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Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
04-19-2009, 12:00 PM
Rather than listing the current book or comic book you're reading, I'd like everyone to list your favorite, most memorable, most worthy reads, no matter what the genre, as suggestions for others on this site to read.

We all have our favorite reads in our personal libraries, so now is your time to recommend books, and other reading material to the rest of us.... and be sure to tell us why your favorite book, comic, or whatever, earned its place in your library.

I was inspired by a thread found elsewhere, and being a voracious reader, am always looking for good reading suggestions.

Remember folks... any genre.

Mine:

1) The Lost Horizon, by James Hilton. If you've ever heard the term Shangri-La, where inhabitants enjoy unheard-of longevity, then now you know where it came from. The book is a page turner and a quick one day read, but the magic found within will stay with you for the rest of your days.
Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Horizon

2) The Razors Edge, by W. Somerset Maugham. Another wonderful book that will last you the rest of your days. It is about a WWI pilot, Larry Darrell, traumatized by his experience, commences on a journey to find the meaning of his life.
Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Razor's_Edge

3) The Blackhearts Omnibus, by Nathan Long. A great series of stories that left me longing for more. I do sincerely hope the author continues with the series. Here's the product description from Amazon: Under threat of death for their crimes, Reiner and his companions are forced to carry out the most desperate and suicidal secret missions, all for the good of the Empire. Chaos cultists, ratmen, dark elves, rogue army commanders and more - time and again the Blackhearts are pitted against impossible odds and survive - yet what they most what is their freedom.
Link: http://www.amazon.com/Blackhearts-Omnibus-Warhammer-Nathan-Long/dp/1844165108/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240159617&sr=8-1

4) Collision Course, by Robert Silverberg. Memorable little yarn about humans, space travel, aliens, and a humbling experience. Definitely a memorable read.
Link: http://www.amazon.com/Collision-Course-Robert-Silverberg/dp/B00143X44G/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240159919&sr=1-4

5) The Complete Chronicles of Conan, by Robert E. Howard. Every fan of swords and sorcery fiction should read these books.
Link: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Chronicles-Conan-Gollancz/dp/0575077808/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240160153&sr=1-6

What share you?

Sascha
04-19-2009, 01:10 PM
In no particular order:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hitchhiker%27s_Guide_To_The_Galaxy): This is what I read at the age most geeks I knew were reading Tolkien. There's the obvious comedy veneer to the narrative, but underneath is fairly meaty philosophy. Story in short: Arthur Dent gets his house demolished to make way for a highway bypass, only to find himself lost in the Galaxy when, in a cruel twist of some form of irony, his planet is destroyed to make way for an interstellar bypass. Hilarity ensues.

Jurassic Park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurassic_park): Dinosaurs, eating people, in a zoo setting? Wuwu~! Sure, I picked it up mere months before the film release; I was twelve, so sue me. Still a fun, fun read.

Calvin and Hobbes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvin_and_hobbes) and The Far Side (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Far_Side) collections: I blame my father (for the former) and grandmother (for the latter). Who gives an eight-year-old such subversive materials, really? Accounts for my philosophic bent today, I suppose.

Cruel Shoes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruel_Shoes): Come for the titular story, stay for "The Day the Dopes Came Over" and "How to Fold Soup." (Hmm, again with the satire; methinks there's a trend ...)

Stuart Little (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Little): Okay, it's a kids' book. It's also a rather endearing tale, about growing up different and still finding one's place in the world.

yukonhorror
04-19-2009, 04:23 PM
I have heard cruel shoes is great

Mine:

Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy by douglas adams
Funny, witty, enjoyable.

Good omens by neil gaiman and terry pratchett
Basically a hitchhiker's guide to the apocolypse. Great philosophical undertones about good and evil, and hilarious.

World According to Garp by john irving
witty, but also kind of heart-warming. If you like the movie, you'll like the book too.

Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance by can't remember
I relate so well to the main character. The messages in this book are a real brain twister, but awesome.

Brave New world by aldous huxley
Much better than 1984, points still valid in today's society, and has a more accurate description of cloning than jurassic park.

kirksmithicus
04-20-2009, 12:58 AM
Any genre! okay. Here is a small sampling of books I would recommend. They might not all be to your taste though.

Backyard Ballistics - William Gurstelle. Do I really need to describe the appeal of this book?

You Can Trust the Communists (to be Communists) - Dr. Fred Schwarz. Some funny stuff. Cold War Hysteria at its best.

