View Full Version : Read & Write
The Vorpal Tribble
2009-05-12, 08:10 PM
Ok, here is something I need everyone's help on. Name me your favorite book (with author) of all time, or one you highly recommend, and if I haven't read it, I'll give it a go. Doesn't matter what genre.
I will then write my own personal review on it. I may not say nice things, so if you'll be offended don't post one, but on the other hand I may praise it.
I'll read them in the order suggested (remember, ONE book), and depending on my time may do several a week.
I've already read Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, Discworld series, Ender's Game series, etc, so you don't have to mention them, those being amongst the most common I see in the 'favorite books' list.
List of Suggested Books
Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny
Nine Princes In Amber (Roger Zelazny. Fantasy-ish. Quite good. Incidentally, I presume that if someone mentions a book that they want to make you read specifically because it's bad you won't?)
The Vorpal Tribble
2009-05-12, 08:16 PM
Incidentally, I presume that if someone mentions a book that they want to make you read specifically because it's bad you won't?)
Not necessarily, some books I've been told are so horrible as to be a waste of paper I enjoyed. However, I 'do' prefer the suggestions to be books actually enjoyed if possible.
2009-05-12, 08:19 PM
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
2009-05-12, 09:01 PM
If on a winter's night a traveler, by Italo Calvino.
If you've read that already, I can come up with another one.
2009-05-12, 09:16 PM
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
Lord Iames Osari
2009-05-12, 09:21 PM
Path of Glory by Bret M. Funk
2009-05-12, 09:22 PM
The Things They Carried by Tim O'brien.
2009-05-12, 09:59 PM
Here's something interesting for your experiment: Japanese (light) novels, translated into English by fans. As you would expect, the writing quality...varies, but it's almost certainly not so much the fault of the author as much as it's the fault of the translators. I had trouble recommending just one, so pick any one you wish.
Kara no Kyoukai (http://www.baka-tsuki.org/project/index.php?title=Kara_no_Kyoukai), aka The Edge of Emptiness. Written by Kinoko Nasu.
Fate/Zero (http://www.baka-tsuki.org/project/index.php?title=Fate/Zero), also written by Kinoko Nasu.
Suzumiya Haruhi (http://www.baka-tsuki.org/project/index.php?title=Suzumiya_Haruhi), by Tanigawa Nagaru. You may have heard of an anime series called "The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi", or otherwise heard the name elsewhere. This series of light novels is the origin.
2009-05-12, 10:14 PM
I think everyone should read One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Garbriel Garcia Marquez.
2009-05-12, 10:22 PM
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
2009-05-12, 10:33 PM
Actually, can I suggest Colorshock (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=110989) too? A book my friend is writing, it's not exactly in a finished form currently, but it's definitely one of the best things I've read in a long time. Maybe a bit less life-changing than Brave New World, but still REALLY GOOD. More epic and beautiful, less philosophical.
2009-05-12, 10:40 PM
Outlaws of the Mash: Shi Nai'an and Luo Guanzhong
2009-05-12, 10:48 PM
The Alphabet of Manliness by Maddox
2009-05-12, 11:02 PM
Angels: An Endangered Species by Malcolm Godwin. Fair warning: this book may change your life.
2009-05-12, 11:04 PM
May I suggest Acorna from Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball? It is definitely not my favourite book ever, but it's pretty obscure and I would be very interested in reading your opinion on it. It's not life-changing or anything. It's a light read. But I still enjoyed it, light as it was. :smalltongue:
2009-05-12, 11:28 PM
Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
(If that counts as Discworld: Neuromancer, by William Gibson.)
2009-05-12, 11:43 PM
Plague Dogs by the guy who wrote Watership Down.
Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams (this is a very odd book, so I won't be offended if it's not to your taste).
Earthfasts by William Mayne (and if you can get the sequels Cradlefasts and Candlefasts, I haven't read those but I'd like to know what they're like...).
Z for Zachariah, The Silver Crown and Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien.
