You may have seen the “My 10 Books” thing going around Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/etc., and while I appreciate that social media is tackling something more substantial than cats* for a change, I really REALLY hate anything that requires one to tag other people. I get a squicky feeling of pressure when someone tags me in such a post**. I never want to inflict that on anyone else, so I’m not tagging a goddamn soul here.
If, however, this list should spur you on to make your own list, by all means, have at it and let me know!
So on to my list. As it’s MY list, I’ve done away with the requirement for it to be 10 books. It’s rather rare that I read a standalone book instead of a larger series. I view the stories I love most in terms of the entire story, not one piece of it. When I re-read something, I’m choosing to revisit that world, not one corner of it. So you’ll see lots of entire series here, and for that I make no apology.
My list, in the order it occurred to me:
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
- The (early***) Pern series by Anne McCaffrey
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Pebble in the Sky by Issac Asimov
- Monument by Lloyd Biggle, Jr.
- Time Storm by Gordon R. Dickson
- The Farseer, Liveship Traders, and Tawny Man trilogies**** by Robin Hobb
- The Saga of Pliocene Exile, Intervention, and the Galactic Milieu Trilogy by Julian May
- Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
I tried to link to versions with the same cover art that I owned/read. Wow. The nostalgia storm that just erupted around me is immense. I think I need a moment.
*Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE cats on the internet, which you already know if you follow me on Twitter.
**Note that I harbor no ill will toward the many people who have tagged me for this exercise. I know it was done from a place of love and because they know I’m such a bibliophile. Still though, it feels like homework.
***By this I primarily mean the Dragonriders of Pern collection and the Harper Hall Trilogy (though I’m quite fond of Moreta and Dragonsdawn too).
**** I haven’t read the Rain Wilds Chronicles yet, but I suspect those’ll need to be included too. I got them for Christmas, so I’ll know soon!
I like your taste in books! So many familiar stories, but a few I haven’t read too. I have omnibus volumes of Julian May’s ‘Saga of Pliocene Exile’, but didn’t realize she had continued the story. Time to fire up luzme.com!
Oh my! I really feel like as great as the first 4 books are, the whole story doesn’t really come together and get as awesome as it can until after the 2 Intervention books. (The 3 after that are good too, but I think the middle two are my fave.)
Erika, I want to thank you for bringing those Julian May books to my attention again. Like Verrilicious, I didn’t know she’d continued to write about that world after The Adversary. I am more embarrassed still to admit: I didn’t know Julian May was a woman. I’m putting Intervention on my “must read” list for this year (maybe after I finish Vonnegut’s Player Piano—which I am halfway through at the moment).
As far as lists, I think my own list of ten personally most important books would overlap significantly with your own. My list would include: LOtR & Hobbit (that’s one, using your rules), Breakfast of Champions, and Pebble in the Sky (which I consider part of Asimov’s Foundation series). I’d add Larry Niven’s Ringworld, Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast Trilogy, Frank Herbert’s Dune (just the first book), Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea, China Mieville’s The Scar and the Bas Lag series, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Arthur Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama, and that’s probably enough—from memory anyway. And that’s eleven, so if I have to cut, I’d regrettably cut Gaiman.
Love the Lord of the Rings cover you show. That is the book we have in common (though not the cover). Most of the other “worlds” you list I have not read, so that suggests other ones I would like to explore. My Ten do not stay inside the Fantasy/Sci-Fi genre, but most of them do.
Neverending Story by Michael Ende (so different from the movies),
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice,
Harry Potter by JKR,
Pride and Prejudice by Austen,
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman,
Phantastes by George McDonald,
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams,
Decent into Hell by Charles W S Williams, and
Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis.
Looking at my list I see several Christian-based authors. I think that is because that is where I actually started with my Fantasy Fiction in a sunday school class called Christian Fantasy when I was in college. (Right. I had not read or heard of LoTR or CoN as a child.) Narnia is actually the one I have re-read the most, although now I don’t know if I’ll ever read the whole of it again. It’s still the bridge that crossed me over to a universe of wonder.
I think it might be interesting to see the “Ten non-fiction” also for people. It would show another side to people.