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The Georgicks of Virgil, with an English Translation and Notes Virgil, John Martyn Ipsi in defossis specubus secura sub alta Otia agunt terra, congestaque robora, Pierius says it is confecto in the Roman manuscript. And Tacitus also says the Germans used to make caves to defend them from the severity of winter, .

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Did I forget to mention that he's also a War Wizard on top of being a regular wizard which is basically a Wizard 2. Oh, let's not forget about the part where he becomes KING ruler of an entire continent. Did I miss anything? Can't forget the other character: Kahland Amnell, Richards love interest princess and Mary Sue extraordinaire.

Forgetting anything else? Opps one more: one of the SOT villains is an evil chicken. Richard Rauhl is pretty much the fantasy version of Goku from Dragon Ball Z -- always just one step away from powering up to some new super ability to save the day. The only difference: replace the stupid endless posturing of the characters with endless plot-destroying Randism pontificating by Richard. I'd like to say it's a more intelligent series than an anime made for kids, but I dont' think I can even give the series that sort of credit.

Goodkind has a disturbing fascination with the domination and rape of women. I mean you have to wonder about the guy when pretty much every page involves some sadistic torture and rape of yet another innocent and lovely woman. Man, we get it guy: lovely women need to be humiliated over and over in as many different ways as possible. Now stop writing about the same damn thing for 10, pages! Either way, enough of your boy fantasies please! Now if only the public could be stabbed with that same Sword of Truth that Richard Rhaul carries around, the truth of how bad this series really is would be revealed to the world.

Did I mention that the writing quality is bad, like atrociously bad with -ly adverbs thrown in before practically every single verb, horrible grammar, and a plot so full of holes that it sinks to the bottom of the quality barrel? But by far the worst literary crime is Goodkind's penchant for pausing the story while he pontificates and pontificates and pontificates about the nature of good and evil through his characters. I mean, it gets absolutely ridiculous in the later books. The early books actually have the semblance of a plot and characters, but by the 6th book, something starts to go seriously wrong with the story threads, and Goodkind decides he's going to write his own version of The Fountainhead starring Richard, Kahland, and evil Emperor dude who wants to kill the world.

At one point I think I skipped something like 30 pages of Richard pontificating and the plot or story didn't miss a single beat. If you want to read Goodkind, you can save yourself a lot of pain and just skip straight to the source: read Ann Rynd's Fountainhead, the book that inspired the Sword of Truth series. No, it took a string of absolute trash to land him on the worst fantasy book list. His recent book titles can be used as a euphemism for crap, puke and other less-than-wholesome words. I now hear that Goodkind has decided to embrace the self-publishing movement and inflict even more books on the public, this time with even less editorial control, since he's now going to be the author, editor, and publisher.

God save us from the horror of it all! I fully expect putting Goodkind in this section will rile up some of his fans and feel free to express yourself in the comment section , but before posting anything nasty or libeling my character and tastes, please read the top 5 books on my Top 25 Best Fantasy Book list, THEN come and tell me why NoGoodkind should be taken off this list. Iron Tower. No saving this one from the fall. A shameless rip from Tolkien.

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And I mean a really, really, really shameless rip. If Terry Brooks 'borrows' ideas from Tolkien, McKiernan straight out copies them word for word, changing a couple of syllables here and there. Shame on the man for lacking even the creativity to change the characters to something NOT directly copied from Tolkien. Frankly, if Tolkien was still alive, McKiernan would have been sued. And it gets worse as you read. I almost hope a copyright theft lawsuit by the Tolkien estate stops this crime of a series from doing any more damage to tender young fantasy minds.

Apparently this is how the whole sordid mess started: McKiernan suffered a terrible motorcycle crash, and upon waking, decided he wanted to write a sequel to LOTR and I think he did so. A publisher expressed interest in this terrible idea given literary form and sent a letter to the Tolkien Estate seeking the rights to publish the sequel. The Estate was not pleased and denied to grant the rights; McKiernan was then told by the publisher to re-write LOTR with different character names as the backstory to the sequel.

And the demon known as The Iron Tower was infamously birthed into this world. These are simplistic popcorn-style fantasy that don't offer anything new to the genre or even attempt to provide anything outside of a strictly regimented and never-changing formula. Popcorn can be good, but by golly at least make sure it's good popcorn. I'm not against popcorn fantasy, but I am against badly made popcorn fantasy.

