Law School Discussion

Law Students => Incoming 1Ls => Topic started by: sea dream on March 11, 2006, 05:26:50 AM

Title: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: sea dream on March 11, 2006, 05:26:50 AM
ok, i need book recommendations for the next few months. i'm not looking for prepping for law school type things, i'm looking for.. just good books to read. for history, politics, philosophy, or just good literature. or hell, just fun literature is fine too, although i can usually find that stuff on my own. i'm amazingly un-well-read because i split my life between two countries and kind of missed most of the essential literature of high school in America. i don't know anything much about American history or world history, or about politics and philosophy. i love reading, but i read mostly "fun" stuff (ask me about fantasy, sci fi, thrillers, mysteries..) but i really want to read meaningful stuff. stuff that's going to stay with me, or teach me something.

so recommend anything you think is worthwhile. something you think everyone should read, something that would make you think "oh this person is well-read". or even just something fun. i'll add everything to my list and try to make my way through everything. i guess my number one priority is history and behind that is probably philosophy, but say anything. i've read some Shakespeare and loved it, I loved my few philosophy courses, i'm curious and clueless about history.

so help me out! :D
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 11, 2006, 05:49:28 AM
If you want a short but highly precise and nuanced overview of a subject that you know little about, you can do no better than check out the titles in this series:

http://www.oup.co.uk/general/vsi/titles/

I have about 20 of them and have read about 30. They are superb, even on the subjects about which I know a fair amount. They really are very short and they are about $10 each.

Other books that require no prior knowledge but are both sophisticated and a delight to read:

Clifford Geertz: "The Interpretation of Cultures"; and "Local Knowledge"
Robert Darnton: "The Great Cat Massacre"
Richard Rorty: "Contingency, Irony & Solidarity"
Jonathan Spence: "Treason by the Book"
Tom Holland: "The Rubicon"

If you give me an idea of the kinds of things that you like and are interested in, I may be able to give you many more pointers.

There is also a thread that I started in off-topic on book recommendations for each other
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: sea dream on March 11, 2006, 05:54:56 AM
thanks red, i'll check out the OTB. i was hoping you and bass might make it onto the thread eventually. i'll check out your recs and get back to you if i can think of anything specific i need.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on March 11, 2006, 06:16:15 AM
http://www.oup.co.uk/general/vsi/titles/


i love the VSI series! they really came in handy when i was getting into lit theory. (I wouldn't recommend those particular ones for you, tho, sea dream, unless you just really wanna throw your mind for a loop.  :D)

Personally, I think a good grounding in the humanities is really all any fairly intelligent person needs--you get history, logic, politics, art, culture... everything, really. Try searching for a university syllabus on humanities. That should give you some good ideas.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: bass on March 11, 2006, 06:18:03 AM
It's hard to say - easier again if you had some more specifics in mind.  That said, here's a list of a few things that I really enjoy:

1) Nietzsche - The Gay Science.  You said you were interested in philosophy.  This is Nietzsche's best work, and you can read it in lots of small doses.

2) Malcolm Gladwell - The Tipping Point.  This is one that is a recent bestseller (good or bad thing?), but I think it is extremely well-written, even though most of the research isn't his own.  Gladwell writes for the New Yorker, and he has excellent stuff there, too.  Blink, his second book, wasn't quite as good.

3) Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett - Good Omens.  This is purely for fun.  It is a comedy/sci-fi novel about the apocalypse.  Really fun.

There you have it: a classic philosophical work, a bestseller, and a fun one.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: lily06 on March 11, 2006, 06:54:48 AM
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek- Annie Dillard
(it will make you rethink the way you look at the natural world, great to read in summer for some reason)
Enjoy! :)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: kiyakoiya on March 11, 2006, 08:20:25 AM
Some thoroughly enjoyable fiction i've read lately:
the corrections - jonathan franzen
middlesex - jeffrey eugenides
some russian authors - you may never have time to read even a fraction of their books over the next few years.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on March 11, 2006, 08:42:56 AM
middlesex - jeffrey eugenides

he's excellent.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Officer Rod Farva on March 11, 2006, 08:43:54 AM
You mean LSAT prep books don't count?!

Eats Shoots and Leaves: a great book about grammar.
Introduction to the philosophy of law: a dense, nutrient-rich book about different theories of law and their origins.


Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: sea dream on March 11, 2006, 08:47:19 AM
thanks to everyone who's suggested books so far.

Middlesex: read it, loved it. i loved his writing style. for those of you looking for a good read also, i suggest Edward P. Jones' "The Known World".. also beautifully written and very engaging.

bass, i've read parts of the gay science, and your suggestion will have me reaching for it again. and i've read the tipping point as i've personally been really into complex systems. a great read. and i've been reading Gaiman's American Gods lately.  ;D it's been so hyped up but i think it takes a bit too long to get to the point, though i'm sure it'll be worth it in the end.

the rest i haven't heard of, but every suggestion is getting added to my list. Everything looks interesting. Thanks again, guys!

Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: serpentstooth on March 11, 2006, 09:10:22 AM

Also, Ayn Rand's Fountainhead is terrific (I'm just starting Atlas Shrugged, her other famous book).

And if you want pure enjoyability, have you read Pride and Prejudice?
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: bass on March 11, 2006, 09:44:28 AM
thanks to everyone who's suggested books so far.

Middlesex: read it, loved it. i loved his writing style. for those of you looking for a good read also, i suggest Edward P. Jones' "The Known World".. also beautifully written and very engaging.

bass, i've read parts of the gay science, and your suggestion will have me reaching for it again. and i've read the tipping point as i've personally been really into complex systems. a great read. and i've been reading Gaiman's American Gods lately.  ;D it's been so hyped up but i think it takes a bit too long to get to the point, though i'm sure it'll be worth it in the end.

the rest i haven't heard of, but every suggestion is getting added to my list. Everything looks interesting. Thanks again, guys!



Good Omens has Pratchett's wit and style, so it gets to the point.  It is really excellent.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: bass on March 11, 2006, 09:47:27 AM
I knew there was a reason why I <3 you bass. :)

But you weren't at the Gaiman reading a few months ago?
:D
No, I missed it.  I had to work or something.


Eats Shoots and Leaves: a great book about grammar.

Hate to be on the other side of things, but I just want to throw my opinion out there on this.  I HATED(!) Eats Shoots and Leaves.  I love grammar, and I think the title (and idea behind it) is wonderful.  The book was terrible read for me, however.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: toomuchhype on March 11, 2006, 01:00:43 PM
I would second ayn's Atlas Shrugged.  Herman Hesse writes some awesome stuff as well.  I recommend Siddhartha, Steppenwolf (sp?), and Demian.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Mkay on March 12, 2006, 10:43:23 AM
My tastes are a little less philosophical, but not in the relm of "made for TV thrillers" either.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/fullview/2BP05QMWFW39R/104-6596830-7589540

Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: badmammajamma on March 12, 2006, 02:42:00 PM
"Den of Theives" by James Stewart; true story of shady Wall Street manueverings and legal cat & mouse. The unflappable SEC and DOJ lawyers against the modern-day Rothschilds and Morgans. I really dug it.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on March 12, 2006, 02:47:53 PM
Some high-quality popular lit off the top of my head:

Smith, Zadie. White Teeth.
Haddon, Mark. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
Ffjord, Jasper. The Eyre Affair series.
Dunn, Mark. Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters.
McCown, Clint. The Weatherman.
Brockmeier, Kevin. The Truth About Celia.

Other random stuff--
anything by Dave Barry, David Sedaris, William Zinsser

That's all for now.  :)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: bass on March 12, 2006, 02:52:22 PM
anything by Dave Barry, David Sedaris, William Zinsser

That's all for now.  :)

Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty rocker my world
As did Zinsser's classic "On Writing Well."  I reread it 5 times.

Dave Barry is funny.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Fidelio on March 12, 2006, 02:53:07 PM
I would recommend...


The Life of Pi -  by Yann Martel
Kite Runner - by Khaled Hosseini
The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom


Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: sea dream on March 12, 2006, 04:53:17 PM
i like reading ayn rand for fun but i once dated an objectivist and they can seriously be insufferable people. we'd fight whenever politics came up.  :D
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 12, 2006, 05:03:57 PM
i like reading ayn rand for fun but i once dated an objectivist and they can seriously be insufferable people. we'd fight whenever politics came up.  :D

Why in the world is Ayn Rand so fashionable. I could never understand it.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: M DOT on March 12, 2006, 05:35:56 PM
saw micth album listed and have to add "Tuesdays With Morrie"...i actually need to reread it, had me in tears on the T in boston by the end, but im a sentimental fool for stuff like and am still using quotes from it


badmammajamma, i love the ultimate warrior tar!
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: serpentstooth on March 12, 2006, 05:55:59 PM
i like reading ayn rand for fun but i once dated an objectivist and they can seriously be insufferable people. we'd fight whenever politics came up.  :D

Why in the world is Ayn Rand so fashionable. I could never understand it.

I think it's because she makes people feel morally righteous when they're really just being selfish assholes.

Just my $.02, though. :-\

Gee...I really hope that's not the reason I like it!

Actually, I have a lot of problems with her philosophies, but I enjoy her characterizations.  I was pretty surprised to read the intro to Fountainhead after reading the book and find out that the only character you're actually supposed to respect is Howard Roark, since my favorite character was Gail Wynand.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: TXcal on March 12, 2006, 06:54:46 PM
i like reading ayn rand for fun but i once dated an objectivist and they can seriously be insufferable people. we'd fight whenever politics came up.  :D

Why in the world is Ayn Rand so fashionable. I could never understand it.

I think it's because she makes people feel morally righteous when they're really just being selfish assholes.

Just my $.02, though. :-\

Yeah, it's an uncharitable thought, but one I share about Rand fans.

Sea Dream, have you read the Transmetropolitan series by Warren Ellis?  I have a feeling you'd like it...
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: sea dream on March 12, 2006, 06:57:17 PM
i haven't, but i'll definitely try to get my hands on it. (all of this is made slightly difficult by the fact that i'm in a foreign country.. man i miss american public libraries.  :D)

and yeah.. selfishness is supposed to be the god of objectivism, or at least that's the little i gleaned from dating an objectivist. not my cup of tea, but he felt pretty strongly about it. he was such a perfect nice and wonderful guy otherwise. haha
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: TXcal on March 12, 2006, 07:11:06 PM
i haven't, but i'll definitely try to get my hands on it. (all of this is made slightly difficult by the fact that i'm in a foreign country.. man i miss american public libraries.  :D)


Oh--I didn't realize you were abroad!  Yeah, it'd be hard to find it in a library anyway--it's a graphic novel, so you'd probably have to go to a comic-book shop or borrow it from a comic-book person.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 12, 2006, 07:24:52 PM
Damn. My PS was about Law and how it's a load of crap. That's bad?
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: sea dream on March 12, 2006, 07:29:22 PM

Gee...I really hope that's not the reason I like it!

