APC’s Top Ten


I am a fan of pretty much anything that takes my mind to a creative and unique place. Mostly futuristic novels, or books that have to do with a concept that makes me think about something strange or new. Although there are a couple that don’t fit that description (namely, Catcher in the Rye), but that book is important to me for different reasons. Anyway, I love a good page-turner, but more importantly, something that makes my mind wander to a different place/time – which, in my opinion, is what novels are really all about.

Top Ten Books for Adam:

1. The Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger
1951

I can’t get enough of Holden Caulfield’s inner monologues; he rips people apart with his hilariously judgmental attitude toward everything. Maybe I can relate? Read my other blog reviews and see if you can see a bit of Holden seeping through. But beyond his harsh cynicism, his tale of maturation is one I love reading. I keep a copy of this almost everywhere i go, and have read it somewhere around a dozen times.

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
J.K. Rowling
2007

Ahh. The thrilling finish to (in my opinion) the greatest book series ever written. I don’t really feel the need to elaborate on this one much. Unless you’ve been quarantined in an underground hatch for the last fifteen years, you already know who HP is.

3. The Time Machine
H.G. Wells
1895

This book is so short that i probably read it in 3 hours. In 1895, H.G. Wells has created a future version of Earth that is so vastly different from our own but is a completely feasible one. The plot: an inventor creates a time machine and travels to the year 802,701 A.D. and what he discovers is completely unlike our current world. It is absolutely fascinating.

4. Slaughterhouse-Five
Kurt Vonnegut
1969

Clearly, i love the concept of time travel. Billy Pilgrim, however, instead of getting on a machine and traveling the years, becomes “unhinged in time” in his mind. The book takes place in Dresden following its bombing during WWII. Billy has survived because he was being held prisoner in an old slaughterhouse underground. Billy’s travels take him into the past and future where he is abducted by aliens and taken to a distant planet where he lives in a zoo and is filmed for a movie by an alien race that can perceive four dimensions. Kurt Vonnegut has created a hilariously eccentric world; one that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

5. The Shadow of the Wind
Carlos Ruiz Zafon
2001

Read this book back with iUMBC last year and loved it cover to cover. Zafon introduces the concept of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books: the place where old books go to die. Daniel Sempere gets to go pick a book from the Cemetery, and the one he selects has a secretive, mysterious and dangerous past. Love the mystery and dark vibe this book has. For more, check out John’s review here.

6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams
1979

Funniest book ever written? It certainly gets my vote. HGG is hilariously clever – at times I am completely perplexed at how odd this book is, but more often than not I can’t stop giggling at the genius of Douglas Adams. Marvin the Depressed Android is my favorite. The droid was created with an emotional harddrive, and it is completely bummed out that it is a machine. I’m laughing about him as I’m typing this. Also, this book made iUMBC’s “Best Manly Books Made into Movies” list (starring Mos Def!!!!!).

7. Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes
1605

Don Quixote is a long one – like twice the length of the Bible – but man its funny. The book is an account of Don Quixote. He believes that he is a conquistador who is off to save the world, but he is actually a bumbling wacko. He embarks on multiple misguided and injury-ridden quests – for example, he destroys some windmills, but he believes that they were actually monsters taking over the countryside. His sidekick, Sancho, typically gets the worst of the injuries. It’s like an old school Spanish “Nacho Libre”.

8. Ender’s Game
Orson Scott Card
1985

The futuristic story of the strategic boy who is raised to be a military space hero. He never loses a game in the zero-gravity “Battle Room”, and he is quickly the leader of an army of kids who are training for space battles. My favorite part of this book is the Battle Room scenes – the Game creators try over and over to create a setting that will outsmart Ender and end his undefeated reign. I first read this book when i was like 12 years old, but I re-read it for iUMBC recently and it solidified itself on my Top Ten List.

9. Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury
1953

Another book that takes place in a future society, only this one has some political undertones to it. The world that Bradbury creates is one where firemen burn books and reading is against the law. It has been interpreted a number of ways, but the main one is that the government (and the world for that matter) suppresses creativity, learning, and differing opinions or ideas.

10. Angels & Demons
Dan Brown
2000

I’m a little embarrassed that this made the list, but I have to be honest with my choices. It’s technically the prequel to The Da Vinci Code, but it has basically nothing to do with it and can be read alone. The book takes place as the collection of Vatican priests are meeting to decide who should be the next Pope. A&D is the story of Robert Langdon – symbolist and historian – running around the Vatican City uncovering clues and dissecting symbols to discover who is behind the kidnapping and murder of a number of potential Pope’s. Brown does an amazing job twisting ancient statues, symbols, and monuments (all real-life true things) into a fantastically mysterious story. It’s obviously fiction, but I love how real everything he bases his novels off of really is. You end up wondering what parts are true and what parts he totally made up to concoct a great story. Fun, fast and entertaining read.

About APC

Following his days in the Octagon, APC worked for an undisclosed amount of time tracking and studying a colony of Yetis in eastern Nepal (read more about his travels in his memoir, "Backgammon 101: Let the Yeti Win"). Nowadays, he spends his time in Havana fitting model ships inside glass bottles, and counting his gold bullions with his chimpanzee, Don Ultimo.
Currently Reading:
-Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
-East of Eden by John Stienbeck
-Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie

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