Today, I’m happy to have writing friend J.J. Johnson here with a guest post on the books we keep returning to. 🙂
From the time I was little and my grandmother first read Box Car Children stories to me before bedtime, to the hours I now spend consumed by Sanderson and King, stories have always been a part of my life.
They’ve always been that source of escape where I can forget—even if brief—about the burdens and challenges life sometimes brings. In a sense, they are like the Doctor, whisking me away on some crazy adventure into a far distant world I wish not to return from. Outside of my faith, stories have been the next greatest influence to my life.
Each of us has our list of books we approach with awe and excitement. Even though we have dived deep into them countless times, we always return curious if we have missed something special. “What is one more reread?” we say to ourselves.
So we dive deep, refusing to limit ourselves to the superficial shallowness. Because in the depths of story we find mysterious marvels that can’t be described on the surface.
Over the years, I have discovered there are four books I tend to reread. I can’t help returning, curious to see if my old friends are still escaping on the same adventure. And even though I realize what may await when turning the page, the adventure never lets me down.
This book is one that has grown up with me. This series was my intro into fantasy. These are the stories that I measure all other dragon stories by.
Menolly lives in a fishing town and is the youngest daughter of the “Chief” of this town (called “Hold”). We start the story with the funeral of her mentor Petiron who was the harper of the Hold. This is a huge loss for our heroine because he was the only one who appreciated her musical gifts.
Her parents are embarrassed by her talent because, in their worldview, women cannot be harpers. So they repress her desire to write songs and hide the fact she’s so gifted from the new harper that comes to replace Petiron.
Through the course of the story, Menolly runs away and in doing so she is able to find her own voice and also impress (bond with) nine Fire Lizards. Who are the smaller relatives of the Dragons of Pern.
“Maybes never are.”
FAHRENHEIT 451—RAY BRADBURY
There is only one book I reread every year, and Bradbury’s classic is it. This story was my first introduction to Science Fiction lit. I first read it when I was fifteen after finding a copy on my father’s bookshelf. And on one snowy day I read this incredible story in one sitting. (A story that only took Bradbury nine days to write.)
The story of Guy Montag, the Fireman who burns books, is one that has inspired many throughout the years.
“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”
PAWN OF PROPHECY—DAVID EDDINGS
From this beginning, Mr. Eddings immediately thrust me into the story of a simple farm boy named Garion. I learned of his earliest memories, hiding under a table watching his Aunt Pol cook. I experienced him growing up with his childhood friends, playing games, and even saw his first romance between himself and a local girl Zubrette.
I also read about—but payed little attention to—the introduction of a wandering storyteller named Mister Wolf. A huge, colorful world inhabited by different cultures, grand characters, and even ancient gods opened up before Garion. All of it there for our young farm boy to see and experience, with me tagging along behind.
“It’s only a story, isn’t it?”…
“Who’s to say what’s only a story and what’s truth disguised as a story?”
Putting Foundation ahead of Dune was a difficult decision. But for me, Foundation is the story that made me want to study Psychology in college. Which lasted about five minutes before I realized I would need a masters to really do anything with it.
Regardless, these were my first Space Opera books. I was fascinated by the setting and the way the story flowed. When reading it you see why Asimov is one of the greats.
“I wanted to be a psychological engineer, but we lacked the facilities, so I did the next best thing—I went into politics. It’s practically the same thing.”
So there they are—the stories that I return to. You may like some, or perhaps a few leave you scratching your head. Stories touch each of us in a different way. So here is the question:
What stories are on your list…?
Huge thanks to J.J. for that fantastic guest post. Be sure to look him up on social media and visit his blog.
- Twitter/Instagram: @jjjohnsonwriter