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RLLMUK Not Quite Ultimate But Still Pretty Bloody Good Book List


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What stuff are you writing?

I don't really write with an audience in mind (which is also probably a bad sign). Mostly sci-fi. Ideas-y stuff.

There's a novel I've been working on which is steadily becoming a "novel I've been working on" [/stewie]. I like short stories. They are short.

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  • 1 month later...
I don't really write with an audience in mind (which is also probably a bad sign). Mostly sci-fi. Ideas-y stuff.

There's a novel I've been working on which is steadily becoming a "novel I've been working on" [/stewie]. I like short stories. They are short.

That's generally how they work.

My problem is that I have far too many ideas at once, so I have huge difficulty actually finishing anything. But I'm solidly working on this fantasy which has been begging to get out of my brain for 7 years, so hopefully it'll be done before too long.

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I wish I could read wong fei hung's guide to Literature. Not just the top ten, but every book he's read and considers worth reading, with a little mini review.

I have complete faith that I wont regret reading any book he's recommended.

I've read at least three of them, and they're brill! although my reviews of them would be more along the lines of 'fahking brilliant!'

For instance, my review of Foucault's Pendulum would have been: just goes to show people are fucking stupid.

TBH, I could easily do a top 5 best Vonnegut books (Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, Slaughterhouse 5, The Sirens of Titan, Mother Night) , but after that, I get lost for really good books that I enjoyed a lot. Maybe chuck a couple of David Mitchell ones in there for good measure.

I still keep meaning to read Catch 22. As for other suggestions, I didn't rate Life of Pi at ALL. Started off well, but I got so fucking bored of the bit on the boat, I just gave up. Murakami - every fucking book is exactly the same as the next, so they're all interchangable anyway. IMO.

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I wish I could read wong fei hung's guide to Literature. Not just the top ten, but every book he's read and considers worth reading, with a little mini review.

I have complete faith that I wont regret reading any book he's recommended.

That's a nice thing to say, thanks.

It's true that I probably could have written a list five times as long as the one I did, I had to leave out some books I absolutely love to get it down to a reasonable size. Maybe we should have an RLLMUK Not Quite Ultimate But Still Pretty Bloody Good Book List?

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  • 4 weeks later...
Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt Vonnegut - The greatest anti-war book ever written? Probably not, but Vonnegut's understated style and brilliant wit make this tragic and sorrowful book achingly funny, and genuinely profound. Of almost as much interest as the book itself is Vonnegut's writing about the difficulty he had in writing it. A book about the most terrible thing he ever saw, maybe the most terrible thing anyone could ever see. I'm glad he took his time over it, as the end product is a masterpiece.
Can I just name a few rather than 10? I'm not well read enough to think of 10 that I actually rate that highly.

Someone said it earlier, Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut.

I read this for the second time recently and it really sunk in how great it is. Very readable and often funny but at the same time covers a very serious subject with great sincerity. At a glance it might appear like Vonnegut's style is to just jump around at random but it's actually quite carefully structured... one thing I particularly liked on re-reading was how

Edgar Derby's death was handled. Near the start he mentions that it should be the climax, then there are repeated references to it all the way through, but in the end the main narrative never really gets to it, just brushes over it. There's nothing more to say.

Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut

Huh. I'm still doing my "stop reading trashy Games Workshop books, read something better" thing and this was on my possibles list - it's now going to be the next book I read (after I finish reading my current, trashy, Games Workshop book)

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Hmm, see... some of the lists in this thread really throw me.

I, once, briefly, tried Focault's Pendulum - found it ridiculously convoluted and pretentious at the start - found out Eco had said that he did that on purpose to put off 'casual readers' - and that put me off even trying to read the elitist twat's books ever again.

Catch 22 I completely didn't get either. Admittedly I didn't try very hard, but still.

Tried Conrad's The Secret Agent. Bored in 10 pages.

I've just finished Lolita, which had been recommended me by a couple of people as their favourite book of all time. It's good, and fairly interesting. But also a bit slow, self-satisfied and well, good but not great.

So I'm either stupid, or have weird taste.

What's the most literary novel I've actually loved? I'm not sure- I love Breakfast of Champions. I've read all of David Mitchell's and think Cloud Atlas is totally great (but none of Mitchell's books are remotely 'difficult')...

Even if I could read 20 books a year (which I probably can't), that's only maybe 1000 books I can get through before I die... which makes me rather reluctant to persevere with anything I'm not enjoying reasonably quickly...

