Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on My Fall Reading List

Each week, the good folks at The Broke and the Bookish host a meme post they call Top Ten Tuesday. They provide topics well in advance and even have a way to share your links with other Top Ten Tuesday bloggers. I love these posts, and I haven’t written anything substantial here in awhile, so this seems a good week to jump back into the TTT game. Enjoy!

1. The Benevolence Archives vol. 1 by Luther M. Siler

This is a collection of novella-length science fiction stories that I intended to read this summer. The author is the delightfully demented genius behind the blog Infinite Free Time, and everyone I’ve talked to who’s read this book so far has thoroughly enjoyed it, so it’s at the top of my list.

2. Storm Front by Jim Butcherdresden wallpaper

The first novel in the Dresden Files series. While I need to commit to another fantasy series even less than I need to try and follow one more t.v. series, the premise intrigues me. This one’s been on my tbr list for awhile, and I’m thinking I might actually pick it up this fall.

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I feel as though this one is a matter of cultural literacy at this point. I’m tired of reading Hunger Games posts and having to say “um well, since I haven’t read it I hesitate to say too much about it but . . .”

4. Lamb by Christopher Moore

Diana loaned this one to me over the summer, and I’ve not gotten around to it yet.

5. The Collector by John Fowles

I’ve been wanting to read this one for years, but I always forget about it when I go for library books. I saw a friend of mine reading it for a course a couple of weeks ago and made a mental note to put it on the list.

6. Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore, Ill. By Brian Bolland

the-killing-joke-deluxe-front-cover1This is the most influential Batman story I’ve never read. Judging from the conversations I had over the summer on some of Jeremy’s Batman threads and at CompGeeks, I really need to get on this one. Fortunately, Jeremy loaned me a copy yesterday, and it’s a quick read.

7. One of our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde

I binged on Fforde’s Thursday Next series a couple of summers ago, and this is where I left off. I’m hoping to get caught up on the series this fall.

8. Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves

I discovered this one by googling a list of Gaiman’s books and browsing the titles I’ve not read until I found the one I like most.

9. The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King

To my knowledge, this is the only piece of King’s Dark Tower lore I haven’t read. I wasn’t even aware of its existence until yesterday, and the blurb is quite intriguing.

10. To the Finland Station: A Study in the Writing and Acting of History by Edmund Wilson

Since no reading list of mine can be complete without at least one serious piece of nonfiction, and I’ve been putting this one off for 20 years.

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Will’s Summer Reading Recommendations

by William Hohmeister

Friend and fellow contributor Jeremy wrote a summer reading list and I decided to join in. It took me a while to make it, partly because as soon as I try to remember the name of something I like – books, movies, friends – I forget it, but mostly because I spent a lot of time reminiscing about the Pizza Hut summer reading program “Book It!”*

Here is my list of recommendations and books I want to read.

Oddball

Have read:
Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, by Box Brown (Link 1). It’s a graphic novel autobiography of Andre Roussimoff, better known as Andre the Giant, or Fezzik, if you like The Princess Fezzik!Bride. On the set of The Princess Bride, Andre supposedly racked up a $40,000 bar tab; that story sets the tone for the (often apocryphal) nature of the stories in the book. Andre is as much legend as real person, but the book does an excellent job of showing all sides – the charismatic wrestler, the incredible giant who seemed beyond belief (especially to me as a kid), and the person who suffered from acromegaly, which turned him into an old man at 40 and then killed him.

Want to read:
The Power of Myth. It’s a series of conversations about mythology with Joseph Campbell at Skywalker Ranch. Essentially everything I like in one place. I have it, but have yet to crack it open (I am a distractible reader).

Stand Alone

Have read:
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson (Link 3). It’s a mostly-true memoir by the Bloggess (Link 4). It’s funny, sad, revealing, and awesome. It also has a picture of a taxidermy mouse wearing a black and red cape and holding a tiny skull on the cover.

Want to read:
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman. There’s a joke that goes, as soon as you write a paranormal/strange/fantasy story, you’ll find out Neil Gaiman already wrote it. He has written a lot, about some strange, great stuff, and I have never been disappointed by his books.

