OK, so as some-to-many of you know, I’ve done a couple of book reviews for the kids over at 1001 Books To Read Before You Die, and I’ve a couple more due to them as well (I swear Ms. Oh Waily, I’m working on one right NOW – promise!!!!).
When I first started to write my latest review, it dawned on me – who in the hell has ever read enough books to know which 1,001 should be on your “must read” list, before you expire? And how many more books have had to have been read overall, to whittle down the list to a paltry 1,001? Shortly thereafter it dawned on me further that of the 1,001, only five would ever make it to my list, if they made it all. And then it dawned on me thirdly, what in the hell, exactly, is on my list?
After all that dawning, my brain started to ache. So I took a little break before I jumped out of bed, grabbed a piece of paper, and scribbled down what I thought would be my top ten. Several days later, I was finally able to translate just what in the hell I had written, and here they are, as follows:
1 – “Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy,” by Douglas Adams
Obvious choice. AND, since it’s my list, I’m talking about the single-book version containing the entire five-book trilogy. Above every other writer, Adam’s is the man who inspired me to first beat the crap out of my keyboard, in the attempt of making words pretty. Reading him is like going on a mental roller coaster. If you ever dropped me off on an island, all I would need to survive would be this book. And sunscreen. And a pocketknife, I suppose. Oh, and definitely a towel. Why a towel, you ask? Read this book, and you’ll find out.
2 – “Inferno,” by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
This one has a special place in my heart, as it was originally my dad’s book. Along with “Lucifer’s Hammer,” this was one of the first “adult novels” I remember reading as a kid. And as it was until just recently out of print, about a year before his passing, dad gave me his copy. As “hard” science fiction writers, these two do an awesome job of placing their main character right into the bowels of hell. Which, as it turns out, actually is exactly as Dante described it. A fun read, full of adventure, demons, and a main character who – as a result of his overly staunch atheism – refuses to believe he is where he is.
3 – “The Great Divorce,” by CS Lewis
OK, to be clear, Lewis could have a “Top 10” list all to himself, but for the purpose of this task, I chose this story to be his representative. And yes, I chose it over the “Screwtape Letters.” It’s very similar to “Inferno,” in that a man goes to hell, but this one knows it; and just for a spell. The majority of this story however, doesn’t take place in hell or heaven, but rather, in That Place that lies in between. And That Place in between is where residents from both lands meet. Those from hell, in the hopes of getting into heaven – and those from heaven, hoping to help the damned to achieve just that. There’s a wealth of different personalities, and if you pay close attention, you can find a little bit of yourself in almost each and every character. Well, I did at any rate.
4 – “The Gargoyle,” by Andrew Davidson
I cannot express how real this book was to me. It honestly left me winded. A love story like none I ever read before, about a former porn star and a woman who is insane – or not. I’m going to move on to the next entry now, but only because I’m sitting here still, dumbfounded, as to what words I can use to describe what an achingly terrifying, sensual, hopefully hopeless and delightful read this was.
5 – “The Prophet,” by Khalil Gibran
I’m sure that this one is on most everyone’s list, and as well it should be. For some reason, I feel that Mr. Gibran would be delighted as well, to find it sitting in the exact middle of my top ten. There are two books in existence that serve as my guiding light in the realm of parenting. This is the second. If you read it only on the surface, you could be done with this book by day’s end. If you read deeper however, this one will take you at least a month to drain all the wisdom from it. Well balanced, and true, this book should be required reading in our schools. I feel as if our future would be much brighter, if it were.
OK, so seeing as I’m up to somewhere around word 761 already, I suppose that I should save numbers six through ten for another post. I know I don’t usually do this sort of thing, so I apologize if I bored you. But hopefully within this list, you may be able to find a new author, style or tale that you can enjoy. Please let me know if you do! And if you don’t, then at least you get to start your week of with a little Limahl…