Actually, I have a lot of problems with her philosophies, but I enjoy her characterizations.  I was pretty surprised to read the intro to Fountainhead after reading the book and find out that the only character you're actually supposed to respect is Howard Roark, since my favorite character was Gail Wynand.

totally agree re: the characterization. dont remember who gail wynand is though, but i have really bad long term memory regarding books.. so i just reread them.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 12, 2006, 07:41:32 PM
Let's hope.  ;)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Lionel Hutz on March 12, 2006, 08:11:29 PM
Ayn Rand gets a bad rap. Okay, she's a little repetitive and she's got this recurring rape fantasy, but most of her ideas at least deserve examination. She calls attention to many assumptions I might otherwise no have questioned, which I loved.

Anyway, to throw in a couple suggestions. Richard Feynman's memoirs (Surely You're Joking...) are a fantastic read, as are Olivers Sacks' (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat; Uncle Tungsten).

In the realm of cultural criticsm, anything by Noam Chomsky or Christopher Hitchens is sure to light a fire in you.

And if you haven't read Into Thin Air by John Krakauer (sp?), you should do that, too.

This is fun!
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: serpentstooth on March 12, 2006, 10:19:17 PM

totally agree re: the characterization. dont remember who gail wynand is though, but i have really bad long term memory regarding books.. so i just reread them.

Wynand was the newspaper guy who pulled himself up by his bootstraps because he was tough and a genius.  I thought his character was much more likable than Roark, so he stuck in my mind  :)


It's been about ten years since I've read them, but is that the one with the architect?  I remember it pissed me off from the first chapter, because it completely mischaracterized architecture and what work in the field is actually like. 

But now that you mention it, I understand how adcoms feel when they read applicants' essays about the law.  :D

Yup, it's the one about an architect.  I'll admit that I know absolutely nothing about architecture, and maybe if I did I would have been upset by it.  As it is, I read it on a vacation and let all the parts I didn't like roll over me, while enjoying the interactions of the characters and musing over/laughing at some of her bizarre philosophies (i.e., anti-altruism).

I'm just starting Atlas Shrugged now, so maybe I'll have a firmer opinion about her after that...
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Messily on March 13, 2006, 04:59:38 PM
Some high-quality popular lit off the top of my head:

Smith, Zadie. White Teeth.
Haddon, Mark. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
Ffjord, Jasper. The Eyre Affair series.
Dunn, Mark. Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters.
McCown, Clint. The Weatherman.
Brockmeier, Kevin. The Truth About Celia.

Other random stuff--
anything by Dave Barry, David Sedaris, William Zinsser

That's all for now.  :)

Ella Minnow Pea is awesome.  And I haven't read The Truth About Celia, but I loved Kevin Brockmeier's short story collection, Things That Fall From The Sky.

I recommend The Partly Cloudy Patriot, by Sarah Vowell.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Goodfella Aaron on March 13, 2006, 05:07:39 PM
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Bob Pirsig. Great at preparing you for life.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: what? on March 13, 2006, 06:45:17 PM
Ayn Rand is awful.  The writing itself was what I found so reprehensible, apart from the objectivist dogma.  I've never read anything that beats a reader over the head with as much symbolism as The Fountainhead.

My suggestions:

I, Claudius by Robert Graves (historical fiction)
The Russian Debutante's Handbook by Gary Shteyngart (modern fiction)
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (non-fiction)

Furthermore, if anyone is considering attending the University of Tennessee, or is fascinated by Appalachian culture at all, I suggest reading Suttree by Cormac McCarthy.

Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Messily on March 13, 2006, 07:15:36 PM
If you want a short but highly precise and nuanced overview of a subject that you know little about, you can do no better than check out the titles in this series:

http://www.oup.co.uk/general/vsi/titles/

I have about 20 of them and have read about 30. They are superb, even on the subjects about which I know a fair amount. They really are very short and they are about $10 each.

I had never heard of these before, but now I want to buy about half of them.  I don't know whether to thank you on behalf of my brain or curse you on behalf of my wallet.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 13, 2006, 07:22:18 PM
I can accept both with good grace.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Messily on March 13, 2006, 07:25:07 PM
Then both it is.  :D
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: terralily on March 14, 2006, 12:43:58 AM
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Bob Pirsig. Great at preparing you for life.

I don't understand everyone's love of this book...but to each their own, right?

One of my favorite "for fun" books is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.   It is a translation from Spanish.  It is beautiful and engrossing.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: sea dream on March 14, 2006, 12:46:10 AM
loved shadow of the wind, also. read it fairly recently though but i don't remember what it was about any more. hahaha. something about a book.. anyways, i liked it when i read it.  :D
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Lionel Hutz on March 14, 2006, 07:42:26 AM
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Bob Pirsig. Great at preparing you for life.

Zen and the Art of Archery.
Letters to a Young Poet
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: badmammajamma on March 14, 2006, 08:28:27 AM
Lily:
I laughed aloud and wanted to grab a napkin and pen when I read your appraisal of Rand fans. My brother read Rand, decided to adopt her books as an infallable life guide, and now thinks I am the family Peter Keating: a shallow product of a shallow society, since I don't wear unappreciated art and a permanently drained bank account as a badge of honor.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: TXcal on March 14, 2006, 08:32:21 AM
Lily:
I laughed aloud and wanted to grab a napkin and pen when I read your appraisal of Rand fans. My brother read Rand, decided to adopt her books as an infallable life guide, and now thinks I am the family Peter Keating: a shallow product of a shallow society, since I don't wear unappreciated art and a permanently drained bank account as a badge of honor.

 :D
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Lily Jaye on March 14, 2006, 08:42:54 AM
Lily:
I laughed aloud and wanted to grab a napkin and pen when I read your appraisal of Rand fans. My brother read Rand, decided to adopt her books as an infallable life guide, and now thinks I am the family Peter Keating: a shallow product of a shallow society, since I don't wear unappreciated art and a permanently drained bank account as a badge of honor.

 :D 

As for books to read, on the nonfiction side, I'd like to add:

1) Has Feminism Changed Science? by Londa Schiebinger
2) Down to Earth: Nature's Role in American History by Ted Steinberg
3) One World, Ready or Not by William Greider
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: getinsomewhere on March 15, 2006, 09:20:03 PM
I haven't read the entire thread, but some things I found enjoyable and/or remarkable:

Newish Fiction
Hari Kunzru (author) - Impressionist of Transmission
The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks
The Tyrants Novel by Keneally

Older Fiction
Something by Hemmingway (recommend Sun Also Rises)
Something by Dreiser (recommend Sister Carrie)
Kafka (maybe Metaphorphasis)
Dostoeyevski (Crime and Punishment)

Others
Marquez - Living to Tell the Tale
Foucault - Discipline and Punish
Something McCoulough (if you like American stuff/history)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: The Dread Pirate Roberts on March 17, 2006, 09:38:15 AM
Hmmm... For basics that are still a lot of fun, I'd say definitely Crime and Punishment, some Kurt Vonnegut (Mother Night is my personal favorite, but I suppose Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse 5 are the better known, and thus more culturally relevant ones), Catch 22, 1984, Animal Farm, Huck Finn (or, really, anything by Mark Twain), House of the Spirits, Satanic Verses.

Ok, I'm really a fiction person.  I try to read non fiction, but I just love novels so much.

And this is weird but I'd recommend one of the Lost Behind series, if you can get ahold of it without paying them money.  It's really badly written, but interesting and extremely different in perspective from pretty much everything else I've ever read, in a way that's very culturally relevant in the US right now.

And, tag, because this is an awesome thread.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: sea dream on March 17, 2006, 09:44:38 AM
thank you, guys! this is an awesome thread.

i'm totally a fiction person myself. and i rather enjoy a lot of trashy fiction as well as the good stuff..  :D

eta: i've been noticing how awkward my grammar is lately.. chalk it up to the fact that my english was almost entirely self-taught through voracious reading in a foreign country. i do need to read that grammar book. and how to write essays? never learned that either! i just try the best i can. can i go back to high school in the U.S., please? or middle school maybe. restarting my academic life like that would be kinda nice.. ;)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Lionel Hutz on March 17, 2006, 04:14:38 PM
Patricia Williams, Alchemy of Race and Rights
Any of Sarah Kane's plays--I especially "enjoyed" (if you can call it that) 4.48 Psychosis and Skin

Kane did a Plath, didn't she?
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: kingofspain on March 17, 2006, 10:31:40 PM
I'm interested in reading a book about England/Britain during the 1980's.  Can anyone suggest anything?
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: YabbaDabbaDoo on March 17, 2006, 11:05:40 PM
Getting to Maybe - Helps with writing law school exams.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Slumdog Lovebutton on March 17, 2006, 11:25:14 PM
i loved loved LOVED:

* A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius--Dave Eggers
* A Million Little Pieces--James Frey (a lot of people are angry about this being embellished, but it's fantastic. the quote in my signature is from the sequel to AMLP)
* Ender's Game--Orson Scott Card (you may have already read this, it's a pretty easy read, but very compelling)
* Survivor or Invisible Monsters--Two books by Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club
* Foundation by Isaac Asimov and Dragon's Egg by Robert L. Forward were two Sci-Fi books I really enjoyed.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 18, 2006, 03:49:20 AM
I'm interested in reading a book about England/Britain during the 1980's.  Can anyone suggest anything?

Among the Thugs, by Bill Buford is simply the best book written on England during the 1980s. No question.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ImNobody on March 18, 2006, 07:13:06 AM
I know everyone reads this in high school lit classes, but The Great Gatsby rocks my world. If you like historical goodies, Freedom from Fear is a pretty neat history of the Depression era in the U.S. by David Kennedy. Thomas Friedman's Lexus and the Olive Tree is pretty interesting as well, plus as a journalist his writing moves along quickly and is colored with all sorts of interesting international stories.

Also, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (I'm partial to the 1818 version) is well worth a re-read. The Broadview copy that I have includes several texts contemporay to the book, which is neat- this sounds nerdy but is actually extremely informative and interesting. 

If you like southern lit (with a touch of morbidity):
"A Rose for Emily," William Faulkner
The Sound and The Fury, Faulkner as well
Pretty much anything by Katherine Ann Porter
A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O'Connor

For the Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan in you:
The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon
Neuromancer, William Gibson

To make reading itself an 'experience':
"The Nature of the Linguistic Sign," Ferdinand DeSaussure
Of Grammatology, Jacques Derrida (for that matter, anything by Derrida)

It takes going in a slightly different tack, but Alexander Pope can be hilarious- try his poem "Rape of the Lock" for a good satire. Wordsworth's Prelude is good, albeit lengthy, as is Byron's "Don Juan." On yet ANOTHER tack, David Lindley's Where Does the Weirdness Go? Why Quantum Mechanics Isn't As Strange As You Think is a good read.

