Author Topic: The Literature Thread  (Read 2688 times)

GrayLensman

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The Literature Thread
« on: October 11, 2005, 12:34:01 am »
Discuss your favorite books, authors and literary genres.

Here are some of my favorite books and series.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.  This is a classic tale of love, betrayal and revenge set in 18th century France.  Most of you have probably seen a film adaptation of the novel.  Although it is over 400,000 words, this story kept me on the edge of my seat every minute.

The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clark.  This is a science fiction story about a young man's efforts to rekindle the curiosity and ambition of a once glorious, but now stagnant and isolationist society.  This is the book that introduced me to serious sf at a young age and really influenced my personal outlook.

The Lensman Series by E. E. Doc Smith.  Yes, this is where my username comes from.  A guilty pleasure of mine are early pulp fantasy novels like Tarzan or Conan.  The Lensman series is a roller coaster ride, chronicling the conflict between the Good Guy Galaxy and the Bad Guy Galaxy, that will blow your socks off.  These books have everything: super secret agents with psychic powers, really alien aliens, intergalactic drug smugglers, 1 million ship space-fleets co-ordinated without computers, antimatter planets thrown about, exploding stars--all written before the first atomic bomb or artificial satellite.

Lord J Esq

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The Literature Thread
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2005, 01:41:27 am »
Ooh, this is a wonderful topic!

My favorite genres are the fantasy/sci-fi duo. You might not be able to tell it from my indecently short, brief posts around here, but I would actually consider myself as much of a writer as an engineer. Goodness only knows how much stuff I've written in my day, and most of it is fantasy or science fiction. I prefer these genres because their trademark characteristic is a wider realm of possibility, as physical and scientific limitations are easily circumvented in the name of the imagination. Thus, despite their tendency to be stereotyped as space battles and cloak 'n dagger tales, science fiction and fantasy in my opinion are the broadest of all literary genres.

I have several favorites:

The Chronicles of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
This was the first adult fantasy series I ever read, courtesy of my dad, who got my hooked on sci-fi and fantasy long ago. As a result it remains dear to my heart, but even in modern times I consider it one of the better fantasy works I've ever read, especially the first four books out of the series of ten.

The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
As much as I liked the lush detail of The Lord of the Rings, the sweeping epic of The Silmarillion is much more powerful to me. In one short book, Tolkien manages to touch on so many of humanity's great myths. The Silmarillion is like a rough sketch of the history of everything, and thus it fires the imagination like nothing else I've ever read. Tolkien also had a writing style more mature than any other fantasy author I've ever read.

Battlefield Earth, by L. Ron Hubbard
The book, not the movie. I read it when I was a kid, and for a number of years it was my favorite book. I don't remember much about it anymore, but it greatly inspired my early teenage imagination, which in turn led to some of my best writing from that era.

The Door into Summer, by Robert Heinlein
This is one of my dad's favorite books, and I like it a pretty well myself. Heinlein doesn't always sit terribly well with me for his politics, but you can't deny the man was exceedingly talented.

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg
Why did I put a children's book on my list? Well, I happened to really enjoy it when I was a child! (Right along with The Girl Who Owned a City and Lisa: Bright and Dark!) I may not be able to enjoy it now as much as I did back then, but it helped shape my entire literary style (as did the other two). To this day whenever I come across a sentence with the words "off on" in succession, I think of this book and the protagonist's haughty grammar lessons to her little brother.

Beowulf
Of all the books I read in high school, strangely I liked this one the most, along with such other classics as the poetry of William Blake, Milton's Paradise Lost and Spencer's Faerie Queene, complete with the unforgettable Britomartis! I think you can see what all of these different works and authors have in common that would appeal to me so well. Or is it not so obvious for someone who isn't me? I'm curious.

Táin Bó Cúailnge
Oh my goodness...you'll simply have to read this book to believe it. Ireland's greatest epic, the Táin (rhymes with "coin") is simultaneously one of the most bombastic and ridiculous stories I've ever read, yet so earnestly executed and passionate, and that's why I love it. And when Queen Maev is slightly bested by her husband Ailill's possession of the phenomenally fertile bull Finnbhennach, who had been born into Maev's herd but scorned being owned by a woman and decided to transfer himself to Ailill's, she determines to get the equally potent Donn Cuailnge to balance the books. After unsuccessfully attempting to borrow the bull, she raises an army, including Ulster exiles led by Fergus mac Róich and other allies, and sets out to capture thus studly creature. And, well...you'll just have to read it for yourself. What a story, and all for one bull!

