Books suggestions?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Forum' started by SFOSOK, Nov 2, 2006.

  1. SFOSOK

    SFOSOK 939 Goin Strong

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    I'm looking for good books. Popular or what ever I don't care.

    I don't want childish books with a happily ever after type deal goin on. I'm looking for books that deal heavily with psycology, human interaction, tragedy, heart break, and books that are downright confusing and trippy.


    I'm looking for at least college level reads (preferably not a dry read) and books that are must reads or something you think someone has obviously read as a requirement for something. Your personal favorites are fine too with reason's why they are your favorites.

    What I am looking for and what I liked so far:
    Old English Satire
    New Satire
    Historical Fiction (Absolutely no sci fi! Unless its along the lines of mass population control, a different reality or world if such events are changed, Just anything in the realm of reality)
    Fiction (if its plausable)
    Anything dealing with War, Survival, Psycology, Philosophy
    Love stories
    Poetry (any is fine)



    Please list your favorite or must read books and give a few sentences on why you believe it is a good book.

    Thank you guys for your help.

    Edit: Also books dealing with life, death, and religion/faith are highly appriciated. Or even just looking at the world through a different set of eyes.
     
  2. pr0digal jenius

    pr0digal jenius Delete Me

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    Hemmingway is good [old man and the sea is my favorite]

    Jorge Luis Borges is excellent, if not a touch bizarre [The Circular Ruin is a mind boggling book]

    Edgar Allen Poe is always interesting



    And James Thurber is hilarious, and his darker novel "THe Thirteen Clocks" is a favorite of mine [Thurber Family Carnival is a classic collection fo true short stories about his dysfuntional family too]
     
  3. TJ-

    TJ- New Member

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    get a book called

    UNSCATHED

    Synopsis
    Major Phil Ashby already had a reputation for surviving scrapes, where others would - and did - break bones and worse. His strength, resourcefulness and luck had been tested to the full during his career in the Royal Marines' elite Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre and various adventurous expeditions. That luck, however, appeared to have run out in May 2000 when he was working for the UN, disarming brutalized rebels in war-ravaged Sierra Leone. When the rebels turned on the UN's representatives, butchering, skinning alive and dismembering several peace-keepers and taking over 500 hostages, it seemed that all was lost and that Ashby and the other two Brits and a Kiwi would perish violently and gruesomely. Instead Ashby took the decision to die quickly rather than slowly by attempting to escape through the rebel lines. They were vastly outnumbered. They were unarmed. Somehow he led his three colleagues on a daring, dramatic and heart-stopping escape through hostile jungle. He was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal for his actions.
     
  4. Freulein

    Freulein New Member

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  5. YAYitsAndrew

    YAYitsAndrew Anti-Piracy Poster Boy

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    You can't know satire until you read Jonathan Swift
     
  6. Vikingod

    Vikingod Int'l Fish Liaison

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    "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac is a great read, one of those great american novels.
    "Grendel", by John Gardner is an interesting take on the epic Beowulf, everyone should read it. The main theme deals with the characters (a humonoid monster) growing to adult, and his transition though diffent philosophies, has a ton of satire and humor.

    "The Lord of the Rings" is a must read if you haven't already.

    Dante's "Divine Comedy" is always interesting, and dark, so it will suit you.

    Anything by Douglas Adams is great, and really funny.
     
  7. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    Anabasis is a great book about an ancient greek general (Xenophon) mercenary and his (and his troops) expedition as mercenaries for the then Persian Empire. Written by the general himself almost 2500 years ago. Very good read.

    There is also a very well known fiction book about him and his expedition, but I can't think of it or the writer now. Great great fun to read if you like historical fiction.
     
  8. Tinkerhell

    Tinkerhell Not all fairies are nice.

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    I'm currently re-reading the best of H.P. Lovecraft. In a vague way he reminds me of Poe, but Poe did horror far better. If Lovecraft could have gotten the downright horror aspect mixed in with his freakish Old Ones creativity his work would have been infinitly better. I mostly enjoy reading what was, in the 1940's, considered horror. Its so subtle compared to what horror has been defined as over the past 30 years. No hack & slash here, just the insinuation of twisted otherworldly happenings, usually in desolate backwater (think Deliverence) locations. It gives a bit of pause to see how desensitized to things we are now, a mere 70 years later. I wonder if it's for the better or worse...
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2006
  9. Teme

    Teme Super Moderator

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  10. Randomletters

    Randomletters ))((

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    Ultimate Hitckhikers Guide to the Galaxy
     
  11. ViP3RH3LL

    ViP3RH3LL New Member

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    I Like alot of books try these:

