This week I got ‘tagged’ on a ’10 Books That Stayed With You’ post, and wanted to quickly
“List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes, and don’t think too hard. They do not have to be the ‘right’ books or great words of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way.”
OK, before I start I admit to peeling four of the books from my ‘Ten Days You’ list of ‘Four Books’ … I mean, why not, it is only three months old, right? And then I found I had been tagged way back in the early days of the blog, and wrote about it here. Interesting that there are similarities and differences in the list.
So here we go!
1. ‘Cat’s Cradle’ by Kurt Vonnegut – this book I would call my all-time favorite. Like most Vonnegut works it is a fairy easy and quick read – deceptively so. I have read this book 20 or more times since around 1980, and I don’t think I have read it the same way twice: it is funny, bitter, sardonic, twisted, anti-government, anti-religion, pro-spirituality, pro-human, both pro- and anti-science, and so more. I cannot recommend it enough.
2. ‘Foundation Trilogy’ by Isaac Asimov – while like so many sci-fi series there is a ton that this trilogy gets wrong, so much that has been changed as technology advances … the human side of the stories and the thrilling chase and mystery aspects are all consistent with what could really happen. It is interesting to juxtapose some of the events of these books with some anti-science movements in our own country today.
3. ‘100 Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Getting through this book the first time early in high school is something I still remember (not assigned, just pleasure reading my sophomore English teacher thought I would like) – the sweeping story of a town as it rises and falls, told through the history of a single family, if funny and sad and touching and engaging throughout. It really is an epic piece of modern literature, and I always love stepping back into that world.
4. ‘Star Wars Thrawn Trilogy’ by Timothy Zahn – It was either this or the ‘Jedi Academy’ trilogy by Kevin Anderson, but this is better written, has a better villain and of course introduces Mara Jade. Starting a few years after ‘Return of the Jedi’, it pits an Imperial Grand Admiral against the fledgling New Republic. Even without the Star Wars mythos these are enjoyable books.
5. ‘Night Watch’ by Sergei Lukyanenko – these books by Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko captures great character studies and tales of the human spirit in the context of magic and mystery, all set in post Cold War Moscow. The series has ups and downs, but having just re-read the first couple I was reminded of how well it mixes intriguing storytelling and quality writing.
6. ‘The Plague’ by Albert Camus – Danny is reading ‘The Stranger’ right now, another of my faves, but I love this one more! It is an amazing tale of the human spirit in the face of crushing despair, and a very hopeful and positive take on the essence of existential philosophy.
7. ‘Harry Potter’ series by JK Rowling – I have been flipping back through these recently, re-reading the series for the fourth or fifth time overall. And aside from the epilogue of the final book (that I always hated that) the series has held up well. Sure the books starting with Goblet of Fire could have used tighter editing, but overall they are a great series.
8. ‘Guerrillas’ by V. S. Naipaul – Naipaul was recommended to me by my 11th grade English teacher, Mr. McLellan who called him ‘the best living writer’. This book is not a happy, fun or easy read – yet it is incredibly compelling.
9. ‘Winesburg, Ohio’ by Sherwood Anderson – Anderson (no relation) transports you to a small town just after the turn of the century. While there is a central character, the stories are told through the loneliness and despair that permeates the people of the town and the town itself.
10. ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury – although technically dated, the heart of this book is the character study of the interface of people and information and freedom. And it remains interesting because of that – I love looking at the stuff he got wrong about the future, and yet there are things that seemed wrong that are becoming more true with time (The Family, for example).
Tag, You’re It! Either post your list here, on Facebook, or your own blog!