Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Favorites and Masters, My Take

One of the things I’ve discovered is that books that I held dear in my youth don’t always stand up to re-reading now that I’ve become more aware of the craft of writing. It’s the whole Man Behind the Curtain syndrome. Magic appears less awesome once you’ve seen the strings and know to watch The Other Hand.

That being said there are specific books that I will always consider masterful, even if I have vowed never to re-read them, least I spoil the magic.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Last Call by Tim Powers
When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger
Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson
Days of Atonement by Walter Jon Williams
Trouble and Her Friends by Melissa Scott
Ring of Swords by Eleanor Arnason
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Zen Attitude by Sujata Massey
The Bright Spot by Robert Sydney
WarChild by Karen Lowachee
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffery
Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Short Stories:
“Grammarian’s Five Daughters” by Eleanor Arnason
“On Venus Have We Got a Rabbi” by William Tenn
“The Tale of the Golden Eagle” by David Levine
“Written In Blood” by Chris Lawson
"The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury
"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut
"World Well Lost" by Theodore Sturgeon
"Eyes of Amber" by Joan Vinge

Of course the problem with these lists is that as soon as I make them I can think of twenty more books I consider masterful.


SQT said...

I have read and reread all of McCaffrey several times. It always stands up (thank goodness). And Enders Game is fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Oooooo . . ."The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury. Man I just love that story. :-)

Kelly McCullough said...

I'd call the choice not to reread a wise one. There woud be many more perfect books on my list if I hadn't gone back to them after having become a writer.

SQT said...

I tend to disagree. I write as well and have found that by going back to what I admire I can learn from it.

I will probably never stop re-reading bpoks. Call it a personal quirk.

Kelly McCullough said...

Oh, I do reread, I just think there's some wisdom in choosing not to do so.

The books on my perfect list all fit the category of good rereads. I learn from Tim Powers every time I reread him. At the same time, books I loved when I was younger often do not stand up well to my more critical post-writing reading mode. Some do. Many do not, and it's quite sad to have treasured memories overwritten with aggravation or dissapointment.