B is for…

BB is for yellow bricks, lost boys, and a bolshy B biblio:

Ball, David
Barrie, J. M.
Baum, L. Frank
Beagle, Peter
Bear, Elizabeth
Bierce, Ambrose
Blake, Margaret Rose
Booth, Michael
Bradbury, Ray
Brett, Peter V
, Poppy Z.
Brooks, Terry
Brust, Steven
Bunch, Chris
Burgess, Anthony
Burnett, Frances Hodgson
Butcher, Jim

Wow, I have a lot of B authors! I’ll try for quick commentary to keep this under 500 1000 words:

David Ball‘s Empires of Sand is an 800 page historical novel. I’m 100 pages in and it’s enjoyable so far, if a bit confusing. It jumps like a nervous frog through perspective and setting with little warning, so it can be hard to keep track of whose head you’re in as you read. It is also the second book on my 2014 reading list.

I have not yet read Peter Pan, or any other of J. M. Barries works, but fun fact, he was only about five feet tall, and once asked Arthur Conan Doyle to help him finish and revise an opera he was working on.

When I read The Wizard of Oz for the first time I was struck by how perfectly childish the writing was. I appreciate it when authors can tell their stories truly from the perspective of their characters, as L. Frank Baum does in The Wizard of Oz.

Not pictured but read is Peter Beagle‘s The Unicorn Sonata which I quite enjoyed, but wished had a more solid ending. I haven’t read The Last Unicorn, but I have seen the animated version, which doesn’t count at all.

Alex and I both bought Elizabeth Bear‘s Range of Ghosts at the same time and for the same purpose: to see how other writers are adapting culture into fantasy. We still have an extra copy floating around the house, fate undecided.

I loved The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. If you like satirical humor, you just might like it too.

Alex won The Ring of Curses by Margaret Rose Blake at a novel launch party, and I have to admit, this YA looks pretty good. The series title is Merlin’s School for Ordinary Children, which is a nice take on the magical school theme in YA. I look forward to reading it.

Just as Well I’m Leaving is a biography and travelogue by Michael Booth about Hans Christian Andersen, which makes me wonder why it’s not higher on my reading list than it is.

Ray Bradbury wrote many books over multiple genres and is considered a writing legend for his contribution to American literature. Sadly, he passed away in 2012, but not before leaving us with works such as The Halloween Tree and Something Wicked This Way Comes (pictured) among many, many others.

Peter V. Brett is a new addition to my book shelf. Recommendations spurred me to buy The Warded Man which I haven’t had a chance to sample yet.

Poppy Z. Brite has been one of my favorite authors since high school and probably always will be. Lost Souls remains my favorite book, and has held that position for over a decade, despite some pretty heavy competition. Writing in the horror genre, Brite combines skin crawling imagery with deep human emotions to create stories that have given me nightmares more than once.

I read the first five books of Terry Brooks‘s Magic Kingdom of Landover series in a week and was disappointed there weren’t any more. Then I discovered that there are! I’m looking forward to finishing this series, and starting Shannara which has always been absent from my reading lists.

It’s nice when one’s favorite authors are prolific. Whenever I want a smart story told by a snarky protagonist in a fun, tangible world, I reach for one of Steven Brust‘s many books. Hawk, the latest addition to his Dragaera series is set to come out this autumn, and I’m so filled with excitement I can hardly contain it.

I’ve had Chris Bunch‘s Storm of Wings on my shelf for years, and haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I’ll need to fix that soon, I think.

A Clockwork Orange is easily one of my favorite books. That Anthony Burgess wrote it in only three weeks, and still managed to pack it so full of hidden allusions and meaning still boggles my mind.

I have not read any of Frances Hodgson Burnett‘s writing yet, but I loved the film adaptation of A Little Princess.

Jim Butcher‘s Storm Front: Soon… soon.

Which of these books have you read? Do you have any favorites by the authors mentioned above? Let me know in the comments.




57 thoughts on “B is for…

  1. I didn’t come to fully appreciate Ray Bradbury until I was an adult. I reread Fahrenheit 451 with my daughter when I was home schooling her, and loved it. I wasn’t impressed as a kid. When I was doing a little research on Bradbury, I learned that a bunch of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes were based on his short stories. Also, his Zen and the Art of Writing is a lovely collection of his essays on the craft of writing.
    Thanks for such a great list of authors. I will check some of them out.