Word Play: What Happens When People Speak - Peter Farb. A non technical book on language, a very good read.

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible - Steve Allely, Tim Baker, et al. How to make bows.

The Postman - David Brin. I like this book, the end is a bit hokey though.

Band of Brothers - Stephen Ambrose. 82nd Airborne during WWII.

After the Fact - Clifford Geertz. An anthropological memoir of an early anthropologist in which the author ridicules all other anthropologists for not agreeing with his point of view. Very, very funny stuff.

The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingslover. About a family of missonaries in Africa during the 1960's.

Empire of the Sun - J.G. Ballard (who passed away yesterday)

In the Country of the Blind - Michael Flynn. A strange and humorous little book about Cliology, the mathematics of history. A good read.

Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert Heinlein. A classic.

The Human Enterprise: A Critical Introduction to Anthropological Theory - James Lett. A good book, plus I was reading this when I met my wife. ;)

agoraderek
04-20-2009, 01:01 AM
The Egyptian Book of the Dead: E.A. Wallis Budge.

The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy: Jacob Burckhardt. Further proof of "plus ca change..."

The Celts: Gerhard Herm. Best book on Celtic culture I've ever come across.

Anna Karenina: Leo Tolstoy. More accessible than "War and Peace" and not nearly as boring.

Four Major Plays (A Doll House, The Wild Duck, Hedda Gabler, The Master Builder): Henrik Ibsen.

The Best of H.P. Lovecraft, Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre: H.P. Lovecraft. I am a gamer, after all ;)

The Last Days of Socrates: Plato.

Everything Tom Wolfe ever wrote.

Almost everything Anthony Burgess ever wrote. Read 1985, puts both Orwell and Huxley to shame, prognostication-wise.

Everything Graham Greene ever wrote. This dude rocks.

Another Roadside Attraction: Tom Robbins. Probably his best work, but still suffers from being "dated", but, arguably, less so than his other books.

tesral
04-20-2009, 08:34 AM
The Dragon Riders of Pern Anne McCaffery. Not just a book, but the entire series. It got me good with the first couple of books Dragonflight and Dragonquest. and I followed ir right down to All thr Weyrs or Pern. Anne has great characterizations and wonderful world building. Pern while having many of the elements of a fantasy is SF on the sly.

Robert Heinlein. Specifically Stranger in a Strange Land, Time Enough for Love and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Those three books bent my worldview.

Roger Delany Babel 17. A difficult to describe slice of life book, that pictured a place I wouldn't mind visiting.

Lord of the Rings Tolkien of course. But it is the little stuff that affected me as well Farmer Giles of Ham for example.

Beyond the Sky, and other Stories. Authur C. Clarke. Some of the Seminal SF authors early works. The future that never was. However written in such a compelling way as to feel truthful, even if they were not.

Omnilingual H. Beam Piper A tale of discovery. Archeologists explore the long dead civilization of Mars and discover there is a universal language.

The Foundation Trilogy Issac Asimov. One of my introductions to serious SF. Not the best book ever written but compelling and I remember it well even today.

Shottle Bop Theodore Sturgeon I met the man before I read his work, and damn, he twisted my head around. A gentle man the fount of the milk of Human kindness who wrote some of the most twisted stories you could read. However the Humanity shows through.

Unaccompanied Sonata Orson Scott Card I may never get Kingsmeat out of my head. I believe the heir of Sturgeon myself. This time I read the stories before I met the man, and he is the same kind of man writing the same kind of stories. You don't read them and remain the same.

Enough for this round.

Sascha
04-20-2009, 12:14 PM
Dug around my bookshelf more, noticed a lack of Phil Dick here.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_Androids_Dream_of_Electric_Sheep%3F): The base for Blade Runner, this is a book dealing with what it means to be human. The contrast between protagonist Deckard and antagonist Roy Batty brings about rather intriguing questions as to Deckard's motives and behaviors. (Though, dangit, I can't help but think of Rutger Hauer's final speech in the film; Best. Death. Evar.)

A Scanner Darkly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Scanner_Darkly): This book is trippy. Literally. It's largely a product of the author's realizations that he had indulged in drugs a weeeeee bit much, and was unable to separate hallucination from reality. (After reading the book, I highly recommend the Richard Linklater film adaptation of the same name; the performances are very enjoyable, 'specially Robert Downey, Jr. and Woody Harrelson.)