Of course I have many preferred books across most genres, from universally acclaimed stories like Shakespeare's Hamlet, to llittle-known masterpieces like Borges' Labyrinths...from Uris' Trinity to Michener's The Floating World. But I would be remiss if I did not mention my favorite book of all:

Cosmos, by Carl Sagan
Like chess, it's a book that you can read in a day, but may learn from for a lifetime. It certainly did a number on me. Based on Sagan's award-winning documentary of the same name, Cosmos is an exposition of science written for people who don't wear white lab coats and never intend to. It's easy to digest, and deeply thought-provoking on the same "everyday" sort of level that made Jesus' simple parables so accessible. Read this book if you ever get the chance. In fact...go make the chance.

Delightful thread!

Radical_Dreamer

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The Literature Thread
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2005, 03:09:33 am »
Brother's Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. The story of a family in the midst of a series of complex events, with dire consequences. It was originally supposed to be part one of a trilogy, but Dostoevsky died before he could write the other two. The book stands on it's own, however, and is definately worth the read.

1984 by George Orwell. A dystopian book. What can I say, I'm a sucker for dystopia stories. Some might say that it's less relevant now, next to say, Brave New World, but I disagree. They deal with seperate, but valid problems with society, and what could happen if they get out of hand.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. The adventures of a captured proffesor on board the marvelous submarince Nautalis. It almost feels like a fantasy, but it's here, on this earth, in the great unknown sea, and written with the best science available at the time. It doesn't really deal with any social issues like the above two books, which make it a much lighter read, and certainly more fun.

Lord J Esq

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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2005, 05:31:18 am »
Quote from: Radical_Dreamer
1984 by George Orwell. A dystopian book. What can I say, I'm a sucker for dystopia stories. Some might say that it's less relevant now...

Less relevant?! We live underneath the "Clear Skies Act" president. And how many American soldiers in Iraq accidentally choked to death today on the flowers and chocolates lavished upon them by the liberated Iraqi people? But at least Brownie's doing a heckuva job! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! America is at war with Terror. Patriotism is supporting the president! Freedom is accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Love is hating gays and women and blacks! France is our enemy and Saudi Arabia is our ally! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! The insurgency is in its last throes. We're turning a corner. The federal government is well prepared to handle a hurricane/earthquake/flu pandemic. One more liberal activist judge on the courts and we'll all EXPLODE!! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! We'll cut the deficit in half by lowering taxes and spending billions more on the war and reconstruction! Social Security is Social Insecurity! Immigrants are a national menace! Fox News: Fair and Balanced! We need to cut our dependence on foreign oil by building more refineries! Saddam Hussein destroyed the World Trade Center! Global warming isn't real! Evolution is a lie! Stem cell research will never work! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11!

I'd say the relevance is uncanny. =P

Nice literary picks, anyhow. Have you got any favorite books that people are less likely to know about? Everyone's got a favorite or two outside of the mainstream. Maybe I can learn something here.

Burning Zeppelin

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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2005, 06:04:50 am »
Some ones i've read recently:
The Picture of Dorian Grey A story of a man, so caught up in beauty and aesthetics, that soon his life is consumed by it, and it ends tragically because of it as well... Oscar Wilde

1984 A time when the world is consumed by a dictatorship, and where every action is watched. A time where people have become brainwashed and even the kids have learnt that they must turn in there parents for there wrong doings. A time where the protaganist finds out that there is no escaping Big Brother...[and not even I can escape Big Brother, its on all the time!] George Orwell

Animal Farm When the farm is taken hold by the oppressed animals, the animals decide to take on a new law, a law where everyone is social, and commune. But after the original leader dies, the laws are exploited, and soon the farm is thrown into a battle between chaos and order... George Orwell

To Kill a Mocking Bird A bunch of curious kids, living way back when black people were still called Negroes and who had no rights, except the right to live, which was also very exploited. Through many small adventures, they find out the meaning of good, and when a black man is unfairly charged with rape, they figure out what an evil world it really is... Harper Lee

Catch 22 Not finished, but seems very funny = ) Joseph Heller

Lovely Bones A young girl, aged around 14, dies during rape, and her bones are scattered around the corn fields. From heaven she narrates events that happen, her grief stricken mother who in turn leaves the family, her sister, her old boyfriend, or the man who raped her Alice Sebold

You Don't Know Me Written in first person, and in a very unique stream of consciousness, the boy, and the narrator goes through life being an abused, quite unsocial and sad boy David Klass

CheckersAlso written in first person, it is mainly a recount from her mental institution, or help centre, of her life with her important family, and things that happened, like an illegal business going on, and which also involves her new dog, Checkers John Marsden

I know, I know, I don't know how to review books

Hadriel

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The Literature Thread
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2005, 06:17:22 am »
Final Fantasy VII
This book starts out about an evil corporation called the Shinra Electric Power -

Oh wait.

