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Must Read Books

Discussion in 'Books' started by Felixx219, Apr 14, 2012.

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  1. Felixx219

    Felixx219 BigSoccer Supporter

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    What books do you feel that everyone should read in their lifetime? Which books do you feel should be mandatory reading in high school or college? Books that you have read that made you think about them for a long time or books that you walked away from feeling as if you were a better person, more cultured, or they were just that damn good.

    Here is a short list that I will start with and I will probably add more as I give it thought.

    The Richest Man in Babylon by Richard Cason - a short book that should be mandatory to receive a high school diploma. If people had read this book and really learned the lessons in it, we may not have experienced our most recent recession.

    The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand - I would probably add every Ayn Rand book to this list but I know that isnt realistic so I will nominate my favorite and probably my favorite book of all-time.

    1984 by George Orwell - this is probably an obvious choice for many but I am always surprised by how many people havent read it. Animal Farm could easily be listed as well.

    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain is one of those authors where everyone should read at some point in their lives. I have a soft spot for this book because I visited Hannibal, MO when I was a kid and they have a set there where they run a theater of this book. It is on the river with the set being on one side of the river and the spot for the audience on the other side. One of my most memorable experiences as a kid was seeing this and I look forward to taking my kids someday.
     


  2. Uppa 90

    Uppa 90 Member

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    To Kill a Mockingbird

    Catcher in the Rye

    Great Gatsby

    Life of Pi
     
  3. Dills

    Dills Moderator Staff Member

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    Watership Down
    Animal Farm
    Fahrenheit 451
     
  4. Val1

    Val1 Member+

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    Let's see, basically you're talking about what is canon literature. So far, we've got as recommended (and the year published):

    Watership Down -- 1972
    Animal Farm -- 1945
    Fahrenheit 451 -- 1953
    To Kill a Mockingbird -- 1960
    Catcher in the Rye -- 1951
    Great Gatsby -- 1925
    Life of Pi -- 2001
    The Richest Man in Babylon -- 1926
    The Fountainhead -- 1943
    1984 -- 1949
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn -- 1884

    To which I would add:
    The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock -- 1915
    Hamlet -- 1623
    A Christmas Carol -- 1843

    While A Christmas Carol and The Richest Man in Babylon are unlikely to be in many school curricula, the rest are, pretty much, canon. Add to them Lord of the Flies and maybe Grapes of Wrath and something by Hemmingway, and that seems to me to be high school canon literature.

    What I find interesting is that a plurality of the works on this list were written in a relatively narrow window of time, basically from the end of WWII to 1960, and furthermore, that they became canon relatively quickly. To Kill a Mockingbird was canon by the early 70s, just 10 - 15 after it was published. Only one work cited thus far, Life of Pi, has been written in the past 40 years.

    Has writing become so barren that the only significant works in the past 40 years are Harry Potter novels? Which I love and appreciate, to an extent. But still. What's more recent that should be added?
     


  5. Rorysm

    Rorysm New Member

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    American Gods by Neil Gaimen would be the most recent one I can think of that fits the bill for me.
     
  6. Dills

    Dills Moderator Staff Member

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    When I was forced to read these books in high school, I didn't see the point in putting all that time into it. And like most of my classmates, we immediately grabbed a Cliffs Notes copy.

    I'll be out of high school 19 years this June. And I'd say over the past 5-7 of them I've made an effort to go back and read these pieces of "canon literature" in my free time and because I wanted to. Turns out, they're mostly pretty damn good reads. Who'd a thunk it?

    ;)
     
  7. Iceblink

    Iceblink Member

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    Some of mine were taken already (esp. Watership Down and the Fountainhead)...

    The Three Musketeers should definitely be read! I love that book!

    I'd add a couple books of poetry to the list. Sailing Alone Around the World by Billy Collins. I also think maybe everyone should read Skin, Inc. by Thomas Sayers Ellis. I hope this guy gets big.

    Everyone should read Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud.

    Everyone should read The Conjure Woman by Charles Waddell Chesnutt.