2009-05-12, 11:47 PM
On the very serious side of things: The Brother Karamazov (Dostoevsky) this falls into that "life changing" category of Brave New World, but the change might not be for the better. After I finished this thing I found myself thinking like The Comedian for a couple weeks, it was unpleasant.
On the slightly-less-serious slightly-more-really-cool side of things: Snow Crash (Neil Stephenson)
This opened up transhumanism and virtual reality for me, and the whole cyberpunk genre.
This is two suggestions but really just go with whichever one you feel like reading by the time you get to them.
2009-05-12, 11:49 PM
Dune, by Frank Herbert
2009-05-13, 12:09 AM
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
Hmm, you've covered most of the books I've read with those... Uh... A Clockwork Orange? It's a bit hard on the old brain, but I liked it. Vatsy and Bruno is a nice short read *shameless non-self-plug*.
Y'know, I think I'm going to finally read Through the Looking Glass. Never read it... well, ta!
@^: I didn't like that one. It was almost a task for me to read it.
EDIT: Wait a tick, I forgot about Douglas Adams and his works. Then there's some Stephen King novels which are too numerous to name, and maybe read...mmmmmmmm... I've forgotten. Oh well, it was a small book anyway. Maybe read Wayside if you're into childrens novels. If you aren't, you may as well read the series of unfortunate events.
2009-05-13, 12:14 AM
Yeah, if you haven't read them I'll second Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Very fun books. Helped along a bit by the fact that I have one friend who's basically Alice, and another who's basically the Cheshire Cat.
2009-05-13, 12:24 AM
I can't really think of a "favorite" offhand, but one I recently read and thought was pretty good was Gulliver's Travels by Jonathon Swift.
2009-05-13, 12:42 AM
There are a lot of books I would reccomend, but I'll just do one.
The Wiz Biz.
It's an interesting and compelling read. I don't really know what to say other than try it.
2009-05-13, 12:48 AM
Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. Just make sure that you understand the concept of Hyperreality when you read the book. You don't need it, but it opens a new layer in the book.
I'll recommend a lot, A LOT of book when I got home.
I'll try to not suggesting books from popular author like Gaiman or Pratchett, since there will be a lot of people recommending it.
First, a book that I've recommended on another thread, and I'll re-recommend it here simply because that's one book that I remember now.
Have you read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke?
Often described as "Arthur Conan Doyle meet Jane Austen meet Neil Gaiman" It chronicled the life of two magician from an alternate victorian age where magic was abound... at the past. In this setting, magicians in the 19th century are reduced to 'theoritical magician' that's basically something like ineffectual magic historian, and usually consisted of rich people without better things to do.
The two titular magicians were magicians who were propechied to bring magic back.
It's written in the style of Jane Austen novel, only with you know, magic. Full of charm, wit, parody and humor, beside its smart idea and writing, and somewhat realistic urban fantasy with fairy and magic in london. And it's supposed to be a real historical book, so it's filled with footnotes (sometimes even filling 3/4 of a page).
And it got Duke of Wellington defeating Napoleon with strategic and logistical use of magic!
It's a really thick book though. It may take you a while to read it.
Another book that I can remember...
ah, The Golden Globe by John Varley, a heinlenian sci-fi author. It's actually part of a setting called 'Eight World' where earth was destroyed by an advanced alien that lived in gas giant, then the alien went into jupiter and haven't heard since. Mankind continued living and colonized all solar system except earth and jupiter. But the setting isn't too important, because it's a stand alone book.
It chronicled the journey of a first class thespian, ex child actor, jack of all trade, and interplanetary conman by the name of 'Sparky' Valentine, as he travelled across the solar system (an amazingly detailed, original, and detailed sci-fi setting unlike anything I've ever seen before. It took months in a dinky spaceship to go from one planet to another) to take his one, final, magnum opus role while he reminisced his life, and how he crossed the infamous Charonese Mafia, a criminal organization where each of its member were practically John Cameron's Terminator.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Sir Apropos of Nothing by Peter David
Wicked by Greogry Maguire
The Winter of the World Trilogy by Michael Scott Rohan (if you can still find it)
Midworld by Alan Dean Foster
Wild Cards (George R.R. Martin and others)
Gojiro by Mark Jacobson
and if you want soem short stories try 100 Weird Little Weird Stories by John Shirley
2009-05-13, 05:30 AM
George Orwell: Animal Farm and 1984
2009-05-14, 05:52 PM
Quantum Psychology (http://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Psychology-Brain-Software-Programs/dp/1561840718) by Robert Anton Wilson. I went temporarily insane for a few weeks in high school after reading this. I would never read it again, but for a first timer, it would be fun.
