Bill Bridges

Smashwords Interview

What are your five favorite books, and why?
Lord of the Rings & The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien -- The foundation of it all, right? Sure, The Hobbit is great, too, but LotR is the "desert island" book to rule all desert island books. I personally deeply love The Silmarillion, as flawed as it is (Tolkien didn't finish it for publication, so it was cobbled together by his son). There really is no other book like it in its epic scope, except for actual mythological epics (such as Gilgamesh and The Ramayana). What it excels at over those more archaic epics is a tender care for the smaller things -- not to the same degree as LotR, but still powerful.

The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe (technically, 4 books -- or 5) -- A masterpiece of weird future fiction, as if Clark Ashton Smith and Jack Vance were merged with Jorge Luis Borges. Labyrinthine in the most fecund way.

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner -- It's the books we read when young that have the most emotional impact, and this certainly hit me. It was my first taste of a genre now labeled "urban fantasy," where magical things happen in the here and now, not just in the distant past. I read it in one sitting while I was home sick from school. I recently reread it and it still stands up. All of Garner's books are essentials.

The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle -- A fable that seems, at first, like a jaunt but which deepens as you read until your heart is so entangled with the characters that their plight is your plight and you realize that the reason you're so angry with life is because _you_ gave up on unicorns long ago. This book, along with the Hugo-award winning sequel "Two Hearts" (which will actually break your heart in two), are among the best fantasy stories ever. Better, they make us realize how important all fantasy stories are, and we are left wanting more, more, more.

The Fantastic Four by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby -- I have to give a nod to comics here, and this seminal work is still startling today. It gave us Galactus, the Silver Silver, and action galore. There's really been nothing like it before or sense in that it stood at a turning point in culture, where comics could actually influence and reflect the key concerns of a generation.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle Paperwhite and an iPad. I prefer reading fiction on the Paperwhite -- it's a purer experience, more like a mass market paperback (but one that lights up at night on the back porch and lets me increase the font size if I so desire).
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Bill Bridges' favorite authors on Smashwords