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Got some tips on books?

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  • Got some tips on books?

    I was thinking of ordering some books.
    What is on the list now is:
    A Brave New World
    Mother London Or maybe The Warhound

    Anyone wish to add?

  • #2
    "The Notebook" by Agota Kristof, chilling insight into the psychology of two kids in a warzone.
    I also liked "The Royal Physician's Visit" by Enquist ...
    Google ergo sum


    • #3
      House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski

      It has multiple narratives going at once--the narrator tells a story about a biographer who slowly lost his mind while researching a film about both a house that defies the laws of physics and its owners, all while telling his own nearly impossibly tragic story of abuse and abandonment while he may be losing his mind, as well. Then the narratives turn on themselves.

      I read it a year ago, and I haven't stopped thinking about it. Each time I think about it, I reinterpret it differently.


      • #4
        I always thought of BNW as really just satirical of then-contemporary society, rather than the 'horrific vision of the future' twaddle that usually goes on the dustjacket; eg, the babies in bottles of booze is reflective of the 'unfairness' of the 'accident' of birth, in socio-economic terms: whether it is deliberately manipulated according to scientifically-determined ratios, or occurs through the less obvious but equally artificial mechanisms of political and social pressures, is irrelevant.

        BTW, I'm an Alpha Double-Plus.

        At least :lol:


        • #5
          If you like dystopias (Brave New World certainly fits that bill), here is a not very well known dystopia from the '60s: The Wanting Seed, by Anthony Burgess. It's funny and ghastly, and delights in the sort of vocabulary that titilates us logophiles.

          I think it's superior to his better-known A Clockwork Orange (which I nevertheless like okay).



          • #6
            Is Clockwork Orange any good? I liked the movie, but have never read the book.


            • #7
              Yes, A Clockwork Orange is a pretty good book, and a savage (albeit slightly dated in a few respects) satire.

              It handles its Russo-English vocabulary very inventively and convincingly, so again, if you enjoy an intelligent and novel use of language, you won't be disappointed.

              Is it his best book? I doubt it. A lot of people like the Enderby series best. I kind of like The Napoleon Symphony and Nothing Like the Sun. I gather Burgess himself disliked A Clockwork Orange, and some others refer to it as a "minor" dystopia; Mr. Moorcock himself has spoken disparagingly of it. For all that, I think the book has several excellent qualities.

              I do not, however, argue with people about matters of taste. If one says "I like it" or "I dislike it," that's not equivalent to saying it's "good" or "bad." No one, not even Perdix Imperator, can set any of us up as supreme arbiter elegantiarum. Many of us try to be impartial, and not pan a book we don't like if we can see that it has good qualities. There's no accounting for taste, and no one likes every book, so even the most judicious evaluation may be flawed. When you listen to a critic, you need to ask what their batting average is at panning good books. It's not a question of overpraising, it's a question of blindness. There are few critics whose judgement I trust 100%, for this reason.

              So ultimately, you've got to try the book for yourself and see if you "like" it. Don't take my word for it.

              LSN (arbiter elegantiarum, j.g.)


              • #8
                From the Desk of Professor Poppet

                Tale of a Tub -- Swift

                Paradise Lost -- Milton

                Comus - Milton

                Areopagatica -- Milton

                The Morning of Christ's Nativity -- Milton

                Point Counterpoint -- Huxley

                Gargantua and Pantagruel -- Rabelais

                Gryll Grange --- Peacock

                Anatomy of Melancholy -- Robert Burton

                Northanger Abbey -- Austen

                Scarlet Letter -- Hawthorne

                "Rappacinis's Daughter" -- Hawthorne

                "The Hall of Fantasy" -- Hawthorne

                Typee -- Melville

                Omoo -- Melville

                White Jacket -- Melville

                Moby-Dick -- Melville

                Benito Cereno -- Melville

                The Confidence-Man -- Melville

                Don Juan -- Byron

                Pale Fire -- Nabokov

                The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test -- Wolfe

                A Cure for Cancer -- Moorcock

                The Second Ether -- Moorcock




                "Letter on Toleration" -- Locke

                First and Second Treatises on Government -- Locke

                Declaration of Independence -- Jefferson

                Virginia Act of Religious Freedom -- Jefferson

                A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers -- Jonathan Mayhew

                Symposium -- Plato

                Phaedrus -- Plato

                Philosophical Investigations -- Wittgenstein

                Now, read on!