I doubt this thread includes manga, but if it does, read Berserk (http://www.amazon.com/Berserk-Vol-1-Kentaro-Miura/dp/1593070209/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242341423&sr=1-3) by Kentarou Miura. It may at first glance appear to be about a big guy killing people with a big sword, but it is, shall we say, a bit deeper than that :smallbiggrin:
2009-05-15, 01:31 PM
Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire, but only if you've seen at least the Original Trilogy. And then read the rest of 'em (Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, Spectre of the Past, Vision of the Future, Survivor's Quest, and Outbound Flight).
2009-05-15, 02:43 PM
George Macdonald Fraser's The Pyrates.
2009-05-15, 04:33 PM
Hyperion Dan Simmons. Pilgrims Progress meets a space opera in a bar, on a blind date set up by John Keats, and the Wizard of Oz plays some role somewhere.
2009-05-15, 04:48 PM
RIM by Alexander Besher
2009-05-15, 04:53 PM
Well, I think everyone else here has covered "epic and life-changing". So I'm gonna suggest Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson. It's actually a trilogy, the first book is The Final Empire. It's honestly one of the best book series I've EVER read, and while the first book is great, it only keep getting better from there. THAT is some good, non-derivative fantasy right there. I found it to be very original, and by the third book, you find out that there have been a LOT of Chekhov's Guns . . .
Alright I'm done raving about it now. Seriously, though, awesome books.
2009-05-16, 04:41 PM
The Mad Scientist's Club books (http://www.madscientistsclub.com/) are a favorite of mine from childhood; they are finally back in print so I'm re-reading them now.
If you like short science fiction stories, check out my brother's project at http://therestofyourmice.blogspot.com/; he has committed to write a short story every day for the next year, and just finished his first month.
2009-05-16, 05:09 PM
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. ****.
It's what the bladerunner movie based itself on, so there is a chance you already read it. Fun book though.
2009-05-16, 07:15 PM
Not sure... but favorite book of late:
Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku.
Great read... little brain bending at times, but very interesting. Hope you read it :smallamused:.
2009-05-16, 07:31 PM
Oh, yeah, and Vatsy and Bruno: First Ink (http://www.chocolatehammer.org/?page_id=551).
Okay, it's not a novel, per se, but there's a distinct possibility that reading it might not give VT cancer if he covers his mouth and doesn't expose himself to it for blocks of more than 20 minutes at a time!*
*Warning: Rutskarn gives no guarantee that covering your mouth and not exposing yourself to Vatsy and Bruno: First Ink for longer than 20 minutes at a time will prevent getting cancer.
2009-05-16, 08:45 PM
I'll say that, despite the preceding shameless self promotion, Vatsy and Bruno is a really good story. I do suggest reading it.
2009-05-16, 09:30 PM
well, continuing Zelazny(what, he's my favorite author
Lord of Light seriously, awesome book
Guns of Avalon the second in the Amber series. if you can get them in the 10 book set ,do. I liked Corwin better the Merlin, but eh.
also Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrel Susanna Clarke, Best book I've read in years.
2009-05-16, 09:40 PM
I recommend anything by Christopher Moore, but especially Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff and A Dirty Job
I recommend B.I.F.'s "The Lonely Winds." It is available on his website for free, too.
Enjoy, it's a pretty excellent read.
2009-05-16, 11:59 PM
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle. do it good sir!
The Mad Scientist's Club books (http://www.madscientistsclub.com/) are a favorite of mine from childhood; they are finally back in print so I'm re-reading them now. story every day for the next year, and just finished his first month.
