Saturday, January 24, 2009

The ones I've already read: Fahrenheit 451

When I was a sophomore in high school, I fell in love. I fell in love with Clarisse McClellan, the teenager in the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. She was my favorite character in all of literature at that time; idealistic (like me) and endlessly patient with her book-burning fireman (not like me).

I also fell in love with this novel, and it is my favorite sci-fi novel to this day. As a teenager, I furrowed my brow quite seriously at the evil of censorship, but I also romanticized the adventure of it all. Imagine, committing the noble crime of owning a book. Over time I've learned it's not that much of an adventure: just ask the CBLDF. Or the man they are currently defending for the crime of owning manga.

Which is why the book was relevant to me almost 40 years after it was originally published, and which is why it is still relevant now, 56 years after it was published.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Regarding the Chronicles of Narnia

You may have noticed, it's on the list. But it's not on my list, the list of books within the list, which I have already read.

Which seems wrong. To me, anyway.

I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a child. I remember a collection of the entire series, arranged in the order in which they were written, which is the way it was back then, although these days they seem to be arranged in chronological order whenever they are packaged for sale as a collection. I can't remember if the books belonged to me or my older sister, but I know that she read all of them, and I read the first one. I may have started the second one, but I don't really remember. Since then I've meant to read the entire series. Haven't done it yet.

On a somewhat related note, I have a cat named Aislan. Not Aslan, Aislan. He is not named after the famous Jesus lion, although I guess there probably are a lot of house cats named Aslan out there. His name is a Gaelic name, which everyone mispronounces as Aslan, and which I later learned I was mispronouncing as ACE-lin, but at that point it was too late, as I was too fond of calling him "Ace" for short (the name should be pronounced ASH-lin, and is also a female name, which are just two examples of the trouble with looking up Gaelic names on the Internet).

The idea.

The Guardian posted its list of 1000 novels everyone must read.

Of the cleverly divided categories, the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror category was the only one I was interested in reviewing to see what made the list. I found myself a bit disappointed in all the novels on the list which I had not read.

This is not to say that their list is the very definition of smart or worthy or cool, and I am none of these things because I have not read many of the books on the list. I just always feel as if, for someone who loves to read, and for someone who loves sci-fi and fantasy movies and comic books, I just have not read enough novels in these genres.

Often, I find I have not read many because I don't know where to start.

So here's my starting place. The 149 novels that made this list. And yay, it turns out I own a few of them but have not read them yet, so I'll clearly start with those.

And of course, I have read some of them. 16 in fact. These are:

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling (we like to call this one Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone here in the States, Guardian)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
The Sword in the Stone by TH White
Orlando by Virginia Woolf

16 down, 133 to go.