Books: a literary discussion
edited January 2013 in General Chat
So I've been eying and lusting after a nook and its fancy new 1.3 firmware even though I know I can't afford one. And all that looking at something meant to read books made me think about...BOOKS.
Let's talk about books. Anybody read anything recent that was really good? Have an obscure old favorite?
Where do you read books? When do you read them? What books do you read? How do you read books?
Etc and so forth.
If it involves books, say it. I'd like some good recommendations on recently published books and currently running ongoing series, too.
My favorite book of all time is Dumas's "Count of Monte Cristo"(or at least the unabridged English translation), though I of course love the geek standbys as well(Hitchhiker's Guide, Neuromancer, Slaughterhouse-Five, Snow Crash, et all). I also have Star Wars books as somewhat of a guilty pleasure.
Also, this isn't the thread about pictures of boobs. There shouldn't be pictures of boobs in this thread.
...unless it's a picture of a book that just HAPPENS to contain boobs. Because then it's absolutely on-topic and worthy of discussion.
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As far as classics go, I love Les Misérables. It's full of ridiculous coincidences, of completely off-topic rants and of un-needed descriptions, but I love it the way it is. I re-read it recently, and I was shocked to realise I remembered some parts word for word. (I had only read it once before, actually).
I also really like The Little Prince, By St-Ex (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry). We actually translated it into English in university, it was pretty neat (that wasn't published or anything, mind you, it was just an assignment). This one I've read countless times, I seem to find new things about it every time even though it's so short.
I guess that's my contribution for today. A fair amount of books that were originally written in English I've read in French as a kid, so I'm working my way up reading them in English now.
Well, a full discussion can take a lot of typing so I'll wait and join in when a heated one pops up, but for now some of my favorites are:
The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky,
To Kill A Mockingbird by Lee,
The Hobbit by Tolkien,
The Last Battle by Lewis,
The Restaurant At The End of the Universe by Adams,
Shogun by Clavell,
Indiana Jones and the Philosopher's Stone by McCoy,
The Shadow: The Voodoo Master by Grant,
2001: A Space Odyssey and Rendezvous With Rama by Clarke,
Redwall by Jacques,
Schindler's List by Keneally,
The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward by Lovecraft,
The Truth and Making Money by Pratchett,
Murder On The Orient Express by Christie,
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Doyle,
Around the World in 80 Days by Verne,
Still Life With Crows by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child,
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson,
Artemis Fowl by Colfer,
The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull by Bellairs,
and The Maltese Falcon by Hammett.
Dang. That's a long list of just favorites. I must've spent ten minutes trying to think of them all.
Favorite of all time (so far): Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
Pretty much everything Terry Pratchett has written
Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas
Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Gregor the Overlander Series by Suzanne Collins
Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathon Stroud
The Pseudolus by Plautus
Alex Rider Series by Anthony Horowitz
Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Redwall by Brian Jacques
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (unoriginal of me, I know, but they're good)
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Metamorphoses by Ovid
Hard Times and Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward (best unknown book I've read--a mint paperback copy of this went for six hundred dollars on amazon...luckily I had a very good library)
...That was a lot.
Since no one has mentioned it yet, least favorite books in descending order:
Twilight and all its irk by She Who Must Not Be Named
And the very famous ones, I can easily tell if I won't enjoy them so I don't even try. Therefore I can't say I don't like Twilight, since I haven't even tried reading it.
Hey, wanna start a book club or something? We could decide on a book to read, that's readily available to everyone involved (for that reason I would suggest making it one available on Gutenberg or similar place), read it either in English or the original language if different than English (for those who can speak that language), and then talk about what we liked and disliked about it?
Anything to take my mind off the fact that I've been grinding my way through Moby Dick for the past three years. >.>
...I get distracted easily. But yes. Book Club.
So it's hardly surprising that I just finished reading the Harry Potter series for the third time. I have attempted to read The Lord of the Rings, but I only managed to get through The Hobbit and Fellowship before getting lost somewhere in The Two Towers, but I would like to give it another try sometime. Also, I somehow managed to make my way through The Chronicles of Narnia once, but I hardly remember much of it past the first two books and I'm not sure I want to revisit it.
Other than that, though, I'm pretty much underexposed to literature. There's a decent number of books to be found around my house, I just don't really tend to put forth the effort to find them and see what we have. At the very least, I know there's a copy of Moby Dick around here that my dad once managed to force his way through (and yet he can't get through the Harry Potter series). I did find a really old copy of Don Quixote around here once (c. 1930), but when I went to read it, I found the printing hard to read. I'd definitely love to get my hands on a newer copy, though.
So yeah, I think a Telltale Book Club would be awesome. It'd give me the direction I lack to discover new books.