Holy ****! They're reprinting it? It's my favourite series from my childhood too!
2009-05-17, 04:12 AM
I'm going to suggest The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie. It's part of a trilogy (The First Law) and might generally fall into high fantasy, although it's one of those worlds where most people don't put much stock into the supernatural.
2009-05-17, 12:33 PM
You should probably read Girls of Riyadh. I mean, you could not do it, but it's a very good book on a very interesting subject.
If you want, that is. No pressure.
2009-05-17, 11:16 PM
Holy ****! They're reprinting it? It's my favourite series from my childhood too!Not only that, but there are two novel-length stories (The Big Kerplop and The Big Chunk of Ice) that you almost certainly didn't read way back when. :smallsmile:
2009-05-18, 02:24 PM
I'll recommend Titus Groan and Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake - together they are a virtually complete story; I found Titus Alone incredibly hard going.
The Player of Games by Iain M Banks or The Wasp Factory by the same author (omit the middle M; he only uses that for his SF books.)
Aberystwyth Mon Amour by Malcolm Pryce; spot-on spoof of the hard-boiled detective genre.
A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away by Christopher Brookmyre - a black comedy thriller, contains overt allusions to terrorism so if you find that offensive - avoid.
Armageddon: The Musical by Robert Rankin. A little more coherent than I find some of his latter books. Nothing is sacred, though - from religion to Elvis and anything (everything) in between.
2009-05-18, 04:29 PM
"Flatland," by Edwin A. Abbott (there's a movie you can download of it too, now, starring Martin Sheen's Voice as A Square)
"Flatterland," by Ian Stewart. Much Meatier than Flatland.
"Cryptonomicon" by Neil Stephenson.
While Snow Crash is his venture into sci fi, THIS is his defining work.
"A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin
Wild Cards? heck no. If you are going to read George Martin, I dare you to read the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire and see if you can keep from reading the Second.
"Starship Troopers" by Robert Heinlen
This is the book which turned me into a sci-fi geek and I never looked back, so I'd have to call this the book that most affected my life.
2009-05-18, 06:51 PM
Bored of the Rings, The Matewix, The Soddit and the Barry Trotter books (Shameless Parody, Unnecessary Sequel and Dead Horse).
2009-05-18, 07:34 PM
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
2009-05-19, 06:01 AM
I have to greatly recommend Seven Ancient Wonders by Mathew Reilly.
2009-05-20, 10:41 AM
The Lukien Trilogy - The Eyes of God, The Devil's Armor, and The Sword of Angels - by John Marco.
Ah, I remember another one.
Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. In my somewhat humble opinion, best young adult fantasy novel, ever.
I like it so much more than, say Harry Potter or His Dark Material.
2009-05-20, 03:11 PM
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Wrinkle_in_Time)
First book that made me feel. . ."woah."
2009-05-25, 10:26 PM
I wonder if Vorpal Tribble has been reading any of our recommended books. :smallconfused: Or has he been busy?
2009-05-25, 10:48 PM
Wow. There's going to be a lot of reading and reviewing done by the time V.T. gets here. Especially with some people recommending a dozen books in a single post. *Withering Glare of Shaming* I'll toss in...
The Favorite Game, by Leonard Cohen
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Those two are the top-spot contenders for my favorite book of all time. I hope you get to them, and enjoy them as much as I have.
2009-05-26, 12:56 AM
Lots of good books here. I'd recommend A Song of Ice and Fire, definitely. However...
I have to say,
Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. It is the single greatest prose ever written- not the story or the plot or the like, but the simple prose is infinitely delightful. The plot is very... interesting, as well, and the characters are incredibly deep and complex.
Oh, and Fight Club. Gotta read Fight Club.
2009-05-26, 11:40 AM
Oh, and Fight Club. Gotta read Fight Club.
You have violated the first rule, sir.
Buddenbrooks and Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Matters of Honor by Louis Begley
Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Moon Palace by Paul Auster
Another Bull**** Night in Suckcity by Nick Flynn
I'd also like to second A Confederacy of Dunces.
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