What We’re Reading: Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune is a story about politics, psychology, religion, addiction, ecology, power, and giant worms in the desert.

First published in 1965, Dune has become known as a science fiction classic. Two terrible movie adaptations have already been made and another hopefully not terrible film is coming out in October 2021. The main character is Paul Atreides, son of a Duke, who arrives to the desert planet of Arrakis and meets his destiny there. 

Dune by frank herbert (deluxe edition)
Many formats (and several additional books in the series) available through the Durham Tech Libraries

This book was read by Courtney Bippley, Main Campus Reference Librarian and library podcaster [Out Loud in the Library is available on all your favorite podcatchers]. 

Title: Dune

Author: Frank Herbert

Genre: Science Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Read Great Things 2021 Challenge Categories: A book about or set in space; A book recommended by a Durham Tech Library staff member

Why did you choose to listen to this?

I have read Dune several times before but it had been a long time, so to prepare for the new movie, I thought I’d read it again.

I chose to listen to the audiobook version because it was available through Dogwood Digital Library, and I’ve been listening to books more than reading print books lately. It was a great refresher on the story and world, and it was both the same book I remembered but also a more cynical book than I remembered reading it with more life experience. 

What did you like about it?

I’m a big science fiction fan, along with a fan of books with great world-building so Dune is right up my alley. It has all the things I love in my scifi like religion, ecology, psychology, mysticism, politics, and giant sandworms! Every time I’ve read this book I’ve noticed something new about it that I’d missed before. 

Giant sandworm dives into the sand.

Was there anything particularly noteworthy about this?

The audiobook won an Audie Award in 2008 for Best Science Fiction. And, it deserved it! The audiobook of Dune has a full cast and great production. They add sounds of wind across the sand and each narrator does a great job with their part. 

What feeling did it leave you with? Why? 

Dune always leaves me feeling rather introspective, ruminating on themes like fate vs. free will and the difference between power and tyranny. I also always feel grateful and privileged to have abundant amounts of clean drinking water. 

Who would you recommend this to?

While I really enjoy this book and consider it a science fiction classic, I’m also the first to say that Dune isn’t for everyone. The first 100 pages are dense with world-building and can be a slog before things start picking up. There are sequels that expand on the world and story and make it even more complex, politically and philosophically. So, while the first book is a story that stands alone, it is enhanced by reading at least the first sequel. Just know that going in. But if you’re willing to give it a chance and like all the themes I mentioned, then this book could be for you. 

What would you pair this with?

A glass of water to sip and savor while reading. Then, a trip to Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the closest we can get on the East Coast to Arrakis.

Various versions of Dune are available for checkout in the Durham Tech collection– pick your favorite format!

About Courtney Bippley

Courtney is a Reference Librarian at the Main Campus Library. Her favorite genres are fantasy and science fiction. She loves dogs, coffee, and dancing.