What is your favourite book?

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Postby scowdich » Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:01 am UTC

Catch-22.
Good Omens.
The Charlie Parker Omnibook in E-flat.

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Postby no-genius » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:39 pm UTC

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (trilogy in 4 parts) by Douglas Adams

also, the Salmon of doubt - read it again last week.


History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell, because that is how i roll.
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Postby Bakemaster » Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:29 pm UTC

scowdich wrote:The Charlie Parker Omnibook in E-flat.

Yes. Except B-flat.
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Postby pollywog » Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:04 am UTC

Lyra Ngalia wrote:Some get swapped out of the list every once in a while, but it's usually pretty consistent.

The Golden Compass/Northern Lights by Philip Pullman - Really loved the first one, liked the second one a lot, and was thoroughly let down by the third. It's kind of like he started off a little JRR Tolkien and ended up a lot CS Lewis in terms of subtlety.

Dune by Frank Herbert - I really think Dune by itself is one of the greats. It is just so dense and engaging, and the ending is so perfect. But then Herbert had to go and write more stuff for it.

War of the Flowers by Tad Williams - I'd put Otherland on here instead if it wasn't so damned long. This is I think the only time Tad Williams was able to write a story that fit a single book, and it's a great one. A nice spin on normal faerie fantasies.

Foundation by Isaac Asimov - Foundation was one of those books that when I read the end, I just sat there and stared at the book in shock, it was that good. The only other one out of that series that gave me the same reaction was Second Foundation.

Brave New World by Aldous Leonard Huxley - I like it a lot more than 1984. I think it has to do with the fact that 1984 focused more on how humans corrupt their society and is terrifying in that right, while Brave New World focused on how technology corrupted and crippled society.


I agree with this much of what you say. I've not read the others, so maybe I shall now. My only disagreement was Pullman trilogy. I loved all of those books.
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Jack Saladin » Fri Sep 28, 2007 7:12 am UTC

Yes, I thought they only got better as the trilogy continued, with the third being one of the best books I've read.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Lambic » Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:15 pm UTC

Errr . . . really? I liked the first couple of books, but the recursive control structure that ran the Foundation universe sort of got on my nerves after a while. It was like a children's song. To the tune of body parts song:

"The fragments of the Empire are influence by the . . . Foundation"
"The Foundation is influenced by the . . . Second Foundation"
"The Second Foundation is influenced by the . . . Mule"
"The Mule is influenced by the . . . Gaia"
"The Gaia is influenced by the . . . R. Daneel"

