My Favourite Christmas Reads

One of my favourite things about Christmas is sitting back and having a good read. What are your favourite fiction books and why did they have such an impact on you? Here’s my top ten:

1. The Hobbit. My dad read this to me as a child and I used to beg him to keep reading when it was time for bed. He just smiled and told me to read it myself. I did of course, but not till much later.

2. The BFG. My dad bribed me with 10p a chapter to read it, but his wallet soon regretted it as I kept my eyes open long past bedtime, fully engrossed in the world of the Big Friendly Giant. This was the last time I had to be bribed to read a book.

3. South Sea Adventure. Willard Price’s Adventure Series had a great deal in common with Enid Blyton’s books but were all based around children’s adventures with real life animals such as killer whales and tigers. Interestingly there is now serious speculation that Price was a American spy during his time in Japan in the 1930s.

4. Rendezvous with Rama. It’s hard to pick the best Arthur C Clarke book; there’s nothing in modern Sci-Fi to match them today. To be honest I was too young to read this when I did, but without Clarke I probably wouldn’t have gone into a career in science.

5. Lord of the Rings. Tolkien had me engrossed again at age 14. I lay on the beach in Lanzarote barely noticing the sun and beautiful sea. Instead I was fleeing the Nazgul up Weathertop hill with Frodo and Strider.

6. Lord Foul’s Bane. Donaldson’s masterpiece trilogy, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, is a worthy successor to Lord of the Rings in my opinion and with its dark undertones and antihero in Covenant, had a big affect on me as a brooding 16 year old.

7. The Dragonlance Legends. I borrowed this Dungeons & Dragons based trilogy from my best friend Ed, and gave it back in tatters. I don’t think he’s forgiven me even now. Rasitlin, the wizard so ambitious he wants to replace the gods, was a perfect outlet for a frustrated teenager still finding his place in the world.

8. Magician. Another fantasy book, another special read. The opening sequence where the unlikely named hero Pug meets his mentor, has yet to be bettered in any fantasy book. After the complex and sometimes disturbing world of Donaldson this was a comforting throwback to traditional fantasy.

9. Dune. Is this best Science Fiction book of all time? The genius of this book was the equal weight Herbert gave to the technical aspects of his invented world and its Zen-like philosophy. This book hit undergraduate me right between the eyes and sparked my later interest in Zen.

10. Dandelion Wine. In this book Ray Bradbury combines his beautiful short stories into the perfect taste of a childhood summer. If I could write like anyone, I would write like Ray.

Okay, it’s only supposed to be a list of 10, but…

11. Neuromancer. Not only did Gibson foretell the internet age but he also made me seriously question the ability of humans to survive it. Made me cry.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Happiness is Not a Disease
    Dec 23, 2013 @ 16:57:59

    Wow, this is a great list! And ugh, if only my dad offered to bribe me for the same thing I would have been a rich kid bwaha


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