Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One Piece of a White Patriarchal Puzzle: We are what we read

 
[illustration of Tolkien's Ring image and quote below are from here]
"One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them."

This prophetic utterance comes from J.R.R. Tolkien's masterpiece, The Lord of The Rings.
From this site, we have a list--many lists, of people's top five books. I don't know where these folks live. Only what they read. I will ask you to scan the lists and note: how many are books by men, by women, by whites, by people of color? How many are by white het men? Which "demographic" is most represented? Which demographic is the least represented. And "LOTR" is Lord of the Rings, written by a white het guy.

In my scan, the most, by far is U.S. and Euro white het men. The least is Indigenous women and other women of color. White women are far behind white men too. But men of color don't fair much better. And gay men?A few: James Baldwin, Evelyn Waugh, E.M. Forster. A very few white lesbian writers made one person's list. And there's the person who lists "The Bible" five times. Which bible? Oh, the one used by white het men to maintain white het male supremacy?? THAT bible? And wouldn't listing it once suffice? I guess not. Apparently Jesus wants to be mentioned five times in one list: NOT. Both Lolita and a work by de Sade is mentioned, and a few of the lists are reported as offensive and have been deleted. One can only wonder...

So, here's the list. And I'm putting pieces of a puzzle together here, and other posts are other pieces, including the next post, especially. If you note something about this list, please offer a comment. And something beyond "Well of course most white people will mention white/English-speaking writers!" Because I suspect the lists of white het men show up in societies that aren't white, also. And that men outrank women, on just about every list everywhere. We can note that it appears to be women who lost only women writers. Why is that?


Your Top 5: Books
Sír Díck Hannay
Posted - 08 March 2010 12:44
Here is a chance for the cerebrally elite to shine by showing others just how tasteful they are with their literature. My top 5 is (in no specific order);

1) The Mortdecai Triligy - Kyril Bonfiglioli
2) The Complete Richard Hannay - John Buchan
3) The Leithen Stories - John Buchan
4) Bad Luck & Trouble - Lee Child
5) For Your Eyes Only - Ian Fleming (5 Bond short stories)
Sír Díck Hannay
Posted - 08 March 2010 12:47
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trilOgy, obv.
Franklin
Posted - 08 March 2010 12:47
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Mainly Proust dabble in Kundera.
Selwyn Froggitt
Posted - 08 March 2010 12:48
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The Hungry Caterpillar
SizzlerCheeseToasts
Posted - 08 March 2010 12:48
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Heh. My top five (fiction and non-fiction) for now in no particular order:

1) If on a Winter's Night a Traveller... (Italo Calvino)
2) A River Runs Through It and other stories (Norman Maclean)
3) Dispatches (Michael Herr)
4) Persuasion (Jane Austen)
5) I Capture the Castle (Dodie Smith)
Sartorialist
Posted - 08 March 2010 12:54
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Harry Potter: 1
Harry Potter: 2
Harry Potter: 3
Harry Potter: 4

runners up

Harry Potter: 5
Harry Potter: 6
Harry Potter: 7
Gates of Morpheus
Posted - 08 March 2010 12:55
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several rofers are currently deciding which harry potter books they'd live without if they absolutely had to
Gates of Morpheus
Posted - 08 March 2010 12:55
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heh

*high fives sarters*
Sartorialist
Posted - 08 March 2010 12:57
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Heh, couldn't resist.

They do not, I should point out, make my top 5.

I don't feel I've have read enough to have a top 5.
SizzlerCheeseToasts
Posted - 08 March 2010 12:59
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"several rofers are currently deciding which harry potter books they'd live without if they absolutely had to"

HPs 2 and 5 of course.
St John
Posted - 08 March 2010 12:59
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The Talented Mr Ripley
Naked Lunch
The Compleet Molesworth
The Atrocity Exhibition
Gulliver's Travels

If I could only have one it would be the Molesworth.
Merckx
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:01
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catch-22, joseph heller
catcher in the rye, jd salinger
the rider, tim krabbe
the stand, stephen king

still thinking about no 5
Sír Díck Hannay
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:02
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Oh yes, The Stand, hmm, wish it was a top 6 now...

