Many of us read for different reasons: to learn something new, to research a topic of interest or just for fun. Unless you are a single-minded person, you probably vary what you’re reading based on the ‘why’ above. But I think we can all agree that reading can be one of life’s great pleasures. Especially so when you read a really great book. A book that, once you’ve finished, you can’t stop thinking about, raving about and pushing on all your friends. There’s nothing quite like reading one of these books for the first and the pleasure and satisfaction you get from finishing it is quite high. Then again, mingled with those feelings is a bit of sadness knowing you’ll never be able to read the book again for the first time. Every other time you re-read the book you’ll always have the knowledge of the first read through. Sure, some books offer more on re-reads, but it’s never the same as reading it the first time through.
For me, there have been several SF books that fit this category. They are:
- Startide Rising by David Brin – There’s so much SF goodness packed into this story plus the hints of the operatic universe which humanity inhabits and I couldn’t wait for the follow on books. Now he just needs to finish the damn story!
- Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks – The first Culture novel I read was Consider Phlebas, which I thought was great. Then I read Weapons and was blown away. It’s was everything Phlebas was, but better. Couple an awesome story with an interesting storytelling method and a ‘twist’ ending, and this is probably my most favorite SF story, ever. I re-read this from time to time, and while it’s still great, knowing what’s coming dampens the impact.
- Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons – These books are the reason I loves my some Dan Simmons, especially his SF stuff. The first book shows just how well Simmons can write interesting characters, and the setting and the hints of the plot are just staggering. That all leads into the nougaty SF goodness that permeates the second book like a melted Mars bar. There is so much awesome in these books it’s almost hard to fathom. I was hoping the Galactica writers would take a hint from these books for the Cylon god, but alas, it was not to be. This is another set of books I re-read occasionally. These would be in my top 3.
Now it’s your turn. If the ‘Fairy of Forgetfulness’ came calling and allowed you to forget, completely, about 3 books, which ones would you choose to read again for the first time?