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Old 02-24-2010, 08:06 PM   #1
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Default Books Worth Owning

I forgot, but, I was interested in making this topic.

List here the best books you know, regardless of type. Say what type they are, the author, what year and where they were written pr published if possible, and why they should be read.

I'll contribute a bit later, but, it is later than I meant to make this, so for now that's all I have.

I will say, though, that I am interested in readin' some good shits yo, so, help me out. Yo.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:15 PM   #2
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Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:18 PM   #3
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Kafka's books are things that everyone should read! Castle is unfinished, but great.
Amerika is fun. So is The Trial.
Obviously Metamorphosis.

Books by Dostoevsky are also super great! Personally I like The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov more then C&P, but hey! It's also good. Demons is a book not many people read that is by the D-man, but it is very interesting. Very moody and political.

I've always liked Short Story anthologies. Where books are like cakes, where you probably have to spend a couple days finishing one, short stories are like cookies! Quick and can be very satisfying! Maupassant is one of my favorite short story writers. Poe writes short stories too, they are pretty great. Kafka also wrote a bunch of short stories. They are excellent.
Pushkin also wrote many many many short stories. They are awesome.

The Master and Margherita is a morbid, funny book written by Bulgakov. I like it a lot.

Brave New World is a great book! I like it more than 1984. A lot more. It's a pity the author decided to experiment with drugs and wrote that crazy "doors of perception" book.

Obviously Shakespeare! I like Shakespeare bunches!
Hamlet is probably my favorite, to be honest, despite how cliche that is.
Second favorite would probably be Macbeth. Or maybe Othello. Cuz I like Iago.

This thread is not about plays, but there are sooooooooooooooooooooo many good plays! I like plays a lot.
Miss Julie is an excellent play: Here it is!
It is short, you should read it! It starts about halfway down the page.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:29 PM   #4
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Thanks, Frood.

I was interested in where and when they were written, too, but I guess that's a bit much to ask for every little thing.

Anyway. When I say "worth owning" I mean it, 'cuz I might start a little bit of a collection. I like the atmosphere books create and I am disappointed I don't read as much as I used to. I think this would be a nice way of getting back into the habit.

So, I appreciate it, but keep that in mind for my sake. Hardcover short story collections, etc. are all fine. Historical accounts, fiction, anything at all, but keep 'em coming and let me know why you enjoy them.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:32 PM   #5
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Ah. Foundation trilogy, created between the 50's and 60's I believe. Asimov's interpretation of a distant future where a man creates a mathematical formula to tell the future, and sees that humanity is heading for a dark age, so he creates a small society on a crappy world that will hold out against the collapse of the galaxies civilizations, and rebuild humanity back to being great again in just a thousand years, rather than ten thousand if people are left to their own devices.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:05 PM   #6
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One book that I keep going back to read over again is my Complete Works of Poe. So I second that vote from Frood.

I like Mark Twain quite a bit, too. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is one of my favorites.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:13 PM   #7
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A very good and relatively recent book would be The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova. It came out in 2005, and deals with a very unique take on Dracula - it kind of mixes the real-life story of Vlad III and the fictional Dracula counterpart. It's not really any one genre, and it's almost like 3 books in one - it deals with 3 different stories that intertwine, starting with the main character in 1972, her father in the 50's, and her father's mentor in the 30's. It also deals very heavily on the differences between the West and the East, by comparing how the legends and such are viewed from the European standpoint and the Turkish/Middle Eastern standpoint.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:24 PM   #8
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Oh! Dates and authors?
Well, obviously Dostoevsky is Russian, he's a 19th century author. I enjoy Dostoevsky so much because of the complex, real characters in his stories and the complicated issues they are confronted with. They can be very heavy and slow reads because there are often many moody, terrible things going on. Also what is great about Dostoevsky is that he was way ahead of his time. A lot of the charateristics that define modern writing were first brought to the field by Dostoevsky, like the psychology of the criminal or sympathy for the devil.

