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Jul 22 2009

Look Out! A Meme! 15 Books I’ve Read That Will Always Stick With Me (Part the Second)

Since I wasn’t able to finish my list the first time through (Yeah, I know… fifteen minutes. Bah! I take my own time.), I’ve continued it here in this second post. As DuWayne points out in his most recent post, there’s been some discussion about whether or not people have been following the rules for this meme. Well, I’ve certainly completely blown off the time limit thing. Big fucking deal. These books have had an impact on me though. Whether it’s an emotional impact, a philosophical one, or whatever, I remember each of them with great fondness. And they still matter to me. Otherwise I wouldn’t be re-reading them again and again.

The Belgariad/The Malloreon by David Eddings
Each series is now available as a set of two volumes instead of the original five, making it easier for you to catch up if you’ve never read them. I picked up the first book of The Belgariad, “Pawn of Prophecy“, on a whim. I was seventeen years old. It had only recently been published—in paperback. David Eddings didn’t warrant a hardbound release at that time. I was instantly hooked, and not-so-patiently waited for each volume to be published afterward. Though not credited at the time, the author’s wife, Leigh Eddings, contributed to all of his books. She was later listed as co-author. Many critics of his work complain that it wais too formulaic. That may be, but I certainly enjoyed the formula. Empathy for his characters came along with every page. I re-read both series last year (I think that was the fourth time through) and enjoyed them all over again. David Eddings died on June 2nd of this year. His wife, Leigh, had died on February 28th of 2007.
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson
Let’s not forget The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. I’m reading the final series as well, but it isn’t finished yet. As each volume is published, I pick it up to keep me occupied until the next comes around. Thomas Covenant has stuck with me over many years. He taught me that it’s okay to be a bitter cynic.
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Neal Stephenson is an excellent writer. If you’re a little bit of a geek, you will be enthralled. From World War II to the present day, this book keeps you wanting more. It’s more of a combination of “techno-thriller” and “historical novel” than the science fiction that Stephenson is better known for. That’s not of much consequence, as it’s the writing that matters.
The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson
This series is definitely more of a historical novel. The primary characters are the ancestors of main characters in Cryptonomicon, but many historical figures play large parts. If you’re interested in the history of science, this book will hold your interest. If you’re not, it will still hold your interest. Stephenson’s writing is amazing.
American Gods: A Novel by Neil Gaiman
Are you being conned? Would you even know it if you were? I re-read this one earlier this year. Already a classic. Once again, personal identification with one or more of the characters is what truly makes a novel stick with me. Empathy rules!

Yes, that brings me up to ten books now. Well, not really ten books, as some of those listed are series of books. I count them as individuals in this list because none of their parts really stands alone (unlike a sequel). Once again, it’s nearly midnight, and I must arise at 06:30. I’ll have to continue this meme at a later time.