So, I love to read and between news, sports, and of course mgoblog, I read whatever book strikes my fancy. But I'm stuck and don't have a book "on deck" like I usually do. So what are the best books you have read? Suggestions? I mostly read fiction, but a well written non-fiction or biography can keep my attention.
OT - Best Book You Have Read?
off the top of my head you should read On the Yard by Malcom Braly, or something by Maslowska
That's a pretty good list. I have read about half of those and will definitely look into the others.
Fountainhead, yes. Hell yes.
Atlas Shrugged, no. Takes a significant chunk of time to digest, and in the end I felt unsatisfied with it. Like you have to convert to her idealistic philosophy to get it, and if you don't then it's your fault. Bah!
I don't know if you have ever heard her speak, but most of what she says comes across that way. What I know about Atlas Shrugged is that some of the most powerful people in the world cite this as the book that started their lives and that it is, but some sources, considered the second most influential book of all time, behind the Bible. Now, I haven't read the book because of its daunting size (combine that with a slow reader and you get problems), but I have to think that there is at least some validity to what she wrote.
Atlas Shrugged is the book that helps you rationalize being a selfish asshole when you're 17. Sure, it has some valid points, but it's pretty strawman heavy. So read it, but read it with a discerning mind.
"Who is John Galt?"
but, yes, I'd have to agree. The book is/was essentially a vehicle for her philosophy objectivism, and one of its prime underlying themes is that there are more important people in society than others. These 'prime movers' (yes, no accident that there's a Rush song of same name-- Hold Your Fire?) operate on a different level than the rest of us, and should play by different rules and not have to feel apologetic or a sense of debt to the rest of society.
Now, is there some ring of truth to all that? Sure. But can you see why the book is a favorite of so many of those self-righteous celebrities and silver-spoon-fed trust fund babies out there? It's easy to see why Angelina Jolie wanted the lead role so badly in the rumored film adaptation, and why so many others in Hollywood claim the book as gospel. To them, it's an elitist license to keep one's nose high in the air (and not what Rand intended in the first place).
Epic literature, perhaps. But I just don't buy what the esteemed Ms. Rand was selling.
True, I most definitely could have worded that better, but in full disclosure that was more of a cut on my adolescent psyche than anything else. When I first read that, around the age of 17 (I was applying to college at the time I remember), I did not think through all the implications of the propositions put forth in that book. I barely scratched the surface of the "You deserve to profit from your hard work" ethos put forward and only years later was I able to think back upon it with a a more critical mind.
One of the best essays I've ever read was a little foreward by Stephen King to his Dark Tower series. It's about being 19 (but is as appicable to 17) and feeling like the world can go fuck itself if it thinks it can fuck with you.
prime underlying themes is that there are more important people in society than others
If you choose to view the book in an entirely negative light, yes. A broader view of her beliefs, IMO, is that the very well intentioned and understandable desire to help those less fortunate, taken to extremes, will only end up shackling the best and brightest and ultimately hinders progress for all.
She very much criticized conservatives in this country as well as the left, FYI.
Video was taken in 1961 but everything she says applies to current politics, IMO.
My favorite quote on the topic:
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."
Good list, some other ones I've really liked:
Atlas Shrugged, my favorite
The Cold War by Lewis Gaddis
Historty of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
Brave New World
Beginnings by Asimov
Chronicle of an announced death my Garica Marquez
Anything by Mario Vargas Llosa
Guns, Germs & Steel by Diamond
Cash Nexus or Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson
Currently reading the Rise and Decline fo Nations by Olson.
Btw, thanks everyone, I just ordered 5 books that I gathered from recommendations in this post... many thanks
The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
American Gods: A Novel
Candide (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
We (Modern Library Classics)
The Brothers Karamazov
I have to second Ender's Game. This was the first book I read (forced) in high school that made me realise why people read books for pleasure. I continue reading constantly thanks to this gem. Only book I've ever read more than once. Currently i'm reading the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. It's good but really out there.
Ender's Game is IMO the best sci fi book ever written. For history I would recommend Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz (I took a seminar with Professor Ralph Williams on Primo Levi that was unbelievable), We were Soldiers Once...And Young, or Band of Brothers. For sports books I have to agree with Friday Night Lights (I read that one in a class called The Sociology of Sport). As for fiction, I would love to say Don Quixote, which was great, but I would have to say the Harry Potter books are pretty fun.
and the side series about Bean is also very good. However, gotta say that, IMO, the Dune series trumps Endor's Game for best sci-fi series. It's thick reading but any fan of sci-fi will love this series. A lot of newer sci-fi steals elements of Dune, especially Star Wars.
but I'm one of those folks who fail to see the greatness of it. I enjoy it, it's a read I would recommend to others, but I can't put it into the 'Pantheon' of great reads. It's sterile to me, lacking depth necessary for the grounds of Card's work, namely saving mankind. That's simply my preference, what I would like to see in a writing of such scope, which is worth roughly 2 cents.
Love it. Had to read Ender's Game for a pop culture class in college and ended up buying the whole set of Ender's Game/Shadow series and re-read it once a year.
The Game by Neil Strauss is my favorite book. I don't read that many books but i read this one twice.
As a huge baseball geek this is the standard answer... But it's just fascinating to try and peer into a man's mind like Billy Beane...
I just don't understand how a man can run a baseball team and never watch any of their games. Even if he is trying to take an objective look at a subjective game...
And also, he's pretty much abandoned the moneyball approach and is way into soccer now, but it's still a great read.
James Joyce's Ulysses. It really is the best
James Joyce was the centerpiece of a drunken rant the night I met my girlfriend at a bar in Evanston. I bitched near endlessly about the nonsense on the first page of "A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man."
When you wet the bed, first it is warm then it gets cold. His mother put on the oilsheet. That had the queer smell.
I may remember that line until I die.
raise your hand if you were an English major at UM and specialized in UK lit
Anything Bret Easton Ellis is great way to spend a few nights. I would suggest American Psycho.
Moneyball is excellent, but for me it's Friday Night Lights. The original book is outstanding.
Definitely. I read that book about 4 months ago over two long plane flights and loved it. It's a great, fast read for sure.
The World According to Garp
The World According to Garp is definitely one of my favorites. A Prayer for Owen Meany (also by John Irving) is amazing, too. Also... 1984, Dune, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Middlesex, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and The Catcher in the Rye.
The Hotel New Hampshire is an awesome book. I've read a lot of John Irving's stuff and love it all. I just picked up Last Night In Twisted River but haven't started it yet.
Also, I've posted on here before about Cormac McCarthy, but he's another favorite of mine. Blood Meridian, No Country for Old Men, All the Pretty Horses....I'd recommend any of them.
If you like fiction and well written non-fiction, you may like One Second After by William Forstchen. It is about the impacts and aftereffects of an EMP strike over the United States. I couldn't put it down. While unlikely, it is still a possibility, and Forstchen does a great job telling the story.
