Culture Me and my life

Found a list of my favorite books

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.

By Danny

My name is Danny, and I grew up living overseas, but have settled in Kansas, where it turns out some of my family started, back when. I am helping to raise my own family, and hoping to be proud of what I've done when it's all over.