Oh man, I just referred to Pope as "hilarious," didn't I? Perspective sure does change. I'm going to sit around lurking on this thread for a while, so I can spend my tuition money at the used bookstore.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 18, 2006, 07:18:00 AM
I know everyone reads this in high school lit classes, but The Great Gatsby rocks my world. If you like historical goodies, Freedom from Fear is a pretty neat history of the Depression era in the U.S. by David Kennedy. Thomas Friedman's Lexus and the Olive Tree is pretty interesting as well, plus as a journalist his writing moves along quickly and is colored with all sorts of interesting international stories.

Also, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (I'm partial to the 1818 version) is well worth a re-read. The Broadview copy that I have includes several texts contemporay to the book, which is neat- this sounds nerdy but is actually extremely informative and interesting. 

If you like southern lit (with a touch of morbidity):
"A Rose for Emily," William Faulkner
The Sound and The Fury, Faulkner as well
Pretty much anything by Katherine Ann Porter
A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O'Connor

For the Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan in you:
The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon
Neuromancer, William Gibson

To make reading itself an 'experience':
"The Nature of the Linguistic Sign," Ferdinand DeSaussure
Of Grammatology, Jacques Derrida (for that matter, anything by Derrida)

It takes going in a slightly different tack, but Alexander Pope can be hilarious- try his poem "Rape of the Lock" for a good satire. Wordsworth's Prelude is good, albeit lengthy, as is Byron's "Don Juan." On yet ANOTHER tack, David Lindley's Where Does the Weirdness Go? Why Quantum Mechanics Isn't As Strange As You Think is a good read.

Oh man, I just referred to Pope as "hilarious," didn't I? Perspective sure does change. I'm going to sit around lurking on this thread for a while, so I can spend my tuition money at the used bookstore.


Jusging from this list, you and I are about as far apart in out taste in books ast two people can get  :D
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ImNobody on March 18, 2006, 07:18:25 AM
Sorry for the verbal vomit, I really love my books.
This doesn't quite fit, but if anyone here can get their hot little hands on the old Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio plays, I highly recommend it. Not the same as the books, incidentally.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 18, 2006, 07:24:37 AM
Sorry for the verbal vomit, I really love my books.
This doesn't quite fit, but if anyone here can get their hot little hands on the old Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio plays, I highly recommend it. Not the same as the books, incidentally.

Now we're talkin'. I listened to them when I was a kid, just before I went to sleep, after the lights were out. brings back warm and fuzzy memories.  :)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ImNobody on March 18, 2006, 07:25:29 AM
Jusging from this list, you and I are about as far apart in out taste in books ast two people can get  :D


Maybe- I but I'd chew off my own arm to escape an Ayn Rand novel, so there is that. THANK YOU for setting the record straight on that one.

Where does your taste lead, red? I thought that list was pretty broad. Give me something to procrastinate on real work with! Or not. That website is temptation enough. 
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ImNobody on March 18, 2006, 07:28:25 AM
I love 'em. When I was little, we listened it all the way to Texas and back.

When I share them with someone else now, and they just look confused/disgusted, I somehow question whether or not they're really my kind of people. Terrible, I know. But if you can't share the glories of Douglas Adams with me, my whole life is going to be a mystery to you. 
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 18, 2006, 07:40:20 AM
The Southern thing is ok for a bit - one faulkner and one O'connor and you've read them all, basically. Aslo true of Dorothy Allison.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy - I don't like the genre

Lit Theory - Grammatology is too hard for people to read straight up; and reading Saussure is like reading lecture notes.

I don't know what my taste is except that I like it when people write well, have their own voice, and don't rely on gimmickry as a crutch. I think that the so-called Canon is entirely overrated, and that fiction being poduced today is far far superior to that produced at any time before now.

For what it's worth, I think that the most underrated literary stylists that I have read are Beryl Bainbridge (she's so good it hurts) and Raymond Chandler.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: alaskan on March 18, 2006, 07:46:53 AM
last book i read....Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by Machado de Assis...if you like the latin flava.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: The Dread Pirate Roberts on March 18, 2006, 07:51:38 AM
I love 'em. When I was little, we listened it all the way to Texas and back.

When I share them with someone else now, and they just look confused/disgusted, I somehow question whether or not they're really my kind of people. Terrible, I know. But if you can't share the glories of Douglas Adams with me, my whole life is going to be a mystery to you. 

I'm kinda with you on that.

Though personally, I like the books better than the radio play, even though I know the radio play was first.  There are just so many brilliant details in the books that aren't in the radio show.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Luxor on March 18, 2006, 03:07:53 PM
Fiction:
Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (James Joyce)
The Idiot (Fyodor Dostoevsky)

Nonfiction:
The Tipping Point (Malcom Gladwell)
Creation of the American Republic (Gordon Wood)
Arc of Justice (Kevin Boyle)

Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on March 18, 2006, 03:21:39 PM
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (James Joyce)

Joyce! yay. Have you read Roddy Doyle? You'd prolly like him.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: alaskan on March 18, 2006, 07:30:09 PM
I'm interested in reading a book about England/Britain during the 1980's.  Can anyone suggest anything?

Among the Thugs, by Bill Buford is simply the best book written on England during the 1980s. No question.

One of the better hooliganism studies around.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: pass36 on March 18, 2006, 09:45:19 PM
For God’s sake people, we are looking for literature here, not textbooks.  In no particular order, here are some correct answers of great philosophical life enriching reads:

Ernest Hemingway – The Old Man and the Sea (Is it possible to use English better?)
     -Death in the Afternoon (sport and what it means to be a man)
 -The Nick Adams stories (a simpler, gentler time)
F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby ( you simply must read this at some point in your life)
Ken Kesey – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Chief Broom is a great American)
- Sometimes a Great Notion (dense and challenging novel about Oregon, family, woods and rain)
- Demon Box (great essay collection)
Robert Pirsig – Lila (sequel to Zen and Motorcycle Maint. with a boat instead of a bike)
Ayn Rand – Anthem (her first and IMO best novel)
Frank Herbert – Dune (great novel about the politics of scarcity)
David James Duncan – The River Why? – (fishing and philosophy)
- The Brothers K (probably the best on this list.  IMO the great American novel about Vietnam and baseball and Russian literature and family and love.  You will laugh and cry)
David Brin – Earth (a little dated now, one of the first novels about the internet)
Greg Bear – Darwin’s Radio (novel about evolution)
Jack Kerouac – Dharma Bums (best novel about buddhist mountain climbing ever)
  - On the Road (you are not an American until you read this)
C.S. Lewis – The Screwtape Letters (funniest book about hell ever)
Ursula K. LeGuin (everything she has written, especially) – Left Hand of Darkness (great novel about gender)
- The Lathe of Heaven (great novel about psychology)
- Dispossessed (great novel about politics and utopia)
Joseph Heller – Catch 22 (everything MASH wanted to be and never really was.  One of the funniest books ever about rowing from Italy to Sweden)
Margaret Atwood  - The Handmaid’s Tale
Peter Matthiesson – The Snow Leopard (Buddhism meets natural geographic)
Robert Heinlein – Stranger in a Strange Land (grok with Christ)
Philip K. D ick (just a great user of the English language)  - The Man in the High Castle (political novel of US conquest after WWII)
- Flow my Tears the Policeman Said (philosophical mystery novel)
Anthony Burgess – Clockwork Orange (best novel about the old Ludwig von my droogs)
Edward Abbey – The Monkey Wrench Gang (eco-terrorism/defense started here)
- Desert Solitaire (the desert can be a beautiful place)
- Fire on the Mountain (government steals land from rancher, grandson is torn.)
Poul Anderson – Tau Zero (about infinity and eternal life and space travel)
Hunter S. Thompson – Hells Angels, A Strange and Terrible Saga (the 60’s begin to die)
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (about the only challenge to Gatsby and Dickens as the greatest first line ever: We were somewhere near Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take effect.  The death of the 60’s: With the right kind of eyes you can look West from Las Vegas and see the high-water mark where the dream crested and fell back)
  - The Curse of Lono (Mark Twain meets ancient hawaiian gods and Primo beer crates of fresh dope)
 
Hermann Hesse – The Glass Bead Game (nobody should be allowed to consider becoming an academic, a philosopher or a priest without reading this)
Jorge Borges – Labyrinths (great imagination and fresh perspectives)
Joseph Conrad – Heart of Darkness (going up the river to madness)
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (how can this have gone unmentioned?)
Thomas Berger – Little Big Man (funny book about a tragic history) 
Ernest Callenbach – Ecotopia (it’s still a good idea)
Neal Stephenson – Zodiac (eco-warriors in Boston harbor)
- Snow Crash (the funniest cyberpunk book ever about pizza delivery, Sumerian linguistics, the internet and sword fighting)
-  Cryptonomicon (the funniest book about WWII, cryptography, and genocide)
William Gibson (beyond Neuromancer) – Pattern recognition
Michael Murphy – Golf in the Kingdom (mysticism in sport)

Read those, and then ask and I'll come up with more! ;)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ZinnMaster on March 19, 2006, 08:00:56 AM
Fiction

Notes From the Underground by Dostoevsky
The Plague by Camus
Plainsong by Haruf
Black Spring by Miller
The Beach by Garland
Demon Box by Kesey
Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut
Wild Boys by Burroughs
Desolation Angels by Kerouac
A Season in Hell by Rimbaud

Non Fiction

Passionate Declarations by Zinn
The Zinn Reader by Zinn
You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train also by Zinn
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 19, 2006, 08:29:56 AM
Ianp82: The very best reading that I could recommend to you is James Ferguson - "The Anti-Politics Machine: "Development," Depoliticization, and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho ". Everyone should read it before heading down the path of international development work.

I also recommend both of William Easterley's books. He is intellectually and morally honest, and very thorough, in the way that Jeffrey Sachs is not.

Of some interest - and you have probably read them already - are Hernando de Soto's 2 books. They are interesting and somewhat imaginative. His proposed solution, of course don't work (despite his claims), but it is an example nevertheless of "thinking-out-of-the-box".

If you have time/inclination for more, read Paul Farmer.

Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ZinnMaster on March 19, 2006, 09:17:32 AM
Excellent...he says running to the library...thanks for the suggestions.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: the town drunk on March 19, 2006, 09:18:55 AM
Moby male private part.  It is an often overlooked classic.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: tulpen on March 19, 2006, 04:09:12 PM
Recent non fiction books I've read and loved:

1. The spirit catches you and you fall down - Really well-written and fascinating. It's about a young Hmong girl with epilepsy and the struggle between western medicine and Hmong spiritual beliefs.

2. As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl. Again, really interesting and well written. From the Amazon summary: Following a botched circumcision, a family is convinced to raise their infant son, Bruce, as a girl. They rename the child Brenda and spend the next 14 years trying to transform him into a her.