Also, anything by Jon Krakauer, great adventure writer, as he wrote Into the Wild and Into Thin Air.
I will check out One Second After. I've read both of Jon Krakauer's books that you mentions and liked them. I would recommend A Walk In the Woods by Bill Bryson if you liked the Krakauer books. It's not as adventurous, but it's a story of a man's journey of hiking the Appalachian Trail. It has a bit of humor in it as well. Good, easy read.
I loved a Walk in the Woods as well.
Another Krakauer-like book is Crazy for the Storm by Norman Ollestad. It's about a kid (12 or 13 I think) who survives a plane crash and has to work his way down a mountain. A lot of the book is spent explaining how his adventures with his father have prepared him for the moment.
I'm an airplane nerd, but a good biography is Boyd by Robert Coram. It's about the Air Force's top fighter pilot in the late 50's who wrote the book on air-to-air tactics, then reinvented himself as an engineer and made major contributions to the F-15 and F-16 programs. After he retired, he got really into war strategy and his ideas led to the war plan for the Gulf War. He was a really colorful character and it's a great read.
If you're looking for fiction, my favorite writers are Christopher Moore and Nick Hornby. Moore writes pure comedy. I think I loved Fluke and Lamb the most. Fever Pitch is probably my favorite Hornby, followed by High Fidelity.
because of its connection to the 1997 National Championship Team
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr got his inspiration for (1997) season by reading the best selling book, "Into Thin Air," a non-fiction account of one expedition's tragic attempts to conquer Mt. Everest.
Loved both Krakauers you listed. Shadow Divers is another great adventure non-fiction title that will get your heart pumping. The Lost City of Z is a recent favorite.
History- With The Old Breed- E.B. Sledge. Provided much of the Pacific battle source material in Ken Burns 'The War,' shocking what those guys went through. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt- Edmund Morris.
Sports- Playing For Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made- David Halberstam. A Jordan bio that digs deep (& I mean deep) into the basketball world of the Jordan-Magic-Bird era. Instant Replay- Jerry Kramer- like being in Lombardi's locker room.
Fiction- Catcher in the Rye, The Martian Chronicles, The Dark Tower series, Crime & Punishment, Lord of the Rings, The Three Musketeers, Old Goriot, Watership Down.
When I was much younger one of my favorite books was "I Want To Go Home". I forget the author, but it was about a kid who got sent to summer camp and spent most of the time trying to escape.
I know they were made into movies but Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter series was pretty good. He also wrote a book called Black Sunday before he wrote the Lecter series and that was good too. Plus the story is centered around the Super Bowl.
I found out that Red Dragon was written before Silence of the Lambs but they made Red Dragon into a movie after Hannibal, which was written third.
A Tale of Two Cities, if we're allowed to go a little further back.
I hate that book. Maybe it's because I had to write a 30 page paper comparing Revolutionary France and the allegories towards the social injustice of his time. Then with all the sowing and reaping and sowing and reaping...
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but like in most times, the Jug was in Ann Arbor.
I've become addicted to Patrick Obrien's novels about Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. There's a bunch of them. They were the source for the movie Master and Commander, with Russell Crowe a few years back. The first one is called Post Captain, and they go from there. Amazing reads. Very fun and entertaining. Can't put em down.
Actually, OP, I'd go with this guy's recommendation. Since you seem to like history and want some fiction. An excellent, excellent series.
I disagree with the O'Brien recommendation. I've read a few, but I found them to require far too much technical sailing knowledge to be palatable. I've sailed before, but I don't know enough about a sailing a square-rigged ship to understand alot of what's going on. For my money, the Horatio Hornblower novels by C.S. Forester are a better execution of the same concept. Admittedly, Hornblower isn't quite as complex a character as Aubry, but there is enough to make the plot and characterization good while avoiding some of the jargon that seems to plague O'Brien.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide by Douglas Adams
Shogun by James Clavell
It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life
The Blind Side and Friday Night Lights are must-reads (must-win?). Usual caveat: movies and TV shows do little justice to the books.
You are 1/3rd correct. The Blind Side movie was shit, but both the film and TV adaptations of Friday Night Lights are outstanding.
...the film adaptation of Friday Night Lights to be a shame in that they skipped over the really interesting parts of the book. From a sheer football perspective, they changed a lot of the details. In reality, Permian played Dallas Carter in the semi-finals (not the state championship) at the University of Texas (not the Astrodome) in very rainy conditions (not climate controlled). The rain had a huge impact on Permain's strong passing game (that and the multitude of D1 guys Carter had).
I have only seen a few scenes from the TV version, but I have not been impressed with the quality of football (though I have heard from many that it is a good drama).
The most interesting media coverage of Friday Night Lights I have seen is in the DVD extras, one of which is titled something like "The Story of the Real 1988 Permian Panthers." If you've read the book, this extra is fantastic.
IMO film adaptations don't owe strict fealty to their source material. Friday Night Lights, as a book, is fantastic no doubt. But that doesn't meant that other media inspired by it have to stick to its every detail. Indeed, because they are different objects in different media they must be different. If they were to stick exactly to the original book's text they would fail. The fact that they do not is not neccesarily the key to their success, but it allows them the freedom to become quality media objects.
IMO film adaptations don't owe strict fealty to their source material.
No, but they should be in the ballpark. Otherwise it's just using the name to sell what they're peddling. That is exactly the film version of Friday Night Lights.
I've never read the book or seen the movie, but I can vouch for the TV show being absolutely fantastic. I can't speak to how it works specifically as an adaptation, but I can say that while football often provides a narrative center, it is kind of beside the point. Really fantastic drama, highly recommended.
Crime and Punishment. And there's never been a better American novel than Moby Dick. Candide or anything by Voltaire. These are all classics, I'm unoriginal in my reading.
If you like to read though, you've probably been through those. Keeping with the unoriginal theme then, On the Road by Kerouac is a quick summertime read. Or go Up North and read For Whom the Bell Tolls on the same beaches Hemingway built sandcastles on as a kid.
Ah, yes. I have read those. Moby Dick was excellent. For some reason I have never read For Whom the Bell Tolls. I have heard it mentioned numerous times but always shrugged it off. I'm putting it on "the list" this time.
Sorry, I'm going to have to disagree on Crime and Punishment. I found it to be way to dry for my tastes.
For me it predates Freud in the development of psychology. I don't know if the field has advanced much beyond what Dostoevsky knew back then, before any of it had a name. In my mind Russian writers are the best, and he was first among them.
I really enjoyed On the Road. Whenever faced with a tough time in my life I read Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea. It provides much needed perspective.
... i loved the book, and the stories my dad told me about what it was like before i could read. hated the movie tho.
EDIT: also brian piccolo, first book i ever read. great story even for guys who arent bears fans.
