book review, Books, charlotte bronte, CS Lewis, david eddings, dennis prager, dragonlance, dune, frank herbert, god in the dock, happiness is a serious problem, irish history, jane eyre, king arthur, library, lord of the rings, margaret weis, mark eddy smith, mark twain, reader, reading, recommendations, the belgariad, the hobbit, this is your brain on music, Tolkien, tracy hickman, writers, writing
With my Kindle addiction growing–the text to speech has turned me into a virtual bookworm–I thought it might be a good idea to blog my top ten book list. This list is based on the amount of times I have read the books – therefore, the top book is the book I’ve read the most times.
- Tolkien’s Ordinary Virtues – Mark Eddy Smith – I read this very short book at least once a month. I am not really a Tolkien fan, though his name is in my top ten list twice, but I love the way Mark tells the reader about what he’s taken from the Lord of the Rings. It makes watching the movie (because I really don’t like reading the books) a deeper experience. It also points out real-life values that might be overlooked.
- Dune – Frank Herbert – I read this book about once a year, sometimes twice a year. It is full of nuggets of wisdom in simple, repeated phrases: Fear is the mindkiller. It is deep, symbolically rich and vividly written. You can’t read it without feeling hot, dry and having a new respect for water (and the desert).
- God in the Dock – CS Lewis – this is a collection of writings and essays by the famous “Jack” who wrote Chronicles of Narnia. These are replies to questions asked by normal, everyday people, professors, critics and reporters. They offer fascinating insight to Jack and his beliefs and some validation to mainstream Christians as well as fodder for discussions between believers and non believers.
- The Belgariad – David Eddings – This is a five book series about a boy named Garion. It is filled with a history and background as rich as LOTR and with a full ensemble of characters. I am partial to books with ensembles. I love being able to pick favorites from among various players in the story. Each one of the characters in this book has his/her own rich history that comes out beautifully in this fantasy/sorcery/magical tale.
- The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien – This is the only book I like by Tolkien, but I love it for the D&D inspiration it truly is. It is a simple adventure, the kind you build all good campaigns (and obviously fantasy worlds) around. The language is easy to understand, the history is uncomplicated (unlike LOTR) and the relationships are realistic. It is a story that can be enjoyed by the entire family, put away for a bit, then brought out again without anyone being tired of it.
- Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte – Who doesn’t love a homely, big brown eyed girl and the man who obviously falls for her? Bronte perfected the art of Romance Novel Plot Complications in this book. It’s not as subtle or cliche as Pride and Prejudice, but it’s a lot more interesting.
- How the Irish Saved Civilization – Thomas Cahill – It’s just not my booklist if there isn’t a book on the Irish. I love reading about the “Irish Renaissance” and how it preserved literature. I love how important stories are, religious or not, to the Irish. They would have loved and preserved Scheherazade’s tales. This book is also a short one, and easy to read. I recommend the audiobook with Liam Neeson as the narrator. How can Irish History get better than that?
- A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court – Mark Twain – This is my favorite Twain book, and very underestimated. It’s steam punk before steampunk was even dreamed up. Knights on Motorcycles? I have been reading this book since my Abuelo first turned me onto it when I found the Bing Crosby movie of the same name between the Bob Hope movies. Still under-appreciated in favor of his more Southern Centric books, ACYIKAC mixes fantasy, with time travel and mythology, proving yet again that Twain was ahead of his time. Check it out, if you haven’t.
- Dragonlance Chronicles – Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman – We used to call it “Dragonlance” books. That was before the spin off of a zillion books. It was before D&D was mainstream and the fantasy section was still a tiny corner in the bookstore (when there were bookstores). This is another book with ensemble casts (which befits a D&D campaign) with a great story, great variety of characters, and a rich world.
- This Is Your Brain On Music – Daniel J. Levitin – This book is a fascinating read of how we are affected by music and the very real differences in human pathology and psychology (from the rest of the animal world) that music brings to us. Daniel may be a professor, but he’s also a musician. Maybe it’s fair to say he is a musician first, and what that brings to the discussion and his discoveries about music and its effects on our brains makes this book so much more interesting than any medical journal or textbook.
Lolcat Bible – Haven’t you ever wanted to read Genesis in LOLCAT? It’s really much better than the King James Version.
Happiness is a Serious Problem – Dennis Prager – This is a short book with a philosophical suggestion: Be happy. If not for yourself, then for all the people around you. If you can’t manage to be happy as oft’ as you should, this is the book for you. An easy, quick read.
Being a fantasy/scifi fan, this list will be heavy on those genres. It is what brought me into reading, and it has a big place in my favorites list. I wouldn’t mind your recommendations in reply below.