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sunapparition
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Finding Good Books to Read

I need help making a list of books to read for the rest of the summer.  The last five of six books that I have read have been total crap and felt like a huge waste of my time.  One book was so riddled with grammatical and spelling errors that I began to wonder if it had even been edited.  I want to make a list of books to read so that I don't find myself trapped into reading total crap. 
 
I decided I wanted to have a little fun with my list, so I made it alphabetical by author.  I need suggestions for authors and what would be their best book to read for my list.  So if you have a recommendation, I'd greatly appreciate any input. 
 
(I won't mention the five books that I absolutely hated and had to force myself to finish.  I have a rule that once I start a book; I have to finish it.) 
 
*The sixth book that I read was Truth and Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett.  I immensely enjoyed this memoir.  I had heard of Ann Patchett because of her novel Bel Canto, but I had never read anything by Lucy Grealy.  I was utterly stunned by the conclusion.  I had anticipated that Miss Grealy would pass away due to her battle with cancer.  I was not expecting the story to end in such tragedy.  After reading it I felt a little depressed, and had the strong need to discuss the book with another person.  (It left me feeling the same way I felt after reading "The Memory Keeper's Daughter."  I admit, I cried at the end of that story.) 
 
 
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ande
Posts: 442
Registered: ‎04-07-2007
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Re: Finding Good Books to Read

[ Edited ]
Greetings!
 
Let me direct you to two wonderful lists on this board that our faithful Book Explorers have kept going:
 
1. The Just Read it List
2. The Just Put it Down List
 
The first is a long list of books we recommend. The second I hope will encourage you to put down books you're not enjoying so you can move on to ones more pleasing. Really, just put it down if you don't like it.
 
Ande


Message Edited by ande on 07-12-2008 12:34 PM
Contributor
Michaelpinner
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎07-13-2008
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Re: Finding Good Books to Read

never judge a book by its cover the ones that look boring are usually are not ,unless you know the authors stlye of writing a book Icould recommend is judas strain by james rollin great read.
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Finding Good Books to Read

sunapparition wrote (in part)  I have a rule that once I start a book; I have to finish it.

 

I'm curious, but why?  

 

There are so many wonderful books out there that I wonder why anybody would spend time finish a book that isn't "doing it" for them.  

 

YOu don't say how old you are. I sort of assume from your post that you're still in school, but then again you could be an 80 year old great-grandmother for all I know.   And yes, I do know 80 year old grandmothers who would use the c word. But not many.

 

If you are in school, here's a list of books it would be ideal for you to have read before you get to college.  If you've read even most of these, you'll be ahead of most of your classmates.  I will say up front that if I were doing the same list (I was a high school English teacher preparing students for some of the premier colleges and universities in the country) I would have many different selections.  Austen: not only P&P but also Emma.  Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, absent from list but shouldn't be.  Dickens, Bleak House.  George Eliot, Middlemarch.  And many others.  But the list there is a perfectly respectable list to work from, except that any list for the college bound that doesn't include any Shakespeare is woefully deficient. Read King Lear.  Read it again.  Read it for a third, fourth, and fifth time.  If after doing that you don't consider it one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written, well, maybe you should go in for digging ditches for a livelihoodl  :smileyvery-happy:

 

Here's another list -- this one Clifton Fadiman's list of books that constitute a lifetime education.  (They're based on his book titled "The Lifetime Reading Plan."  He has listed them in chronological oder, and there's a reason for that since ideas build on one another, so that it helps to know what your author has read to understand fully what they are saying. But you don't need to read them in that order.  Any of these books would be a wonderful read.  Try, for example, Sophocles's Antigone.  An extraordinarily powerful play. Well worth reading and re-reading.  (I do subscribe to the theory that any book worth reading is worth re-reading.)

 

Also, I would advise you to read a good book on classical mythology.  Mythology is so prevalent in writing and even language that if you don't know the myths, you're missing a lot.  Do you know what it means when an author refers to a promethean agony, or the mythical origin of narcissism, or ... so many places mythology comes out!   Bulfinches's Mythology is a classic, but not all that much fun to read.  Edith Hamilton has a good mythology.  Actually, the Idiots Guide to Classical Mythology is amazingly good desite the idiotic title.  Or if you're willing to go to the source, the Mandelbaum translation of The Metamorphoses of Ovid is very readable and quite fun.  And you don't have to read it straight through, but can read along slowly thinking about each of the myths as you get to it. (But don't browse, read it in sequence because it does flow as a coherent sequence of myths.) 

