What is your favorite book ever?

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fishnskiguy
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What is your favorite book ever?

Post by fishnskiguy » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:51 pm

OK, we have been asked to show our literacy with the BBC list, and we have been asked by Alex to list our yawners. So, if I may indulge, let me start a new thread.

What is your favorite ever book? Nursery Rhyme to Great Tome, it doesn't matter. Show us your great stuff!

Please do not include the Bible, the Talmud or the Koran, great as they may be.

I'll list mine in a while, but most of you have never heard of it.

Please list number one, and then only the next two. Please, please, please, this is not a, "See how well read I am," thread. :roll:

Hoping this thread may steer me to new waters.

Chris
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Post by superthan34 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:05 pm

I guess I'll be the first.

1. Atlas Shrugged
2. One Bullet Away
3. Hitler's Willing Executioners

All have changed they way I view my own life in a different way.

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Post by sschullo » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:15 pm

My first, 55 years ago--Box Car Children.
Always remember the feeling of being independent as a child.
Public School K-12 Educators: "Ask NOT what your annuity sales person can do for you, ask what you can do to be a Do-It-Yourselfer (DIY)."

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Post by NYCPete » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:20 pm

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse followed closely by The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss.
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Soaker
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Post by Soaker » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:25 pm

Ball Four by Jim Bouton. I bought a paperback copy when I was about 10 years old. Unfortunately, Grandma asked to see what I was reading. I'll never forget the expression on her face as she flipped through it. So that copy was confiscated. I borrowed it from the library and re-read it this past summer. It's still funny and very insightful, but in view of all the sports scandals, not nearly as shocking as it was when written 40 years ago.

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Post by fire5soon » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:27 pm

Atlas Shrugged
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Post by nonroom » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:28 pm

The Demon Haunted World by the late Carl Sagan
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Post by Raybo » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:10 am

Not a single book but a series -- The Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant.

Ray
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Post by peter71 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:52 am

Hard to say, but seeing as James Joyce took so much grief in those other threads (including from me) I'll put in a good word for his long short story "The Dead":

http://mockingbird.creighton.edu/englis ... s/dead.htm

All best,
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Post by Ducks » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:54 am

My favorite book is a series of books (yes i am a cheater ;)): George RR Martin's A Song of Ice & Fire series.

Can't wait for the port over to HBO. :D
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Post by Jacobkg » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:15 am

'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card

It's the only book I ever read more than 2 times.

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Post by epilnk » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:28 am

This is a bit of a cheat but since I own this as a single well worn volume I'm going to pick the Complete Works of Jane Austen.

For 2 and 3 I'll take The Once and Future King and Moby Dick.

Linda
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Post by RTR2006 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:09 am

Infinite in All Directions, by Freeman Dyson
The Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut

RTR2006
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Post by VictoriaF » Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:06 am

It changes with time. But if I had to take a single book to a deserted island, Nassim Taleb's "Black Swan" first comes to mind.

I appreciated the financial and economics aspects of the book and shared Taleb's dismay about the banking system, even more so after its flaws became public in 2008. But my deep attraction to the book is due to its every-day relevance. Whenever I catch myself on confusing "absence of evidence" with "evidence of absence" I appreciate Taleb's warnings. Whenever my well-laid plans are derailed by totally unexpected hurdles, I deal with my little Black Swans and give a tribute to Taleb. And whenever I make significant decisions I go through a mental "Black Swan check."

If I think about a book virtually every day, it must be my favorite.

The other two books would be a biography of Marie Curie I read in high school and "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" I read very recently. Both Mme Curie and Mr. Feynman are role models and examples of life attainments to strive for.

Victoria
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Post by Gill » Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:40 am

J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. I guess I found it very relevant at the age when I read it many years ago.
Bruce

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Post by wilpat » Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:09 am

"On Wings of Eagles" Ken Follett

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Post by bearcub » Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:19 am

1.Bon Jour Laziness - ( jumping off the corporate ladder)
by Corinne Maier

2. The Joy of Not Working
by Ernie Zelinski

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Hexdump
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I agree with this Jacob

Post by Hexdump » Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:26 am

Jacobkg wrote:'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card

It's the only book I ever read more than 2 times.
Enders Game is the book I give to budding SciFi readers to get them hooked.

Another that I have read more than once is Shogun by James Clavell.

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Post by mfen » Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:48 am

Anything by Mark Twain.

Life on the Mississippi
Mysterious Stranger
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Maryanne

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kramer
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Post by kramer » Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:59 am

I think I would vote for:

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

I think anyone who has read Robinson Crusoe can see just how morally vapid the 2001 movie Cast Away was, the movie where Tom Hanks played a FedEx employee stranded on a tropical island after a plane crash.

Kramer

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Post by bcboy57 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:01 am

" The World According to Garp"- by John Irving......... though the aforementioned "Ball Four" is a close second. I can remember laughing out load reading Ball Four.

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Post by nisiprius » Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:18 am

I'm not going to try to analyze too deeply, the answers I'd give to the same question in six months (i.e. long enough to forget what I said last time) might be three different books. And I don't necessarily think these are exactly my favorite books now, these are the ones where I can best remember felt a sense of aha!, of uplift, of the world somehow opening up, and being baffled and at a loss as to what to do when I got to the end.