In Asimov's mind the universe worked like a bad continental bureaucracy (redundant I know).

~~~~~

I was really hoping that someone would be brave enough to say "Gödel, Escher, Bach" and then end up under a massive internet pile-on of (good natured) ridicule. This may mean that I am a bad person.

Incidentally, I freakin' love Gödel, Escher, Bach.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Angelene » Sat Sep 29, 2007 10:08 am UTC

Oh I don't deal in favourites, it's too discriminative, and I don't reread books. Books of note include:

Jung Chang's Wild Swans was a fascinating insight into three generations of women in China.

Graham Greene's The End of the Affair... "The slowly growing pain in my upper arm where her weight lay was the greatest pleasure I had ever known"

Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius...a rather apt title. Go read McSweeney's. Go!

Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close..."I wondered, for the first time in my life, if life was worth all the work it took to live"


Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay...oh what a book, and soon to be a film, all going well.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy had the most devastatingly beautifully written prose I've ever read, perhaps almost excessively so, at times...but a beautiful book nonetheless.

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, this year's Pulitzer winner. A heartbreaking and ultimately terrifying tale, staggering in the beauty of its writing...I defy you to read this and not be moved.

The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan...an interest in McEwan has now been sparked in Cara.
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Jesse » Sat Sep 29, 2007 12:59 pm UTC

Do not read Enduring Love by him. Ugh.

Atonement is very good, and try to pick up his early short stories, they were a lot of fun.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby danb » Sun Sep 30, 2007 3:42 pm UTC

Portnoy's Complaint and American Pastoral, both by Philip Roth; Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison; David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens; Henderson the Rain King, by Saul Bellow. I've also enjoyed everything I've ever read by David Sedaris and Bill Bryson.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Angelene » Mon Oct 01, 2007 4:46 am UTC

OhOhOh, and Papillon by Henri Charrière!!! Heavens, such an oversight that was. Positively unputdownable, as my poor degree found out when I picked it up a couple of days before finals. Oh well.
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Cheese » Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:04 pm UTC

How the hell am I supposed to pick my favourite book?
Here are a few that are not my favourites, reasons given:

Slaughterhouse Five: Great plot, characters, message, etc. BUT I had to use it for study in English lessons. And I hate picking apart a text to see hidden authors' thoughts that werent there in the first place, then analysing them and presenting them as 'evidence'. So I went off it. This has happened to several books for me over the years, but most of them I'd grow out of.

David Eddings' Elenium and Tamuli: They're pretty much the same basic plotlines as the Belgariad and Malloreon, with an older main character, less books in each series, and weirder sex bits (although thankfully less of them). If he'd stolen someone else's story and made changes, it'd be slightly acceptable, but taking your own and mauling them is unforgivable.

Anyway, if I ever do find an ultimately best book, I'll post it, but I'm currently still searching.
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Amicitia » Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:58 am UTC

Isn't everyone taught that there's no "secret meaning" one is uncovering, but merely textual analysis, which is a form of speculation? This is something I'm really stuck on. I had one teacher like that, but the rest acknowledged something around the lines of "if you see something more meaningful, then go for it."
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby joshdrilling » Wed Oct 03, 2007 5:55 am UTC

Cat's Cradle is the best Vonnegut book.

The Brothers Karamazov is the best Dostoevsky book.

Strangers in a Strange Land is the best Heinlein book.

One Hundred Years of Solitude is the best Gabriel Garcia Marquez book.

And the Divine Comedy is the most important poem, by Dante Alighieri. I'm growing up now, and I can't believe how many people haven't read it. What the fuck.

Thus, the best book would be written by Fyodor Garcia Alighieinleinnegut. Tell me when they collaborate.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Angelene » Wed Oct 03, 2007 5:58 am UTC

One Hundred Years of Solitude bored me to tears. I'm so very sorry.
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Scigatt » Wed Oct 03, 2007 7:29 am UTC

The Nature of the Chemical Bond, 3rd ed. by Linus Pauling. :P

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby no-genius » Wed Oct 03, 2007 3:16 pm UTC

I've said this before, but Hitchhikers : DDddda111234
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby daydalus » Wed Oct 03, 2007 3:19 pm UTC

Diamond Age, Stephenson. Moby Dick, Melville. Lord of the Rings, Tolkien. The Fountainhead, Rand (but dont call me an objectivist, I just like idealistic artists).

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Reckless » Wed Oct 03, 2007 5:15 pm UTC

Underworld, by Don DeLillo.

Johnny Got His Gun and the Hitchhiker's series are close seconds.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby lesliesage » Fri Oct 05, 2007 10:26 pm UTC

daydalus wrote:The Fountainhead, Rand (but dont call me an objectivist, I just like idealistic artists).

Ah, same here. Say what you will of Ayn Rand, I fell in love with the Fountainhead's Dominique, and wanted to be her. Beautiful and brutal, temperamental and traitorous. Brilliant. Passionate and fiercely autonomous.

Favourite at the moment is The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver. Here's about half my list of faves. It's so hard to choose.
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
Andrea Levy, Small Island
Lois Lowry, The Giver
Toni Morrison, Beloved
Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead, We the Living
Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children
Jose Saramago, The History of the Seige of Lisbon
Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Vitamin_A » Sun Oct 07, 2007 7:03 am UTC

I used to read a lot more when I was younger, but then I got busy, and haven't been able to do it as frequently, however, my favourite books include (in no particular order):
- 1984
- many of Frederick Forsyth's books
- Brave New World
- The Harry Potter Series
- The Artemis Fowl Series
- The Hunt For Red October
- By Way of Deception

and of course, my all-time favourite, How to Win Friends and Influence People

...kidding, of course.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Swordfish » Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:03 am UTC

This might seem like a strange one for people, and I didn't see anyone mention it, but I have to say that my favorite book would be The Caine Mutiny. I read it back in highschool and really enjoyed it.
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby arbivark » Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:24 am UTC

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein.

He's one of my favorite authors, and I would also recomend "For Us, the Living" for a really good commentary of the United States.

Yeah I'll go with For Us the Living. Not because it's a good book, but because it's the only Heinlein novel I haven't read yet.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Eoin » Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:49 pm UTC

I could very easily end up listing ten or twelve, but that would make a complete mess of answering a question with the word "book" in it. Instead I'll only make a slight mess of answering it, and list three favourite "book".

A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin (Favourite Sci-Fi/Fantasy. First book of a brilliant, and ongoing, series)
1984, George Orwell (Favourite "classic")
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, Douglas Adams (Favourite Comedy)

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Tisiphone » Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:58 pm UTC

His Dark Materials Series by Phillip Pullman
The Abhorsen Series by Garth Nix
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova


I can't decide... I really am unable to comprehend people who say they "don't read", I must read at least 2-3 books a week or I feel incomplete and unproductive. It is also a requirement for me to fall asleep properly.
I'd love to have your cake and eat it too.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby cathrl » Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:54 pm UTC

There are so many (most of them listed here) that I'll go with the ones which I keep going back and rereading, and which nobody's mentioned yet...

One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovitch (Solzenitsyn...I think)
Susan Cooper's "Dark is Rising" series. Just don't mention the movie. I'm trying to pretend it doesn't exist.
Barbara Hambly's Dark Tower series.

My one book for a desert island, though, would have to be LotR.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby justinpizza » Wed Oct 10, 2007 10:26 pm UTC

Lie Down in Darkness by William Styron

This book destroyed me. Every time I read Styron, it's infuriating because his prose is as close to perfect as I think anyone can get. He's ridiculous, and amazing.

Post Office - Charles Bukowksi

Most people have strong opinions on Bukowski. I'm one of the rabid fans. I love the simplicity of his prose. He still manages to get some very intricate and complicated ideas across with his blunt force style, though. It's genius.


On a side note, I moved into this town(Tallahassee) back in January. I was finally able to obtain a library card, and I'm definitely using this thread for ideas after my initial romp. Today I got:

Ham on Rye - Charles Bukowski
Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
Set this House on Fire - William Styron
The Great Short Novels of Henry James
Underworld - Don DeLillo
High Fidelity - Nick Hornsby

They give us a month to hold the books, but I'll probably tear through these in under two weeks. I'm an English major on hiatus from school, and after a year and a half away from academi I've finally regained my desire to read.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby OfChampions » Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:17 pm UTC

Breakfast of Champions - Kurt Vonnegut
Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Sallinger
Hithchiker's Trilogy and books thereof - Douglas Adams
Utopia - Sir John
The Human Comedy - Saroyan
Farenheit 451 - Bradbury


And there are many more I've read...


... but I don't like poetry or prose, so the hell with the diving comedy, no irony or coincidence or cute pun intended.

Except maybe the last one, I may have subconsciously gone for the pun.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Joshmonster » Fri Oct 12, 2007 6:41 pm UTC

Picking one book is waaaay too hard, so I'll just pick several and take up a lot of space :D

American Gods - Mr. Gaiman.
I really love the integration of ancient mythology into our modern world and how he pictures what 'gods' would be doing if they were hanging around today.
Hairstyles of the Damned - Joe Meno.
I can read this book over and over and it is still awesome every time. It's a story about a kid in high school in the early 90's and his discovery of the wonders of life. Drugs, music, girls, and a little bit of D&D. I really like how his music tastes change throughout the book from "I like stuff thats loud" to "I like stuff that means stuff and stuff".
A Song of Ice and Fire - George R. R. Martin.
This series is one of the best I've ever read. I like how everything the characters do have consequences and that there are no 'fairy tale endings'. Bad things happen and they are especially prevalent in this series.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby yellie » Sat Oct 13, 2007 1:37 am UTC

- Harry Potter
- His Dark Materials
- Artefacts of Power quartet
- Obligatory mention of Catcher in the Rye
- It's 21st century equivalent, The Perks of Being A Wallflower
- 1984

Anything written by:
- Ian Irvine
- Hunter S. Thompson
- Chuck Palahniuk
- Eoin Colfer

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Eschatokyrios » Sat Oct 13, 2007 1:44 am UTC

Slaughterhouse Five, for the very unique storytelling and simple beauty of the prose.

East of Eden, for the atmosphere that Steinbeck creates, and the depth of his storytelling.