    1. Orbit - By John J. Nance - Nice :)
    2. The Privilege Of The Sword - By Ellen Kushner - Not alot of battles but the story is good.
    3. Hammered & Scardown - By Elizabeth Bear - I didn't like the 3rd book.
    4. Valor's Choice & The Better Part Of Valor - By Tanya Huff - They are both wonderful books to read.
    5. The Sand Wars Volume 1 & 2 - By Charles Ingrid - Very Cool
    6. Devlin's Luck Book 1, Devlin's Honor Book 2, Devlin's Justice Book 3 - By Patricia Bray - All three I Recommend.
    7. The Hidden Stars - Book One Of The Rune Of Unmaking - By Madeline Howard - Looking forward to book two.
    8. The Clone Republic - By Steven L. Kent - Very Cool
    9. The Lost Fleet - Dauntless - By Jack Campbell - Very Good
    10. The Deed Of Paksenarrion All 3 Books or All In One - By Elizabeth Moon - Highly Recommended
    11. Dallas Series - By JD Robb - After a couple books no more lovie lovie eh nora? - Highly Recommended
    12. Kris Longknife Novels - By Mike Shepherd - 3 Books w/ the 4th one coming out this month woohoo!! - Recommended
    13. The Singer's Crown - By Elaine Isaak - Currently Reading This - Predictable outcomes - not recommended kind of boring.
    14. The Thraxas series - By Martin Scott - very funny and good read - Highly Recommended
    I mostly read sci-fi, fantasy, fiction. This is for everyone here not just one person, you might want to try new things my friend, I have a thing for just sci-fi but if I see a book that is good I get it :).
    If I want historical fiction I'll just watch fox news. If I want the facts I'll watch the History Channel.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2006
  12. pr0digal jenius

    pr0digal jenius Delete Me

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    Watership Down, and the corresponding series are also quite good
     
  13. ferret2004

    ferret2004 Active Member

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    'House of Leaves' is unique and interesting.
     
  14. TheBlackCat

    TheBlackCat New Member

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    My favorite work of fiction is Expedition: Being an Account in Words and Artwork of the 2358 A.D. Voyage to Darwin IV. It is technically Sci-Fi, but the sci-fi aspect is not as important. Basically it is about a scientific expedition to an alien world to observe the ecosystem there. Mankind had pretty much wiped out life on Earth, so they wanted to learn more about life in other worlds to get a better sense of nature and help get support for the rebuilding process on Earth. There are no vicious aliens slaughtering the crewmembers, just one artist mostly alone observing nature and describing what he saw and how it affected him (including thoughts about his family and his own world). It has its dark aspects, it has its light aspects, and it has a lot of the psychological stuff you seem to be interested in. It is much more of a naturalist's log than a true novel. It was also made into a movie by the Discovery Channel, so that should be some indication it is at the very least not your standard sci-fi.

    The House of the Spirits by Isabelle Allende is another excellent book. It is historical fiction, spread over several decades and ending probably not long before the book was written, which was a few decades ago. It is not completely fiction, it is actually partly based on the life of the author and her family. I am not exactly clear on how much is fiction and how much isn't. I don't know how confusing it is, I don't tend to be a good judge of that, but it is definitely extremely trippy. As a clue, the name of the book is meant to be taken literally.

    The Hitchhiker's Trilogy is sci-fi, which you say you don't like. However, Last Chance to See is nonfiction but is still a story and still has Douglas Adam's sense of humor. It is about a journey to see various critically endangered species before it is too late. His Dirk Gently books are also hilarious and lean more towards fantasy (although on Earth) than the Hitchhiker's books, although there are still some sci-fi-ish aspects (more in Dark Gently's Holistic Detective Agency than The Long Dark Teatime of the soul, which deals with Norse mythology primarily).

    If you played the Myst games, or even if you didn't, the Myst novel trilogy (which are sort of fantasy/sci-fi/alternative reality hybrids) are very good. You don't have to have played the games to understand the books, but it doesn't hurt. I am not sure they are still readily available, though. Not happy endings by any stretch of the imagination, either.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2006
  15. Lelisevis

    Lelisevis Howlin at the moon

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    For you fantasy readers out there try to get hold of the Raven/ ascendants of Estorea Series of books by the English author James Barclay (Very involving splatter fantasy with a much deeper and human take on horrific situations). I'd be very suprised if quite a few members on here havent read a book or two by the legendary Terry Pratchett (mostly weird/comedic twists on classic stories).
    For a much much deeper read try a book called Black Juice by the author Margo Lanagan (from the front insert - Black juice is a book of extraordinary stories - breathtakingly fierce and suprisingly tender, they explore the dark and the light, and pit the frailty of humans against implacable forces. This is landmark fiction). The first story is the incredibly touching 'singing my sister down' it basically follows the family of a young girl faced with the death penalty the following day, she is resigned to her fate which is to be carried out with her walking into a slow moving tarpit. It pans out with members of her family coming out to comfort her as she slowly sinks deeper over many hours. Thoughtful stuff.
     
  16. LHC

    LHC Stingy and Stubborn

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    If you want a book that fits those requirements, read The Color Purple by Alice Walker

    That book has everything; tragedies, heartbrakes (HUGE heartbrakes), and it can get confusing

    The story is told from a Southern girl praying to God. The story is about a girl who cannot read, speak, or write very well at all who is abused and raped by her father constantly. The girl's life is just filled with nonstop pain, but always looks out and up to her little sister, but eventually they are separated.