Liverpool Learns That Great Isn’t Always Good Enough

These books may have been entertaining when you were a kid or new to fantasy, but if you manage to evolve your taste in fantasy, these books taste about as good as stale bread. Why so bad? Badly written fantasy cliches ripped straight from Tolkien's world. Bad prose that's more wordy than a drunk Snookie, re-used plots that are about as unoriginal as a copy of the Mona Lisa, and cardboard characters so flat you could use them as paper.

Yea yea, there are worse out there. I'm not going so far as to label these in the "Terribly Written Books" category, but on the whole there is soooo much better to read out there right now. This badly written popcorn fantasy is the kinda stuff that gives the fantasy genre a bad name as a whole. Avoid these novels! They're like that cheap type of bread you pick up for fifty cents in the discounted section at Safeway. You might think you got a good dealtill you find it crumbles to pieces on the way home.

Pick up a real author like George Martin or Joe Abercrombie and enjoy a real feast. Basically see the 5 ranking Dragonlance for my reasoning why Forgotten Realms is some of the worst fantasy tripe out there. Both series are pretty much the same. Between Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms, I'll choose Dragonlance -- but this is like making the choice between whether to jump from the Empire State Building or run out of oxygen while on a deep water scuba dive -- either choice sucks and sucks bad.

Triple Kill!! I'm not a big fan of the Shannara series at all. I've been getting email after email wondering why Brooks is not on the Top 25 Fantasy list. Let me state it right here: he's not on the list because he hasn't written any books that are good enough to be there. Shannara was Brook's attempt to milk the whole Tolkien craze during the 80s. Brooks is the literary version of the band Nickleback: both have sold out all creativity and churn out the same sort of crap over and over.

Commercially successful? Intellectually stimulating? About as much as watching Bevis and Butthead reruns. There is a marketing concept called first-mover advantage. Brooks with his bad rewrite of Lord of the Rings did just this. As far as I'm concerned, Brooks is a hack writer who made it big because he was in the Tolkien Clone market first. If you've read one Shannara book, you've read all twenty of them, or thirty I can't remember the exact number as Brooks churns them out like a Chinese noodle factory does noodle boxes.

One Shannara book is the same as the rest of them. Hell for me would be being locked into a room with an infinite supply of Shannara books to read. I'd start puking my eyes out around book 20, and by book 40, I'd probably bite my own throat out. I beg you Terry Brooks, stop writing new Shanara books. If someone points a gun to your head and forces you to read a Shannara novel, perhaps Elfstones is the best of the bunch. But then again, that's like asking which limb you want broken.

The correct answer is "none of them. And dammit, let's get into the Shannara's continuing use of "The Elfstones", a name that itself is borrowed directly from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Man, these Elfstones are simply an outrageous naked plot device that Brooks recycles over and over for more plot fodder, with each additional book having new powers associated with them. After book 20, I still don't think even Brooks knows what the hell these things actually do.

In the first book, they help you find stuff, act as a nice magical flashlight and come in handy when battling magical demon types, and even work as a sort of "demon alarm system" if there are, like, nasty demons loafing around. Talk about no internal rules of magic here. About the only things you can't do with these special stones are your tax forms and your college homework. I'm not insulting Terry Brooks as an author.

Ok, well I kinda am. So yes, Brooks writes some decent books And God knows he's had enough practice over the years with the dozens of books he's churned out , but just avoid anything with the word Shannara in the title and you'll probably be OK. The Icewind Dale. I'm sorely tempted to add the "Terribly Written Books" category in there too, but there are frankly much worse books out there and the prose is not THAT bad. The main problem with these as they are so unoriginal that it's almost funny.

If there was an award for the most inspidly unoriginal and cliche-ridden story out there, Icewind Dale would get it maybe right up there with the infamous Eye of Argon short story. Also called The Icewind Dreck Trilogy. Every time I think about this series, a horrible taste comes to my mouth. What is that taste? I think it's literary puke. Salvatore has not yet written any fantasy book worth putting on the top lists, people. The series is the poster boy for fantasy banality -- there is not a single speck of creativity to this series. The same can be said of pretty much all the rest of R.

Salvatore's works. This author has the dubious distinction of getting TWO of his series tossed onto this list. You can literally hear the sound of the dice rolling in the background as you read. Wikipedia defines hack writer as "writers who are paid to churn out sensational, lower-quality "pulp" fiction. Salvatore, with one or two new low-quality fantasy novels coming out each year -- and not a one that has a single iota of originality.

