View Full Version : What to read?

2007-11-29, 08:39 PM
I'm taking a year off before college and all I'm doing is a little volunteer work. As a result I have a lot of time on my hands. With a library right down the street I thought I'd read some of those books where I'm like, "Aw man, if I didn't have to do this, I could be reading ______ or something." I've got some stuff, like The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell and No Exit by Sartre. Any suggestions? Bonus points for plays. I do love da thee-a-tru!

2007-11-29, 08:51 PM
Read Shakespeare. Seriously. Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night's Dream rock my socks.

As for books, I would suggest the His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Silver Knife, and The Amber Spyglass), along with the Ranger's Apprentice series (three books so far). Stephen King's also a good read for me.

Shas aia Toriia
2007-11-29, 08:52 PM
I would have to suggest the Wheel of Time series. I think that it is an excellent series, and is freakishly long as well.

Ryshan Ynrith
2007-11-29, 09:05 PM
Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is excellent in almost all respects, although his earlier works tended to not be quite as wonderful as his later ones. Guards, Guards! is my particular favorite for sparking the City Watch-focused books.

2007-11-29, 09:05 PM
My favorite (as I've said before) is the Seventh Tower, by Garth Nix.

But if you're more about classics, go with Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens and John Steinbeck.

(Or Shakespearre, as hyperfreak said. It's just that although I love Shakespearre, English isn't my first language, so Old English is....... just too hard........))

Em Blackleaf
2007-11-29, 09:15 PM
I'll suggest the Nine Princes in Amber series by Roger Zelazney. No Small Thing by Natale Ghent is a good book. So B. It is a good book, but I have forgotten the name of the writer. That's all I got. I hope you like these books. :smallsmile:

2007-11-29, 09:18 PM
I actually read the seventh tower series a long time ago and loved them. Plus I may not have actually finished the series so those would be good to pick up again. The Dark Materials series would be good to reread in preparation for the movies too, plus it's been so long since I read them and I would probably get more out of them now. Midsummer Night's dream IS great but I've been in it. And once you've read it enough times to memorize the lines... you'd sorta rather read something else. Maybe some of them other shakey-spears though. These are all great suggestions! Keep them coming! I think I'll print this thread out and take it to the library with me tomorrow.

2007-11-29, 09:23 PM
Midsummer Night's dream IS great but I've been in it. And once you've read it enough times to memorize the lines... you'd sorta rather read something else.

Ooh, I was in it just this past fall! What part did you get? I was Flute/Thisby/Utility Fairy.

Hm...Monster's an excellent book, and it's written in play format. Ender's Game, the sequels and the companion series are all excellent. I enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, The Pearl, Lord of the Flies, and the Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs) series.

2007-11-29, 09:26 PM
I've always liked Chekhov, Tennessee Williams, and Jean-Claude van Itallie.

2007-11-29, 09:33 PM
Robin Goodfellow

You know, as a New Orleanian who loves theater, I am ashamed to say I still have neither seen nor read A Streetcar Named Desire. Although I have seen and read The Glass Managerie.

2007-11-29, 09:56 PM
Maybe some of them other shakey-spears though.
Othello is my top recommendation, although honestly, you could pick one at random and it would be worth reading.

As for works other than Shakespeare.... honestly, it depends so much on who you are and what you like, but off the top of my head, some books you really should read (if you haven't already) are Lolita, The Name of the Rose, Lord of the Rings, The Three Musketeers. If short stories are your thing, do give G. K. Chesterton a try.

2007-11-29, 10:11 PM
Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. Sure, you could wait till the movie comes out like a lazy lazyface, but the original work is worth it.

Bone, by Jeff Smith. All of it.

Pyongyang, by Guy Delisle.

Obedience to Authority, by Stanley Milgram.

Anything you can find by George Herriman or Walt Kelly.

The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov.

2007-11-29, 10:55 PM

Oedipus Rex (Sophocles), Antigone (Sophocles), No Exit (I know you listed it but Sartre is awesome), Street Cart Named Desire, Goethe's Faust, anything by Shakespeare (I'm a fan of King Lear, Hamlet, Midsummer's Night Dream, Othello), Prometheus Bound (Aeschylus), and The Clouds (Aristophanes).

