12 April 2016

15 books that stayed with you

I was tagged on Facebook by Dyspeptic Dale to list 15 books that have stayed with me, and to do it in only a few minutes without thinking.  I'm reposting that list here.

Hmmm... Off the top of my head, in no particular order,

1. The Bible, particularly Job, for some reason.

2. Any of the original Conan stories by Robert E Howard. My first love in reading.  A small part of me shall always regret that I am not a barbarian, appearing as an image wrought in bronze, who rose in the North to tread the jeweled thrones of the world beneath my sandaled feet.

3. Lord of the Rings. probably no explanation necessary.

4. The works of Shakespeare. I almost got my PhD in Renaissance English (had to quit, long story) so that was a sucker bet, although my favourite play was

5. The Knight of the Burning Pestle, written by Beaumont and Fletcher, the men who replaced Bill as the chief writer for the King's Men after he retired. It's a post modern classic written four hundred years before there was any modernism for anyone to be post over.

6. Milton's Paradise Lost.

7. Moby Dick- one of the great polarizers. You either love it, or you think it's a fat dumb book.

8 a & b. Herodotus and Thucydides.  Should include Livy as well.

9. Homer. As John C Wright once said, the whole of the western canon is practically a footnote to this work.

10 The Aeneid. My aborted dissertation was about the figure of Aeneas in the Renaissance, so...

11. Ovid's Metamorphosis. You have no business reading the Renaissance unless you have Ovid under your belt first.

12. Chaucer. It was Auden who once wrote about Chaucer, Gower and their ten thousand brothers anonymous and wondered how they, in the time of the black death, the hundred years war, a time when a third didn't see their first birthday nor half their tenth, where a toothache could be fatal, could write about joy and happiness, whereas in our time we need to take antidepressants.

13. Screwtape Letters and the Abolition of Man- both influenced me greatly.

14. The Belgariad- just a fun read.

15. Ghosts Have Warm Hands, William Bird's first hand account of the First World War. His section dealing with Passchendaele is one of the most haunting passages I have ever read in any book of any era in any genre.

Anyone who wants to play, feel free to consider yourself tagged.

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