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Most Awesome Books: An Occasional Series

Over on Twitter, cathshaffer asked, "Does anyone have any weird books they go back to occasionally?"

And I thought, "BOY, DO I."

I thought also that I needed to do these books more justice than cramped summations in 140 characters... and yet, not explain them too much so that they lose their mystique.

So, my criteria for Most Awesome Books... 1) you must have read the book more than twice. Willingly. Not for a class, but for its awesomeness. 2) You must have once experienced at least slight shame to have read this book more than twice (willingly and not for a class)--you may've moved past that shame, of course, but you know you had it once. 3) Any truthful plot summary of the book reads like someone involved with this process was a little bit on crack.

The inaugural book in my MAB post is Silver by Penny Jordan. Unfortunately, silver foil covers don't photograph so great, so you can't tell how SHINY that cover is if you click through.

Silver by Penny Jordan. A terrifically ugly heiress decides to avenge herself on her ex-fiance/cousin by faking her death and going to Switzerland and getting amazing plastic surgery, tailoring herself to be everything her ex-fiance/cousin ever wanted, so she can take his heart and crush it. Somehow, this will make up for him cheating on her during their engagement and also (probably) killing her dad. Along the way, she decides she can't be a virgin for when she takes her ex-fiance/cousin to bed, so she chooses a fellow patient of her plastic surgeon to deflower her. Only, he is blind from some sort of bomb that terrible drug lords threw at him or something, which also may have killed his wife, or perhaps that was a second bomb--I usually skip this part anymore. Anyway, he is steeped in manpain so much that he doesn't want free sex with Silver (because of course that's Geraldine the Ugly Heiress's pretty new name) at first, but she says she'll pay him, and since this will allow him to avenge his dead wife and drain his manpain so maybe he can enjoy meaningless sex again, or something, he agrees. Later, there is a ton of dubiously consensual sex which leads to love and redemption. The end.

I don't think I've read this book for a good two years or more (maybe 5?), but when I first picked it up in, oh, the tenth grade or something? I read it just about every year afterward as my post-exams ritual, through high school and college. Strangely, I did not pick it up after finishing my first/only class in grad school, so perhaps I'm over it, but for a long time, it was the crack-candy-gum of choice for my academically frazzled brain.

Sure, I re-read Pride and Prejudice about once a year these days. But I bet I've still not read Pride and Prejudice as often as I've read Silver.


Feb. 13th, 2010 04:30 pm (UTC)
Lurve! Yes! You get it! I would add a fourth criterion that may be unique to me 4) no matter how many times you've read the book, you always forget important details or perhaps even the ending, making the book endlessly interesting to you.

My book, The Serpent, is a rather trashy fantasy novel from 1963 about a girl raised in a tower to believe she is a goddess who is then callously offered by her mother as a hostage to a foreign, possibly half-human general who has occupied her country on his way to conquer Atlantis, with the secret mission to seduce the general and stab him in his sleep. Utterly ill-equipped for the mission, she experiences a rough coming-of-age and becomes involved in a dysfunctional on-again-off-again relationship with a charming fellow hostage who (naturally) turns out to be her half-brother, while also falling in love/hate with the general that she is supposed to kill. Also, people ride giant, extinct ostrich-like birds.

There are four/five books in the series (depending on the edition) but I have never got all the way through the series. I just go back and start over every few years. (In truth, I can't bear the incest plot. It makes my brain bleed, and it really takes off at the end of the second book.)
Feb. 13th, 2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
I've never read this series, but I TOTALLY remember the Boris Vallejo covers for it - metal bikinis, ostriches, and all!
Feb. 13th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, they are priceless!
Feb. 13th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
#4 is perhaps not requisite for everyone... I think that there is implicitly a reason people keep returning to their MABs...

I'm putting yours on my list. Just in case it hits me with MAB gold.
Feb. 13th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
Likewise. I love that your book and mine both involve incredibly f-ed up sexual politics, plus bonus incest.
Feb. 13th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
Love it, or find it vaguely disconcerting--?

Feb. 13th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)

But bonus royalty, also!
Feb. 13th, 2010 10:23 pm (UTC)
"Hi, this is my friend Catherine. We share a love for...." *mumbles* "...books about bad sexual politics and incest." *brightens* "We're real good writers, too!"

That's totally how I'm introducing you at cons.
Feb. 14th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)

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