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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Book me me

Here are the current top 50 books from What I Should Read Next. Bold the books you have read. Italicise the books you might read. Cross out the books you probably won’t read. Pass it on:

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (I'm a sucker for conspiracy theories)
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger (Needs a slap)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams (Know where your towel is!)
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (Beautiful and sad)
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (The last book in the trilogy made me hate myself for reading it)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter 6) - J.K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel (I'll never think of indian food the same way again)
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell (Four legs good!)

Catch-22 - Joseph Heller (Everyone gets a share!)
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien (I read it after listening to the BBC radio version. This book smells of baked potatoes.)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (excellent)
Lord of the Flies - William Golding (My dad's Literature text...and later, mine too.)
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (Watched the BBC series soon after - Colin Firth is yummy!)

1984 - George Orwell (The stuff of nightmares)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) - J.K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (It's on my Amazon wishlist)
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden (This book smells of toffee)
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (I like the title)

The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (Intriguing. But made me ill.)
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut (probably too violent for my tastes - anyone know more about this book?)
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk (Probably too violent for my tastes)
Neuromancer - William Gibson (Ditto)

Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson (Dittoditto)
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess (I am drawn to books about the mind)
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (I have an aversion to all Bronte novels.)
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (I couldn't sleep for days - it's like seeing the future)

American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Ender’s Game (The Ender Saga) - Orson Scott Card
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving (I read 'The World According to Garp' - couldn't understand it, maybe it's too deep for me.)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis (The man is a genius)

Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides (Read the first chapter in the bookshop - sounded promising)
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell (Read the first chapter in the bookshop - sounded pretentious)
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien (The man is a genius)
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (This is not a good book to buy a girl for her 6th birthday. This is probably why I can't seem to bring myself to read it proper - too many failed attempts.)
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman (I may read it if MDH buys it)

Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Just ordered it from Amazon!)
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway (I only understood it when I reread it 10 years later)
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood (It was required reading for a class)
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath (Seems like required reading for all women)
Dune - Frank Herbert (This book smells like cinnamon)

from: riceandsoup


Blogger fortycalibernap said...

slaughterhouse has no violence. vonnegut doesn't do violence, closest he's ever come is fahrenheit 451 and even there only the books got hurt.

the violence in neuromancer is understated and over before you know it. recommended even accounting for what i understand of your sensitivites.

clockwork is ultraviolent. i don't know what to tell you -- it will continue to disturb the hell out of you until something breaks . . . and you should read it, tcsb.

12:33 am  
Blogger fortycalibernap said...

if i don't look directly at your anagram de plume i blow it every time.

i'm sorry, but i'm really sorry if it undercut my point -- ignore my social shortcomings, read that damned book.

it's a very quick read, that part will be over before you know it, and i'll guarantee the rest in the most optimistic terms you can imagine.

the book dovetails completely with your recent couplet (I/II) . . . i won't repeat my mistake and try to fill out the full name from memory. . . .

12:42 am  
Blogger tscd said...

fortycalibernap: Really? Okay I will give 'Slaughterhouse' a go, since you really think it's worth it.

Neuromancer does look interesting and it is the sort of book I would borrow from a friend...I probably wouldn't buy it for myself.

Yes, I have heard that 'Clockwork Orange' is violent, which is why I haven't read it yet...I'm waiting for inspiration.

2:45 am  
Blogger fortycalibernap said...

slaughterhouse, like all his best stuff, was written as satire, and when you consider it's considered science fiction and is decades old, it's hardly dated.

when vonnegut was on top of his game he was really a comedian who happened to write.

i still think clockwork is probably one of the best pieces of literature on your list, and given what you've said about your reaction to violence, i suspect you'd be pretty surprised at what it sets off in you.

it's a different sort of affect than most anything else: suddenly, it's just there.

it doesn't leave you with some haunting dread, or malaise. it's singular, and it does many things i haven't found anywhere else in writing.

5:23 am  
Blogger jadeite said...

Clockwork is horribly horribly violent, but in an insidious, slowly horrifying way.

Anyway you HAVE to read Good Omens :/

12:22 pm  
Blogger tscd said...

fortycalibernap: Wow. Sounds like 'Clockwork Orange' really had an impact on you.

jadeite: 'Good Omens' is probably the sort of book I would read if it happened to be just lying around and I didn't have anything better to do. I like Terry Pratchett books but I always feel empty after reading them, which is probably why I've never actively sought after his work. MDH is a big fan, I will probably read it at some point.