Cocoa
04-22-2009, 11:25 AM
A few others that I have found memorable over the years:

The Prince and The Discourses, by Niccolo Macchiavelli. I read this while on a backpacking trip one summer. It was a very readable translation and provided much food for thought. The Discourses in particular is a very interesting work of political philosophy.


All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque. I read this one a couple of years ago, having missed out on it during the traditional school years. This book is wasted on the young. It is much more meaningful as an adult, especially given the current world situation.


Anything by George Bernard Shaw. His plays are witty with a more serious underpinning.

Some of Saki's short stories are a lot of fun. His real name was HH Munro. He was killed in WWI. Some of his stories share some of the light-hearted qualities of a good PG Wodehouse romp. Others are quite a bit darker.

Fantasy gaming geeks ought to read the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser series by Fritz Leiber. It's not the best-written stuff in creation and it's rather dated, but I like the energy and verve. Most modern stuff pays homage to this series.


The Picture of Dorian Gray (by Oscar Wilde) and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (by RL Stevenson) are both fun reads as well as being classics with enduring archetypes.

More later if I feel inspired. There are so many to choose from -- Beowulf and other Nordic tales, almost anything by Jane Austen, a lot of other great classic fiction from earlier centuries, the political and historical works that the US founding fathers were influenced by (or wrote), all the great early SF&F whether it's obscure or still well-known, and so on.

Sascha
04-22-2009, 02:43 PM
All Quiet on the Western Front is probably the only assigned book I actually enjoyed. (We then watched the old, old movie version, followed by the newer one, as I recall.)

On second thought, no; it was the first, but not the only. In the Shadow of Man, by Jane Goodall, was required for my psych class, and it still has a place on my shelf ;)

GoddessGood
04-23-2009, 08:49 AM
I kept most of the assigned reading books from highschool. I guess I felt like I was made to read them and when I was reading them I concentrated more on what I thought might be used as a question on a test than the story itself. I've kept them so I can go back through them and read for understanding ... I just haven't done it yet :)

Kaewin
04-23-2009, 09:05 AM
Some of my Favorites are

American Gods by Neil Gaiman The old gods and ways are being assaulted by the power of our "new" gods.

Fragile Things by Neil GAiman , A book of short stories of him. Nice work.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, A man falls between the cracks of the real world and a shadow world.

Sandman by Neil GAiman, Follows the stories of the force of Dream personified. Its a very good read.


As you can see I really like Neil Gaiman. I started reading his stuff in 89 when I picked up a couple of issues of Sandman and can't put them down. He wrote the screen play for the last Beowolf Movie, has two films, writes mulitple short stories (3 collections) a half of dozen Novels. Reinvented the Marvel universe is 1602. Wrote hundreds of comics three childrens novels and one TV series as of right now. I undrestand there are talks of two more of his creations going to the big screen.

Forgiot one thing, he is going to write 3 or four episodes of Doctor Who this season witht the new Doc

yukonhorror
04-23-2009, 09:24 AM
Some of my Favorites are

American Gods by Neil Gaiman The old gods and ways are being assaulted by the power of our "new" gods.

Fragile Things by Neil GAiman , A book of short stories of him. Nice work.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, A man falls between the cracks of the real world and a shadow world.

Sandman by Neil GAiman, Follows the stories of the force of Dream personified. Its a very good read.


As you can see I really like Neil Gaiman. I started reading his stuff in 89 when I picked up a couple of issues of Sandman and can't put them down. He wrote the screen play for the last Beowolf Movie, has two films, writes mulitple short stories (3 collections) a half of dozen Novels. Reinvented the Marvel universe is 1602. Wrote hundreds of comics three childrens novels and one TV series as of right now. I undrestand there are talks of two more of his creations going to the big screen.

Forgiot one thing, he is going to write 3 or four episodes of Doctor Who this season witht the new Doc


my buddy loves gaiman. Have you read good omens? He co-wrote that with terry pratchett, but it is awesome.

tesral
04-23-2009, 10:16 AM
I kept most of the assigned reading books from highschool. I guess I felt like I was made to read them and when I was reading them I concentrated more on what I thought might be used as a question on a test than the story itself. I've kept them so I can go back through them and read for understanding ... I just haven't done it yet :)

I could usually either find something I had read or wanted to read on any reading list. I didn't so much read in school as I grazed on print. It was a bit embarrassing to find I read as many books a month as some of the class read a year. 2 to 5 a week on average.

I read fast, I still read fast. I can polish off the average novel in 2 to 3 hours. I cannot pack "a" book for the trip, I need a small library.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
04-23-2009, 10:40 AM
Pretty good. It takes me all day to polish off a novel. If i could cut it down to 2-3 hours, that would be great for it would give me more time to read my huge to-read pile next to my desk.