3. Foreign Babes in Beijing - Not as great as the other two but still very interesting. It's a memoir about a recent Columbia grad.(American) who moves to China and becomes the star of a steamy Chinese soap opera.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on March 19, 2006, 04:14:31 PM
[quote author=tulpen link=topic=56526.msg1129296#msg1129296 date=1142813352

2. As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl. Again, really interesting and well written. From the Amazon summary: Following a botched circumcision, a family is convinced to raise their infant son, Bruce, as a girl. They rename the child Brenda and spend the next 14 years trying to transform him into a her.

[/quote]

We watched a documentary on this in a gender psych class. Really sad.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: FenwaySteve on March 20, 2006, 03:34:30 AM
Promised Land-Crusader State. By Walter McDougal. A good analysis of United States Foreign Policy since its creation. It tells of traditions that are evident throughout the 230 years, as well as what works and what doesn't.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. By Robert Heinlein. A Sci-Fi book, but a mind game nonetheless. It shows the internal struggle of someone trying to get the courage to revolt against tyranny.

Foucault's Pendulum. By Umberto Eco. If you even remotely liked The Da Vinci Code or anything in that vein, this book is 100x harder to read...and 100x more fulfulling when (IF) you get through it.

Guns, Germs and Steel. By Jared Diamond. A little too commercial/layman, but a good analysis of why societies succeed or fail depending on physical surroundings, circumstances, weather, etc.

Alamein:War Without Hate. By Bierman and Smith. The best military history book I've ever read hands down. It tells the story of the battle of El Alamein and World War II in North Africa.

and...if you haven't read The Great Gatsby since your Freshman Year of High School, take a look once again :-).
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: FenwaySteve on March 20, 2006, 03:58:46 AM
And just for added measure, I must re-nominate some of the ones previously mentioned that totally skipped my mind. When I saw them, I thought "oh, duh"
--
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
--
and a really random one in the vein of Tolkein, maybe my favorite fiction book:
Dragondoom by Dennis McKiernan. It's got everything, character development, enormous battles, long travelogue...if you're interested in that type of stuff.

and, jeez, can't believe I forgot this either:
Pale Blue Dot. By Carl Sagan. It puts the solar system and its beauty and wonder into a personal context. One quote that I can remember to this day: "

"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot."-Sagan

It's a special book.

I guess I could keep going, I'll try to think of more later.
Cheers,
Steve
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: sea dream on March 20, 2006, 04:52:05 AM
i love how the thread is still going strong, guys! i've noticed that i've read most of the sci-fi/fantasy (i love Orson Scott Card! even his short stories are absolutely brilliant) .. i guess my favorite in the fantasy genre lately is George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, and if any of his fans are out there, i strongly recommend "Tuf Voyaging", another book by Martin that is absolutely hilarious and well worth reading.

trust me the books are all on my list and i'm trying them out when i have time- which is unfortunately less than i could hope for lately cuz between work starting on wednesday and a 3hr (total) commute i have maybe ~3hrs of free time a day. Yuck.

in my defense, because it sounds like i only read sci-fi / fantasy.. i've read some books here like Guns, Germs and Steel, The Great Gatsby, shakespeare, etc.  :D well much more than that actually. hehe
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Messily on March 20, 2006, 10:37:43 AM
Pale Blue Dot. By Carl Sagan. It puts the solar system and its beauty and wonder into a personal context. One quote that I can remember to this day: "

"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot."-Sagan

I heartily second this recommendation.  Sagan is great.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: 1Laspirant on March 20, 2006, 11:06:46 AM
This (the thread) is too scattered, so I'll ask...Give me what you think are the top-five pieces of contemporary fiction that whip the so-called Canon.

I think that the so-called Canon is entirely overrated, and that fiction being poduced today is far far superior to that produced at any time before now.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 20, 2006, 04:23:26 PM
1. A House for Mr Biswas
2. The Birthday Boys
3. The God of Small Things
4. Midnight's Children
5. The General in his Labyrinth

That was too easy. Want another 5?  ;)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Lionel Hutz on March 20, 2006, 04:37:27 PM
For God’s sake people, we are looking for literature here, not textbooks.  In no particular order, here are some correct answers of great philosophical life enriching reads:

Ernest Hemingway – The Old Man and the Sea (Is it possible to use English better?)
     -Death in the Afternoon (sport and what it means to be a man)
 -The Nick Adams stories (a simpler, gentler time)
F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby ( you simply must read this at some point in your life)
Ken Kesey – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Chief Broom is a great American)
- Sometimes a Great Notion (dense and challenging novel about Oregon, family, woods and rain)
- Demon Box (great essay collection)
Robert Pirsig – Lila (sequel to Zen and Motorcycle Maint. with a boat instead of a bike)
Ayn Rand – Anthem (her first and IMO best novel)
Frank Herbert – Dune (great novel about the politics of scarcity)
David James Duncan – The River Why? – (fishing and philosophy)
- The Brothers K (probably the best on this list.  IMO the great American novel about Vietnam and baseball and Russian literature and family and love.  You will laugh and cry)
David Brin – Earth (a little dated now, one of the first novels about the internet)
Greg Bear – Darwin’s Radio (novel about evolution)
Jack Kerouac – Dharma Bums (best novel about buddhist mountain climbing ever)
  - On the Road (you are not an American until you read this)
C.S. Lewis – The Screwtape Letters (funniest book about hell ever)
Ursula K. LeGuin (everything she has written, especially) – Left Hand of Darkness (great novel about gender)
- The Lathe of Heaven (great novel about psychology)
- Dispossessed (great novel about politics and utopia)
Joseph Heller – Catch 22 (everything MASH wanted to be and never really was.  One of the funniest books ever about rowing from Italy to Sweden)
Margaret Atwood  - The Handmaid’s Tale
Peter Matthiesson – The Snow Leopard (Buddhism meets natural geographic)
Robert Heinlein – Stranger in a Strange Land (grok with Christ)
Philip K. D ick (just a great user of the English language)  - The Man in the High Castle (political novel of US conquest after WWII)
- Flow my Tears the Policeman Said (philosophical mystery novel)
Anthony Burgess – Clockwork Orange (best novel about the old Ludwig von my droogs)
Edward Abbey – The Monkey Wrench Gang (eco-terrorism/defense started here)
- Desert Solitaire (the desert can be a beautiful place)
- Fire on the Mountain (government steals land from rancher, grandson is torn.)
Poul Anderson – Tau Zero (about infinity and eternal life and space travel)
Hunter S. Thompson – Hells Angels, A Strange and Terrible Saga (the 60’s begin to die)
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (about the only challenge to Gatsby and Dickens as the greatest first line ever: We were somewhere near Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take effect.  The death of the 60’s: With the right kind of eyes you can look West from Las Vegas and see the high-water mark where the dream crested and fell back)
  - The Curse of Lono (Mark Twain meets ancient hawaiian gods and Primo beer crates of fresh dope)
 
Hermann Hesse – The Glass Bead Game (nobody should be allowed to consider becoming an academic, a philosopher or a priest without reading this)
Jorge Borges – Labyrinths (great imagination and fresh perspectives)
Joseph Conrad – Heart of Darkness (going up the river to madness)
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (how can this have gone unmentioned?)
Thomas Berger – Little Big Man (funny book about a tragic history) 
Ernest Callenbach – Ecotopia (it’s still a good idea)
Neal Stephenson – Zodiac (eco-warriors in Boston harbor)
- Snow Crash (the funniest cyberpunk book ever about pizza delivery, Sumerian linguistics, the internet and sword fighting)
-  Cryptonomicon (the funniest book about WWII, cryptography, and genocide)
William Gibson (beyond Neuromancer) – Pattern recognition
Michael Murphy – Golf in the Kingdom (mysticism in sport)

Read those, and then ask and I'll come up with more! ;)

While most of your suggestions are quite good, take a gander at the OP.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ZinnMaster on March 20, 2006, 04:48:47 PM
1. A House for Mr Biswas
2. The Birthday Boys
3. The God of Small Things
4. Midnight's Children
5. The General in his Labyrinth

That was too easy. Want another 5?  ;)

I'll second Midnight's Children.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ZinnMaster on March 20, 2006, 04:52:33 PM
Also, I'll add The Plague by Camus.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: FenwaySteve on March 20, 2006, 09:39:47 PM
Oscar Wilde- The Picture of Dorian Gray.

as for contemporary fiction. I've heard The Kite Runner is fantastic. I dont read much new stuff though.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: pass36 on March 20, 2006, 11:02:48 PM

While most of your suggestions are quite good, take a gander at the OP.

I did and I must still be missing the boat.  I thought he/she was looking for:
(1) Fun to read; and
(2) Philosophical/meaningful/potentially life changing.
I could be way off though.  Certainly wouldn't be the first or last time.

I'll stand behind most of my picks on those criteria, although my friends who have had life changing experiences reading Kerouac or Hunter Thompson tend to become flakey and irresponsible....

If I had to pare it down to five "contemporary/modern" books, which I am arbitrarily defing as since 1984 (the year):
(1) The Brothers K - David James Duncan.  This is probably the only book that has made me bawl like a baby.  And laugh and think and dream.  As somebody whose life has revolved around sport and philosophy/religion I might have more involvement with it, but I defy anyone to say this is not a great book.  Everything he writes is good.  He wrote a great essay called "Birdwatching as a Blood Sport" that I highly recommend.  Can you tell I am sort of a fan of his? 
(2) Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson.   
(3) Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
(4) Riversong / Winterkill / The Sky Fisherman - Craig Lesley
(5) In America - Susan Sontag

Others that deserve mention here:
Watership Down - Richard Adams
Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Milagro Beanfield War - John Nichols
Bean Trees - Barbara Kingsolver
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
We the Living - Ayn Rand
All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
Rosencranz and Guilderstern are dead - Tom Stoppard
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: whitearbiter on March 21, 2006, 12:43:48 AM
Let's see...

Beneath the Wheel by Hermann Hesse (then read Demian, Magister Ludi)
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O'Toole (I can't believe no one mentioned this!)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K. male private part
Grendel by John Gardner

Don't read Ayn Rand... her writing is terrible and her entire objectivist philosophy is heavily influenced by the crap that was written by Hannah Arendt... and both women lack any sense of logic or you know, truth, in what they discuss. All are a bunch of assumptions that for the most part groundless or outright wrong. Atlas Shrugged was possibly the most painfully ill-conceived and agonizingly long book that I have ever read.

If you ever have an inkling to dabble into Eastern thought without getting yourself waist-deep in it, try Kuunmong (The Cloud Dream of the Nine) by Kim Manjung. It reads like a fairy tale.

If you want to be grounded in what I consider to be classical liberal arts reading, I would try reading a few classical texts such as Tacitus - Annals, or Caesar - The Gallic Wars (every Latin scholar's first real translation - 'All of Gaul is divided into three parts...'). Always fun for those cocktail parties with other pretentious post-graduate friends and they're usually very fun reads.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on March 21, 2006, 06:04:59 AM
anyone get the feeling that this whole thread could be renamed "Nerd of the Day"?  :D
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: trogdor on March 21, 2006, 06:06:28 AM
cat's cradle... my favorite book.  vonnegut rules all!
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: 1Laspirant on March 21, 2006, 06:10:37 AM
No that should keep me busy for quite a while thanks;).