Agreed re: Friday Night Lights. The movie only told about 2/3 of the story, and what they missed was huge as it related to the book.
Memorial Day by Vince Flynn
Some of these are probably "great literature" but most are just good stories that I enjoy (re-)reading. I spend most of my day reading academic stuff (I'm a graduate student in history) so I tend to read more of what would probably be described as "escapist."
Isaac Asimov, Foundation series
Isaac Asimov, I,Robot
Umberto Eco, Name of the Rose
Alexandre Dumas, Count of Monte Cristo
Phillip K. Dick - I'm a big fan of his short stories; there are a couple of anthologies out there. I'm not as big a fan of his novels, not sure why
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
Homer, The Odyssey (get a good translation - I'm a fan of Stanley Lombardo's translation)
Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Identity
Tom Clancy, The Hunt for Red October
Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express
Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park
Dava Sobel, Longitude - non-fiction, "popular" history of the resolution of the problem of determining longitude on a ship. The illustrated edition is very cool.
the whole bourne trilogy was great. the movies didn't quite live up. different enemy i guess.
i totally agree. i hated how the bourne supremacy and bourne ultimatum movies were drastically different than the books
Robert Fagles also does good Homeric translations
For me, it's The Histories by Herodotus. Not fiction, but ancient history directly from an ancient source. Love it
I'll second Herodotus, I don't recall how much of him I read, but I starkly remember reading about the Persian Wars, especially the Battle of Thermopylae.
If you like ancient histories, I'd also recommend Twelve Cesaers by Suetonius, it's on the lives, both public and personal, of the Cesaers from Julius to Domitian. I found it fascinating, and the parts that describe the depravity of Caligula and Nero are haunting.
I have read all of Crichton, Ludlum, and Clancy. I had to read The Odyssey for a Greek Mythology class in Dennison with a broken A/C. I probably would have enjoyed the book under other circumstances. I liked I,Robot the movie, so I should check out the book. Thanks.
I thoroughly enjoyed just about every Crichton novel, especially Travels, which was autobiographical. Tom Clancy is interesting 50% of the time. I've never read Ludlum, but he's on my list.
especially at putting you in a city you've never been to and describing it so well you feel like you're there. After reading 3 or 4 of his books and having "visited" the major cities in Europe, the narrative had to rely on characterization and plots and my interest waned.
But, I loved those first 4 books.
Count of Monte Cristo is a must! I highly recommend reading the full unabridged version.
A few added recommendations:
- American Gods, Neil Gaiman
- Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
Glad to see someone mention him. In addition to Monte Cristo, the Three Musketeers novels are pure pleasure to read. A bonus is that you get a sense of time and place for that period in France.
Favorite book is more obscure: The Throat by Peter Straub.
Since somebody has already said Catch 22, how about Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson or Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Jr.
Requiem was a superb book and an amazing movie. Catch 22? How can you not love a book with a character named Lt. General Scheisskopf? And Fear and Loathing? "As your attorney, I advise you to rent a very fast car with no top. And you'll need the cocaine. Tape recorder for special music. Acapulco shirts."
When Leto shot up in his infected arm I almost threw up.
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safran Foer
Gai-Jin (and Shogun) by James Clavell (epic books about samurai hating the western world)
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Long Walk by Stephen King
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Wow, haven't read The Long Walk in a long time, but it's a good one. I read it shortly after it was released under King's name - he orignally wrote it under the pseudonym Richard Bachman..
East of Eden
I've got just about all of his books, and love them. Halfway through Invisible Monsters right now and then I'll have read all but his newest and Fight Club. His books are a little graphic at times, but they are very well written and always interested.
My favorite thus far has to be Survivor, although Rant and Lullaby were also excellent. Rant is a little bit of a tough read because of the style it is written in, but well worth reading 3 or 4 times.
I have read Fight Club. It's one of my favorite given it's length. Sometimes I find myself having to fight through 800-1000 page novels that seem to get really dull around the 500 page mark.
i'd have to agree on palahniuk's stuff. his writing style is incredible. i haven't read survivor or rant, but i thought lullaby was a great book.. probably better than fight club, although fight club was a great book
Survivor is so good. The only book I've read by him, but a truly compelling story.
I can't buy any good books here in China and I really want to read his latest, I think it's called Pygmy. I'm also a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan. It's hard to pick a favorite of his, but at the moment I'll go with Slapstick. Charles Bukowski is another must read IMO. My girlfriend has become really interested in American Literature as a way to better understand the American mentality and frighteningly has become a huge Bukowski fan in the process. She now believes we are all drunken maniacs. My all time favorite book is Richard Braughtigan's Trout Fishing in America. I'm definitely a better fisherman having read that book.
Pygmy was pretty good, definitely enjoyable, and a little funny that you can't buy it in China with the book being very centered on someone from a Communist government trying to live in a hyperbole of american culture.
He just put another book out, called Tell-All. I've yet to pick it up, and have no idea how its going to be.
beyond the classics. Moby Dick, Gone With the Wind ect...
I love Palahniuk, but I got Pygmy and have found it unreadable. Otherwise, I've bought every single one of his books and loved them.
I recommend American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I just finished reading it about a week and a half ago and I really enjoyed it.
Great book. His best, IMO.
It is Gaiman's most complete story.
He does a wonderful and crazy job of creating these fantastic worlds and ideas, yet in some of his books you finish with an empty feeling, expecting another 200 pages.
American Gods delivers, and the book's concept could be the topic of a myriad of theses varying in topics between religion, world mythology, American history, and philosophy or a combination...
“God’s die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.” ~American Gods
"The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
"War as They Knew it" (I love the book, It's the only good thing Rosenberg produced)
There are probably plenty more I can't think of right now
Agree--I love all 6 books of the Hitchiker's Guide 'trilogy.' All of them are a fun read.
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick.
I'm reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin and his writing style is fantastic. He has written for TV Shows in the past and his technique definitely reflects that by making the book flow very easily. I haven't finished it, though, so I can't really say it's my favorite.
I would have to say my favorite is Brave New World. I find his view of consumerism and human manufacturing to be very intriguing. While I like the whole book, there have been times where I will just pick up the book and read the first few chapters because of the ideals of the society.
That whole series by Martin is fantastic - the only problem is that he's been working on the next book in the series (with two more to go I think) for the last 7 years.
It's the first of a series, and the next book is really good as well. But I tired of them after the third.
Were you aware that they are making an HBO series out of it?
The Fountainhead is probably my all time favorite book. I'm also a sucker for Michael Crichton.. Jurrasic Park and Next being my favorites by him. I also recently read Nanonethics: the ethical and social implications of nanotechnology. It was basically a bunch of essays by preeminent scientists and engineers about nanontechnology. Pretty boring for some, but if you're in to that stuff it is VERY interesting!
