March 11, 2005 spout

Some Of My Favorite Books

I was just putting together a list of some of my favorite books as recommendations for a gift certificate I sent to a friend as a birthday present. If case you’re wondering (I know you’re all dying to know : ), here’s what I sent:


  • Angels and Demons,” by Dan Brown, is the prequel to the famous Da Vinci Code and much better, imo.
  • John Sandford’s long series about a millionaire cop in Minneapolis starts with Rules of Prey.” If I were to write my own series of novels, these are the ones I’d emulate.
  • A Time to Kill,” by John Grisham, is his first and by far his best book. The movie’s really good, too.
  • The Bone Collector,” by Jeff Deaver, is the first (and my favorite) in a series about a bitter, suicidal forensics genius that loses his career when an accident turns him a quadriplegic and he has to solve crimes from his bed. Avoid the movie.
  • Tough Guys Don’t Dance,” by Norman Mailer, is my favorite book by this Pulitzer Prize winner. The first chapter starts with a loser waking up from an alcoholic black-out, going out to look for his drug stash, finding his wife’s head instead and spending the rest of the book wondering if he killed her or not. Run, don’t walk, from the movie. If you have to be run over by a bus in the process, consider yourself lucky.


  • War for the Oaks,” by Emma Bull, is about a punk band leader that falls in love with an elf from the St. Paul, MN parks. No matter how many times I read it, but the end I’m always crying (and yes, I’m just that kind of sap).
  • The Silent Tower,” by Barbara Hambly, is the first of a three-part series about a modern day female geek that falls in love with a real wizard from another dimension. The relationship that builds between them is as good as any romance novel I’ve ever read (which is admittedly a small number…)
  • Of course, The Hobbit” and The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, by J. R. R. Tolkien has to be on anyone’s list. If you loved the movies, you’ll love the books. I believe that The Hobbit” is a better book over all; it’s tighter and happier and I’m very much looking forward to the movie, especially if Peter Jackson does it. However, my favorite part of the four books is the coming home” part at the back half of The Return of the King,” which is given a 3-minute scene in the movie (although I admit it’s a nicely done scene).


  • On Basilisk Station,” by David Weber, is the first in a long series about a driven, capable woman rising through the ranks of the space navy in spite of the extreme assholes working double-time against her. The main character is so compelling that I cry at the end of 3 of the first 4 books in this series (did I mention what a sap I was?).
  • Ender’s Game,” by Orson Scott Card, is about a boy genius coddled by his sister, tortured by his brother and abandoned by his parents to military school where he saves the world from bug-eyed aliens before he’s old enough for his voice to change. This book is widely regarded as one of the best pieces of modern science fiction that there is. The sequels in the original series are also excellent, but you can skip the other related series w/o missing much.
  • Snow Crash,” by Neal Stephenson, is a classic tale of a pizza delivery man/samurai named Hiro Protagonist” and his virtual reality gear. It’s also one of the seminal works in the cyberpunk” genre.
  • The Running Man,” by Steven King, is about a man that can’t tolerate his place in the society of the future, so rams a commercial airliner into the top floor of an evil television network responsible for man’s downfall (you can see the ending coming a mile away, but it’s still very satisfying). Much, much better than the movie.


  • Shipping News,” by Annie Proulx, is an actual Pulitzer Price winner and as such, is different from your average reading” book. However, I love its quirkiness and the movie ain’t bad, either.
  • One L,” by Scott Turow. This is Turow’s first book chronicling his first year in law school. I read this one once every few years or so and it always makes me want to go to law school.