Friday, March 20, 2009

Books, Redux

Last week I talked about books that I bought solely because of the great covers they had. This week, I wanted to focus on books I have reread many times.

I would love it if any of my fellow constant readers would talk about the books that were loved so much that they demanded rereading. Have you read some more than twice? What brought you back to those specific books?

My list of books that were so good, once was not enough, is pretty I will only talk about a few.

Those of us into fantasy understand the attraction and sometimes the necessity of rereading books of epic proportions. These books seem new because the level of detail is so rich, the evens so numerous, you just have to go back for more. The most obvious is Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy (along with The Hobbit). I estimate I have read that whole series at least three times. The first time was almost like some sort of religious experience. I probably dreamt about Frodo, Sam and the Ents night after night. The books covered so much ground, had so many characters I could either empathize with (the diminutive Frodo and other Hobbits) or idolize (Aragorn and the elves). A similar series, but very different in tone, is Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant double trilogy. This one came later in my life and is intended for more mature readers, but it pushes many of the same buttons. It even has a magic ring! I also have read Stephen King's The Stand several times. Another book that is epic in scope, with a multitude of distinctive characters (see my version of Trashman below), I have probably read it four times or more. The last I will mention has nothing to do with fantasy, but is wonderfully fanciful, and those are the books of John Irving. I have read most several times, but The World According to Garp, The Water Method Man and The Hotel New Hampshire hold special places in my heart. No one can take the reader through such highs and lows and keep you coming back for more again and again.

Below you will see a few paintings of mine that were meant to be book covers or illustrations of favorite scenes. The first is the aforementioned Stephen King book, The Stand. The original is watercolor and about 12 x 16.

Below, you see a painting for the classic Portrait of Dorian Gray, which is one of several pieces I did for an educational magazine years ago.

Below is a cover for a recent book whose title escapes me.

Here is a cover for a collection of a comic book series that dealt with the mysterious death of Marilyn Monroe called The Red Diaries. The original is mixed media and about 20 x 30.

Lastly, below you see an early cover for a collection of horror stories called Chilled to the Bone. This is mixed media and the book cover itself has some 3d elements, such as a real spider as part of the art.

Please, comment on the books that meant so much to you, that grabbed you so tightly that you had to go back and read them again. If you are like me, the list is long and gladly so!


Anonymous said...

Wow, love your blog, Ken. Amazing plethora of talent you have there, both in your artwork and your writing flair. Isn't blogging a wonderful way to share every bit of ourselves (if we choose) with the rest of the world! I always say, "Why deprive everyone else of the fabulousness that is Me?" You go, Dude!

kenmeyerjr said...

Thanks for the, I don't feel like this blob is operating in some interstellar vacuum bereft of any humanity!

Anonymous said...

Ken, I've been following your blog since it's inception and am anxiously awaiting today's installment. Your work looks familiar to me, maybe we crossed paths in a past life. I've always lived on the west coast, but can't quite place the dejevu. Am glad to see that someone other than a tweener is using this medium for quality, artistic dialog. You seem to have the personality and humor that would make a good teacher. Hats off to you sir, and please keep up this blog. I think you'd be surprised in how much interest you generate.

Anonymous said...

So funny that you refer to it as a blob. I have a friend that does that too. What's wrong with these people? Don't they get it? Maybe they're too old to even get it. In that case, I just feel sorry for them.

kenmeyerjr said...

Well, anonymous number uno, where do you live or where have you lived? Though my memory is very suspect, I surprise myself every now and then.

Anonymous number B, I just mistyped...believe me I am not one of those luddites that would say 'blob!' What kind of ding dong would call it a blob?

Anonymous said...

Hey man, I second that comment on the interest factor here - really liked reading about your history and the things in your life that got you to where you are. Makes me feel like there's hope for me to find my niche also. Would love to see more of your work. There is a consensus here that we'd like to see more pics of you too. you seem to add weekly editions but this week nothing new - darn. Enjoy seeing your work, thnks

kenmeyerjr said...

A consensus? Was there a poll taken behind my back? Let's see the tally sheets!

I am gonna update today...sometimes fridays just get too busy.