Maybe I'm just too lazy? :D

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  • 2 months later...

My favourite books - mostly plays, if anyone's thinking of reading any...

Samuel Beckett - Endgame

Martin McDonagh - The Pillowman -

Edward Albee - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Hunter S. Thompson - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Samuel Beckett - Krapp's Last Tape

Bob Dylan - Chronicles Vol. 1 (an incredibly well written autobiography)

Kurt Vonnegut - Breakfast of Champions

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This thread really makes me regret all the crap i've spent my life reading.

Ha, I know what you mean. For a long time now I've been meaning to read a ton of classics. But I go into Waterstones or wherever, go to their "Classic Books" section and just think "Shit... where the hell do you even start?"

I'm no where near well read enough to contribute to this. I've just finished Catcher in the Rye ("It killed me") and I'm about 15 pages into Lolita, which I'm enjoying thus far.

I had to do an intellectual property coursework on a court case all about numerous copyright infringements and claims to do with Ulysses, and I don't know if that's put me off or not. As is my understanding from that case, there seems to be a fair few versions of the book as Joyce kept tinkering away. So there's a 1922 version, 1926 version, a sort of exact, unedited manuscript version, "ultimate and definitive, this is what Joyce wanted" version as edited by someone else years later having looked at every version of the book Joyce had written, not to mention the annotated ones. Just picking the book seems as difficult as reading the book itself is supposed to be.

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Ha, I know what you mean. For a long time now I've been meaning to read a ton of classics. But I go into Waterstones or wherever, go to their "Classic Books" section and just think "Shit... where the hell do you even start?"

I'm no where near well read enough to contribute to this. I've just finished Catcher in the Rye ("It killed me") and I'm about 15 pages into Lolita, which I'm enjoying thus far.

I had to do an intellectual property coursework on a court case all about numerous copyright infringements and claims to do with Ulysses, and I don't know if that's put me off or not. As is my understanding from that case, there seems to be a fair few versions of the book as Joyce kept tinkering away. So there's a 1922 version, 1926 version, a sort of exact, unedited manuscript version, "ultimate and definitive, this is what Joyce wanted" version as edited by someone else years later having looked at every version of the book Joyce had written, not to mention the annotated ones. Just picking the book seems as difficult as reading the book itself is supposed to be.

The differences between versions are very minor, I wouldn't worry too much about it. The penguin classics version is as good as any of them.

My favourite happens to be the 1960 Bodley Head edition but it's only because I have it in the original hardback, and it's printed on lovely paper. I have quite a few others: a reprint of the 1922 original and the 1926 edition, a reprint of the Random House edition, that penguin version which now looks like it's been through a washing machine, so many times has it been thumbed, and a couple more whose lineage I can't quite recollect.

Having said that I think I'd work up to Ulysses, and Catcher in the Rye and Lolita are an excellent start.

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My favourite books - mostly plays, if anyone's thinking of reading any...

Samuel Beckett - Endgame

Martin McDonagh - The Pillowman -

Edward Albee - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Hunter S. Thompson - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Samuel Beckett - Krapp's Last Tape

Bob Dylan - Chronicles Vol. 1 (an incredibly well written autobiography)

Kurt Vonnegut - Breakfast of Champions

I'd second the recommendation for this, it really is very very good. I was impressed by how little of it was concerned with the minutiae of being a "rock star", I was expecting it to be tales of recording studios and tours and the like, and it really isn't.

Your others are also excellent choices, although I've never heard of the Pillowman so I'll have to take your word for that.

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Any list is of course subjective, but mine would be something like-

The Grapes of Wrath- John Steinbeck

Day of the Triffids- John Wyndham

English Passengers - Matthew Kneale...... Less well known than the above two, but an absorbing and heartbreaking book about a 19th century vicars attempt to locate the Garden of Eden, in Tasmania!

To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee.

Mailman- J Robert Lennon- A brilliant book about loneliness, Madness and Spite. Read it twice in a year.

His Dark materials trilogy- Phillip Pullman- The film probably put a lot of people off, but the books remain excellent and ultimately, heartbreaking.

1984- George Orwell

The Poisonwood Bible- Barbara Kingsolver

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Did 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' by Gabriel García Márquez pop up yet? I read the thread but I didn't see it, which I find extremely surprising.

EDIT: Unless that's waht the mysterious 'olla86' was talking about. Yo, cuz!

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