Books on my mind

Not so long ago, I wrote a post about sleep, and the effect blue light from digital devices may have on it. To counteract that effect, I went back to reading print books at night. I’ve read eight books since then, all from my home ‘library’:

This is a photo of my actual lounge room. The only thing I’ve changed is the view from the window. Each shelf contains a double row of books, and there are two more shelves on the other side of the fireplace. There is also a long shelf that stretches across the top of each window. A lot of books. πŸ™‚

I spent over an hour just looking through my books, searching for old favourites to re-read. Now they’re piled up on my bedside table. -rubs hands with glee-

This is Amazon’s picture of the first seven books I read:

They are part of the Death Gate Cycle written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. The first volume in the series – Dragon Wing – was published in 1990, and I would have read it soon after it was published.

The Death Gate Cycle is fantasy of a quality similar to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I loved it when I first read it, and I loved it the second time around. If you love fantasy and haven’t read this series, what are you waiting for? lol

The eighth book takes me back to my sci-fi roots – Door into Summer, by Robert Heinlein:

The cover of my paperback is very different to the ones shown on Amazon, but that’s hardly surprising as it was printed in 1957! [No! I was just a toddler back then. I bought the paperback from a second hand book shop, sometime in the 70’s]

Unlike some of Heinlein’s later works, such as Stranger in a Strange Land [1961], The Door into Summer is a simple story about a man, his cat, time travel and a bit of revenge thrown in for good measure. What makes the book so memorable is that it’s almost prophetic when it comes to technology.

Heinlein was a trained engineer and, sometime before 1957 [when the book was published], he ‘invented’ driverless cars, Auto CAD, domestic robots far more sophisticated than the Roomba, synthetic bacon, and a heap of other ‘gadgets’ that left me speechless. The only thing he got wrong was the era. The story begins in 1970 and jumps forward 30 years to 2000. We’re only now starting to enjoy some of the gadgets he invented in the mid 1950’s.

Sadly, getting the timing right is something even the best science fiction writer can’t manage because inspired guesswork can only go so far. 1984 anyone? The future never turns out the way we think it will. Probably a good thing. πŸ™‚

To keep track of all the print books I intend to re-read, I’ve created a new category for the blog. It’s simply called ‘Books’. Within Books there are two sub-categories:

  • Golden Oldies
  • Awesome Indies

I won’t review the Golden Oldies as they are famous already, but I will discuss what it is that I like about them, especially when it comes to the development of science fiction. I will review the Awesome Indie titles though. They are every bit as good as my beloved Golden Oldies. Indie books I’ve reviewed in the past will be moved to this new category as well.

So, do you ever take a walk through your reading history? Are there any books in there that have withstood the test of time? Care to share?

cheers

Meeks

 

 

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

23 responses to “Books on my mind

  • Forestwood

    The best way to fall asleep is to read a book.

    Like

  • DawnGillDesigns

    one of the joys of the t’interweb, and a laptop, is sitting in bed of a morning, visiting the library πŸ™‚ Sadly they only have audio books of Robert Heinlein’s and none of the Wies books at all. I shall have to look at kobo instead.

    Like

  • Matthew Wright

    Heinlein was a genius all round – a wonderfully talented writer as well as inventor. He worked on pressure suits for the US Navy in the 1940s, with the result that ‘Have Spacesuit, Will Travel’ (1958) precisely described what was needed (in practise, NASA discovered that the method he described of air-flow cooling wasn’t sufficient, but that’s a minor issue). I gather there were also some shenanigans over the patent for the modern waterbed, which was finally awarded to Heinlein on the basis that he’d basically invented it, by very detailed description, in one of his novels.

    Like

    • acflory

      Omg…I had no idea he’d actually patented some of his inventions. Although to be honest, I read most of his books back in the 70’s, and I was only really focused on the stories then, not the man.
      Looking back, I can see how he influenced both what I consider to be good storytelling, and my need to have the science at least possible, even if not plausible.