Someone mentioned Suttree earlier...Cormac McCarthy is a fine, fine writer. Aside from the border novels, the Southern gothic novels are fantastic and Blood Meridian is, well...frightening, but wonderful...My2c

1. A House for Mr Biswas
2. The Birthday Boys
3. The God of Small Things
4. Midnight's Children
5. The General in his Labyrinth
That was too easy. Want another 5?  ;)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Lionel Hutz on March 21, 2006, 01:40:39 PM

While most of your suggestions are quite good, take a gander at the OP.

I did and I must still be missing the boat.  I thought he/she was looking for:
(1) Fun to read; and
(2) Philosophical/meaningful/potentially life changing.
I could be way off though.  Certainly wouldn't be the first or last time.

I'll stand behind most of my picks on those criteria, although my friends who have had life changing experiences reading Kerouac or Hunter Thompson tend to become flakey and irresponsible....

If I had to pare it down to five "contemporary/modern" books, which I am arbitrarily defing as since 1984 (the year):
(1) The Brothers K - David James Duncan.  This is probably the only book that has made me bawl like a baby.  And laugh and think and dream.  As somebody whose life has revolved around sport and philosophy/religion I might have more involvement with it, but I defy anyone to say this is not a great book.  Everything he writes is good.  He wrote a great essay called "Birdwatching as a Blood Sport" that I highly recommend.  Can you tell I am sort of a fan of his? 
(2) Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson.   
(3) Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
(4) Riversong / Winterkill / The Sky Fisherman - Craig Lesley
(5) In America - Susan Sontag

Others that deserve mention here:
Watership Down - Richard Adams
Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Milagro Beanfield War - John Nichols
Bean Trees - Barbara Kingsolver
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
We the Living - Ayn Rand
All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
Rosencranz and Guilderstern are dead - Tom Stoppard

I think it asked for nonfiction specifically. Not that it matters at this point.

Hunter Thompson is my hero.

Nerds rule!
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: sea dream on March 21, 2006, 02:13:32 PM
it didn't, and i'm the OP and greatly enjoyed his list :)..
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Sweet Tea on March 21, 2006, 03:02:45 PM
I second anything by Sedaris and Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.  It's written from the point of view of an autistic boy who would kick my butt on logic games.

Also, Guns, Germs and Steel... eh, I'm kinda stalled around page 200.

Fiction:
Grendel by John Gardner (what I guess is a pre-cursor inspiration for books like Wicked by Gregory Maguire.)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. male private part
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller (an alternative history about preserving books and intellectualism...)


Non-Fiction:
The Age of Sacred TerrorDaniel Benjamin and Steven Simon (former director and senior director for counterterrorism, NSC)
We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families by Philip Gourevitch (Just started, I'll let you know how it is!)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ZinnMaster on March 21, 2006, 04:00:22 PM
Oscar Wilde- The Picture of Dorian Gray.

as for contemporary fiction. I've heard The Kite Runner is fantastic. I dont read much new stuff though.

I really enjoyed the first half of Kite Runner, however, I wasn't thrilled with the second half. I felt as though the author tried to do too much and it came across as unrealistic and a bit lifetime-movie-ish. Also, I thought it was a little annoying that the author felt the need to throw in some blinding foreshadowing technique every other sentence. With all that being said, I finished the book in two days because it kept me turning the pages, all in all it is well well well worth reading...I consider the author to be extremely talented...I just thought that if it stuck to the pace of the first half it would have been excellent rather than great. Just my opinion.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: pass36 on March 21, 2006, 04:01:59 PM
There seem to be a lot of Guns, Germs and Steel fans on here.  I finished Collapse yesterday and for some reason didn't think it was as compelling.  Maybe because it is more prescriptive?  I can't really put my finger on it, but it didn't come together as well as Guns for some reason.  Anyone else willing to compare the two?
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 21, 2006, 04:06:45 PM
I thought that Collapse was the better book.

Who doesn't know the premise or the stories retold by GG&S? In any case his narrative in that book is woefully incomplete and reductionist - an airport book.

Collapse, though, was interesting because he narratives in it are less well known and because he narrates the counterintuitive logic of self-annihilation quite well. It is almost philosophical in that way.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: pass36 on March 21, 2006, 04:12:44 PM
Do you just wait for me to post things so you can disagree?  :D

I like to think of myself as fairly well-read and a lot of the stuff about New Guinea in Guns was new to me.  Certainly more so than the Australia stuff in Collapse. 

Collapse was definitely more ambitious and broader, so maybe it is just a case of it is easier to be definitive about a smaller topic.  But I did not find the group decision making stuff new.  Didn't Robert Jervis say many of the same things 25 years ago?
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Lionel Hutz on March 21, 2006, 04:16:45 PM
it didn't, and i'm the OP and greatly enjoyed his list :)..
I was being sassy bc of the text book comment. I was also being wrong. Nothing like telling someone to reread a post you yourself haven't reread. D'oh.  :P
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 21, 2006, 04:26:10 PM
Do you just wait for me to post things so you can disagree?  :D

I like to think of myself as fairly well-read and a lot of the stuff about New Guinea in Guns was new to me.  Certainly more so than the Australia stuff in Collapse. 

Collapse was definitely more ambitious and broader, so maybe it is just a case of it is easier to be definitive about a smaller topic.  But I did not find the group decision making stuff new.  Didn't Robert Jervis say many of the same things 25 years ago?

It seems like it, doesn't it?  ;D

No, it's just that GG&S is over-hyped. It also smacks of "oh, that's why they're uncivilised" which, I suppose, is the purpose of the book, but still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, fair or not. Also, I have a pet peeve which is that geographers think that geography explains everything, economists think that economics explains everything, etc ad nauseam. GG&S comes close to purporting to wholly explain the big pattern, and of course, in reality, it doesn't.

Collapse was more modest. Yes, it is also casual reading, but it was fine.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 21, 2006, 04:41:58 PM

We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families by Philip Gourevitch (Just started, I'll let you know how it is!)

Don't read while eating.  I made that mistake.  But very good

Yes. Good book in all the ways that a book should be good.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Bushy on March 21, 2006, 04:49:33 PM
The Bible
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on March 21, 2006, 04:51:14 PM
Also, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, Christopher Browning

And Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire

You have good taste  ;)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Bushy on March 21, 2006, 04:58:47 PM
(http://www.er.uqam.ca/pasteur/e320170/nerds.jpg)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: soitgoes on March 22, 2006, 08:32:43 AM
I loved Underground by Haruki Murakami. Also, check out Samantha Power's The Problem of Hell. Letters to a Young Poet by Ranier Maria Rilke is one of my all-time favorites, along with Compassion by Henri Nouwen.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: allyreese on March 22, 2006, 10:00:30 AM
Fiction (good stuff, pretty contemporary)
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
If on a Winter's Night a Traveller - Italo Calvino (weird, but i loved it)
Bee Season - Myla Goldberg (soon to be a major motion picture)
The Crimson Petal and the White - Michael Faber
The Known World - Edward P Jones (i thought this was amazing)

EDIT - sorry, i had been reading the thread backwards and didnt' see that you'd gotten to Middlesex and Known World - ignore.

Nonfiction (but easy and enjoyable)
Skipping Toward Gomorrah - Dan Savage (hilarious)
What is Life Worth - Kenneth Feinberg (not actually a very good book, but interesting)
Bookseller of Kabul - Asne Seierstad (instead of Kite Runner)
John Adams - David McCullough (ok, not so easy, but very good)

when i'm looking for good books i browse around amazon's different lists of literary awards, the nonfiction winners are generally a little dense for pleasure reading, but if you've got the stamina...
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Slumdog Lovebutton on March 22, 2006, 09:48:16 PM

We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families by Philip Gourevitch (Just started, I'll let you know how it is!)

Don't read while eating.  I made that mistake.  But very good

Yes. Good book in all the ways that a book should be good.

I loved it, too.  Really horrendous stuff, though


I loved Underground by Haruki Murakami. Also, check out Samantha Power's The Problem of Hell. Letters to a Young Poet by Ranier Maria Rilke is one of my all-time favorites, along with Compassion by Henri Nouwen.

I'm working on Murakami's Wind-Up Bird Chronicles right now.  Not sure what to think, but i'm not very far into it.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: SouthSide on March 24, 2006, 04:56:05 AM
Just a few that I can't believe haven't been mentioned before:

Contemporary Fiction:
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. This is just a great read, one of my favorite recent novels.

The Bonfire of the Vantities, or A Man in Full, by Tom Wolfe. These are similar. Most people prefer the former, I prefer the latter, but both are fantastically readable social critiques of America.

Then some oldies but goodies:
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. It's been mentioned, but not enough. One of the only books that has ever made me cry, and the only one that has made me cry on a second read-through. Anything else by Twain is pretty fantastic too. Pudd'nhead Wilson in particular, which even has a law theme!

Madame Bovary: Another beautiful book that hasn't been mentioned. One of the most readable of those stuffy European 19th century realist novels.

Contemporary nonfiction:
Lies my Teacher Told Me: Very enjoyable analysis of the way U.S. History is misrepresented in American high schools.

Development as Freedom, by Sen. Put this on here because I saw that De Soto and Sachs had already been mentioned. Sen is a must-read if you're interested in international development.

Book I last Read:
In Cold Blood, by Tuman Capote: Better than the movie.

Book I'm Currently Reading:
America's Constitution: A biography, by Akhil Amar
This is because I'm a nerd who wanted to read at least one law book before law school. Amar is a great writer, and this book is really good, but it's also pretty thick.


Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 07, 2006, 03:47:09 PM
For those who like their philosophy to be fun as well as rigorous:

Bernard Williams "Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline" is just a wonderful read.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Slumdog Lovebutton on April 08, 2006, 11:39:54 AM

Book I'm Currently Reading:
America's Constitution: A biography, by Akhil Amar
This is because I'm a nerd who wanted to read at least one law book before law school. Amar is a great writer, and this book is really good, but it's also pretty thick.


I took Con Law with him as an undergrad.  He is a fracking AMAZING professor, but the class was hard as hell.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: The Dread Pirate Roberts on April 12, 2006, 06:59:56 AM

Book I'm Currently Reading:
America's Constitution: A biography, by Akhil Amar
This is because I'm a nerd who wanted to read at least one law book before law school. Amar is a great writer, and this book is really good, but it's also pretty thick.


I took Con Law with him as an undergrad.  He is a fracking AMAZING professor, but the class was hard as hell.

That's cool, but mostly I wanted to say that I enjoy that you use "fracking."   :D
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: FenwaySteve on April 13, 2006, 12:04:29 AM

We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families by Philip Gourevitch (Just started, I'll let you know how it is!)

