Thursday, August 1, 2013

Before I get back to reading ... Books that tempt

This might come under the heading of "temptation."

I have been busy reading books for school for next year, having taken over a course that had a reading list full of books I'd never read.

I finished one book yesterday, and was going to start another when a friend sent me this list of the top 100 science fiction and fantasy books compiled by NPR. The list allows you to check off how many you've read, and then compare that number with fellow sci-fi/fantasy fans.

I've read 33 of them. One friend has read 60 of them. I'm waiting to hear from other friends.

But with a score of just 33, I feel like an ungeek!

Among the titles I have read:

The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Space Trilogy - C. S. Lewis

You knew those two had to be listed by both NPR and me!

Then there are the classics -

Nineteen Eight-Four and Animal Farm - George Orwell
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Foundation Trilogy and I, Robot - Isaac Asimov
Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Slaughterhouse Five and Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine - H. G. Wells
Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert Heinlein

and so many more.

A couple on the list are particular favorites that I think not enough people have read.

The Princess Bride - William Goldman (if you love the movie, you have to read the book - it's even better!)
A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter Miller (the faith survives despite wars)
Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke (what if we are ready for the next step in evolution?)

I can't argue with most of the titles on the list, though some may be current pop favorites that in time might be dropped (Wicked by Gregory Maguire?).  And there are book I'd consider adding, like A Case of Conscience by James Blish. It's a fascinating novella turned novel about a Jesuit priest on a space expedition who meets up with a completely moral/ethical race that has no sense of God or religion.

Meanwhile, there are books on the list that I'd like to read or reread (hence the temptation):

Ringworld - Larry Niven
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip Dick (I loved Blade Runner, though I know the movie is very different from the novel)
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card (people want to boycott him!)
Small Gods - Terry Pratchett

Anyway, I could go on. But I have books on my school pile to read.

I must set a good example.


Pax et bonum

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