The Trustee from the Toolroom, by Nevil Shute

The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells

The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien
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Re: What is your favorite book ever?

Post by Sunny Sarkar » Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:30 am

fishnskiguy wrote:Please list number one..
Carl Sagan - The Demon Haunted World
fishnskiguy wrote:...and then only the next two.
Richard Bach - Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Mario Puzo - The Godfather

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Post by expo62 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:35 am

"Vanity Fair" - William Thackeray
"Tender is the Night" - F. Scott Fitzgerald
"The Cricket in Times Square" - George Selden
(loved it as a kid...even more when reading it to my own kids. Filled with more wisdom and humanity than most "adult" books.)

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Post by jeff mc » Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:37 am

superthan34 wrote:...
3. Hitler's Willing Executioners
for me, that one belongs on the "books i couldn't get through" list.

not only is it 1000 pages long, but the average sentence is about 300 words, and average word length about 40 characters.

i went to hear the author speak about the book a few years ago (daniel goldhagen). this is a guy that takes 20 minutes to answer the most straight forward question. it was comic how long winded he is, and how many nested sentences he can string together in the course of answering. after hearing him speak, i immediately understood why the book was so long, dense and difficult to read.

i'd put "the outsiders" (by s.e. hinton) on my best book ever. because it's the first book i ever read purely for entertainment. while in grade school, for some reason i picked up that book and it interested me. couldn't put it down. not that i'm a prolific reader now, but that was a 'gateway book' that opened my eyes to the "voluntary reading for entertainment" world.

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Post by richard » Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:19 am

Jacobkg wrote:'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card

It's the only book I ever read more than 2 times.
Some of the other books in the series are also excellent, especially Speaker for the Dead.

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Re: I agree with this Jacob

Post by richard » Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:20 am

Hexdump wrote:Enders Game is the book I give to budding SciFi readers to get them hooked.
Consider Dune or the Foundation trilogy.

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Post by TheWhiteSwan » Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:25 am

sschullo wrote:My first, 55 years ago--Box Car Children.
Always remember the feeling of being independent as a child.
My first, as well. Read it as a child, haven't looked at it since but it gave me the sense that even a young kid could figure out how to survive against adversity.

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best books

Post by gatorking » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:11 am

1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes (with original illustrations)
2. The Godfather - Mario Puzo
3. Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman!

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Post by Ron » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:22 am

For me, it is Jack London's "White Fang" (which was also made into a movie of the same name - but slightly different, as all movies are).

Regardless of differences in the book/movie, it portrayed a young lad who found a friend in his canine companion.

Being raised in a dysfunctional family, the only one I could ever count on was my dog (a mixed breed Sheltie) that was my "best bud" through many years before I was able to escape my personal "hell".

Unfortunately, when I left for the military, my parents gave me a "directive" to get rid of her before I left home. Although I tried to find her a home, in the end, I was forced to take her to the local humane society. I would believe due to her advanced age that she was put down, since this was the time before no-kill shelters and animals were only kept a week before they were destroyed.

As for me (and my wife), we've been active in Sheltie rescue for the last few years (our current rescue - a four year old Sheltie given up due to his mistress having Alzheimer's - and the family did not want the dog :roll: ) had the opportunity of "saving" three dogs, and we hope to continue in the future. BTW, we have had Shelties over the past 35+ years before we got involved (or even aware) of rescue needs.

The book did have an impact on my life (and my wife's, since she never had a dog in youth and was always a cat person :wink: )...

- Ron

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Post by norookie » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:45 am

fire5soon wrote:Atlas Shrugged
This and "Unintended Consquences" by John Ross. You might also like "Enemies Foriegn and Domestic", I forget the author :wink: plus many books in this sites library. :wink: Not that I retained it all but it got me on a better financial AA path. Rather than being a freight train on a dirt road I'm now closer to being on track. :lol:
" Wealth usually leads to excess " Cicero 55 b.c

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Post by jms824 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:47 am

ON THE ROAD. . . .Jack Kerouac is near the top.

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Post by jeffarvon » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:22 am

Death Valley in '49 would be the book I would offer to this audience. While we worry about our 401k balances, these folks worried about if their chosen path would have water in the next 2 days.

Amazon link for summaries, reviews.
http://www.amazon.com/Death-Valley-49-A ... 1589760263

Very readable and vivid autobiography written in 1890's of the author's life and experience of going to California. I often ponder the immense difference in life between now and then.
"Enough is as good as a feast" - Mary Poppins

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Post by Dude2 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:50 am

1. Catch 22
2. Crime and Punishment
3. Stephen King's Gunslinger Series

<edit> sorry, didn't read the first post closely enough...only a list...no talk.
Last edited by Dude2 on Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by a » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:53 am

Azure Bonds trilogy (Novak & Grubb)
Feeling Good (Burns)
And Then There Were None (Christie)

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Post by brick-house » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:01 pm

Slaughter House Five - Kurt Vonnegut
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
Golf is Not a Game of Perfect - Dr. Bob Rotella
You don't need no gypsy to tell you why- Greg Allman

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Post by fishnskiguy » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:03 pm

My absolute favorite, hands down, is Cache Lake Country by John J. Rowlands. I got the book in hard cover for Christmas when I was eight. At the time we lived a very rural area in Connecticut, and it was surprising how similar the land, flora, and fauna, was to The North Woods the book describes.

