Skip to comments.Any Great Books?
Posted on 07/25/2008 3:01:11 PM PDT by Stephanie32
(My first thread, hope I'm doing this right!)
I think “Soldier, Ask Not” was better than “Dorsai.”
That being said, all were good.
I recommend “The Black Swan” first. The great thing about Taleb is that he is able to inject enough levity into a serious subject to keep the narrative going, and is able to discuss real life examples that most people can understand. Those picking it up expecting a statistics text are in for a more pleasant surprise.
Funny you bring up Evanovich. I live in a rather nice town that borders Trenton to the south, where she sets most of her books. She has spent way too much time in New Hampshire, however, as her beloved Chambersburg (”the Burgh”) is now a dangerous ghetto, far from charming.
Ok, I read about it in Wiki. too and it does sound really fascinating.
Beer & Food: An American History, by me, Bob Skilnik.
I thought about listing Travis McGee. I think the last one, “The Lonely Silver Rain” was probably his best Travis McGee. Of his other books, I also enjoyed “Condominium.”
Wow, I will definitely read that. Thank you!
Perfume sounds scary and I love that. I have heard good things about Jasper Fforde also. Thank you!
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell--I recently reread this book. It gets better every time.
Sounds like a lot of action! I can read about violence easier than watching it and these sound great. Thank you!
I have never listened to a book, have to try that. Thank you, I’ve heard of both of your choices!
From your interests in Animals, the "All Creatures Great And Small" series by James Herriot (memoirs of a 1930's-era British farm vet). "Heartwarming" they call it but uproariously funny while still sticking to your ribs.
From your cooking, if you want technical, try "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen" by Harold McGee, this book goes into the chemical composition of food and how cooking accomplishes what it does, with a lot of interesting history about the development of different foods and recipes from around the world.
For mystery novels, if you like intellectual puzzlers, go for Agatha Christie; and if you like English period pieces, go for Dorothy L. Sayers or Josephine Tey. Sayers is better .
For light fluffy humor, try P.G. Wodehouse for comedies; for outdoor humor columns, Patrick F. McManus.
For science, try Kip Thorne's work on black holes, or anything by the late Richard Feynman.
Political humor is covered by P.J. O'Rourke.
And of course, there's always Shakespeare.
Or you can just FReep.
Cheers! IS that enough for starters?
You forgot Retief of the CDT, you scoundrel! :-)
Don't forget Tom Clancy (military/spy stuff).
And R.F. Delderfield's To Serve Them All My Days -- Brit historical novel.
...and if you want WW II, try F. W. Winterbotham's The Ultra Secret about how the allies broke the top-secret german code machine.
I am fascinated by all of your choices and I will finish my replies to you all tomorrow night and this weekend. I have a wedding tomorrow and I’m sort of bleary eyed here. Thank you again. :-)
Btw, Joe Haldeman’s “The Forever War” and “All My Sins Remembered” are excellent SF.
Podhoretz details his friendships with several famous American leftists and why they became "ex" friends (he moved to the right politically).
A TALENT FOR TROUBLE
A biography of film director William Wyler. I read all 500 or so pages in an afternoon.
ROSEBUD by David Thomson.
A very opinionated bio of Orson Welles, very enjoyable.
LOOP GROUP by Larry McMurtry
I know most here prefer McMurtry's westerns but I really enjoy his contemporary novels. This one's a little too close to chick lit for comfort but so far I'm enjoying it. McMurtry eases you into the reality of his characters' world and before you know it, you're at the end of the book. Not a great novel, but a fun read.
Fun reduction of his two-volume autobio into bite-sized chunks.
SEIZE THE DAY by Saul Bellow
Starting this tonight.
I'm in the mood for a fun Heinlein-type read, and may read one of his I haven't read yet this weekend. Recent SF bores me, and that definitely includes the "conservative" SF writers, too.
The Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters as narrated unabridged by Barbara Rosenblat, as well as anything else narrated by Barbara Rosenblat.
