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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:51 am 
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SF writer John Scalzi recently posted the following to his blog:

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/10/14/t ... ost-to-me/

He notes that this is not a list of the 10 'best' books, but the 10 books that mean the most to him - that he returns to time and again, and he lists them alphabetically rather than in order of preference because he couldn't distinguish them in that way.

His 10 books are:
Always Coming Home, Ursula Le Guin
The Dark is Rising Sequence, by Susan Cooper
Dune, by Frank Herbert (not the series, just the first book)
Fall of Hyperion, by Dan Simmons
Grass, by Sheri S. Tepper
Perdido Street Station, by China Miéville
Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
Speaker For the Dead, by Orson Scott Card
Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein
Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin

His honourable mentions are:
Ariel by Steve Boyett
Emergence by David R. Palmer
The Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L’Engle
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
The Watchmen by Alan Moore
Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I thought it would be interesting to share our own lists of meaningful books, and share some discussion about them

What I found most interesting about Scalzi's list is not so much that we have little overlap, but that I had not heard of most of his list.

Dune and Speaker for the Dead are the only ones I've read, (and I didn't like Speaker for the Dead - I was irritated by what I perceived as a self-righteousness on the part of the writer), and of his honourable mentions, I have read (and enjoyed) L'Engle, Bradbury and Adams.

The remainder - some I know of, but I've read none. I have no idea whether they are particularly iconic in the genre and therefore I am an ignoramus, but that's how it is.

I'll share my list of meaningful books in my next post (work calls), but thought I'd get this thread up before I lose courage to do so.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:09 am 
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I've read 9 of the first 10 and 4 of the next 8, and in each case I agree that the books are well worth listing.

My own list of SFF works that mean most to me would be pretty different, though. Must think about this. I think only one book on the first list would be on mine. Not that the others (that I've read) are not brilliant; just that they aren't books that talk to me when I think about them.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:51 am 
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Leaving out Tolkien for the moment, because it's off in its own category--

Hmm.

Dune
Ringworld
The Stars My Destination
Slaughterhouse-Five
The Sandman
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
After Midnight (though any collection of Bradbury shorts could be on the list)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Gods Themselves
The Lathe of Heaven
Norstrilia

Damn, that's 11. Ah well.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:29 am 
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Ax, that's 10-plus-an-honorable-mention-which-shall-not-be-identified ;)

I'm also still trying to construct my list, throwing my consciousness backward in time to remember which books hit me a wallop.

I've realised over the past few years that I'm not well-read; my reading material has been idiosyncratic rather than broad, and certainly not deep - particularly so in the sci-fi and fantasy genres.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:45 am 
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Hmm...let's see: Mine would have to be mostly Fantasy (my hubby reads the Sci-Fi quota in our house!)

A quick glance at my bookshelves reveals, in no particular order...

Magician - Raymond E Feist
Mordant's Need - Stephen Donaldson
Deverry Series - Katherine Kerr
The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan
Beauty - Sheri S Tepper
Sparhawk chronicles - David Eddings
A Song for Arbonne - Guy Gavriel Kay
Dragonlance Chronicles - Weis & Hickman
The Rose of the Prophet tilogy - Weis & Hickman
The Curse of Chalion/Paladin of Souls - Lois McMaster Bujold

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:04 am 
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I'm going to go from memory, because I guess the ones I remember best are the ones that impacted me most. Not necessarily the BEST books I've read, but the ones that I remembered most fondly. LotR excepted of course.

Watership Down - Richard Adams
Duncton Wood - William Horwood
The Foundation Trilogy - Isaac Asimov
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant - Stephen Donaldson
Dune - Frank Herbert
Wilt - Tom Sharpe (you had to be that age...)
The Guns of Navarone - Alistair Maclean
The Jeeves series - P.G. Wodehouse
The Farseer/Liveship/Tawny Man Series - Robin Hobb
The Saga of the Exiles - Julian May

Hmm. Its a pretty mixed bag isn't it? :)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:30 am 
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Al, The Guns of Navarone! I was mad about that book, I could quote whole passages by heart. Too, it was my first introduction to a Western style action story, very different from the "serious business" war stories by Russian writers.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:34 am 
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Great thread. Off the top of my head (which is in my opinion, the way to do this list) here are my "top ten" along with comments.

A Wrinkle in Time - the first "real" Sci-Fi/Fantasy book I ever read. The one that got me hooked on the genre and caused me to read every single book in the library in that section (if I recall, there weren't many books IN that section.) The first book I ever read that made me cry. (Okay, Charlotte's Web, but that was different...)

The Chronicles of Narnia - I read these to shreds and didn't realise that they were an allegory for Christianity for a long time. I always loved how Lewis wrote dialogue and I adored the "Britishisms".

