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#9146 - 10/30/00 09:36 PM Re: book lists
Marty Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 347
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Using Fishy's criterion "the best books are those that move you", I'd have to nominate:

1. Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, and
2. E. Annie Proulx's The Shipping News

(1) was the both the first book I cried over and the first book I read twice, and (2) gets my vote for imagery and sheer poetry of style.


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#9147 - 10/30/00 09:50 PM Re: book lists
Marty Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 347
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
...on the other hand, using quite different criteria, I can't log out without mentioning:

Tolkein's The Hobbit, and
J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series (yup, all of them, and it ain't over yet!) I must plead guilty to fighting with my daughters over these. They would start again at The Philosopher's [aka Sorcerer's] Stone and catch up to me on the third or fourth book.

Both authors have created very comprehensive, consistent and credible imaginary worlds in their works, and both use nomenclature that appeals to the linguaphile in me. Doesn't the name "Draco Malfoy" just drip with evil?


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#9148 - 10/31/00 02:50 AM Re: Tried and found wanting...
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
War and Peace: "It's one of those books you have to read before you die. Therefore, the longer I put off reading it, the longer I live."

Probably the reason it's not on my list of pet hates - I haven't read the ruddy thing.


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#9149 - 10/31/00 06:11 AM Re: Subjective
paulb Offline
addict

Registered: 03/17/00
Posts: 460
Loc: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
<Dr Seuss Brilliant stuff!>

There was a TV documentary here [in Australia] a few months ago about the use of propaganda cartoons during World War II. The authorities apparently commissioned a number of scripts from Ted Geisel (Dr Seuss) because of his use of repetitive simple words which got the message across to soldiers (many of whom had a low level of literacy) better than 'standard' scripts.


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#9150 - 10/31/00 10:32 AM Re: book lists
RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
tsuwm's right (as is often the case!) - this is so subjective as to be practically unanswerable, and I also agree that the best way is to read - or at least attempt to read- anything you can lay your hands on.
My own criterion for a "really good" book is that it has to be one that I want to read for a second time. Very few come into that category. When I was very young, the "Just William" books were favourite and recurrent reading (I wonder how they would go down with an American - not too well, I guess, as they rely very much on an English view of the world - and a middle class one, at that!) Now, it is "The Lord of the Rings" (JRR Tolkien) and some of Dylan Thomas' short stories - "Adventures in the Skin Trade" are good. Lord Macaulay's poetry is always re-readable, for me, as is Omar Khayyam. Most (not all) of Dickens, with its complicated sub-plots, I can read again and find that I have forgotten half of it.
The only Shakespeare that I re-read are his sonnets - and those not often!

But there is so much that is interesting, funny, touching on its first and only reading that I will try just about anything - even Mills and Boone!


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#9151 - 10/31/00 10:42 AM Re: book lists
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
Most (not all) of Dickens, with its complicated sub-plots, I can read again and find that I have forgotten half of it.

Strangely enough, Dickens is one of my pet hates - convoluted plots, improbable characterisation, a tendency to shows of facile emotion... and that's just the opening chapter

BUT... not only would it be very dull if all tastes coincided, I may also point out the other fundamental for me: that you have to be prepared to revisit both loves and hates (and sometimes even indifferents) and be open to a change of heart. Such is growth.

I have just finished devouring a novel by Peter Carey called 'Jack Maggs', and it blew me away. Possibly partly because it built on my reading of the popular Oz history I read this summer (mentioned in another F).. but also because it's inspired me to revisit Mr Dickens himself. So I'll let you know in a while


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#9152 - 10/31/00 11:08 AM Re: book lists
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
I will try just about anything - even Mills and Boone!

It sounds like you're ashamed of that. Mills and Boon is stirring stuff - I read about 75 of them between the ages of 11 and 13. Never regretted it. Not ashamed of it. Doubt if I could plough through one these days, though... Or Biggles.


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#9153 - 10/31/00 03:05 PM I am weak. Weak!
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
I promised I wouldn't do somethinglike this, and now I've just gone and done it. Here (purely for ego-marketing) is a set of lists of favourite books. (Yes, dangit, I'm costive enough to have separate lists!)

Novels

Kim Rudyard Kipling
The life and opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Laurence Sterne
The glass key Dashiell Hammett
Feet of clay Terry Pratchett
Musrum Eric Thacker and Anthony Earnshaw (though you're not likely to ever find a copy)

Novellas

The man who would be king Kipling (again)
Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
The turn of the screw Henry James
One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Chronicle of a death foretold Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Outsider Albert Camus (though I've been told time and time again I should refer to it as 'The Stranger')

Plays

The Importance of being Ernest Oscar Wilde
Heartbreak House George Bernard Shaw
Waiting for Godot Samuel Beckett
Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? Edward Albee
Much ado about nothing William Shakespeare

'Science'

Guns, germs and steel Jared Diamond
The mismeasure of man Stephen Jay Gould
Darwin's Dangerous Idea Danial C Dennett
Where does the weirdness go? (bother, I can't remember the author'sname offhand)
How the mind works Stephen Pinker

If I were really self-glorifying, I'd have included my list of favourite poems. But there you go...

cheer

the sunshine warrior


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#9154 - 10/31/00 04:14 PM Re: book lists
belMarduk Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/28/00
Posts: 2891
xara, is the deluge up to your knees yet? Isn't the variety of books and authors that stir the soul amazing? You know I will be printing out this thread the next time I pop into my neighborhood bookstore.

Shanks dear, not weak. We love what we love, and when we do, it is hard not to shout it from the rooftops.


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#9155 - 10/31/00 04:25 PM Re: Tried and found wanting...
FishonaBike Offline
veteran

Registered: 10/11/00
Posts: 1346
Loc: Sussex, England
the longer I put off reading it, the longer I live

Love it.

Only problem is, I could be tempted to over-use that line.






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