The Sunday Salon: NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction, Fantasy Books

In June, I was alerted by my fellow The Lord of the Rings fans to NPR’s call to nominate books for their Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books. Setting aside the problem of conflating the genres—I mean, I get it, but it does mean a lot of good books in both categories will fall by the wayside—I enjoyed looking through the comments for new recommendations and, of course, taking the opportunity to peddle Jacqueline Carey’s The Sundering like it’s my job. (If you read and liked The Lord of the Rings, you should read it. End of story.) The nominations were counted, the votes were tallied, and on Thursday, NPR unveiled the fruit of its labors—their top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books (circa Summer 2011). I’m not going to copy the list verbatim—you can find a printable version here if you so desire—but I am going to talk about some of the selections that made it, be they good or bad in my book.

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Booking Through Thursday: Dog Days

Since my dog is turning 10 today … what animal-related books have you read? Which do you love? Do you have a favorite literary dog? (Snoopy, anyone?)

I can’t think of a favorite literary dog. I rarely read books written from a dog’s perspective, so recommendations are welcome.

But the best animal-related book I’ve ever read is Watership Down, which can be summed up as “bunnies at war”—but it’s so much more. It manages that difficult trick of writing about animals without being tempted to humanize them and make them cute and cuddly. These are rabbits, through and through, trying to make sense of the world around them with their own lapine outlook, and it’s a rollicking adventure yarn to boot.