Monday, April 23, 2007

Science Fiction Top Ten List

The previous post was general. In reality I think that all librarians probably have several top ten list based upon literature genre rolling around in their heads.

Mine for Science Fiction at the High School level would something like this though in no particular order. Some are out of print

1. A Canticle for Lebowitz by Walter Miller (This really deserve the #1 rank as the best Sci-Fi book of all time)
2. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
3. Q-Squared by Peter David ( The best Star Trek novel by far)
4. The Night Land (parts I and II) by William H. Hodgeson (very hard to find and very strange)
5. The Mansions of Space by John Morressy (A 24th century search for the Shroud of Turin)
6. Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein (Don't confuse it with the bad movie)
7. The Space Trilogy - Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
8. The Martin Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
9. The Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (The whole series)
10. 2001 A Space Odyssey by Arther C. Clarke

Honorable Mentions that probably should also be on the list somewhere and would be on other days:
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams (the whole series)
The Foundation Trilogy by Isac Asimov
Those Who Watch by Robert Silverberg
The Tripod Trilogy by John Christopher
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Science Fiction Snob

Ten Greatest Children's Books

This list is bogus. "The Amazing Adventures of Captain Underpants" didn't make the list. Not that TAoCU is actually great literature but it is at least a fun read which is more than can be said for most of the selections on this list. I actually think it says more about the deficiencies in the selector's psyche than it does about children's literature. This may be the ten most self-loathing books of the 20th century; but, they are are not the best in children's literature by any stretch of the imagination unless you are an ivory tower academic with pretense for brains.

Not to mention the fact that this looks like books for young adults not children

I hear the snobby chorus from the PC pimps saying "OK smart guy what books would you pick?"

Well, off the top of my head in no particular order.

1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
2. Johnny Tremain by Ester Forbes
3. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid-Banks
4. The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
5. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
6. Redwall by Brian Jacques
7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
8. The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangren
9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
10. Any of the four Sherlock Holmes novels by Arthur Conan Doyle

There are many, many others that are better than the ones on the published list that could be included in my opinion. I'd have no argument with any of the following as well:

Where the Red Fern Grows
by Wilson Rawls
Holes by Louis Sachar
Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Old Yeller by Fred Gibson
I heard the Owl Call My Name by Margret Craven
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Rascal by Stirling North
The Phantom Toll Both by Norton Juster
Stwart Little by E.B. White
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Any of these is better than any of the books on the Independents' list They've all helped get many kids reading and generally have up lifting positive story lines even when dealing with sad or scary topics.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who believes kids should enjoy reading without be burdened by a depressed world view

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Moment of Silence

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who defers to more eloquent voices

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Funeral

Nina Wong was buried yesterday. Lots local big wheels and celebrities were there

Unfortunately my invitation was lost in the mail and didn't arrive so I just went to work as normal.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who's still making fun of Nina WOng

Friday, April 13, 2007


A long but very good post in "Eject Eject Eject" today.

This is a blog I do not normally read but today I am glad I stopped by

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who doesn't Normally believe conspiracy theories

"And so it goes and so forth"

I've forgotten who it was that said that you know you're getting old when the first section of the paper you read is the obituaries so that you can see if any friends have died.

I sort of felt like that this week. First, my favorite punching bag, Nina Wong died. I don't want to make jokes about death but I can't help but wonder if she'll be buried in pig-tails? I would have made a post about it earlier except I was In Guilin last week on a death march tour with the lovely, smart, looks twenty-five years younger than she is, hard working and beautiful wife. It occurs to me that making a joke about someone dying is only funny on the day or the day after they die so, I'll not speak of her again.

What Miss Piggy's passing means is that Regina Ip has moved up a slot in my ridicule list. Madam Broomhead is now number two just behind Long Hair Leung and tied with Donald (I'm not really a Chinese Mr. Bean) Tsang.

On a sadder note, at least for me, Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday; he was 84 which I guess is certainly old enough that his dying shouldn't be a surprise. Vonnegut was a strange author. Lots of Christian schools won't stock his books but I buy all I can get for my library. I found his cynicism and world weariness to be exactly the response that non-Christians should feel when they look at the human condition. His books always made me laugh and cry at the same time. Fiction, when done right, makes you think about your world and how it could be better or worse than it is now. Kurt Vonnegut's books always did that for me. The Sirens of Titian and Breakfast of Champions are my favorite Vonnegut novels.

I felt the same way two years ago with the death of Saul Bellow.

I had to resist the urge yesterday to make a book order with every Vonnegut novel I could find.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who reads strange fiction

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Back and gone

I'm back from EARCOS but going to China with the beautiful, gracious, lovely and really smart wife and so will be gone for about a week.

Earcos was what teachers' conferences always tend to be. I never enjoy them. If someone really wants to see what is wrong with education go to a teachers' conference

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The educator who stands for educational progress not PC platitudes