Monday, October 10, 2011

Five Books I Couldn't Live Without

My geekness has been reduced to reading and watching movies as of late. As I mentioned in a previous post, gaming just isn't in the cards for me right now. So my perusal of all things geek has been limited this summer, mostly to reading.

Just for fun, I thought "what five books in my collection could I absolutely not live without?" This was not an easy selection to come to. I love books. The selections I made are not necessarily my all-time favorite reads, but they are books that I love to read, and over the years have returned to continually.

The list:

5. The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, edited by S.T. Joshi

Here is a book that I continually enjoy reading. Some Lovecraft enthusiasts are not in agreement with Mr. Joshi's criticism, but I always find his studies enjoyable and approachable. He can be opinionated, and I don't always agree with his opinions, but still, hands down, this is my favorite way to enjoy and study the works of H.P. Lovecraft. I only wish that one day I will acquire the book More Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, also edited by S.T. Joshi.

4. J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings, Illustrated by Alan Lee

In my opinion, the best way to read tLotR is a marathon session of all three volumes together, as one massive book. If you're going to do that, then again in my opinion, nothing sets the tone better then the gorgeous water colors and pencils of Mr. Alan Lee. This is a massive book that I have read twice (putting my times of reading tLotR at three - not high enough to put me in the ranks of "serious Tolkien fans". It does not fit easily in a back pack, and thus might not be the best book to take to the beach, but is awesome just to behold.

3. The Annotated Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Douglas A. Anderson

Tolkien makes my list twice. The Hobbit was my first introduction to his writing, and it is a book I have read more times then I can count. I enjoy it more than The Lord of the Rings, and this is my favorite edition of the work to read.

Douglas A. Anderson is a good editor. His notes are intriguing, and this is actually the book that put me on the path of discovering for myself the roots of fantasy. If the roots of fantasy is a subject you enjoy then I can not recommend this book more.

2. The Essential Ellison, a 35 - Year Retrospective

Harlan Ellison to me is one of the greats. His short stories hit the range of emotions for me from tantalizing to "I think I've been punched in the stomach and might be sick" with everything else in between. He has an amazing mind that I admire.

Ellison has challenged me, angered me and sickened me. While this book doesn't have all of his greatest stories, it has enough to serve as an introduction to him and the world of speculative fiction. I've read it cover to cover, and four or five times a year, I pull it off the shelf, turn to a random selection and read. Great stuff from stories to essays.

1. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card

Absolutely, hands down, if I were told I could have only one book to last me the rest of my life, it would be Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. I am not putting forward that it is the greatest book ever written, but for me, it is the book that fired my imagination and sent me spiraling into the world of science fiction. I was a science fiction fan before reading this, but this is the one book that I recommend to anyone who even remotely likes sci-fi. If they hate sci-fi, I even encourage them to read it, in hopes that it will change their minds. I've bought many copies of this over the years, as I tend to hand it off as a gift to people I've encountered that have not read it, but I always replace it with a copy from one of my favorite used book stores.

It is action packed, thought provoking and at times gut-wrenching. Yes, I love me some Ender's Game.

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