Ten Books That Have Stuck With Me

I’ve only recently begun following Chuck Wendig on Twitter, and I have to say it’s a long overdue follow.  Today I came across a tweet of his regarding a blog post where he writes about ten books that have stuck with him through the years.  Typically such lists, no matter who they written by, contain a sort of revolving door of works that I’ve either seen before and decided “not for me”, or I’ve already read them.  In this case I was pleasantly surprised to have only read one of them prior and found myself wanting to dive deep into the others.  So, since I’ve spent a large deal of time lately burdening you with information only related to Tabletop Roleplaying games I’ve decided to provide a palette cleanse and follow suit.

1.) A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

I found myself smiling ruefully, or flat-out cracking up on every page of this non stop fools’ parade.  The title explains everything.  Within the pages we are introduced to Ignatius J. Reilly, a man who is difficult to believe could exist but sadly we know he’s out there somewhere.  He is foul tempered and an insufferable know-it-all, literally a tyrant in the lives of those he meets.  He rants, raves, and complains about generally everything all while interacting with equally fantastic people in his day-to-day life.  I can’t recommend this book more to anyone who wants a taste of the outrageous.

2.) Catch-22 by Joeseph Heller

I suppose I’m following a theme here with comedy, but Catch-22 needs to be on this list.  Not only has it stuck with me, it is honestly my favorite book of all time.  If you haven’t had the chance to read this winding, episodic, loony-filled book, you’re doing yourself a disfavor.  Heller somehow creates a huge list of recurring characters that never fail to make me crack a smile, each one is a welcomed sight when their name adorns the top of a chapter.  Never have I laughed so hard reading a book.  I’ve probably read this 3-4 times by now.

3.) Roots by Alex Haley

I read this when I was in high school and it has stuck with me ever since.  It is almost a dare to myself to read it again as an adult.  It’s full of atrocity and holds little to celebrate throughout.  You find yourself just getting comfortable with Kunta Kinte’s initial tribal story, and then it’s an almost non stop rollercoaster of fury at the men and women responsible for so much pain.  Still, a gripping tale based on true events.

4.) The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

If you’ve seen the movie you’ve only gotten a taste of the unsettling nature of its preceding novel.  I read this young, way to young to truly understand many of the darker paths explored, but I was a precocious kid when it came to reading.  It honestly terrified me, and my later research into the phenomenon of possession has terrified me even more.  A great read, well written and gripping.  Though you may wish for the light of day when you read it.

5.) The Hobbit; or, There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien

I read the Hobbit roughly around the same timeframe I read The Chronicles of Narnia, they both lit a flame of passion for the Fantasy genre that has obviously endured since. Not even The Lord of the Rings trilogy invoked the feelings I had and still have for this book.  My sister had to read it for school so I had to be near the end of grade school at the time.  Wizards, Dwarves, Hobbits, Elves, and all the monsters they face thrilled me to no end.  It wasn’t long after I started playing Dungeons and Dragons too.  I still re-read the battle of riddles from time to time.

6.) The Blade Itself, and the rest of the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie handles his characters in this trilogy with near perfection.  His wizards are powerful, but not all-powerful.  His protagonists are just barely that.  I’m having a hard time talking about the moral greyness of his world without sounding clichéd but I urge you to give it a try, especially good for a Dungeon Master needing a lesson in creating realistic NPC’s.  Hell, read the story for Glotka, the mentally and physically twisted inquisitor\torturer, alone.

7.) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

If there’s a better revenge tale I beg you to point me in its direction so I can either prove you wrong or be deliriously delighted by its discovery.  The movie was fine but just plain shit compared to the book.

8.) One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey

Nurse Rachett is routinely touted as an example of actual evil, and with good reason, you will revile her before the end.  I took a portion of this book to the state level in Speech and Debate as a Prose Interpretation piece so the entire work has certainly stuck with me as well.

9.) Blindness by Jose Saramago

It’s a rough one to trudge through.  Not due to poor storytelling or the fact that it’s a translation, but because it gets real rough around the edges.  Our protagonist is a lone woman with sight in a world gone suddenly blind.  We are subjected to what she sees when the worst in people comes to the fore and we get a glimpse at how some may react to no longer caring for social graces in any aspect.  Great read, check it out.

10.) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

…and honestly the entire set of five novels containing the adventures of Arthur Dent, his absurd companions, and the whole nitwitted galaxy.  I think this series may have introduced me to novelized Droll Wit and I’ve loved the style ever since.

There are many more books I could name but I’ll leave it at that.  Typically I don’t be for comments but I would LOVE to hear from anyone else who may wish to give a rundown of their list, as I’m always looking for a good book to read.  If this moves you to post on your blog, feel free to link me so I know where to find your write-up!

-Melvs

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2 thoughts on “Ten Books That Have Stuck With Me

  1. I tend to have a fantasy tilt to my reading. First I’ll start with a couple you already mentioned.
    1. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. (where the chapter intros are sometimes more fun to read than the story itself)
    2. The Hobbit (My favorite book bar none)
    3. Elric (series). (I play a lot of Greyhawk, and theme of Law vs Chaos is no better described than here)
    4. Alice in Wonderland. (I can’t describe why I love this book but I read it once/year)
    5. Dragonlance Chronicles. (Very moving and very D&D)
    6. Game of Thrones (Very moving and original with POV)
    7. Swords Against Death (Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser are the prototypical adventuring duo)
    8. Conan (any including comics). (Robert E Howard’s writing style is impeccably pulp and if you get a chance to see any Savage Sword of Conan compilations, John Buscema perfectly visualizes REH’s works)
    9. The Princess Bride. (I know you’ve seen the movie, well the book reads just as fun. I wish all my adventures were as witty and heartfelt)
    10. Dune. (Yeah, its a hard read but for anyone wanting an example of world building, this is a great book to read)

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