How do you like that happy crappy?
Cernunnous
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:03
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1) The Female Eunoch - Germaine Greer
2) The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman
3) The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
4) Intercourse - Andrea Rita Dworkin
5) The Big Book of Breasts
SizzlerCheeseToasts
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:05
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Oooh, the Handmaid's Tale is a good one.
Franklin
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:07
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Scoop - Waugh
Brothers Karamazov - Dostoyevsky
Homage to Catalonia - Orwell
Grapes of Wrath - Steinbeck
Most Chandler books.
Weally Been
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:10
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thought that catch 22 was quite overrated really

most of mine would be russian but hemingway and something french might get in
Cyprian
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:19
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1. The Hardy Boys: The Shore Road Mystery
2. The Hardy Boys: The Clue of the Broken Blade
3. The Hardy Boys: The Flickering Torch Mystery
4. The Hardy Boys: The Sign of the Crooked Arrow
5. The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Chinese Junk


Lord Halifax
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:21
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Prayer for Owen Meaney
Handful of Dust
Unbearable Lightness of Being
Yeats: complete poems
Updike: Rabbit Books
lightfantastic
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:22
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Franklin- Good choices.


Mine:

Love in the Time of Cholera (and also 'one hundred years of solitude)- Gabriel García Márquez
The Sun Also Rises- Hemmingway
Giovanni's Room- James Baldwin
Things Fall Apart- Chinua Achebe
Paradise Lost- Milton
minkie
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:28
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1. Mme Bovary - Flaubert
2. Portnoy's Complaint - Roth
3. A man in Full - Wolfe
4. Accordion Crimes - Proulx
5. Jude the Obscure - Hardy
Merckx
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:33
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updated

catch-22, joseph heller
catcher in the rye, jd salinger
the rider, tim krabbe
the stand, stephen king
the leopard, giuseppe tomasi di lampedusa

apols for spelling of the last author, can't be arsed to google it

faod the main selection criterion is that i must have read the book at least 5 times
minkie
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:34
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Oo yes The Lepoard! Did you ever see the film as well?
Merckx
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:36
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naah. i never see the films of books i really like.
Wangobangobongo
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:36
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1 - LOTR
2 - It, Stephen King
3 - Without Remorse, Tom Clancy
4 - Die Trying, Lee Child
5 - The complete discworld series, Terry Pratchett
minkie
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:38
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I know what you mean but you really should - is by Visconti. Ravishingly beautiful with Burt Lancaster & Claudia Cardinale
struandirk
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:39
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Which Tom Clancy is Without Remorse? Is it one of the Jack Ryan novels? I thought I'd read all of them?
mighty celt
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:40
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These come to mind, so they are probably my faves:

L'etranger - Camus
One hundred years of solitude - Marques
Don Quixote - Cervantes
All quiet on the western front - Remarque
Catch 22 - Heller
Wangobangobongo
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:40
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Sort of - it's the flash back to how John Kelly becomes John Clark
struandirk
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:47
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Ah. I remember now. I read it when I was about 12, and I was ready to kill those drug smugglers myself by the end of it.

I really liked Debt of Honour/Executive Orders/Red October though (especially when I was still young enough not to realize that it was thinly veiled Republican propaganda)
Franklin
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:47
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I really hated Catch-22, which dissapointed me. Made me feel dim, as if I'd missed the point.

Jane Austen has a special circle of hell reserved for her.

A Month in the Country and the Go Between are quite nice in a hot British summer kinda way.

I'm surprised all you folks read modern books, I always find I've got more classics I fancy.
Wangobangobongo
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:51
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"especially when I was still young enough not to realize that it was thinly veiled Republican propaganda"

You say that, but I thought he had some pretty sensible ideas:

- solution to the israeli/palestinian conflicts over jerusalem (triumverate of an imam/rabbit/patriarch of constantinople ruling, backed up by swiss guard)

- sending real people into the senate rather than career politicians

- simplifying the tax system etc

I do wonder if he inadvertantly gave Al-Q the idea for 9-11 though...
etruscan
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:51
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Oswald Chambers asked me to relay his list:

