OT - Best Book You Have Read?

Submitted by mgokev on June 21st, 2010 at 10:46 PM

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.


steve sharik

June 22nd, 2010 at 1:48 AM ^

...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.


June 22nd, 2010 at 4:02 AM ^

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.


June 22nd, 2010 at 10:14 AM ^

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.


June 21st, 2010 at 11:15 PM ^

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.


June 21st, 2010 at 11:18 PM ^

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.

Sac Fly

June 21st, 2010 at 11:20 PM ^

... 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.


June 21st, 2010 at 11:20 PM ^

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.


June 22nd, 2010 at 1:23 AM ^

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.


June 21st, 2010 at 11:26 PM ^

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.


June 22nd, 2010 at 12:08 PM ^

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.


June 21st, 2010 at 11:37 PM ^

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

Robbie Moore

June 21st, 2010 at 11:59 PM ^

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."

Transatlantic Flight

June 21st, 2010 at 11:28 PM ^

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


June 21st, 2010 at 11:29 PM ^

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. 

Chairman Mao

June 22nd, 2010 at 2:09 AM ^

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. 


June 22nd, 2010 at 4:09 AM ^

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. 


June 21st, 2010 at 11:35 PM ^

I recommend American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  I just finished reading it about a week and a half ago and I really enjoyed it.


June 22nd, 2010 at 1:35 AM ^

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


June 21st, 2010 at 11:38 PM ^

"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)

"The Godfather"

"Robinson Crusoe"

There are probably plenty more I can't think of right now


June 21st, 2010 at 11:42 PM ^

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.