A great book can be many things. It can be inspiring, funny, fulfilling, and filled with vivid imagery. But for me one thing that makes a story so great, and so powerful it has the ability to make me want to read it over watching my favorite TV show, is its ability to create a world that I feel a part of. As Mya Angelou once said, “Once you read a book, your world is changed forever.”
And here’s a list of the ten books that have changed mine:
10. Dune by Frank Herbert
Dune, it’s the book that got me into sci-fi and is the book I go to when I need to escape from life and experience a world beyond this realm. He [Frank Herbert] not only set the standard for sci-fi and fantasy novel lengths (before him, the majority of sci-fi were novellas or short novels), but Mr. Herbert filled Dune with all the things that make a good adventure and series last generations. (Don’t believe me? Just look at the amount of books currently out now for the Dune series and you’ll see, even in his death, Frank Herbert’s book lives on)
9. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
This was the first, I mean, the first novel I ever read. And inspired me to create games that involved secret portals to faraway lands, minus the Minotaur. It’s no wonder this book is on my list, and if this were a top 20 list, The Screw Tape Letters would be number 11. Here’s to C.S. for crafting pristine fantasy.
8. Freeware by Rudy Rucker
This was one of the first books I was able to borrow as an “adult,” from the library and one of the best series I’m glad I found. It tackles the idea of biological Tech. Pretty savvy isn’t it? Although Rudy is known as a Sci-fi writer, he also writes non-fiction and has published a book I will soon read called, The Fourth Dimension.
7. The Wizard’s First Rule Terry Goodkind
I read this 1,000-page book in Iraq during my last week in the country. Let’s just say, I finished it in three days; I didn’t really sleep or eat during that time, only read.
6. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
I’ve never been more scared of the future and its uncertainty until I read this book. If you’ve only experienced H.G. Wells in the movies, none of these theatricals does his books service. To understand the genius of H.G., you must read his work. Or her work? (Warehouse 13 ruined whom I picture as H.G. Wells)
5. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This book made me want to read and changed my world forever. Even when I’m down and not feeling well, I read small parts from this book and the world doesn’t seem so big.
4. The Phantom TollBooth by Norton Juster
Another one of the books from my childhood. The Phantom Toll Booth will be forever in my top ten. It takes a simple concept of a child bored with life, and shows the reader, life is what you make of it, not the things in it.
3. The Gunslinger by Stephan King
I found this book in my early twenties and it has been a favorite of mine to skim, study and reread. Roland from Giland searching for the man in black in a world that has moved on. The horror and terror is subtle and meticulously written and is my favorite book written by Stephan King.
2. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
To split infinities like no one’s split them before. The wit of Douglas Adams is superb and had me giggling as I read page after page and even after I read the other pages that I read the weeks prior. So, a whale and the flowerpot fall from the sky…. Enough said.
1. The Fellowship of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
This is the book to rule them all and one that binds them. Notice the Lord of the Rings reference there. If you didn’t, it’s okay, I won’t judge. Of note, there may be more to come. It isn’t an understatement when I say, I read The Fellowship of the Rings so much that I remembered the first chapter word for word. Word for word dear Watson. Can anyone say geek?
Anyhow, as a kid, I dreamed I was Frodo and imagined I was the one journeying to the land of Mordor to rid myself and the world of a vile ring with powers that had the ability to usurp me to kill my closest of friends, Samwise Gamgee. *takes breath* And writing this makes me want to reread the book for the 111th time.