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Favourite books, what are yours?

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toby

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Feb 28, 2012
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1,368
@Graham, yes, I imagine the 'americanisms', and you're probably much too young to remember the hippie/flower child period--I only got it directly by coming to NYC a lot back in '67 and '68, didn't get to California till way after it was over, first in 1984. Inherent Vice is a kind of loving memoir of Pynchon's own life in Los Angeles during the period. I'm a big fan of LA, which is also why I love Chandler and Didion.

Yes, give the big Pynchon works a try, but it really is advisable to use a guide just as with 'Ulysses' (and I'm sure 'Finnegan's Wake', but I haven't read that, and have decided I don't care to). It's that kind of difficult, and nearly impossible to follow. It was a kind of 'rite of passage' for me to read GR, although I definitely did not love it, even with these amazing brilliant passages. There are other major gaps of classics in my reading--never have managed 'Moby Dick' beyond maybe 60 pages. I think we all need those gaps, frankly. although I did get a sense of accomplishment from reading the Proust (admittedly in English, except for parts of 'The Guermantes Way', which I read in French afterward.)

Major omission in my earlier list is several of the Alain Robbe-Grillet novels, I was reminded because I also read one of these, 'La Maison de Rendezvous' in French afterwards. When your French isn't very good (or any other 2nd language you have) it's a nice way to see what the original sounds like, since you don't have to fight so hard for comprehension. I also like his 'Le Voyeur' and 'Project for a Revolution in New York', but these aren't for everybody--much a product of the high-modernist period and cold as ice.
 
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Graham

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Nov 25, 2012
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50
yes, I imagine the 'americanisms', and you're probably much too young to remember the hippie/flower child period--I only got it directly by coming to NYC a lot back in '67 and '68, didn't get to California till way after it was over, first in 1984. Inherent Vice is a kind of loving memoir of Pynchon's own life in Los Angeles during the period. I'm a big fan of LA, which is also why I love Chandler and Didion.

Sounds like you're leading an interesting life!

Yes, give the big Pynchon works a try, but it really is advisable to use a guide just as with 'Ulysses' (and I'm sure 'Finnegan's Wake', but I haven't read that, and have decided I don't care to). It's that kind of difficult, and nearly impossible to follow.

Ah, okay. I understand what you're saying. I was anticipating the 'hardness' in Gravity's rainbow etc. to be thematic, like say, existential stuff, non-linear time, conceptual weirdness (which is not to say that they don't have that stuff too, I don't know), but what you're telling me, and from what I've gathered from my failed undertaking of Pynchon-lite, is that the actual language is difficult, like Joyce. Yeah that makes sense. I've never been able to read Ulysses, I've never really tried, although I was given it as a present once. Joyce interests me, so again, I will have a determined attempt at it someday.
 

FrancisPaulson

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Oct 10, 2012
Posts
335
@Graham
It's too bad that this thread petered out after a page and a half. Even tho this website does not directly concern itself with films and books they still make up ... or maybe, actually, they do not.... do not make up part of everyone's day. I have a brother who has not read a book in 30 years. We are from the same family(!) and he is only 4 years younger than me, but he never developed a fondness for books, either fiction or non-fiction.

For my part, books have always been my friends... as long as I have a good book to read I can disappear into the book. It is difficult to pick a few favorites. They varied depending on my age.
For example, my Dad taught me to read using the Marvel and DC superhero comics that a friend gave him every month. Up until the 1990s I was a HUGE fan and collector. I still enjoy the movie versions, from last years Amazing Spider Man, thru the Avengers and culminating with The Dark Knight Rises.

As a kid I read the Bible straight thru, cover to cover. The Lives of the Saints also. During the late 1960s I became a fan of Tolkein, but I was also hot and heavy into books like Psychic Discoveries in the Soviet Union. I also loved all of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories.

From the time I was 16 and for the next 2 years the most important book in my life was the PDR. I had to take a bus to Manhattan to buy it but it made me a rather popular lad in school. Seems all my classmates had pills that they wanted to ID!

I got into Henry Miller's stuff in the 1970s. The Rosy Crucifixion (trilogy) totally blew me away. During this time I discovered Philip Jose Farmer's science fiction novels like Flesh! and To your Scattered Bodies Go. I travelled to Toronto by bus one summer weekend to attend a science fiction convention where Farmer was the Guest of Honor. It was a lot of fun.

By the early 1970s the works of Timothy Leary were being collected and published in book form. Also I picked up a paperback copy of Tom Wolfe's "THE ELECTRIC KOOL AID ACID TEST"... This book and the connections it helped me make with Art Kleps (creator of the Neo-American Church) and other friends of Tim Leary altered my life in a huge way. By 1971 a small group of my school chums were bringing a lot of LSD into our little cow town. Orange Sunshine ruled, but window pane and blotter acid provided nice variations on a theme.

