My all-time favorite book and series is the Dune books by Frank Herbert. I can’t quite remember the first time I read them. It must have been in the early-middle 80’s when I was living in Ann Arbor. My friend Brian had recommended it and warned that the first one hundred pages or so were difficult to get through, but were worth it. He was so correct.
There are six books in the original series. I absolutely loved the first book and the fourth. I remember taking one of the books out to a large park in Ann Arbor and reading it while propped up against a tree with the Huron River flowing by. It was a really hot day in the summer and despite the water flowing, I could imagine feeling the heat of Dune.
The books are a fantastic mix of politics, religion, ecology and human nature. It is also about the curse of knowing everything about the future and being trapped and feeling ultimate in boredom with life. It gave (and gives) me lots to think about in terms of religion.
I remember too my junior year of college, living up on North Campus, and waking up to hear the news of Frank Herbert’s death. I couldn’t believe it. I had read everything he had written and owe nearly every book. I’m not sure if I had gotten to the six book of the series, Chapterhouse: Dune, but at the end of it is the most sad and uplifting note I have ever read. His wife had died of cancer and the note that is published at the end of this volume was written just two days after her death. It is a beautiful letter. She died in 1984. He died in 1986.
There is a new Dune series written by his son and someone else. I’ve tried reading them, but they just can’t compare with the originals. They also have the nasty habit of ending many of their sentences with …
Anyway, I’ve just finished rereading the entire series again. I have no clue how many times I have read them. At least every year. They always seem new to me. There are things I missed, or new insights. I guess that is the mark of a great writer.