To cover all bases, I'll throw Salvatore's other popular fantasy series in here for good measure, The Dark Elf series. An atrocious mix of bad writing with a not-so-subtle attempt at creating a sympathetic and misunderstood bad-boy character. If there was Twilight for men, The Dark Elf trilogy gets my vote. Salvatore is one of those authors that does a disservice to the rest of the real writers out there. He writes bad popcorn fantasy over and over. Now maybe he's fine with this, and maybe his hordes of fans are fine with reading this stuff too. But really, I can't honestly recommend any of Salvatore's work to any fantasy reader.

To me, that's the same as telling someone to eat fast food instead of something healthy. If you want to read shallow fantasy that offers about as much nutrition as a hastily made McDonald's cheeseburger, then R. Salvatore's works are exactly what you need. For the rest of you who value your time, read something better.

If you have to read action heroic fantasy, read David Gemmell or Michael Stackpool -- these writers are many times superior to Salvatore. Wayfarer Redemption. Superlatively insipid. And what an awful waste of time this book is. The number of stupid characters present in the novel is borderline ridiculous.

There is supposed to be a plot and all, but frankly, it gets lost amid the sappy ham-fisted romance and terrible plot lines. Frankly, I can't remember just how bad the writing was -- probably because the plot was so boring, and the characters so insipid that I was sleeping through most of the book. This book really belongs on the Harlequin romance shelves and NOT the fantasy shelf. Plowing through The Wayfarer Redemption has scared me away from ever touching anything written by an author with the name of Douglass ever again. There is some other sequel or prequel trilogy called The Axis trilogy or something, but frankly, I can't even bring myself to care enough to write something bad about it other than to say: avoid at the peril of losing your soul.


There is no redemption for The Wayfarer Redemption. These books are going straight to literary hell. This one is pretty close to tying with IceWind Dale for the "most Insipidly Bland" fantasy series ever. Oh boy, where do I start with this one? The main character is an utter dolt, the supporting cast cookie-cut out, and the plot There were holes in the plot the size of Australia and characters appear from nowhere only to wander out of the plot just as fast as they were introduced.

I'm not even going to get into the characterization -- it was about as laughable as the nonsensical plot threads found in every single one of the books. David Drake or should I maybe start calling him David Dreck? Ok, that was just mean, I admit Maybe it's not as bad, prose-wise, as some of the other stinkers in the genre, but the fact that Eddings has been re-writing the same story over and over and over and over has earned this book this dubious award. The Redemption of Althalus had nothing redeemable about it. The characters were cookie cutouts of bad stereotypes and the plot was boring.

God forgive the author for the slaughter of trees involved in producing that crap. I would say that Eddings has his own vanilla style of prose, but then again, vanilla actually has some flavor. Eddings does write some entertaining fantasy for kids, but he's pretty much rewritten his original series four or five times over. The fantasy world has long since evolved. Eddings has not. Ok, I might take a lot of flak for this, but I think she is, in general, a horrific author. Her plots tend to muddle around in never-never-land and characters are flat as a cookie.

The only time she manages to crawl her way out of the bowels of mediocrity is on the contrails of more talented coauthors. Not all her books are bad; several books she coauthors with more talented co-authors I might add are actually quite good The Shadow of a Lion. I wish I could say the same about the rest of her books.

Kan Savasci: a legend, a warrior, a mage… hero and villain. Tears of a Heart marks the tale of a young man, Aeden, who unwittingly shapes the world. The writing is beautiful, layered, and timely. Chase Blackwood weaves an intricate tale that hints at so much more.

And that may be its greatest challenge. Tears of a Heart, the first book in the series, was beautifully written, and interesting. It shows us an amazing world filled with detail and depth, but for a portion of it, just a touch slow. The writing, such beautiful writing, overshadows this, as does the ending. Tower of the Arkein , the next book in the series, is where the story truly begins to unfold, and where Chase Blackwood shines as an author.

Living is Overrated (Zombies in Vegas, #3) by Olivia Starke

It is fast paced, full of action, adventure, and love. A very strong entry in the fantasy genre, and if the next book is equally as good, expect it to make quite a splash. You can buy on Amazon now. There were some initially vague similarities to The Wheel of Time, but that soon changed -- and not for the better. The story started out strong, but somehow everything just grinds to a halt, and I stopped caring about the characters or story.

It just sort of dies a slow death, with each of the following books killing the series even more. The characters were two-dimensional and absolutely do not evolve during the course of the series. And the writing. The author tries way too hard with his use of similes. After a while, the book felt to me like it was an unfinished Creative Writing project that's been collectively written with the sole intent of coming up with jarring, awkward similes.