Series

Have read:
First, I’d like to back Jeremy’s recommendation and say that The Dresden Files is a great book series.

dresden wallpaper

I started with Grave Peril (Link 5) (the third in the series) and have been reading them out of order ever since. When Skin Game finally (finally!) comes out, I intend to pick it up immediately. Also, fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, James Marsters (Spike) narrates the audiobooks.

Want to read:

This is sort of a cheat, because I have read several of the books in the Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald (Link 6), but not nearly as many as I want. No bookstore seems to have them.travismcgee

I learned about MacDonald through Stephen King. King described reading MacDonald’s books while lazing in college, and I thought that sounded pretty good. McGee is part mercenary and part knight-errant, a beach bum with a sense of honor and a moral code. The books do not have an overarching plot; the common tie is the titular character, who can be equally brutal, philosophic, womanizing, and touching. Any book in this series will give you a good read.

Graphic Novel

Have read:
Preacher, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (Link 7). Graphic novel is a fancy word for comic book, but throw your fancy words and uppity literary notions aside. Preacher is not safe for work – probably even to look up on Wikipedia. The story’s about Jesse Custer, Tulip, and Cassidy looking for God – capital G, because he’s a character too. They want to have harsh words with him. The concept is interesting and the story is always compelling, but the heart of the books is the relationships between Jesse, former preacher, Tulip, gunslinger and failed assassin, and Cassidy, vampire. It has plenty of gore, nudity, and profanity, but it also has a guy called Arseface.

Want to read:
Thor, by J. Michael Straczynski (Link 8). I started this years ago, but never finished. I don’t understand comics continuity – too many titles, too many mega-events – but Straczynski got me interested in Thor, and after his run on Spiderman I’ve wanted to pick up more of his stories.

Short Story

Have read:
Instead of a single short story, I recommend signing up for Daily Science-Fiction’s newsletter/daily story. They email you a flash fiction story every day, and the quality is generally high. My most recent favorite involved a velociraptor made up of nanobots taking care of a child during the end of the world.

Want to read:
The End is Nigh edited by John Adams and Hugh Howey. It’s a collection of various authors, with the premise of a setting just before the end of the world – whatever form of apocalypse each writer chose. The End is Now and The End Has Come are set to come out in September, 2014 and March, 2015, respectively.

Blog

Therefore I Geek. (Link 11) They write objective and opinion articles about all things geeky and nerdy. If you want an interesting place to start, try this article on magic (Link 12).

*All nostalgia comes with a grain of salt. I may remember things wrong or  maybe just made something up – I had to ask a friend what the program Pizza Hut ran was called. Everything I write, however, is as true as I remember it.

I was a proud member of Book It as a kid, and so were most of my friends; in fact, it was one of the few things that gave me a chance to talk about books with my friends. Not that they were dumb or hated reading, but I was the reader, generally, of whatever group I was in. I was the child happier to sit in shade at the park with The Chronicles of Narnia than to play baseball.

Harry Dresden image by zmajtolovaj/deviantart

Summer Reading Recommendations

by Jeremy DeFatta

Good day, everyone! Below are a few of my recommendations for summer reading categorized by genre. I hope you enjoy them. I’ll note which ones I haven’t yet read myself. I’d like to get a discussion going with other first-time readers on a few of these books. This is a combination list of things I’d like to see more people read and things I plan to read myself this summer. Let’s dive in.

Lit Fic

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon.

This Pultizer Prize-winning novel recounts the fictional lives of Jewish comic book creators (writers and artists, men and women) trying to make it in 1930s New York—the beginning of the Golden Age of comics. I imagine this will appeal to a large number of comics fans.

Fantasy

The Black Company by Glen Cook

This is the first book in what has become one of my favorite fantasy series. It’s been a bit overshadowed in the years since its publication back in the 80s, but the lessons it Black company coverhas to teach fantasy fans still ring true. You can have a great story without kings, lords/ladies, and knights. The Black Company itself is a mercenary group made up of common soldiers and sorcerers just trying to make it in a world where they realize they are the pawns of greater, darker powers. What do they do with this knowledge? Check out the book and see. It’s well worth your time, especially if you’re looking for something different in your fantasy reading.

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