TAROT
04-23-2009, 06:51 PM
Books to aid the Evil GM:

The Thirty-Six Strategies of Ancient China
The Art of War - Sun Tzu
A Book of Five Rings - Musashi

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
04-23-2009, 07:17 PM
They do inspire me to think of new and cruel ways to test the party.

Cocoa
04-23-2009, 09:56 PM
I kept most of the assigned reading books from highschool. I guess I felt like I was made to read them

Some books are best read at certain ages. If you're too young or too old, they don't resonate as much. The forced aspect one sometimes finds in a school assignment can kill the joy, too.

So, yes, do go back and re-read some of those old classics you read in school. Some will be wonderful on re-reading. Others will still be awful. Or dated. Or just won't click for you. Take a chance on some famous classics even when they're not assigned -- choose one on a whim from the library or from the bookstore.

The Thirty-Six Strategies of Ancient China
The Art of War - Sun Tzu
A Book of Five Rings - Musashi

Those are good ones, depending on the translation.

Dytrrnikl
04-30-2009, 04:01 AM
The Hobbit: It's the first book I read as a child without having to ask what a word meant or how it was pronounced. It also gave me my lifetime love of Fantasy.

The Lord of the Rings: I would've have loved Jackson and company to not take the creative license they did, but they stayed true enough to the story so as to not make it unrecognizable...unlike a certain TV show that fails in every regard (Seeker ring a bell to anyone).

The Sword of Truth series - Books are wonderful, TV show blows.

Anything written by David Baldacci and James Patterson.

Prey: IMO, the best novel Michael Chrichten has ever written. I was amazed at the amount of research he did for that novel.

Keffirboy: Not sure if I spelled the title correctly, but it's an account of how...erg...forget his name, anyway it's a story about the trials of the Apartheid one native South African man faced and his eventual escape to the US through a tennis scholarship.

Windstar
04-30-2009, 06:08 AM
My favorites include, Tarzan and Conan series by E.R Borroughs, Riders of Pern, Dragonlance Chronicles and most favorite is Mack Bolan The Executioner by Don Pendleton.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
04-30-2009, 10:36 AM
Tarzan and Conan books. All good stuff.

I believe i have just about every Conan story ever put to paper.

tesral
04-30-2009, 10:52 AM
In that vein the John Carter of Mars books. Talk about a guilty pleasure type of book.

The Lensman Series E.E. "Doc" Smith. The books that defined the term Space Opera. Yes the characters are made of 100% virgin American cardboard, but it's fun. Also worth a look are the Skylark of Space books and Masters of the Vortex. All old, all at least slightly cheesy, but good tales none the less.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
04-30-2009, 10:59 AM
Mystic Traveller Series. All great books.

Windstar
04-30-2009, 06:56 PM
Thoth, I finally found "Demon Wars" and listened to the first part, I also found "Elantris" by Brandon Sanderson. Am listening to it now and it is really good.

:cool::cool:

wizarddog
05-01-2009, 02:23 AM
"The Adventures of Cavalier and Clay" Michael Chabon
My all time favorite.

All of Frizt Lieber's Farhad and Gray Mouser Books.

The Mars Series (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars) by Kim Stanely Robinson.

I also read Babel 17--it has a pretty weird world with undead navigators and such. Another of Samuel R. Delany books is Triton, which deals with diverse cultures on stellar colonies.

tesral
05-01-2009, 02:58 AM
"I also read Babel 17--it has a pretty weird world with undead navigators and such. Another of Samuel R. Delany books is Triton, which deals with diverse cultures on stellar colonies.

Radical plastic surgery to actually change appearance. The one spacer was a tiger man, but totally human.

Windstar
05-01-2009, 04:22 AM
Thoth, Wizarddogg sparked a memory with Mars and since you seem to be the resident ERB person, what was the name of his Mars series? I vaguely remember it, another sign of getting old.

:cool::confused::cool:

tesral
05-01-2009, 09:20 AM
Thoth, Wizarddogg sparked a memory with Mars and since you seem to be the resident ERB person, what was the name of his Mars series? I vaguely remember it, another sign of getting old.

That was the John Carter stuff. Starting with Princess of Mars.

