A Conversation for Miscellaneous Chat

whats the best book you've read

Post 121


Seagull's excellent analysis reminded me that I had not mentioned "Godot". "En attendant Godot" by Samuel Beckett ("Waiting for Godot" in Beckett's own translation)is an absolutely brilliant play (book? smiley - smiley) A must to see, if you get chance, but also well worth reading as there is so much in it! I particularly remember a BBC production with the marvellous pairing of Leo McKern and Max Wall.

To echo back to earlier comments in the discussion, I *had* to read this at school - for French A Level - and it was truly a formative influence. Mind you, it is one of God(ot)'s little jokes that I am now a Christian!!!


whats the best book you've read

Post 122

Paul D

A few more:-

Great Apes - Will Self
The satanic verses - Salman Rushidie (forget the infamany just a great book)
London Fields - Martin Amis
Hocus Pocus - Kurt Vonnegut
American Physcho - Brett Easton Ellis
The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

Could hundreds really.

whats the best book you've read

Post 123

The Moderately Strange Cornice

I like:

The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Hitchhikers and Dirk Gently books (of course)

Anything by Terry Pratchett (except The Colour of Magic)

whats the best book you've read

Post 124

Sick Bob. (Most recent incarnation of the Dark Lord Cyclops. Still lord and master of the Anti Squirrel League and Keeper of c

Once again I would just like to remind everyone of the genuis that is Iain Banks.

His first, and best known, novel "The Wasp Factory" is a truly horrific, gothic literary nasty. However it is also intelligent, well written, though provoking, quite sad and surprisingly, often very funny (if you like your humour as black as expresso) smiley - winkeye

"The Crow Road" is an epic story of a small, introverted family who live in the north of Scotland. It follows multiple narratives of the main character at different stages in his life in flashback and even a flashback of his father as a child untill they all come together revealling the dark secrets of his family. Sweet, endearing and very tragic this is one of the best of Banks books if you can be bothered to work through it (it's 3 times the width of the 'factory.)
Any book beginning with the line "It was the day my grandmother exploded" gets my vote.

"Complicity" is a personal favourite of mine (they don't call me SICK for nothing.) Iain Banks was once quoted as saying that he was fed up of people thinking that he had just written the 'factory for the controversy factor when he insisted that it was for literary reasons only. However Complicity...
Not quite as sick or perverse as it's made out to be, Complicity still plays with controversy with skill. One character is a corrupt journo hack who abuses his position for better stories while taking just about every drug possible and having an S&M affair with a married woman. And that's just the moral narrator who we're supposed (and somehow do) empathise with.
The story follow the path of a truly insane serial killer with a very big redemption complex. The killer believes that every one of their victims was themselves responsible for another death and therefore deserve what they get. Hence the ironic and (almost darkly humourous) style of the murders (An editor is "spiked," a weapons dealer is "dis-armed" etc.) While supplying obvious cruel insights to the reader there is also a deep political agenda to the Post-thatcherite novel and it raises many issues on morality and justice. A great book full of "Dark chocolates for the mind" but don't go to see the poor quality British film of it because it doesn't have any of the power or the wit of the original.

Thats just three to start with but Espedair Street, Whit and Walking on Glass are all also fantastic. The Business and The Bridge had interesting ideas but were not quite as fulfilling and I disliked "Song of Stone" and "Canal Dreams." Thats just my opinion though. You should find out yourselves.

whats the best book you've read

Post 125


Interesting. I, too, disliked 'Song of Stone', but I loved 'Canal Dreams' (coincidentally, I read it on a trip to Tokyo, where the back-story happens). Agree on 'The Business', but I would put 'Whit' into that category, too. Also, I loved 'The Bridge'. I think 'Espedair Street' is my favourite, closely followed by 'The Crow Road' ('a muffled crump!'). Must check the back-postings to see whether that agrees with what I wrote earlier!

whats the best book you've read

Post 126

Mac (Keeper of indecision)

I read "Excession" not so long ago,and it is very good.I've said this already,but it is a very subtle,imaginative and intelligent book.And I just love the name of the warship "Frank exchange of Views"!

whats the best book you've read

Post 127


I've been reading the wasp factory during my holidays and it was thé 2001-discovery for me so far! Okay, so it's disgusting from time to time, and really black and all, but I LUV it! smiley - smiley
Anyway, first thing I did when back in Belgium is run to the library and see what else they've got by Iain Banks. I returned with the Crow Road, and I like it even more. It makes me think of Michael Cunningham's 'Flesh and Blood', a bit...

