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Books

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by gamelan, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. Nantucket Red

    Nantucket Red "Mr. Fashionista"

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    The Real Frank Zappa Book was one of the most memorable reads ever, and you don't have to be a fan. Aren't you dying to know how Dweezil got his name?
     


  2. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Some fiction favorites:

    Wilde's "Dorian Gray"
    Hemingway's "Sun Also Rises" (Last line is killer, but don't peek.)
    Toni Morrison's "Sula"
    "Moby-Dick," possibly the best fiction book ever written, though I'd suggest you hunt down a heavily annotated copy. (It's amusing to see which references Melville apparently made up.)
    Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby"
    Nabokov's "Lolita" (Spectacular opening)
    Orwell's "1984" and "Animal Farm"
    Forster's "Passage to India," a book that I fell in love with only after I finished it
    Hope's "Prisoner of Zenda"
    Amis' "Lucky Jim"
    Moliere's "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme" (there's a free English translation online if you're interested; the perfect SF play)
    Heller, "Catch-22"
    Of the horror classics, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is my favorite
    The first paragraph of "War of the Worlds" (You can skip the rest)
    Any of the Wodehouse Jeeves novels

    Some nonfiction books that are both fun and informative:
    Bill Bryson's "Short History of Nearly Everything" (Sample tidbits: Isaac Newton was a mad genius who once wanted to know what was behind his eye, so he stuck a leatherworking took in there to probe around; he was possessed of so many ideas when he woke up that he'd sit paralyzed in his bed for hours)
    "An Incomplete Education" is a compendium that's easy to read and fun to browse
    "Founding Brothers" is a very entertaining look at the founding fathers, showing them as real, flawed people rather than archetypes.
     


  3. whoopee

    whoopee Senior member

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    I love dead authors as much as the next - probably more, in fact - but contemporary greats (and aspiring ones) deserve some love. A male-dominated list:

    Don DeLillio - White Noise, Underworld (my preference)
    Raymond Carver - Various stories
    Denis Johnson - Jesus's Son
    Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow, all (these are difficult)
    JM Coetzee - Disgrace
    Philip Roth - Portnoy's Complaint (truly a laugh-out-loud joy, over and over again - probably start here), American Pastoral (as depressing as Pornoy is hilarious)
    Michael Ondaatje - The English Patient (puts the film to shame)
    Toni Morrison - Song of Solomon, Beloved
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez - One Hundred Years of SOlitude
    Eudora Welty - Various stories
    Jose Saramago - Blindness
    Peter Carey - Oscar and Lucinda
    Salman Rushdie - Midnight's Children
    Margaret Atwood - The Blind Assasin, The Handmaid's Tale (not as good as advertised)
    Iris Murdoch - The Book and the Brotherhood
    Shusaku Endo - Silence

    The authors almost always have other works worth a long look. The books i listed are there because they stand out in some way, either from being their best, most representative, or the first and/or last I've read of theirs. Many of the writers are not as difficult as they might seem, by reputation; their voices, compared to those of long-dead authors whose works seem foreign, if not in language, than in style and the world, are very accessible due to their shared closeness with the contemporary world. Pynchon, DeLillo, Saramago, Garcia Marquez, maybe Morrison would take some time, but the rest should not be intimidating.

    I guess poetry is out of the question, but if you are interested, please mention.
     


  4. Stax

    Stax Senior member

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    If you fancy something to keep you up at night, read House of Leaves.

    I love that book.
     


  5. shoreman1782

    shoreman1782 Senior member

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    DeLillo is great; Underworld is one of my favorite books. Helps if you're American, probably.

    Not sure if gamelan will love these as much as I did, but:

    Jeffrey Eugenides - Middlesex
    Saul Bellow - Augie March (or Henderson the Rain King, also great and a quicker read)
    John Barth - Tidewater Tales (my favorite, though Sot Weed Factor and End of the Road are great, as well)

    If you like the younger writer, memoir-ish stuff, then:
    Dave Eggers - A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (sometimes groaningly postmodern, btu very good)
    David Sedaris - any book, hilarious
    Jonathan Safran Foer - Everything is Illuminated

    Just read this--very very funny. Waugh's Decline and Fall is similarly funny, about British secondary schools rather than higher ed.

