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Literature List of must read books?

sallyomally

Addicted Poster
Location
Houston,TX
Definitely A Wrinkle in Time! It's one of the books my sister and I hold close to our hearts.

Some other ones I've read multiple times:
Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
The whole of the Narnia series
Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods (I don't know that I've ever laughed more while reading a book)

I really loved The Time Traveler's Wife too. If you've seen the craptastic movie, don't let that influence you. The book is rich and full of wonderful full-bodied characters. It's one of those books I wish I could go back and read again for the first time (though I had to stop part way through because there was one scene that just made me sob unbelievably...whew)

Are you reading only fiction?
No, just wanting to do lots of reading. Thanks for the ideas.
 

das_nut

World Class Member
I disagree with the Margaret Atwood love other people are showing. She has said some rather annoying things in the past, and I am not that fond of her works.

Anyways, books I would recommend:

(Fiction)

1. Mother Night - Kurt Vonnegut. A story about who you pretend to be.
2. Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Haruki Murakami. Magical realism mixed with Kafka.
3. A Game of Thrones and sequels - George R. R. Martin. Great deconstruction of fantasy. (Warning, series is as of yet unfinished.)
4. Redshirts - John Scalzi. Only recommended if you ever liked Star Trek. But if you liked Star Trek, you need to read this book.
5. The Laundry series by Charles Stross. Mix James Bondian cold war spying with the Cthulhu mythos, and flavor with a strong dose of government bureaucracy. It's better than it sounds, and being Charles Stross, its always fun trying to catch the references he makes. There are short novellas in the series that are also available online. Also by Charles Stross, I'd have to recommend Glasshouse, which is a straight SF novel that takes place in the aftermath of a war where history and memory itself was targeted by a virus called "Curious Yellow".

(Non-Fiction)

1. The Third Chimpanzee - Jared Diamond. It's about us.
2. Escape from Camp 14 - Blaine Harden. The remarkable story about one North Korean political prisoner's escape.
3. Bonk - Mary Roach. It's all about sex research. (This is the only book that most of you will probably be tempted to read. Pervs. :p)
4. Nickel and Dimed - Barbara Ehrenreich. A book about the working poor.

(If I think of more, I'll post.)
 
M

mlp

Guest
I'm not sure how saying things in interviews that irritate some people has any bearing on the quality of an author's work?

We could turn this thread into a critique of each of the books suggested by other posters, and even of each other's taste in literature, but I don't think that was what the OP had in mind.
 

Rosie

I don't know what to put here.
Location
u.s.
So... I'm off for the summer (one of the many perks of working in a school), and want to read and read a lot. I'm making a list of classic books-and by "classic", I mean from any era or genre. What should be on my list? Aaaannnddd.... go!
Thank you for starting this thread! I have added it to my Watch list. It'll be a nice reference to come back to.
 

das_nut

World Class Member
I'm not sure how saying things in interviews that irritate some people has any bearing on the quality of an author's work?
Sometimes an author is so prominent a member of the "did not do the research" category that I find any of their opinions suspect.

Margaret Atwood falls firmly in the "urinal cakes" territory for SF, which is a sad state of affairs for an author. I'd argue that reading Ursala Le Guin is a far better use of resources. (Start out with "The Left Hand of Darkness" for a study of gender and SF.)
 
M

Moll Flanders

Guest
Oh, I remembered I read something classic quite recently - Slaughterhouse-Five - Vonnegut. It was... strange.:D

Sally, I don't know if you have seen the film but The Woman in Black by Susan Hill is supposed to be scary. I liked her other book The Mist in the Mirror although the ending seemed a bit rushed.
 
M

mlp

Guest
Sometimes an author is so prominent a member of the "did not do the research" category that I find any of their opinions suspect.

