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#9126 - 10/27/00 10:57 AM book lists
xara Offline
member

Registered: 10/09/00
Posts: 197
Loc: cary, nc, usa
Speaking of good books, I would like to have a good reading list. What books should a well read individual have read? Does anyone know if there is any such list anywhere online, or elsewhere? I'm thinking of a list of 100 or so of the most important literary pieces (in english, or translated into english).


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#9127 - 10/28/00 07:27 AM Re: book lists
paulb Offline
addict

Registered: 03/17/00
Posts: 460
Loc: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Well, xara, here's a start:

Callill & Toibin: The modern library: The 200 [194] best novels in English since 1950.

You are encouraged to add the other 6 titles yourself!


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#9128 - 10/28/00 11:47 PM Re: book lists
belMarduk Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/28/00
Posts: 2891
Hi xara,

I've been mulling over your question for the past few days. I think each person has a different view of what constitutes the most important literary pieces. What was written by Plato, or, (sorry folks), most of Shakespeare does not touch me, and consequently, I do not consider their work to be among the most important, to me. Do you want to read to please others or to please yourself? You can do both I am sure, but there is an expression that says ‘to thy own self be true’. The most important literary pieces are the ones that you love best.

That said, here are a few that I love best. Maybe you will too.

Who Has Seen the Wind – W.O. Mitchell
A portrait of life on the Canadian prairies during the early 20th century as seen through the eyes of one young boy. It captures something significant about the prairie psyche and the Canadian psyche as a whole.

Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
You don’t have to grow old just because you grow up.

The Complete – Illustrated – Lewis Carroll
Wordworth Editions ISBN 1-85326-897-6
a) because it contains two of my favorite books; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, in their original formats (NOT Disneyfied)
b) because it has the rest of his writings
Carroll IS a wordmaster.

The Egg and I – Betty MacDonald
A terrific piece of Americana. Ma and Pa Kettle are created in this book. MacDonald describes her life with her new husband on a chicken farm in the Olympic Mountains of upper Washington State in northwest U.S.A. It is a brilliant piece of writing, touching in places and hilarious in other. A thought provoking picture of a woman’s life in the early 1900`s. Try to find an old version of this book.

Was It Heaven? Or Hell? – Mark Twain
I had the extreme good luck of finding a 1928 edition of The Complete Short Stories and Famous Essays of Mark Twain – P.F. Collier & Son Corporation, publisher. Like most people I was only aware of his Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn stories – which do not do justice to this man’s body of work. Twain is a curmudgeon, a humorist, an editorialist an essayist. He writes prose and verse. He is the mirror in which humans get a glimpse of themselves as they really are.

The specific story above is one of my favorites. I won’t tell you what it is about since it is quite short and I will give it away if I do. Find it, read it and have a hanky ready just in case.

What the body remembers – Shauna Singh Baldwin
The introduction says it best..."deeply imbued with the languages, customs and layered history of colonial India, What the Body Remembers is an absolute triumph of storytelling. Never before has a novel of love and partition been told from the point of view of the Sikh minority, never before through Sikh women’s eyes. This is a novel to read, treasure and admire that, like its two compelling heroines, resists all efforts to put aside.



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#9129 - 10/29/00 03:42 AM Re: book lists
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I agree with bel - it's probably more interesting to ask individuals for their recommendations but you asked for a list so here is one:

http://www.stanford.edu/~bkunde/best/bl-crank.htm#T

Assuming it's OK with the author I'll include the top twenty:

Rank Author Title Date
001 Fitzgerald, F. Scott; Great Gatsby, The; 1925
002 Orwell, George; Nineteen Eighty Four; 1949
003 Heller, Joseph; Catch 22; 1961
004 Steinbeck, John; Grapes of Wrath, The; 1939
005 Nabokov, Vladimir; Lolita; 1955
006 Joyce, James; Ulysses; 1922
007 Orwell, George; Animal Farm; 1954
008 Golding, William; Lord of the Flies; 1954
009 Salinger, J. D.; Catcher in the Rye, The; 1951
010 Vonnegut, Kurt, Jr.;Slaughterhouse Five; 1969
011 Huxley, Aldous; Brave New World; 1932
012 Ellison, Ralph; Invisible Man;1952
013 Faulkner, William; Sound and the Fury, The; 1929
014 Joyce, James;
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, A; 1916
015 Hemingway, Ernest; Sun Also Rises, The; 1926
016 Wright, Richard; Native Son; 1940
017 Kerouac, Jack; On the Road; 1957
018 Woolf, Virginia; To the Lighthouse; 1927
019 Lee, Harper; To Kill a Mockingbird; 1960
020 Walker, Alice; Color Purple, The; 1982

It is a composite list of four lists: Modern Library list, Library Journal list, Koen Book Distributors list, Radcliffe Publishing Course list - the webpage below analyses their strengths and weaknesses:
http://www.stanford.edu/~bkunde/best/bl-sourc.htm#T

I'm sure that there was a BBC programme with a list, so I'll keep looking.