Ishmael (Daniel Quinn), A Language Older than Words (Derrek Jenson), Zen and the Art of Mortorcycle Maintenance (Robert Pirsig), Siddartha (Herrman Hesse), anything by Kurt Vonnegut, House of Leaves (Mark Z. Danielewski), The Man Who Tasted Shapes (Robert Cytowic).
nothing can top Old Yeller ha
Exodus, by Leon Uris
Mother Night and Slaughterhouse-five, both by Kurt Vonnegut
Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
The Godfather, by Mario Puzo
Blood Meridian, No Country for Old Men, and The Road, all by Cormac McCarthy
The Road is the best book I have read in a very long time...read this one, you will be happy you did.
I was waiting for someone to say The Road. It is one of the best I have ever read and essentially couldn't put it down. So if you don't mind a book lasting a few days (I am, self-admittedly, a slow reader, too), then I suggest reading that if you haven't already.
Also, like someone way above me said, Phillip K. Dick is good. His stories aren't always the best written, however, his ideas are always very good. So if you don't mind the words coming off like beautiful angels whispering poetry, then I would suggest him.
'Walt Disney' by Neal Gabler was a really good look at Disney, for anyone as obsessed with Disney as I am.
And something that is non-fiction, but seems like a very good fiction, Dersu the Trapper. It is known in Russia as the Russian Lewis and Clark. It also inspired a Kurosawa movie (for anyone is up on their Japanese film history). It is a very good read.
Also, I'm sure the OP has read it if he's big into reading, but Of Mice and Men is one of my all time favorites. Have to give that some love while I'm at it.
That book is going to be assigned reading in a lot of classes some day.
I've read it four or five times (it's a short book) and I'm amazed every time at how much I love it. Well written and extremely thought-provoking.
On the Road - Kerouac
Sideways - Pickett
Hunt for Red October - Clancy
Travels with Charley (in Search of America) - Steinbeck
Catcher in the Rye - Salinger
White Fang - London
Death of a Salesman - Miller (Michigan Man!)
I'm saving this post and making my own list.
On the Road and One Flew Over the cuckoo's nest
Henry Rollins is a good read I think, most probably will disagree
Whether you like the band RUSH or not, try Neil Peart. Ghost Rider was a great great book and a couple of his others ones weren't bad either plus he talks about alot of the books he has read as well. He talked about how great Jack London's books are and I have meant to look into some of his.
I've never read John Fienstein either but some of his books seem like they would be good.
Nick Hornby is pretty good as well.
But how can anyone not like them?!
Neil Peart is one of the most perfect human beings alive.
Neil Peart's lyrics are my favorite book
Catcher in the Rye
Brave New World
By my reckoning the greatest satire ever written. "No question now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."
Angels and Demons if you saw the movie the book is a thousand times better the movie doesn't even portray the correct story
I couldn't put this book down when I read it. It is easily one of my favorites.
Jim Harrison (although he went to MSU and didn't finish) is Michigan's finest native writer. He is best known for the novella Legends of the Fall, but The Road Home is one of the greatest pieces of writing in the last 30 years.
Other books that can change you:
- The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien (the definitive book about Vietnam)
- Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver
- anything by Cormac McCarthy, but particularly Blood Meridian because good lit should hurt
- anything by Philip Roth after he turned 40
- Annie Proulx: Close Range or Bad Dirt
- Knockemstiff, by Donald Ray Pollock will f**k you up, no matter how solid you think you are.
- anything by Ron Rash
- Pinckney Benedict's latest collection: Miracle Boy and Other Stories
Jim Harrison (although he went to MSU and didn't finish) is Michigan's finest native writer.
Elmore Leonard begs to differ.
Leonard is also a great writer. He's just not grappling with the big psychological problems like Harrison, which means, to me at least, that they don't stick with me as well. Entertaining as hell, but not as thought-provoking.
Harrison manages to work at an earthy (sex, wine, food) and cerebral level at the same time. Some of his passages give me chills, which doesn't happen with Leonard.
One of the best works of modern fiction: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.
One of the best non fiction books for fiction buffs that need historical perspecitive: Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the US Navy by Ian Toll.
I'm not saying I am absolutely right, but I'm definitely not wrong. Anyone who loves to read would never be disappointed by these books.
Six Frigates was good, but my brother who's really into naval history said he got a lot of stuff wrong, relying too much on naval archives in the U.S. and not bothering to use other nations' resources as information.
Since it hasn't been said - World War Z; the premise isn't something that you would think would lead to a good book, but Brooks weaves an amazing work and also manages to catch the essence of human nature in it.
World wide Z was one of the most fun and fastest 5 hours of my life...if you like Zombie movies, it is a must read.
Wow, no Charles Bukowski yet? Guess he'd be more popular over on Maize n' Brew...
Bukowski - Post Office, Ham on Rye, Tails of a Dirty Old Man and (to a lesser extent) Hollywood
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, Sirens of Titan
William S. Burroughs - Naked Lunch
Hunter S. Thompson - Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, The Rum Diaries
Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged
Frank Herbert - Dune (and the other 5 novels in the Dune series)
Jean-Paul Sartre - Nausea
"Charlottes Web" or "Trumpet of the Swan". Last two books I have read.
Lucifer's Hammer by Niven and Pournelle: post-apocalyptic fiction at its best. Despite the name, there is no Stephen King-like battle of good vs evil; just a lot of thought-provoking and often irreverent entertainment. Little characater quirks such the postman who only delivered pre-apocalyptic junk mail on one day of the week, "Trash Day," make this a unique read.
Yes! I loved Lucifer's Hammer, though a lot of what Niven and Pournelle did together was good quality.
On the sci-fi topic, I love Richard Hienlien, Stranger in a Strange Land and Starship Troopers are both fantastic book. If anyone is a fan of military philosophy, Starship Troopers is a really interesting read (along the lines of Ender's Game).
... ive always been into those religous good vs evil books, paradise lost by john milton and dantes inferno are great ones
FICTION / CREATIVE NONFICTION
Shantaram -- Gregory David Roberts
Infinite Jest -- David Foster Wallace
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius --Dave Eggers
Ullyses -- Joyce
Anna Karenina -- Tolstoy
Brothers Karamazov --Dostoevsky
Taras Bulba -- Nicholai Gogol
In the time of the Butterflies -- Julia Alvarez (an embellishment of the true story of the remarkable Mirabal family's women, the likes of whom integrally catalyzed the end of Trujillo's dictatorship in Cold War Dominican Republic)
The Elegant Universe -- Brian Greene
Critique of Pure Reason -- Immanuel Kant
Treatise of Human Nature -- David Hume
Works of Love -- Kirkegaard (I've read these last three in order and plan to progress to Schopenhauer and Nietzche next, but I have no idea which of theirs to read [which wasn't a problem with Kant and Hume])
A long way gone -- Ishmael Beah (an emotional autobiography from a former child soldier of the Sierra Leone civil war of the early 1990s--a subject that's always interested me deeply).
