In light of the fact that I haven’t decided the scope of topics I want to discuss on my blog, I’ll take the time to talk about something that I’ve been excited about lately. I’m excited about a book, and not just any book. While reading this book I’ve already come to the conclusion that it’s my favorite book ever. But before I reveal it, let me talk a bit about my reading history.
This summer I started a project of trying to read seminal works of science fiction. Why science fiction? Well, I grew up with some science fiction-obsessed parents (raised by an engineer and a librarian) but my reading since my teen years has been mostly nonfiction. It’s easy to blame a lot of my nonfiction reading on getting a major in economics. I was reading a lot of economics related books, both casual and advanced, my peers were reading the same books, and with all the other types of distractions in the world it was easy to skip fiction.
Now though, I feel liked I’ve missed out on a large world of fiction books, particularly science fiction (again, a genre that I was practically born into). Honestly, I feel that part of my interest comes from a yearning to feel closer with my parents (possibly a natural sign that teenage me is now finally gone). The start of my science fiction reading began this summer when I read the first three books of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation seres, as well as Henry Gibson’s Neuromancer. The Foundation series I enjoyed but found sections outside of major plot lines dull. Neuromancer is its own special beast, and while I was able to appreciate how influential the book is, I couldn’t really get into it.
Which leads me to the next seminal work science fiction book I decided to read, a book that I genuinely believe is now my favorite book even though I am only roughly halfway done: Frank Herbert’s Dune.
First, more context: my dad is a huge Dune fan. He’s read all the books, watched the SyFy channel miniseries of Dune (we watched it together), heck, he has the extended LazerDisc version of the David Lynch Dune adaptation. Given how steeped within Dune I was growing up, how did I reach 27 without having read the book? Maybe it was a rebellious teenage way of distancing myself from my dad? Maybe it really is just part of a natural inclination to nonfiction? Here’s what I do know: I have never read a book with as much excitement as I have while reading Dune.
Reading Dune is a joy unlike I’ve ever experienced in reading before. Every page dense in fantastic character and world-building, all while Herbert’s writing flows with ease and is rich in vivid literary color. Conversations between characters are brought to life, and history and time are revealed in ways very grounded in a natural perception of time.
Any of my family reading this will probably be thinking “Yep, he’s his father’s son,” but I’m sure you’re aware how stubbornly I’ve always tried to be my own person to the EXTREME (and how genuinely weird my dad is). Did I think that a book would so drastically kick off reflections about my relationship with my father? Never. Now I kind of feel like Anton Ego, the imposing food critic from Pixar’s Ratatouille. In the film after eating one bite of Remy the protagonist’s meal, Anton is thrown into reflecting on childhood memories and on what food even means to him. Dune is like that for me, but it’s a book.