                • #9
                  20, 000 Leagues Under the Sea

                  Professor Poppet's entire list compressed into a single volume. It's all in there.


                  • #10
                    i enjoyed BNW for the characters, but the story didn't upset me as i thought it should. maybe i'm jaded.

                    yeesh... i'm looking at my shelves and my stuff is rather fluffy compared to the list Professor Poppet suggested (which I jotted down, by the way, for the dry times.)


                    • #11
                      This list is all over the place, at least in part because it's not a list of books. It is a list of some books (e.g., Moby Dick or Point, Counterpoint) short stories (e.g., "Rapacinni's Daughter"), poems and masques ("Comus" and the "...Christ's Nativity" from Milton), complete authors (e.g., the plays of Aristophanes), and things resembling essays, such as the Platonic dialogues. And Wolfe's book is basically a piece of journalism.

                      The entry for "Gargantua and Pantagruel" by Franأ§ois Rabelais is a bit ambiguous, since there are either 4 or 5 books attributed to Rabelais -- the authorship of the 5th is open to doubt. La vie trأ¨s horrificque du Grand Gargantua and Pantagruel, Roy des Dipsodes, restituأ© أ  son natural, avec ses faictz et prouesses espoventables are definitive, and probably the easiest to obtain.

                      By the way, the choice of Austen's Northanger Abbey strikes me as eccentric. Melville's The Confidence Man is a nice, off the beaten path selection, but where is Pierre, or the Ambiguities ? :lol:

                      If one does what engineers call a "brain dump" (which this list resembles) it tends to be a bit disorderly, and reminscent of a laundry list.

                      Nevertheless, the list is somewhat interesting.



                      • #12
                        i have a list. and it is wholly my own because the authors have a "something" that grabs me and never lets go, whether it's for characters or ideololgies or descriptions. i enjoy reading what other people are into, as well; it gives me ideas as to which way to turn when i'm tired of a certain genre.


                        • #13
                          To get back to the Dystopian theme: "Lanark" by Alisdair Gray deserves a read (I should get commission for promoting this one). Reminiscent of Behold the Man in the "realistic" "autobiographical" sections, conventional projectional sci-fi in others, and culminating in a Hobbesian tour-de-force, the whole packaged in text-notes and author's illustrations pretty damn unique in my experience.

                          And God gets killed off in the process. :D
                          \"Killing me won\'t bring back your apples!\"


                          • #14
                            I reckon you'd like "The Life of the Automobile" by Ilya Ehrenburg:
                            Ignore the miserable customer review - the person was very lucky to be set this on their course, perhaps they should have been studying something different. Published in 1929, it's a fascinating imaginative critique of the impact of the car and its whole production process on society. In the present day, it reads like a prophecy. It even ends with the suggestion that the motorcar would eventually triumph over socialism - there's no wonder it wasn't published in the USSR.
                            \" ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell


                            • #15
                              If you want to SAMPLE some books, there's the net, of course.
                              A lot of the classics are available for free download (though I find
                              this an unpleasant way of reading an entire book). Better yet try BBC radio ( especially Radio Four (currently serialising Remembrance of Things Past by Proust, among others) and Radio Seven (which will give you VERSIONS -- and I stress that -- ) of two Jane Austen books, G.K.Chesterton, Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, John Mortimer -- in other words, a whole variety of 'classics' and currently popular fiction. I would say that Northanger Abbey wouldn't be my first choice for Austen. Persuasion, maybe ? Sense and Sensibility ? What a superb writer she remains! And how come so few Russians are being mentioned -- Tolstoy, Dostoievski, Checkov, Babel ? German and French. Thomas Mann ? Proust ? Hesse ? Grass ? OK, so this is too much for the point of the thread, probably. I would like to mention my own personal favourite, Elizabeth Bowen. But if it's current imaginative fiction you're after, nobody comes much better than Ballard or M.John Harrison. And you might enjoy Michael Chabon's Adventures of Kavalier and Clay -- about two comic book creators (and incidentally much more).