Fiction Books ("Academic"):

Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky), Dracula (Stoker), 1984 (Orwell), Frankenstein (Shelly), Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas), Heart of Darkness ))(Conrad), Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison), As I Lay Dying (Faulkner), Cat's Cradle (Vonnegut), Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury), Slaughterhouse 5 (Vonnegut), Atlas Shrugged (only if you can resist the urge to burn it--Rand), Kafka's novella/short stories (Metamorphosis, The Penal Colony, The Trial--seriously, these are all amazing), and The Portrait of Dorian Gray (Wilde).

Fiction Books (not so "Academic"):
Dark Tower series (King), Dresden Files Series (Butcher), The Stand (King), Dune (Herbert), Starship Troopers (Heinlein), Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass (Carrol), and Good Omens (Gaiman & Pratchett).


Iliad (Homer), Odyssey (Homer), Thus Spoke Zarathustra (I'm resisting the urge to say anything by Nietzsche because I love his work so much even if I don't agree with most of it) , Critique of Practical Reason (Kant), Being in Nothingness (Sartre), The Communist Manifesto (Marx), Divine Comedy (Dante), Paradise Lost (Milton), and Thomas Paine's Common Sense.

If you're not going to school you might as well expand your mind. Almost all of these books/plays/poems listed has touched my life in some way.

2007-11-29, 11:02 PM
You like plays? Read George Bernard Shaw! Try Major Barbara, Caesar and Cleopatra, Arms and the Man. Read Pygmalion side by side with My Fair Lady for contrast. It's a hoot. Oscar Wilde's plays are still good for laughs. You can get critical editions published for graduate students at decent libraries with footnotes and historical notes. Christopher Marlowe's interesting, especially if you're reading Shakespeare too.

If you like meaty historical novels, seek out Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles, a series of big, thick, historically accurate historical novels.

Fantasy classics I recommend are Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn (if you've only seen the movie, you really need to read the book) and A Fine and Private Place, (The Inkeeper's Song is good too).

2007-11-30, 12:55 AM
If you're not going to school you might as well expand your mind. Almost all of these books/plays/poems listed has touched my life in some way. I am, or rather I will be. I just have some time that I figured I should use constructively.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

2007-11-30, 08:01 AM
A couple at random:

See if you can get hold of a copy of Tales of Moonlight and Rain by Ueda Akinari, probably in translation. It's like an 18th century Japanese version of Tales of Mystery and Imagination and it rocks.

Maybe read some Hesse, like Steppenwolf or The Glass Bead Game.

2007-11-30, 09:12 AM
Maybe read some Hesse, like Steppenwolf or The Glass Bead Game.
Good choice.

In times like these I'd get back to finishing either the Bible or the Kapital. On both accounts I'm awfully slow and they're really long.
I liked Trotzky's Permanent Revolution, regardless of the political part.

And Tao Te King by Lao-tse is one of the best books ever, even if read in one or two days at best.

Manga Shoggoth
2007-11-30, 09:50 AM
Since someone else has already cited Pratchett, I suggest:

Tam Lin (Pamela Dean): The plot of a celtic ballard set in a US college.

The Falco stories (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Didius_Falco) (Lindsay Davis): Private Investigations set in ancient Rome.

2007-11-30, 11:23 AM
As far as plays go, I really liked Equus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equus_(play)) by Peter Shaffer and the Abhijnanasakuntalam by the Sanskrit poet and playwright Kalisasa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalidasa).

I also want to cast my vote for the Hesse suggestion, though my favorite of his works is Siddhartha. Also, if you're into epic poetry, the Ramayana is absolutely incredible and available in both prose and poetic English translations.

2007-11-30, 11:49 AM
If you want my suggestions, I hope you like fantasy! (I actually have a minor war with one of my English teachers about my preference for that genre over all others.)

Try the Old Kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix. They are very, very good.

2007-11-30, 12:30 PM
Tim. Freaking. Powers. Baroque "secret history"/urban fantasy. I love him to death.

Last Call: Tarot, poker, the founding of Las Vegas, the Fisher King, and TS Eliot's The Waste Land.

Expiration Date: Sorta-sequel to Last Call. All about ghosts, and Thomas Edison.

Declare: Maybe my favorite book ever. I don't want to describe too much of it here, but it's really good. Imagine John Le Carre and HP Lovecraft teaming up to write a spy story, with a healthy dose of Indiana Jones adventure.

On Stranger Tides: Blackbeard, zombie pirates, the Fountain of Youth, a young newbie being introduced to the piratical life and trying to save his girl Elizabeth. Like Pirates of the Caribbean? Yes. Better? Oh, yes.

He has a few other books (Earthquake Weather, Three Days to Never), but I don't think they're as good as those four. They're hard to find, though.

