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post #1 of 75 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 05:56 AM Thread Starter
The Swiss Miss
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Thumbs up Your favourite books?

Let me hear about your favorite books!

I’ve only read a handful books in German the last years but bought whatever I found in English to improve my vocab. At first, I concentrated on thrillers and crime stories (of which I liked “The Chemistry of Death“ by Simon Beckett most) cos they are easy to read due to the rather simple word pool but I’m getting bored by all the suspense. Meanwhile, I can read pretty fluently but old books with very flowery language (e.g. Jane Austen) or too much slang/colloquial language would give me hard times keep that in mind

I like to read pretty much everything; science, history, classics, novels, discoverer stories, biography, fiction, … doesn’t matter; a good book is a -good book. Not too much into phantasy tho. Well, maybe I just never grabbed a good one so far and then there's my soft spot for them old Russians. Have read them in German but would re-read any of them if someone recommends a good translation.

Tit for tat… some books I enjoyed:

Some great novels from this side of the pond
- The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke; some hate it due to the breathless style of writing. I was deeply touched by that one. The author is using the lack of punctuation get you caught up in the emotion of that family. Brilliant. One of my all-time favorites
- Brother Sleep by Robert Schneider; read that one on a storm day locked in in the alpine cabin not daring to light a fire with the Foehn storm wind howling with 120km/h around the 200y old icy cold cabin, which gave kind of the perfect atmosphere for this novel settled in the Austrian Alps.
- City of Thieves by David Benioff; again Russia, this time fiction, but I dare to think, it's not that fictional... a page turner
- All Quiet on the Western Front by E. M. Remarque – Germany, WW1. A classic.
- The Reader by Bernhard Schlink – Germany, after WW2
- Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt; humorous insights into a childhood in poor Ireland

- Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov; my favourite. beautifully written snippets of a wittnes of a dark part of history: forced-labour camps in Siberia. If you feel your life sucks at the moment, you'll feel glad to live that life.
- Survival in the Killing Fields by Haing Ngor; well.. another dark part of history… a must read if you're visiting Cambodia, if you’re not, it’s still worth to read.
- A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah; gosh, another dark part…

If you like popular science
- Plague, Pox and Pestilence: Disease in History by Kenneth F. Kiple; I’ve read about every existing book on pestilence history, many of them giving interesting facts but boringly written. That one is great.
- Rare Earth by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee; a palaeontologist and an astronomer discussing the prerequisites for complex life; you’ll feel pretty unique afterwards 
- The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks; you wouldn’t imagine what weird neurological disorders exist…
- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson; a lighthearted journey thru the history of science and with some hilarious scientists portrays and fails.

I really thought quicksand was going to be a much bigger issue in my life when I was little
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post #2 of 75 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 07:18 AM
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What are books? Oh wait, are those the things my dad told me to save up for warmth after the nuclear holocaust?
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post #3 of 75 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 07:37 AM
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Latest ones read:

*Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell

*The Climb

*Slow Getting Up

I mostly read non-fiction with my favorite being The Tao of Pooh, have probably read it twenty times.
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post #4 of 75 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 07:59 AM
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Desert Solitare, by Edward Abbey
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post #5 of 75 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 08:01 AM
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Anything by. Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, or Brent weeks. Also enders game
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post #6 of 75 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 08:03 AM
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too much?

-add a comic twist to some crime fiction with Tim Dorsey (main character is anti-hero serial killer who kills bad people MacGyveresque whilst telling Florida history and geography in a black comedic bent)

-The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson(true story about America's most prolific[killed between 50 and 300 ppl] and little-known serial killer whose rampage coincided with the Chicago Worlds Fair of 1918, very interesting read, parallels the story of the architect of the fair and the murderer)

-Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy (not a particular fan of the genre, but a couple of TC's older books are great, including the Hunt for Red October)

-the original Bourne Trilogy by Robert Ludlum is fucking awesome and tramps around europe during the cold war, low tech high action espionage, very sexy!

-Umberto Eco (Name of the Rose, Island of the Day Before, The Prague Cemetary, etc) and Italo Calvino (Cosmicomics) - modern metaphysist italian authors, awesome

-Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami, translated from Japanese story of a jr high class forced to battle to the death, similar to but way better than Hunger Games (kiddie gloves removed pun intended)

-To Reign in Hell, by Steven Brust (story of the fall of Lucifer from the mind of a fantasy/sci-fi novelist, very fun!)

