Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Top 5 Fiction Favorites

I recently finished reading two Charles Dickens novels and liked one of them so much that I thought to myself, “you know, this is easily in my top five favorite novels of all time”. That thought prompted the question of what exactly are my top five favorite works of fiction and the answer came so easily that it seemed significant enough to get on record. I like to do this sort of thing because it’s a given that preferences will change over time and it’s neat to look back years later and see what my tastes were at a particular phase of my life.

I’ve been an avid reader through most of my adult life but have always underestimated the value of fiction, being more concerned with history and fact and how the world works and why things are the way they are. You can go a long way towards that with non-fiction, assuming you do your homework and always try to get the background on the author’s motivation and agenda and what factors are involved with their particular point of view. Everyone is bullshitting you to some extent, just as you bullshit others and yourself to some degree. We can’t help it. But we can consider information that is presented to us with that in mind. The importance of this cannot be understated if you are truly interested in gaining an accurate view of the world.

But anyway…I’ve generally neglected fiction because I’ve been interested in learning about reality and practical things that I can apply in my own life. It’s only been over the last few years that I have ventured off into the wide, wonderful world of novels. And in doing so I’ve come to realize you can learn a tremendous amount from them also. Instead of facts and figures you learn about the human condition and the limitless scope of human creativity and imagination. Non-fiction can make you smart but fiction can make you wise. Personally I have come to value wisdom over intelligence.

So without any further ado here are my top five favorite fiction works (in order):

1. Jitterbug Perfume – Tom Robbins
2. Siddhartha – Herman Hesse
3. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
4. Island – Aldous Huxley
5. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy – J.R.R. Tolkien

This, of course, is subject to change and the number five was totally arbitrary.

Maybe next time I’ll do top ten.


Anonymous said...

Mmmm... Favourite fiction books...

Stopped reading fiction when I was about 20.
Biggles series (ex British WWII flying ace), Mark Corrigan series (007 type), LotR (of course), devoured SF (Galaxy, Nebula, etc.).

From then and overlapping all non-fiction – Science; loved Astronomy, Cosmology and Earth Sciences, People Sciences (read and liked Jung).

Now - Current Affairs and Science.

When I first read Les' work I told him I hadn't read anything like his writings (nothing had excited me like his work) since my sf days. His content has changed since then as his goal was to reach a wider audience; he has achieved that.


Ben There said...

I mainly read current affairs and history myself but have enjoyed some science along the way also.

Les's writing blew me away instantly. I was never big on the Smoking Mirrors type stuff, just not my cup of tea, but Depending on where you are in your life, his early work is life changing material. I agree his audience has widened and his content has changed. I'm glad to see that many people connecting with that sort of material. I still go back and read his older stuff from time to time.