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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Books you've just GOTTA read!! #3

(Or our favorite under-appreciated, under-loved, long-forgotten or never heard of books that we know you'll love just as much as we do when we convince you to finally read them!...phew....books....)

This week's "Gotta read" features books suggested by Deslily. Here's a portion of the discussion we've had about her favorite books:

Books of Another Time

Wow.. where does one begin when asked to write about their all time favorite books?

Kelly, of The Novel Book Worm, asked me to write down some thoughts about the books I mentioned when I entered her giveaway.

I'm not very good at writing, especially writing how I feel about things. But I guess I will give it a shot.

The books I listed with Kelly are Anne McCaffrey's Pern books, David Eddings Belgariad series and Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragonlance series.

Originally Kelly asked this:

Have you ever read a book and loved it, only to learn that it doesn't find the great success you'd expect? Maybe because its from a small publishing house, or maybe because its badly marketed? It's not only frustrating for us, the readers, but imagine how it must feel to be the author. To put heart and soul into a book, to know its really good, and yet....phhhhtttt....tepid sales.

But I really didn't know any books that I loved that fit the category of not having success. But I did feel that the books I loved for so many years have started to become a thing of the past... the forgotten writings of some great authors with great stories to be told.

Anne McCaffrey's Pern books started coming out way back in 1968.. that's before many of you were born! So it's no surprise that if I asked you have your read The Dragonriders of Pern, you'd say : "huh?" And yet between Anne and her son Todd they have 20 (yes, you are reading right) books out on the Dragonriders and Dragons and Pern itself. However, in the beginning there were: Dragonflight, Dragonquest, The White Dragon and then the Harper Hall Trilogy, Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums.

I dearly love these books! Anne McCaffrey created a planet with problems, filled it with good and evil people and most of all with her wonderful Dragons and then swept me away for years to come.

They are books I have read and reread a number of times.

They are books that for no apparent reason will pop into my head and I find it's time to read them again!

The books are character driven. And even the dragons have personalities and so they are a part of the equation. I can't even envision Pern without the dragons!

Although one cannot buy the "original books" anymore, they have been distributed in new paperback versions........

(More to follow....yep...I'm keeping you in suspense....)

Of course, my conversation with Deslily sent me straight to google, I'm certainly old enough to have read McCaffrey's work, but I'm "genre-challenged" (i.e. Stuck in a Rut), so her work is new to me!
From Wikipedia
McCaffrey's most famous works are the Dragonriders of Pern series. These are set on an Earth colony which has reverted to medieval times but also produced dragons. These dragons are flown by elite "dragonriders" who communicate telepathically with their dragons, and defend Pern against pernicious "threads" which cross space periodically from a nearby planetoid and threaten to destroy all vegetation on Pern. The short story "Weyr Search" (1968), the initial story in the Dragonriders of Pern series, won a Hugo Award for Best Novella. McCaffrey thus became the first woman to win a Hugo for fiction.

At the 2005 Nebula Award ceremonies, McCaffrey was named the 22nd Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America organization. In 2006 she was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

From Anne's Biography on her website:
Anne McCaffrey’s first story was published by Sam Moskowitz in Science Fiction + Magazine and her first novel was published by Ballantine Books in 1967. By the time the three children of her marriage were comfortably in school most of the day, she had already achieved enough success with short stories to devote full time to writing. Her first novel, Restoree, was written as a protest against the absurd and unrealistic portrayals of women in s-f novels in the 50s and early 60s. It is, however, in the handling of broader themes and the worlds of her imagination, particularly the two series The Ship Who Sang and the fourteen novels about the Dragonriders of Pern that Ms. McCaffrey’s talents as a story-teller are best displayed.

Although she used to make appearances throughout the world as guest of honor at science fiction conventions, arthritis has now restricted such travel. She lives in a house of her own design, Dragonhold-Underhill (because she had to dig out a hill on her farm to build it) in Wicklow County, Ireland. It is not remotely like a castle, "on purpose," she says to people who believe ‘hold’ is synonymous with ‘castle’ in Ireland.

Anne runs a private livery stable and her horses have been successful in Horse Trials and showjumping. She does not ride in competition, she hastens to add, but has enjoyed the success of horse and rider and, until recently, rode out on her black and white mare, Pi.

Anne McCaffrey is a prolific writer, whose work I'm not familar with. Many readers have suggested books for this series in the fantasy/scifi type genre, and I've got to say, I've never really read much of either genre. (You can't count the Lord of the Rings series...everyone has read them!!) I don't think I realized what a reading rut I've been in most of my adult life, I'm expanding my horizons thanks to readers like Deslily! You can see Anne McCaffrey's complete bibliography here


Sharon E. Dreyer said...

This is a great article. How exactly does one list all of the one's favorite books? I know a couldn't. Kudos to you for such a great site.

Marie Cloutier said...

Great post. I've never read McCaffrey though- but maybe I should! :-)

DesLily said...

it never ceases to amaze me when someone has not heard of Anne McCaffrey! (even if you don't read fantasy).. I mean, I've heard of Stephen King and I don't read him! lol..

It is strange though how certain books grab you and stay with you forever..there must be some deep meaning to it, but heck if I know what it is lol

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Oh, definitely start with those six. There are two series there, you know: Dragonflight, DragonQuest, and the White Dragon make up the first, and then the second is DragonSinger, Dragonsong, and Dragondrums.

I truly truly love those six books. I've read most of the others and have a few here waiting to be read (like everything else). But those six... awesome, awesome. They were my intro to SciFi/Fantasy, as well, and the opened the doors to a huge body of literature.