Dangerous Visions - Ground breaking book of Sci-Fi short stories, edited by that bad boy Harlan Ellison

Watership Down - Despite it being about "talking rabbits" I loved the story. and the rabbit language.

Slaughterhouse Five - Vonnegut's finest work...IMHO.

The Wind in the Willows - Some people might not put this in the "Fantasy" genre, but I do. One of the most beautifully-written books in the English language...especially the "Piper at the Gates of Dawn."

Atlas Shrugged - so sue me.

Stranger in a Strange Land - Heinlein wrote some weird-ass sh*t as he got older, but this book was terrific.

The Illustrated Man - or any of Bradbury's short stories and novellas, really. Wonderful little slices of humanity.

The Left Hand of Darkness - love how Ursula LeGuin plays with sexuality and gender roles.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:40 am 
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I have to say, "Stranger in a Strange Land" and "Starship Troopers" would be honourable mentions for me also.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:52 am 
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I think I'd put "Childhood's End" in my own honourable mention list.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:35 am 
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We've also got these from Al's list

The Foundation Trilogy - Isaac Asimov
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant - Stephen Donaldson
Dune - Frank Herbert
The Saga of the Exiles - Julian May

- but apart from the Thomas Covenant, which I have read, the others are my Hubby's picks!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:13 am 
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Cool! I don't think I've ever met anyone lese who has read "The Saga of the Exiles". I'm sure its absolute rubbish, but I loved it at the time! Sort of weird hybrid of Sci-fi and Fantasy with a healthy dollop of Irish Mythology chucked in for fun!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:01 pm 
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not something I would recommend
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JewelSong wrote:
Atlas Shrugged - so sue me.



I would but, since I am too respectful of your moral right to use your rational mind to make personal value judgments, I am opposed to the use of social force in any attempts to coerce you.

But The Fountainhead is way better. ;)



(Sadly, I hardly ever read anymore so I can't pretend to be able to make a list like this but of the book's listed so far, I would definitely say The Martian Chronicles, Fall of Hyperion, The Sandman, and The Watchmen were all books I very much loved.)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:50 pm 
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Alatar wrote:
Cool! I don't think I've ever met anyone lese who has read "The Saga of the Exiles". I'm sure its absolute rubbish, but I loved it at the time! Sort of weird hybrid of Sci-fi and Fantasy with a healthy dollop of Irish Mythology chucked in for fun!


Hubby liked it so much he bought her follow up trilogy "The Galactic Milieu" and "Intervention" which is described as

Quote:
A root tale to the Galactic Milieu and a vinculum between it and the Saga of Pliocene Exile...


Me? I stuck to her Trillium series with Marion Zimmer Bradley & Andre Norton. :D

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:01 pm 
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Hmm. Maybe I'll grab them again for Kindle.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:47 pm 
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I was helping my dad buy a Kindle yesterday and, on the Amazon page, stumbled across notice of a program "coming soon" in which you'll be offered the opportunity to get heavily discounted Kindle versions of books you bought from Amazon in hardcopy form—even years ago. Can't wait!

I see a lot of books on y'all's lists that would be on mine. I'll see what I can come up with tonight.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:51 pm 
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Off the top of my head:

LOTR (just too influential to leave out!) - Tolkien
A Wrinkle in Time - L'Engle
Narnia series - Lewis
Pilgrimmage: A Book of the People and The People: No Different Flesh - Henderson
The Illustrated Man - Bradbury
The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Gaiman (a recent read, but it really grabbed me)
Dune - Herbert (if only for the Litany of Fear)
Watership Down - Adams
The Book of the Dun Cow - Wangerin
Time for the Stars - Heinlein

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:03 pm 
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My list is pretty easy:

All of Tolkien's legendarium
Asimov's Foundation and Robot novels
All of Frank Herbert's Dune books (not his son's and the other guy's; I know many don't like the sequels or the second trilogy, but I love them all)
Stranger in a Strange Land
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
And yes, the Harry Potter books

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:00 pm 
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Okay, ten SFF books (or series) that mean the most to me, and that I return to time and again:

LotR
The Left Hand of Darkness
Most of Heinlein's 1950s juveniles
War of the Worlds
Islandia (Wright)
Dune
Harry Potter
A Wrinkle in Time and the first two sequels
The Vorkosigan saga (Bujold)
The Exordium series (Smith and Trowbridge)

In no special order, and subject to change without notice.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:09 pm 
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Alatar wrote:
The Farseer/Liveship/Tawny Man Series - Robin Hobb


Hey! That's 9 books right there! I'm rereading them right now, as it happens.

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