Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you

Oh, all right:
Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
What Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow tried to be, Dhalgren simply was. Circular, impressionistic, post-modern, but what the book did best was convey a world without time. I have read too many books to ignore the creaking of sets and plot behind the curtains, and I hate them. Dhalgren creates a real world where things just happen, on their own time, for reasons you may never know, yet is utterly gripping. The space and freedom in this book is so massive it may have inspired Grand Theft Auto 3.
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
His juveniles are often more direct and vivid (see the marvelous Tunnel in the Sky for seat-of-your-pants adventure and angst) but SiaSL is where The Mighty Bob (gentile twin of that other, equally mighty Bob, Dylan) pulled theology, science and philosophy right into the heart of the sphere of the man of action.
A Fine and Private Place, Peter S. Beagle
Not as mature nor as expansive as his Folk of the Air, nor as purely inventive as The Last Unicorn, both great reads full of careful intelligence, this book was written when he was only 19 years old. It reads far more maturely than you would think (as you mentally handicap it). The raven is my personal hero: “There are people who give, and people who take. There are people who create, people who destroy, and people who don't do anything and drive the other two kinds crazy. It's born in you, whether you give or take, and that's the way you are.” Chilling.
Walden, Henry David Thoreau
Once you read this you can never be satisfied simply with more (not even with more pointless self-sacrifice, an idea that would have disgusted Thoreau). You will weigh your life and analyze it to see how you are being wasteful, or profligate, or simply not thinking things through. Thoreau was a product of Harvard before the demise of that institution; his intelligence, his awareness of his own marginality, is immense. He critiques his neighbors the local farmers, but I think he was never quite unaware of what they thought of him, and I think he took their opinions seriously. Did you know he ran the family business purifying graphite to sell to pencil makers, building and improving the machinery?
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard
The New York Times called her “no mere romantic twirling a buttercup,” which is hilarious and wrong both ways. First off, she is a romantic twirling a buttercup, and apparently no one at the Times knows just how dangerous they can be. Put this next to Walden and it will happily share the shelf, both alike and utterly different. There is no higher praise.
Tao Te Ching, Lao Tsu, trans. Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English
Memory fails. I may have read The Tao of Pooh first, but this book cemented itself on my mind. Clear, spare, profound in its silence lest it stutter, this is honestly the only book in the world I would stand next to the Bible. Chuang Tsu's Inner Chapters is subtle comedic relief compared to the first.
Engine Summer, John Crowley
Yes, I read Little, Big first, and again, more expansive, more mature, more everything, but Engine Summer stood me on my head. Some reviewer said he wrote “as if the author had never read science fiction, but had only had it described to him.” Yes. Elegiac as only science fiction can be, as only it and high fantasy can compass the death of civilizations, and sad, and so carefully written you will have no idea how bold this book is.
The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
What could I say about this book? Tolkien, who created his own languages for fun, never wrote an ugly sentence. Ever. Read the chapter in the Mines of Moria again. See how quiet everything becomes? Some post-modernist cheesehead would have repeated “dark” and “grave-like” thinking himself an impressionist; Tolkien simply writes dark and quietly. Amazing. Actually, the series has three ugly sentences, all in the mouths of his irredeemable villains. The man, a World War I veteran, had no understanding of evil because he had none in him. For more on the Oxford don's morality, I turn to Spengler: “The Ring and the Remnants of the West” and “Tolkien's Christianity and the pagan tragedy.”
Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
Again, I could choose the more expansive Chronicles of Amber (first five only, please) or an eclectic short story collection such as The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth. But Lord of Light is the one book I returned to again and again. Zelazny was a poet writing prose and, similarly yet so different from Heinlein, the man of thought bringing to life the man of action. Bring your demon repellent.
Okay, nine (Princes in Amber) is all I have time for tonight. This morning. Six more later.

ETA: Okay, I ended up with five-six, no-yes, more later.

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