Tuesday, January 16, 2007

From the Library of...

We’ve recently discussed movies. Now let’s talk about books.

I love reading and my life is full of readers.
This is a great combination. One of the joys of reading is sharing books with friends and family. I love it when a book has sufficiently moved me to recommend it to someone else, who in turn enjoys it, too. Hopefully, they will recommend this book to someone else, and so on, and so on. Over the years I have made and received many novel recommendations.

Pun intended. :-)

My friend Greg and I have been sharing book suggestions since we were in high school. After hooking him on The Uncanny X-Men (
The Dark Phoenix Saga) I then recommended my first book to him. Elric of Melnibone is one of my favorite books to this day, as Elric is the first true “anti-hero” that I encountered in fantasy. Greg later highly recommended The Belgariad which I enjoyed very much. I have recently recommended The Skystone and Eagle in the Snow to him, with much success.

My friend Jim recommended Gates of Fire to me seven years ago and I proudly own a hardcover edition of this novel. In turn I recommended Booke of Days, a dark, blunt look at the Crusades as well as Lonesome Dove. Jim is currently finishing the fourth (and final) novel in the western series. He recommended Undaunted Courage to me and I suggested The Killer Angels* to him.
In fact, of all my friends Jim and I have swapped book suggestions the most; a fact that I would never have known if not for this posting. This is very interesting and unexpected, indeed.

Rick Cox recommended The Hornblower Series which begins
here and I am halfway through the series. Gene Roddenberry once said "A shorthand sketch of Kirk might be "a space-age Captain Horatio Hornblower," constantly on trial with himself, a strong, complex personality." High praise (for me anyway) and yet this is VERY true of Hornblower. His character comes alive in these novels. Historical sea novels exist because of C S Forester.

Steve Dooley recommended
Master & Commander which is one of the most difficult yet rewarding novels that I have ever read. I have only read up through the second novel but I know that I will continue on through the entire series. Its just that good.

Bridget demanded that I read
To Kill a Mockingbird for which I am forever grateful. I loved this novel.

Victor has been a
Lord of the Rings fan since we were kids and has always wanted me to read the trilogy. I tried when I was fourteen and was bored to tears. However, I finally did so, right before the first movie came out in theaters. This trilogy is without peer. It is, simply, wonderful. Fantasy novels would not exist if not for J R R Tolkien.
I will always remember reading "The Return of the King", specifically the Battle of the Pelennor Fields while sitting on the terrace at Villa Il Lago overlooking the valley in Dicomano, Italy on a cool, spring May morning. A great memory, indeed.

I read The Hobbit when I was in the 4th grade, Jenna read it in the 7th grade. She was the only girl in her class to pick this novel, too. I suggested The Dragonlance Chronicles to her (which she has read twice now) and she in turn rabidly suggested The Harry Potter Series to me. I am only up to the third book but I have been pleasantly surprised by the series. I applaud JK Rowling and her simple, delightful creativity. It has been a great joy for me to watch Jenna gladly disappear into her room to read the latest novel and not emerge again until it is finished.

The long and the short of this blog is books deserve to be recommended to others. Books should be shared. Many of my now favorite novels have been suggested to me by others.
So, now its your turn.
If you were going to recommend one (no more than five) novels to the blog readers, what would they be?
* Little known fact: Joss Whedon based Firefly on the characters and situations found in this novel. Shiny!