1. THE BIBLE
2. THE BIBLE
3. THE BIBLE
4. THE BIBLE
5. THE BIBLE
Showgers
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:53
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1. Any Human Heart, William Boyd
2. The Bridges of Madison County, Robert James Waller
3. Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon

having trouble with spots 4 and 5, will revert
Scarlatti
Posted - 08 March 2010 13:55
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1. England, England - Julian Barnes
2. The Magus - John Fowles
3. Flashman at the Charge - George MacDonald Fraser
4. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
5. Cat's Eye - Margaret Atwood

(and prob some more, too)
♥Lula Fortune♥
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:01
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1. The Power of One and Tandia by Bryce Courtenay (Tandia is the sequal)
2. Any Human Heart by William Boyd
3. Chocky by John Wyndham
4. The L-Shaped Room trilogy by Lynn Reid Banks
5. Edward Trencom's Nose: A Novel of History, Dark Intrigue and by Giles Milton
Chad Michael Murray
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:02
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great Fowles shout

top of the head

- Margaret Drabble, the Ice Age
- HG Wells, the History of Mr Polly
- Joseph Heller, Something Happened
- Don de Lillo, White Noise
- John Kennedy Toole, a Confederacy of Dunces
SizzlerCheeseToasts
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:02
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"Jane Austen has a special circle of hell reserved for her."

How come?

"L'Etranger - Camus": there's this great line in it, after the incident on the beach when the guys says something along the lines of "it was like knocking 4 times on the door of unhappiness", but erm, more eloquently than that.

Discworld: They're so samey though Wang. The best was "Guards ! Guards!" and he could have really developed those charcters but every subsequent Watch novel was all about Vimes being drunk and depressed. And there were ones that you just couldn't get through like the Hogfather.
Wangobangobongo
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:04
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the fact that you don't like some of them doesnt't really affect whether or not i do, sorry
Jetlagger
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:07
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1. The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
2. A Passage to India, E.M. Forster
3. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
4. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
5. The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Salman Rushdie
SizzlerCheeseToasts
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:09
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I was engaging in a discussion (obviously with myself) not trying to change your opinion...
DawnHandbags
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:10
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Struggling to list just 5.

1. The French Lieutenant’s Woman - John Fowles
2. The Lord of the Flies - William Golding
3. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
4. Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
5. Philip Pullman's - His Dark Materials Trilogy

6. The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
7. The Road - Cormac McCarthy
8. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
9. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
10. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

Weally Been
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:12
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Lots of shouts for Catch 22, but nothing for Crime & Punishment or Moby Dick??
Franklin
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:13
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"Jane Austen has a special circle of hell reserved for her."

How come?

Because all her books (I've read/attempted) are dull and clunky.

Someone above has reminded me how good Wyndham is.

Day of the Triffids is topclass.
Wangobangobongo
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:13
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I also didn't find catch 22 very funny.

My number 6 would be The Count of Monte Cristo
Cernunnous
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:15
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I found - and still find - Catch 22 very funny, but where I used to think Yossarian was an absolute hero, I now think he's just a bit of a prick.
Cernunnous
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:17
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1. Lolita - Nabokov
2. Pale Fire - Nabokov again
3. The Code Of The Woosters - Wodehouse
4. Swing Hammer Swing! - Torrington
5. New York Trilogy - Paul Auster

Probably. For now.
struandirk
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:22
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I didn't see the appeal of Catch 22 either.

As for Tom Clancy, I agree he had some very interesting ideas, particularly the Palestine stuff (and Ryan's idea in an earlier book - Debt of Honour I think about how to reopen the crashed financial markets after they were hacked - I won't give the spoiler away).

The rest of it - a flat tax instead of progressive taxation, real people in the Senate (because there were no career pols available) etc - is just so beyond the realms of practicality though..
Mr Ronald Coase
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:27
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What are the rules here please, you are all making lists of fiction, does it have to be fiction?