The Left Hand of Darkness, because it looks at such a basic concept as gender in such an interesting way, and still manages to tell a moving, very human story. Same goes for The Disposessed, although I like Left Hand of Darkness more.

A Canticle for Leibowitz: a very interesting and sad story about the rebuilding of human civilization after a nuclear war. It's interesting how it tracks the development of post-nuclear civilizations and their response to the ruins of ours, and I like the use of the Catholic church as a framework by which to tell the story.
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Ethereal » Sun Oct 14, 2007 2:10 am UTC

I'd say anything by Cornelia Funke. Sure, not the best writer in the world, but her books were influential in my life. They were books I could find in both English and Dutch, which, initially was why I read them. Fantasy books (as well as mystery and science-fiction) have been more my style ever since I read the phantom tollbooth all those years ago.
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Jobo » Sun Oct 14, 2007 4:59 am UTC

Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami.

Honestly, a lot of this guy's books would end up on my favorites list, but this was the first novel of his that I read, and... I'm not sure what it is that I love so much. Everything just goes together so nicely. I'm sort of in the middle of rereading it for a third or fourth time now... it's just enjoyable to read.

I couldn't tell you what would get the number two place, though. Roald Dahl's Going Solo was amazing, as was The Great Gatsby, my collection of Bradbury's short stories, or... others. Tough call.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby ducknerd » Tue Oct 16, 2007 6:11 am UTC

I massively second Haruki Murakami, especially his short stories.

The Scar, by China Mieville; No, he really doesn't know how to create characters, but his world-building and prose style are almost painfully awesome.

Snow Crash. Because it's Snow Crash.

Just about anything by Barbara Kingsolver, although I specifically liked her essays in High Tide in Tucson.
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby Q.W.Quee » Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:03 am UTC

The Hungry Caterpillar, and you know it.
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby George Orr » Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:41 pm UTC

Jobo wrote:Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami.

Honestly, a lot of this guy's books would end up on my favorites list, but this was the first novel of his that I read, and... I'm not sure what it is that I love so much. Everything just goes together so nicely. I'm sort of in the middle of rereading it for a third or fourth time now... it's just enjoyable to read.

I couldn't tell you what would get the number two place, though. Roald Dahl's Going Solo was amazing, as was The Great Gatsby, my collection of Bradbury's short stories, or... others. Tough call.
Murakami is where it's at, for sure. I just finished reading Kafka on the Shore, which was the first of his that I've read. Right now I'm reading The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, which is also fucking brilliant. The rest of his stuff is on my to-buy list.

That said, Kafka on the Shore was awesome in such a twisted, mysterious way that I'm still wondering about a few points. I know that there are supposed to be some purposefully loose ends in the book, but I'm just the kind of person who enjoys figuring things like this out. I've got a lot of ideas, and if there are enough people here who have read it, I would enjoy starting a thread to discuss a few of the more fleeting/mysterious aspects of its plot and/or metaphysics.
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby no-genius » Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:08 pm UTC

Of the books I read recently, it would have to be VALIS by Philip K Dick. Reading that book was so much fun!
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby George Orr » Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:30 pm UTC

no-genius wrote:Of the books I read recently, it would have to be VALIS by Philip K Dick. Reading that book was so much fun!

Ah, so that's where your "location" thing comes from. I knew it sounded familiar, but I couldn't remember where it was from until now. And yeah, it's an awesome book.
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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby MeteTheLame » Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:15 am UTC

The Sirens of Titans, Kurt Vonnegut
Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley.

The latter two being my favorite authors ever. Bradbury is the better writer, but Huxley is (was) greatest thinker of the twentieth century.

I also really like Catch-22, but found Heller's other work to be unispired at best. He must have just gotten lucky. Closing Time was unbelievably disappointing.

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby jamesusillxd » Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:04 pm UTC

Ian Banks: The Wasp Factory
Phillip Pullmans His Dark Materials trilogy
And Stephen Kings Dark Tower trilogy(Witch i havent actually finished yet).

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Re: What is your favourite book?

Postby airtank » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:44 am UTC

TO THE TWO OF YOU WHO SAID ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE:
I'm <3ing at the two of you SO HARD right now! I read A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings last year and was immediately in love. I'm planning on picking up One Hundred Years soon. Thanks for reminding me. ;)

I've been devouring books since I was like ten, so we'll see how well I can remember some of these:

Wraeththu trilogy (Storm Constantine)
Bless Me, Ultima (Rudolfo A. Anaya)
The Last Unicorn (Peter S. Beagle)
Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow (Orson Scott Card)
Hitchiker's Guide and ensuing adventures (Douglas Adams)
Survivor (Chuck Palahniuk)
The Things They Carried (Tim O'Brien)
A Man Walks Into a Room (Nicole Krauss)
The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)

I'm hesitant to include these since they're not strictly books, but I'm doing it anyway:

Neil Gaiman's Sandman series (graphic novels)
Art Spiegelman's Maus (graphic novels)
Rabbithead by Rebecca Dart (comic)
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris (essays)
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