My Mom, you see, had wanted me to become a Catholic Priest, and I did develop a hunger for the divine. I read the sacred texts of all the world's great religions, but it was Aleister Crowley's writings that helped me synthesize it all. Aleister Crowley"s CONFESSIONS, Henry Miller's THE ROSY CRUCIFIXION, Tom Wolfe's ELECTRIC KOOL AID ACID TEST slowly led me to explore shamanism, trance and transcendence. As I went on my strange journey authors like John Lilly and Baba Ram Dass (or Rammed ASS as Art referred to him) and Abraham Maslow became important.

The rest is somewhat hazy. Roger Heinlein and Roger Zelazny are 2 science fiction authors whose books I will always treasure, but when my girlfriend Sherrie was sent to prison for a parole violation the book that I ordered from Amazon to be sent to her was THE PRINCE OF TIDES by Pat Conroy. I had seen the movie before I read the book, and I have revisited both of them several times over the last 2 decades.

I'm sure that I have forgotten many titles that should be here. One book that I read last month that I found disturbing was ZOO by James Patterson. I can only hope that it remains a work of fiction!

And that quirky comment about visiting libraries.... my god man, to me a library is a sacred place. I don't think anyone needs to apologize for using a library. Buying digital files and then using a Kindle book reader is - to me - a travesty!
Thanks for starting this thread!
 
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teresita

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Jun 4, 2011
Posts
2,746
I just read "Dorie-Woman of the Mountains" It was soooo good I read it in a couple days which is usually hard for me with my schedule but this book had me glued to it until I finished it. It was a true story about Dorie who grew up a mountain girl in the early 1900s. Never again would I want to hear anyone say negative things about mountain people because although they might not have formal education, Mother Nature taught them more about living off of the land and their own instincts that in many ways they are smarter about survival than the average person.
 

JackB

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May 16, 2011
Posts
786
"The Psychology of Mans Possible Evolution"

By P.D Ouspensky

Amazing read, changed the way I see the world forever.
 
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sweeteeze

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Oct 16, 2012
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512
I have just read "Atonement" by Ian McEwan. It was an astoundingly sad book, but certainly emphasized to me the importance of how our lies (maybe even small lies) can have lasting and harmful, even horribly destructive effects. I think I never hated a character more than I did Briony Tallis. Even 13 year olds must live with the consequences of their actions.

I am reading the dystopian novel, "The Year of the Flood" by Margaret Atwood. I am not sure if the people are truly living in a dystopia or if it is merely a different version of the world we now live in. This book is making me question reality.

I read "Miss Pettigrew Lives for the Day," so funny, like a screwball comedy. Yet the first paragraph is really distressing, but that is the only paragraph like that!

Maybe more will reply to this thread. I know too many people who never read, too. Some of them never did, though, so it is not surprising. If you were a reader in your childhood, it stays with you. Sadly, many people never did become readers and they won't begin in their adult years. It is like roller skating, if you don't do when you are a child, you probably never will (not always, I know there are exceptions to these things..)
 

DulyNoted

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Apr 27, 2011
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4,040
I went off the beaten track and took a copy of "House of Leaves" from my book-a-holic friend. Very wierd, certainly unique, I think a Stephen King fan would love it, in fact I think Stephen King would love it. It's sort of a literary version of a "Blair Witch Project" type pseudo documentary that is one hell of a scary horror story.
 

mongoose

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Jan 19, 2012
Posts
769
Still my go-to annual reads are Death on the Installment Plan (Celine) and Journey to the End of the Night (Celine). I have read them back to back every year for the last 18 years. Recently Naked Lunch by Burroughs and a re-read (from high school or JH, I do not remember) of 1984 absolutely blew me away. Also ALL Bukowski, and I have been entertained recently by re-reading all of the Iceberg Slim (Robert Beck) material which led me to Chester Himes' Cast the First Stone. Funny thing to me is, and I read a lot (it is my primary hobby) I read 1984 to take a break and read something "easy" between some rather difficult books. To my surprise, it was not at all easy, and there is no way a junior high or high school student could possibly get it, even though I guarantee I wrote an A paper on it back when I was a kid.
 

lucyinthesky

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Jan 23, 2013
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5,245
Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker are a good read. I haven't gotten a chance to start the last one. I'm hoping to soon...once I starting reading the first one I couldn't put the book down!
 

artemis

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Mar 8, 2012
Posts
2,529
The Rite: The Making of an Exorcist by Matthew Baglio. Combination of theology vs psychiatry. Excellent.
 

fatalframe

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Jul 19, 2012
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1,332
I really enjoyed the alchemyst series... And it shames me to admit that I also like warhammer40k books (I can only recommend "A Thousand Sons" if you are into post-human super soldiers killing anything that moves :eek:)
 

FrancisPaulson

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Joined
Oct 10, 2012
Posts
335
I guess they are somewhat dated now, but I did enjoy the Cobra trilogy by Timothy Zahn. Use, 'em, abuse 'em, then forget 'em! These fictional supersoldiers got the same treatment most of our Vets get once they come back home.
 