 

 One book that will be a challenge (it is even for advanced readers) but is certainly one of the most intelligent and beautifully written books in the English language is Milton's Paradise Lost.  Don't expect to get it all at first; I've read it several times and get more and more out of it with each reading.  But it's a magnificent piece of writing, and links the classical and Judeo-Christian worlds wonderfully.    Not easy reading, but well worth it.

 

And, one last word: don't forget to go outside and just enjoy the summer!

 

 

 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
New User
Avidreader55
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎11-01-2006
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Re: Finding Good Books to Read

How do you find the lists from the book club:

1. The Just Read it list

2.The Just put it down list

Blogger
ande
Posts: 442
Registered: ‎04-07-2007
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Re: Finding Good Books to Read

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mchwest
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎08-15-2008
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Re: Finding Good Books to Read

OK, you didn't really say what you like to read, but here's a few suggestions from another avid reader... first one rule, never just finish a book because you started it, there are too many good books and so little time... Now, the first one I just finished and loved had been on my bookshelf since it was published, sometime in 2005... A POCKETFUL OF NAMES, absolutely wonderful, I can't believe it sat like that but I'm grateful for the experience. Rule number two, never worry about your TBR pile, you'll get to it... another one, LOST AND FOUND, didn't think I would like this book, it was sad but ended up being very good! let me know what you think, Mary
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gregs317
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎06-10-2008
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Re: Finding Good Books to Read

The Idiot's Guide to Mythology sounds like a good read, to me at least. I've always enjoyed learning about mythology. Only problem was that I usually couldn't remember which character was Greek and which was Roman, so it got a little confusing. But then again that was back in Junior High, lol. Greg
New User
Rama_Das
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-13-2008
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Re: Finding Good Books to Read

AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Great books . Also Amala Bhakta Das great stories to share with friends. Danair Goswami Also.
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imaladygolfer
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎11-25-2008
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Re: Finding Good Books to Read

Here's a rule of thumb I picked up from an author of some Book List book.   If you are under 50 years old, you should read 50 pages of a book and then decide if you like it well enough to continue.   If you are over 50 years old, subtract your age from 100 and that's the number of pages you should read before you decide.   I grew up thinking that I always had to finish every book I started - but as I get older, I do not want to waste time plowing through a book that does not "catch" me - using the guidelines stated above.  There are just too many books to get through before I die.

Hope this helps!

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imaladygolfer
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎11-25-2008
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Re: Finding Good Books to Read

Sun - I can recommend a book I just got through reading - it is one of the best books I have ever read.   It is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Stein.   It is narrated by a dog, but it is a serious book.   It is not at all silly; he is a philosophical dog and you even forget that he is a dog.  There is a great ending and I guarantee you'll shed a few tears.
Inspired Correspondent
Sandikal
Posts: 206
Registered: ‎10-15-2008
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Re: Finding Good Books to Read

I joined GoodReads last year and my reading satisfaction has gone up immensely.  GoodReads is a social networking site for readers.  I have a group of friends whose taste in books is similar to my own.  I can read a plethora of reviews, both good and bad, about books that I'm interested in.  I've been reading a lot more and have run into fewer clunkers since I signed up over there.
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imaladygolfer
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎11-25-2008
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Re: Finding Good Books to Read

Ande - and how do I find the lists?   I am new to this and find it very confusing - i.e. how to find things within the categories and getting the right "threads"!!!

They should write a book about it............  lol

thanks

 

New User
luvie1
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-13-2009
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Re: Finding Good Books to Read

Hi,

 

I would like to invite you to check out this new book club forum http://www.bookreadertimes.proboards.com/index.cgi This forum belongs to a book club by the name of Book Reader Times. They have really cool  giveaways everymonth. I joined them a couple months ago and i really like it. www.bookreadertimes.com

Luvie