1. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The 'recommend me a book' thread

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Lemex, Apr 30, 2015.

    So, ever read a book you thought was amazing - or remembered a book and really really wanted to recommend it to someone? Or have you ever really wanted to read about it, but didn't want to start a thread as it seemed a bit much - especially if it turned out you didn't like it in the end? Well, here is the thread to recommend, or request detailed/recommendations on books!

    Well, since I started the thread, I may as well get the ball rolling. I really recommend everyone, even if you have no interest in epic poetry (ESPECIALLY if you have no interest in epic poetry) to at least give Dante's Divine Comedy a try. You might like it, and everyone loves Inferno for good reason - it kicks ass!

    In the middle of the journey of life
    I found myself lost in a dark wood,
    and knew I had lost the right road.

    Ah! How difficult that wood is to
    describe - it was so rough and wild!
    The thought of it scares me still!

    Death is scarcely a worse thought;
    but since discovering the good there,
    I will describe everything I saw to you.

    My own translation of Dante^
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2015
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  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I keep coming back to one of the most perfect books ever written. Strong narrative voice. Unusual setting. Simple story with undertones that take you lots of places you didn't expect AT ALL when you picked it up. A perfect coming-of-age story that reads as well to me now as it did when I first had it read to me, at about the age of 7. It's Fred Gipson's Old Yeller.

    This is the book that got me away from TV westerns into the world of the 'real' old west. This is the book that got me interested in stories of the real settlers who moved there, what they contended with, what they encountered, how it changed them, what their dreams were, the bad and good things they did to get to these dreams. It also hinted at the dreams of others that got taken away in the process.

    I have never thought of this as a children's book. It's definitely a coming-of-age story. It has an adult narrator recalling his youth, with the benefit of hindsight.

    Never mind the Disney movie. If you haven't read this book, you should. It's an easy read, and you probably won't come out of it till you're finished. And you won't ever forget it.

    .............

    omigod ...I see it's being used as a textbook in middle school. Yikes. This is a study guide book for teachers, who, if they use it, will gut the book of all enjoyment. Why do they do this? I was horrified reading through the sample. It's criminal to do this kind of thing to this book, which doesn't need this kind of analysis. Just maybe use it as a talking point to think about the issues raised in the book.

     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2015
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  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I recommend The Young Elites if you want tension building YA drama. It was one of those books that left me a bit empty when it ended. I need another fix. :)
     
  4. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've mentioned it a few times on here of late; Alasdair Gray's Lanark, a strange and utterly compelling amalgamation of literary prose and well, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Dystopian imaginings based in Glasgow (big shout out for the home city) and an imagined parallel universe version of said city (at least as I, and many other learned commentators see it).
    Far too complex to fully summarise here but please, do have a read.
    You're welcome, by the way, Alasdair. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2015
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  5. DiscoMacaque
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    DiscoMacaque Member

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    I would recommend Sunnyside by Glen David Gold. It's lovely, fast-paced, dark, full of detail and just fun to read. It is not my favorite book necessarily, but my favorite book to recommend at the moment.
     
  6. Masked Mole
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    Masked Mole Contributing Member

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    The Great Gatsby if you haven't read it, or The Oath by Frank Peretti. The latter is one of those rare books that's very thrilling (and pretty scary too), yet has all the philosophical and moral issues I enjoy.
     
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  7. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Great Gatsby is an excellent shout. One of my all time favourites. F. Scott Fitzgerald is, in my opinion, criminally underrated.
     
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  8. Masked Mole
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    Masked Mole Contributing Member

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    Quite possibly my favorite book of all time besides the Bible, and probably my favorite classic. Anything that can edge out Hemingway in my mind has to be spectacular, and The Great Gatsby certainly is. I salute you for your good taste. A+
     
  9. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your post reminded me, I have a copy of Tender is the night a sadly now, dearly departed friend bought me - on the strength of my adulation of The Great Gatsby - I've yet to read. I shall make it the next. :)
     
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  10. Masked Mole
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    Masked Mole Contributing Member

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    I haven't read that one either. I hope it's enjoyable for you.
     
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  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    John Steinbeck's East of Eden. He's known mostly for The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, but East of Eden is a beautiful novel. One of my favorites.
     
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  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Joseph Conrad - Victory
    Melville - Moby Dick
    Dostoevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
    James Joyce - Dubliners
    Nabokov - Lolita
    Shirley Jackson - The Haunting of Hill House
    Mervyn Peake - Gormenghast Novels

    You could put just about anything by Conrad in place of Victory, but I mention it because it is rarely mentioned. Maybe I should have said Chance :)
     
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  13. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Rudyard Kipling - The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book.

    If you only remember the Jungle Book from the Disney movie, you've got a surprise in store. Kipling's original stories are hard, deep, and wise. They're also very exciting and exotic. Well worth a second look, if you haven't encountered them since you were a child. :)
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Rex Warner, The Aerodrome.

