Posted by: John McGerr | February 15, 2009

Literary musings


I recently bought the Sony Reader. For me it’s almost perfect – as many books as memory will store all in one small package. My only gripe with it is that not all of my favourite books are available for it…yet. I have been an avid reader for years. The first ‘grown-up’ book I can remeber reading was a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories. It was apt as a good deal of my previous reading had been Hardy Boys mysteries and Enid Blyton.  Stephen King and Dean Koontz introduced me to darker world as did Wuthering Heights. But it was John Ronald Reuel Tolkien who really altered my reading habits with his Lord of the Rings trilogy, after which I read the Hobbit and the Silmarillion, and the various books published by his son Christopher.  A growing passion for fantasy led me to Stephen Donaldson, Terry Goodkind and Steven Erikson(his Malazan series is incredible). I also began to read Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter and other sci-fi luminaries. I still revisit the worlds of crime and horror, Patricia Cornwell, David Lindsey, Tess Gerittsen, James Herbert, Clive Barker. I liked Eric Lustbader’s Ninja series. One of my favourite books of all time is Marcel Pagnol’s Jean De Florette and Manon of the Springs(I also recommend the movies). Non- fiction books I have enjoyed too – biographies of Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart, Steve McQueen and Pele. I also liked Graham Hancock’s alternative histories. Other books I’d recommend are Stephen E. Ambrose’s Band of Brothers about Easy Company – the 101st Airborne in World War II(watch the TV series too – it’s excellent), Robert Fisk’s Pity the Nation Lebanon at War – though not up to minute it’s a picture of a troubled land – William G. McLoughlin’s After the Trail of Tears the story of the Cherokee Nation following their forced relocation, Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee tales from the Native American side of the coin and Asne Seierstad’s The Bookseller of Kabul.I have even read Stephen Hawkings A Brief Hsitory of Time though I admit there are sections of it I still can’t understand, even though I have re-read it a number of times. And yes, I do like re-reading some of the books in my collection. I share the sentiment, expressed by someone else, the re-reading a favourite book is like re-visiting an old friend. [PS has anyone else noted how many of the author’s I like are called Stephen??]

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