books films video games music

Updated 2024.06.06
These are some of my favorite books.


The Book of the New Sun     Gene Wolfe
"There is no magic. There is only knowledge, more or less hidden."

Book 1: The Shadow of the Torturer
Book 2: The Claw of the Conciliator
Book 3: The Sword of the Lictor
Book 4: The Citadel of the Autarch

Often a two-volume set: Shadow and Claw and Sword and Citadel
The Brothers Karamazov    Fyodor Dostoevsky
"You weren't quite joking, that is true. This idea is not yet resolved in your heart and torments it. But a martyr, too, sometimes likes to toy with his despair, also from despair, as it were. For the time you, too, are toying, out of despair, with your magazine articles and drawing-room discussions, without believing in your dialectics and smirking at them with your heart aching inside you...The question is not resolved in you, and there lies your great grief, for it urgently demands resolution..."

Also: Crime and Punishment
A Canticle for Leibowitz    Walter M. Miller, Jr.
The closer men came to perfecting for themselves a paradise, the more impatient they became with it, and with themselves as well. They made a garden of pleasure, and became progressively more miserable with it as it grew in richness and power and beauty; for then, perhaps, it was easier to see something was missing in the garden, some tree or shrub that would not grow. When the world was in darkness and wretchedness, it could believe in perfection and yearn for it. But when the world became bright with reason and riches, it began to sense the narrowness of the needle's eye, and that rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn.
Cat's Cradle    Kurt Vonnegut
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before... He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.

Also: The Sirens of Titan and Slaughterhouse-Five
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory    Roald Dahl
"Oh, my sainted aunt! Don't mention that disgusting stuff in front of me! Do you know what breakfast cereal is made of? It's made of all those little curly wooden shavings you find in pencil sharpeners!"

Also: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
The Chosen    Chaim Potok
"A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives the span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable though its quantity may be insignificant. Do you understand what I am saying? A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not automatically given to life. It is hard work to fill one's life with meaning. That I do not think you understand yet. A life filled with meaning is worthy of rest. I want to be worthy of rest when I am no longer here."

Also: The Promise, My Name Is Asher Lev, and The Gift of Asher Lev
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court    Mark Twain
"Inherited ideas are a curious thing, and interesting to observe and examine."
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?    Philip K. Dick
So I left the TV sound off and I sat down at my mood organ and I experimented. And I finally found a setting for despair So I put it on my schedule for twice a month; I think that's a reasonable amount of time to feel hopeless about everything.

Also: The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and many short stories
Dune    Frank Herbert
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Dying Earth    Jack Vance
"You are evil like all existence . . . . If power were mine I would crush the universe to bloody gravel and stamp into the ultimate muck!

Book 1: The Dying Earth
Book 2: The Eyes of the Overworld
Book 3: Cugel's Saga
Book 4: Rhialto the Marvellous

Often a single volume: Tales of the Dying Earth
Ender's Game    Orson Scott Card
"The story itself, the true story, is the one that the audience members create in their minds, guided and shaped by my text, but then transformed, elucidated, expanded, edited, and clarified by their own experience, their own desires, their own hopes and fears."
Fevre Dream    George R. R. Martin
"They're sinners, and they got to ride that boat forever, that black boat with the red carpets and the empty mirrors, all up and down the river, never touching port, no sir."

Also: A Song of Ice and Fire
Frankenstein    Mary Shelley
"The fallen angel becomes the malignant devil. Yet even the enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone."
Gormenghast    Mervyn Peake
"I said she was wicked, and she said that everyone was--everyone and everything except rivers, clouds, and some rabbits."

Book 1: Titus Groan
Book 2: Gormenghast
Book 3: Titus Alone
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy    Douglas Adams
"I'd far rather be happy than right any day."
"And are you?"
"No. And that's where it all falls down, of course."

Book 1: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Book 2: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Book 3: Life, the Universe, and Everything
Book 4: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Book 5: Mostly Harmless
In Yana, the Touch of Undying    Michael Shea
Far upland ahead of them the dark peaks--shadows sharply bitten from the clustered stars--appeared no nearer. Softly Hex said aloud--not to tell but to hear the truth himself--"We cross the field of a million-million men's dreams of greatness. Does anyone ever retrieve anything, and escape with it alive?"

Also: Nifft the Lean
Malazan Book of the Fallen    Steven Erikson
The lesson of history is that no one learns.

Book 1: Gardens of the Moon
Book 2: Deadhouse Gates
Book 3: Memories of Ice

. . . and so on (ten books in all, of which books 2 and 3 are my favorites of those I've read so far)
The Night Land    William Hope Hodgson
To my right, which was to the North, there stood, very far away, the House of Silence, upon a low hill. And in that House were many lights, and no sound. And so had it been through an uncountable Eternity of Years.
The Phantom Tollbooth    Norton Juster
No one paid any attention to how things looked, and as they moved faster and faster everything grew uglier and dirtier, and as everything grew uglier and dirtier they moved faster and faster, and at last a very strange thing began to happen. Because nobody cared, the city slowly began to disappear. Day by day the buildings grew fainter and fainter, and the streets faded away, until at last it was entirely invisible. There was nothing to see at all.
The Princess Bride    William Goldman
"We'll never survive!"
"Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has."
Red Dwarf    Grant Naylor
Behind him he heard the bolts overshoot a turn, and their low humming throb dimmed in volume. He'd bought himself a couple of seconds; seconds he badly needed. He pulled out a mirror and checked his hair. It was still perfect.

Book 1: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers
Book 2: Better Than Life
A Voyage to Arcturus    David Lindsay
"No, I have come here from Earth."
"Is that larger than our world?"
"Smaller, I think. Small, and overcrowded with men and women. With all those people, confusion would result but for orderly laws, and therefore the laws are of iron. As adventure would be impossible without encroaching on these laws, there is no longer any spirit of adventure among the Earthmen. Everything is safe, vulgar, and completed."
Watership Down    Richard Adams
My Chief Rabbit has told me to defend this run and until he says otherwise, I shall stay here.
Wraiths of the Broken Land    S. Craig Zahler
"On an instinctual level," Long Clay said, "a man fears torture and disfigurement more than he fears death. He can imagine what it's like to be branded, because he's burned himself; he can imagine what’s its like to be blind, because he's been in a dark room stumbling into furniture; and if he's ever had any pain in his privates, he can imagine what being castrated might feel like.
Death is very different to him, because it's an unknown. The man might even believe it's the beginning of some new type of existence--like those heaven fantasies your sister entertains."


Bizarro by Dan Piraro
Bloom County by Berke Breathed
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend and Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay
The Far Side by Gary Larson
Frank by Jim Woodring
Mouse Guard by David Petersen
Prophet (2012) by Brandon Graham and Simon Roy
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman (especially World's End and A Season of Mists)
Slow Wave by Jesse Reklaw
Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
Uzumaki by Junji Ito
We3 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

< back