The first time I travelled the globe, it was from behind a veil of pages. Through fiction, my mind was opened to worlds undreamt and without number. These five are my favorite.
  1. Dune
    This book is a masterclass in world building. Dune proves authors don't have to skimp on narrative when creating complex worlds, cultures, or backstory - even if some of those details never see the light of day.
  2. The Count of Monte Cristo
    One of my favorite books of all time, and far and away the best work of Dumas! Most fiction supposes that a man betrayed can become a hero or a villain; Monte Cristo proves that sometimes they're both.
  3. Dandelion Wine
    The only book that captures the magic and rich inner worlds of childhood, made all the better because it does so with such beautiful prose.
  4. The Hobbit
    Proof that fantasy doesn't have to be dark or impenetrable to be great. A story well told should hint at a larger world without ever having to weigh the reader down with the unnecessary. Something Tolkien forgot in later works.
  5. The Talisman
    The ultimate road book. I spent most of 2001-2003 traveling and this was my companion. I loved this book so much I refused to read the last chapter until 2008 because I didn't want it to end. Going as far as reading the sequel before reading those last few pages. Also, Wolf, here and now...