HarryIrene

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Oct 11, 2011
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5,538
portrait of the artist as a young dog.jpg

Great Read - It's a "Must Have"


fivechinesebrothers.gif

Great, Great, fairly Dark, Children's Book/Tale..wonderful story of Loyalty. I love it.



I mostly like reading Biographies and Auto-Biographies...If I find the person "Interesting".

I Highly recommend this one if you like Biographies..It's a Beefheart book of course :rolleyes: , But Mike Barnes did and outstanding job writing it, Top-Notch. Even if your not a Beefheart-Freak it's a Great, Great read.


beefheartbook.jpg
 

Binky

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Jun 13, 2011
Posts
19,091
I love to read & always have a book at hand. I finished reading It's So Easy and Other Lies by Duff McKagan. He was the original bass player in Guns N Roses & I enjoyed reading it. It's all about his growing up years & his years in the band. It has all the behind the scenes stories & his relationships with the band. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading this type of book.
 

fatalframe

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Jul 19, 2012
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The first book is the best. Without giving too much away, in my opinion the main theme of the books (that basically everyone who accomplished anything during the course of human history was either of the elder race or immortal) I still found them to be well written... And the last book actually had a few twists I hadn't expected to play out like that.
 

lucyinthesky

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Jan 23, 2013
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5,245
Other good reads are the Life of Lucille Ball. I'm a huge fan and I have read every book about her and Desi. If your a fan, those are a must read!! It starts from when she was a baby and tells her whole life. Her RKO days, her life with Desi, all the movies she has been in. How I Love Lucy started. Very interesting.
 

AJFinn

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2013
Posts
11
I really can't recommend Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo enough. The best book - fiction wise - I've ever read. So great on so many levels.

Also, if I'd have to recommend just one Agatha Christie book, it would be ...And Then There Were None. You will never guess "whodunnit".
 

MrClean

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Apr 26, 2011
Posts
149
Hey guys I have to admit I'm a die hard Dickens fan.

Now this is really cool. Regardless of your favorite author, and if 95 years has passed since the work was published, under most jurisdictions, including the U.S., public domain law in regard to written works only,
are now part of the public domain.

One of the coolest websites I have come across and also provide support from time to time is the well known "Project Gutenberg."

Free ebooks - Project Gutenberg

Its mission is to take all the famous literary works, now part of the public domain, and and make them free to download in almost every ereader format.

I'm Running out of time so will cut and paste

From Wikipedia

"Project Gutenberg (PG) is a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, to "encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks".[2] It was founded in 1971 by Michael S. Hart and is the oldest digital library.[3] Most of the items in its collection are the full texts of public domain books. The project tries to make these as free as possible, in long-lasting, open formats that can be used on almost any computer. As of March 2013, Project Gutenberg claimed over 42,000 items in its collection."

"Wherever possible, the releases are available in plain text, but other formats are included, such as HTML, PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and Plucker. Most releases are in the English language, but many non-English works are also available. There are multiple affiliated projects that are providing additional content, including regional and language-specific works. Project Gutenberg is also closely affiliated with Distributed Proofreaders, an Internet-based community for proofreading scanned texts."

There are so many wonderful people who go unnoticed for their achievements, though many do not want the recognition.

Ideals/Mission
"Michael Hart said in 2004, "The mission of Project Gutenberg is simple: 'To encourage the creation and distribution of ebooks'".[2] His goal was, "to provide as many e-books in as many formats as possible for the entire world to read in as many languages as possible".[3] Likewise, a project slogan is to "break down the bars of ignorance and illiteracy",[19] because its volunteers aim to continue spreading public literacy and appreciation for the literary heritage just as public libraries began to do in the late 19th century.[20][21]" Quoted from Wikipedia.

I find it so sad that this man who literally begun digitizing all the great literary works to be preserved forever, and easily accessibly via download for free reading, that man Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, died on 6 September 2011 at his home at Urbana, Illinois at the age of 64. What a visionary and great humanitarian.

MrClean
 
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