Anything from Emerson
I like the Dialogues of Plato's that I've read (Apology, Crito, Euphyro), and I should read more of them; they are very quick, tasty reads.
American Sphynx -- author forgotten (a commentary on the enigmatic personae of Thomas Jefferson)
Anything from Whitman, Neruda, or Vallejo. I like reading obscure poems from med students and physicians, too--I'm not sure why.
I don't really like Shakespeare; maybe I'd feel differently if I was confident that "Shakespeare" was the man we thought he was, not many men or some other man.
I picked up Bo's and Bacon's Lasting Lessons, and I liked it. I didn't agree with all of it. But I liked it--because I was able to effectively *hear* Bo's voice read the contents. Really cool stuff.
A recommendation, re: Shakespeare: don't read him. Ever. To my mind, reading Shakespeare is an act that can only be justified by the greatest extremity of desparation. Shakespeare is to be seen, performed, live, on stage. He didn't write to be read, he wrote for the stage. I am about as big of a Shakespeare fan as you will find, and I cannot abide reading his plays.
For Schopenhaur, read The World as Will and Idea. He's kind of hard to get through, but he was really influential for Nietzsche, so he's worht the read at least once if you're interested in the history of philosophy.
Nietzsche, there's really no easy starting point. Birth of Tragedy is pretty readable, but the philosophical ideas are a bit buried in the aesthetics. That's one I found I understood best after having read a lot more of his stuff. Don't start with Thus Spake Zarathustra or The Will to Power. Those are two books that really have to be read in the overall context of his thought to make any sense at all. Beyond Good and Evil or The Genealogy of Morals wouldn't be bad first reads. I also recommend Walter Kaufmann's philosophical biography of Nietzsche. It is kind of old (written in the 1950s) and it's pretty long (450+ pages), but for my money he still provides the best overview of Nietzsche's thought, and is a good starting point if you're serious about getting what Nietzsche is doing.
By the way, I'm re-reading the Treatise right now. Hume is fantastic stuff.
Any book review that contains those words is a book I won't read if reading pleasure is the goal.
Nobody reads Schopenhaur for pleasure.
I know it isn't the same as the colloquial "pleasure reading", but if Schopenhauer is anything like Kant, e.g., then I'll get a lot of pleasure out of reading him. It isn't easy, and it isn't quick-reading, but guh-damn is it satisfying to first prove able to read, then prove able to understand, and finally prove able to critique and judge the merits of the contributions of the greatest thinkers in the history of western philosophy. I call that pleasurable. Maybe, that's weird. I don't think so, though.
Given that I was going to begin with Thus Spoke Zarathustra, I ought to thank you. Really. That's a good, brief run down of things about which I didn't know. I had been excited to jump right into the corps of Nietzsche's literature on "amor fati", and I was told this was it. I'm going to hold off, though. I don't mind being patient. Ha: I only have one life and its path to live and love, right?: So, I'll let myself thoroughly enjoy taking the long way around on this Nietzsche character.
1) Atlas Shrugged
2) The Fountainhead
THREE MORE FROM FICTION
I know why the caged bird sings -- Maya Angelou
Catcher in the rye -- Salinger
Madame Bovary -- Gustave Flaubert
I could honestly go on all day with this, given that I am a graduate student in ancient Christian history, and thus my job is about 80-90% reading, and 10-20% writing. Narrowing it down is tough, but a lot of my favorites have already been named, so that helps. A few that I didn't see:
"The Sayings of the Desert Fathers," Benedicta Ward, trans. A collection of (very) short sayings & stories from the earliest Christian monks. Nowhere in all of lit - fiction or non - have I encountered such vividly *alive* individuals.
"Blue Ice," John U. Bacon. A great work of sport and university history, my favorite sports book ever. I want him to write an identical book about the history of M football, and then one about the Red Wings.
The Father Brown Mysteries, GK Chesterton. English Catholic priest Fr. Brown solves all manner of mysteries, and also reveals Chesterton's unbelievable energy for life. If you like the TV series Columbo, look into Fr. Brown - he was one of the major inspirations behind the character.
"The World of Pooh," AA Milne. Possibly the greatest children's lit in the world. Also, I wrote the college application essay that got me into Michigan about that book, so it will always have a special place in my heart!
..."The Misopogon" by Julian
the long and storied history of Michigan Hockey is probably the best non-fiction sports book I have ever read. I learned a great deal about the men who built and sustained the program; perhaps the most surprising thing was the tie-in with the 1917 Halifax Explosion.
Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls is a personal favorite.
Like I was. Devastating! Old Yeller times 10.
All time favorite is The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis.
Favorite sports book is Bo's Lasting Lessons.
You just described the last two years of my life to me. If you haven't read Clavell's Gai-Jin, you really ought to. It's the best of that series in my opinion.
"The story can get a little bit drawn out at times..."
This is an understatement. A better way to put it is you will start hearing the story from the point of view of a minor character whose name is exactly like another minor character except spelled a little differently, and who of course can use magic which is supposed to be rare except it isn't because if there's 3,000 magic users of the world you have literally met 900 of them.
Jordan got a little lost in his later books, more interested seemingly in world building than advancing the story. Plotlines extend further the later you go in the books, and it becomes irritating when you get through an entire book and most plotlines haven't advanced one iota.
In the last book before Robert Jordan passed away, he finally started fixing this, remembering again that the main characters have plotlines and points of view too, and extending the time you spend with each PoV so that everything isn't as jumbled. Sanderson then took over and did an even better job of this, writing the series' best book as its next-to-penultimate volume.
He was a physicist, served in the military, and owned a collection of medieval weaponry about on par with that of the Platagenet family.
What I really like about the books is the physicist. If you've read some Steven Hawking, or watched that Science Channel show with the creepy long-haired Asian guy, you will start to recognize very advanced physicial principles at play, for example\ there is a time lapse for a person who 'travels' long distances using magic (which is accomplished using 4th dimensional principles).
At one point deep into the series, one of the greatest derrings do is accomplished much in the way that modern wastewater treatment processes work.
After the seventh book of 700 plus pages, which was the third in a row where basically nothing happened, I gave up.
There are apparently no video records of it on the internets, but I remember a bit in which he demonstrated his passion for figure skating. It was not what Brian Boitano would have done.
And I haven't read the book or know if it is regarded the same, but the mini-series 'Shogan', based off the book Shogan, is widely despised in Japanese culture as full of inaccuracies. It is thought that Kurosawa was so angry at Mifune, who played Toranaga, for being a part of it that it was fuel for their by-that-time already fueding ways.
As I said, I haven't read the book, so I don't know if there are big differences. Be careful is all I'm saying. Reading what is supposed to describe another culture when written by someone outside of the culture can be dangerous.
