Monday, December 16, 2013

Books that have Stayed with Me, Part 1

Recently, a meme went around facebook asking people to quickly list ten books that have stayed with them over time. My first thought was, only ten books? How could I possibly do that. Many hundreds of books have stayed with me. However, the guidelines also said not to give it a lot of thought so I just jotted down ten. But, as I usually do when it comes to books, I wanted more, and I wanted to say why certain books have stayed with me. On my blog then, I decided to give an expanded version of my list. And I pushed it to twelve. It might take me a couple of blog posts to get through this, but here, in no particular order, are some of those books.

1. A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This is perhaps the purest “story” I’ve ever read. ERB didn’t waste time justifying things or explaining ‘how’ things happened. He pitched you headlong into adventure and let you sink or swim. I learned to swim, and to this day I find this kind of sword and planet adventure to be my most enjoyable reading experience. Not to mention that this book is a primary influence on much of my writing, particularly the Talera series.

2. To Tame a Land, by Louis L’Amour. Another pure story. This time a western. A youth and his father are crossing the plains with a wagon train when their wagon breaks down. The rest of the train rolls on past, leaving them behind. From this premise, a series of adventures take our youthful character into adulthood. All the boring parts are left out. Ryan Tyler, the character from this book, is my favorite fictional gunfighter.

3. The Sowers of the Thunder, by Robert E. Howard. This is a collection of four short stories by REH, “The Lion of Tiberias,” “The Sowers of the Thunder,” “Lord of Samarcand,” and “The Shadow of the Vulture,” all set against the backdrop of the crusades. I love a good story but I also love good writing. This collection has some simply beautiful poetic writing that ignites my imagination every time I pick it up. In addition, I’m also a fan of archetypal characters and Howard’s crusader tales are the perfect trifecta, from Red Sonya to John Norwald, these characters are bigger than life and cannot be forgotten.


4. Teot’s War, by Heather Gladney. Gladney’s tale is also a fine story, but the writing here is simply exquisite. I often pick this book up just to read her prose. Few stories have so put me “into” a world as this one.
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23 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The only one I've read is the first one, and agree with you. I like that writing style - I don't need to know how, just make it happen.

Ron Scheer said...

Your description of reading A Princess of Mars reminds me H Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines.

ninthmuse (roz m) said...

I've never given up hope that the rest of the series in the Song of Naga Teot might someday be published.

Charles Gramlich said...

Alex, all good stuff.

Ron, I read that Haggard book much later in life and enjoyed it. I suspect I would have liked it more if I'd have found it when I was younger.

Ninthmuse, there were only two published ones weren't there? Teot's War and Blood song?

Tom Doolan said...

I have not read nearly enough Louis L'Amour (in fact, hardly any at all). Perhaps this one would be a good place to start. And totally agree on APoM.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I often think about how different we are, Charles. In books, movies and music, are choices are never the same. And yet we share the same love of books, which is the most important thing after all.

Charles Gramlich said...

Tom, this is a good one to start, or A Man Called noon. utah Blaine. there are many good uns.

Patti, yes, it's interesting at times how far apart we are in favorites, and yet, still agree on the language of books itself.

Chris said...

Awesome. Looking forward to the rest.

Brian Miller said...

nice...i will have to pick up 3 & 4....i am familiar with both one and two...and i agree they are both very good....

Vesper said...

I've only read the first one... I also loved "The Land that Time Forgot"...

Riot Kitty said...

I'm with you. Just 10? Interesting choices. I haven't read any of these.

Charles Gramlich said...

Chris, two more installments.

Brian, Teot's war is exceptionally lovely.

Vesper, that is a favorite of mine as well. There are three in that series. All great.

Riot Kitty, all genre fiction.

Cloudia said...

Howard and Gladney, eh? Thanks!



ALOHA to YOU
from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
=^..^= <3

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I know what you mean about Edgar Rice Burroughs. He is one of very few authors whose novels I can still read in less than half a day (in two hours in my youth). He told stories without wasting time.

jodi said...

Charles-thanks for the insight on books I have never read. Not usually my genres, but you make them sound so very good!

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, both very poetical, but also there is plenty of violence. More in Howard than Gladney.

Prashant, as someone said, he leaves out the boring parts.

Jodi, to me they were among the best

Barbara Martin said...

I have not read any of these books, but as they have stayed with you over time perhaps I should give one or two a try.

Charles Gramlich said...

Barbara Martin, if you read any genre work, these might be ok for you.

the walking man said...

I surfed that meme with the first full length book I ever read (The Babe Ruth Story) in 2nd grade all the way to War and Peace.

But your right afterwards so many more came to mind.

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denesovitch--Solzhenitsyn. This book nearly got him put in the Gulag he was writing about.

A Painted House--John Grisham--this one stuck with me because it was him breaking fully away from his good lawyer genre.

Even now I could go on for few thousand more words but then *shrug* we all read what interests us.

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, aye, tis true. I just talk about what books interest me more. I've only read some of the Lawyer Grisham, which I wasn't super keen on.

Snowbrush said...

I wonder if the L'Amour book was inspired by the Donner Party since they too left someone behind.

Charles Gramlich said...

Snowbrush, I'm sure that was one element. The book doesn't follow that story line but the concept is one L'Amour was certainly familiar with.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Louis L'Amour... yep, everything they wrote I read. Their styles, characters, and worlds have stayed with me forever.