    This is a strange book. It seems to take place in a version of England that is being quickly taken over by some kind of totalitarianism, but the narrator takes some time to catch on to this. Of course, nothing works out the way anybody expects, but there's a lot of good thought and oddness in this book. If you like Aldous Huxley you'd probably like this.

    It's an easy read. Don't be intimidated. And it has one of my favorite closing lines in all of fiction.

    Check it out! :)
     
  15. Boger
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    Boger Contributing Member

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    There are times I'm not drawn to reading and kind of give up on it for a prolonged amount of time. Even during the worst season of reading allergy I picked up this one book that had me occupied from page one until the end.

    I don't know how well it works in the original version. But it was translated very well. I even only just found out it was from an American writer, just assumed it was a Dutch writer because someone gave it to me. And because it's story is close to home.

    The Spinoza Problem - Irvin D. Yalom


    I thought it was inspirational and informative. I'm even going to read some other books of this writer.
     
  16. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Oh, totally forgot one extremely good novel - amazing actually. Earth Abides by George R. Stewert. If you like post-apocalypse novels, sci-fi novels, and speculative novels, do yourself a favour and check it out. It's also a very powerful message about man's place in the world, our own pretentions of having some kind of stewardship over the earth, and the fragileness of modern comforts and civilization.

    In short: it's fucking fantastic! And seriously underrated.
     
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  17. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Fancies and Goodnights - short stories - By John Collier - Funny and weird. I laughed a lot reading this collection.

    Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame. Love that Toad!
     
  18. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    What an excellent thread! Btw @GingerCoffee just checked out the blurb for Young Elites - it does sound kinda awesome. I think I'll read it :D

    I've sticky-ed it :D (the thread, not the book lol)
     
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  19. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I recommend Ralph Waldo Emerson to anyone who wants to understand American fiction better. It helps he was also a very good writer.
     
  20. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you like dystopian novels, I'd recommend Yevgeny Zamyatin's We. I don't have words to describe how amazing that novel is. It's funny, dark, depressing, liberating, and it makes you think. I guess those are the things I want from a good novel, and this one delivers perfectly.

    These are all really good. I especially liked Hill House. It's got a strong, chilling mood and the writing is just beautiful.
     
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  21. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. Shirley Jackson did a tremendous job with that novel. Anyone who hasn't read it, should.
     
  22. Mocheo Timo
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    Mocheo Timo Active Member

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    I haven't read a single one of those books. :meh:
    I have heard about Moby Dick and read an excerpt from Dubliners,
    but can you please tell me their genres and why do you recommend them?
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Conrad is one of the great writers of the English language. I picked Victory because it is lesser known and I really enjoyed it. You could also try Chance, or pretty much anything by Conrad. Genre is hard to say. There are elements of adventure fiction in his work, particularly strong in his earlier work, but he definitely belongs in the "literary" category. He can be wordy, but he's good at it.

    Dostoevsky - a Russian writer. The Brothers Karamazov may be the best novel ever. Intrigue, murder, courtroom drama, and a heavy dose of philosophy throughout the book.

    Lolita is a brilliant book in terms of the writing and wordplay itself, which is really what sets the book apart. The narrator is unreliable and a disgusting human being in the form of a middle-aged professor who likes 12-13 year old girls (the girl being Dolores, aka Lolita).

    Shirley Jacksons The Haunting of Hill House may be the best psychological horror novel I've ever read. She was a wonderful writer, and it's about a young woman going to a house that is supposed to be haunted to take part in a series of psychological experiments there.

    Gormenghast...well, not sure how to describe it. It is fantasy. It is wordy. Peake's writing style is infused at times with as much poetry as anything else. The story takes place in a tremendous, aging, and decaying castle. There is no magic in the story. The cast of characters are quirky and unforgettable. Some of his descriptions:

    Speaking at one point about the character Fuschia: "But Fuchsia might as well have been carved from dark marble. Only her tears moved."

    Or Peake's description of the twins: “So limp of brain that for them to conceive an idea is to risk a haemorrhage. So limp of body that their purple dresses appear no more indicative of housing nerves and sinews than when they hang suspended from their hooks.”

    Or his description of Mr. Flay stalking the cook, Swelter: "If ever man stalked man, Flay stalked Swelter. It is to be doubted whether, when compared with the angular motions of Mr. Flay, any man on earth could claim to stalk at all. He would have to do it with another word."

    The opening paragraph concludes with this bit about one of the towers of the castle: “This tower, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven. At night the owls made of it an echoing throat; by day it stood voiceless and cast its long shadow.”

    So, that's why I like Gormenghast.
     
  24. Mocheo Timo
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    Mocheo Timo Active Member

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    Thank you very much! My books-to-read list has now been updated. :)
     
  25. animenagai
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    In the Eyes of Mr Fury -- Philip Ridley.

    I think this book is out of this world. The prose is so fucking smooth. Seriously, every time I pick up this book the pages just turn themselves.

    If anyone likes magical realism or just character-driven stories, I highly suggest this book.

    PS. Involves LGBT themes. If you're not ready for that, read something else.
     

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