Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014 - The Year of the Hardcover Book

One of the conclusion I had at the turn of the New Year was to start collecting the hardbound copies of the classic works from science fiction and fantasy.  Part of the reasoning was my simply voracious appetite for reading when I was younger, single and not a father of two.  This left me with an astounding collection of softbound and paperback novels that really only served the purpose of filling shelf space and boxes in storage.  I needed to get rid of them, so I did.  My wife had bought me a Kobo a few years back and since then I've been nearly exclusively reading ebooks on that platform. I like the Kobo and the experience of the e-Readers.  That said, there is something to be said for the tangible element of reading.  So spring forth my desire to collect the classics.

There are a few definitive beginning points: the Lord of the Rings trilogy, 1984 and the like.  There are only too numerous a list of classic works from either science fiction or fantasy or those that combine both.  A few examples (of hundreds):

NPR List of 100 Top Science Fiction & Fantasy Books

Flavorwire's Top 50 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels That Everyone Should Read

Top 100 Fantasy Books

Top 25 Fantasy Books

Top 25 Science Fiction Books

I'm currently finishing up the Lord of the Rings trilogy that I borrowed from my father-in-law.  I received 1984, by George Orwell, for Christmas and I plan on getting around ten classics this year, reading them all and providing a review of each.  My short list of purchases for 2014 are the following, in no particular order:

1.  Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card:  Politics aside, I was completely enthralled by this novel when I first read it.  I read the entire Ender series in paperback, finding the following works delving into harder science fiction than I was used to at the time.  There were a few parts of his later works that don't strike well with me either, but this was before the days of pervasive Internet and some of OSC's more recent and infamous statements.  That said, this the first in the series is a definite for my collection.

2.  Dune, by Frank Herbert:  Another classic I read in my youth, I vaguely remember the details.  I do recall watching the movie shortly thereafter and grudgingly accepting it as a 'decent' rendition of the novel.  I fully understood the limitations that Hollywood had in regards to production and special effects.  Regardless, I am fully committed to adding this one to my collection.

3.  The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle:  I have never read this book, yet from everything I have heard and read it is something of a masterpiece of english fantasy.  My only connection to this work is the animated version, something of a psychadelic tale that involved a little unicorn, a small group of friends and a flaming bull.  I laugh as I try to recall the details, only to find myself truly wondering how far some interpretations can sometimes differ from the written work.

4. The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula Le Guin:  Another I have not read but continuously appears on must-read lists.

5. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, by Philip K. Dick:  I've been a huge fan of Bladerunner since I saw the film for the first time.  The film resonates still, through various re-releases and different renditions (original score, Director's cut, etc).  When I found out this was adapted from a novel, I immediately bought it for my Kobo.  I enjoyed it so much I know it must be one of the first half-dozen for my collection.

6.  Starship Troopers, by Robert A. Heinlein:  After having seen the cinematic version, I suppose it could be forgiven that it took me over a decade to get to the novel.  I actually did it because of a challenge someone posted on a message board; that passionate refusal to accept the cheesy film as anything related to the book drew my attention, and I was stunned at just how much I had missed in those intervening years!  A definite addition.

So those are the defines that I have on my radar.  I've already read the Wheel of Time series but have no interest in collecting it hardbound.  I also have George R.R. Martin's series, A Song of Ice and Fire, sitting in my Kobo; I'll read those willingly in e-format and get the completed set once complete, desperately hoping it doen't go the way of Wheel of Time.  

Other than that, does anything seem out of place or significantly overlooked?  I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions.  I've got four more spots to round out the ten that I'd like to start with this year.

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