I don’t do this often (enough?) but this tweet from Wonderella is so pitch perfect on the topic of the Oxford Dictionary and Miley Cyrus, that I can’t help myself:
So, when I restarted this blog, a while back, I posted an entry about who I was, and for that entry I came up with a list of my favorite books. Only two of them made it into the entry, and I just came across the full list while cleaning off my desk. So here, for the edification of the Internets, is a list of my favorite books.
- Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Still a delightful book, still puts me in stitches, still compels me to read it out loud to anyone who doesn’t get away fast enough.
- Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. Bittersweet, but compellingly lovely. It’s like the best you could hope for out of a real life laced with tragedy and beauty.
- Watership Down by Richard Adams. Very human rabbits struggling with life and death decisions. It is one of very few books I re-read every so often.
- Juno & Juliet by Julian Gough. I fell in love with these girls, I think.
- The Double Helix by James Watson. Sure, Watson is an ass, and Rosalind got screwed, it’s true, but this account of science being done fascinated me when I was a teenager, and started me down the wrong road to a life in science (a mistake that was corrected by my advisor in college).
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I reviewed this book for my high school AP English class (the year’s theme was “Hell”) and loved it. I understand it might be his most accessible work, but there’s no shame in that, right? Don’t forget the Cliffs Notes.
- A Zoo in My Luggage by Gerald Durrell. This book, and several of the other books Durrell wrote about his life as a naturalist, were pivotal in my interest in animals. You note my comment about a career in science above, well these books are what made me focus on animal behavior as that scientific pursuit. Alas. But still delightful books.
- City of Baraboo by Barry Longyear. Ostensibly a sci-fi book about a circus in space, this is a delightful, well-researched book about how a circus operates, full of nostalgia and wonder. The format is a little weird, kind of like a bunch of short stories, and I gather there are two more books in the “series,” but this is the only one I have read.
- Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. This is the source materiel for all the stories you know better, like T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, and Mary Stewart’s books. It can be a bit plodding, but the stories are all there, including my favorite, the story of Arthur’s death and the return of Excalibur to the lake. You’ll want Volume 2, as well.
- Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. You’ll have heard of the Disney movie, The Black Cauldron, but these books are so much more. Based in Welsh mythology (hence the similarities to Tolkien), these are pre-teen, or teen fantasy novels about a boy’s rise on the strength of prophecy to save the world. These were the first (and still only) books that could reliably make me cry. Five books, all well worth it.