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Day 31 special: The best book(s) ever

The Lord of the Rings trilogy + The Hobbit

They take you to a world of fantasy that no one else is capable of finding. Other Fantasy writers are simply poor copies, in my opinion. Tolkien might have written The Hobbit as a bedtime story for his children but Middle Earth was a life long creation for him. The body of work he actually published was small but it was just the tip of the iceberg for his world, a world that I am glad to still be sharing with my friends!
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30. Your favorite book

The Persian Boy by Mary Renault

I found this book when it came out in paperback. It was the story of Alexander the Great and his Persian slave boy, Bagoas, as told by Bagoas himself. The narrative begins when the boy is taken from his home as a boy by Darius and how he is made into a eunuch. It would appear that he is a favorite of the King with his beauty and his dancing.

When Alexander ousts Darius, Bagoas becomes his and the young boy comes to love his master and serve as his lover and slave until Alexander’s death at 33.

Ms. Renault’s account of Alexander was lyrical and sweet though laced with the ugly realities of life in ancient Greece, the life of a career soldier and the life of a slave.

I am not sure I agree with some of her assumptions but this is probably one of the most beautiful stories written about Alexander and Bagoas. I tend to think the real love of his life was Hephaistion, who was a peer and a friend as well as his lover.
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29. A book everyone hated but you liked

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

I have no idea at all why everyone has their knickers in such a knot over this book. It’s seat of your pants thriller from beginning to end with an interesting idea as its central plot. I never got all the uproar. It’s a NOVEL, for goodness’ sake, and it’s not supposed to be true. It’s suspenseful and fun and that what it’s supposed to be. Period.
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28. Favorite title
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams

One of the Hitchhiker books and it is exactly what it sounds like. Or read this. It’ll tell you better than I can! Or not.

“The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is one of the most extraordinary ventures in the entire history of catering.

It is built on the fragmented remains of an eventually ruined planet which is (wioll haven be) enclosed in a vast time bubble and projected forward in time to the precise moment of the End of the Universe.

This is, many would say, impossible.

In it, guests take (willan on-take) their places at table and eat (willan on eat) sumptuous meals while watching (willing watchen) the whole of creation explode around them.

This, many would say, is equally impossible.

You can arrive (mayan arrivan on-when) for any sitting you like without prior (late fore-when) reservation because you can book retrospectively, as it were, when you return to your own time (you can have on-book haventa forewhen presooning returningwenta retrohome).

This is, many would now insist, absolutely impossible.

At the Restaurant you can meet and dine with (mayan meetan con with dinan on when) a fascinating cross-section of the entire population of space and time.

This, it can be explained patiently, is also impossible.

You can visit it as many times as you like (mayan on-visit re onvisiting ... and so on – for further tense correction consult Dr. Streetmentioner's book) and be sure of never meeting yourself, because of the embarrassment this usually causes.”

-- Douglas Adams The Restaurant at the End of the universe
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27. The most surprising plot twist or ending

Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
Before it was a movie, it was a page turner mystery and I enjoyed it very much. A writer has to be on his toes to keep me from guessing who the killer is and in this one, I did not know. I have not read the sequel as I have no real interest in it. The plot is a mystery told from the pov of a lawyer accused of killing his girlfriend. He did not do it and we are surprised in the end by who did.

It is said to be the best of Turow’s novels as well. It’s worth a read.
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Well, not really.

26. A book that changed your mind about something

Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

This book was probably instrumental in sealing my belief that war is simply not an option. This is a book that you cannot read without being affected in some way. It is the story of John Bonham, whose wounds have taken all his limbs and his face while his mind functions perfectly within the prison of his body.

This is the most powerful antiwar novel I have ever read. It’s a game changer.
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25. Favorite book you read in school

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

I have a love of the era and this novel was a lovely Victorian Age novel with the poor downtrodden and the crazy wealthy all mixed up together in the story of Pip. It’s a strange sort of rags to riches story that Dickens’ revised to make less sad after he was criticized for its original ending.

When I was in 9th grade, this was THE novel that everyone read and hated in freshman English but I sort of liked it as I had always loved “A Christmas Carol” and Victorian things.
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24. A book you wish more people would’ve read

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

One of my favorites among King’s books, this one takes on the most mystical quality of a fantasy novel than a horror novel. It has a universe that lays over the top of our own – occupying the same space and people with corresponding people. A young boy sets out on a quest in this world and the other to find a talisman that will save his mother from the cancer that is killing her.
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23. Your guilty pleasure

The Rogue Angel series by ‘Alex Archer’

This series is about young female archaeologist Anja Creed, who carries with a the sword of Joan of Arc, a magical sword that hangs just out there in the otherwhere for when she needs it. She is comparable to a female Indiana Jones in that she is always getting into a scrape with very bad men in her work.

