The Literature Thread

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PostThe Literature Thread
by Drawlight » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:48 pm

Ahoy there fellow GRcadian bookworms! This is the thread for all your novel, novella and short story needs, where we can discuss our favourite, and not so favourite books, as well as hypes to-be-released novels.

This is not the thread for discussing ones own writing in depth- no doubt a sufficient thread will emerge in due course-(EDIT: Sod that, we’ve got a new folder), but one for discussing, debateing and recommending our beloved authors. As such, I’m hoping we’ll get some more left-field writers into the fray as well as the established classics.

As such, like with the USTV thread, we’ll be keeping a list of our recommended authors right here in the first post- PM or post if you want one updating. The ones I’ve got here are a small selection of my personal favourites. What stands is a heinously incomplete list, so I’ll be adding to it as time goes by, and with all your selections.

I’m also unsure of how to differentiate between ‘modern’ and ‘classics’ in some cases (because Watchmen and H2G2 certainly are Modern Classics), so maybe I’ll set up a modern classics section as we get more in, and if there’s call for it

Modern Recommendations:

Douglas Adams- Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy ‘Trilogy’
Ian M. Banks- Consider Philebas- Use of Weapons
Jon Courteney Grimwood- Pashazade Trilogy, 9Tail Fox, End of the World Blues, Stamping Butterflies
Susanna Clarke- Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
Neil Gaiman- American Gods, Stardust, Anansi Boys, Neverwhere
Peter F. Hamilton- Nights Dawn Trilogy
Nick Hornby- Fever Pitch, High Fidelity
Cormac McCarthy- The Road, No Country for Old Men
China Mieville- Perdido Street Station, The Scar, Iron Council, Looking for Jake
David Mitchell (No, not the Peep Show guy)- Cloud Atlas, Ghostwritten
Alan Moore- Watchmen, V for Vendetta.
Robert Rankin- Hollow Chocolate Bunnie os the Apocalypse, The Witches of Chistwick
Alastair Reynolds- Inhibitor, Century Rain.

The Classics:

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Mikhail Bulkakov- The Master and Margerita
Emily Bronte- Wuthering Heights
Arthur C. Clarke- 2001: A Space Oddysey, Childhood's End, The City and the Stars
Joseph Conrad- Heart of Darkness
Charles Dickens- A Tale of Two Cities
John Fowles- The French Lieutenants Woman
Hugo Gernsback- Ralph 124C41+
Aldous Huxley- Brave New World
Jerome K. Jerome- Three Men in a Boat
Jack Kerouac- On The Road
HP Lovecraft- The Call of Cthulu (amongst others)
Herman Melville- Moby Dick
George Orwell- Nineteen-Eighty-Four, Animal Farm, Homage to Catalonia
J.D. Salinger- The Catcher in the Rye
JOhn Steinbeck- Of Mice and Men
J.R.R. Tolkien- Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit
Oscar Wilde- The Picture of Dorian Gray

Short Stories:

Daniel Keyes- Flowers for Algernon

Non-Fiction:

Alain De Botton- Consolations of Philosophy
Al Franken- Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
Michael Moore- Stupid White Men, Dude, Where’s My Country?

Also- possibly a GRcade’s favourite book competition? I’d like to compile a definitive list of our favourite novels.

All feedback very welcome- I was going to have links to all the authors sites, but I cocked up halfway through. You can all use google, right?

Love to you all.

So, in hope of sparking a iscussion, I'm really looking forward to Neil Gaiman's latest- The Graveyard Book, which is released in six weeks. Its heavily inspired by the Jungle Books and I was priviledged enough to see and hear him reading an extract and I can tell that its classic Gaiman, and his description of it sounds very ambitious...

Last edited by Drawlight on Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:49 am, edited 5 times in total.
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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Tell Karl his brother is dead » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:48 pm

The Book Thread - Oh dear. Your OP is so much better, too. :(

In case we end up using this one instead (you did have dibs after all), I'm trying to plough through To Kill A Mockingbird at the moment. It's not exciting enough for my usual sit-down-and-read-until-it's-done day-long stunt, though it's very well written and all.