When I was in middle school I read Homer Hickham's October Sky dozens and dozens of times. I haven't revisited it in about a decade now, probably, but it hadn't been mentioned and I thought it deserved it.
My favorite novels are The Great Gatsby and Catch-22, and I'm frankly very surprised Gatsby hadn't shown up in this thread yet. In non-fiction the two best books of recent vintage are Nixonland and Team of Rivals, which totally paints me as an undiagnosed politics junkie.
A series of 4 books by Wilbur Smith I found very entertaining: River God, The Seventh Scroll, Warlock, and The Quest
For comedy, I like anything by Christopher Moore, the funniest is Lamb - The Gospel according to Biff, Christ's childhood pal.
I've read is a Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
This book made me laugh out loud. We owe the author's Mom and a prof at LSU, both of whom who labored to get it published, a debt of gratitude.
Garbage which never should have been published. Posthumous publication certainly gets you a leg up on the awards though.
The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostevsky
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
Doctor Faustus - Christopher Marlowe
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
World War Z - Max Brooks
We - Yevgeny Zamyatin (Really the first dystopian novel, laid the ground work for 1984, Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451, while all great books of their own accord, this one's the first, very good, and especially interesting if you're a math nerd, the society is based around mathematics, and the protagonist breaks out when he discovers imaginary numbers.)
And if you want to go philosophical:
The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran
Thus Spoke Zarathustra - Friedrich Neitzsche (Yes, way overhyped by hipsters, but it is still a very good read)
Easy summer reads:
Thank You for Smoking (Buckley)
The Pleasure of My Company (Martin)
A little heavier, but still awesome:
Anything by David Sedaris
Anything by Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion is quite thorough)
Fountainhead/Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
Snow Crash/Diamond Age/Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
Shogun - James Clavell
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (to refresh the palate)
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo ("?" "!")
Lord of the Rings - Tolkien
I'm not sure if this is recommended or not, but I read the Hobbit before I got to Lord of the Rings. I thought it might make more sense that way. It took me about 10 tries to get into that but I always had a hard time getting through the tea party chapter. Eventually, I had the bright idea of skimming it and moving on. It's still slow after that, but if you can get through the first 100 pages, the rest it flows.
After that, I picked up Lord of the Rings and I was only able to get through it because I chose it for a book report in high school. The first book in The Fellowship of the Ring is just as bad as the tea party chapter in The Hobbit. I swear I remember them walking up a hill for two pages only to reach the top and find they had another hill to climb. Then of course the whole conversation with Tom has very little to do with the rest of the story. I think anyone who has read that can see why they cut almost the whole first "book" out of the first movie. At least in doing so, they were able to include about 90% of the rest of the book within the 3.5 hour timespan.
Bombadil didn't really have any impact of the rest of the story, in the book there were only two other scenes in which he was even mentioned so I agree that the film "flowed" better without including him. And I agree that the beginnings of both the Hobbit, and LOTR are very slow, but LOTR is one of my all time favorites. I probably read it once a year.
This could be a long list, but I'll try to keep it short...The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky is a trip to say the least. Like a lot of famous Russian literature, it is quite long, but definitely worth the read. I'm a huge Hemingay and Faulker guy myself as well. Faulkner is frustrating (understatement!) at times, but simply finishing any of his works is an accomplishment in and of itself. I would look to The Sound and the Fury or As I Lay Dying. I'm currently reading Intruder in the Dust, and it is great as well. Also, pretty much every Hemingway novel (even his short story collections) has been amazing, but, like Faulker, Hemingway is not for everyone.
A couple others...One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It's difficult to explain, so I would suggest you checking it out yourself. Truly great stuff. If you're looking for sports-related stuff, I suggest "Can I Keep My Jersey" by Paul Shirley. It's the story of a professional basketball journeyman, and there are some amusing insights and characterizations of many NBA personalities, including Kobe. One last one...I only just began it, but if you're into history then Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond is for you. It details the various circumstances and reasons for why history has progressed the way it has (i.e., why some cultures have seemingly progressed farther than others). I'm only about a hundred pages into but I can tell that it would be a great read for any history buff.
Enjoy! Summertime is a great time to get some reading done.
The Fab Five: Basketball, Trash Talk, and the American Dream - Mitch Albom
Pretty essential reading if you were a fan of the Fab Five...
Lolita, by Nabokov, or Shibumi, by Trevanian.
Do any of you have good recommendations for Michigan football?
By pure luck I stumbled across a copy of Roses that Bloomed in the Snow by Fred Lawton (signed!) at some thrift store. It was published in 1959 (by the UofM "M" Club) so it is about things way before my time. It's got some poems about Michigan football, and some of the old legendary players, and Yost. It also has some other miscellaneous poems by the author.
...Keith Dunnavant's The 50 Year Seduction: How Television Manipulated College Football, from the Birth of the Modern NCAA to the Creation of the BCS is a great book.
While I am not a soccer fan, I do watch the World Cup every four years, which prompted me to check out "Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia and Turkey - Even Iraq - Are Desitned to Become the Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport." (by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski). I love sports economics, and this is a rather interesting look at soccer and sports business in general. It will appeal to anyone who liked "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis or "Paydirt" by Rodney Fort and James Quirk.
As far as books all time, here are few:
1. James Bond novels by Ian Fleming
2. P.G. Wodehouse short stories
3. Anything by Graham Greene
4. The Michael and Jeff Shaara historical fiction pieces (i.e. Killer Angels)
5. Any history piece by Jim McPherson or Victor Davis Hanson
6. Anything written by Michael Frost (Golf history)
7. Anything written by Michael Lewis (esp. Liar's Poker)
8. Freakonomics by Leavitt and Dubner
9. "My Early Life" by Sir Winston Churchill
The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
Choke - Chuck Palahniuk
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton
The Bear Went Over the Mountain - William Kotzwinkle
Oh I hated A Heartbreaking Work... it took me a good year to finally have the patience/will power to get through it. I had already read How We Are Hungry and got so excited for a full length novel.
Turns out, I can only stomach his style for short narratives.
I know and respect a lot of people who love it, just not my cup of tea. (Which is weird, because I read and love most everything. Except A Place of Hiding by Elizabeth George. That was the first book I hated so much I gave it away.)
as well. Certainly not as good as the others, and it's a bit disjointed and sewn together (Tolkien died before it was finished, his son edited the bits of stories into one book). But it gives a great background and lead-up to the tales of Middle Earth. Worth it because you enjoy the others more
In some ways I like the Silmarillion more. The Book of Lost Tales is worth reading too.