The books are written by several authors and I can tell which is which usually. They are all men so she tends to be rather voluptuous but still she can be a lot of fun.
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22. Book you’re currently reading

Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich
Another Stephanie Plum adventure.
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21. Favorite book from your childhood.

Man O’ War by Walter Farley
This book is a book about the most famous race horse ever: Man o’ War. He won 20 of his 21 races and won over $200,000 (in the 1920s). He was so famous that when he died in 1947, he was given a state funeral in Kentucky and buried in a specially made coffin.

My daddy read this book to me and I remember I cried and cried when he died. I loved horses more than anything when I was a little girl and read horse books all through my childhood but this one was the best one.
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20. Book that makes you laugh out loud

Mort by Terry Pratchett.

This book is set in the Discworld of Terry Pratchett and it features Death. He is looking to retire and Mort becomes his replacement. Terry Pratchett is laugh out loud funny in any book but this one really tickled my funny bone. Read it!

Death’s horse is named Binky! You gotta love a horse named Binky! He had to get a real horse because dead horses made of bone kept falling apart.
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19. Favorite book turned into a movie

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

This book is seen often as the story of slavery and such but it isn’t about that. It’s about family, love and what one will do to survive in a world gone mad. Scarlett O’Hara is a beautiful and privileged southern belle until the Civil War comes calling and takes everything away from her, everything but her beloved home, Tara, but even Tara is battered and ruined by the war and the poverty that follows.

I have read people criticize about the way it treats women and black people but as with old books, one does have to consider that this book was written in the 30s in the heart of the south about the most romanticized period in southern history. I do think Mitchell takes a hard look at what it took for a woman to survive in a man’s world.
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18. First ‘chapter book’ you can remember reading as a child

This sounds crazy but the first one I remember actually reading is Wuthering Heights. I was in third grade so 9 years old maybe. I honestly don’t remember that much about it other than I really liked it and thought Heathcliff was the most romantic name ever.
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17. Favorite Quote
“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
-- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
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16. Your favorite female character

Stephanie Plum from Janet Evanovich.

This girl is the worst bounty hunter ever at all anywhere and she’s funny as hell! She goes to work for her cousin Vinnie when she gets laid off at the lingerie factory. He’s a sleazy bail bondsman and she needs a job.

She sometimes gets her man and always gets herself into all sorts of trouble. Her cohorts are Lula - ex ‘ho and current file clerk at Plum’s Bail Bonds, Connie - the office manager; Grandma Mazur - who loves to go to the funeral parlor and will open a closed casket, Bob - the dog who eats clothes and Rex the hamster.

Then we have her boyfriends: Morelli - the cop who took her virginity in high school and is a pain in her butt, Ranger - who is a bounty hunter and calls her Babe and Diesel - who has moved on to another series now but he’s not wholly human.

They’re a lot of fun but suspect that they’re about done.
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15. Your favorite male character

Sherlock Holmes!

Who else would I choose? He is the most fun of all detectives because he’s a bit insane and oh so smart! I love to read Holmes, watch Holmes and to write Holmes! Give the stories a try!

Watch out though. You might just come to like Watson better.
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14. Book from your favorite author

The Shining by Stephen King

Everyone remembers the movie with Jack Nicholson but the book is even better. The Overlook Hotel is not a place that I want to vacation… not with Jack Torrance there! This story is one of the most chilling ones that King wrote and it was only his third published novel. As many of his early books are, it is the story of a child, Danny Torrance, son of the new caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies.

The hotel has secrets and it has an agenda but it has to get through Danny first!

Watch out for the topiaries!! I thought they were the creepiest!!!
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13. Your favorite writer

Stephen King

I have always loved horror and was thrilled when Stephen King published Carrie when I was 14 or so. I have not read all of his later books but I have read nearly all of his other work, at least 34 of his books anyway. I prefer his older work when the monsters were the sort that scare you when you’re young. As he moved into the more psychological, I found them less fun to read.

I also love his book On Writing. He has such a work ethic as a writer and his story is also inspirational.

Yay for Stephen King!
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12. A book you used to love but don’t anymore.

All I could come up with is a series. Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series

This series was a wonderful new genre for me when I first began. It was about vampires and other supernatural creatures that wasn’t either romance or horror. It finally came to be known as urban fantasy though I think the name does not fit quite right. For about 8 books, this was the best series out there then the author lost her shit and forgot that they were characters and not her. Anita Blake became the Sue-y-ist of Mary Sues with magical powers and with every man and most women madly in love with her to the point that Anita has sexual partners in the double digits and begins to have sex with 16 year olds. It gets a bit sick.

And the author became as nuts as her character, marrying the president of her fan club and throwing fits to rival those of the batshit crazy Anne Rice. I guess that’s why her books are always in the remainder piles these days.

I admit that I still read them but I buy them used or gak a copy from online. I will not pay an author for behaving the way she does.

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