Science fiction and fantasy are my favorite genres.  I personally think they're the best, though I won't objectively call them such.  However, they're definitely the most versatile genres, for the simple reason that you can do a great deal more when writing in them.  With science fiction, you've got fantastically advanced technology that allows you to do everything from exceeding the speed of light to spending an hour on the holodeck with Seven of Nine, which admittedly is just about the only usage a holodeck would ever get from anyone.  With fantasy, you don't have to make even a nominal effort to follow the laws of physics (not that most of today's science fiction really does that anyway); you can do whatever you damn well please to illustrate whatever point you're trying to make.  As a general rule, I prefer science fiction over fantasy because it allows one to look at possibilities for the future, which is something that no other genre can do as well as it can.  When 1984 was written, it could have been classified as science fiction.  Now, it would and should be taken as more of an "alternate history" novel, which is not necessarily fantasy or sci-fi.  I'll get to some novels I like later; I've gotta sleep.

Burning Zeppelin

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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2005, 07:38:00 am »
Yes, sci fi is an awesome genre, but it is becoming more and more cliche. Pretty much, Humans destroy planet...go to new planet...destroy that....
Ok, that was stupid, but you have to admit, many books are like that now. Books that annoy me are books that go to much over good and evil, like those kid books where there is a spy, who is a kid. They are very stupid for the fact that it show the kid as being the outright hero, where it should be more unbiased. And plus the whole 14 year old spy thing is so stupid. I used to like Deltora Quest and Rowan of Rin series back in the day
EDIT-->DELETE: Gay

Kazuki

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The Literature Thread
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2005, 04:32:20 pm »
Autobiography of Red
1984
The Kite Runner
The Shining
Rose Red
The Thief of Always
Across the Nightingale Floor

BZ, you have to realise that those books are meant for really young kids...so maybe you hate them, but they're not intended for someone at your level anyways. Also, using "gay" as a derogatory term makes you look a bit ignorant and prejudiced, in my opinion.

Radical_Dreamer

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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2005, 06:07:25 pm »
Quote from: Kazuki
Also, using "gay" as a derogatory term makes you look  ignorant and prejudiced.


Fixed. And in response to whomever posted Catch-22, I have read it, and it's quite good.

cupn00dles

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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2005, 10:05:20 pm »
Every Tolkien book  :P

Burning Zeppelin

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« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2005, 05:31:11 am »
oh, sorry about the gay thing, sometimes i cant help myself, living in this society and all. Plus, the people that read those books, are my level, my age more precisely.

Naz

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The Literature Thread
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2005, 08:52:55 am »
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy! Who doesn't love the works of DNA?

SolidSnake_8608

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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2005, 10:13:37 am »
What about the CT novel, don't know much about it,  but they were talking about it on G4 the other day.


And the only reason people are offended by the term "gay", is because they are trying to hard to be politically correct, i have a lot of gay friends and they use the term all the time in a derogatory way, there usually is no offense meant, it's just the same as calling someone stupid or dumb. Jeez people, lighten up.

Radical_Dreamer

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« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2005, 04:01:17 pm »
Quote from: SolidSnake_8608
And the only reason people are offended by the term "gay", is because they are trying to hard to be politically correct, i have a lot of gay friends and they use the term all the time in a derogatory way, there usually is no offense meant, it's just the same as calling someone stupid or dumb. Jeez people, lighten up.


The reason people are offended by people using the term "gay" as a deragatory term is because they are offended by ignorance. What your gay friends say is immaterial; my gay friends don't use the term "gay" in that fashion, and get quite offended. So who's experience should we use as a determining factor? I'd say it's better to just call stupid things stupid, and let it stand at that.

SilentMartyr

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The Literature Thread
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2005, 05:23:07 pm »
Quote from: SolidSnake_8608
What about the CT novel, don't know much about it,  but they were talking about it on G4 the other day.


It is no where near finished, that would be why. If you want to involve yourself in the novel check out my button in me sig. The Compendium is also affliated with CTNP, so don't be shy.

Lost, Scott Stein:
I actually came across this book in Freshman year of humanities in Drexel. My professor is the author of the book, who is a very good professor. Anyways on to the book. The story follows a mid-twenty year old man in New York City, but this man is a bit peculiar. Let's just say he does things differently. The book is a great read, and not too long. I would categorize it as drama, but I am not book expert.

The Shining, Stephen King:
The story of a family that has to watch over a Colorado hotel over the winter. But this hotel is no ordinary hotel, bad things have happend. If you have seen either the movie or the mini series you have to read the book. While they are both great the book is so much eerier, if that is even a word.

To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee:
This is my favorite high school required reading. Just a great story of a families struggles between right and wrong in the deep south. it is an empowering tale for anyone who wonders whether doing the right thing is the best thing, even in times of need.

The Stand, Stephen King:
Last but not least, my favorite tale. An epic battle between good and evil in a post apocalyptic world, told from the first days of the virus outbreak that has a 99.96%(I think that is the right percentage) infection rate and garuntees death. This is a LONG book, over 1200 pages, but it is worth it. I read this almost once a year, it is just such a great story. And even with heavily religious aspects throughout the book I can still enjoy every word.