ERB defined prolific. An average of 250,000 words a year published. The guy went through three fortunes, and at least tried to live life like the characters in his books. He described himself as a hack writer. For the most part I would agree with him, the books are not deathless prose. But we still read them! His themes, his worlds and characters are deathless even if he wasn't a "great" user of the English language.

Great users of English. Final Encyclopedia -- Gordon Dickson. I was stunned when I first read it. I finished the book and turned it over to read again just to feel the words flow. Gordy didn't start as a great writer, some of his early work can be painful to read, but he became one. I miss him. He would always make the Michigan cons.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
05-01-2009, 06:39 PM
Thought you'd appreciate this, tesral:

Pixar's 'John Carter of Mars' is Second Most Perfect Definition of Hybrid Movie (http://www.iwatchstuff.com/2009/01/pixars_john_carter_of_mars_is.php)

More: adventure (http://www.penandpapergames.com/mt/mt-search.cgi?tag=adventure&blog_id=1), andrew stanton (http://www.penandpapergames.com/mt/mt-search.cgi?tag=andrew%20stanton&blog_id=1), fantasy (http://www.penandpapergames.com/mt/mt-search.cgi?tag=fantasy&blog_id=1), john carter of mars (http://www.penandpapergames.com/mt/mt-search.cgi?tag=john%20carter%20of%20mars&blog_id=1), movie (http://www.penandpapergames.com/mt/mt-search.cgi?tag=movie&blog_id=1), news (http://www.penandpapergames.com/mt/mt-search.cgi?tag=news&blog_id=1), pixar (http://www.penandpapergames.com/mt/mt-search.cgi?tag=pixar&blog_id=1), sci-fi (http://www.penandpapergames.com/mt/mt-search.cgi?tag=sci-fi&blog_id=1)
http://www.iwatchstuff.com/2009/01/13/john-carter-of-mars-pixar.jpg WALL-E writer/director Andrew Stanton's next project is set to be John Carter of Mars, a CGI/live-action adaptation of the story of a Civil War veteran's adventures on Earth's most enemy planet: Mars. He recently spoke to MTV about the film, divulging some scoopz (they aren't huge scoopz):

“It’s real,” Stanton assured us. “We’re full bore on it right now. We’re over the hump of the writing phase, and we’re certainly far from rewrites.” “The key was putting a story into it and creating characters that had to grow and real basic stuff that we all know a movie needs,” he explained.
Messing with a classic of the fantasy genre is always risky, but Stanton believes the passage of time is on his side. “Fortunately it’s an old enough story,” he said. “There isn’t such huge allegiance to it that people won’t mind that we muck with it a bit to hopefully amplify the essence of what made me interested in it as a young kid and hopefully will keep me interested in it as an adult.”
Andrew, you are so wrong that there isn't a big enough allegiance for people to get angry at divergences from the original text. I care about everything. Even if it was written in 1912 and had practically no story to speak of, and even if I've never read any of it and never will, the movie had better be exactly like my confused, entirely fantasy art-based impressions or someone will be making an anti-Pixar's John Carter of Mars Facebook group so fast it will knock several prestigious awards off your mantel.
I also take issue with this statement:

“There’s so much in it that can’t be real,” he said. “It’s the perfect definition of a hybrid movie,” utilizing both live actors and computer-based animation. Perfect definition of a hybrid movie? That was called Alvin and the Chipmunks, buddy.

tesral
05-02-2009, 12:20 AM
Andrew, you are so wrong that there isn't a big enough allegiance for people to get angry at divergences from the original text. I care about everything. Even if it was written in 1912 and had practically no story to speak of, and even if I've never read any of it and never will, the movie had better be exactly like my confused, entirely fantasy art-based impressions or someone will be making an anti-Pixar's John Carter of Mars Facebook group so fast it will knock several prestigious awards off your mantel.

And the costumes. The costumes need to be spot on.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
05-02-2009, 12:24 AM
And the costumes. The costumes need to be spot on.
Oh lord, yes. They need to get the costumes for the ladies right.

Malruhn
05-02-2009, 05:23 PM
Costumes?!?! Good lord, I had every one of those books in my library at one time - and the only costumes I read about were loincloths, straps and gauzy-nothingness.

Oh, and strapped sandles and crowns/tiaras.

How hard is this going to be?

tesral
05-03-2009, 12:55 AM
You would be surprised.

Windstar
05-03-2009, 06:12 AM
I grudging volunteer to be the costume fitting crew leader.......

To ensure that all costumes meet exacting standards of style and correct fit.

:o:cool:

tesral
05-03-2009, 09:26 AM
Stock up on dental floss.