Wednesday, September 28, 2011

These Books are my Friends

Book Friends


notagain said...

I have that kind of thing with authors Terry Pratchett, Ron Goulart and Erle Stanley Gardner, but also with "Lost Horizon" and an obscure book "Finite and Infinite Games" by James Carse.
word verif: "props"

Anonymous said...

I'm a reader and I definitely have books that are repeat friends. Several of Cather's books in fiction as well as Eudora Welty and Sarah Orne Jewett. Really, though, I'm a nonfiction fan and a fan of biographies. As a history minor in college it was American political history of the first half of the twentieth century. Have you ever gotten a book, enjoyed it and gotten rid of it and then find you're buying it back somewhere? Boy, have I done that! Even though I have a 4-bedroom home I've made the deal with myself that book in, book out. It's the only way to keep it under control. Richard K/Texas

Dwayne F. said...

The Lord of the Rings is a good friend to me as well. I've read the series front to back at least four times. There are several David Brin books I've read multiple times. William Gibson and Douglas Coupland are also on my multiple read list.

One of my favorite science fiction books is The Boat of a Million Years by Poul Anderson.

In the guilty pleasures category, I've read Jurassic Park more than once. It's good for hard travel weeks when I am too brain dead to absorb anything new.

Business travel is full of contradictions. Transit time provides longer reading stretches than I normally get at home, but it's hard and sometimes comforting things are called for. I usually take a new book (paper or Nook) and an old friend just in case. Believe it or not, Bram Stoker's Dracula is on my comforting book short list.

Nice post. Talking books is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

LOTR of course. Certainly Atlas Shrugged. Also anything by Clive Cussler (pure, over the top adventure), Robert Heinlein, the essays of E.B. White, Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck, the books of Eric Sloane dealing with early American history and folk wisdom, and The Lensman series by E. E. Smith.

There are a number of authors I dip into frequently: Jules Verne, Rex Stout, Dickens, Twain, Rider-Haggard.

In a different vein, there are a few I like to read aloud: Shakespeare's Sonnets, poetry of Edgar A. Poe, parts of Cyrano de Bergerac.

Good blog topic!

Jeff The Bear

Mike Speegle said...

Gosh, that's a toughie.

I know it's absolutely a cliche, but the Bible totally ranks first. Besides the spiritual comfrot it brings, it's chock-full of hard -core action, evil despots, a people in bondage, genocide, all that epic stuff. The greatest story ever told indeed.

More mundane than that, I find myself re-reading Snow Crash and The Raw Shark Texts over and over again, although I can't exactly explain why.

wordrebel said...

I'm sort of old school (at 31, that seems strange to type)... Catcher In The Rye is still my favorite - I've even taken to collecting copies of those who have read it, "loved" the book (read: beat up) and want to part with them.

High Fidelity hit me at the right time.
When The Nines Roll Over (short stories my David Benioff)
The Miles Davis autobiography is fantastic!

I guess I should stop now! ;u)

Justin said...

I haven't really re-read many books, even the ones I've loved. Maybe someday I will. I still have not read the Lord of the Rings trilogy yet (shame) but Fellowship is on my holds lis at the library. My favorite C.S. Lewis book is the Screwtape Letters. Atlas Shrugged is one of the most memorable books I've ever read. I also liked Crime and Punishment a great deal.

mpclemens said...

I'm a LOTR fan, too. I inherited a battered paperback copy of The Hobbit from my day, and read the ink right off the pages, then saved up and bought the trilogy in paperback from the mall's Waldenbooks -- a 45 minute ride to the nearest bookstore, but worth every minute of it, even if I had trouble slogging through the names-and-places that pepper the stories so liberally. Decades later, those copies were losing their covers and yellowing, and so I splurged and treated myself to a boxed hardbound set with Tolkien's original drawings reproduced inside and fold-out maps in the covers. I'm due to re-read the series again.