Important American Fiction anyone should/can read imo:
-Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, or at least The Old man and the Sea)
-John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath)
-Jack Kerouac (Dharma Bums [changed my life forever] and On the Road)
-Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson (the book has an incredibly different pace than the movie, which while not terrible, imo tells a very different story, the book is fucking rad. I suggest reading it in one sitting with intoxicants [read it the week after I graduated college with a 64 oz margarita and a bag of weed, just don't get too fucked up you can't read 200 pages])

less mainstream but important literature list you are gonna get from me specifically:

-Thomas Pynchon (very difficult to read, favorite author of all time, extremely prolific and hermetic; The Crying of Lot 49 is short and the most accessible by far, Gravity's Rainbow [the story of an american serviceman whose job it is to map the location of the landing of a specific bomb model in WWII London. As time goes on he begins to notice that he has copulated in all of these locations. Chapters include the autobiography of a lightbulb and huge Danube riverboat tours of partying refugees, very steampunk)

-A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; the story of this author and its publication are interesting, very personal look at New Orleans wrapped in the package of dark satire.

-Post Office by John Bakowski

I almost forgot Herman Hesse who I'm guessing you can read in its original language (so jealous!). By proxy from Dharma Bums, Siddartha is also the most important book I've ever read from a personal standpoint. His book The Glass Bead Game is also fantastic. When I read Hesse I feel as though my mind is receiving a fatherly literary hug.

Left out: sci-fi and fantasy, christianity and poetry.

/probably return to edit so its not so ugly

a little personal philosophy:

-anyone can and should be familiar with the Bible and the Koran (otherwise theres no point in reading, discussing, caring or knowing modern events). The cannonization of the bible for example is very interesting and draws the lines upon which nations war today, but this is just one issue. Etymology should be the foundation of faith, but unfortunately it is instead part of the wool being pulled over the eyes of the populace by the clergy.

-everyone should know and learn and read and re-read The Four Noble Truths by the Dalai Lama, because this is not religion as you get it, this is humanity, the four noble truths work for everyone (otherwise we have no hope because the implications of the previous point is evil winning)

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Last edited by snowklinger; 08-21-2014 at 09:31 AM.
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post #7 of 75 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
The Swiss Miss
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Originally Posted by boardwalk View Post
latest ones read:

*welcome to paradise, now go to hell
*the climb
the everest one or the tour the france one?
*slow getting up
hmmm... Football (and baseball!) is a bit too alien to me

i mostly read non-fiction with my favorite being the tao of pooh, have probably read it twenty times.
not sure if serious or trying to mock

I really thought quicksand was going to be a much bigger issue in my life when I was little
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post #8 of 75 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
The Swiss Miss
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nope, just right!

Originally Posted by snowklinger View Post
too much?
wow, SK, thanks for this elaborated list. No need to edit, I've already ordered the ones I didn't know

Oh dear... Hesse. Set books in school. Siddharta was ok but didn't like Steppenwolf at all back then. Maybe I should re-read them now. I only began to like Ingeborg Bachmann (e.g. Malina) in later years.

I really thought quicksand was going to be a much bigger issue in my life when I was little
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post #9 of 75 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 09:01 AM
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"Monkey Wrench Gang" by Abbey, eco-"terrorists" trying to elude capture in the desert southwest. "Shibumi" by Trevanian, international assassin doing his thing. "Into the Wild" by Krakauer, kid tries to survive in the wilderness of Alaska. "The Man Who Walked Through Time" by Fletcher, guy traverses the Grand Canyon solo. Something a little closer to you...."The White Spider" by Harrer, the story of the north face of the Eiger.
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post #10 of 75 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by deagol View Post
Desert Solitare, by Edward Abbey
I am a huge, huge fan of Edward Abbey. My family knows my wishes when I die; to be left out in the desert for the coyotes and vultures. My wife won't play along with me on that.

Neni, there are a lot of great books for you to read. Some easier books are:
Frankenstein-Mary Shelley
One flew over the Cuckoos Nest-Ken Kesey
Wise Blood- Flannery O'Conner

Short story collections from John Cheever

I mean, really there are too many books to mention. These books have received a lot of positive feedback from my non-native speakers.

Death on the Installment Plan-by Louis Ferdinand Celine is a recent favorite of mine, but his background is a bit controversial.

Lately I've been reading more Geology texts, and I dont recommend those unless you have insomnia or want to bore others with interesting, but often too detailed information about fold mountains and plate tectonics.
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