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Burtis Le Pants

Recommend a book for someone. (top 10s)

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In this thread, everyone post their top 10 books of all time and then recommend a book for the person above you, using their list as a guide (the book may or may not be from your 10).

Here's my ten

1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo

2. Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace

3. The Virgin Suicides - Jeffrey Euginides

4. Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami

5. To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf

6. The Magic Mountain - Thomas Mann

7. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Bronte

8. The Road - Cormac McCarthy

9. The Silmarillion - J.R.R. Tolkein

10. The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway

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It is hard to rank a book over another. To say that Hemingway is a better author than Morrison (or, probably, vice versa) doesn't really work as a sentiment, because each author producer such complex work that comparison, and in turn, claiming one work is superior, is a very difficult task. However, here are ten books I have read more than twice because they are just that good, not to mention reward multiple readings:


Toni Morrison - Sula

Herman Mellville - Moby Dick

William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying

William Faulkner - The Sound and the Fury

W. Somerset Maugham - Cakes and Ale

Thomas Pynchon - The Crying of Lot 49

JMG Le Clezio - The Flood

Albert Camus - The Stranger

Ernest Hemingway - The Sun Also Rises

Alice Munro - Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage


I recommend you read Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers, because everyone should read it.

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Oh these are always so frustrating for me. In no particular order, here are the books that I feel have most influenced my literary development:


The Brothers KaramazovFyodor Dostoevsky

NW, Zadie Smith

The Pale King, David Foster Wallace

Dear Life, Alice Munro

The Group, Mary McCarthy

Stoner, John Williams

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood

The Third Eye, Lois Duncan

The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen



I recommend you read Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers, because everyone should read it.




If you've only read Hateship, then I'd recommend literally any other Munro collection. Otherwise: Serena by Ron Rash.

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I've read three volumes of Alice Munro, HateshipRunaway, and Friends of My Youth. All of her stories hit the same themes: loveless marriages, arrogant men treating women like furniture, fleeting infidelity, and the difficulties in leaving your home town and trying to return to it, but she always has something interesting to say about them. Her work is simply incredible.


I'll add Serena to my reading list, once I finish my project to read every nobel prize winner. So, I guess I will read it in 10 years. 

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In no particular order:

1) The Crystal Shard, by R.A. Salvatore
2) Streams of Silver, by R.A. Salvatore
3) The Halfling's Gem, by R.A. Salvatore
4) Homeland, by R.A. Salvatore
5) Exile, by R.A. Salvatore
6) Sojourn, by R.A. Salvatore
7) The Legacy, by R.A. Salvatore
8) Starless Night, by R.A. Salvatore
9) Siege of Darkness, by R.A. Salvatore
10) Passage to Dawn, by R.A. Salvatore

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My name is Kevin, and when I recommend books (and oh, I do, reader!), here is what I recommend:


To the friend who is interested in maybe trying some science fiction but doesn't really know what to read, or why anyone would like science fiction in the first place, I tend to hand them a copy of Dune (Herbert), or The Left Hand of Darkness (Le Guin). I tell them: science fiction is not about ray guns and space ships and lasers, it's about thinking about what it means to be a living creature in the universe. Dune takes the idea of hagiography and overlays it on the (continuing!) middle east oil crisis. It's breathtaking writing, perfectly executed, with passages that you'll run through your head like a child and a particularly large piece of halloween candy. Left Hand of Darkness starts with the simplest idea ("what does gender do to us as a species") and opens up an cold, wintry tale of survival, and politics, and ultimately, the idea of loss and acceptance and love.


To the friend who wants a challenge and maybe I can tell they're interested in seeing why literature is perhaps the greatest medium of portraying human emotion, I'll kind of grimace and place The Sound and the Fury (Faulkner) in their hands. "Listen," I'll say, "this is tough. You're going to be pretty hard up in the first chapter, specifically. Stay with it. This is beautiful. This is the human brain, and the human heart, kind of opened up and spread out." Reading this book in high school made me understand why my teachers were always asking me to look for symbols and meaning in literature. "Oh, because books aren't just a fancy way of writing down a series of events."


