Re: The Book thread.
that makes far more sense. it shouldn't be a reason to read something, but it's not a reason to avoid something. dan brown is a decent example of popular mediocrity. maybe mediocrity is being kind - the lost symbol was actively bad.
eh. I don't find abercronbie good because it's 'gritty'. i think he's a decent writer who can write fairly compelling characters + a good story. sure he's a bloodthirsty bastard and his books are out there to subvert expectations but I think they're pretty good. i mean sure there's a fair amount of butchery and violence in abercrombie's world but I don't think it's rarely there just for the sake of it.
i mean I like brandon sanderson but I don't think something like mistborn is as good as the blade itself. (well the first book was great - 2 and 3 went in to progressively tropey bullshit and the plot got lost). have you read the way of kings? it has a lot of potential, I think. he writes magic systems pretty great.
speaking of one of the names on your list. is the sword of shannara actually readable? i tried to get through it and stopped after a few chapters. it was fucking AWFUL I thought.