I must have read the book cover to cover twenty times over the next few years, and used it as a reference for all manner of things. I built a wind gauge, moccasins, birdhouses, wall tent, sundial, and even a radio that actually worked, following the book's directions.

We collected maple syrup in the spring, made buckwheat cakes on more than one Sunday, and frequently made trout chowder, following the books recipes. My Dad and I even cooked up a big pot of bean hole beans and rope biscuits on a stick once, following the book's directions (no, we did not first ask Mom if we could use one of her pots, and thus I learned that it is easier to get forgiveness than permission).

When I went off to college, I left the book at home. My folks kept it in their collection and I often thumbed through it when I would return home on leave over the course of my career. When I got married, my parents turned the book over to my wife, who, by the way, has read 37 of the books on the BBC list.

My copy now resides on my book shelf in my home office. The last time I read the book cover to cover was this last summer.

A River Runs Through It, by Norman Maclean and Crosscurrents, by James R. Babb get my vote for number two and three.

Chris
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Post by Tall Grass » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:22 pm

A second for "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis.

As far as fiction, probably a tie between:

"The Key to Rebecca" by Ken Follett
"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee
"Dune" by Frank Herbert
"A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart." - Jonathan Swift

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Post by SteveB3005 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:22 pm

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee

THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck

DELIVERANCE by James Dickey

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Post by medicevans » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:31 pm

sschullo wrote:My first, 55 years ago--Box Car Children.
Always remember the feeling of being independent as a child.
I love the Box Car Children series. I hadn't thought about those books for a long time. It brought a smile of rememberance to my face. I miss those simpler times. I had up to #100 and some.

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Post by tat2ng » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:42 pm

my answers would probably vary greatly depending on when I was asked, and could easily be broken down by genre.

my current line of thinking:

1. The Legend of Huma (a dragonlance book)
2. The Death Gate Cycle (a series of 7 books, by Weis & Hickman, but not dragonlance)

thad

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Post by epilnk » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:57 pm

VictoriaF wrote:It changes with time. But if I had to take a single book to a deserted island, Nassim Taleb's "Black Swan" first comes to mind.

Victoria
Victoria, it may be a favorite but if I had to choose one book that I would find dramatically less interesting upon becoming stranded on a desert island, it might be this one. :lol:

Linda

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Post by mclovin » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:04 pm

I quite enjoy Robert Fulghum's books, especially All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Rituals, and What On Earth Have I Done.

Rocket Boys and The Grapes of Wrath are high on my list.

Rotten Ralph was the first book that I ever got and I still think that it is awesome.
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Post by DaveH » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:09 pm

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. — Socrates

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Post by TheEternalVortex » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:14 pm

American Pastoral by Philip Roth

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Post by VictoriaF » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:16 pm

epilnk wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:It changes with time. But if I had to take a single book to a deserted island, Nassim Taleb's "Black Swan" first comes to mind.

Victoria
Victoria, it may be a favorite but if I had to choose one book that I would find dramatically less interesting upon becoming stranded on a desert island, it might be this one. :lol:

Linda
Linda,

I am curious. Is your remark a reflection of your opinion of the book? Or you are poking fun at me for not realizing that being alone on a deserted island I would be living in the Mediocristan where Taleb's ideas are much less powerful than in the Extremistan?

Thanks,

Victoria
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Post by nisiprius » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:29 pm

Ron wrote:For me, it is Jack London's "White Fang"
I'm a big Jack London fan. I dithered on what to put down and passed over London because for me I didn't think any of his novels qualify. I probably should have realized Doubleday "Complete Short Stories of Jack London" counts as "a book" and maybe I should have used that as one of my three. "Samuel," "A Piece of Steak," and of course "To Build a Fire." Some of the best short stories ever written in English, I think.

Of course that old Doubleday volume was not really complete; I currently own the three-volume Stanford University "Complete Short Stories," edited by Labor & al, which is.
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Post by DRiP Guy » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:46 pm

sschullo wrote:My first, 55 years ago--Box Car Children.
Always remember the feeling of being independent as a child.
OMG. Haven't had that book cross my mind in 40 years, yet it was a real critical book for me as a child, too!

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Post by donocash » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:00 pm

Catch - 22

Anything by Hunter Thompson

Fables For Our Time by James Thurber (hard to find, but highly recommended)

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Post by SamGamgee » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:26 pm

The Lord of the Rings (J R R Tolkien)

The Everlasting Man (G K Chesterton)

For the kids: Bridge to Terebithia (I didn't see the recent movie based on this, but I suspect it was awful)

If you are into Star Trek novels like I was as a teenager, "Q Squared" is the best. Actually anything by Peter David is twice as good as anybody else.

Edit: Another great book I read as a kid was House of Stairs by William Sleator.

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