    • I read The Halloween Tree because it is my favorite holiday cartoon special as well. He voiced the narration for it himself, which brings the whole thing to life.

  2. Ray Bradbury? check.
    Terry Brooks? check.
    I’m sure I’ve some of the others too, just can’t recall right now. I know I’ll be checking out some of these titles just from the spines!
    Thanks for stopping by the Lair

    • I definitely need to read more Bradbury. As I’ve been writing these posts and realizing just how many books I haven’t read yet I curse my inability to read a book a day, just to catch up!

      Happy reading!

    • The Wizard of Oz also makes a better book than its movie(s). I think I’m biased though, I’m not much of a movie person, especially these days. I prefer my books.

  3. I enjoyed the Dresden books and I rarely ever go for urban fantasy because most of it is not well done. But Butcher does magic in such a logical and… realistic? (for lack of a better term) way that it (and Dresden’s character) made the whole think awesome.
    I read your lists and I feel like Captain America in the Avengers: “I got that! I got that one reference!!!”

    • It’s great when you come across an author who can do that with words, huh? You suddenly stop reading and it feels like you’re just experiencing. I read as much as I do just for those rare moments in a book when the words fade away and I feel like I’m there in the pages. That’s magic.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying them. I’m trying to keep the facts and snippets short and without spoilers. I do enough of that in my real reviews. XD

  4. One of my own personal favourite’s is A Clockwork Orange, and I definitely really enjoy the Dresden Files. I also have not yet read the Shannara books although book 1 of the series has been sitting beside my bed for about three years. One day I’ll get to it. I just read because I can.

    • I have so many books on my ‘to be read’ pile, it’s almost discouraging! I bought Storm Front a little while ago and I still haven’t gotten around to it :/ I guess the important thing is that I’m making a dent, slowly but surely.

  5. I haven’t read any of these authors. I do own some of their books. Also, The Secret Garden movie was wonderful; I’m sure the story is better. Always is. You make me want to read The Wizard of Oz. Great post.

    • Thanks, I’m glad you liked it. I remember watching The Secret Garden when I was younger. Maybe I should do a movie book comparison reading month, see where that takes me.

  6. What a great list. I too love Bradbury and was thinking recently that I ned to reread him. My son is a reluctant reader and I am thinking I may read Bradbury aloud as a way to stimulate his desire to read. I am going to print this list as several look enticing. I coordinate two Teen book clubs so will look at The Ring of Curses.

    • Woohoo! I’ve helped someone find books! Reading is a hard sell to young people these days. It’s a hard sell to adults, too. Good luck getting him interested!

  7. Ah, Ray Bradbury; Legend! Baum and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, easily my favourite of favourites from childhood. (although I often reference it in everyday life as an adult too!) I haven’t yet read Bear’s Range of Ghosts so I’ll keep a look out for that one, also Brett. Thank you again for some new titles and authors 🙂

  8. No problem! I’m glad my little shelf is helping people find new books. Happy reading!

    I didn’t actually read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz until last year. Still loved it, even as an adult. 😉

  9. Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451…one of my favorite books! He used to have a TV show called Ray Bradbury theatre. I think they enacted his short stories. Though I don’t remember the name, living here in the rainy Pac-NW, I vividly remember a story where the rain only stops and allows a sunny moment once in a hugely long interval. Kids at school lock the protagonist in a closet and he misses the sunshine. The tragedy of that still haunts me.

    • I know that story! I believe it takes place on Venus. The little girl (boy?) waits for so long for this once in an 8 year(?) occurrence, and the boys lock her (him) in a closet so (s)he misses it. I think that story was read to us in middle school by a teacher. I’m not sure. I know that the imagery stuck with me for a very, very long time though. Thanks for reminding me of it! I didn’t know it was written by Bradbury. 🙂

      I don’t know why I remember the protag. as a girl. My memory is pretty water though, so it could have been a boy. 😉

    • I’m definitely going to have to read more Bradbury. Seems like everyone in the comments has read him extensively. Thanks for the recommendations! 🙂

  10. I don’t really know authors, tend to read the summary about a book and then decide to read or not, so don’t pay attention to who wrote it. Peter Pan…that brought a smile, not because I’ve read it, but loved the movie. Thanks for your visits, playing a bit of catch up due to temporary limited internet. Thankfully I did get my a-z posts scheduled ahead. Had a hard time getting to your blog. Try using the name and url option verses doing a cut and paste then the link will be live.