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#9130 - 10/29/00 05:03 AM Re: book lists
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Here's a UK website where you can vote for the best children's books. The numbers are still small but the selection of books is interesting:
http://www.devon.gov.uk/eal/dsls/cbc/childrens/cbclistmain.html


Here are the top 25 at today's date:
1. "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" by JK Rowling (26 votes)
2. "Bogwoppit" by Ursula Moray Williams (19 votes)
3. "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame (12 votes)
4. "The Hobbit: or there and back again" by JRR Tolkien (10 votes)
5. "Bottersnikes and Gumbles" by SA Wakefield (9 votes)
6. "A Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula Le Guin (9 votes)
7. "Fattypuffs and Thinifers" by Andre Maurois (9 votes)
8. "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" by CS Lewis (9 votes)
9. "Jennings Goes to School" by Anthony Buckeridge (8 votes)
10. "The Silver Sword" by Ian Serraillier (8 votes)
11. "The BFG" by Roald Dahl (7 votes)
12. "Charlotte's Web" by EB White (7 votes)
13. "The Weirdstone of Brisingamen" by Alan Garner (7 votes)
14. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by JK Rowling (6 votes)
15. "Just William" by Richmal Crompton (6 votes)
16. "Swallows and Amazons" by Arthur Ransome (6 votes)
17. "Finn Family Moomintroll" by Tove Jansson (6 votes)
18. "Goodnight, Mr Tom" by Michele Magorian (5 votes)
19. "The Diary of a Killer Cat" by Anne Fine (5 votes)
20. "Nortern Lights: His Dark Materials 1" by Philip Pullman (5 votes)
21. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by JK Rowling (5 votes)
22. "The Demon Headmaster" by Gillian Cross (4 votes)
23. "The Story of Tracey Beaker" by Jacqueline Wilson (4 votes)
24. "Johnny and the Bomb" by Terry Pratchett (4 votes)
25. "Five on a Treasure Island" by Enid Blyton (4 votes)

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#9131 - 10/29/00 05:13 AM Re: book lists
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I think that the easiest thing to do is to type in something like "20th Century books" or "best books" into a search engine such as Google and you will get a seemingly infinite number of lists, make your own selection from the ones given (or ignore them all if you feel that you know better).

As lists go, I liked this list of "important" books, broken down by year:
http://www.markkelly.com/books20th/

I think it would be interesting if we all listed our top five books and see where we end up.

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#9132 - 10/29/00 06:11 AM Re: book lists
emanuela Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 315
Loc: Italy - Perugia is a town with...
>>The most important literary pieces are the ones that you love best.
I absolutely agree. So the question could be translated as
Which books would you bring with you in a desert island? I have no doubts:
Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance - R.Pirsig.

But, Xara, I regret the fact the I read it in an Italian translation, since it would be a long hard work for me to try to read it in English. But I am aware - mostly after these months of AWADtalk - that you cannot really understand and appreciate a book unless you read it in the original language - not everything can be translated without loosing a part of the meaning...
Ciao
Emanuela


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#9133 - 10/29/00 09:41 AM Re: book lists
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
Is it just me, or does seeing "Greatest Books" lists like that give anyone else a sentimental, almost patriotic, inspiration? Lists like these give a realization of the importance these books have had. They summarize our history in such few words because merely the titles of these books bring out vivid pictures of who we are and where we've been. It's like walking through Liberty Hall and feeling the magnitude and importance of where you are. Such lists are the Mount Rushmore of literature, bringing to light the greatest and most meaningful.

Last year around this time Kenny G came out with a Holiday CD and on it was a version of Aud Lang Sein with audio clips of the most important events of the century playing over the song. That CD gave me the same feeling as these lists, like I was experiencing history.


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#9134 - 10/29/00 09:44 AM Re: book lists
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10513
Loc: this too shall pass
wow! This may well be the most subjective question yet asked herein. Others have given you their approaches, but there are many you could take. One might ask the bridgekeeper's question (MP allusion): "What is your quest?" Do you want to be able to grasp literary allusions? (read the 'classics') Do you want to be able to talk about current popular books with friends and colleagues? (see the NYTimes bestseller lists or equivalent) Do you want to be inspired? Laugh? Cry?