I plan to read everything he wrote as soon as possible! (same thing keeps happening to me : if I read something I like, I just HAVE to read everything by that author... Anybody else who has this 'problem'?)

whats the best book you've read

Post 128

Sick Bob. (Most recent incarnation of the Dark Lord Cyclops. Still lord and master of the Anti Squirrel League and Keeper of c

I have that same problem. I've read both "Quite ugly one morning" and "Not the end of the world" by Christopher Brookmyre and now want to read his entire works. He's supposedly very like an american author called Carl Hussian (whose "Sick Puppy" I'm currently reading with the same joy.)
I'd suggest these books to you as well as they are very sick but very funny. Kinda like a cross between Iain Banks and Billy Connelly. And like both these peers, also mainly set in Glasgow (sometimes I get so proud of my fellow citizens.)

whats the best book you've read

Post 129


'Excession' is probably my favourite Banks - the ships were always the best characters, and here we finally get a story in which they are the main protagonists. Hurray for 'Grey Area'!

whats the best book you've read

Post 130

mad sash

Never read any Iain (M) Banks but since so many people recommended him, he's next on my list of stuff to read.
My personal favourites (in chronological order)
Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C O'Brien
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Pride and Prejudice (I know, girly stuff, but that Mr Darcy...)
Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice (One of the few books I wish I had written)
As well as this there is Lord of the Rings, The Dark is Rising, Clockwork Orange and many more. I am revisiting my childhood at the moment and reading Alan Garner. Wasn't Elidor good? And I did notice that when they filmed it for childrens tv there was no rain. Surely it's set in Manchester...

whats the best book you've read

Post 131

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

My favorite book, although I don't know if I'd call it the best is Falkenberg's Legion by Jerry Pournelle. It's military science fiction, but it's pretty well thought out.

When Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven get together, they do their best work. They do very intelligent sceince fiction. Their works often take tired sci fi themes and turn them into fantastic fiction. Their works include The Mote in God's Eye (A future first contact novel), Footfall (An alien invasion novel that makes sense), and Lucifer's Hammer (A comet impact novel). They've also written Fallen Agnles (sort of a tribute to fandom. Some roles in the book were auctioned off at sci fi conventions), The Burning City, and The Gripping Hand (The sequel to The Mote in God's Eye).

For single author must reads, I'd have to say Lois McMaster Bujold. She's a genious. She writes incredibly good and funny science fiction. Every sci fi fan should give her a read.

What's the best book you've ever read?

Post 132

Seagull's Lost Horizon

I also quite liked the original planet of the apes novel too

What's the best book you've ever read?

Post 133


Many years ago I read Aldous Huxley's "Point Counter Point". There's a character in it (Rampion) who shines out as an honourable, intelligent and considerate human being. Everyone else in the book is vile.
When I read the book, I thought it was great, and I gave my copy to a girlfriend. She said that Rampion reminded her of me (almost certainly as an excuse for failing to give the book back).
So I've gone through life wanting to believe that this book contains the most perfect description of me in all of literature. I'd love to re-read it, but I daren't in case I find out that I don't measure up...
smiley - flustered

What's the best book you've ever read?

Post 134


The Go Between, by LP Hartley

What's the best book you've ever read?

Post 135

Mister Matty

1984 - George Orwell, an awesomely intelligent and humanistic book

The Bridge - Iain Banks, hugely imaginative and mysterious

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said - Philip K Dick, the only book I had to stop reading at one point because it was freaking me out (for those who have read it, the bit where the main character takes the mescalin with the girl in the big house and then finds her skeleton smiley - run)

Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut, ingenious apocalyptic sci-fi with a very dark streak of humour

Two-Bit, I was interested in your description of "Footfall". Who wrote it?

What's the best book you've ever read?

Post 136


Pilgrims Progress by Bunyun

What's the best book you've ever read?

Post 137


A few others on my list
Lord of the Rings-Tokien
That Hideous Strength-C. S. Lewis
The Langoliers- Steven King
Music Of the Spheres- Guy Murchie
anything by Robert Silverburg( particularly "Downward to the Earth"

What's the best book you've ever read?

Post 138

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

Footfall is by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

It's an alien invasion story that has intelligent aliens. The aliens have motivations for what they're doing, and they're described in some detail. Their computers are not compatible with an Apple Macintosh.

It's by Niven and Pournelle, so the science is pretty good.

whats the best book you've read

Post 139


My favorite book is An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison. It's a beautiful, amazing autobiography.

What's the best book you've ever read?

Post 140

cosmopolitan snowflake

Great list!

I was surprised not to find anyting by John Irving, but that way I can suggest his books now. Basically all the books he wrote after 'The world according to Garp', and even some he wrote before, are good, but the best - and probably my absolute favourite titles are 'Owen Meany' and 'The Cider House Rules'!

Also, if people suggest Gary Larson's 'The Far Side Gallery' (I agree with them), I would also include Bill Waterson (not quite sure about his name) 'Calvin & Hobbes' - I can't decide which of the two series I like best, it very much depends on the mood I am in smiley - smiley

Again, great list and thanks for the effort!


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