Another Tuesday. This week the topic is books featuring travel. I chose books where the main plot is around some sort of journey. The meme top ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.
1. The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien – Can’t do this list without the Hobbit. It’s one of the
books my mother read to me when I was a kid, and I love it. A lot of the appeal
is the way Tolkien writes. The story is about the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins who is
shanghaied by Gandalf the Grey, a wizard, to join a group of dwarves on an
adventure. Bilbo is referred to as a burglar, he doesn’t really want to be one,
or leave his home, but he does go after all. They go through forests full of
elves, meet unpleasant men, Bilbo has a riddle contest with a very creepy
creature, and they fight a dragon. It’s so lovely.
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – It is so brilliant. It
starts out with Arthur Dent facing his house being bulldozed over to make way
for a motorway. He tries to stop it, but then his best friend, Ford Prefect,
tells him they have bigger problems, the earth is about to be blown up to make
way for an inter-galactic super high way. Ford reveals he’s an alien who has
been doing research on earth for a travel book; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the
Galaxy. The earth’s entry is: Mostly Harmless. Ford and Arthur manage to hitch
a ride with the Vogons, who are the ones blowing up the earth. They are then
thrown out of this ship and picked up by the Heart of Gold, a space ship that
uses an Infinite Improbability Drive. It is driven by the President of the
galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox. They dart around the galaxy doing fun stuff. It’s
3. Starship Titanic by Terry Jones – This book was based on a computer game made by Douglas
Adams and written by a Monty Python, under the circumstance that he wrote it
naked. The Titanic is a huge, fancy spaceship that has sort of accidentally
landed on earth. Three humans go on board, and the spaceship then takes off and
starts for home. There are a bunch of subplots with a bomb, love triangles and
insurance fraud. It’s extremely hilarious, the writing is brilliant. It’s not
like Douglas Adams’ books, it’s more slapstick, but I loved it.
4. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – Yes. The sequel, sort of, to the Hobbit. In the
Hobbit Bilbo finds the ring, and in the Lord of the Rings Bilbo’s nephew Frodo
has to take the ring back to Mordor to destroy it. They set out from Rivendell,
the home of the elves, in a company of nine people. They have to go to Mordor,
eventually the company breaks up, people go to Rohan, Gondor, there are huge
battles. The writing is absolutely beautiful, there are songs and poems, and
it’s so poetic, and it’s a very timeless story, the little good guy against the
big bad guy.
5. The Hero’s guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy – This is a middle
grade book. It’s about the princes Charming from Fairytales, specifically from
Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White. The princes are in
general sort of silly and useless. They want to be known as prince Fredric,
Liam, Gustav and Duncan, rather than nameless men in the stories of women. They
stumble upon a big plot that could ruin the kingdoms and decide to stop it.
Sadly they are a bit useless and get into a bit of trouble. They do however
try, and they get help from some of the princesses, I think everyone except
Sleeping Beauty, but I might be wrong. It was hilarious.
The book is about a young girl named September who is transported to Fairyland.
September needs to find a talisman for the new marquess, who is young and
fickle. If she doesn’t the Marquess will make life in Fairyland horrible.
September travels through Fairyland with a Wyvern who is half library and needs
keys to unlock his wings. She also meets a young boy, named Saturday, and they
save him. It’s so beautiful, the language and the illustrations are wonderful.
It’s a middle grade book, but it is absolutely wonderful. It’s sort of Alice in
Wonderland, it’s really cool.
7. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – This is a take on the Dracula story. It is
about a young woman who finds an old book in her father’s study addressed to
“My dear and unfortunate successor.” The discovery sends her on a travel and
she discovers things about her own family, history and folklore. The story is
essentially about this 16-year-old girl and her dad, Paul, travelling around
Europe trying to find Vlad Tepes’ tomb. Vlad is supposedly the “real” man who
became Dracula. He has somehow gotten hold of the narrator’s mother, and they
don’t know whether or not she’s still alive. The story is split into three
narratives. It’s about Paul’s mentor, Paul himself, and Paul’s daughter. A lot
of people have gotten these books and they are plunged into a world of Dracula
and awesomeness. It’s been a while since I read it, and I sort of want to
reread it, but it’s enormous, so I need time and some serious persistence if I
want to read it. I remember liking it though.
8. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey – This book is set in a sort of parallel Europe,
mainly France. The country is called Terre d’Ange, The country of angels.
Supposedly the country was made, or established, by fallen Angels led by Elua.
Elua was born when the blood of the crucified Yeshua (Jesus) mixed with the
tears of the Magdalene (Mary). He went off with eight angels and they settled
in the place that would become Terre d’Ange, which is pretty much France. In
this country a young woman named Phedre is born. She is left by her mother at
the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers. They are basically a court of very
high-end whorehouses. The whores are very highly thought of and are more like
courtesans and geishas. Phedre has the godgiven ability to find pleasure in
pain. It is given to her by Kushiel, one of the fallen angels, to balance out
the fact that some people in the world want to punish people. She is bought
into servitude by a rich man, who uses her as a spy: when she sleeps with men
and women she learns things that is interesting to him. She discovers a plot to
take down the future queen, and she is sold into slavery to avoid her tell them
about this treachery. She travels through Skaldia (Germany, with some Nordic
mythology), and escapes, then she manages to tell the queen what’s happening,
and travels to Alba (Britain), to find the queen’s betrothed, a pictish prince.
The story is really cool, also the protagonist is an antihero, sort of (a
whore), who is completely badass and takes on the world. She’s awesome.
9. American Gods by Neil Gaiman – The book is about Shadow who has just been released from
jail to find his wife has been killed in a car crash. He meets a peculiar man
called Wednesday, who claims to be a former god and the king of America. They
travel through America, meeting gods and strange people and all around them
there seems to be a sort of supernatural storm breaking. It’s really awesome.
It’s so weird, because it is after all Neil Gaiman. It took me way too long to
figure out who Wednesday was, but other than that I loved it.
M. Valente – This is sort of, I’m not sure if it fits, but I decided it does.
It’s basically based on Russian mythology and folklore. It’s about Koschei the Deathless
who comes to the home of a young woman, Marya, and takes her away to his homeland.
They seem to travel through time and space, and it’s really cool. Also,
folklore is really cool.