There is this book. My wife gave it to me for my birthday a couple of years ago. Some of the pictures are very nice, but there's also the less classy ones.
Can't think of any favorites books right now, but I do get to read quite a bit, since I have a 45 minute commute by subway to and from work every day, and I don't have a tv at home. My favourite authors are probably Gogol, Dostoyevsky, García and Murakami. I'm also pretty fond of fantasy, popular science and anything math related.
Wasn't there a book thread already?
Now i have to name at least one good book as well. I would recommend reading Patrick Süskind's The Perfume. Different kind of story, at least for the time it was beeing released, and a wonderful well written prosa, dunno how good the translations are. Moreover i read it when i was in Saint-Germain in Paris which made it a very special experience.
Maybe, but if there was, it wasn't similar enough to a certain absolutely-not-related-thread-also-in-the-general-forum for people to accidentally click on it.
Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Surrealism without being overly pretentious or obtuse. The reality in Murakami's worlds all seem paper-thin: you can see shadows of things moving around on the other side, but you only ever get glimpses. I really cannot recommend his writing enough, though this is my favorite of his. I also heartily suggest A Wild Sheep Chase if you like the surreal, or Norwegian Wood if you want something a little more human.
On the completely other end of the spectrum:
Yotsuba& by Azuma Kiyohiko
This is like the comic version of a pile of puppies. No matter how many times I read it, it always always makes my day better. By the same guy who did Azumanga Daioh, but it's actually better. I've gotten a couple of people in the office totally hooked on this.
Fables written by Bill Willingham
Epic graphic novel series about various fables living in the modern day world in secret. I can't think of a way to describe this series that actually does it justice, but trust me it is worth the read. The first book is mostly just a neat story, but they get increasingly better from there.
Oh, and Discworld. Discworld, Discworld, Discworld. Have you read any Discworld yet? Because seriously, go read Discworld.
Does that mean reading Murakami will make my day worse? Is it sad?
I'm only asking because I followed your linked and read "The 100% Perfect Girl" online and it was sad. I was wondering if all of his stuff was.
While I can appreciate sad stories, I'd rather know what I'm getting into beforehand
Also, I enjoy James Patterson novels. Quite exciting. But my bookshelf is mostly filled with young adult's literature, being 16 and all.
I'd give Wild Sheep's Chase a try then. That and it's sequel Dance, Dance, Dance are a really good place to start for getting into Murakami. They should give you a pretty good idea of his style.
Thanks, I'll make a note of that.
I adore my Sony Reader, too. I read so much more with it, and most importantly, I've been reading all these classics I never read. While you can't really buy 1,000 books and then read them when you feel like one or another, it's fairly easy to download them, put them on your book reader, and then just start whichever you feel like at that time.
I also find it handy for library books because I don't even have to go there, and more importantly, I don't have to take the trip to return them, they just expire.
You just described about 60% of my book-buying philosophy. The other 40% goes to authors that I've read previously and any book that has a skull or fire on the cover. Or a flaming skull.
But i can laugh about Thomas Bernhard. :O)
The Kindle definitely has its pluses, though, enough to give me pause when thinking about grabbing an e-reader.
Another big favourite of mine is John Fante.
Only recently read the grapes of wrath and decided Steinbeck ruled too.
And there's a lot of other guys too that i'm too lazy to think of right now.
Hehe, i used to love the x-wing series. Reread those a year ago during a bored period, they're actually not THAT bad compared to some others :eek:
Where to start ...
This is what my collection looked like two years ago:
It has grown since.
Books I've read this year are:
"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand
"Under the Dome" by Stephen King
"Dark Rivers of the Heart" and "Intensity" by Dean Koontz
"Pirate Latitudes" by Michael Crichton
"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
Currently I'm reading "Strange Highways" by Dean Koontz.
Yeah. Mine. Rather Dashing is a baby stealer.
Perfume is excellent.
The English prose is very good, though I have no idea how it compares to the original German.
It was one of those books I bought on a whim and ended-up loving completely. For the angry, isolated teen in you, this is a breath of nihilistic, pessimistic fresh air. It's one of the best books I've ever read.
I should add that A Wild Sheep Chase is crazy, in both good and bad ways. I don't know if it's for everyone; probably not. It's weird and crazy and random; there's a character called The Rat, a girl with "erotic ears" (??) and an obsession with time that all relates to a sheep with a red star on it.
Needless to say I found it memorable, but I don't know if it's pleasant.
Edit: Heh, found a post of mine discussing A Wild Sheep Chase on the other thread.