Also, The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe. I can't find any of the other books in the series, but this one was really good. "Dying Earth"-style story following a novice member of the Guild of Seekers for Truth and Penitence (torturers/executioners).

2007-11-30, 12:36 PM
Since no one else has mentioned it, I think you should read The Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin for no other reason than because I like it.

2007-11-30, 12:38 PM
If you liked Paradise Lost, or fallen angel type things, consider God's Demon by William Barlowe. I just finished it and it was pretty interesting, and it was a really intriguing take on demons and hell.

2007-11-30, 12:41 PM
Read some works by Robin Hobb. She has four trilogies, with each book at least over 500 pages long. The greatest fantasy writer I know.

2007-11-30, 01:09 PM
The Silver Knife

Don't you mean The Subtle Knife?

And read the following books by Holly Black:




In that order.

2007-11-30, 01:29 PM
Since no one else has mentioned you should read LOTR, the Hobbit and The Silmarillion. Pretty amazing books.

2007-11-30, 05:03 PM
Since no one else has mentioned you should read LOTR, the Hobbit and The Silmarillion. Pretty amazing books.

Well, the Hobbit is, LOTR less so...

And reading the Silmarillion is like reading the bible.

2007-11-30, 06:06 PM
Here's a few of the top of my head:
On Basilisk Station - David Weber
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Heinlein
Ender's Shadow - Orson Scott Card
Magicians Guild - Trudi Canavan (Stay away from The Age of Five trilogy though.)
With the Lightings - David Drake
Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson
Midshipman Hornblower - C. S. Forrester
Trading in Danger - Elizabeth Moon
Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb

2007-11-30, 06:31 PM
Well, the Hobbit is, LOTR less so...

And reading the Silmarillion is like reading the bible.

Not really... You just need to read the Hobbit first, if you like then you read LOTR, if you love it then you read the Silmarillion...

I remenber now the Inheritance Trilogy, there are available two books Eragon and Eldest.

There is a topic at Wikipedia about the trilogy


2007-11-30, 07:48 PM
For thought provoking entertainment, try these:

Donnerjack by Roger Zelazny (and Jane Lindskold after he died)

Firekeeper Saga by Jane Lindskold

Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls by Jane Lindskold

The Pliocene Exiles (4 or 5 books total, but can't remember the author)

The Book of Morgaine (also 4 books, but again, can't remember the author)

I, Robot and Robot Dreams by Isaac Asimov

The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and the Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov (while the Foundation series was good, these were better)

Nightfall by Isaac Asimov

The Number of the Beast by Robert Heinlein

Watership Down by Richard Adams

The Last Legion series by Chris Bunch

War of the Rats by David L. Robbins

I'd recommend the Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card, but I'm not finished with it yet so I can only recommend Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead.

For more psychological reading, try these:

An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks

The Undiscovered Self by Carl Jung

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Love's Executioner by Irvin D. Yalom

I have a few more by some of these authors, but haven't finished them yet.

If you're in the mood for mystery Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme's series is very good.

I've got more, but most of those (Frank Herbert, Terry Pratchett, etc.) have already been recommended.

2007-12-01, 12:02 AM
Not really... You just need to read the Hobbit first, if you like then you read LOTR, if you love it then you read the Silmarillion...

Nah, reading the Silmarillion is like reading the Bible. Actually, it's like reading Numbers. Four times.

Don't you mean The Subtle Knife?

Actually, yes. I don't know where my copy of the trilogy is, and I was trying to name them off the top of my head.

Contributing to the thread, Robin Crusoe and Treasure Island are good. Though some may say they are kids' books, I still firmly believe that the Redwall series by Brian Jacques is good enough to be enjoyed at any age.

2007-12-01, 12:17 AM
Okay, you NEED to read Makanin. Like, immediately. Go get Loss right now. He plays around with myths and Russian literary tropes in very subtle ways in his work. Plus, I think you'd appreciate the psychology and the humanity.

Do you have any Russian? The original is far and away better than the English translations I've seen (and I am emphatically not a purist about that kind of thing) and you'll get more out of it if you're familiar with Eastern culture.

Also, have you read any of Doug Wright's plays?

2007-12-01, 01:51 AM
A Song of Ice and Fire. Jurassic park is really good. Why people believe weird things by Michael Shermer is really good too.hmmm i could think of more but... i dunno

2007-12-01, 11:36 AM
William Hope Hodgson (Britain's Lovecraft)
H.G.Wells' short stories
Orwell (omnia opus).