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Essential Books

Old 01-02-05, 01:34 AM
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Essential Books

What books would you consider must-reads and must-haves, whether they are classic novels or contemporary books....and why? (Doesn't matter if they are fiction or non-fiction)
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Old 01-02-05, 04:19 AM
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The Bear Went Over The Mountain by William Kotzwinkle

Reason? Because most people haven't and ... just because.
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Old 01-02-05, 12:33 PM
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Some of my essential books

-The Bonesetter's daughter by Amy Tan
-Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor series by William Kent Krueger (Iron Lake, Boundry Waters, Purgatory Ridge)
-Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik

Just off the top of my head
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Old 01-02-05, 01:12 PM
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Catcher in the Rye
-Because everyone else has read it
Of Mice and Men
-A very short book that contains more story and emotion than any book I have ever read over 1000 pages.
To Kill a Mockingbird
-Same reason as Catcher in the Rye.
Stranger in a Strange Land
-A look at our world through the eyes of an innocent. This book had a signifigant impact on the culture of the 60s
Brave New World
and
1984
-These two books go together well. Speculative science fiction that explores what could happen if political and philisophical ideologies are taken to the extreme.
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Old 01-02-05, 01:23 PM
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Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales
Fairy Tales of the Brother Grimm
1001 Arabian Nights

Oedipus Rex
Prometheus Bound
Hamlet

Count of Monte Cristo
David Copperfield
Gulliver's Travels

Hemmingway Short Stories

These are all easy reading, and fundamental to our culture.
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Old 01-02-05, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Nick Danger
Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales
Fairy Tales of the Brother Grimm
I am planning on picking up both of these, but have been trying to decide which editions to get - any particular favorites?

If I could get ones with some nice illustrations included, I would prefer that.
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Old 01-02-05, 11:38 PM
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Fahrenheit 451
-Not just the message, but so well written
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Old 01-03-05, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by lucasorion
I am planning on picking up both of these, but have been trying to decide which editions to get - any particular favorites?

If I could get ones with some nice illustrations included, I would prefer that.
Actually, I just read what versions the library had. I did once look at Andersen books in the bookstore, and the different translations were of different quality.

I asked for but did not receive this book for Christmas
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books

I recommend this book of tales by Charles Perrault:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...036372-0428861
Perrault popularized a lot of stories we know, like Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. He wrote literary versions for the Italian court.
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Old 01-03-05, 11:04 AM
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I second 'A Cathcer in the Rye'.
...hard to believe you got through school without being required to read it...
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Old 01-03-05, 11:49 AM
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My top 5:

Bram Stoker's Dracula
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Moby Dick
1984
The Godfather
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Old 01-03-05, 04:09 PM
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Must-read Thrillers

I was recently asked by the new International Thriller Writers Association to compile a list of the must-read thrillers, so I'll share that list with you here.

Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mister Ripley, 1955
Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana, 1958
Richard Condon, The Manchurian Candidate, 1959
Len Deighton, The Ipcress File, 1962
Adam Hall, The Quiller Memorandum, 1965
Mario Puzo, The Godfather, 1969
Michael Crichton, The Andromeda Strain, 1969
Frederick Forsyth, The Day of the Jackal, 1971
Trevanian, The Eiger Sanction, 1972
William Goldman, Marathon Man, 1974
Ross Thomas, Chinaman's Chance, 1978
Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Identity, 1980
Dick Francis, Whip Hand, 1981
Thomas Harris, Red Dragon, 1981
Thomas Perry, Butcher's Boy, 1982
David Morrell, The Brotherhood of the Rose, 1984
Warren Murphy & Molly Cochran, Grandmaster, 1985
Stephen King, Misery, 1987
John Grisham, The Firm, 1991
Dean Koontz, Mr. Murder, 1993
Lee Child, Killing Floor, 1997
Daniel Silva, The Mark of the Assassin, 1998

It's not an exhaustive list, but they're all damn fine books.
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Old 01-04-05, 01:49 AM
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Johnathan Livingston Seagull
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Old 01-04-05, 07:37 PM
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Slaughterhouse 5
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Old 05-20-05, 10:16 PM
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the sailor who fell from grace with the sea
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Old 05-21-05, 06:23 AM
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Kafka, Metamorphosis
Because anytime someone writes something about an insect or alienation, it's always referred to be Kafkaesque.

