One of the greatest joys of my childhood was summertime. Despite growing up on a dairy farm, I was not a girl of the outdoors. Instead, I was a voracious reader, eagerly awaiting the weekly trip to the library for the next batch of books and devouring the stack of novels in my bedroom. I hated even leaving the books for meals (a house rule was “No reading at the table!”), and my mom despaired at my accidental “science experiments” known as the glasses of milk I left out on the floor next to my bed. The book genres have changed over the years, but my fondest memories were that of standing in front of the science fiction and fantasy section of the local library and trying to find a book that 1) I had not read before and 2) looked interesting.
Although I consume fewer novels than I did when my summers were mine to do with as I desired, I still enjoy some of the same authors I did when I was a teenager. Isaac Asimov captivated me with his stories and I was especially enthralled with the Foundation Series. Here, one of my favorite authors took an idea that is used often in science fiction, predicting the future, and used mathematical formulas to chart a course that would minimize a galactic dark age to only 1,000 years rather than 30,000. These psychohistorians, as the practitioners of this science were called, preserved human culture and planned to escort all the people and planets to the other side in a newer, stronger Empire. Despite this sweeping backdrop, the story was told using individuals in his or her time and place as the Galactic Empire fell and the chaos ensued. Not only did Isaac Asimov write a plethora of novels and short stories, but he was also a scientist. He thoroughly impressed me with his ability to tell engaging stories with wonderful, memorable characters in the science fiction genre as well as author academic papers. I had no idea you could be both fiction writer and scientist. Thus, most of his novels and short story collections have found a home on my bookshelves.
While my reading has primarily been science fiction, I enjoy fantasy novels as well. I own most of Anne McCaffery’s Dragonriders of Pern series and I occasionally pull a novel from the bookshelf and revisit the realm. What girl (or woman) would not like reading about dragons ridden by humans, fighting the nasty alien life form call Thread that threatened life, limb and livelihood? And when the author wrote novels about how the planet Pern was settled and how dragons were developed, I received a dose of genetic engineering as well. I loved all the world building, the interactions between humans and animals (telepathy is cool, right?) and seeing the struggles of humanity even on a world far different from my own. I loved the characters that were only in a single novel as well as those who found themselves in several. I could personally identify with some of the characters and admired the bravery of many.
Now that have shared my favorite authors and novels, I would love to learn about yours. Do you have a favorite author or two from the past or the present? Or are there books that still linger in your mind weeks and months after you have read them or are a sheer joy to read? I eagerly await your comments.
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