"I Know This Much Is True" is hauntingly good... really affects perspective on life and trials of an everyman
"The Quiet American" is a must-read by Graham Greene
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon
Just really really good writing.
by paulo coelho is a great book. One of the best selling books of all time and its only been around since the 80s
Survivor - Palahniuk
The Road - McCarthy
Farewell, My Lovely - Chandler
Hard Revolution - Pelecanos
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold - LeCarre
The Name of the Game is Death - Dan J. Marlowe
Darkness, Take My Hand - Lehane
The Last Good Kiss - Crumley
The Far Cry - Fredric Brown
CarrIsMyHomeboy already made passing reference to it but Infinite Jest and also A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, as well David Foster Wallace's many essays, should be required reading for MGoBlog.
If you're a regular reader here, I highly recommend getting your DFW reading going, because Brian's writing is admittedly derivative of Wallace. Read DFW and you'll get Cook.
Wallace died on Sept. 12, 2008 (the day LaLota committed to M). At the time, Michigan was 1-1, having almost beaten eventually No. 2 overall Utah, and then taken care of Miami (Not That Miami). A few days later, Michigan yackitty saxed it to Notre Dame, and the rug was pulled out from under Rich Rod.
I finally read Infinite Jest last summer as part of the Infinite Summer online reading project. If you plan on reading the book, it's worth following along with the posts/analysis, which is pretty much spoiler-free and helps track the characters/chronology.
I know this is kind of an odd list, but here it goes:
Alas Babylon - Pat Frank
Catcher in the Rye - Salinger
Seriously You're Joking, mr. Feynman and What Do you Care What Other People Think - Richard Feynman
A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking
Fab Five - Mitch Albom (read it as an impressionable youth who was obsessed with M)
Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Hot Zone - Richard Preston
John Glenn: A Memoir - John Glenn (received an autographed copy as a graduation gift when i graduated from U of M in Aerospace Eng.)
Case Closed - Gerald Posner
Hamlet - Shakespeare
Anything by Hunter S. Thompson or Douglas Adams. The book that I highly suggest is "The Rum Diaries" by Thompson.
McCarthy's Blood Meridian
Faulkner's As I Lay Dying
Hemingway's short stories
Bukowski Post Office of Factotum
Any of the novels of Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler
Pynchon's V. or Mason & Dixon (other than Vineland all of Pynchon's stuff is really good, but these are my two favorites).
Non Fiction military:
About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior (Col David Hackworth)
Rogue Warrior (Dick Marcinko)
Carlos Hathcock "White feather" (Chandler)
First Seal (Roy Bohem)
World War Z (Max Brooks)
Point of Impact (the whole series) (Stephan Hunter) the movie did it no justice.
The Stand (Stephan King)
Lone Survivor, (Marcus Luttrell) It's a true story about four Navy Seals on a mission in Afghanistan, written by the team leader. It's an excellent book, a real story of heroism. My better half just read it and she couldn't stop crying throughout. I highly recommend it.
I did enjoy some of the Tom Clancy novels (Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, etc.).
My favorite was Without Remorse
The plot involves the character development of John Kelly (AKA John Clark), who I thought was the most intriguing character in the Jack Ryan series.
Without Remorse is one of my all-time favorites.
history (medieval English, Russian, US, and military histories particularly) and could probably list a few that were particularly enlightening.
However, I fear that Aftershock (2009) by David Wiedemer, Robert Wiedemer, and Cindy Spitzer and Crash Proof 2.0 (2009) by Peter Schiff and John Downes will end up being my favorites.
Some really frightening stuff in those two books.
I would recommend George R.R. Martin's 'A song of Ice and Fire' series beginning with
'A Game of Thrones'; Martin can weave a tale of suspense and intrigue like few can. His character development is also second to none. It is one of the rare reads that actually stirs my emotions over the twists and turns of the plot; definitely a gifted writer.
If you are into American Civil War stories, 'Cold Mountain' is a fantastic read. Charles Frazier is knowledgable about the American Civil War era and spins a great tale that has a very authentic feel to it.
Tom Clancy's 'Hunt for Red October' is the greatest sea yarn ever told, which was then followed up with another great book, 'Red Storm Rising'. The man practically invented the techno-thriller genre.
"Only Road North"
By a kid from Grandville, MI detailing a journey with his brother and friend dirtbiking from South Africa to Egypt. Crazy stuff they go through. and the end is very good.
"Open" by Andre Agassi. It's his autobiography, and a fascinating read. All sorts of interesting stories about his experiences with tennis and the way he grew up. I liked it so well, that I read the memoir of J.R. Moehringer, who co-wrote Agassi's book. It's called "The Tender Bar", and it was maybe even more fascinating than Agassi's book. It's basically about how he grew up without knowing his father. His uncle that he and his mom lived with ran a bar, and he spent a lot of time there, and many of the regular guys kinda morphed into one to become his surrogate father. A great read.
eliminating all the good stuff that has already been colored, of course.
A Confederacy of Dunces
(in a cooler)
The Crying of Lot 49 by Pynchon is amazing if you're looking for fiction.
If you're interested in Detroit or the social/political/economic transformations of large industrial cities after WWII, I highly recommend The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit by Thomas Sugrue.
Sugrue is brilliant. Another excellent book is Kevin Boyle's Arc of Justice, which won the National Book Award
a couple of books I've read recently and really liked are Scar Tissue about the life of Anthony Kiedis and Judgement Ridge about the kids who committed the Dartmouth professor murders. I pretty much only read non-fiction and really like biographies and true crime
Though it seems a little quirky at first, I can't recommend The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides enough. It's just a beautifully written book.
For laughs, Little Green Men by Chris Buckley - a story of how NASA stages alien abductions to get more funding from Congress.
On the non-fiction side, anything by Steven Ambrose, Paul Johnson, or Daniel Boorstin. All great history writers.
by Max Brooks. I am 3/4 of the way through this book and it is awesome!
"Thread Titles You'll Never See On A Buckeye Blog" for $200, Alex.
the second I noticed this thread. Great minds.....
If you're looking for a good fantasy series, check out The Prince of Nothing by R. Scott Bakker. Well plotted, suspenseful, and without the obvious Tolkien rip-offs. No merry bands of travelers, quests to save the world, or anything else. Just a spectacular world still recovering for a 2000 year old apocalypse and looking at the possibility of another one. I highly recommend it. The author was a philosophy professor and PhD. However, he doesn't make the Terry Goodkind mistake by spending his novel proselytizing or transforming philisophical discourse into dialogue. Instead, the philosophy just informs his writing and its themes and gives a nice intellectual depth.
I can't get enough of their books. If you read Sahara you'll realize why Clive was so pissed off about how the movie turned out. The Autobiography of Bill Pete was a favorite of mine when I was a kid, he was a cartoonist for Disney.
I am Legend was a fantastic, quick read that was much better than the movie.
Timeline-Michael Crichton-really good
The Hobbit - Tolkien
The Weight of Glory - C. S. Lewis
Choke - Palahnuik
Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. The book that the movie "Gettysburg" is based off of, very moving. Can even give you some brief feelings of sympathy for the Confederacy, at least until the next time you hear an SEC fan talk.
