Favorite novel & why

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Re: Favorite novel & why

Post by missF »

jkbarnes wrote: Sun Jul 23, 2023 12:41 pm
Your comment makes me want to read Ulysses!
I never made it through Ulysses, and it was the first time I allowed myself not to plough on through a book just because I thought it was a book I ‘should’ read. There are always other times in life where a book might resurface and because of the shape of your life or your heart become truly meaningful.

Anyhoo, my great experience of Ulysses was driving from Larne in Northern Ireland off the ferry down to Cork in the Republic of Ireland. Four medical students and a young tutor who thought we needed to present the findings of our study at a psychiatric conference. We took turns reading from Ulysses out loud, meandered our way to Cork. It was all funny. The scenery was beautiful. I had never driven such a powerful car before and nearly put us off the road :lol:
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Re: Favorite novel & why

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I remember enjoying Catch 22, but it was some years ago, and I get confused now recalling the full story, as I do with many books.

I've read Three Men In A Boat multiple times, and the Alice stories several times. I highly enjoyed Lewis Carroll's maths puzzles.

I think the one book I never finished was Dhalgren by Samuel Delany (highly rated SF at the time). I had (still have) the paperback which was at least 700 pages (879 pages I've just seen). I got to within 100 pages of the end and realised I just didn't care and stopped reading.
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Re: Favorite novel & why

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Where to start. I devoured fiction earlier in life and particularly early/mid 20th century authors such as Orwell/Greene/Waugh/Hemingway/Steinbeck/Kerouac and still go back to these occasionally. However, in recent years I’ve tended towards more non-fiction reading.

Nevertheless, I’ll pick three fiction books/series that I’ve reread multiple times recently.

Anything by William Boyd is brilliant but I’d choose Any Human Heart as probably his finest. It’s a fictional biography of a writer living haphazardly through many of the major events of the 20th century and his slow decline towards genteel poverty in rural France.

Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. Almost impossible to define but basically a parable/satire about soviet era Moscow in which the devil and his accomplices, including a magical cat, visit Moscow and create mayhem; with a parallel storyline set in Jerusalem at the time of Pontius Pilate. It’s a wonderful book that gives more and more as you reread it.

Patrick O’Brian’s Master & Commander series. I would never have dreamed of reading something like this until someone gave be the first book in the series and I was hooked by the characters and the seemingly accurate portrayal of the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic era. I subsequently bought the entire 20 book series and have read them as a set a number of times. It seems to have become a winter ritual almost where I can read them all in about a 3-4 week period.
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Re: Favorite novel & why

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jkbarnes wrote: Sun Jul 23, 2023 12:49 pm
strapline wrote: Sun Jul 23, 2023 12:42 pm …'a person that doesn't read suffers the same disadvantages as a person that can't.' I thought that was a very salient point. Reading is a gateway to starting out on a journey, and that's reason enough for me.
Sadly, it seems my desire to read exceeds my practical capacity to read lately. I’m the living embodiment of Newton’s First Law - a body at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.

The irony is that more consistent reading would absolutely address some of my mental woes. I just need to get on with the job of it!

This thread is an inspiration.
I just think reading is a very healthy pastime, Andrew. The more you do it, the more you'll seek it out. Get that inertia underway. The first step is the hardest. It also helps to spend less time on forum's etc. :lol: :lol:

Des
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Re: Favorite novel & why

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What, no Mills & Boon readers!

Looking at the titles mentioned, this seems like one of those TV watching surveys, where everyone watches Panorama and The News. No one admits to watching soaps and reality shows.

:lol: :lol:
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Re: Favorite novel & why

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strapline wrote: Sun Jul 23, 2023 3:41 pm I just think reading is a very healthy pastime, Andrew. The more you do it, the more you'll seek it out. Get that inertia underway. The first step is the hardest. It also helps to spend less time on forum's etc. :lol: :lol:

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Re: Favorite novel & why

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8)
TheBeatles wrote: Sun Jul 23, 2023 3:49 pm What, no Mills & Boon readers!

Looking at the titles mentioned, this seems like one of those TV watching surveys, where everyone watches Panarama and The News. No one admits to watching soaps and reality shows.