My approach is to just read anything and everything that falls into my path (you have to recognize the chaff, of course :). The last two books that I've read are:
- The Voyage of the Narwhal, a novel by Andrea Barrett
- The Soviet Tragedy, by Matin Malia

Not that I'm necessarily saying that you should run off and read these; I'm just trying to illustrate the point: "Be eclectic -- you'll have more fun!"

I could never choose 2 books to take to a desert island -- I'd drown trying to make a choice -- or list my 25/50/100/200... favorites. When I'm asked, I generally list some favorite writers, those that I have learned to trust with my time or those that I reread. In no particular order these include: John LeCarre, John Hassler, John McPhee, Gene Wolfe, Kate Wilhelm, Ursula LeGuin, Shelby Foote, Carl Hiaason, Thomas Pynchon, Joseph Campbell, Peter Matthiessen, Joyce, Hemingway, Heinlein, Elmore Leonard, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.... Well, you get the idea.




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#9135 - 10/29/00 12:09 PM Re: book lists
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Hi, xara--

I have been at a loss to know where to start in responding to this. Glad others are quicker off the mark.
ATTENTION, those of you who get bored at work and can go on-line there:
This site has 4,000 (free) books you can read online--
http://www.netlibrary.com/


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#9136 - 10/29/00 12:31 PM Re: book lists
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Well, Jazz., you and I have the same depth of feeling about books that have been (are) important to us, though perhaps I relate them a bit less to my country than you do.

The older ones make me aware that I and my generation are
part of the ongoing stream in time that is mankind. Others before me have felt as passionately about things as I do, and more will after I am gone, as well. In 1913, Rupert Brooke wrote to a friend: "Oh my dear there are things to be done! I want to walk a thousand miles, and write a thousand plays, and sing a thousand poems, and drink a thousand pots of beer, and kiss a thousand girls, and--oh, a million things: I daren't enumerate them all, for fear this white paper'ld blush."

Oh! How can anyone get up the nerve to write anything, knowing that they can and will be judged by it for-ever!
But, OH! I am so glad that they have!!!


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#9137 - 10/29/00 06:55 PM Re: book lists
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
There is/was a small, private liberal arts* college somewhere in the US whose entire curriculum was/is based on the "100 Great Books." Does this ring a bell with anyone?

----
*obviously


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#9138 - 10/30/00 04:24 AM Tried and found wanting...
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
Xara

Since everybody is giving you reading lists, I thought I might try the opposite - a subjective view of alleged 'must reads' that have disappointed me.

Milton - Paradise Lost Almost unreadable. Dr Johnson (in his Lives of the poets) succinctly says that the poem is one you are glad to have read, but also glad never to have to read again.

Joyce - Ulysses andFinnegan's Wake Literary masturbation. Sorry, but that's all it is. His earlier works are much more readable.

Faulkner - The Sound and the Fury American Joyce; literally, and literarily, signifying nothing...

European 'bestsellers': Patrick Susskind's Perfume, Hoeg's (sp?) Miss Smilla's feeling for snow - overlong, overhyped, and anti-climactic. And it's not just a translation problem - Sophie's World works marvellously in English.

Bronte - Wuthering Heights Perhaps my least favourite book ever. (I said this was subjective! At least I thoroughly enjoy her sister's Jane Eyre.)

Eugene O'Neill - Mourning becomes Electra Unsubtle, uninteresting, overlong...

Whitman - Leaves of Grass He may celebrate himself, but I find myself unable to do so - through falling asleep every few lines. (And let's not even mention Wordworth's long works - the Prologue etc...zzzzzzzzz)

There you go. Perhaps the fans of these works will descend en masse upon me and rend me limb from limb...

Anyone...?

cheer

the sunshine warrior


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#9139 - 10/30/00 06:49 AM Re: Tried and found wanting...
wsieber Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 1026
Loc: Switzerland
Hi Shanks,
The idea of an "anti-list" has something for it! I found most amusing that "The Sound and The Fury" rubs shoulders with Patrick Süsskinds "Perfume". I can't think of two books more different from each other. Both remained in my memory, although I would also hesitate to recommend them.
The whole question reminds me of a day, long ago, when I was feretting through "Foyles" in London, and a hurried Swiss tourist arrived who asked the sales attendant for a "book about London" which would allow him to make the most of his 3-day visit...