You want to talk about a book not to read while you're eating. Dear lord, without question that book is "THE PAINTED BIRD" by Jerzy Kosinski. Oh man, that was a rough one to get through.
Don't read while eating.  I made that mistake.  But very good

Yes. Good book in all the ways that a book should be good.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: "Legapp" Stands for "Legal Application" on April 13, 2006, 09:10:53 AM
Like the OP, I've been trying to catch up classical cannonical lit that I may have missed along the way... stuff I read recently includes:

-Watership Down (soooo good; can't believe it didn't get mentioned till page 6!  it's like a manual for how to be a good leader, and how to work with a group)
-Lord of the Files - I missed this in high school somehow
-Animal Farm - gosh Orwell is good
-Great Gatsy - a re-read, but def worth it... can see much more in it as an adult
-Flowers for Algeron - heartbreaking
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: prestigesq on April 13, 2006, 09:11:25 AM
Cosmopolis
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: "Legapp" Stands for "Legal Application" on April 13, 2006, 09:14:04 AM
Oh, and some other books I just love:

Anything Atwood, but especially Handmaid's Tale
Poisonwood Bible
Power of One
Metamorphosis

And after Flowers for Algeron, I meant to mention this child pysch book my sister had called Dibs: In Search of Self.  If you love psych, read it.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Logic on April 13, 2006, 12:52:04 PM
I was lazy and didn't read too far into this so forgive me if this was already mentioned.

First and foremost, you need to read the Greatest Story Ever Told.  You may have heard of it's more common title "The Lord of the Rings" by JRR Tolkien.  I've been reading this about once a year since I was 14 and just can't tell you how much I enjoy this.  It's such an epic work and each time I read it I can take something new away from it.  It's a pretty big undertaking, and kinda dry at times (that's British authors for ya), but it's been named the book of the century (20th century) and has been translated into more languages than the Bible (incidently, I believe the only book to outsell LOTR is the Bible).  Read it.  Period. 

Another long story I really enjoyed was Steven King's Dark Tower series.  The first book is incredibly odd and unlike anything I've ever come across before.  But if you can get past that and start the second book I garuntee you'll be hooked.

For something a bit shorter... "Einstein's Dreams" is really clever and an easy read.

"The Theif of Always" by Clive Barker.  Also an easy read and a pretty cool story.  Plus... the very fact that Clive Barker decided to try and write a children's book makes it worth reading alone.

"Timeline" by Michael Critchton (sp?) is another gem.  Very well researched.  This book prompted me to take a keen interest in quantum computing.  The movie sucked balls though.  For serious.

As far as enjoyable reads that's my buck-o-nine.

Oh, just to reiterate, if you haven't already done so, READ LORD OF THE RINGS.  It's one of those life experiences nobody should be deprived of.  ;D
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 13, 2006, 01:22:42 PM
I've tried to read LOTR about 4 different times. Fell asleep each time. Gave up. Tried to watch the movie. Fell asleep there, too. I don't think I'm cut out for LOTR loving.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 13, 2006, 01:24:31 PM
I've tried to read LOTR about 4 different times. Fell asleep each time. Gave up. Tried to watch the movie. Fell asleep there, too. I don't think I'm cut out for LOTR loving.

That's because it's utter garbage.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: "Legapp" Stands for "Legal Application" on April 13, 2006, 01:27:02 PM
I've tried to read LOTR about 4 different times. Fell asleep each time. Gave up. Tried to watch the movie. Fell asleep there, too. I don't think I'm cut out for LOTR loving.

That's because it's utter garbage.

Don't be rude. I liked it, and FWIW, I like Harry Potter, too.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 13, 2006, 01:37:18 PM
Don't be rude. I liked it, and FWIW, I like Harry Potter, too.

Politeness is overrated.

No, wait, I think I'm meant to say LOTR is overrated. Eh, whatever.

I'm benevolent re: Harry Potter.

I'm having deja lu--I think I've read all this before.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Logic on April 13, 2006, 01:49:32 PM
That's because it's utter garbage.

Blasphamy!

I can see one not liking it, but garbage?  I'm absolutely dumbfounded by your ignorance.  It's a literary masterpiece and even if it's not "your cup of tea" to make a statement like that is infuriating. 

Whatever though, I suppose everyone is entitled to their own opinions, however factless they may be.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 13, 2006, 01:52:40 PM
That's because it's utter garbage.

Blasphamy!

I can see one not liking it, but garbage?  I'm absolutely dumbfounded by your ignorance.  It's a literary masterpiece and even if it's not "your cup of tea" to make a statement like that is infuriating. 

Whatever though, I suppose everyone is entitled to their own opinions, however factless they may be.

Off with our heads, then.  ;D
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 13, 2006, 01:59:38 PM
It's possible for people to like garbage. Tom Clancy and John Grisham's books seem popular, for example, and Barbara Cartland, too.

I've met people who have been utterly moved by Sidney Sheldon's body of work; people who believe that Dan whathisface writes authentic history; etc.

Popular opinion on books is overrated, no less than popular opinions about the value of a particular theory in molecular biology.


Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 13, 2006, 02:02:07 PM
Popular opinion on books is overrated, no less than popular opinions about the value of a particular theory in molecular biology.


What, evolution?  ;)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 13, 2006, 02:12:09 PM
Popular opinion on books is overrated, no less than popular opinions about the value of a particular theory in molecular biology.


What, evolution?  ;)

That would be an example.

It's like asking the lay person, "hey - is Joyce a genius?".. What in the world would they know about it? Why are people expected to have an opinion on whether Shakespeare was great or not when they haven't the first clue as to what Macbeth (the play) is doing, what it's about, how it plays with language and history etc?

It seems preposterous to ask people - "hey, whaddya think of quantum mechanics?", but it apparently doesn't seem  absurd to ask about the technique, the skill, of Chaucer.

Ditto on philosophy etc

There's too much democracy in the humanities.

/end tongue-in-cheek (but deadly serious) rant  :)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: terralily on April 13, 2006, 02:57:44 PM
... people who believe that Dan whathisface writes authentic history; etc.

I hate Dan Brown.....F^%*!$& DaVinci Code
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 13, 2006, 03:04:36 PM
... people who believe that Dan whathisface writes authentic history; etc.

I hate Dan Brown.....F^%*!$& DaVinci Code

We're soulmates. Marry me.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: terralily on April 13, 2006, 03:13:33 PM
Awww Red. How sweet...but I alas don't bat for that team...   :-* We can still badmouth Dan Brown though....I was so disappointed when he won the lawsuit brought against him.  Curses!
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 13, 2006, 03:17:38 PM
Hell, it was worth a try.  :-*
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: SouthSide on April 13, 2006, 03:21:54 PM
I agree that the Lord of the Rings is pretty trashy ... a pulp novel that somehow tapped into something and sold millions and millions of copies. Same with Dan Brown, but he is much worse. The thing that drives me up a wall with The DaCrappi Code is how many people actually take the drivelly "theories" in it seriously. It should be clear that anyone who refers to Leonardo as "Da Vinci" knows approximately nothing about art history.

Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: SouthSide on April 13, 2006, 03:35:29 PM
He did win, but there could be another lawsuit:

http://www.thetoque.com/religion/20060407/davinci_code_author_dan_brown_faces_second_lawsuit.html (http://www.thetoque.com/religion/20060407/davinci_code_author_dan_brown_faces_second_lawsuit.html)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Esq Now on April 13, 2006, 04:24:54 PM
I just read this whole dang thread.  Fun stuff!  I especially liked the back & forth over Rand and LOTR.  (Red - You're my hero!)

Now, recommendations -- the OP said s/he was looking (at least in part) for stuff that would make people see him/her as well read, and for stuff dealing with history.

So, in no particular order . . .

- I second the Hitchhiker's Guide books.  They're a lot of fun, and a surprisingly large number of intellectuals have read them.

- Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton.  You'll learn a lot about American history and the economy.

- Gerald Gunther's biography of Learned Hand.  Yes, I know it's a law-related book, but it's totally brilliant.  The best biography I think I've ever read.

- Washington Square, by Henry James.  A non-life-consuming way to get some James under your belt.  The Aspern Papers is also short and fan-freaking-tastic.

- Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis.  Hilarious book, much loved by academics.

- Gone with the Wind.  Don't hate me.  It really is a very good historical novel (though much of the history is not trustworthy).

- It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis.  A great novel about fascists taking over the US in the 1930s.  Lewis's best work IMO.

- Somebody mentioned Moby D*ck.  It's definitely a book every well-read person should know, but it's also heavy going for most.  So, instead, try Two Years before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana (the ultimate non-traditional law student, BTW!).

- The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford.  An entertaining intro to the application of many micro-economic concepts.  This actually will help you in LS, but try not to think about that while you're reading.

Geez, I could go on and on, but I guess that's enough for now.  Books -- sometimes they're the only things that get me out of bed in the morning.  ;)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Logic on April 13, 2006, 05:29:04 PM
I agree that the Lord of the Rings is pretty trashy ... a pulp novel that somehow tapped into something and sold millions and millions of copies

you are a smelly pirate hooker!
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: smiley on April 13, 2006, 06:49:49 PM
... people who believe that Dan whathisface writes authentic history; etc.

I hate Dan Brown.....F^%*!$& DaVinci Code

Totally co-signed!!!

Sea dream, for some excellent reading, you should check out the required seminar reading at St. John's College in Santa Fe and Annapolis. 4 years of all the big stuff in literature, philosophy, poli sci, theology, and science. Everything from Homer, Aeschylus, and Euripides, through Shakespeare to Flannery O'Connor and Virginia Woolf. The Bible, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Augustine...I did my master's there and it was two years of great reading and great discussion. The list should be on the website.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: clairel on April 13, 2006, 06:53:06 PM
someone brought up the left behind series...i swear those are some of the worst-written books i've ever read....and yet, i've read all of them thanks to my library. they're great if you want a really cool premise and don't want to actually have to think about anything.

also, i'd recommend confederates in the attic by tony horwitz (better than baghdad without a map). it's a pretty interesting read about the legacy of the civil war in the south today.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: "Legapp" Stands for "Legal Application" on April 13, 2006, 07:22:11 PM
Awww Red. How sweet...but I alas don't bat for that team...   :-* We can still badmouth Dan Brown though....I was so disappointed when he won the lawsuit brought against him.  Curses!

whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.....he won?

No property rights to "the truth".... Columbia Law prof article here: http://www.slate.com/id/2137797/

Interesting read.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Goodfella Aaron on April 13, 2006, 08:28:25 PM
I've finalized my summer reading list, accrued largely from conversations with my semi-retired father who reads about a book a week, Slate's list of first literary crushes (http://www.slate.com/id/2130198/) and yes, this thread.

Simulations by Jean Baudrillard
The Man in the Grey Flanel Suit by Sloane Wilson
Sportswriter by Richard Ford (sounds like a book idea I've had)
A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley
Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline by Bernard Williams (sounds interesting, redemption)
Lila by Robert Pirsig
Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPhee
Fear of Flying by Erica Jong (apparently to prepare me for being wealthy some day)
The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver
High Concept by Charles Fleming
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: "Legapp" Stands for "Legal Application" on April 13, 2006, 09:48:55 PM
I've finalized my summer reading list, accrued largely from conversations with my semi-retired father who reads about a book a week, Slate's list of first literary crushes (http://www.slate.com/id/2130198/) and yes, this thread.