    Back of the book: "This is the story of two sisters--one a missionary in Africa and the other a child wife living in the South--who sustain their loyalty to and trust in each other across time, distance, and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic novel of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life."

    A movie was made out of it, which I heard was quite good.. you should check the book out
     
  17. Falstaff

    Falstaff Old Codger

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    Toni Morrison - Beloved
     
  18. TheBlackCat

    TheBlackCat New Member

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    What you are describing is basically called "magical realism". Although strictly speaking magical realism books do not have to deal with tragedy and heart break, all of the ones I have read do. However, the aspects of psychology, human interactions, and especially the "confusing and trippy" aspect describes magical realism perfectly.

    Basically the idea of magical realism is that magical elements are incorporated into an otherwise modern and realistic setting. Sometimes the magical events are extreme. Sometimes they are so minor they manifest as nothing more than extremely unlikely events. Other times they are ambiguous, with the it unclear as to whether they are truly magical or are perfectly natural events that just appear magical. If set in the middle ages these sorts of books might be considered fantasy. However, they are set in either modern or at least fairly modern times (within the last 200 years, many within the last 50-100 years), and the settings and societal events tend to be fairly ordinary for the time period. The places are places you know, the people are people you can relate to, the events are events you may be aware of or at the very least can look up, but some of the things that happen are...well magical. It is our world, our events, but the boundary between the possible and impossible is blurred to varying degrees, things that should be impossible are possible and things that should possible are impossible. You could consider it a form of "alternate reality". However, most "alternate reality" stories have the same rules apply to the universe, but events that have transpired or do transpire are changed as compared to our universe. In magical realism, it is an alternate reality, only one where the events are largely the same, it is the rules that govern the universe that have been changed to some degree.

    Hence magical realism, magical elements incorporated into realistic everyday life. How they are handled varies. For instance in House of the Spirits, they start off as seeming pretty extraordinary (both to the reader and the characters) but by the end are just part of everyday life. Beloved things start out fairly ordinary but gradually become magical as the story progresses and the true nature and background of the characters is revealed (mentioned by Falstaff).

    Beloved, which is one of the few magical realism books written in the US, deals with racial issues prior to the civil war. The magical elements play an integral role but are ultimately secondary to the larger social issues. The House of the Spirits catalogs four generations as they live through massive changes in Chilean society. The magical elements are central to the family but ultimately secondary to the larger societal issues that they get themselves involved in.

    Another extremely good book in this genre is called Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko. It is about a Pueblo Vietnam War veteran returning home and dealing with his attempt to return to normal life. If you want something confusing and trippy, you would be hard-pressed to do better than this. It is constantly alternating between the mundane and the magical, and becomes difficult to differentiate what is reality (if anything) and what is not (if anything). It also deals extensively with psychology, heartbreak, friendship, hatred, war, tragedy, human interaction, personal responsibility. It is considered one of the greatest works of literature by a Native American in history. It takes some insight to understand exactly what they are talking about, and you may have to read it through several times. At one point there is a story about a group of witches. You don't normally do this, but pay very close attention to the shape of the story, the shape of the paragraph on the page. It contains important information...

    Another novel that fits in this genre is Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He also wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I have not read so I cannot comment on. Here, however, the magical aspects are far less obvious and it is debatable whether they are truly magical. The handling of events, however, is similar to what you would expect from magical realism and the shear improbability of the events and the behavior of everyone involved would probably still make it qualify. If you want a head trip this is an interesting story. It is also fairly short. It deals with the issues you are interested again. In fact, as the name implies, a tragedy is at the center of the plot. What is interesting is the human interactions, social pressures, customs, ethnic conflict, religion, responsibility, betrayal, heartbreak, and other issues that all swirl around this one tragedy, interacting with the course of events in various ways. It is very interesting.

    Magical Realism was particularly popular in Latin America, so there are many Latin American works (translated into English, of course) that fit into this genre. It is less popular elsewhere, as I said before Beloved is one of the few examples from the US.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2006
  19. SFOSOK

    SFOSOK 939 Goin Strong

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    Thanks for the recommendations so far guys, I have a huge list of what I will be buying soon enough.

    @Blackcat: Magical realism sounds exactly what I'm looking for because from what you have said it deals with things I think about everyday in my own life as far as what is real and what is not.

    I'm also looking for books specifically focused on one subject. Psycology, philosophy, tragedy, love, or war.


    So far so good though guys, a lot of these books sound interesting, so keep it up.
     
  20. merry

    merry gargouille

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    I did. One of the best books ever, imho.

    Also, Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarette".

    Also, Louis Ferdinand Celine's "Voyage to the End of the Night". This one might also give some hints on the general anti-war attitude in Europe post WWI.

    Jaroslav Hasek's hilarious and insightful Svejk (well, "The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Svejk During the World War").

    Karel Capek's "War with the Newts".

    Buzzatti's "The Tartar Steppe".

    You can find more suggestions here :)
     

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