I've been in love with this book ever since I first read it fifteen years ago. I've gained a small bit of objective criticism about it since, and I will say that it takes a while to get into gear, but once the character of Jubal Harshaw is introduced, the story really starts to take off. Harshaw as a character really serves as a mouthpiece for Heinlein, and Jubal is used to convey many of Heinlein's opinions. I feel this book is an excellent look at just what it means to be a human being, from the perspective of someone from Mars.
I feel that this book just about exactly captures how I feel about my term of service in the United States Marine Corps, the sheer absurdity of it all. So I guess I feel a bit of a personal connection to this book.
I'm not going to lie, I rarely recommend this book to people, despite how much I love it. I think this book can be an incredible challenge to many readers. The story moves a bit slowly, but I love the ideas Frank Herbert puts forth. When you set a book 10,000 years into the future, it gives you a lot of room to play with ideas and concepts that would take just that long to develop. It is a novel that functions as commentary on environmentalism, politics, philosophy, and genetics, among other topics. Also, this a book that has it's own glossary.
I love the imagination of Neil Gaiman, and I love how he plays with the mythologies that I grew up with. He also weaves in a bit of the philosophy of Joseph Campbell, despite Gaiman's testimony that he hasn't ever read anything by Campbell.
I can just about guarantee that you will never read a book quite like this one. I think that the way that this book takes several different story lines, and weaves them all together is handled in a marvelously inventive way.
I love the biting satire that Vonnegut brings to all of his works. I feel this novel is a look at the illogical nature of human beings, told through the perspective of a man who has become "unstuck" in time. If it sounds bizarre, that's because it is, but then again, so is life.
Most novels set in a post-apocalyptic setting have a strange appeal for me, and I usually feel like I'd like to live in them, if only for a time. This is the exception. The relentless bleak world that the man and the boy inhabit is unlike anything I've ever read. This is a world that has been destroyed. It is a dying world that is brutal in it's desolation. The focus isn't on how the world ended, no one has time for that luxury, because every day is a struggle to survive.
If there were ever a situation where the book is better than the movie, this is it. In fact, most movies about Frankenstein seem to have almost no relation to the book at all, it's as though it were a completely different story. The creature may be one of the most sympathetic characters ever created.
I'm not sure how to describe such a classic book. If you haven't read it, I strongly encourage you to do so. If you have read it, then you know what I'm talking about. The world that Tolkien creates is absolutely gorgeous. He took great care in crafting this world and it's mythology, and even the languages in it, and it shows.
This book isn't the most entertaining read, in and of itself, but it is instead a tool. A tool that can and will greatly enhance your knowledge and appreciation of literature. You may even notice that it can enhance your own life, and the journey you never knew you were on.
I used to think that Ernest Hemingway was the greatest author who ever lived. I've since tempered my opinion considerably. Now I think he's just a good author. I still do think that this is his finest work. It's a very sad love story. I can also see now how some may think that Hemingway may be a bit misogynistic, but I don't think it's quite so noticeable here. He isn't known for creating strong female characters, and I suppose you won't find any here either.
I like Clive Barker's brand of horror. I feel that there is a dash of H.P. Lovecraft here, with unknowable horrors closing in, and it is combined with the opinion that human beings are little more than walking piles of meat that happen to have personalities and feelings.
The best, most believable dystopian future in literature. For comparison to 1984 I refer to this article:
Social critic Neil Postman contrasts the worlds of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World in the foreword of his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He writes:
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that our desire will ruin us.
This is one of the most brutally violent books I've ever read. It's also fairly difficult to read and make sense of. At first I found it incredibly frustrating, but then it started to dawn on me that that might actually be an intentional effect. This book is a like trying to read a bad acid trip, and it is both simultaneously revolting and fascinating.
This book is really the origin of modern zombie movies/literature. It is interesting to note that it isn't even about zombies, it's about vampires. I like the utter isolation that Robert Neville faces. You really feel like you understand his despair at being truly alone, desperately clinging to life, despite not having any real reason to believe that it's ever going to get better. The belief that you are truly the last human being alive in the world.
I think this novel has a unique position of simultaneously celebrating militarism and at the same time, condemning it. I'm not sure how to explain it better, it's a fairly quick read, give it a shot and you'll see what I mean.
As a cynical bastard, I think of this as being my personal manifesto. I wonder how my life would have changed if I had read this after graduating from high school. I think it could have made an incredible impact on my life.
The life of Theodore Roosevelt is truly extraordinary. Enough so that it fully requires at least three volumes to even begin to try to encapsulate it. This is the first volume, appropriately titled: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. This man is truly an inspiration to all of humanity.