:lol: :lol:
I’m waiting for Love Island: the Book to be published, followed up with a picture book based on Naked Attraction, maybe a scratch-n-sniff! :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Favorite novel & why

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jkbarnes wrote: Sun Jul 23, 2023 12:41 pm
NigelS wrote: Sun Jul 23, 2023 11:35 am Ulysses - because it was the first Modernist novel ever published, because the streams of consciousness writing is exactly what goes on in our brains, because of the masterful language, because I love Dublin . . . . just because!
Your comment makes me want to read Ulysses!
Its free as an epub here. https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4300. Its quite hard going, especially the middle chapters. If you want to understand it you might also take a look at this https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/ ... ok-summary. . . . and good luck!
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Re: Favorite novel & why

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

TheBeatles wrote: Sun Jul 23, 2023 3:49 pm No one admits to watching soaps and reality shows.

:lol: :lol:
I have a small bookcase in the spare room filled with pretty much the entire œuvre of Terry Pratchett and David Eddings, not to mention a few by Dan Brown and others. If I could take a trunk of books to the desert island some of them would be in it, along with CS Lewis, Mervyn Peake, P G Wodehouse, Tom Sharpe, Ursula Le Guin and so on. Little of it is great literature apart from the Gormenghast trilogy, but it’s good fun.
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Re: Favorite novel & why

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Amor Vincit Omnia wrote: Sun Jul 23, 2023 4:05 pm …not to mention a few by Dan Brown and others.
Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code is probably the only novel that actually got me mad! My then mother-in-law insisted I read it. I’ll fully admit it was a page turner. With the short chapters, I tore through it pretty quickly. That’s the secret of the story - just keep pushing through without stopping to think about it much. When I was done, I closed it and immediately thought, “well that’s a number of hours of my life I’ll never get back.” That story doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny.

The icing on the cake was mother-in-law asking me, with complete seriousness, “how much if that do you think is true?” To her, she’d just read a history of the Catholic Church.
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Re: Favorite novel & why

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Short SF stories I can recommend, out of so many. There's hundreds of authors I could include.

It's a Good Life (Jerome Bixby, also one the best Twilight Zone stories)
We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (Philip K Dick, which became Total Recall)
Earthsmith (Milton Lesser, one from the golden age that I never forgot)
Nightfall (Asimov)
The Roads Must Roll (Heinlein)
Narrow Valley (Lafferty)

and one that's not SF, from Steven King.
Head Down, a wonderful tale about his son's little league baseball season, which I believe must be a real life narrative
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Re: Favorite novel & why

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jkbarnes wrote: Sun Jul 23, 2023 4:20 pm To her, she’d just read a history of the Catholic Church.
Instead of a piece of speculative fiction based on an elaborate hoax. But that is probably a discussion that we shouldn’t take any further. I have enjoyed the odd Dan Brown book as a mindless holiday page turner.

I don’t actually mind speculative fiction, especially the alternative history genre. Fatherland by Robert Harris being a very well-known example. I could also recommend SS-GB by Len Deighton, also predicated upon the idea that Germany won World War II and Great Britain was ruled by the SS. Another favourite is Romanitas by Sophia McDougall…The Roman Empire is alive and kicking at the end of the 20th century, and still ruling a fair proportion of the world. And I do have a soft spot for Ray Bradbury and John Wyndham.
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Re: Favorite novel & why

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JAFO wrote: Sun Jul 23, 2023 4:36 pm The Roads Must Roll (Heinlein)
Brilliant story! I am put in mind of it any time I step onto a travelator at the airport. I once read another of his short stories in which people on a lunar base were able to fly for recreation in a specially designed building where they rode air currents in the low gravity. Dashed if I can remember the name, though. :(
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Re: Favorite novel & why

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Amor Vincit Omnia wrote: Sun Jul 23, 2023 4:43 pm Ray Bradbury...
I loved Ray Bradbury as a teenager. There are two big collections of his short stories and I reread them over and over. In higher English (age 16-17) we had to spend the year producing a long essay on some aspect of a piece of literature of our choice. Many people chose books they thought they were ‘supposed’ to choose. I remember a classmate battling their way through Anna Karenina, and others choosing equally long complex novels. I chose five of Ray Bradbury’s Martian short stories and discussed whether Bradbury was optimistic or pessimistic about man’s first contact with Martians :lol:
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Re: Favorite novel & why

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missF wrote: Sun Jul 23, 2023 5:34 pm I remember a classmate battling their way through Anna Karenina…
My tribe! :lol:
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