    Everyone should absolutely read A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. The movie... yeah, it exists. I liked it a lot until I read the book. Now I can't really stand it.

    I actually think everyone should read as many books written in dialect as possible.
     
  8. Barbara

    Barbara Where is Rickon?

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    A Prayer for Owen Meany
     
  9. Bonnie Lass

    Bonnie Lass Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I think I started off with a high school reading list, then threw in a few for 'should reads.'

    Maus
    Brave New World
    Fields of Fire
    Lords of Discipline
    Beloved
    Good Omens / American Gods / Anansi Boys
    The Poisonwood Bible
    V is for Vendetta
    Leaves of Grass
    The Bean Trees
    Heart of Darkness
    Blood Meridian

    I wish I knew why more modern works haven't been embraced by schools. I'm 15 years removed from high school and I still shudder when I think about our reading lists. It just seems odd to me that we can embrace movies less than a decade old as a classic, or as one of the best films of all time, but when it comes to books, anything less than 30 years old isn't good enough. You have to wonder if literary snobbery isn't to blame. Or maybe because school systems feel like more modern books would be far too risque? (Which is hysterical, given how much kids today are exposed to.)
     
  10. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC Viking Pineapple Presents

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    i'm just starting to read for the second time Les Miserables. it's a daunting task.

    I would also recommend:

    Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
    Stranger in a Strange Land - Robt. Heinlein
    Tristram Shandy - Laurence Sterne
    Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut
     
  11. Val1

    Val1 Member+

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    Great book, as you know, or you wouldn't try it a second time. Hard to find a complete translation with the 20 chapters at the beginning that are Hugo's critique of Napoleonic France, but if you do have that, I'd recommend skipping it and start off with the Bishop of Digne. Still a long work, but from then on you get the story. I thought of inserting a youtube clip from Les Miserables, say One Day More, but thought that would be too lowbrow.:D
     
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  12. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC Viking Pineapple Presents

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    i'm reading a free Kindle version from an Android Play Store...

    i'm actually enjoying it, not having read it the first time.
     
  13. ASU55RR

    ASU55RR Member

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    I would recommend,

    The Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov
    A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
    The Book of Laughter and Forgetting - Milan Kundera
     
  14. Val1

    Val1 Member+

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    Welcome to BS, and more importantly, the books forum. :thumbsup: Feel free to let us know what you're reading and what you think.
     
  15. Skippysasquirrel

    Skippysasquirrel Member+

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    So tough to create a list like this because I really think any list of "must read books" should have about 1000 entries on it... I'd say it varies by the individual, but I'd want to see at least Huck Finn, but also Watership Down, most of Shakespeare, Great Gatsby... I'd say just google "100 best books of all time," and read every one of them.

    And, of course, I'd say a select religious text, especially if you claim to be a member of that religion. ;)
     
  16. PabloDebarge

    PabloDebarge Member

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    Since I am presently reading Philip Roth and he is often referred to as the best living American writer, I suggest 'American Pastoral' as a must read. It's probably his best, and his one standout that even lukewarm fans like myself rate highly.
     
  17. beckham22

    beckham22 New Member

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    Fountainhead -Ayn Rand
    The Da Vinci Code" - Dan Brown
    Dan Brown, "Angels and Demons"
    "1984" - Orwell
     
  18. Gavin_12

    Gavin_12 New Member

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    I like these books, too.
    I wonder if there is someone who hate "The Da Vinci Code" because of religion.
     
  19. Skippysasquirrel

    Skippysasquirrel Member+

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    I didn't hate it. It was a fun read, but I'd hardly call it a good book. If you're looking for something to keep you awake on a long flight, keep the pages turning, then Da Vinci Code is perfect. If you're looking for theology, or if you though Harry Potter was evil, then you might want to stay away from Dan Brown lol
     
  20. spot

    spot Member+

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    I'm sure there are people who do. In a world where people hate Sesame Street for its subversive messages, it's hard to believe that there aren't people who would hate the Da Vinci Code.

    http://www.catholic.com/documents/cracking-the-da-vinci-code
     
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