up being raised by a woman who lost her own child.

3 The Will of the Wanderer (1988) - This is the first book in the Rose of the Prophet series, which consists of three books. I just love the imagination behind this book, as it has a very "role playing game" feel, just like the other stories from these two authors. It takes place in a world where a pantheon of twenty gods are in charge, but things are not all rosy. Chaos is erupting and it involves gods, immortals and more.

4 Dragon Wing (1990) - I love all of the books by Margerett and Tracy, but I think the Death Gate Cycle has to be my favorite. It consists of seven books and there is just so much great fantasy elements and ideas in them. It is just epic fantasy and a grand new scale and one of the characters, Haplo, is also an all-time favorite of mine.

5. Bones of the Dragon (2009) - Bones of the Dragon is the first in the Dragonships of Vindras series, which was originally scheduled to have six books, but ended with book four, Doom of the Dragons. It's not the best work from these two authors, but I still have a soft spot for it. In this first book we learn about the land of Vindrassi and what a harsh place it has become due to a massive drought. The protagonists of this book also have to deal with some ogres who are spoiling for a fight. The main problem that many of my friends have with this book is that the main character is not exactly likable, but if you can get past that, it is a good series.
Some people may try and dispute it, but we are currently living in an golden age of television. Not only are budgets way bigger than ever before in the past, but there are also more channels to choose from and no shortage of great material to draw from. Just look at the incredible run that Marvel is having on both the big and small screens. Game of Thrones is also a prime example of what can be accomplished when television producers and writers actually value the input of authors and respect the source material. The end of Game of Thrones is going to leave a big void on television and it wouldn't surprise me to see at least one more epic fantasy series make an appearance. This would actually suit me fine as I have very little free time these days and I know that I'll probably die before I get around to reading all the books on my list. Don't get me wrong, I still love books, so there are a couple of franchises that I would prefer reading instead of watching and it is actually the "lesser" books that I want to see on the small screen!

1. The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind - I have heard very good things about the books, but three episodes into the television series I knew it wasn't for me. After talking to some friends who rave about the books, it has become clear that the fault is not with the source material but the television show itself. If the books are as dark as I hear, then a more mature television series would definitely be the way to go.

2. The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon - Now this is one that I have actually read and really enjoyed, so it would bring me great joy to see it receive a good television series. The medieval world of Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter with its elves, dwarves, gnomes and humans would make a great setting and the fact that Paks is such a strong, independent woman is something that will resonate well with modern audiences. Maybe when Gwendoline Christie hangs up her sword in Game of Thrones she can take the spotlight in this series as she is a perfect fit for the character.

3. The Discworld books by Terry Pratchett. It would require a substantial investment in make-up, costumes and special effects, but just imagine how cool a television series based on the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett would be. I would really like to see an entire series and maybe a couple of seasons of this instead of just a holiday special as the world is just so rich and the characters so awesome.

4. Guardians of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky

This is another book that would require a big budget to pull off correctly, but I truly believe that if they did it properly it could be one of the most amazing shows on television. What is that you say? Movie? Nope, nope, there was never any movie based on this series. NEVER! You hear me!