Q&A, Day 5

I love how Coffeegrl phrased her question — first she asked if I have a favorite book, and then asked what it was.  I love this because I don’t have a single favorite book; there’s a whole set that I read over and over again.  So I can get away without that awkward stammering pause that always comes when someone just asks what my favorite book is, and I have to figure out how to explain that there’s not just one.  Still with me? 

Okay, my list of favorites, just for you.

  1. Dune, by Frank Herbert.  I have the whole series, but the first book is the best IMO.
  2. Babel 17, by Samuel R. Delaney
  3. Dorsai!, by Gordon R. Dickson.  Again, the whole Childe cycle is good; I wish Dickson had been able to finish it before he passed.
  4. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card.  Plus, of course, the rest of the trilogy.
  5. The Witching Hour, by Anne Rice.
  6. To Sail Beyond Sunset, by Robert Heinlein.
  7. Ringworld, by Larry Niven.  Actually, just pick anything by Niven.  It’s almost always guaranteed to be good.
  8. The Valley of Horses, by Jean M. Auel. 
  9. The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco.
  10. The Eight, by Katherine Neville.

I’ll stop at 10, but I really could go on for a while.  I enjoy sci-fi more than anything else (if you hadn’t guessed already), but I’m a fairly omniverous reader.  I love the old  sci-fi short stories from the 30’s and 40’s, but I’ll also admit to having a handful of Harlequins that I inherited from my grandmother as a teenager.  My current to-read list is more business and technology non-fiction than anything else (Freakonomics, The World Is Flat, Blink, The Tipping Point).  I’m also working through a lot of classic literature, since one of my 101 Things is to read at least 10 of the ALA’s Banned Books that I haven’t already read. 

So, any suggestions on something that I must read, based on your favorites?


9 thoughts on “Q&A, Day 5

  1. I couldn’t pick just one book myself, so I wanted to leave it open. 😉 I read Auel and Rice when I was in middle school and LOVED those books. Also, I love Malcolm Gladwell. Saw him speak once and he was pretty funny. Now I’m curious — have you read Foucault’s Pedulum by Eco? Or anything by Neal Stephenson? I confess I haven’t, but I think I’ve seen a similar pattern before (and since I actually had a class in how to spot these kinds of trends in readers and make suggestions I’m just curious…). What people read is partly how I learn about them. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I discovered Eco through Foucault’s Pendulum. I have a copy, and read it periodically, but it’s more dense than I can comfortably digest. I understand a little more each time I read it, so someday I hope to get it all.

    Neal Stephenson I have not read, but a quick amazon search makes me think I might have to come back to him.

    Now I’m curious about how you spot reading trends. How does that work?

  3. (I just posted a comment but it vanished. I’ll try and remember what I said).

    > The Valley of the Horses.

    I liked that one too. But my favorite by far in that series was “The Clan of the Cave Bear.” I loved the Neanderthal setting. In the sequels there was a lot more romance — not surprising as Ayla started hanging out with humans instead of Neanderthals — but a lot less about, for one thing, hunting. Which she described so rivettingly in “The Clan of the Cave Bear!” Ah, how I loved that.
    Still. It’s quite a series.

  4. I love Valley of Horses, too. That whole series is so well done. I hope I can write like that one day. I’m a big sci-fi/fantasty reader so I like lots of your others, too!


  5. Pluto and Flicka, I’m guessing that both of you have read the entire Earth’s Children series. Is it just me, or was the most recent book just…well… flat? I’m caught between thinking that Shelters of Stone just wasn’t as good as I expecting and thinking that it just really wasn’t that good.

  6. The theory is that we’re drawn to books based on four criteria: setting, language, story or character (not necessarily mutually exclusive) and that each book has a primary “door” or “doors” through which most readers who enjoy it all enter. Harry Potter might be a setting, story, character book. While White Teeth by Zadie Smith might be character and language. Layer on top of that the way in which some people seem to like similar books (this is the part that some online retailers are good at showing you) and trends sometimes emerge. To be good at predicting and suggesting you also have to read a lot of course! I’m still working on this 🙂

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