Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Books!!! Part 2Fiction this week, as I had promised. :)

A) Books I've read and recommend:
1. Edward Eager's "magic" series - e.g. Half Magic, Magic by the Lake, and The Well-Wishers. These are children's books, but even after all these years, I still love them. And the nice thing is, the boys have come to love these books too.
2. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Based on his own time spent at the Gulag, this book, while not exciting, touched me deeply with his observations on human behavior in sub-human conditions.
3. Dawn by Octavia Butler. Chilling, page-turning, thought-provoking...the late Ms. Butler was an amazing writer (she had won one of those genius awards). The storyline is about aliens helping humans to salvage their post-apocalyptic world. My friend, Carol, recommended this excellent book to me; Carol has wonderful recommendations. She was the one who told me about The Primal Teen (in my last TT list).
4. The Princess Bride by William Goldman. All the hilarious subtleties that didn't make it into the movie (because Hollywood rarely deals with subtleties) are in this fabulous book.
5. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. While I don't agree with Crichton's politics necessarily, this is a fun adventure thriller with just enough science to keep me happy. Much more grim and better than the movie, which was not bad but was made Hollywood-fluffy.
6. Door Into Summer by Robert Heinlein. Time travel, cryogenics, a cute cat...what more can one want?
7. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. Not as famous as his Day of the Triffids, but this was an excellent social commentary about superstition and triumph of hope in a post-nuclear war world.
8. Every single robot story and short story Isaac Asimov wrote. I have the 3 Laws of Robotics memorized.
9. Mary Poppins books (Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Comes Back, Mary Poppins Opens the Door, and Mary Poppins in the Park) by P.L. Travers. Again, the book is infinitely superior to the movie (I honestly don't have anything against Hollywood, I just prefer original movies to those made from books). Mary Poppins is not a pretty young thing like Julie Andrews was. MP is a conceited, funny-looking, not terribly loveable character who happens to be a super fun read because of her oddities. Despite Travers' zenophobia, or perhaps because of it, every story is highly memorable with surrealistic characters.
10. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. The first is the best, but the whole series is pretty fun. Very droll.
11. Cricket In Times Square by George Selden. Illustrated by Garth Williams! I'm generally not too big on anthropomorphic stories, but this series is superbly written, and I'm a big fan of Garth Williams' art.

[As you guys can probably tell, I've read mostly children's books and sci-fi.]

B) Books that I haven't read, but are recommended by others:
12. Happenstance by Carol Shields. Thanks, Diane!

C) Books that I'm reading currently:
13. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I started this a few years ago, and haven't gotten past the second chapter. Like I said before, I don't read a whole lot of fiction these days.

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"To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act." ~ Anatole France (1844 - 1924)