Margaret Atwood falls firmly in the "urinal cakes" territory for SF, which is a sad state of affairs for an author. I'd argue that reading Ursala Le Guin is a far better use of resources. (Start out with "The Left Hand of Darkness" for a study of gender and SF.)
Well, if I remember correctly, the reason you and some other SF fans take umbrage at Atwood is because she looks down on SF as a genre and claims her books aren't SF. So, maybe if you think her books are a miserable example of SF, you should take her at her word. :p

The three of her books that I can think of offhand that could be categorized as SF (The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood) are allegorical tales that highlight certain trends in our current culture. I don't see what "research" would have been necessary - they're not about science, they are about certain societal trends. I don't care whether they're characterized as SF or not - that's really beside the point. (After all, I guess you could argue that To Kill a Mockingbird is a murder mystery, and an argument about that would have no relevance to the quality or interest of the book.)

I think that The Handmaid's Tale is well enough known and will continue to be so that it will stand the test of time as a classic, which is what the OP originally asked about. (We've all kind of veered from that, and have recommended books that we love, but won't necessarily be considered classics.)

As to trying to educate me about The Left Hand of Darkness, perhaps you should have actually read my prior posts if you wanted to avoid looking silly. :p I've been reading SF since well before you were born, back when Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein were the only names in the genre, and fantasy pretty much belonged solely to Norton.
 

Pirate

Addicted Poster
Location
United Kingdom
2. Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Haruki Murakami. Magical realism mixed with Kafka.
I loveee that book. I think it might possibly be my favourite Murakami book. I cant choose argh! I'd say its a good Murakami starting place though, as its not TOO weird.

Also Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

Will keep thinking. I read a lot and enjoy most of what I read, so its hard to be specific haha.

Re Margaret Attwood. I liked Oryx and Crake, but didnt like Handmaids Tale. The ending annoyed me. I also read After the Flood which was OK. None of her other books that I've seen appeal to me really. If anyone can recommend one thats not one of those threee im all ears.
 
M

mlp

Guest
Re Margaret Attwood. I liked Oryx and Crake, but didnt like Handmaids Tale. The ending annoyed me. I also read After the Flood which was OK. None of her other books that I've seen appeal to me really. If anyone can recommend one thats not one of those threee im all ears.
I liked Oryx and Crake the best of her books, and After the Flood was a nice follow up. The only other one of her books that's memorable to me is The Handmaid's Tale. I've made it completely through a couple of other of her books (including The Blind Assassin), but I remember very little about them, and I think I've tried most of her others, but they didn't hold my interest enough for me to finish reading them.
 

Kitties

Veteran Member
Location
California
Forster, I just put Tough Trip Through Paradise in my Amazon cart. Should be interesting but I'll assume very sad at the same time.

I like to read biographies and autobiographies. I've read about varied people. Right now I'm reading "Born Standing Up" by Steve Martin. I've never been a huge fan (know him mostly from Saturday Night Live) but I'm still finding the book interesting.

Any suggestions? They would be appreciated.
 

Forster

3-7-77
Location
Montana
Forster, I just put Tough Trip Through Paradise in my Amazon cart. Should be interesting but I'll assume very sad at the same time.

I like to read biographies and autobiographies. I've read about varied people. Right now I'm reading "Born Standing Up" by Steve Martin. I've never been a huge fan (know him mostly from Saturday Night Live) but I'm still finding the book interesting.

Any suggestions? They would be appreciated.
IMO very bittersweet. No question it is a time of great change in the west, Mr. Garcia's life, and the lives of the Native Americans and what was lost forever. It covers the callousness, greed and exploitation people are capable of and the unstoppable momentum of "progress". I also like the unvarnished outlook/opinion of whites towards the Native Americans, not for the outright racism, which is disturbing, but to try and gain an insight in how they thought.

It's been a while since I last read it, I think I'm going to have to pick it up again and see if I'm recollecting right.

