Books

Another get-to-know-you meme that I first spotted over on Theron’s livejournal. Favorites among books…a really difficult topic for a bibliophile like myself….

5 perennial favourites:

The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I first read this when I was 9 (when Bakshi’s film came out). I’ve read it a number of times since, and gotten something new from it each time.

Buckaroo Banzai, by Earl Mac Rauch. I had been eagerly awaiting the film, but it came and went so quickly, I never got to see it. My best friend at the time got me the novelization for my birthday. It’s even better than the film, written as if it was part of a long, well-established line of adventures, with footnotes referencing the other tales in the series (which, naturally, don’t exist). A great bit of post-modern pulp.

The Anubis Gates, by Tim Powers. The first Powers novel I ever read, and still my favorite. Time travel, English Lit, Egyptian Occultism…what’s not to love?

Bare Bones: Conversations in Terror. A collection of 30-some-odd interviews with Stephen King from various sources (Playboy, among others). Over the years, I have often read this book and taken comfort in the view of the mega-selling author as a Real Person, including his tales of desperate struggle before his big break-through. It always made me feel somehow connected to being a writer, and gave me hope of my own eventual success. In recent years, King’s own On Writing has filled the same role, but Bare Bones remains my favorite.

Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming. Fleming is one of my favorite authors, and this, the first of the James Bond thrillers, is the one that I love the most, because it hasn’t been eclipsed by the films (a forgettable spoof film using this title was made, but no “official” James Bond film has ever been done based on this). It’s at turns glamorous, nasty, brutal, and very, very cool. “The bitch is dead.”

2 favourite childhood books:

The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien. My grandmother got me the book after I was entranced by the Rankin-Bass TV movie in the late 70s. A door opened inside my head, and I’ve been a fan of fantasy ever since.

D’aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, by Edgar Parin D’Aulaire and Ingri D’Aulaire. Another part of my fantasy upbringing…a big hardback collection of Greek myths, for children, first published in the early 60s. I had a copy of this for as far back as I can remember.

Funniest book:

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s the book that I remember reading aloud from the most…”you’ve got to hear this….”

Saddest book:

Challenger’s Hope, by David Feintuch. Yeah, it’s the second book of a fairly disposable sci-fi series, but there is a sequence in the book involving the main character’s wife and infant son that for whatever reason absolutely LEVELLED me when I first read it.

Scariest book:

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I read a lot of Horror. I’m a fan. It takes a lot for a book to actually scare me, instead of making me think “that’s cool.” This book, with its interwoven plots (one taking place in the annotations, appendices and footnotes of the other), its Blair Witch-esque documentary presentation, and its uncanny immersive techniques (involving avant-garde layout and other publishing tricks, like the oddly-disturbing fact that the word “house” is only ever printed in blue ink, rather than black, remains as one of the only books that has ever given me an honest-to-god, full-on case of the Heebie-Jeebies. Brrr.

Book you like in spite of yourself:

Far too many to list here. I’m a fan of pulp, SF, fantasy, horror, etc. You do the math. :)

Book you recommend everyone to read:

Perdido Street Station, by China MiĆ©ville. A huge, groaning gothic mansion of a novel. A mix of fantasy, horror, “steampunk” SF, and noir mystery, and, in my opinion, a glimpse at the future of genre fiction, where the old divisions and borders become meaningless. Easily my favorite novel of the past few years. The sequel, The Scar is also good, but I think that PSS has yet to be topped. China has a new novel, The Iron Council coming out in a few months, and he tells me that it’s set back in the same city as PSS, so I have high hopes.

Comics:

It’s a toss-up between Kurt Busiek’s Astro City, with it’s deft, resonant tributes to superheroic archetypes, and Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, for being adventure-horror-SF neo-pulp.

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