Kafka is German, he's a 20th century writer. His books don't really have an equivalent in any other author. Their narratives exist between real and surreal, where you can't really tell if what's happening is real or metaphor. They are very dark and often even disgusting. The metamorphosis is kind of the short story that embodies everything that is Kafka, but I don't like it as much as his other books. Like Castle. Or The Trial.
God, the Trial is super depressing.

Bulgakov is another Russian author. He's a 20th century dude, wrote during the soviet union. His books are defined by his bitter humor. I enjoyed Master and Margherita so much because of his portrayal of the devil, essentially just running rampant in Moscow, manipulating the "sophisticated" and "modern" sentiments of the people.

I remembered another play I really enjoy! This one is contemporary, 's called The Pillowman. It was written by an Irish dude in... like, 04? 03? Its very disturbing but very good. It's a very black comedy. I can't find a free online copy, but you should definitely look for it.

Brave New World was written by Alduous Huxley, a 20th century writer. He writes a book on the subject of totalitarian society. This sounds like a pretty uninteresting concept, seeing as George Orwell seemed to already have that down pat. But Huxley brought something new, more disturbing, and realer to the table. BNW describes a world that isn't ruled by oppression and hate, but instead by benevolence. It is very cool and has a lot of interesting things to say. That's why I prefer it over Orwell, who's portrait of a totalitarian society is interesting but impractical.

Maupassant!
Maupassant is a french writer from the 19th century who was known for his very naturalistic, realistic portrayals of the world he saw around him. He also wrote very fantastical, chilling stories. La Horla is often cited as the inspiration of H.P. Lovecraft's Call of Cthulhu. He's a very interesting person. Both Tolstoy and Nietzsche had very high praise for Maupassant, saying that he was one of the most brilliant psychologists of his time, despite having never been a psychologist!
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:25 PM   #9
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Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham!

I dunno. I haven't read jack in a while.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:26 PM   #10
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ugh, I dunno DV. I tried reading the Historian but it seemed too... shmaltzy. Like, for a book that deals with Dracula, it tended to shy away from the themes of evil, death and sexuality.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:31 PM   #11
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Really? I enjoyed it for that reason, mostly. It wasn't the traditional "creature of the night" story dealing with Dracula, which was a pleasant surprise to me.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:40 PM   #12
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speaking of Dracula!
Barnes and Noble has a "desktop reader" you can download from their site, it's essentially an online store that you can buy ebooks from and then read them immediately, like Steam. Steam for books.
But anyway, if you install it, you get three books free. Little Women by Alcott. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. And DRACULA by Bram Stoker.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:42 PM   #13
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Yeah. I know of that and it's a neat idea, but that's not what I want. I want y'know. Actual books.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:10 PM   #14
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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies always makes me snicker when I see it, but I don't know how worth reading the undead changes make it. Anyone else read it before?
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:31 PM   #15
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I think the first two books I'm going to buy and read in this endeavor are The Maltese Falcon and The Black March

The first was written by Dashiel Hammet in 1930 and is a mystery novel. Long ago I read most (I think all) of the Sherlock Holmes books, and I intend to get those again if maybe in a collection if I can find a nice one. This was suggested to me due to my interest in that and is a classic many people are familiar with.

The second is a journal kept by Peter Neumann from 1939 and onwards, I guess 'till at most 1945. I don't know much about it other than he was an SS man during World War II. I don't know much about it in particular, but it looks interesting enough.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies always makes me snicker when I see it, but I don't know how worth reading the undead changes make it. Anyone else read it before?
I read it.
It's... not very good.
The funny thing is... I can't tell if that's a bad thing.
See, it's just awkward. It retains some of the lines from Pride and Prejudice, and just sort of splices in these lines about zombies. The humor could be far better, but instead it's just regular, par for the course (but poorly written) elizabethan drama, and then some interludes with zombies, then back to the elizabethan drama.
The idea, I thought, was great. It just isn't very well executed.
But I... I don't know if that's bad. It's so badly written the book almost feels like a b-movie, which is good.
But yeah, otherwise it's pretty unexceptional. Could have been way better. Here's hoping someone does Crime and Punishment and Zombies, and does it well.
Or War and Peace and Zombies.