My top 5 books are

To the Finland Station Edmund Wilson
The Classical World Robin Lane Fox
The Pursuit of Love / Love in a Cold Climate Nancy Mitford
The Screwtape Letters C.S. Lewis
Voyage to the End of the Room Tibor Fischer
Weally Been
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:31
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My daily working life is Catch 22 esque - crikey that sounds twatish! - but all I mean is that it feels like they're always adding in more missions whenever I get near where I want to be... The only hilarious bit was when he marched around the square holding his gun upside down!

No Dickens on the list either - Great Expectations or better still Tale of Two Cities ... surely worth a shout
Cernunnous
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:37
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Really enjoyed Hard Times, actually. The Dickens novel, not the ghey pron mag.

I also enjoyed Pride And Prejudice, though I failed to see the point in reading any other Jane Austen books after that...
Scylla 3.0
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:50
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Count of Monte Christo
LOTR
The River God
Interview with a Vampire
All quiet on the Western Front
Scylla 3.0
Posted - 08 March 2010 14:52
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*oh and Dangerous Liasions comes a very close 6
loo read
Posted - 08 March 2010 15:04
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1. Lolita
2. The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
3. Herzog by Saul Bellow
4. The Zuckerman books by Philip Roth
5. The Rabbit books by Updike

plus

Rushdie
Burgess
gloria mundi
Posted - 08 March 2010 15:10
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"Master and Margarita" M. Bulgakov
"One Hundred Years of Solitude" G.G. Marquez
"Eugene Onegin" A. Pushkin
"Catch-22" J. Heller
"12 Chairs" I. Ilf and E. Petrov
west
Posted - 08 March 2010 15:46
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good call on IT and the stand.

anyone read shantaram?
mighty celt
Posted - 08 March 2010 15:53
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SCT. yes it was something like
"it was like tapping four quick times on the door of unhappiness"
wonderful stuff.

I loved Catch 22, but found Something Happened unbelievably tedious. An editor should have stepped in, saved Heller the embarrassment and us the pain.
Mr Ronald Coase
Posted - 08 March 2010 15:56
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oh yes I forgot Saul Bellow. Ravelstein.
Fat and Bones
Posted - 08 March 2010 15:56
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Lord Halifax Posted - 08 March 2010 13:21 Report as offensive

Prayer for Owen Meaney


top man
Scylla 3.0
Posted - 08 March 2010 16:21
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Shantaram = unmitigated pile of self indulgent wank.

If I hadn't been stuck in the middle of Africa with no electricity at the time I would have thrown it on the campfire as that would have enlightened me more.
Danny
Posted - 08 March 2010 16:33
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Roth (Joseph) - The Radetzky March
Jerome - 3 Men in a Boat
DeLillo - Underworld
Mann - Magic Mountain
Turgenev - Fathers and Sons



aceacebaby
Posted - 08 March 2010 16:34
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Genuine books i have enjoyed in my life:

1) How to Succeed in Business Without a Penis by Karen Salmansohn
2)Women and from Venus, Men are from Hell by Amanda Newman
3)Babies and other hazards of Sex by Dave Barry
4) Outwitting Fish: An Angler's Guide to Proving That the Smarter Creature Is on the Dry End of the Line by Bill Adler
5)Are Women Human?: And Other International Dialogues by Catharine A. MacKinnon

all have stretched my mind beyond belief....

Olaf Plori
Posted - 08 March 2010 17:06
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1. YOUR MONEY or YOUR LIFE by Dominguez and Robin (every lawyer should read it)

2. Serotic's The Only Way to Win At Lotto

3. Winnie the Pooh & The House at Pooh Corner by AA Milne

4. Molesworth by Willans & Searle (the Complete)

5. Animal Farm by George Orwell (and "1984" natch)
Torchy
Posted - 08 March 2010 18:17
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There used to be four things I kept re-reading-----Buchan’s Richard Hannay; Sherlock Holmes; AChristmas Carol; Highsmith’s Tom Ripley quintet

time has taken its toll though, in so much as Hannay and Holmes are now a bit stale after all these years, but its taken a very long time



