I’m very happy you’re here!
I love to share my favorite books (nearly as much as I love reading them!), so it is my pleasure to take you on a brief journey to explore the treasures on my bookshelves. Note that I wrote this post several years ago as part of an application. The children I mention are now in college or almost in college, but the rest of the tour still stands.
First stop, the living room.
You’ll notice I don’t have a formal bookshelf in the living room, but there, next to my television, you see our latest cache of library books. I believe there are 67 in all. Most are my children’s selections, but you’ll find a few of mine there as well, including a book that now, after a second read, is one of my favorites: Passage by Connie Willis.
Passage explores near death experiences through the eyes and experiments of two scientists. The book is so memorable to me because the protagonist's haunted, desperate desire to “know” and to “understand” became real to me as reader; the feeling builds during the reading and lingers for days after. In fact, I picked up Passage again not because I remembered the story, but because I remembered that feeling and I wanted to experience it again!
Next stop, the family room.
Yes, I know; I’ve run out of room--those shelves are overflowing! In them, you'll find lots of unforgettable fiction, plus my reference stash of cookbooks, dictionaries, writing books, and atlases.
Ah, here’s one of my fiction favorites, I’ve read it several times—Mars by Ben Bova.
Mars is considered “hard” science fiction in that it presents a feasible, believable tale, a story that, someday, could really happen. This is in contrast to "fantasy" sci-fi, a genre I’ve never liked. It’s hard for me to read stories in which superior alien races, bossy space marauders, and fairies with wings are expected, accepted, the norm.
Mars is a tale about the first manned expedition to its namesake planet; even more, it is the tale of a young Navajo man who unexpectedly but happily gets chosen for the mission and who, while on the red planet, finds what he believes to be the remains of an ancient Mars civilization.
Here’s another favorite: Rendezvous with Rama, the first book in the Rama series by Arthur C. Clarke, another king of the hard sci-fi genre.
The series starts with Earth scientists discovering a mysterious alien ship approaching from the outer reaches of the solar system. When it gets close enough, a team goes out to meet it—and then the fun and excitement begins!
The Lost Race of Mars was the first science fiction tale I’d ever read.
It's a story about a brother and sister who must move to Mars when their scientist parents get stationed there. The children must also give up their beloved dog, fight prejudice (they’re only Earthlings, not real “Martians” like the children born there), and learn to live on Martian time. And, to make the story really interesting, they also discover the very thing their parents are studying: living aliens, true Martians, what people considered “the lost race of Mars.”
The latter book, The Phantom Tollbooth, has to be one of my favorite children's stories, ever.
I read the book myself, over and over again as a child, and then I read it to my children, over and over again, as they grew up. What a fabulous tale! The book starts off with a boy named Milo. He's always bored. Nothing interests him. And then one day, he arrives home from dreary school to discover a mysterious package in his bedroom. He has nothing else to do, so he opens it, follows the instructions, and finds himself is a mysterious land where everything is something, and something is nothing. Puns and curiosities abound! Highly, highly recommended!
Finally, before you go, let me quickly point out a few other favorites: The Mother Tongue (English and How it Got That Way) by Bill Bryson, a witty look at the development of English in light of other languages.
Then there's The Elegant Universe, by Bryan Greene, who takes you on a journey through string theory, M-theory, and other quantum mysteries for the layperson.
And FINALLY finally, I talk about my favorite books without mentioning Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis (who also wrote Passage, the first book I showed you during this tour).
The Doomsday Book is my most-loved book of all time. In it, a scholar from the year 2025 travels back in time to what she *thinks* is the period right before the Black Death pummeled Europe. However, something goes wrong, and she winds up arriving in the village only two weeks before the plague hits--and she doesn’t know it until people start dying. The Doomsday Book opened my eyes to the fact that people throughout the centuries were people just like me—they laughed, they cried, they lived, they died. And it also shed light on a fascinating era I knew little about. Because Willis has a way of making you really connect and care for the characters, it’s hard not to feel for and with them—which is why I’ve read this book more times than any other.
I hope you've enjoyed this trip through my bookshelves. Did you see anything you liked? I have so many more books I'd love to share. Maybe in a follow-up post?
P.S. This is post #21 in my 30 Day Blogging Challenge!
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