Topic: Top 5 Essential Books

Posts 21 to 39 of 39


I just finished Blood Meridian a week or two ago. The judge is certainly a strange character. Supposedly a film is in the works, but I have my doubts that it'll turn out well, which is a shame after No Country working so well and The Road's supposedly looking to be just as good. I'm moving onto the Border Trilogy soon after a short McCarthy break. The mind can only take so much violence.

Edited on by Adam

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I'm with you one-hundred percent on the Blood Meridian movie. While other McCarthy adaptations have really lent themselves to movies, Blood Meridian just doesn't have the structure, length, or subject matter that would work as a movie.

However, Andrew Dominik, the director and writer of The Assassination of Jesse James..., is allegedly adapting and directing Cities on the Plain. Interestingly enough, McCarthy wrote this one as a screenplay back in the 1980s before the first two books of the Border Trilogy. Now that'll be cool.


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Bizarrely considering the fact I read English at University for four years (three for my BA Hons and one for a PGCE!) I actually very, very rarely read. That said, whilst on holiday last week I read 1984 (okay, so I'm a little behind...) and have to say it was probably the best book I've ever read. Exquisitely written - "day by day and almost minute by minute, the past was brought up to date"! - with such fantastic precision, imagination and spirit that it was a joy to discover each piece of the story. Even though it rams you relentlessly with what's going to happen, Part III still left me absolutely gobsmacked and really more emotionally invested than I'd anticipated.

I know it seems like one of those books you've heard everything about and probably isn't as good as everyone says - at least, that was my viewpoint! - but it was really a brilliant novel that I'm extremely glad I read. Apart from 1984, the last book I remember reading from start to finish was Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, which I have to say was fantastic as well, although the follow-up Charlotte Gray was disappointing. Birdsong was just so powerful with its depictions of the trenches, the passion of the affair and the future timeline as well - it all merged into a book that really flew by and I enjoyed very much.

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut and Generation X by Douglas Coupland are also both brilliant books, as much for their anarchic spirit and stories as their superb writing. Not everybody's cup of tea, but they're sort of the guidebooks for our generation, to use a slightly clunky cliché.

Other great books I started but never finished are The Buddha of Suburbia - very funny, brilliantly observed book revolving around a young Asian in England exploring his sexuality and the opportunities around him. Fantastic first 100 pages, then for whatever reason I dropped off.

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy was a fantastic book as well (or at least, the first half was). It's about a young boy who goes to the city to gain an education, and his passage into adulthood and suchlike. It was a while ago when I read it, but I remember liking it a lot.

Oh, and I really disliked Catcher in the Rye when I first read it - I was just left with a huge feeling of "so what?" After a few days of thinking about it incessantly I realised that was exactly the point, and I've admired it ever since. It still annoys me when I read it but then that's not such a bad thing for a book to do, I suppose. Not that book, anyway.


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I personally hate reading, it bores me, and looking at its thickness makes me feel I may never end. I havent read even one single book on my whole life, I'd rather search for a couple synthesis on the web or ask someone to talk it to me for school or in the strange case I got interested on one. By now I have succesfully "read" more than 100 books that way for school.

Edited on by tripunktoj


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1. The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
Frodo the hobbit inherits a mysterious ring. It turns out to be a tool of destruction and Gandalf the wizard sends Frodo on a journey to destroy it at the only location where it can be destroyed, Mt. Doom, the volcano in which the Dark Lord Sauron once forged it to control the other races. The problem is, Sauron, once stripped of his ring is back and Mt. Doom happens to be within the borders of Mordor, Sauron's dark realm. Aided by hobbits, elves, dwarves, men and Gandalf the wizard Frodo sets out on his journey to Mt. Doom, wich happens to be unparralelled in modern fantasy to this day.

2. Ninteen-eighty-four - George Orwell
Set in a completely totalitarian regime where concepts such as freedom and individualism have been completely eradicated. The Party, its slogans and its ideology of "Ingsoc" are undeniable truth. The country of Oceania, one in only three equally totalitarian states, is ruled unified under Big Brother, the mysterious leader of the Party. The party seeks the complete control of thought and modifies the truth at will, eradicating the possibility of disproving anything the party says. Any remaining contradictions are justified by the principle of "Doublethink" in which everything the party does or says is turned around even though the reality contradicts it. Winston Smith is aware of the misdeeds of the Party and its dictatorship.... and must suffer the consequences. 1984 was written as warning against ideologies that claim to advance and liberate the poor masses but in reality do the opposite such as communism and fascism. It's fascinating to see how disturbingly relevant its message still is after all these decades. While by no means a long read, it's still a very strong book from a literary perspective with words such as Ingsoc, Doublethink and Newspeak. The famous phrase "Big Brother is watching you!" is still used to today to warn against the dangers of limiting privacy through the internet.