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#9140 - 10/30/00 07:52 AM Re: Tried and found wanting...
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
I was feretting through "Foyles" in London, and a hurried Swiss tourist arrived who asked the sales attendant for a "book about London" which would allow him to make the most of his 3-day visit...

Certainly not a good idea - given that it would take about 3 days to faind any given book in Foyles! I've always thought of Foyles as a sort of adventure/playground for bibliomanes. You go in without expectation of finding anything in particular, or anything at all. You wander, braving the narrow escalators, the dingy staricases, the dusty book shelves, the eccentric arrangements, and then suddenly (like wossname upon a peak in Darien) you come across, say, Chapman's Homer. And it all seems worth while.


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#9141 - 10/30/00 10:40 AM Subjective
FishonaBike Offline
veteran

Registered: 10/11/00
Posts: 1346
Loc: Sussex, England
Hi xara,
You appear to have been well provided for in terms of ready-made lists compiled by others (nod to Jo & paulb), personal favourites (nod to belM & emanuela), personal hates (nod to shanks) and also more general advice along the lines of "follow your feelings, Luke" (Obi tsuwm Kenobi)!

I think any list of supposed all-time greats has to tell you almost as much about the person (or people) who compiled the list as about the quality of the books recommended. Yes, there are generally acknowledged classics, but there's no point in reading them just because they're acknowledged classics. Some of them are deadly boring, or may not be appropriate to you and your world at this time. They may not resonate.

I like tsuwm's comment about being eclectic. I'd take it a bit further and say - IMHO - the best books are those that move you. If you can't avoid some subjectivity then try embracing it.
So here's a loose list of books that have moved me. I'm not going to stop and think about it, or it'll change..

Iain Banks: The Crow Road and/or Espedair Street

Ray Bradbury: almost anything really, but in particular I'm thinking of a short story where a young woman or girl is walking home through a dark wood and a murderer is meant to be on the prowl. Can any Ayleurs place this??

Dr Seuss Brilliant stuff! Particularly recommend The Lorax, though I do like Green Eggs and Ham. And I would read it in a box and I would read it with a... (That's enough of that. Ed)

Hilda Boswell's Treasury of Poetry
Every child should receive a free copy. Excellent poems with wonderful pictures.

Harry Harrison: Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers and/or A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!
The former is very, very funny. The latter is more clever, but is also very amusing.

Ira Levin: A Kiss Before Dying and/or This Perfect Day
AKBD is probably worth reading even if you've seen the film. It's use of an "invisible" first person (the murderer) - something you can only do in a book - is fantastic and enthralling.

There you go. That's fairly eclectic!





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#9142 - 10/30/00 11:02 AM Re: Subjective
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
Can't place the Bradbury story, but on the Banks collection, would perhaps substitute the original (the one and only) The Wasp Factory for Espedair Street. Agree that The Crow Road is wonderful and moving.

Ayleurs ahoy - help Shona with the Bradbury thing!


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#9143 - 10/30/00 01:45 PM Re: book lists
xara Offline
member

Registered: 10/09/00
Posts: 197
Loc: cary, nc, usa
Thank you all for your links and insights. I'm a bit late getting back to this, as I have been out of town having a marvelous weekend looking at stars!

When I started the thread, I was motivated my a number of things.

belM, yes to both pleasing myself and pleasing others. Lately as I have been reading here, I have been surprised at myself both when I do and when I don't catch a literary reference. I was curious to know, if presented with a list of recommended books, what percentage I have already read. I also agree with you that an important piece is something with which you can connect deeply. What's the point of reading if you don't enjoy and learn from what you read.

One of my other motivations was simply to decide on something good to read. Left to myself I tend to read lots of the same thing. I read quite a bit of science fiction (I know, not always the most high quality writing available) but I always feel as though I am missing out on something by not diversifying my reading more. The reason I specifically asked about fiction is that I have more than enough non-fiction to read, and while I enjoy the benefit of the knowledge I gain from non-fiction, I don't as often enjoy the act of reading it. tsuwm's statement "Be eclectic" is exactly what I am trying to accomplish.

I was excited to see, what individual books/authors such a group as this would recommend. I was not disappointed. I've known for quite some time that I needed to read more Carroll, and I love that the fish man suggested Seuss, though I don't know why that should have surprised me.

Thanks to all for the wonderful suggestions!


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#9144 - 10/30/00 05:41 PM Re: Tried and found wanting...
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
Since everybody is giving you reading lists, I thought I might try the opposite - a subjective view of alleged 'must reads' that have disappointed me.

