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I read a lot of books. They are my only vice. I don't qualify as my own library quite yet, but give me time...

By far, my favorite genres for entertainment reading are Science Fiction and Fantasy. Many people mistakenly equate these with children's books. Nothing could be further from the truth. As in any genre, there are some books written with children or young adults in mind (e.g. Harry Potter, the various Madeleine L'Engle books), but most are not. Most explore complex worlds and difficult issues, and do not flinch from tackling some terrible questions head-on. There are, of course, plenty of examples of bad, silly, or purely escapist SF&F on the shelves; but consider--are there no similarly bad, silly, escapist titles among "mainstream" literature?

I like SF&F because they have a great deal more freedom than other genres. Nothing can be taken for granted. Culture, society, technology, even planet or world or species may be completely different. This gives the author the ability to explore issues in a very different way than is possible in more earthbound literature. The author can force a reader to confront their most basic assumptions without them even realizing it is happening. At its best, SF&F is profoundly thought-provoking.

SF has the additional benefit that, by exploring the possibilities of technology, it can drive real technological developments. You cannot invent a technology without someone first imagining it. SF&F stimulate the imagination, free us from the shackles of what already exists and consider what might be possible. Isn't that a good thing?

Books I Own

You will notice almost immediately that I (ahem) own a lot of books. One reason there are so many is that I'm not very good at throwing books away, even if I don't like them. Once I own them, they pretty much stay around forever. Some of the books on this list I have owned since I was 6 or 8 years old. (Note that I've also read a lot of other books that I don't own, which are therefore not listed here. Also, I have skipped quite a few categories of books, such as college textbooks, how-to books, and travel guides. So I actually own somewhat more books than these lists imply.)

I've sorted and filtered the list a couple of different ways to make it a little more manageable.

The Queues:

By Genre:

Other views of the list:

Or, if you want to be able to look at the list in other ways, you can download the whole database (Access 97 format, about 370 KB).

Also, I've just begun writing reviews and commentary about some books, beginning (unsurprisingly) with those about which I have strong opinions. In the lists above, if I've written something about a book, there will be a link to it from the book's title in the list.

Copyright © 2001 Lisa Nelson. Last Modified: 18 November 2001 Back to Top