If you enjoy the book (even though it's not a bio) I'd recommend reading Little Big Man by Thomas Berger, movie was good but IMO the book was much better and leaves one with many of the same bittersweet feelings.
 

sallyomally

Addicted Poster
Location
Houston,TX
Oh, I remembered I read something classic quite recently - Slaughterhouse-Five - Vonnegut. It was... strange.:D

Sally, I don't know if you have seen the film but The Woman in Black by Susan Hill is supposed to be scary. I liked her other book The Mist in the Mirror although the ending seemed a bit rushed.
Oh, I am such a big chicken. I have to steer clear of anything scary.If not, I end up sleeping with the tv and all lights going all night! :p
 

GingerFoxx

No effin' whey!
Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods (I don't know that I've ever laughed more while reading a book)
I love Bill Bryson books! A walk in the woods was the first of his I ever read, probably 10+ years ago, when I was in high school. Before he and his family moved back to England, he was living in NH, maybe about an hour from me. Sometimes you'd see his daughter in the newspaper, because she was on her high school track team. I also had the opportunity to hear him speak once at a local college. If you like A Walk in the Woods, "In a Sunburned Country" is good too, as is "I'm A Stranger Here Myself"
 

Dropkick

the best half of a great wit
Location
Montana
If you didn't have enough people recommend Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods let me do it also.

And a few more recommendations:
Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews (1st book in a series)
American Vampire by Jennifer Armintrout
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs
Any book she's written (but particularly the Mercy Thompson books) by Patricia Briggs
Jhereg by Steven Brust
The Dresden Files (series of books) by Jim Butcher (1st book Storm Front)
Soulless by Gail Carriger (1st book in a series)
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Child of Fire by Harry Connolly (1st book in a series)
Grimnoir Chronicles (series of books) by Larry Correia (1st book Hard Magic)
Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia (1st book in a series)
Anything by Dashiell Hammett
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (1st book in a series)
Iron Druid Chronicles (series of books) by Kevin Hearne (1st book Hounded)
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey (you might be able to find a free version of this online under the name Blind Shrike)
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Wolf Hunt by Jeff Strand
Kitty the Werewolf (series of books) by Carrie Vaughn (1st book Kitty and The Midnight Hour)
Amber (series of books) by Roger Zelazny (1st book Nine Princes In Amber) (can get full series in The Great Book of Amber)
Roadmarks by Roger Zelazny


Some of these might not be "must read" but they're all books that I've enjoyed and I think you would also.
(I stayed within your parameters for types of books you like - I did go a little heavy on fantasy and I mixed the different types together, though.
 

PiSis

always on. slightly off.
1. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

from Amazon:
Yann Martel's imaginative and unforgettable Life of Pi is a magical reading experience, an endless blue expanse of storytelling about adventure, survival, and ultimately, faith. The precocious son of a zookeeper, 16-year-old Pi Patel is raised in Pondicherry, India, where he tries on various faiths for size, attracting "religions the way a dog attracts fleas."
His curious mind makes the leap from his native Hinduism to Christianity and Islam, all three of which he practices with joyous abandon.
Planning a move to Canada, his father packs up the family and their menagerie and they hitch a ride on an enormous freighter.
to anyone who was planning on reading this, now might be a good time...before the movie comes out on November 21.
just sayin' recommending.
 

Lord Snot

Parsley Provider
1. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

from Amazon:


to anyone who was planning on reading this, now might be a good time...before the movie comes out on November 21.
just sayin' recommending.
:/ I'm not feeling good about this, I can't see how the story would come across well on screen. I bet it is hugely changed.

I will see it though and try to keep an open mind :)
 

das_nut

World Class Member
As to trying to educate me about The Left Hand of Darkness, perhaps you should have actually read my prior posts if you wanted to avoid looking silly. :p I've been reading SF since well before you were born, back when Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein were the only names in the genre, and fantasy pretty much belonged solely to Norton.
Not sure when you started reading SF, but if you're quoting Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein, sure, they were the big three, but there were other notable names earlier, for example, E. E. Doc Smith or Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Also, really, thinking that fantasy pretty much belonged solely to Norton? Robert Howard published before her, if I recall correctly.

*tsk* *tsk* You need a far better classical education in Fantasy and SF. :p
 
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