Really Sarge? A top ten list of your favorite books? Might as well try to count the stars, number the grains of sand on all the beaches of the world, might as well try to...
Okay, I think you get it. There are just too many books that I truly enjoy and have read over and over to try and pick my ten favorites. It's like a three-hundred way tie for first. But while digging around for what might have been a list of favorites, I did come up with a list of books I really like and a number of authors who I really, really like. Folks who could write a phone book and I would buy it.
So here we go.
First off, there are two books I own which are dog-eared, worn out, pages coming loose, and generally exhibiting various signs of decrepitude. (Stop laughing you two in the back, while I am exhibiting a few signs of decrepitude, I ain't ready for "the cart." Not yet anyway.) Ahem, yes, the two "most read" books in my library.
Shogun tells the tale of an English pilot (of a ship, better described as a captain/navigator if you will) who has navigated his small, Portuguese owned vessel from Portugal, all the way to Japan. Which, trust me on this, is a long, long trip. Especially in a small sailing ship. The time period is the late 16th Century, just prior to the battle of Sekigahara (which you can, and probably should, read about at that link).
Of course, we all know that that battle led to the Tokugawa shogunate which lasted from 1603 to 1867. What we don't know that? Well, you can read more about that here, or read Shogun. While the book is a fictionalized account of that time, it's still interesting. And you might learn a few phrases in 日本語. Helpful if you travel to Japan.
Shogun was written by this fellow, James Clavell.
|James Clavell (Source)|
|Other Clavell books I have enjoyed. (Source)|
So those two books will make any top ten list of books of mine, were I able to actually narrow the list to ten. There are just so many books I enjoy that attempting to narrow the list of favorites to ten would be difficult, if not impossible.
Now authors, I have a number of favorite authors. If I see that one of these people has written a new book, the odds are that I will go out and buy it. Sight unseen (though I will read the blurb on the book itself before putting down cash for it, more of a formality with most authors).
The list of favorite authors is pretty big. So I'll cheat and put their pictures up. Buy a book written by one of these folks and you will not be disappointed. Well, if you have an interest in history and des affaires militaires you won't be disappointed. A partial list of my favorite authors (drum roll please) in no particular order -
|Stephen Hunter (Source)|
|Bernard Cornwell (Source)|
His recent historical account of the Battle of Waterloo is superb. Well researched, brilliantly written. I own it, I read it, I will read it again.
|Stephen Coonts (Source)|
|Douglas Reeman, who also wrote under the name Alexander Kent (Source)|
His Richard Bolitho character is a favorite of mine. We follow him from his days as a midshipman in the Royal Navy prior to the American Revolution and through the Napoleonic Wars. I won't explicitly tell you Admiral Bolitho's eventual fate, but I will say this, I've never had such an emotional reaction to a fictional character.
|Jeff Shaara (Source)|
|Michael Shaara (Source)|
|Nelson DeMille (Source)|
|Stephen Ambrose (Source)|
|Barbara Tuchman (Source)|
And for the record, Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August, beats Solzhenitsyn's August 1914 hands down. (Though in fairness the former is history, superb history, and the latter is a novel. A Russian novel.) Still and all, I'll read Tuchman over Solzhenitsyn any day. Twice on Sunday. The lady was a brilliant historian, she is my favorite historian. (But that, perhaps, is a topic for another time. Maybe even a list?)
Oh yeah, these two would make my top ten list, that whole multi-book tie for first thing. My copy of The Killer Angels is nearly as dog eared as my copy of Shogun. The Guns of August is critical (I think) to understanding World War I. How it started and why. Absolutely brilliant history.