Simulations by Jean Baudrillard
The Man in the Grey Flanel Suit by Sloane Wilson
Sportswriter by Richard Ford (sounds like a book idea I've had)
A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley
Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline by Bernard Williams (sounds interesting, redemption)
Lila by Robert Pirsig
Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPhee
Fear of Flying by Erica Jong (apparently to prepare me for being wealthy some day)
The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver
High Concept by Charles Fleming

Sadly, "Brave New World" did not stand the test of time for me.  :'(
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: The Dread Pirate Roberts on April 14, 2006, 07:00:59 AM
I liked Brave New World, but its politics did kinda make my teeth itch.  I vaugely recall something about someone's innate goodness ensuring that he wouldn't have had homosexual sex.   :-\
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: "Legapp" Stands for "Legal Application" on April 14, 2006, 07:34:19 AM
Explain please.

About Brave New World?  Sure.  It was one of my favorite books in high school, so re-reading it turned out to be a big disappointment.  Back in the day I thought it was so profound, pointing out all the problems of our modern society vs. other cultures that we discredit as "savage" ... although those cultures did/do have a better sense of what it means to be human.

Sure, it does that, but it does it in a way that's really obvious and heavy-handed.  It just beats that message into you, instead of taking the time to create compelling characters and the world they live in.  Huxley trades in character development and plot for ideology. 

Perhaps part of the reason I loved it in the first place was because I read it as part of class called "Utopia/Anti-Utopia," which to this day is the best class I've ever taken (even though it was in high school)... it was all about the competing values of liberty, equality and community. 

For better dystopian reading, I'd go with the Handmaid's Tale ... also Koestler's Darkness at Noon. We read the Plague, too, but I can't really remember it now... I should put that on my re-read list.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: lollypop on April 14, 2006, 09:35:56 AM
Everything by the Russians--Nabokov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogul, Pushkin to name a few
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: blutothepirate on April 15, 2006, 10:55:27 AM
since I didn't see it mentioned:

The Catcher in the Rye

Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ZinnMaster on April 19, 2006, 05:51:27 PM
Explain please.

About Brave New World?  Sure.  It was one of my favorite books in high school, so re-reading it turned out to be a big disappointment.  Back in the day I thought it was so profound, pointing out all the problems of our modern society vs. other cultures that we discredit as "savage" ... although those cultures did/do have a better sense of what it means to be human.

Sure, it does that, but it does it in a way that's really obvious and heavy-handed.  It just beats that message into you, instead of taking the time to create compelling characters and the world they live in.  Huxley trades in character development and plot for ideology. 

Perhaps part of the reason I loved it in the first place was because I read it as part of class called "Utopia/Anti-Utopia," which to this day is the best class I've ever taken (even though it was in high school)... it was all about the competing values of liberty, equality and community. 

For better dystopian reading, I'd go with the Handmaid's Tale ... also Koestler's Darkness at Noon. We read the Plague, too, but I can't really remember it now... I should put that on my re-read list.


If you're talking about the Plauge by Camus, I highly recommend reading it again. One of my all time favorites!
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: SouthSide on April 19, 2006, 06:13:00 PM
Yeah, the Plague is an incredible novel. It just sort of builds in this quiet intensity and then punches you in the gut at the end. One of the most thought-provoking and inspiring books I've read.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ZinnMaster on April 19, 2006, 06:21:11 PM
I'm all about the absurdists as well, Camus is great. Know any similar authors that one who likes Camus might enjoy?
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: SouthSide on April 19, 2006, 06:27:58 PM
I recommend the Age of Reason, by Sartre. Also, I really like Luigi Pirandello if you want absurdist, philosophically challenging fiction. Pick up a book of his short stories. (my favorite story of all time is his story entitled "A Voice")

Check out Twain's darker stuff, too. The Mysterious Stranger and Pudd'nhead Wilson are very compelling.

Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Zeveria on April 19, 2006, 09:47:51 PM
Harry Potter is good pop-reading but worthless compared to most of the books mentioned.

Dostoevsky: Notes From Undergrand.  Much shorter than C&P, but oh so dark
Steinbeck: Cannery Row.  Short and Sweet.
Primo Levi: The Monkey's Wrench
Amos Oz: My Michael
David Sedaris: Barrel Fever, Naked, and Me Talk Pretty One Day.  Each will make you laugh non-stop

Foucault: The History of Sexuality Volume I.  Especially read from page 92-102
Anderson: Imagined Communities

Edward Said: Orientalism. But Question of Palestine is more readable and might be more captivating
Benny Moriss: Righteous Victims

Hanna Arendt: Eichmann in Jerusalem

Peter Kenez: Varieties of Fear

Imre Kertesz: Fateless

Lord of the Rings and Dune

Batman graphic novels (Frank Miller or Jeph Loeb)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: pass36 on April 19, 2006, 10:00:29 PM

Batman graphic novels (Frank Miller or Jeph Loeb)

The best Batman graphic novel is The Killing Joke by Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Watchman, Big Numbers, Miracleman).  Dark Knight is good, but Moore's stuff has more depth than any other writer in the comics medium.  Watchman is the most richly textured comic ever.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Zeveria on April 19, 2006, 10:12:35 PM
I'm all about the absurdists as well, Camus is great. Know any similar authors that one who likes Camus might enjoy?

Fellow Existentialists:
Sartre, No Exit
Beckett, Waiting for Godot

Camus, a French Algerian, resisted the Nazis, but opposed the Algerian independence movement.  Watch the Battle of Algiers--amazing (neo-realist?)film and read Franz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth.  They might make you think a little differently about national independence movements. 

This is open to debate, but I think everything written in the latter half of the 20th century was influenced in some way by, or is explicitly or implicitly allusive to, Camus and Sartre, and existentialism generally. 
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Zeveria on April 19, 2006, 10:14:47 PM

Batman graphic novels (Frank Miller or Jeph Loeb)

The best Batman graphic novel is The Killing Joke by Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Watchman, Big Numbers, Miracleman).  Dark Knight is good, but Moore's stuff has more depth than any other writer in the comics medium.  Watchman is the most richly textured comic ever.

Thank you.  Batman is the greatest super hero I have encountered.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: SouthSide on April 19, 2006, 10:19:13 PM
I'm all about the absurdists as well, Camus is great. Know any similar authors that one who likes Camus might enjoy?

Fellow Existentialists:
Sartre, No Exit
Beckett, Waiting for Godot

Camus, a French Algerian, resisted the Nazis, but opposed the Algerian independence movement.  Watch the Battle of Algiers--amazing (neo-realist?)film and read Franz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth.  They might make you think a little differently about national independence movements. 

This is open to debate, but I think everything written in the latter half of the 20th century was influenced in some way by, or is explicitly or implicitly allusive to, Camus and Sartre, and existentialism generally. 

Yeah, the Battle of Algiers is a fantastic film, and Fanon's stuff is very good as well. I'm not sure that everything from the last 60 years comes from Camus and Sartre, but they have certainly been very influential.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Zeveria on April 19, 2006, 10:21:39 PM
I don't know anything about lit theory, but if something it read then it "influences" the reader.  If all writers have read Camus then all writers have been influenced by him, no?
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Zeveria on April 19, 2006, 10:24:10 PM
Conclusively: Everyone studying law must read Henry D. Thoreau's Civil Disobedience.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: mr*mouth*piece on April 19, 2006, 11:17:19 PM
The 48 Law of Power

The Art of Seduction
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 20, 2006, 06:21:13 AM
I don't know anything about lit theory, but if something it read then it "influences" the reader.  If all writers have read Camus then all writers have been influenced by him, no?

What makes you think all writers have read Camus, though?
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Zeveria on April 20, 2006, 06:52:51 AM
I don't know anything about lit theory, but if something it read then it "influences" the reader.  If all writers have read Camus then all writers have been influenced by him, no?

What makes you think all writers have read Camus, though?
I guess it depends on the definition of writer.  If someone has read the basics of 20th c. lit then s/he has read Camus. 
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: likewise on April 20, 2006, 07:03:02 AM
Updike's Rabbit novels
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 20, 2006, 07:11:31 AM
I guess it depends on the definition of writer.  If someone has read the basics of 20th c. lit then s/he has read Camus. 

That's like saying that if you've Faulkner, you've read the Bible. I think you're being too generalized.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Zeveria on April 20, 2006, 07:30:46 AM
I guess it depends on the definition of writer.  If someone has read the basics of 20th c. lit then s/he has read Camus. 

That's like saying that if you've Faulkner, you've read the Bible. I think you're being too generalized.

Even if Faulkner never read any of the bible (which cannot be true), all lit. in the English language is influenced by the bible.  If you know English well enough to publish a successful book you had to have read something in English, and that in some form had to have been influenced by the Bible.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Zeveria on April 20, 2006, 07:40:10 AM
I guess it depends on the definition of writer.  If someone has read the basics of 20th c. lit then s/he has read Camus. 

That's like saying that if you've Faulkner, you've read the Bible. I think you're being too generalized.

But you are right.  It is over generalized.  It's like saying people are influenced by their surroundings. 
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 20, 2006, 07:44:42 AM
I guess it depends on the definition of writer.  If someone has read the basics of 20th c. lit then s/he has read Camus. 

That's like saying that if you've Faulkner, you've read the Bible. I think you're being too generalized.

But you are right.  It is over generalized.  It's like saying people are influenced by their surroundings. 

Aw, I was preparing this whole spiel about how you were still being too vague and now you've gone and said I was right.  :D
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Zeveria on April 20, 2006, 07:58:37 AM
I guess it depends on the definition of writer.  If someone has read the basics of 20th c. lit then s/he has read Camus. 

That's like saying that if you've Faulkner, you've read the Bible. I think you're being too generalized.

But you are right.  It is over generalized.  It's like saying people are influenced by their surroundings. 

Aw, I was preparing this whole spiel about how you were still being too vague and now you've gone and said I was right.  :D

We are both right.  I am right in a vague meta-way.  You are right in a way that is actually relevant to the discussion of the arts.  And I'm definitely right b/c I agreed with you.  So who is right now, hu?  :P
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 20, 2006, 08:00:10 AM
We are both right.  I am right in a vague meta-way.  You are right in a way that is actually relevant to the discussion of the arts.  And I'm definitely right b/c I agreed with you.  So who is right now, hu?  :P

Looks like you're 1 up.  ;)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 20, 2006, 08:03:23 AM
Dorks
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Zeveria on April 20, 2006, 08:05:33 AM
I guess my point is, though I am not a lit expert, that asking who is influenced by Camus is like asking who is influenced by Jackson Pollock.  He is a very influential writer who affected a lot of subsequent writiers in varying degrees.  If somone were to actually write a book (in 1960 or 1990) like The Stranger it would be trite, and probably unread.  MOMA doesn't have paintings by Pollock immitators.  Maybe there are some neo-existentialists (or neo-whatevers) that are seen as directly influenced by Camus?
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 20, 2006, 08:13:01 AM
Dorks

What's that, Pot?
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Zeveria on April 20, 2006, 08:16:18 AM
Dorks

What's that, Pot?