So....the TOM RIPLEY five are the winners for me [I re-read every c. 4 yrs say]
DeadPartnerWalking
Posted - 08 March 2010 18:20
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no Wodehouse?
Torchy
Posted - 08 March 2010 18:20
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of course every yr in late November I read again about wonderful old Ebenezer’s education at hands of dear old 7-yrs-dead Marley

a deeply life-enhancing read. every time. without fail
Zenpope
Posted - 08 March 2010 18:21
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If frequency of rereading is the criterion, then it would be the Adrian Mole books for me. They're like comfort food for me.
Torchy
Posted - 08 March 2010 18:21
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Wodehouse I read all of at school, but it didn't capture me

prob because my old man loved all of it
Torchy
Posted - 08 March 2010 18:23
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altho I watched Roderick Spode on Question Time at end of last yr

[thankfully sans his Black Shorts
!!
chimp_
Posted - 08 March 2010 18:25
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Eugene Onegin is a masterpiece; Tom Clancy should be fired into the heart of the Sun
Torchy
Posted - 08 March 2010 18:30
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lots of interesting stuff for me to follow up on on this thread]

a couple ofbooks I came across again in house just recently after about 20 yrs

one- God’s Fifth Column, by William Gerhardie

and

two- The Private Papers of Henry Rycroft by George Gissing


they’d been niggling away in back of my mind since first read, so that must mean something too

oh. and nearly all Graham green of course ---wonderfully insightful entertainments all
Torchy
Posted - 08 March 2010 18:35
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a book every young person should read,in pursuit of getting an outrageous handle on what is possible, is MyLife & Loves, by Frank Harris [real life-affirming stuff, full of uber daring vitality and lies, but delicious lies! ---and it may all be true anyway....! who knows

and a book first published in 19sixties by ex-RAF chap called WMV Fowler, called Countryman’s Cooking ...it was republished a yr or two ago and Amazon had it

=fantastic fun
everyone seems to love it who tries it

[again, full of ego and vitality and the like
shinyhappyperson
Posted - 08 March 2010 21:14
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1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes
2. The Complete Richard Hannay
3. The Three Musketeers
4. The Prisoner of Zenda
5. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

And yes, I like my swash buckled. Flatland is an extraordinary book though.
Bentines
Posted - 08 March 2010 21:18
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1) beano annual 1977
2) beano annual 1978
3) beano annual 1979
4) beano annual 1981
5) homage to catalonia
lonesome cowboy bill
Posted - 08 March 2010 21:25
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Proust – Remembrance of things past
Celine – Journey to the end of the night
Camus – The Fall
Buroughs (lonesome cowboy bill) – Naked Lunch
Dostoyevsky – Crime & Punishment
DeadPartnerWalking
Posted - 08 March 2010 21:47
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random 5 in no particular order:
1. The Misfortunes of Virtue - Sade
2. Middlemarch - Eliot
3. Kim - Kipling
4. Anything - George MacDonald Fraser
5. The Wild Ass's Skin - Balzac

oh and Nana - Zola, Graham Greene, Le Carre, ........etc.
DeadPartnerWalking
Posted - 08 March 2010 21:49
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Read From Russia with Love (Ian Fleming) recently - good read but not a great book, superb period piece - the original brand tart and superb (and completely without irony) "sexism"
silence
Posted - 08 March 2010 21:51
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(1) Sentimental Education, Flaubert
(2) A Rebours, Huysmans
(3) Theft Act 1968, Parliament
(4) The Riverside Chaucer
(5) The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde
Rusty Shackleford
Posted - 08 March 2010 23:13
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One hundred years of solitude - Marquez
2666 - Boleno
The Testament of Gideon Mack - Robertson
Hard Boild Wonderland & The Edge of the World - Murikami
Midnights Children - Rushdie
Leetle Cat
Posted - 09 March 2010 00:52
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This thread has made me want to revisit some old favourites. Catcher in the Rye- yes, Catch-22 -also agreed, Onegin- definitely.

WHY do people rate Love In the Time of Cholera? 100 Years Of Solitude, maybe, but I wouldn't put that in any top 5.

I would definitely put Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke in my top 5.

And de Saint Exupery's Flight to Arras deserves a mention. As does Maupassant.

Never Let Me Go and The Alchemist got me though a horrid hospital stay once. Wouldn't re read them but they have a special place on my bookshelf.

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