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Books TitleI've been a lifelong avid reader. I have the very strong glasses prescription and huge personal library (seen faintly in the background) to prove it. While I sample other genres, the types of books that most often appeal to me are fantasy, science fiction, and novels written for children. I used to be a little shy about admitting the latter, but since the success of Harry Potter among both children and adults, it no longer seems so odd.

In the late nineties I joined a children's literature forum on Compuserve, and after much discussion of children's novels there, I put together a reading guide, which you can access in the sidebar. I updated it when I put it on this website in 2007, and hope to add newer entries going forward, which will be drawn from the BOOK REVIEWS section of my blog.

Here are a few (and it was hard to narrow it down this far) of my favorite books and authors that you'll find in the list. If I absolutely had to pick one above all, I guess it would have to be this first one.

The Hobbit cover

©J.R.R. Tolkien Estate

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe cover

©The Macmillan Company

The Princess and the Goblin cover

©The David McKay Company

Five Children and It cover

©Ernest Benn Ltd.

Half Magic cover

©Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc.

Swallows and Amazons title page

©Arthur Ransome Estate

Tom's Midnight Garden cover

©Oxford University Press

Of course I also enjoy many books not written for children as well. Here are a few favorites that made strong impressions on me.

The Fellowship of the Ring cover

©J.R.R. Tolkien Estate

As above, if I had to pick one favorite adult book above all, it would be The Lord of the Rings, which I first encountered in this pirated paperback edition, at least the initial volume. I finished reading it for the first time on a sunny day in September, that was made darker for me by the horrible fall of Gandalf. I was desperate to read the rest, but had heard that paperbacks authorized by Tolkien would soon be published by Ballantine, and I decided to wait for them. Then I saw the hardcover edition of The Two Towers in a local bookshop, with its cool map, and really wanted THAT one. My parents agreed to get it for me for Christmas. So, it was months before I found out what happened next. Imagine any kid putting up with that these days...

Stranger in a Strange Land cover

©Robert A. Heinlein

Right behind Tolkien, my second favorite author is Heinlein, and this book of his really blew my mind when I first read it in my teen years. I had already devoured most of his other books, and still reread them fairly often.

Nine Princes in Amber cover

©Roger Zelazny

I used to read a lot of science fiction magazines, a great way then to discover up and coming authors. Zelazny was one that I enjoyed from the beginning, and I avidly sought out his novels as they were published. Lord of Light certainly made an impression, but it was this one that I loved the best, and I still think it's one of the finest uses of the alternate world concept ever.

Time and Again cover

©Jack Finney

I discovered this book in the late 1970s, and it quickly became a favorite, and perhaps the book that I've most often given to others to read. It really has everything: a terrific time-travel framework, an amazingly well-researched exploration of New York City in the 1880s, a thrilling adventure story, a great love story. If you haven't tried it, you should!


All text and images © Todd Klein, except as noted. All rights reserved.


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