There's a ton of inconsistency too when it comes to the story elements. Characters actions are inconsistent from moment to moment -- at one point, they are in charge and confident, and at another point, they are dimwit followers who act out of character. And the Rune Stone, a major plot element, just loses its free will at one point in the story without any reason. It's almost as if the author was suddenly inspired by Edding's The Belgariad and started pumping out characters taken straight from it.

Meli is a re-named Polgara, Travis comes off as a less feisty version of Garion, Falken is borrowed from Belgarath, and Beltan is Mandorellan's clone. The world is fairly undefined too. It seems as though the characters just walk and walk around in some vaguely midieval landscape. I have a bit of a problem when, several books into a series, the author suddenly decides to make the main character gay.

Now that's fine if this is the case from the start of the series, but when the author suddenly pulls homesexuality out of a hat way into the novel without warning, well that's not quite fair. Frankly, the author has failed to create a believable world or to create an interesting plot that takes you anywhere, with fully fleshed out characters. The whole series lacks any sort of soul too it; all in all, everything from the characters to the world and the plot are wafer thin.


If mediocrocy could be celebrated, this series would get an award. I can't argue with Card's genius as a writer and the fact that he's usually a great writer, usually. But this book just doesn't merit the sort of praise people seem to give it. Card is a superbly talented writer, creating works of celebrated genius like Ender's Game. However, when he starts bringing his religion into his writing and using his characters and settings to pontificate his strident political views, things take a decided turn for the worse.

House of Nails: A Memoir of Life on the Edge

That's fine if you are writing a book for Mormons, but alas most of us are not. To really understand anything about this series, you'll need to have read both the Bible and The Book of Mormon. For most of you, climbing Everest would be more appealing. The whole religious thing aside, the story itself and the plot wasn't very interesting. Overall, this whole series was meh, highly overrated and quite boring to read.

Epic fantasy that goes bad. In short, I would say the magic system is quite fascinating and unique, almost making up for the fact that everything else is pretty bad. With the exception of maybe Sanderson's allomancy magic in the Mistborn series, The Rune Lord's magic system just about tops off all the other magic systems out there. Stealing attributes from other people and adding them to your own to gain powers is genius. Keep taking people's abilities and become even more powerful till you achieve something like Godlike superhuman abilities. Everything else about the series comes off as pretty crappy, however.

The plot -- there is a bad guy to kill and giant cockroaches to stamp out. There's a young prince with some amazing gifts who just might be the one to save the world from evil. These little decisions to not eat well add up over time to big things like weight gain and heart disease. Conversely, skipping the pasta and getting 20 minutes of exercise every day can add up to a healthy body and mind for the rest of your life.

Little things that feel like they make no difference in the short term actually do! What are the little things in your life that you can do to alter the course of your health and give you the slight edge? In chapter 3 he discusses the secret of time and says that willpower is overrated.

His graph of simple disciplines and errors in judgement over time leading to a more positive or negative life made me think of how impactful our choices are. He says to base your choices on your philosophy and not on what you see. Are their times when you base choices on what you see instead of what you know? How can you make choices based on what you know and not what you see? In chapter 4 he discusses famous figures, Rosa Parks, Stephen King and how they started with a small decision that had a huge impact. He says you have to do something in order to achieve anything. He says the critical decisions in life are always the tiny ones which is why so many people miss them.

If you make this decision after 1 year you will be twice as successful. If you did this everyday for 1 year how would you feel and what would this look like in terms of your health at the end of a year? Once I have made a set of guidelines for myself for healthy eating and amount of exercise, I do find it easy to stick with that.

Both of these are failed strategies. Skip to content If you are looking for a bit of inspiration to help you on your journey, welcome to our first addition of the Wellness Words Book Club! We should have won. Ah, you saw that! Graham had not seen that game, either. To understand what happened, all he needed was his data. Analytics has famously influenced the tactics in professional baseball and basketball in recent years. Graham, who earned a doctorate in theoretical physics at Cambridge, built his own database to track the progress of more than , players from around the world.

It lost only one of its 38 games in the Premier League, yet it finished second. Manchester City, the defending champion, edged Liverpool by a single point on the last day after winning every one of its league games since January. In the Premier League, as elsewhere in soccer, a victory counts as three points in the standings and a draw counts as one; Liverpool set the record for the most points in a season, 97, by a runner-up. More than other major clubs, Liverpool incorporates data analysis into the decisions it makes, from the corporate to the tactical.