Milton - Paradise Lost Almost unreadable. Dr Johnson (in his Lives of the poets) succinctly says that the poem is one you are glad to have read, but also glad never to have to read again.


Thank heavens I'm not the only one who felt that way! On the subject of "must read" books, I've always liked the quote attributed to a Professor of Literature who was giving his reason for not having read 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."



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#9145 - 10/30/00 09:05 PM Re: book lists
belMarduk Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/28/00
Posts: 2891
oooo xara, for sheer entertainment value, if you like science fiction, you must read the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. Really funny! My family and I are avid sci-fi fans and we never miss a new one.

Also, PUN fans note...the whole Xanth series by Piers Anthony is also amusing.


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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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#9156 - 10/31/00 04:41 PM Re: Subjective
FishonaBike Offline
veteran

Registered: 10/11/00
Posts: 1346
Loc: Sussex, England
authorities apparently commissioned a number of scripts from Ted Geisel (Dr Seuss)

I'd love to see them, Paul. What would propaganda a la Seuss be like?? The mind boggles..

Ayleurs ahoy!




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#9157 - 10/31/00 04:49 PM Re: Subjective
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409

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#9158 - 10/31/00 07:19 PM Re: book lists & Carroll
Avy Offline
old hand

Registered: 06/23/00
Posts: 724
For those that want to read more Lewis Carroll I would strongly recommend a collection of the letters he has written. In his own words, "The proper definition of man is 'an animal that writes letters'" He maintained a "Letter Register" in which was the record of every letter he sent or received. The number of letters sent stands at 98,721. I do not know how many of these have been published. I have a copy of a selection, which I have read and re-read and re-read. I am on the look out for an entire collection. Every letter, as the blurb says, is a mini wonderland.

It's odd how people react differently to books. Patrick Susskind's Perfume would be in my best books list. They say creative work should be aimed at a collective conscious. I am not sure there is such a thing.



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#9159 - 10/31/00 07:41 PM Re: book lists
xara Offline
member

Registered: 10/09/00
Posts: 197
Loc: cary, nc, usa
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.

YES! I find this thread so delicious that I can almost taste it. I have been reminded of wonderful books that I have read in the past that stir fond memories, and books that I have "always wanted to read."

One of my own favorites has to be "No Exit" by Sartre, and for some reason "Go Tell it on the Mountain" by James Baldwin keeps comming to mind lately, though I haven't thought about that one in quite some time..


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#9160 - 11/01/00 11:19 AM Re: book lists
RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
I find this thread so delicious that I can almost taste it. I have been reminded of wonderful books that I have read in the past that stir fond memories, and books that I have "always wanted to read."

Right on! even responding to you reminded me that I haven't read Lord of the Rings for about five years, and it is time I lifted it tenderly off the shelf again. And that will set me on to re-reading The Silmarillion.

Thanks for starting this, xara.


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#9161 - 11/01/00 03:09 PM Re: book lists
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
I keep forgetting to look up the author-- but i am surprised that no one has put in "the professor and the madman"
a book about the making of the OED...
I also loved all of Lewis Thomas books--all of them are collections of his essays for New England Journal of Medicine-- 3 pages on topic, and no matter how little science you have, you can put up with organic chemistry for three pages. (i have no advanced chemistry--except, that which i picked up in Asimov's "World of Carbon" and "World of Nitrogen") and he (back to Lewis Thomas) has many essays on language and words. It was from him that i picked up Sit and Chair have the same root if you go back far enough.. (only M-W here at work)

I made a new years resolution one year to read at one non-fiction book for every 3 peices of fiction. best resolution i ever made. Its easy to fall into the habit of fiction, and there is so much good fiction--and even some of the junk (say sci-fi) is just addictive. I know i an not the only Heinlein fan, since Father Steve was just an instant in finding the quote, and i have seen other references to sci-fi. I draw the line at romance-- too many beautiful people, living happily ever after--ugh!

and no votes for V.S. Naipal? A Bend in the River-- or (why can't i think of any titles! these senior momemts are getting excessive!) and historical novels are some of my favorites. Anya Seton (almost entirely out of print)
But "Devil Water" or "The Winthrope Women" both are novel that straddle the Atlantic. They start in England, and move over to the Americas. Devil Water centers on Jenny Radcliffe, the only child of the last Earl of Derwentwater, (just outside Newcastle)--he was a supporter of "the king over the water" and lost his head about it (last peer beheaded at the tower!) Oh, but work beckens...



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