Bob's Books

Here is my first 5 books for my "favorites" list. Creating this kind of list is a little bit like hauling water for elephants, which is a great book.

1. A Wrinkle in Time/Madeleine L'Engle: Why?A science fiction phase I went through during middle school led me to these two. The first one, A Wrinkle In Time, was a Peabody Award winner. Why did this book remain in my consciousness as a favorite for nearly half a century? I think it is the plucky heroine, her love for and selfless courage in protecting her brother and the evil they overcame to unwrinkle time and return home. It is a timeless story about time travel and while the details are foggy, I remember reading the book several times during adolescence.

2. Farnham's Freehold/Robert Heinlein: Farnham's Freehold is not one of Heinlein's classics. The story is at times hackneyed and stereotypical, and at times predictable but I read it again last year (2012) and my appreciation for the story from the first time I read the book returned. Again, I think it is due to the resilence and courage of the everyman hero main character not to mention the sheer evil in the vision of the future Heinlein imagined for us.

3. Red Storm Rising/Tom Clancy: Red Storm Rising is Clancy's second book. I believe I read this book in three or four settings of about 4 hours each starting at 9 or 9:30 (bedtime as I was rising at 4:30 am) and ending early the following morning. I simply could not bear to part from the action Clancy succeeded in putting on the page. The imaginary invasion of Iceland by a Soviet Expeditionary Force and the vivid and detailed descriptions of land battles in Northern Germany were particularly entertaining. Like all Clancy books, the good guys win after a severe beating. This is Clancy's only book without his iconic Jack Ryan character.

4. The Bronze Horseman/Paullina Simon: I often read books recommended by my wife, and we often agree in general about the quality of a story or book, The Bronze Horseman was different. We were both simply captivated by this book. Set in WWII during the unimaginable hardship of beseiged Leningrad, our heroine and hero endure unendurable starvation, cold and deprivation; yet they love and manage to live, at least until near the end of the epic. It is a passionate story with a sad yet uplifting ending. The fact they were able to love during such hardship makes the story unforgettable.

5. Undaunted Courage/Stephen Ambrose: You can never read too many Stephen Ambrose books nor read too much about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Ambrose's description of the hardships and difficulties faced by the expedition, the near catastrophes and the final personal failure and death of Meriwether Lewis are fascinating and illuminating. They (Lewis and Clark) and all the volunteers on the expedition were true American heros.

The next several on my list are World War Two histories or about experiences during WWII. I've combined them into a single category for simplicity. Hang on and see what they are on my next post tomorrow!
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