How much that has contributed to its recent performance is itself hard to measure. Klopp analyzed no data at Dortmund. In this, he was like most managers. He was consumed by coaching his young team on the field. In the 79th minute of the second game of the Champions League semifinal, in early May, a ball was deflected out of bounds for a Liverpool corner kick. Trent Alexander-Arnold , a year-old fullback, was about to move toward the middle of the field to let a Liverpool teammate take it. Only a few were looking his way. By then, Liverpool had already staged an improbable comeback to get the semifinal contest back on even terms.

The team scored three unanswered goals, matching the three that Barcelona scored at home in the first game of the home-and-away series. Before the series started, Barcelona were the strong favorite to advance to the final, and the outcome of the first game validated that assessment. For nearly a generation, between and , Liverpool was dominant. It won the European Cup, which preceded the Champions League, four times in eight years. Liverpool F. English clubs in those days were owned by ruddy-faced businessmen who had kicked the ball around as boys and made fortunes with stone quarries or parking lots.

That changed when the richest men in the world began buying them up. In , the Egyptian businessman and department store owner Mohamed al-Fayed took control of Fulham, a London team in the second division, and led its promotion into the Premier League; in , the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who had made his fortune in oil, aluminum and steel, bought Chelsea; in , Stan Kroenke, the husband of a Wal-Mart heir, began accumulating shares of Arsenal. That same year, the family that had controlled Liverpool for half a century sold out to two American businessmen, Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

Liverpool itself remained a faded port of half a million inhabitants, only marginally less dilapidated than the gritty, gray-toned, postwar city that had produced the Beatles. Its dockside economy attracted far fewer major corporations than London or even Manchester. And it turned out that Gillett and Hicks had little money left for soccer. Within a few years, Liverpool was hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and struggling on the field.

John Henry, the former commodities trader and investment manager who served as the majority shareholder, grew up in small-town Missouri and Arkansas. One of his boyhood passions was A. Henry became wealthy from an algorithm he devised that predicted fluctuations in the soybean market. Almost no decision there, from hiring executives to where the Red Sox shortstop should play for each batter, is made without it. It qualified for the Champions League only one of those years, and was eliminated before the quarterfinals.

Its reliance on numbers, many soccer people believed, was undermining the football men who should have been making its decisions. And because Klopp also gets advice from more conventional sources, the tactics he chooses end up being a mix of the data-driven and the intuitive. The plan worked, mostly. Instead, Luis Suarez, a former Liverpool player, scored for Barcelona.

It seemed to impart the message that no amount of analytical preparation could overcome the transcendent skill of such a player. In the Champions League, goals scored away from home carry additional weight if the score is tied after both games. That meant if Barcelona scored one goal at Anfield, Liverpool would need five to move on.

Then Liverpool scored two more times early in the second half. Then, as Alexander-Arnold raced back to the corner, Origi switched his position. The ball reached him on two hops, and he redirected it into the left side of the net. It was a goal that could never have been scripted, or predicted by any calculations.

Rather, much of what happens seems impossible to quantify. Talent is often judged exclusively on aesthetics. If you look like a good player, the feeling is, you probably are. Most sports use a range of statistics to assess teams and players. Until recently, nobody in soccer cared about much beyond who scored the goals.

Now we get updates on how many shots different players have taken, what percentage of the time each team has controlled the ball, and plenty of other metrics. For example, a ball deflected by a defensive player over the end line gives the opposition a corner kick — a goal-scoring opportunity.

In theory, corners are good, and getting more of them than your opponent would seemingly indicate a successful strategy. Except that corners are more helpful to some teams than others. Teams with attackers who are skilled at redirecting centering passes work to create them, but teams with finishers who have the talent to elude defenders often prefer to take their chances in open play. Or consider time of possession. Teams rarely score without the ball, so having it more than the opponent sounds desirable.

In none of those games did it come close to controlling the ball even half the time. Soccer seemed impossible to quantify. Much of the game involves probing and assessing, moving the ball from player to player while waiting for an opening.

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And then the only goal might come from a winger who has done little else — after, say, a faulty clearance by a team that otherwise has been entirely dominant. Arsenal later bought a statistical analysis company, StatDNA. A few years ago, the OptaPro analytics conference emerged in London as a way for the tiny band of soccer quants to present papers to one another.

Still, all those charts with arrows and heat maps revealing where most of the action takes place seemed to have little effect on the game.