Friday, August 26, 2005

Favorite Books

I realized that a lot of this blog, and a lot of blogs out there are devoted to mocking various things, with varying degrees of cleverness. Which is all very well and fun, but I think that I ought to post something positive about literature, just to make sure that I really can and don't just indiscriminately rip everything about. It lends the mockery that I do indulge in a lot more validity. So I compiled an extremely non-exhaustive list of my favorite books and why I like them, hopefully giving a vague cross-section of different genres.
1) Killer Angels- became obsessed with the book in seventh grade, discovered it again several years later and was pleasantly surprised to see that my obsession had not been misplaced. Spent most of high-school nagging other girls to read it, without success. As with most books I like, the characterization is what wins me over- Shaara manages to actually create and flesh out historical figures, making them human and understandable. Also impressive, he is able to step into the mouths of several different people on opposing sides of a battle, making the Civil War human, tragic, and beautiful. (yes, darn it, I know I gush, I honestly don't know how to be positive without it)
2) Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy- Not all due to the characters here- the plot, the dialogue, and the premise are all so crazy that the book is simply fun to read. One problem- the life philosophy that rings throughout is fun to read, but as I did I thought how unbelievably depressing it would be to believe. Reading the intro about Adams, I discovered he did believe it, which made it a bit harder just to view it as another crazy side point. Still, it has crazy dialogue, fun writing that kind of randomly wanders into a point, and fun minor characters, all of which I am a pushover for. (Nothing gets me like fun, well-created minor characters, no matter what kind of writing) Btw- never ever see the movie. No one who isn't obsessed with the book would get it and anyone who is would loathe it for turning their Bible into some ridiculous love story (With Trillian!! What the heebeejeebees is that all about? Trillian!?!?!)
3) Little house on the Prairie Series- the writing style is so simple and so pure that it wins you over, really letting you into Laura's head. Although I have since learned that a lot of her facts are somewhat fudged, the air of the whole thing is of simple honesty that lets you imagine that life back then was uncomplicated, pure, and all that good stuff. A bit of a Utopia, I suppose, but very sweet.
4) Star of the Guardian Series (by Margaret Weiss)- Head and shoulders above absolutely anything else in the science fiction/fantasy genre. Obviously based on someone watching Star Wars and thinking how cool the whole thing would be with better characters and plot. Especially fun because it has nice, complex villians, heroes who are almost equally messed up, a protaganist (Dion) that you really just want to slap, and absolutely no happy sweet endings for its romances. Brilliant, with a twisted and complicated enough plot to carry it all off.
5) Ender's Game- I know, another science fiction, but again, one that is primarily a character study. I read it a long time ago, so I can't really provide details, but Ender was painted very very well. I like Card's style, at least for the first book in each series and before he caves to sentimentality, so this book is a good psychological one, with a phenomenal grasp of his parables. 6) Anything by Terry Pratchett- Although some of the more recent books are pretty disappointing, in general his books are just fun to read, with a solid cast and enogh deepness lurking in the back-ground to keep him honest. The best aspects, other than the great narrative voice, is the fact that he built an astonishing and fun set of people and then just released them to have them bounce off one another. Especially in the Watch, where every character's personal disfunctional-ness complement everyone else's. And I adore Vetinari, my vote for best evil ruler ever (if he's really evil, which is always an interesting point to debate).

Other books I'm too lazy to really comment about- Seperate Peace (recently read, so it might not survive re-reading much), Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird.

I'm probably forgetting tons and tons, but my own gushing voice is starting to irk me, which is probably why I normally stick to bitter mockery instead.


Rachel said...

We need Margaret Weis to write Star Wars knockoffs for the prequels.

Tobie said...

I personally would love to see the movie versions of Star of the Guardian. THAT would be awesome.