The Books I Recommend More Than Any Others – Part 3

Here they are, the final ten.

When I decided to list my top thirty in alphabetical order by author, I thought that might eliminate the need to organize the books from bestest best favourite to one of my favourites (or however you’d label the books below number one). But the truth is, for as much as I have LOVED all of the books listed thus far, I’ve been looking forward to talking about these ten. Many of them really are my bestest best favourites.

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Top Tens: Novels

As expected, I had a difficult time choosing only ten books to stand as my favourite novels. The first problem I encountered was a purely logistic one. Out of the 1200 or so books I have listed on GoodReads, 191 have a five star rating. I had to choose ten. Logically, I needed to pick my favourite favourites. Logic flies out the window when confronted with a trip down memory lane, however.

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein appeared twice. Not sure how or why. It is an important book; I own several copies and I knew going into this that it would have a place in the top ten. What I couldn’t quite articulate was why. I’ve read some terrible reviews. In fact, a lot of Heinlein’s books receive terrible reviews. But, the purpose of this article is not to defend a single author, or my choice of books. I will say I am somewhat hesitant to reread Stranger in a Strange Land, though. It would be terrible if it didn’t live up to my twenty year memory of it.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was not on the list. WHY? This book was utterly pivotal in my development as a reader. It changed my life, which is much the reason Stranger in a Strange Land is on the list, not once, but twice. A visit to my library answered the question. I don’t actually own a copy. WHY? Even though many of the books I’ve listed on GoodReads were library books or remembered reads, it’s a ghastly oversight.

Such issues aside, I still had nearly two hundred books to consider. Some could possibly be downgraded to four stars. Looking back, I remembered being captured at the time, but the memory wasn’t as fond. I’d read something better since. By the same token, some of the titles in the four star list could be upgraded. But again, that was not my purpose.

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Review: Glasshouse

One from the archives! With Neptune’s Brood burning a hole through my To Be Read pile, I’ve been revisiting the books of Charles Stross.

Glasshouse by Charles Stross

With this book, Charles Stross has established himself as one of my favourite authors.

Previously, I have read quite a few of his novels, including several of the Merchant Princes series, one of the Bob Howard – Laundry books, Halting State and Saturn’s Children. With the exception of Saturn’s Children and perhaps the first of the Merchant Princes novels, I’ve had a hard time immersing myself in his stories and actually liking his characters. I keep picking up his books, however, as I like his concepts.

Then I read Saturn’s Children. What a fabulous book. The mixture of hard science and futuristic culture with a treatise on what it is to be human fascinated me. I loved the concept. And, the author’s sense of humour made the characters leap off the page. The main character, Freya, wasn’t entirely loveable, she had her faults. But that’s the point of a good book, isn’t it? To take a character and have them evolve.

Which is exactly what happens in The Glasshouse.

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