It's a variant of "dicks"
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 20, 2006, 08:16:33 AM
I guess my point is, though I am not a lit expert, that asking who is influenced by Camus is like asking who is influenced by Jackson Pollock.  He is a very influential writer who affected a lot of subsequent writiers in varying degrees.  If somone were to actually write a book (in 1960 or 1990) like The Stranger it would be trite, and probably unread.  MOMA doesn't have paintings by Pollock immitators.  Maybe there are some neo-existentialists (or neo-whatevers) that are seen as directly influenced by Camus?

You're right, Camus is an influence, but saying that all who have read/written a book in 20th century English have been influenced by him is an overstatement. Eventually the ripple effect becomes so small as to be inconsequential.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 20, 2006, 08:17:10 AM
Dorks

What's that, Pot?

It's a variant of "dicks"

I wasn't asking for a definition.  :P

<--Kettle
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 20, 2006, 08:20:39 AM
Dorks

What's that, Pot?

It's a variant of "dicks"

I wasn't asking for a definition.  :P

<--Kettle

 :D :D :D

a dork and a smartass
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 20, 2006, 08:21:44 AM
:D :D :D

a dork and a smartass

I like to think of it as a refined sense of humor.

 :P
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Zeveria on April 20, 2006, 08:28:49 AM
I guess my point is, though I am not a lit expert, that asking who is influenced by Camus is like asking who is influenced by Jackson Pollock.  He is a very influential writer who affected a lot of subsequent writiers in varying degrees.  If somone were to actually write a book (in 1960 or 1990) like The Stranger it would be trite, and probably unread.  MOMA doesn't have paintings by Pollock immitators.  Maybe there are some neo-existentialists (or neo-whatevers) that are seen as directly influenced by Camus?

You're right, Camus is an influence, but saying that all who have read/written a book in 20th century English have been influenced by him is an overstatement. Eventually the ripple effect becomes so small as to be inconsequential.

I might agree
I also think that when discussing the arts of the mid to late 20th c. (and contemp.) you can no longer talk about a direct influence.  That canon was torn apart in early 20thc. Paris or even in the 1860s.  Influences are diffuse.  Therefore, I think everything influences everything and a seminal work such as The Stranger is a much greater player in that dynamic then X book. 
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 20, 2006, 08:30:58 AM
Oh, the anxiety of influence.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 20, 2006, 08:33:18 AM
Oh, the anxiety of influence.

Yeah. Your sig seems appropriate, red.

The trouble with "everything influences everything" is that it's often taken to the extremes. I mean, d'you really think Aristotle influenced, say Harry Potter?
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 20, 2006, 08:35:02 AM
Oh, the anxiety of influence.

Yeah. Your sig seems appropriate, red.

The trouble with "everything influences everything" is that it's often taken to the extremes. I mean, d'you really think Aristotle influenced, say Harry Potter?

No. CS Lewis did.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Zeveria on April 20, 2006, 08:38:10 AM
In many ways, of course, yes.

He is not necessarily a very direct influence.  It's not that important.  It's like of course the bible influenced everything in English, but that doesn't mean there aren't other more salient influences, or those that diverge from the norm, that is the general and varied influence of the bible.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 20, 2006, 08:41:24 AM
This is getting to be one of those tiresome "every drop of water I drink used to be Cleopatra's pee" kind of discussions. *sigh*
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: pass36 on April 20, 2006, 08:45:58 AM
All of philosophy is a footnote to Plato.  Well, at least before Wittgenstein.

And after Plato!  ;)

Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Zeveria on April 20, 2006, 08:48:09 AM
This is getting to be one of those tiresome "every drop of water I drink used to be Cleopatra's pee" kind of discussions. *sigh*

I don't mind rejecting intellectual history for rhetorical purposes.  I think politics and the events of one's life time is much more important in shaping a work of lit.  There are oh so many ways to show that.  What happens to art under censorship?  The artist will use more symbolism and inuendo. 
Wars:
WWI>Hemingway
WWII>Existentialism
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: law123 on April 20, 2006, 08:54:43 AM
Someone mentioned this earlier, but Toole's "A Confederacy of Dunces" is excellent.  Also, anything by Pat Conroy...."The Great Santini", "Prince of Tides", Beach Music"

Non-Fiction:
Mark Bowden: "Road Work"  "Blackhawk Down"
John Meecham (sp?): "Franklin and Winston" (a great look into the personality and friendship of the 2 men leading up to and during the war) Meechem is the editor of Newsweek
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: bass on April 20, 2006, 06:48:11 PM
All of philosophy is a footnote to Plato.  Well, at least before Wittgenstein.

And after Plato!  ;)

Right.  I was just quoting but I'm sure you knew that.

There are some who would argue that classical ancient philosophy is all about Parmenides, and perhaps we owe the entire philosophical tradition to him.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: toinore on April 20, 2006, 07:14:46 PM
After reading through the list of recommended books, I was quite suprised not to see "A Fine Balance" by Rohinton Mistry listed.  I thought it was amazing. Interesting use of language, history, and moving story rolled into one. 

It is depressing and uplifting at the same time...although some people have said it makes them want to jump off of a bridge. 

my .02
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 20, 2006, 08:34:30 PM
There are some who would argue that classical ancient philosophy is all about Parmenides, and perhaps we owe the entire philosophical tradition to him.

I'm one of them.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: pass36 on April 20, 2006, 09:02:07 PM
There are some who would argue that classical ancient philosophy is all about Parmenides, and perhaps we owe the entire philosophical tradition to him.

I'm one of them.

Well, Plato's main concern is to defend Parmenidean idealism against Heraclitus and the Sophists, Sophocles and Euripides, and eventually and indirectly Lao Tze, Chung Tzu and the Buddha.  So it is a pretty fine distinction.
     
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ZinnMaster on April 24, 2006, 05:30:08 PM
bump, because this is my fav thread.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 25, 2006, 05:56:48 AM
Let's see, I'm currently reading the Uncollected Stories of Faulkner. All the previously unpublished short stories/pieces of stories/stories that later became novels. Interesting stuff. Also a few novels of not much consequence.  :-\
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Alamo on April 25, 2006, 05:59:42 AM
I posted this in another thread, but The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is worth reading - a tad predictable in parts, but very moving.  It's a story about Afghanistan and Afghani immigrants to America.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: M DOT on April 25, 2006, 04:03:52 PM
ditto

I posted this in another thread, but The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is worth reading - a tad predictable in parts, but very moving.  It's a story about Afghanistan and Afghani immigrants to America.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: norcaldude on April 25, 2006, 06:23:19 PM
In preparation for life after the ivory tower:

Il Principe (http://www.constitution.org/mac/prince00.htm), Niccolo Machiavelli

Free online version linked above.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: malte laurids brigge on April 25, 2006, 07:20:44 PM
i did not want to read through the enitre thread but i certainly hope someone mentioned stanislaw lem

if not, you should read the cyberiad or solaris

and:

kurt vonnegut's the big space f uck
daniel quinn's ishmael (though it is likely this was mentioned)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: FenwaySteve on April 28, 2006, 02:54:12 AM
Currently reading Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72.

Really hard to put down so far, he was amazing at storytelling.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ivywhore on April 28, 2006, 02:55:33 AM
I'm reading the label on my shirt.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ZinnMaster on April 28, 2006, 07:48:41 AM
Anybody know of a good book on Sierra Leone?
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 29, 2006, 09:56:06 AM
Anybody know of a good book on Sierra Leone?



"In the Land of Magic Soldiers" by Daniel Bergner
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: pass36 on April 29, 2006, 12:14:33 PM
Anybody know a good book on the religious aspects of dry crop farming in 19th century Australia? 

Just trying to stump Red! ;)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 29, 2006, 12:17:40 PM
Funny  :P :D
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: pass36 on April 29, 2006, 12:29:12 PM
Actually dry crop farming in Eastern Montana had a lot of religious significance for the poor bastards who tried to believe in it.  Taming the wilderness and so forth.  Dreams of scientific soil cultivation and promises of Jeffersonian communities of virtuous and prosperous small farmers.  Didn't work out so well.  Australia, the poorest continent, probably is very similar. 

Have you ever been out there to Glasgow and Whitney and Mildred and the other barely hanging on old towns?  Pretty neat country. 
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 29, 2006, 01:57:57 PM

Have you ever been out there to Glasgow and Whitney and Mildred and the other barely hanging on old towns?  Pretty neat country. 

No, I haven't. I love barely-hanging-on towns, though. It's hard to explain.

Have you read Cadillac Desert?

Cadillac Desert is a rollicking read, and fascinating, too. You should watch Chinatown after you've read that book. I read it before my first ever Vegas trip, and it colored my experience.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: magnumalv on April 29, 2006, 02:01:59 PM

Have you ever been out there to Glasgow and Whitney and Mildred and the other barely hanging on old towns?  Pretty neat country. 

No, I haven't. I love barely-hanging-on towns, though. It's hard to explain.


It's because it leaves so much to the imagination--you fill desolation with your own version of beauty, instead of the pre-packaged appeal of urbanity.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: redemption on April 29, 2006, 02:20:01 PM

Have you ever been out there to Glasgow and Whitney and Mildred and the other barely hanging on old towns?  Pretty neat country. 

No, I haven't. I love barely-hanging-on towns, though. It's hard to explain.


It's because it leaves so much to the imagination--you fill desolation with your own version of beauty, instead of the pre-packaged appeal of urbanity.

That too  ;)
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: schneri on May 02, 2006, 07:33:34 AM
Some good Books I've read recently:
- Freakonomics - Steven Levitt
- The Paradox of Choice - Why more is Less - Barry Schwartz
- The Undercover Economist, or maybe it was underground
- A short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson

Noty sure if any have been posted in this thread, didn't have the time to read it all...
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: Messily on May 02, 2006, 09:59:17 PM
I wasn't too impressed by Bryson. 

I think you might be the first person I've encountered who's read the book and not been gung-ho about it.  I keep putting off reading it because I find his travel writing pretty so-so.  He has a folksiness that I'm not sure I'd appreciate in a science book.
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: ->Soon on September 17, 2007, 10:36:14 AM
http://www.collegehumor.com/picture:1773787

the only book you really need for LS and beyond...
Title: Re: Recommend books for me (just good books to read.. in preparation for life)
Post by: "Legapp" Stands for "Legal Application" on December 23, 2007, 02:39:21 AM
No idea what's been said on here recently, but "The Kite Runner" was truly incredible.