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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Meme alert! 

(Lord, how I loathe that word.)

Rick's got a little thing going on, naming what books are on his Favorite Book Shelf. (The books are his favorites, not the shelf.) It's kinda neat. I figured, hey, why not fill up some space with that sorta thing? I know you're all dying to know what a Ragefuckian considers a "classic," in the most subjective of senses.

Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 1999 - I've been buying them every year since then, but that was the first one, and I think I spent two solid days reading that thing cover to cover. I love those books. Not only do we have every single review written in the past few years from A to Z, but you've also got interviews and Q&A's in the back. I love this guy's stuff, in no small part because he takes shit like comic books seriously, put Princess Mononoke in his Top 10 of the Year list before it was "cool" for critics to like anime, and he hates the goddamn MPAA with a passion.

The Thief of Always by Clive Barker - Yeah, his work can get a little... purple. This book had a pretty profound effect on me when I read it way back in 8th grade, and it's been a favorite ever since then. I have rarely been floored by a book like I was when I read the final quarter of this book, when the seasons go to war with each other.

The Scary Stories Treasury, adapted by Alvin Schwartz, with (highly disturbing) art by Stephen Gammell - Originally three volumes, sold as a kid's book. A great collection of ghost stories, each with its own piece of accompanying art and notes on regional source. I read my paperback editions of these literally to tatters in elementary school, and about flipped when I saw this in hardcover for $9. It's also the #1 most challenged book (to be banned) according to the American Library Assocation, and how the fuck can you not like that?

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli - A profound book, a pragmatic book, a revelatory book, and for none of the reasons you might think. Machiavelli was by no means an "evil" man -- he was a product of his times, and unlike his contemporary philosophers, saw what men were like rather than what they should be like. The version I have is this tiny little paperback that cost $4, and I'd have paid five times that.

The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King - Whatever, it's not very "cool" to like Stephen King because he's so well-loved, but I don't give a rat's ass. What he's attempting to do here is tell his own Grand Tale, in the J.R.R. Tolkein style, but mixed in with a heavy dose of the King Arthur mythos and the spaghetti western. It's brilliant work, spanning (when it's done) seven books and some 30 years of writing. I've got no fucking idea what I'm going to do when the last book comes out; I've been following this series since I was 14.

American Tabloid by James Ellroy - My brother got me started on James Ellroy, and my brother's always had a nose for discovering something approximately six months before it hits big. Sure enough, he got me reading this and six months later, I heard L.A. Confidential had a greenlight. (I am aware Ellroy had a following and a fanbase long before, wiseass.) Ellroy's stuff hit me in the face like a sledgehammer -- I had no idea fiction could be like this. It's dirty, sleazy, horrific stuff, and damn if I don't find it compelling. I even got this bad boy signed by the man himself.

Dictionary of Superstitions by David Pickering - A small handy volume detailing superstitions from all across the globe (focus on Europe), along with copious cross-referencing and, when available, origins of each. Concise and incredibly informative.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley - I've never fought so hard against or been so changed by any one book like I have by this one. It is required reading, no exceptions. I think a hell of a lot of white people (such as myself) have/had the wrong idea about Malcolm X, and once you close this book you'll realize the man was a bona fide hero, with more courage than any ten people you know. Hard lesson.

Dracula by Bram Stoker - A beat-up little paperback I got when I was 10 and have read as many times since then. I love this book. I am, in fact, a Dracula fanboy. Nothing else Stoker has written has come anywhere near this unimpeachable masterpiece, but that's okay. Mina, Drac, Lucy, Van Helsing -- I feel like I know you guys.

How to Write Tales of Horror, Science-Fiction, & Fantasy, various - I actually swiped this from my 12th grade AP English teacher's stash, which is horrible, because she was one kickass teacher. The best books of this style don't just have "how to" stuff in them, they allow you to dig into the minds of some of your favorite writers big (Ray Bradbury), well known (Marion Zimmer Bradley), and small (Katherine Ramsland). Also included: each contributor rates their top 10 genre novels, short stories, and movies. Great stuff.

And that's all I got for now. It's a big bookshelf and my fingers are tired.

("That's what she said!")

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