3. Angels and Demons/The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The famous much loved but also much criticized novels are well written even if you're offended that Dan Brown claims Jesus was Married. Robert Langdons races against time across the most famous works of art are still a blast to read and full of interesting facts about art that make you think "Wow I didn't know that!"

4. The Sword of Shannara - Terry Brooks
Shannara is an ongoing fantasy series and one of the first books that re-popularized the epic fantasy genre after Tolkien's Lord of the Rings in the 1950's ad 60's. In this first novel Shea Omsford learns he is the one destined to destroy the evil Warlock Lord Brona. wjile this may be fairly standard for the genre, its still a very entertaining read today and set the bar for other fantasy series to come after Tolkien.

5. The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M. Auel
This novel is about Ayla, a prehistoric girl who gets adopted after being found by Neanderthals. Auel actually lived in a cave in the wilderness for several months and studied the prehistoric liestyle of our ancestors to keep the story realisitc. While she admits that some things have been made up, such as parts of the religious beliefs of the characters, other things such as the tools they use, are based upon archeological research. This first novel deals with the differences in qualities between the two human races that roamed Europe in those days. The Neanderthals are dying, while they posess a strong collective memory and easily learn things they are tought by their parents, they don't adopt new conventions easily, and are less creative that modern humans. The conflict that arises between the young independent Cro-Magnon girl and the Neanderthals and their traditional values and rituals is described in a fascinating way. There are multiple sequels in the series. I've now read the first two books, and while the second half doesn't really become interesting after about two thirds through, the third part seems to take off at a great start with Ayla living with and learing about the culture of her Cro-Magnon brethren.

Edited on by Rensch

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I don't read all that often even though i really enjoy reading, i guess its because i don't really have the time, and i can't read a book on the bus/train/toilet etc, i have to have silence and a comfy chair, anyhow the best series of books i have read are the Red Dwarf series by Grant Naylor, here is a brief description of the plot -

Joining the Space Corps seemed a good idea. Red Dwarf, a gigantic red trash can that doubled as a mining ship, was bound for Earth. It never made it, leaving Lister as the last remaining human, three million years from Earth, with only a dead man, a senile computer and a highly evolved cat for company.

They begin their journey home. On the way they'll break the Light Barrier. They'll meet Einstein, Archimedes, God and Norman Wisdom.... and discover an alternative plane of reality.

Most people in the UK will know Red Dwarf from the cult TV series the books spawned, but whether you have seen the TV series or not, and if you enjoy well writen sci-fi with a large dose of wit and humour, then i suggest reading this series of books, today if not sooner.


I know about the show but never saw it. It sounds like it's like Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy, which i liked, so i might as well check it out.

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I'm not one for books, but I do own a few and can recommend these titles:

1) The Hitchhiker's Guide series (Douglas Adams)
2) Soul Music (Terry Pratchett)
3) Any Red Dwarf Novel (Grant/Naylor)
4) Are You Dave Gorman? (I wish they would release this on DVD - along with the horoscope one)
5) The Book of Dave (Will Self)

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1. Great Expectations - C. Dickens
2. Oliver Twist - C. Dickens
3. Bleak House - C. Dickens
4. Little Dorrit - C. Dickens
5. Tale of Two Cities - C. Dickens

In no particular order, but all are must reads, and put contempary writers to shame. The whole world loves Dickens. Another reason to dislike stories in games - they cannot touch TV, so how can they stand toe to toe with Dickens?

They cannot...


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mrmicawber wrote:

1. Great Expectations - C. Dickens
2. Oliver Twist - C. Dickens
3. Bleak House - C. Dickens
4. Little Dorrit - C. Dickens
5. Tale of Two Cities - C. Dickens

In no particular order, but all are must reads, and put contempary writers to shame. The whole world loves Dickens. Another reason to dislike stories in games - they cannot touch TV, so how can they stand toe to toe with Dickens?

They cannot...


I never saw that coming

Another great read is Howard Marks autobiography Mr Nice, the story of a Oxford graduate who becomes international cannabis smuggler, not your average thug dealer though, he's smart, humorous and a gentleman who tells a fascinating story.

Edited on by Stevie


__Stevie wrote:

I never saw that coming

Another great read is Howard Marks autobiography Mr Nice, the story of a Oxford graduate who becomes international cannabis smuggler, not your average thug dealer though, he's smart, humorous and a gentleman who tells a fascinating story.

Yeah. Howard's Da man. I went to see him Live in Manchester and he was wrecked on stage and funny as f***.He even had guy's bringing bongs on stage for him to toke on.DUDE
If you like Mr.Nice then you'd probably enjoy his other book - Dope stories which is a funny look at drug's around the world and their history along with some F'in hilarious true stories.
Another good book in a similar vain to Mr.Nice is Smokescreen by Robert Sabbag.He was one of the pioneers smuggling dope into America in the 60's.A great read and fuuny to

Edited on by OldBoy

What's this bit for again?