And hey! The Maltese Falcon! Film noir!
I like that book a bunch. It's not really great fiction, but it's interesting from an archetypal/cultural standpoint.

I haven't read the Black March, but I'm curious about it now.

Oh! And I went to the library here to go check out The Pillowman, cuz I got curious. While I was doing so I remembered about Nabokov! The book "Bend Sinister" has a sort of similar plot. Nabokov is another Russian novelist, he wrote Bend Sinister in English, however.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:01 PM   #17
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Weaveworld by Clive Barker. Published in 1987.

Dark fantasy novel set in Great Britain. Now don't get it twisted, not fantasy in your typical dragons and wizards, but twisted dark fantasy. Basically a story about these two 20 somethings who come across a world they should have never discovered and their desire to know more about it and a man and woman who also know of the world and disparately wish to destroy it. It is not any kind of fantasy novel you'd read to a kid, lots of sex, gore and very mature themes.

I fucking loved this book.

Madhouse by Rob Thurman. Published in 2008

Set in modern New York City. Tale of two brothers living as detectives in the hidden world from the first person view of the older brother. The main character is Caliban half-Auphe, a sadistic, bloodthirsty monsters from hell. Literally. He and his brother Niko, who is fully human, are on the run from their own kind and have set up shop in New York City. They are employed by the denizens of the supernatural world. Everything goes to hell when notorious cannibal is revived and starts going on a killing spree. The story is kept interesting through Caliban snarky observations, and awesome bouts of fighting.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:27 PM   #18
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So then my initial assessment of the book, being that the novelty probably only lasts until you take it to the checkout counter (or set it back on the shelf), was correct. Ah well.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:35 PM   #19
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He's done Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters too. Haven't read either so I can't comment on them.

You might want to check this site out.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:48 PM   #20
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I really need to read more. I've been slacking.

One random one I just picked up a few years back was Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer. Entertained me enough. About a college student who gave up everything he had to become a drifter. Ended up dead in the Alaskan wilderness after trying to live off the wild and making a few miscalculations and the book chronicles who he was and how he got there. Nonfiction.

Umm... I still haven't finished The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, but it's been an interesting read thus far. I should stop not finishing books. It starts about a boy in Afghanistan during the Russian invasion of the country. Basically the events that lead up to the formation of the Taliban as we know them today.

And I shouldn't be recommending this one at all, as I haven't even started reading it, but I wanted to mention The Book Thief. It's set in Germany during World War II and involves two children who are sent to a foster home by their mother as she is sent off to a concentration camp. It apparently is written from the view of Death, or some such. I only bring it up, one, because it has an interesting premise... and two, because I accidentally stole the book. The library I took it from was giving some books away to clear space out and I apparently mistook this one for one of the ones they were giving away. I stole The Book Thief.

It made me laugh, anyway. >>;;
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:17 PM   #21
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The Secret History by Donna Tartt (Published in 1992) is a great book I read a year ago about a small group of classics students who, in the spirit of good old fashioned Greek Tragedy, kill one of their own to hide a horrible secret and watch as their whole world and little clique starts breaking apart at the seams.

I also just finished The Human Stain by Philip Roth (2000), about a college professor, Coleman Silk, whose life takes a huge downward spiral after accusations of racism force him to retire, and asks Roth's alter-ego, Zuckerman, to write his story and get it published. It's written from the perspective of Zuckerman after Silk's death, who then discovers a whole range of disturbing secrets relating to him.

Finally, one of my favourite books is Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005). It's sort of a biography, set in a slightly alternate Britain, written by a woman who was part of a unusual boarding school called Hailsham, gradually you discover why this school and it's students are so special, what follows their Hailsham education, and what purpose these students have in the wider world. The really interesting things are the unique society the students have in this school and their further education and how Ishiguro uses various terms and unique colloquialisms the students use and combines these with the power of suggestion to subtly nudge things in the reader's mind.
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