1. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    Book Recommendations

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Aled James Taylor, Apr 11, 2014.

    Having come to the world of fiction somewhat later in life than most people, I find myself in need of some good books to read but at a loss as to which to choose. I found this list which seems to narrow the choice down somewhat.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/amazons-100-books-everyone-must-read-2014-2

    What do you all think? Are there any obvious omissions or any that have been included that you think shouldn't have been? Which books would you recommend particularly?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Haha. There are some books I wouldn't have included, but overall it's really not a bad list, especially considering that it includes books from a lot of different genres.
     
  3. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    Couldn't hurt to read them all, though any 'great books' list which includes Valley of the Dolls is suspect. There's a certain PC bias in that list, too. I read almost constantly, but I doubt if I've read half of the books on that list. I think that if you want to write fiction, read fiction, especially books in the genre you're planning to write.
     
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  4. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    I think "good books to read" is very subjective. Just because something is a classic or universally acclaimed doesn't mean you'll enjoy it. I think I counted 31 on that list that I've read and less than half of those would I personally consider "good" based on my own interests, not how well they're written.

    Experiment with a few types that have a synopsis that catches your eye. There's no shame, IMO, in preferring a Dean Koontz book over more "intellectual" or allegorical novels. I agree with @stevesh about reading in the genre you want to write in, so find what most entertains you and go from there.

    ETA- of the list I most enjoyed Pride & Prejudice, The Giver, The Book Thief, Harry Potter, and Beloved. I know quite a few people who couldn't finish any of those, though, which is why personal taste plays a role...same for me and LOTR and The Hunger Games...others love them and I do not. I'm surprised Animal Farm isn't on there since it usually makes most lists of must-reads.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
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  5. Nina B
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    Nina B New Member

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    'Gone Girl' is on the list...?It is an average thriller, nothing special at all
     
  6. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    naah, no "Hundred Years of Solitude", no "Magic Mountain", no "War&Peace".... naah...
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's an odd list. As perhaps a list intended to cover a good spectrum, maybe it works, but many of the books strike me as just representatives of a category, not THE book in that category that one should read.
     
  8. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Apart from Dune, Fahrenheit 451, LOTR, Alice in Wonderland, and Pride and Prejudice, I wouldn't read the others if you paid me. And where are the erotica, horror, and thrillers? (I don't count Shining, which bored me to tears).

    What kind of list does not have writers like de Sade, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E Howard, Asimov, Bernard Cornwell, Arthur Conan Doyle, or even Shakespeare?

    Rick Riordan? Really? "Everyone MUST read?
     
  9. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Bryan Romer hm, de Sade? I like to see a MUST-read list that includes Justine :D
     
  10. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Should not this thread be moved?

    Anyway, what an odd list! I like that Persepolis is getting more recognition, that's a great graphic novel actually, and Murakami, yes, good. But ... House of Leaves?
     
  11. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I saw this list when it first came out, and think it's kind of silly. This isn't even the 100 best books that they consider the top books -- they intentionally included various genres and categories, so books were left off, even if they were more 'worthy' just because of their category. I liked Gone Girl, and Cutting for Stone and The Fault in Our Stars, but in no way would I consider them MUST READS before you die. Those are all current or recent bestsellers, so they're particularly easily available for amazon, and they'd like to sell a lot of them.

    I think A Thousand Splendid Sons and The Kite Runner were both better. (I didn't see them on the list, but maybe I missed them.) I also enjoyed Steig Larsson's trilogy more than a lot of the other fiction on the list.

    Aled -- what sort of fiction/stories do you like?
     
  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    ^You are right. I noticed too. Surely a book like History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell is more a Must Read Before You Die book?
     
  13. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Maybe this list is more "must read before you die to be more culturally aware" than "must read before you die to be smarter."
     
  14. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I'm beginning to think I should make my own 'top 100 books' list. It can't be that hard.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's certainly not a list of the best books ever written ['best' as in quality, not popularity], so i wouldn't take it seriously...

    aled...
    what are you wanting to accomplish with your reading?... to become a good writer?... to be entertained?... to study human behavior as depicted in fiction?... or what?
     
  16. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mostly to become a better writer and I suppose be entertained enough to finish each book.

    Does anyone have a personal top 10 recommended books?
     
  17. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Specifically for fiction or overall?
     
  18. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whatever your preference.
     
  19. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's hard for me to limit it to the top 10 ever, but here are some that I really liked a whole lot:
    (Also, I've found that I really like reading biographies or memoirs of authors and reading their fiction. It's interesting to see how much of them is in their work. One example is Gary Steyngart -- I just read his memoir, Little Failure, and one of his novels, Super Sad True Love Story, which I really liked.)

    A Thousand Splendid Suns
    The Kite Runner
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (and the sequels)
    Catcher in the Rye
    The Goldfinch
    The Dinner
    This is Where I Leave You

    Some nonfiction that also tells some good stories are:
    The Devil in the White City
    Shadow Divers
    Into Thin Air
    Lindbergh
    Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
    Enrique's Journey
    The Perfect Storm
    The Looming Tower
    And The Band Played On
    Wave
    Brain on Fire
    Sea of Glory
    In the Heart of the Sea

    And some nonfiction that doesn't really tell stories, but can inform your writing, as far as either characters or about the world in general
    Quiet
    The Omnivore's Dilemma
    The World Without Us
    Countdown
    Death at Seaworld
     
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  20. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I think the hardest part is putting them in order.

    As for my top 10, I'd include Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire for sure. Probably some Joyce, Faulkner, the Yoga Vasishta, and The Second World War by Churchill.
     
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  21. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    To be a good writer, ten isn't anywhere near enough, but this would be a good start. These are in no order at all:

    1 - Dante's The Divine Comedy - I like the Mark Musa translation these days.
    2 - George Orwell's Essays - cliche now I guess, but it's true.
    3 - Homer's Odyssey - Fagles' or Fitzgerald's translations, I have and can vouch for both.
    4 - Burtrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy - very much worth the effort, even if it is a flawed book.
    5 - James Joyce's Dubliners - these stories worth getting to know.
    6 - John Milton's Paradise Lost - structurally speaking this work is perfect.
    7 - Any collection of Lord Byron's poems, but the larger the better.
    8 - Shakespeare's collected works - again, another cliche now, but it's also true.
    9 - any collection Auden, Heaney or Ted Hughs - to get an idea of modern poetry.
    10 - Thomas Pynchon's Mason and Dixon - ok, this one is more a personal thing I guess.

    And @thirdwind, I think you might be right.
     
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  22. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Wait, collections count as one book? If so, does the Western Canon count as a collection? :p
     
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  23. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Only when it's Dante, Byron, Heaney, Hughs or Auden. :p
     
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