Mann, Death in Venice + Camus, The Stranger
They're considered classics? Their European style has influenced alot of other foreign writers.

Welsh, Trainspotting
Because it's more than just a druggie book, plus the use of dialogue is cool.

Pratchett, Eric
A pretty good parody on Faust.

Of Mice and Men
seconding it cause it was my favorite book in HS.

Asprin, Myth Series
Fun, light fantasy.
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Old 05-21-05, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by look4sheep
Kafka, Metamorphosis
Because anytime someone writes something about an insect or alienation, it's always referred to be Kafkaesque.

Mann, Death in Venice + Camus, The Stranger
They're considered classics? Their European style has influenced alot of other foreign writers.
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Old 05-21-05, 01:54 PM
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Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follet
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Old 05-21-05, 11:55 PM
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The Bible
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Old 05-22-05, 12:35 AM
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These works seem absolutely essential to me since they are so imbedded in our culture.
The Bible
The Iliad and The Oddysey, Homer (and to a lesser extent, Ovid's Metamorphosis)
Canterbury Tales , Geoffrey Chaucer (at minimum the General Prologue, the Knight's Tale, the Miller's Prologue and Tale, The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale, The Nun's Priest's Tale, and the Pardoner's Tale. I'm pretty fond of The Man of Law's Tale, too, but it's not popular).
Complete Poems of John Donne, as well as his meditations (at least the divine poems, the songs and sonnets, the elegies, and Meditation 17).
Complete Works of William Shakespeare (at least the most famous plays and the sonnets)


Some great novels:

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen(has been adapted umpteen times, worth reading the source)
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (same as reason as Pride and Prejudice, and the original story is so much better than the Hollywood version. Worth reading Milton's Paradise Lost before reading Frankenstein).
Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad (For me, this novella isn't entertaining, but it's referred to so often in books, movies, conversation, etc. that it's essential)
Lolita, Vladmir Nabakov
As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
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Old 05-22-05, 04:36 AM
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Some books not already listed:

The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque
Maus by Art Spielgelman
King Lear by William Shakespeare

And for kids, just off the top of my head:

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
And nearly anything by Roald Dahl
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Old 05-23-05, 11:06 AM
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Paradise Lost - so good. as my college professor would say, paradise lost brought an end to a genre.

while i still think this 'end' existed only for lack of an emergent, widely accepted religion, the fact is it's been 300 years since we've seen an epic poem.

if you must know more, i could get out my notes as to why specifically this ended the epic genre. if i remember a little bit of the reasoning, i think it has to do with the scope of paradise lost being so much larger than anything else. for example, rather than writing about A man, it is about the man, first man, man in general. etc.
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Old 05-23-05, 05:33 PM
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Definitely:

The Bible
To Kill a Mockingbird
1984

I could easily go on... there are so many good books that are must reads.
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Old 05-23-05, 05:42 PM
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People actually read The Bible?
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Old 05-23-05, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by The Ferret
People actually read The Bible?
Epic stories, lots of kinky sex, flames and pillaging, what's not interesting?

(other than the begats and dimensions of the temple, of course...)
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Old 05-23-05, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by pdinosaur
Paradise Lost - so good. as my college professor would say, paradise lost brought an end to a genre.

while i still think this 'end' existed only for lack of an emergent, widely accepted religion, the fact is it's been 300 years since we've seen an epic poem.

if you must know more, i could get out my notes as to why specifically this ended the epic genre. if i remember a little bit of the reasoning, i think it has to do with the scope of paradise lost being so much larger than anything else. for example, rather than writing about A man, it is about the man, first man, man in general. etc.
I almost included Paradise Lost in the top part of my list but stuck it in with Frankenstein, a novel that alludes so much to PL that it would be hard to fully understand without reading Milton first.

What I remember is that Milton is considered by many to be the last Renaissance writer, even though going strictly by a time line, PL was published after the Restoration. (The reasoning behind this is that Milton emulated classical literature, put man at the center of the universe the way Renaissance humanists did, and evoked humanist skepticism in his portrayal of Satan, etc). There are epic poems after PL, but none are nearly as famous, and I think that maybe the development of the novel turned great writers' attention away from narrative and epic poetry. Not sure on that though.
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