My only top #1 book I absolutely love is The Princess Bride! I love the movie to death; I recently got the book of!

Wiiloveit wrote:

The TV guide, the... oh no wait. That's all I got.

Best quoted from the movie The Lost Boys: "I just like to read the TV guide. Wih a TV guide; you don't need a tv!" LOL!

Edited on by The_Cow

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Hey Prosody, not as late as me, Im reading 1984 right now, and its pretty good.



I've pretty much stopped reading books in recent years, but there was I time I read a lot.

1. Okay I'm going to be cliche for a moment, but they're popular for a very good reason Harry Potter series
I don't think I need say anymore
2. Jurassic Park
it's strange. While it almost always happens that the movie is nothing compared to the book, with Jurassic Park, I think they are equal, but I suppose that depends on your opinion of the movie. Either way, these are two of my favorites.
3. The Student Conductor by Robert Ford
While it may be only for those of you who are musicians because of how much music is discussed in this book, it's a great book, and one of the few I've read in recent years.
4. The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron
A great fantasy novel about Merlin's earlier years, and the first of a series. This book, and the rest of its sequels were lost in the wake of Harry Potter's success upon its release.
5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Better than the Lord of the Rings, in my opinion, and not nearly so much padding and tough dialogue to trod through.

honorable mentions, as it were:
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Ender's Game

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1) P.G. Wodehouse (Jeeves & Wooster stories)
Some of the greatest comic writing ever. The tales of an upper class wastrel getting himself into all sorts of imbroglios only for a genius butler to bail him out were pretty much out of date when he wrote them. However, they are still accessible today, and I heartily recommend them.

2) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
Though clearly science fiction, the main appeal of these books for me are the social observations strewn throughout. If you've seen the film and didn't like it, I would urge you to read the books or maybe listen to the radio show. Book form is ideal though, it's great to just pick up now and again as there are many little tangents.

3) I Claudius - Claudius the God & His Wife Messalina (Robert Graves)
About the Roman emperor of the same name, this is a surprisingly involving story about the nature of power and politics. Needless to say, if you're interested in Roman history I'd suggest you read these books. The little details of Roman life are included so adroitly as to never slow down the pace novels, and the bigger details of Roman politics remain prevalent throughout.

4) A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
I think it might be the shortest of Dicken's novels, but for me it's the best. It's an exciting adventure that largely takes in the revolutionary times of the late-eighteenth century, mainly in London & Paris. It's a gripping read, but I'd imagine it would have been even more so when it was serialised as many in England feared that revolutionary thinking and politics would spread to their country.

5) Brideshead Revisited (Evelyn Waugh)
I think reading this book is a very different exerience depending on when you read it. I would say it's probably best read by those on the cusp of adulthood. It's a story of an aristocratic anglo-catholic family. It's about religion, class, sexuality, war, and family. Most of all it's about life.

6) Candide (Voltaire)
This short story is about a niave young man who ventures out from what he perceives to be a utopia, into the wider world. This is the best of the Voltaire stories I've read, and it feels a very complete story when you finally reach the end of all the twists and turns. It's a satire on optimism that appeals to my nature, although it's hardly as thought provoking as it would have been at the time of publication.



hey you forgot Catcher in the rye by ol' JD Salinger...

Old Nintendofan from up north...


zane wrote:

hey you forgot Catcher in the rye by ol' JD Salinger...

The most dissapointing book I ever read.Seriously I don't get the fuss surrounding this one, nothing happens. Just my opinion of course.

What's this bit for again?


Hard Times is my absolute favourite Dickens novel, I always have one of his books close by. Being English and proud of that, it always amazes me how well he knew this land and it's people.

Homer's Odyssey needs no explanation. I read Beowulf regularly also. And no I haven't watched the film, I'm not likely to.

Clive Barker's Imajica, an astonishing read, I often refer to it as 'the Bible'. Once, I read the book whilst smoking some crazy ****, the dreams I had, shifting between Dominions, was the closest thing to a spiritual experience I have ever had. Epic layered dreams, brought about by a book that was imagined in someone else's dreams. I have goose bumps just thinking about it.

The Lord of the Rings. First read it when I was only 10 and it blew me away. I was Frodo!

Honourable mention must go to The Idiot by Dostoyevsky as it helped me through a crisis ten years ago.

I don't read new books really as I like to explore the classics, just like I watch old movies all the time. Saying that, A Song of Ice and Fire blew me away with its scope and dark dark tones, can't wait for the next one.

And Asimov! How could I forget him. Too many books!



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