I’m currently reading several off and on:
http://www.amazon.com/Captain-African-Slaver-Theophile-Conneau/dp/0405018304 (given me by a fellow freeper and a definitive narrative of the West African slave trade early 1800s focusing on the coastal trading centers by someone who was there)
http://www.amazon.com/Commando-Boer-Journal-War/dp/1417925841/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217048910&sr=1-1 ( when Southern Africa was first lost)
Camp of the Saints stays on my bedside, I’ve yet to finish it
Warning: it's kind of icky in parts. There are real and very vivid descriptions of the horrors of that particularly horrible war. There are also a few clearly-depicted sex scenes. So you must ask yourself if this is the sort of thing your book club would like to read. I am not discouraging you, just giving you a heads up so you can consider the book fairly. Amazon may have online excerpts available.
Disraeli: Portrait of a Romantic - David Butler.
I always have a book going in the van. Radio reception is spotty, at best. If I have my grandkids with me, they can find a station with music, somehow.
“Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald
great biography of one of our greatest Presidents
I’m reading it right now
When you think about what Lincoln and so many others went through in those times, and the tough tough decisions he had to make, it makes the socialist whiners and weasels of our era look even more pathetic.
Obambi, you’re no JFK, you’re certainly no Lincoln, but you might just be Jimmy Carter.....
Summer reading list bump! ;-)
Here are a few I thought of during the night:
And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran.
This is a true story.
The author was blinded in an accident as a child.
He developed a sixth sense. He contends that nothing is taken away from us without something to replace it.
He worked for the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation, and, because of his uncanny ESP, he was adept at identifying Nazis trying to infiltrate the Resistance.
He was betrayed and sent to a Nazi concentration camp, where fellow inmates at first stole his food etc. but learned to value him more than food because of his sixth sense. He was one of the few to survive (sorry about the spoiler).
Two other terrific books are Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Lewis Carroll was a genius and very clever. The metaphors, symbolism, and plays on words are terrific.
Looking Glass is a chess game. Playing it as you read--do this with your spouse, children, and/or friends--adds multiple dimensions.
For example, Alice is a pawn. What she wants most is to be a queen. In the end of the book (sorry about this spoiler), she reaches the other side of the chess board, becomes a queen, checkmates the Red King, and wins the game. Metaphorically, this is the fulfillment of every child's ambition to become an adult, find success, and fulfill her/his dreams.
Alice's conversation with Humpty Dumpty is priceless.
She urges him to climb down from the wall.
He refuses and adds: "The King has promised to send all of his horses and all of his men." How's that for the embodiment of hubris?
As Alice leaves him (sorry--another spoiler) a resounding crash reverberates through the forest--a great metaphor for everything from warning your child: "If you disobey me, you will be sorry; there are things that I can't fix" to warning Americans not to vote for Barack Obama and the Democrat Party to Aristotelian tragedy to the fall of civilizations and the fall of Adam and Eve.
Other great books are the Iliad, the Oddyssey, the Oresteia, Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Also The Scarlet Letter, Washington Square, and The Sound and the Fury.
Also Tales of the South Pacific and The Bridges at Toko-ri by James Michener.
Sins of the Fathers: The Atlantic Slave Trade 1441-1807 by James Pope-Hennessy.
Born in Blood by John J. Robinson, about the persecution of the Knights Templars.
Captain from Castile and Prince of Foxes by Samuel Shellabarger--terrific books by an inexplicably underrated author.
Man! I love these books!
I started to list Retief...but I was interrupted and had to finish the post quickly. The Retief books by Keith Laumer are definite keepers.
I thought of another good one this morning. Since romance books are on your menu, “A Knight in Shining Armor” by Jude Deveraux, is definitely one of the best.
Don’t let the title scare you away. This is WAY above the usual romance books.
