Monday, November 2, 2009

BOOKS! (cont.)

This post is going to have to be edited tomorrow to include more content because right now I have to finish an English essay. However, I will leave you with a short list of books that I enjoy. I'll add reviews and a few more books tomorrow. I've actually been meaning to create a comprehensive list of the books I've read, and this might help me get a kick-start on that.

(EDIT: Essay complete! Now to flesh out this post!)
I am both extremely picky and extremely open when it comes to what kind of books I like. I generally stick to fantasy/sci-fi novels but if I am given a book from a different genre I will probably enjoy it if the writing and plot are any good. I am very interested by books that force a new perspective and do not simply follow a formula (not to say formula books are bad). By the same token, I am understandably more interested in books I can relate to in some way. Books like "Endurance" by Alfred Lansing are NOT what I'm interested. That book took some endurance to read. It's awful. Anyway, here are some books I DO enjoy (in no particular order). If you know of anything similar to the books below, or want to share some of your favorite books, please post a comment! I'm always looking for new material to read and I feel like all I'm reading nowadays is what my English teacher assigns me. I know I'm leaving out a bunch of books that I enjoy but my mind is so filled with my current books that I can't think of them for the life of me.

Books I found:

Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard - Yes, Hubbard is that wacko who invented scientology, but that doesn't mean he can't write a decent novel. I picked this book off the shelf because it was literally the thickest one there. At more than a thousand pages the plot line is very long but amazingly it never seems to drag. On the contrary, the world is so vivid that by the end of the book you are certain there must be more. The book is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a race of aliens has killed almost the entire population of the Earth and set up a worldwide mining post to extract precious minerals, especially gold. Jonnie is an adventurous young man living with a dying human colony who is captured by a calculating, power hungry alien named Terl. Terl plans to use him as a beast for free labor. The book progresses and Jonnie learns much about the aliens and thier technology, eventually leading to a complete overturn of the current system. From hunting deer to intergalactic relations, this book really covers it all. Yes, I realize that there are literally thousands of negative reviews of this book, but I found it quite engaging. Don't hate it till you read it.
Commercial success - Absolutely not. Majority of people think it's awful. Movie = fail

The Erthring Cycle by Wayland Drew - This book is very strange. At first I wasn't quite sure what to think of it, it is reminiscent of Battlefield Earth in that it takes place in a postapocalyptic world, however, the apocalypse was caused not by alien invaders but mankind himself (a bit more realistic). Anyway, without giving away too much, the book centers around Asa, a young man who is part of a tribe of primitive people (most have reverted to aboriginal lifestyle). However, a small enclave of people have been preserved with the technological know-how and equipment of modern man. They have been charged with trying to discover why man is self-destructive and how to reunite man and nature in harmony. My favorite quote from this book is written in the stub at the bottom of my blog.
Commercial/popular success - Yes in Canada

Exit Earth by Martin Caidin - I really can give no reason for having this book on my list other than that I enjoyed it. I read it too long ago to give a decent synopsis and such. I do remember that the character interaction was well done and the plot was engaging enough. I will admit however that I made it about a quarter of the way through, grew bored, and left it for a few months. I did come back to it and read the whole thing. Better the second time around.
Commercial/Popular success - mild, movie promised, never produced

(notice a trend? I like earth, earth is good.)

Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove - Ever wondered what the Civil War would've been like if time-travelers and AK-47's were involved? Neither did I. I picked this book up and almost put it right back down. I don't usually go for historical novels. Then I realized that General Lee was holding an assault rifle on the front cover. That certainly arrested my interest. The book is amazing. It makes me want to read historical novels, and not just alternate histories either.
Commercial/Popular success - Yes!

Clive Cussler books - I know this isn't a single book but since most of his books are identical in design I think I'm justified. Most of the books by Clive Cussler involve a character known as Dirk Pitt who is an adventurous marine archeologist solving mysteries and beating bad guys. The books are very formula but the mysteries are decent. I read his books when I just simply need something to read that I know I'll appreciate on some level. Interestingly enough, his book Sahara was turned into a motion picture which is one of my favorites. This movie was considered one of the worst Hollywood financial failures ever. However, I thought it was quite good. I'm noticing another trend actually, most of what I like tends to be scorned by the majority. Yeah for being different!
Commercial/Popular success - books=yes , film=no

Books introduced to me by school:

Catch 22 - I honestly can say that I thought I would hate this book, and for a while I did. But after reading it through, writing an essay on it, and disscussing it in class I realized it was actually a very impressive novel. Go figure, maybe that's why its on the school reading list. It's dry, witty humor was right up my alley. My favorite part was the description of deja vu, presque vu, and jamais vu. I was unaware of the latter two and the terms now serve to explain certain sensations I experience.

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn- Oddly enough I had to read Ishmael for my Chemistry class. I had a very eccentric teacher. Anyway, the book is absolutely stuffed to the brim with perspective, mind, and life-altering ideas that challenge everything society is based on. While slow at times, the book is an absolute must-read. It isn't my favorite book ever, but everyone should read it. This is an honor I perscribe to no other book or series, even the Sword of Truth.

Many more, but I think that is good for now. Please comment and post your favs.