      Liked by 1 person

  • DawnGillDesigns

    oh, I’m looking forward to this new section. And I shall see if our library has any of your recommendations. Thank you. I don’t do much revisiting – significantly less now I can buy books and visit the library still in my jammies. I have reread all the Rebus, Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall since converting our spare room to a studio – because I ran out of room, and had to decide what I could part with. I wanted to get shot of the 2foot of encyclopedias my grandfather bound in school, but noone else in the family wants them, so I’m stuck with them, and feeling guilty about it! .

    Like

    • acflory

      I’ve made a start, but as I only read my old favourites at bedtime, it’ll take a while. At least I won’t run out of reading material any time soon!

      Your grandfather /bound/ the encyclopedias?? Definitely can’t get rid of them.

      I love Rebus and some of Atwood, they’re both part of my next reading pile, but I haven’t read Hilary Mantel. I’ll check it out on Amazon. Thanks for the tip. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  • marianallen

    I’ll be on the lookout for that Death Gate Cycle at the Friends of the Library. Like I need more books…. Reread–I’m currently rereading THUS WAS ADONIS MURDERED by Sarah Caudwell. Funniest damn mystery ever written. I reread Jerome K. Jerome’s THREE MEN IN A BOAT, TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG pretty often. It’s a cure for melancholy. My late friend left me her Harry Dresden mystery collection, so I’ll be rereading those. Michael Williams (who used to write Dragonlance books) has a new City Quartet set out; I already had two and had read them, but I just bought the new set and will be reading/rereading those.

    Like

    • acflory

      Oh…more goodies! My go-to re-read is Frank Herbert’s Dune. I’ve read the entire 6 volumes at least eight times, no kidding. Herbert is closely followed by Tad Williams’ Otherland quatro. Then Robin Hobb’s Farseer books. These are the ones I re-read regularly because they always lift me out of myself and take me to far away places. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  • ChrisJamesAuthor

    I think it must be something about getting older that I prefer to revisit old books like trusted friends rather than try new stories, and I have also found that since I started writing fiction, I’ve stopped reading it because I tend to do so with a more critical eye. But time and again I find myself reaching for one of Max Hastings’ military history books; it’s not just the subject matter, which I find endlessly fascinating, but also his command of the language. Hastings crafts each sentence he writes with absolute precision, which makes him a joy to read.

    Like

    • acflory

      For me, reading is a kind of addiction, so I can’t stop, but I do agree completely with the ‘critical eye’ bit. I’ve become unashamedly picky, but then, when I do stumble across a new gem, it feels like champagne and fireworks! lol
      If the success of Repulse et al., is anything to go by, you’re not the only one who loves military history. Speaking of, how’s the latest coming along? Have you had much chance to write or is the new job still too new?

      Liked by 1 person

      • ChrisJamesAuthor

        Totally agree with the addiction thing, but the highs are better from known, reliable dealers πŸ˜‰
        The WIP is moving on; the new job starts at the beginning of November so I’m free till then. Not so much a man of leisure as a man of 100 jobs to do around the house πŸ™‚ *hugs*

        Like

        • acflory

          -giggles- I beg to differ! Actually, re-reading my old print books has highlighted just how well my favourite Indie writers compare to the greats of yester year. Seriously.
          Ah, sorry, I thought you’d already begun. lol I guess starting the new job will actually be a chance for you to ‘rest’. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

          Liked by 1 person

  • Widdershins

    I remember being gobsmacked by the Death Gate Cycle books, and love the occasional and deliberately, I hope, hammy dialogue. πŸ˜€ … now about your library/lounge room … are you taking adoption applications at this time? πŸ˜€ … it is truly gorgeous!

    Like

  • Audrey Driscoll

    So many of the old paperbacks in my house came from used bookstores. In the ’70s and ’80s, I loved those places, of which there were many in Vancouver BC (where I went to university). They were quite funky, often operated by eccentrics. I didn’t buy much “great literature” there, but bestsellers of the day (Stephen King, P.D. James, et al.) could be had for a fraction of their original prices.

    Like

    • acflory

      Ha hah! Kindred spirit. πŸ™‚ I also haunted the second hand book shelves of opp. shops [second hand ‘opportunity’ shops run by volunteers for various charities]. Almost all of my hardcovers came from there. No first editions, but I’ve got some curious old titles that have probably been out of print for 70 or 80 years. I still love my Kindle, but the print books are ‘friends’. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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