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. If you like thoughtful, intelligent sci-fi (and based off of the responses so far, I think a lot of you do.)
Hyperion and The Terror by Dan Simmons. Two great reads in very different genres (sci-fi and historical fiction) by one of my favorite authors.
is an amazing author who can write in any of several genres and combine interesting characters involved compelling plots set in fascinating places. The
Hyperion The Fall of Hyperion Endymion The Rise of Endymion
transcends science fiction, its science literature, or something.
I read his Ilium/Olympos duology and it was very good. Good read if you like Greek mythology and sci-fi
Non-fiction book about the 1893 Chicago World's Fair centered around architect Daniel Burnham, who constructed the fair and Dr. H.H. Holmes, UM alum, who was a serial killer of young ladies.
Excellent, gripping read about Robert Ressler and his days in the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit as a criminal profiler. He's talked with and interviewed the lowest that mankind has to offer....From Ted Bundy to Richard Trenton Chase, and the book pulls no punches. It's filled with gruesome stories and intriguing mysteries, and Ressler brings you into the minds of some of the 20th Centuries' most ghoulish psychopaths. A must read for True Crime buffs.
Jonathan Franzen - The Corrections
Douglas Coupland - Life After God - Gen X existential short stories
Anything by Hideki Murakami - Start with Kafka on the Shore or the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Kazuo Ishiguro -Never Let Me Go - The less you know about it, the better it is
Zadie Smith - White Teeth and On Beauty
Joe Queenan - True Believers: The Tragic Inner Life of Sports Fans
Philip Roth - The Great American Novel
David Winner - Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football
Bill James: Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?
Thought I could take a break from work for a few minutes, and got sucked into this massive thread! Should have known better.
Got a few new ideas, ordered a couple of books from Amazon to add to my queue (The Long Walk and A Walk in the Woods). Thanks!
I'd say this list is getting pretty comprehensive. My faves have all been mentioned except one (unless I missed it).
Sometimes A Great Notion (Ken Kesey, most famous for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and being big in the hippie/psychedelic scene for many years). The way he describes nature (both human and environmental) blew my mind...I couldn't put the book down. It's tied with East of Eden and Brothers Karamazov in my 3 favorite/best books.
Also not sure I noticed Tom Robbins. Incredible writing style that really grabs you and takes you for a ride. Skinny Legs and All, Still LIfe with Woodpecker, and Jitterbug Perfume are my faves.
You will definitely enjoy A Walk in the Woods. It is written in a very easy-to-read kind of way.
I'll go with entertainment and reality:
From Russia with Love - Ian Fleming. They're all good, but that's the best of the books.
Anything written by Bo.
Louis L'Amour's books are fun and easy reads. He is a great storyteller and pretty much any of his books are worth reading. I especially loved 'The Sacketts' series.
The Guns of August -- Barbara Tuchman
The Zombie Survival Guide--Max Brooks
The Killer Angels--Michael Shaara
John Adams--David McCullough
Company K--William March
The Memoirs of Hector Berlioz--Hector Berlioz
So my list will probably skew that way (especially toward epic adventure). The list could easily be four times this long, but here's a good start (many already included upthread):
- The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein. It's essentially the tale of the lunar colony's revolt against the Earthbound "Lunar Authority" and planetary government.
- Stranger in a Strange Land, also by Heinlein. A human raised by Martians returns to Earth.
- 1984 and Brave New World. Both excellent dystopias.
- The Foundation series, Isaac Asimov. Oddly, I think the two prequels and two sequels to the original trilogy are better than the originals. The prequels begin with the Galactic Empire in decline, and you move into a sort of interstellar Dark Ages from there.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide series, Douglas Adams. The best way to describe this is "Monty Python in Space".
- The Discworld series, Terry Pratchett. This is to medieval fantasy what Hitchhiker's Guide is to sci-fi.
- The Harry Potter series. While it's not unusual for me to pick up a book before bed, only to glance at the clock and see that it's 2 am, book 7 is the only one I've ever read where I did that, turned out the light, then turned it back on and started reading again because I was so into the book I couldn't fall asleep. Got hooked in middle school when the third one came out.
- Lord of the Rings. I never did get into The Silmarillion, as that one seems to be more world-building.
- A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin. Unfinished series at the moment (7 books planned, four out ... and the fifth's been in progress for five years now). Epic fantasy, but with an insane number of plot threads to track.
- If you're looking for nonfiction-biographical stuff, Failure Is Not an Option (Gene Kranz) and anything by Richard Feynman are good choices.
- I haven't read these (and they appear to be out of print), but if you like non-fiction chemistry lab horror stories I've heard that Excuse Me Sir, Would You Like to Buy a Kilo of Isopropyl Bromide? (Max Gergel) and Ignition! (John Clark) are highly entertaining and terrifying (among other things, the latter describes an attempt to use as rocket fuel a particularly nasty compound that will spontaneously ignite just about anything - including sand and asbestos).
Sacred Games, Vikram Chandra
A crime novel set in Bombay - the interwoven stories of a gangster and the policeman who hunts him down.
A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
A 1000-page novel set in 1950s India, centered on a girl trying to decide who to marry. But also about a lot of other people in her family and the city they live in, and about politics and love and pretty much everything else you can think of. I don't think I've ever identified with characters so much as in this novel.
2666, Roberto Bolano
I'll cop to only having read about 500 pages of this one, but the fourth section alone - "The Part About the Murders" - is terrifying and brilliant. I'm actually not partial to his other work, but this stands alone.
The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, Mario Vargas Llosa
Suite francaise, Irene Nemirovsky
Child 44 (and The Secret Speech), Tom Rob Smith
Crime novels set in Soviet Russia. Page-turners, but also literary and full of fascinating detail about Soviet life.
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
The Stand, Stephen King
The Gold Coast. As soon as I finished it, I went out and bought The Gate House (its sequel).
Didn't read through the whole list so SIAP.
The Count of Monte Cristo (unabridged) - Alexandre Dumas
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
Moby Dick - Herman Melville
Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
1984 - George Orwell
Lone Survivor - Marcus Luttrell
I still don't like Catcher in the Rye.
Maybe at the time it came out it was an important book for emphasizing self over group and helping baby boomers break out of the cultural barricades of their parents' generation. That generation resisted (and banned) that message, which I think accounts for the popularity of the book. But with that war now over, to me Holden just comes off like a bratty teenager, a special snowflake who can't get past his specialness.
In that regard, I think Infinite Jest is a more germaine adolescent cultural novel for our generation: Whereas Holden's struggle is to hold to his delusions that he is something special in a world of phonies and derogated morality, Hal's thing is that while he too is a special snowflake in a world of phonies and derogated morality, he can't summon the emotional response to properly feel it.
The Secret Knowledge of Water by Craig Childs
If you like mysteries, these are very good, especially the Hercule Poirot mysteries.