I would start with Edward Dahlberg, a very eccentric American writer born in 1900, who wrote a lot of highly quirky books very few people read, was always obscure, but also wrote one masterpiece, his autobiograpy, at about the age of 60, Because I Was Flesh. (title taken from the Bible)
This is simply one of the great American books, period.
Awe, Man! You make it sound like I have to WORK to find “Enlightenment!”
Can’t I just lay around all day watching my cat? ;)
Having finished Gordon Rhea’s Civil War series on Grant’s Overland Campaign and Noah Trudeau’s “The Last Citadel; The Siege of Petersburg,” I am now reading “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, combination biographies of Lincoln, William Seward, Salmon Chase and Edward Bates. Just got started in it. No real opinion yet.
My one complaint is that Kerr rushed the ending of the first two. He created a thoroughly engrossing world and then crammed what should have taken fifty pages into twenty. The last of the trilogy avoids this error.
These were very early works for Kerr. After reading them I sought out all his other work...none of it approaches the quality of these...very disappointing.
Confederacy of Dunces
Craig Johnson writes about a Wyoming sheriff. Craig's books are really good. The third was the best.
I am not from Wyoming and have only driven through it once on I-80, but I love mysteries taking place in Wyoming. At least I think the authors do a great job describing the countryside and the people.
Gregory Bean has also written 4 mysteries concerning a Wyoming lawman. I have read each of them twice.
“How do I sense the tide that’s rising, desensitizing me from living in the light of eternity?” Mandisa with Tobey Mac on the Portable Sounds CD
The first is “1453”, which is about the Siege of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks and the end of the Byzantine Empire. The second is called “Empires of the Sea”. It is a kind of follow up, looking at the clash between Christians(primarily Spain) and Muslims(primarily Turks) in the Mediterranean during the 16th Century.
Both are very well written nonfiction that read like novels.
I'd also throw out “Causes Lost, Won, and Forgotten” by Gary Gallagher. The main theme is how the Civil War has been portrayed in movies since Birth of a Nation.
“Have you read Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K Jerome? Very funny. It reminded me of Wodehouse.”
Hilarious! I loved that book. If you like that, you might also like “You Know Me, Al” by Ring Lardner.
I’ve been reading some of the classics lately, and would recommend trying that approach. To name the latest: Anna Karenina, 1984, Crime and Punishment, and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
That is really interesting. I had not thought of that.
Are you familiar with that Jared Diamond book, "Collapse"?
I had it for about 2 years before I actually read it a couple of months ago. I learned a few things.
I loved “The Lonely Silver Rain.” I have all of the Travis McGee novels on my Wish List at Amazon.com. I’ll own First Editions of them all one day. It is my mission! :)
“Just Another Sunday” was a good one, too. About crooked creeps in the pay-for-play world of Tele-Vangelism.
MacDonald wrote tons of TV and movie screenplays, too...many from his own novels.
Quite a prolific and talented man.
Have you ever read John O’Hara? If not, start with “Appointment in Samara.” Man, I love that book. Very “Gatsby-esque” but SO much more.
I have read them all. MacDonald also has an interesting book about his two cats you might enjoy. I do not remember the title. but it was a look into the lives of the author and his family.
Anyway, I work for the local library part-time, and also blog part-time. My website is Nonfiction Lover, where I try to update at least 5 - 6 times a week. I read a wide variety of nonfiction books, and have recently added a weekly Friday Fun post, where I review children's books on Fridays. So for the parents in the group, that might be interesting.
But the rest of the week, I review regular nonfiction books. Some of the books you guys may enjoy that I've reviewed:
Moment of Truth in Iraq - A great book that I rated 4.25 out of 5 stars.
Of course, I don't do all serious books - today, I read and reviewed a Dave Barry book and thoroughly enjoyed it. ;-) If it's a nonfiction book, I can review it for my site, so I'm going to be checking out the suggestions on this thread to see if there's any interesting ones I need to check out. I saw some on the list that I already have checked out but haven't read yet, so I'm excited to get to them.
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