As a reminder, this week’s Mind Meld asked the following question:
One great thing about having children — you have an excuse to revisit favorite books. I think I’ve read The Phantom Tollbooth four times now, and it’s been a pleasure each time. But it can just as easily swing the other way. A few years ago I tried to reread one of Lester Dent’s Doc Savage books, a series I loved growing up, and the attempt was punishing. It would have been much better to leave the memory unsullied.
Oh, but you’re asking about books read as an adult. Well then. The list is small, because I’m so far behind on books that I should have read, but here are my top three:
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. I first read this book in college, and I come back to it every ten years. It’s still one of the most relentlessly odd and inventive books I’ve ever read. It feels very science fictional, in that reality-disrupting way, without being science fiction at all.
Valis by Philip K Dick. I’ve read it three times all the way through, and re-read sections of it a dozen times. The book had a huge influence on my first novel, and on a few short stories I’ve written. I love the games he plays with narrative. Phil the narrator tells you that he is Horselover Fat, but then he seems to forget it, and the reader forgets it too. Masterful.
Half credit: Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany. I have to admit that I’ve never re-read Dhalgren from start to finish. Rather, I dip into it when I need inspiration. My fellow Clarion classmate Andrew Tisbert once said that you can open that book to any page and be pulled in by its beauty. I’ve tested that claim many times, and damn it if Andy isn’t right.