To the young friend who wants to read a classic, exciting, terrifying adventure, I quickly find my copy of Journey to the Center of the Earth (Verne) and open it up to them. I'll find the passage that initially hooked me as a reader: "Descend, bold traveller, into the crater of the jökull of Snæfellsjökull, which the shadow of Scartaris touches before the Kalends of July, and you will attain the centre of the earth. I did it. - Arne Saknussemm" 


To the person who is willing to not look at me like I'm sort of weirdo, perhaps a close friend who knows me already pretty well, I'll buy them a copy of the annotated(!) Lolita (Nabokov), a book that deeply, deeply cares for language, and makes you understand that sin is complex, and desire is terrifying, and consuming, and sometimes you want what you should not have. (The annotated version is not a necessity, but it certainly helps) 


To the person who wants a quick read but I kind of want them to trick them into reading something very important, I'll offhandedly mention that The Crying of Lot 49 (Pynchon) is pretty gripping, while secretly knowing how dangerous it is to bring someone in on an important secret, even if that secret is a very well known book. 


To the person who wants something to read as summer approaches, I'll tell them to go to a library and check out Dandelion Wine (Bradbury), and read it outside, and read it on the bus, and read it in a diner, and read it sitting on a porch, maybe. Ray Bradbury is certainly most well known for his fantastic science fiction, but he also does something in Dandelion Wine that stupid Garrison Keillor and his melty voice only wishes he could. (Yes, it's treacle at times, but that's ok, reader. That's ok)


To everyone, I recommend Foundation (Asimov), Middlesex (Eugenides), Invisible Man (Ellison), The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Heinlein), Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky), King Solomon's Mines (Haggard), Anathem (Stephenson), Neuromancer (Gibson), and so many more, some obvious, some terrible, and all worth reading.


(Shoot, I am miles away from my bookshelf, and I can't think of some of the other very important books I tend to hand out, or purchase, or recommend to people. So, the list will have to end there.)

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Roughly in order (some would be ties), one being the best:

1. Time Traveller's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)

2. Stranger in a Strange Land (Robert Heinlein)

3. Neuromancer (William Gibson)

4. High Fidelity (Nick Hornby)

5. Pride and Prefjudice (Jane Austin)

6. The Road (Cormac McCarthy)

7. Dune (Frank Herbet)

8. The Stand (Stephen King)

9. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)

10. Red Mars (Stanley Kim Robinson)


If I could recommend one series in total I'd recommend The Culture novels by Iain M Banks.

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For you Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer.

My top ten (in no order):

Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel García Márquez

The Tenant by Rolando Topor

I, The Supreme by Augusto Roa Bastos

Grimscribe and Noctuary Thomas Ligotti

Last Evenings of Earth by Roberto Bolaño

Deephaven by Sarah Orne Jewett

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

The Islands by Carlos Gamerro

Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin

Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

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2666 - Robert Bolano springs to mind. If you've read that, William Kennedy's Albany books.


10. I'm going to take a leaf from Erik Wolpaw's book and say Godot. At this point I have over a hundred books on my shelves that I haven't read, and too many of them, Infinite Jest to Milan Kundera, are promising. So this place is reserved for any number of books which could displace the rest of the list.

The rest I put in random order. Another leaf from Wolpaw's book is the positions are interchangeable, except for first place.

09. Skippy Dies - Paul Murray

08. On Beauty - Zadie Smith

07. Stoner - John Williams

06. A Song of Ice and Fire - George RR Martin

05. The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Michael Chabon

04. Cujo - Stephen King

03. Hoke Moseley books - Charles Willeford
02. The Grifters - Jim Thompson

01. Apparently, I've got to read more books by women.

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