    You have plenty of good recs already; enjoy!
     


  6. Manny Calavera

    Manny Calavera Senior member

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    I'm finding this topic a little staid, so I'll refrain from posting. [​IMG]
     


  7. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    Tim Robbins' "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues." Very odd, but you can learn quite a good deal from it if you read it with an open mind.

    Regards,
    Huntsman

    Tom. Tim's the actor (and no relation afaik).
     


  8. Kai

    Kai Senior member

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  9. someoneNew

    someoneNew Senior member

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    Currently reading:
    Communion by Whitley Strieber

    In the queue:
    Moby Dick by Herman Melville (got stuck in the chapter where they sing naval sings - too boring - had to get something to recharge me so I'm hitting Communion in the meantime)
     


  10. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow, all (these are difficult)

    Might start with "Crying of Lot 49" -- It's a fun, quick, easy read.

    Toni Morrison - Song of Solomon, Beloved

    "Beloved" left me cold after I had read the spectacular "Sula." Maybe I need to revisit it.
     


  11. JBZ

    JBZ Senior member

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    From the Pulp Fiction/Detective side of things:

    - The "L.A. Quartet" by James Ellroy (Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz)

    - Any of the Inspector Alan Banks novels by Peter Robinson

    - Anything by Dennis Lehane, but particularly, A Drink Before the War, Darkness Take My Hand, and Mystic River.

    - The novels of George Pelacanos

    - The novels of Michael Connelly (particularly The Black Echo, The Poet, Bloodwork, and The Narrows).

    - The novels of Richard Price (Clockers)
     


  12. gamelan

    gamelan Senior member

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    you guys rock! thank you thank you thank you for all the suggestions!

    -Jeff
     


  13. denimdestroyedmylife

    denimdestroyedmylife Big Winner

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    Hello!

    I recommend A Voice Through A Cloud, by Denton Welch. Autobiographical final novel detailing the author's auto accident resulting in his paralyzation that hastened his untimely death-------and forced the conclusion of this work. William S. Burrough's favorite novelist though their writing styles have little in common.

    As for "world affairs"-ish fare, I just read Mailer's The Naked and the Dead, his first novel. I rarely read war novels and I had never before read Mailer, but I was floored. WWII, FYI.
     


  14. esquire.

    esquire. Senior member

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    Finance, I think there's a few classics. Random walk down Wall street was interesting, but it pounds the same idea for something like 600 pages, but still rather interesting. For simplicity, I have been recommended "The Wealthy Barber" many times, and it's been pretty good for what it sets out to do. For finance related, the two I would go for is Barbarians at the Gate and Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis (who also wrote Moneyball, and by the looks of it, always writes good books)
    I always thought that Barbarians at the Gate and Liar's Poker worked better as entertaining books to read than as something to really teach you or give you insight into finance. At most, it seemed that finance knowledge was limited to ten pages. As for me, the books I read today are limited to the comic books you find at Borders. (The Last Man is an interesting storyline, but Borders doesn't sell the complete storyline). But, when I get that itch to stretch my brain a bit, I tend to read books that were made into movies. I figure there has to be a reason why Hollywood optioned the book and made it into a movie. And, don't be scared off by crappy movies that were adaptions of a novel; some of the crappiest movie adapations were inspired by great novels.
     


  15. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

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    A few offbeat suggestions:

    Hemingway: Death in the Afternoon, or The Dangerous Summer
    Christopher Moore: Coyote Blue, or Bloodsucking Fiends, or Lamb, or The Stupidest Angel
    Christopher Hitchens: The Trial of Henry Kissinger, or Love, Poverty and War, or For the Sake of Argument.
    Hammett: The Thin Man, or The Maltese Falcon.

    Just for a bit of variety.
     


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