Monday, November 07, 2011
My wife recently issued me a challenge – she asked ‘what are your favorite 5 or 10 books’. On the surface it doesn’t sound like much of a challenge, but she knows me well enough to know that for me it was quite a challenge.
I’m terrible with lists of this sort – my mind simply doesn’t work in terms of favorites. I immediately said I needed qualifiers for a list like that – her response: ‘I knew you’d say that’. I needed to know what she was after – most entertaining books, books that ‘moved’ me the most, that lingered the longest, etc. – because a list of each of those qualifications could be very different. What about series? I may like a series enough to want to include it on the list, but that could be several books long and full of caveats.
So, I pestered her some more – basically she wanted to know what books I enjoyed the most so she could read them and appreciate more about what I like and get to know me better. After 10 years of marriage, I found this very touching – we’ve always shared books, but it’s generally more like ‘I think you’ll really like this book’. This time it’s all about the books I like.
I also got her to cut out series – she doesn’t have much free time, so she just wants books that can stand alone. Awesome, that cut things down considerably.
So, where did I go from there? It was tough and I thought about it quite a lot. But honestly, once I got into it the list began forming rather easily. Now, it’s a list with lots of variety. And some of these are books that I haven’t read in many years, so if I were to read them today I’m unsure if I’d truly place them on the list. Also, some of the books that I really enjoy are because of the ways they may subvert or build from ideas in hundreds of other books that I’ve read – my wife is not as well read in the SFF world to ‘get it’. However, I decided it didn’t matter and just went with my gut. She will probably learn a lot about me – some of it will bewilder her, some of it will amuse her, some of it will be expected, other parts less so. And now you get to too, if you so choose.
I ended up choosing 8 books. Another day may have been more or less and other books may have made the list with some of these being left off. But here is the list at the moment (in no particular order, so I’ll go alphabetical).
I thought about giving reasons, but I’m going to keep them to me for now. I’ve linked reviews where available , so you can get an idea (note, some of these reviews are quite old and I would hope that I've improved a bit in my reviewing skills since then). Obviously it’s a very eclectic list – some are probably expected, others are probably not books your familiar with. I’ve ‘enjoyed’ each in some way, though in very different ways. But I’m sure I could find common threads in each if I were so inclined. Anyway, there you have it…as close to an absolute best of list that you’ll ever see from me. Enjoy!