    • Yeah, I just spent 8 hours in transit trying to get back to Japan, so I’m behind myself.

      Thanks for the tip. I’m still trying to remember all the different ways to leave comments, since I’m only really used to WordPress.

  11. I’ve read The Wizard of Oz (It was okay), some of Bradbury’s stuff (I liked Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes was okay) and Terry Brooks’ Landover series (haven’t started Shannara yet). Oh, and A Little Princess was one of the most re-read books of my childhood!

    They say I should try Jim Butcher… but I haven’t gotten my hands on any yet.

    anna @ Deeply Shallow

    • Yeah, I get a lot of recommendations for Jim Butcher too. My problem is that I tend to buy books in large grabs, so I suddenly have thirteen books I’m super giddy about reading… every two months. My queue is outrageous!

    • I really have to get on reading Butcher, huh? But I agree, I like Brooks’s writing and have always fallen in love with the books of his that I’ve read.

  12. A fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle was my absolutely favorite book when I was 18. It has been years since I’ve read it. I saw it was back in print so I ordered it for my library. Now I have to reread it to make sure it’s as good as I remember before I start recommending it. Also growing up I read the Wizard of Oz books every summer. Osma was my favorite character. I think there have been really bad movies based on the other books. Fun theme!

    • Thank you for the recommendation! I just added it to my wish list. I remember every chapter I read of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz I thought to myself, ‘this is way better than the movie’ and hungrily gobbled up more. I’m glad you’re enjoying the posts!

  13. Might I suggest Richard Bach, of Jonathon Livingston Seagull fame. However, I’d suggest “Illusions: The Adventure of a Reluctant Messiah” as his best work. A couple of other titles of his are good, too, but none rival Illusions.

    • I loved Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I’ve read it twice now, but I got so much more out of it on the second reading. As to Illusions, I have added it to my wishlist. Thanks!

      • Good idea. Jon didn’t strike me as much. I’ve read Illusions at least 20 times and pick it up a couple of times each year. It was the first book I ever bought with my own, hard earned money…I guess you never get over that first love.

  14. Hi! I really enjoyed your B post! (sorry I’m so late getting around to commenting) Thanks for following me on WordPress also! Two things caught my eye. First, you live in Japan? That is awesome! We lived there in 1979/80…near Tokyo (Sagamihara) My husband was in the Army and stationed at Camp Zama! We loved it there! The other is that you are actually the only person I’ve ever heard of that has even read “Lost Souls” by Poppy Z. Brite! That book is my absolute all time favorite! Well, all her books are amazing! I have written a fan fiction story based on this book, and am posting it every few days on my other blog. If you have a chance, check it out! It is at http://ghostmmnc.blogspot.com …Thanks again for visiting my blog and I wish you the best for A2Z and thanks for mentioning Japan!

    • Yes! I live in Kyoto, though I used to live in Hamadayama, Tokyo too. It is such a beautiful country, sometimes I find it unreal how lucky I am to be here, and to be doing what I love.

      I have met one other person who has read Lost Souls before now (aside from the people I’ve thrust the book upon) and he was a guy! I was shocked! Lost Souls will always be my favorite book, and this copy is signed! It makes me giggly and giddy to think about it. A fanfic, eh? I’ll have to check that out! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

      • Wow, you have a signed copy? That is awesome! I have several copies, just in case, you know 😉 I have a problem with ‘collecting’ books…the stacks of them I need to read is growing larger all the time! I do have the first Dresden book, Storm Front, but haven’t gotten to it yet. My husband reads all of Terry Brooks. …Were you there when they had the earthquake/tsunami? Such a tragedy. We experienced earthquakes all the time, but never very large…just a bit of shaking. And we were there during Typhoon Tip…an experience for sure. Well, I will wish you happy reading! Have a fabulous week ahead!

      • Yup! I loaned out my old, faithful dog-earred copy to a friend and never got it back, so my partner bought me a signed copy–as a Mardi Gras gift! You can just imagine how pleased I was. ^-^

        I was in Kyoto when the earthquake struck. It really was a terrible day. Lots of big changes happened in our life then. At the time they were shattering, but in the end everything worked out for the better.

        Typhoons are interesting. I dare say I like them, but only because Kyoto is a rather sheltered city and the most we get is some strong winds and some sewers that overflow. The city is pretty good about making sure that the Kamo doesn’t flood. Apparently it used to be a very violent river, but development has calmed it.

        You too! Have a great week!

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