4:18 pm  
Blogger fortycalibernap said...

yes, it most definitely did.

along with dhalgren, alice in wonderland/t.t.l.g., silent spring, stranger in a strange land, and the idiot.

these floored me early on -- you could easily call them formative.

there have been a number of other titles that have had a similar impact in my adult years, but that's more about distillation . . . and what came earlier was catabolic.

6:31 pm  
Blogger budak said...

Slaughterhouse is in part one man's response to the Allied wholesale bombing of Dresden during WW2. Not the most refined language, but a short and intense look at the nature of man and war.

10:29 pm  
Blogger Tym said...

Oh goody, everyone else chimed in on Slaughterhouse Five, so I don't have to rescue that one from your crossed-out list :)

I notice an aversion to science fiction in your list. Aw, c'mon --- give it a try! The other fiction title I strongly recommend is Ian McEwan's Atonement --- very beautiful, plays around wid with perspective and all that sort of thing, a very good read. I quite enjoy McEwan anyway, but this is my favourite so far.]

11:26 pm  
Blogger tscd said...

fortycalibernap: You like books that deal with the mind and challenge thought. Interesting!

budak: Okayokay already! I will read 'Slaughterhouse 5'! *waves a white flag*

tym: That's interesting that you think I have an aversion to science fiction - when I have always considered myself a science fiction fan. What makes you say that? And why do you like 'Atonement'?

11:56 pm  
Blogger fortycalibernap said...

in light of what we've been discussing here, there's more than just a little bit of synchronicity in what parkaboy posted today.

he links to what seems to have been a draft later delivered as a lecture. i printed it out last night at work as soon as i saw it, read about a third of it on the train home this morning, and i'm still buzzing.

follow one of those links before you get distracted and lose the impulse . . . if you care in any way about reading or autonomy or ego or morality or education or fulfillment or religion or philosophy, go read this now.

i swear, i'm not being dramatic :)

3:27 am  
Blogger wahj said...

minor point; Vonnegut didn't write Fahrenheit 451: it was Ray Bradbury did. = )

Agree with the others on the rest though: Slaughterhouse 5 is a wonderful read, and Clockwork Organge is, yes, ultraviolent. I read this book in 2 days, and (I'm not joking here) I felt like puking afterwards. No other book has ever caused a physical reaction in me like that. It's not just the violence being described, it's the violence Burgess does to the language. But it was compelling reading - once I started, I couldn't put it down ... so yes, read it. Just have a bucket nearby.

Ender's Game is a nice book for anyone who's ever wondered what it's like for children to be hothoused ... well worth a read (my wife thinks it would make great anime, given the similarities - talented children saving mankind from invading monsters, under the manipulation of all-powerful governments etc)

And while I'm at it (poor you: if you listened to all the advice you're getting, then everything on this list is going to be italicised! =) Cryptonomicon was a surprisingly good read. Made me go read up about cryptography and steganography ...

4:19 pm  
Blogger Tym said...

You scratched out Neuromancer, Cryptonomicon, Ender's Game and Snow Crash --- that's why I thought maybe you leant more towards fantasy but nosso much sci-fi. I've never completed a Neal Stephenson book, but my excuse is I'm not smart enough to understand him.

I don't really want to say what Atonement is about, but it's very lyrical and well-written, and tells a good story while at it. You can try reading the first ten pages in a bookstore or something and see if it hooks you.

Good Omens is excellent, btw. I don't feel empty when it's over; it's too clever (I hope that doesn't sound uncomplimentary) for that. Plus it's co-written with Neil Gaiman, so it's not pure Pratchett!

5:23 pm  
Blogger fortycalibernap said...

thanks, wahj.

this reminds me of the earlier incident with the so-called secretary bird.

. . . with the same mechanism whirring away in the background :)

i.e. in each case too tired to be acutely embarrassed.

7:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have read almost all of the books on that list, I think, which probably explains why I never know what to read next :-)

I wouldn't judge either Cloud Atlas or Middlesex on the first chapters, however. Middlesex turns out much less of a read than initially promised by the first chapter (I too bought it on that premise) and found it slightly disappointing after a good beginning.

As for Cloud Atlas... the first chapter does indeed make it sound a bit pretentious, but I would take that with a pinch of salt, since the rest of the book is an amazing journey. I thought this, My Sister's Keeper, and the Time Traveller's Wife were the best books I read last year. (Having said that about MSK, I must add that I hated all of the other Jodi Picoult books I read).

Happy reading!!

9:55 pm  

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