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.

Advertisements

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I own the most books from.

Each week the good folks at The Broke and The Bookish host a meme post called Top Ten Tuesday. This week, we’re listing the top ten authors we own the most books from. Here are mine:

top-ten-tuesday

1. Stephen King tops the list because, when I was a senior in high school, someone I knew was cleaning out her library and sold me first edition hardbacks of most of his early work (Carrie through It) for $0.50 apiece. I’ve added to the collection since then. I also have the illustrated Plume Book Club editions of the first four volumes of the Dark Tower series. He’s the only author who rates two complete bookshelves in my very small apartment library.

2. J.R.R. Tolkien is second because I just have a lot of his work. I have two copies of LOTR: The groovy 1970s boxed set that was read to me as a child, and which no one is allowed to touch; and an indexed hardback version I use for reading. I also have The Silmarillion, The 2-volume Book of Lost Tales, Unfinished Tales, and The Tolkien Reader, a collection of his poems and essays.

3. Ernest Hemingway, surprisingly, is third. I have a ton of his novels. The Hemingway books I go back to are For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Moveable Feast, a series of vignettes about his life in Paris in the 20s. For Whom the Bell Tolls contains perhaps the greatest single chapter of fiction in all of 20th Century American literature, and I consider A Moveable Feast to be Hemingway’s finest work.

4. Neil Gaiman may actually be third. I didn’t really count, but I know some of these books are actually Diana’s, so I just put him in as #4. I have both of his short story collections, Coraline, electronic versions of the entire Sandman Series, both American Gods novels, and Stardust. I’ve read Neverwhere and The Ocean at the End of the Lane (which I recommend), but don’t own them at the moment.

5. Jasper Fforde makes the list because I fell in love with his Thursday Next series a couple of years ago and either bought or downloaded them all. I enjoy his brand of humor and his meta-fictional approach to these novels. They’re quick reads, and they are worth it.

6. Roger Zelazny‘s Chronicles of Amber and Second Chronicles of Amber are important reads if you want to understand the fantasy genre — especially the development of low fantasy. I have both in two hardbound editions, and it adds up to 9 or 10 novels, all told. I’m counting each novel separately, just to get him on the list.

7. Fritz Leiber is just as important as Zelazny, but in a different way. I have all his Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser novels in hardback, as well. If I ever find time to write more about books, I’ll certainly dive into them for some blog posts. They are extremely problematic, and ahead of their time. Popular fantasy would be entirely different if not for these books.

8. C.S. Lewis should probably rank higher. I have his Narnia series and several of his more overt tracts. I’ve read all of his fiction and most of his Christian apologetics. I ended up with copies of many of them, though I haven’t actually turned a page of Lewis’ work in more than a decade.

9. Flannery O’Connor is here because I am sure I have all her short stories and both her novels. She’s the best writer on the list, in my mind. She’d be #1 if her work didn’t fit into so few volumes. I consciously collected every word she ever published when I was in my late 20s.

10. Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman are the co-authors of the first few novels in the Dragonlance series.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read the first two Dragonlance Trilogies (Chronicles and Legends), despite the fact that they are some of the most poorly-edited published novels I’ve ever encountered. They’re just what you want in pulp fantasy. TSR turned the franchise into a money pump, and it really went downhill when they did, but Weiss and Hickman have a fantastic command of basic storytelling. The characters in the first six novels have real relationships, and when Dragonlance characters die, it actually makes you sad.

Honorable Mentions:

Continue reading

What do private detectives, samurai, and gunslingers have in common?

by William Hohmeister

I don’t need to tell you folks I love myths. But I want to explain something peculiar about myths that make me love them. Each myth has a whole set of historical, religious, and cultural assumptions behind it.

Those things create the myth, which represents the whole set better than a simple list could; it’s why Jesus spoke in parables, why Nietzsche wrote Thus Spake Zarathustra, and why C.S. Lewis replaced Jesus with a much more awesome lion. Myths create stories around the beliefs we already hold and communicate those beliefs to the next generation.

The lone wanderer myth has a strange history in the United States. In Japan he’s called the Samurai. In America he’s the cowboy, the gunslinger, and the private detective. Each character fulfills the mythic role, but in a different way. This leads to a strange series of homages/ripoffs between American and Japanese creators:

Red Harvest, by Dashiell Hammet is adapted into Yojimbo, by Akira Kurosawa.

Yojimbo, by Akira Kurosawa is adapted into A Fistful of Dollars, by Sergio Leone.

Continue reading