Well, that's what I would like to be reading at the moment. Its got a bookmark in it for about chapter 2. I'm kind of limited to reading textbooks at the moment, due to exams next week. Generally the works of Geoffrey Parker, Jeremy Black, Frank Stenton, Christopher Hibbert and David Carpenter.
I quite like the Republic Commando series actually, mainly because its not a very Star Wars-ish approach (I don't read Star Wars books usually), given its focus on the gritty warfare of a single squad. Alas Karen Traviss won't be writing any more in that series due to complications with Lucasfilm, so any further books are likely to just butcher the great approach she had to it.
Red Storm Rising - Tom Clancy
Jack Ryan series - Tom Clancy
Odd Thomas series - Dean Koontz
From The Corner Of His Eye - Dean Koontz
The Stand - Stephen King
Dark Tower series - Stephen King
Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis (Voyage of the Dawn Treader is my favourite of the series)
Lord of the Rings series - J.R.R. Tolkien
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Millennium trilogy - Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Star Trek "Shatnerverse" series - William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
K-Pax - Gene Brewer
Neither Here Nor There - Bill Bryson
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series - Douglas Adams
Discworld series - Terry Pratchett (though I've only just started the 15th book in the series)
Ubik - Philip K. Dick
High Fidelity - Nick Hornby
Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton
Lost World - Michael Crichton
That'll do I think. There's probably a load more, in fact probably most of the books I own could have been included because I don't own books I don't like. I'll do my top 3 authors as well:
1) Dean Koontz
2) Terry Pratchett
3) Nick Hornby or Bill Bryson (can't choose between them)
NEXT is a great one.
I won't do a list of my favorite books, as I'd be making alterations to it constantly as I remember more and more, so I'll just leave it at my favorite book at the moment: John Dies At The End, by David Wong.
It's almost everything I could want in a novel: Horror, humor, surrealism, you name it. It can be a bit immature and simply written at times, but it's like Stephen King met HP Lovecraft and Dave Barry at a party (yes, I know King and Barry are friends in real life), and they sired an unholy offspring and named him David Wong.
Oh man, I love Yotsuba&! And Fables! AND Discworld! I've never heard of Hardboiled Wonderland but I might have to check that one out.
I just finished reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I admit I'm a terrible person and laughed when she decided to quit school after trying to read Finnegans Wake, because really, what college student hasn't felt that way after reading that book?
Speaking of manga.
20th Century Boys
...by Naoki Urasawa are must reads. Great characters, great plots that keep you guessing, great development, and great emotional impact are key in his stories.
I'll take a look at that... Astro Boy spinoff/cover/thingie.
Then there's a lot (but not all) of Terry Pratchett's books, some novels by Greg Bear, William Gibson and Neal Stephenson (still haven't started reading Cryptonomicon - do I have to hand in my geek card now?). I've also read (and enjoyed) the first nine "Southern Vampire Mysteries" (aka "True Blood") books by Charlaine Harris and am waiting for the tenth to be released...
There's print versions of a few webcomics: Wapsi Square, Girls With Slingshots, Beaver & Steve, The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats and Simon's Cat (okay, not a webcomic...).
And to top it all off, there's oodles of manga: all 40 volumes of 3x3 Eyes, Fullmetal Alchemist, Tenjo Tenge, Battle Angel Alita/BAA Last Order, most of Masamune Shirow's works, Gunsmith Cats, Hyper Police (highly recommended), Hellsing, Gunslinger Girl, Mahoromatic, Read Or Die, Chobits, ...
That's where the DVDs start coming in and making the space on my shelves less and less by the week...
np: Murs & 9th Wonder - The Lick (ft. Verbs) (Fornever)
I have wanted an E-book reader for ages now, and have been holding a secret hope that they'll release E-book reader software for the DS. All the E-readers I've ever looked at are just too big. I want it to be pocket size. Perhaps a bit bigger than an I-phone and for E-books only. I think I'm being to choosy.
There are Palms and stuff with e-book readability. My mp3 player can read e-books too.
Of course they're not e-books only, but neither would be the DS.
There is a DS game that has classics on it, by the way. Of course you can't choose your own books and add them.
I've personally been hoping they're release a double-page ebook reader for a while. It would be much better for reading sequential art, and even some novels, and much easier to hold, I feel. Plus this way you can close it and protect the screens even if you don't have a "cover" for it.
Anyway, it's a really good sci-fi story. It was published in Afternoon, so none of the usual Shonen/Shojo nonsense. The series revolves around parasites that jump into people's bodies and can change the shape of the body part they take over. Generally they go for the head, to take control of the brain. The alien parasites then walk around like normal people, except, you know...they eat people. The art gets really creative, especially for fights and such. It touches on some great and deep issues, and overall it's just a really good and well-realized story.