The other really favorite-favorite book is a generic collection of H.G. Wells stories, hardbound in green pleather with gilt edges on the pages. I took that one on vacation and read it by the poolside, which is why the bottom edges of the pages are water-crinkled, and why I walked around with a gold band across my belly for a week. I was so attached to it that my father, who was dabbling in stained-glass projects, made me a small representation of the book: green glass for the cover and spine, yellow glass for the pages. I've kept that, and it's hanging up in my daughter's room now. She's inherited the book-junkie nature of her parents.

rino breebaart said...

Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace. It's my beacon and hope and uproarious humour maxed out to the max.

That said, I used to be a massive LOTR devotee when I was younger. Just finishing the book when I was about 11 or 12 was a major moment. And then re-reading it about 3 times in a row - that was an important experience in learning to read and appreciate good writing. And inner worlds.

Now when I read snippets it just makes me sad (as well as surprised at how much is still locked in my memory). Sad because of the way it depicts lost worlds and departing cultures. It's infused with a really deep melancholy and loss methinks.

I'd say there's been some key books in my life, or book milestones or experiences. From LOTR, to Henry Miller, Hesse, Dostoyevsky and DHLawrence and more recently James Ellroy - they're the works that really immersed me and made me take notice.


Little Flower Petals said...

Great lists, everyone! I can see I'm going to want to refer back to this post: lots of books I recognize but haven't read (Atlas Shrugged, for example, and Catcher in the Rye), lots of authors that are new to me, lots of books I hadn't thought about in awhile that I now want to reread.

I agree with Dwayne that it's nice to have some easy-to-read fallbacks around. For me, those would probably be the Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout that Jeff mentioned--they're somewhat formulaic, maybe, but they make me laugh, and I love the characters! I'll probably be rereading some over October, since my main NaNoWriMo character is a private investigator...albeit in a very different setting. Dracula, on the other hand...I finally read it for the first time this year and was so creeped out I doubt I'll read it again. I'm an utter sissy when it comes to horror.

I can identify with the having too many books for a space! Part of my problem is that I've inherited my Dad's tendency to pick up copies of books I enjoy in order to have them on hand to foist on unsuspecting relatives. Fairly recently I discovered David McCullough and have been working my way through his books; after reading John Adams I grabbed every used copy that came though the local thrift store. I'm down to one copy again, so it worked out... I also constantly forget what I do and don't have at home and buy books I already have if I see them cheap. If I was good, I'd keep some sort of spreadsheet on my phone, I guess. That's an advantage to the e-readers: space concerns are...not a concern, and you can easily check what you do and don't have.

Winston said...

Gene Wolfe is the only author I've ever gone back to and re-read consistently. His stuff is so rich, lavish, and layered that you don't notice how challenging it is. But when you can go back for the re-read you discover an entirely different story. Not just missed clues, but whole different interpretations of the character and plot. And somehow it doesn't invalidate the wonderful experience you had the first time through.

In fact, Wolfe and Murakami were the only authors whose books survived my recent "read it? get rid of it!" book purge.

Little Flower Petals said...

Hm...I'd not heard of Gene Wolfe before, but he sounds very interesting! Is there a particular book you'd recommend as a starting point?

Winston said...

Peace is perhaps one of his most challenging--and rewarding--works. On the fantasy side, The Shadow of the Torturer is a masterwork, and the beginning of a four volume fantasy cycle that just actually might be science fiction. This is where I had my introduction to Wolfe, and it's still my personal favorite. He's written volumes of short stories as well; Strange Travelers or Stories from the old Hotel might be a good place to get a taste. I haven't gotten into his newer stuff, Wizard and Knight, where I think he's begun to submit to old-author-itis in a way where the stuff he did so well before starts to read like a parody of itself, but I may give them another try soon. It could be that, as a reader, I am simply not up to the task.

I hope you enjoy, and let me know how you like the experience!

Little Flower Petals said...

Thank you for the rundown! I think I'll likely start with The Shadow of the Torturer. Fantasy/sci-fi is the realm I've been spending the most time in the last few months.

I'm starting to think I'm going to wonder how it was I went so long without hearing about him and reading his books! Sounds like a good bet for a new favorite author.

Jason said...

Whenever you want to do an internet book club reading of Ulysses by Joyce, let me know. It will change your life by making you love Joyce or hating Modernism. Either way, it will have an effect.