The Dark Phoenix Saga. This story line has everything the X-Men ever were or could be: love, loss, tragedy, betrayal, romance, insane superpowers, and the introduction of Kitty Pryde. It had all my favorite X-men at the time, and my least favorite of all time (I hate Cyclops with a passion). It was Claremont and Byrne. It was great story telling and art that jumped off the page. It was and still is a classic.
It’s fitting that this ends my ten book series as it’s one that I’ve been wanting to reread lately.
Listen. Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time…
Douglas Adams led me here. Actually a friend who knew I loved Adams introduced me to Vonnegut. I had read a few of his short stories before, but I had not read his novels. What happened was a love affair that’s spanned twenty years and will last until I die. The man nothing short of brilliant. As a writer, his works are awe inspiring and freeing. As a reader, they are equally amazing and entertaining. His asides and illustrations don’t detract from the story, they add to it.
Vonnegut is one of those authors I would short list on those if you could only read the works of five authors again, he would be on it without a doubt.
This is not my first or even third copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I have long since worn them out, lost them or loaned them and never received them back. This masterpiece of absurdist science fiction gives the answer to Life, the Universe, & Everything. That answer is 42. It also gives us two great pieces of advice: Don’t Panic and always bring a towel. It is a perennial favorite and reread. This book and the humor in it actually helped me find the eighth book in this list.
So, grab your towel and climb aboard, but don’t forget your Babel fish.
I really could not decide on this one. I have had a love for Neil Gaiman since I picked up my first Sandman comic 150 years ago, or the early 90’s if you want to be closer to accurate. One of my most prized possessions is an autographed Sandman trade paperback. I lost the full run, a few busts and statues and a framed Death print in Katrina. My wife found a copy of the first trade that collected the first several issues and gave it to me as a present. That’s what I have signed. It’s one of the first things on my list to pack if we need to evacuate.
Gaiman has a way of speaking to the soul. His writing is both wry and serious. He can insert humor in the most unlikely places, and every time I read something of his, I learn something. If I could be half the writer he is, I would be more than I can dream.
The second book is very much a favorite and one I try to reread every couple of years. Sometimes I’ll start with The Hobbit, but mostly I just start at chapter one and read through the complete Lord of the Rings. I know technically it’s considered three books, but Tolkien had written it as one and I read it that way. After all, who can read just The Two Towers without the other two? I certainly can’t. Even though LOTR is a gateway drug to fantasy and further to science fiction, I still need to keep it around.
Tolkien created a world I love to get lost in. I love everything about it, but don’t ask me to pronounce Elvish. I can’t do that very well. I used to have more editions and prettier ones than what’s pictured below (next to one of the two college textbooks I have remaining), but as long as I’m able to read it, I’m happy.