Last edited by Tell Karl his brother is dead on Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by 1>3>4>2 » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:48 pm

Why couldnt Mori put this much effort in! eh?

Ad7 wrote:GOT GUD :datass:

Check out my youtube channel where I sporadically release videos whenever I can be bothered. https://www.youtube.com/user/contardation
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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by TV Dinner » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:52 pm

I'm very lazy.

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by 1>3>4>2 » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:52 pm

Memento Mori wrote:I'm very lazy.


Good answer :lol:

Ad7 wrote:GOT GUD :datass:

Check out my youtube channel where I sporadically release videos whenever I can be bothered. https://www.youtube.com/user/contardation
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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Daniel » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:54 pm

Well Im a big bookworm when it comes to the classics and doing A-levels and then Uni Ive had to study a lot of the classics for various courses. English Lit A-Level we did Austen and Pride and Prejducie remains my favourite novel of that era.

Then I noticed Conrad on your list and I had fun reading and studying that for an African module I did for my history degree. Really deep, though-provoking work


Crime and Punishment is a must if you like that sort of thing

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Yardbird » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:55 pm

I can't comment on what you finished your post with about Gaiman, as I am entirely ignorant of the whole matter, but to contribute to this thread I thought I'd mention how I have recently been trying to expand my reading into "classics" as it were and away from general fiction and pulp crime.

To that end, I asked for recommendations from many people and have read these books in the past month or two:

The Road (Cormac McCarthy) - Told it was possibly his best, and I thought it was brilliant. Short and sweet.
Moby Dick - Because, you know, it's Moby Dick. Also enjoyed it but found the sections on cetology hardgoing.
Animal Farm - Again, short and sweet. Very sweet.
1984 - Always one I meant to get round to, and I finally did. Brilliant.
Three Men In A Boat - I read online that it was very funny and made a point to read this, so I got it from the library and thought it was great.
The Catcher In The Rye - Also excellent.

And at the minute I'm reading through Huckleberry Finn. Most of the above are relatively modern but I needed to transition myself from what I usually read into the older stuff. Any other recommendations would be great.

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Daniel » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:05 pm

Of Mice and Men is another Ive been made to study a few years ago at college and ended up loving.

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Captain Kinopio » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:14 pm

The Picture of Dorian Gray really needs to be put in 'The Classics' section...

It is literally, strawberry floating brilliant.
Also LOTR surely? It was voted Britains favorite book after all.

I am currently reading Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut. My brother, who reads gooseberry fool loads, says it's one of his favorite ever books so I'm expecting good things.

I just finished reading the new 'Bond' book by Sebastien Faulks, Devil May Care. It was alright, I don't know how it compares to others because I've never read any, but I think I was expecting it to be a bit better. I'ld only really reccomend it if you're a die hard Bond or Faulks fan, which really I'm not.

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Daniel » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:18 pm

Herb wrote:The Picture of Dorian Gray really needs to be put in 'The Classics' section...

It is literally, strawberry floating brilliant.
Also LOTR surely? It was voted Britains favorite book after all.

I am currently reading Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut. My brother, who reads gooseberry fool loads, says it's one of his favorite ever books so I'm expecting good things.

I just finished reading the new 'Bond' book by Sebastien Faulks, Devil May Care. It was alright, I don't know how it compares to others because I've never read any, but I think I was expecting it to be a bit better. I'ld only really reccomend it if you're a die hard Bond or Faulks fan, which really I'm not.



Without the movies it wouldnt have even been top 5

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by IGM » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:21 pm

I have been really disappointed with the recent Neil Gaiman books I've read. I loved all his books up until Fragile things and Anansi Boys, both of which I thought were terrible! I need to read up on his new one as I know nothing about it - I really hope it is a return to form though, as his earlier works are among my favourite books.

Recommendations? For Sci-Fi you have to read Consider Phlebas by Iain (M) Banks, it really is a great yarn. His sci-fi stuff is head and shoulders above his non-genre novels, I really would recommend any and all of his culture novels and most of his other sci-fi that I've read.

I don't want to fill the post up with 'books you must read' so early in the thread but I will pop back again and again to put more in. I am finishing Joe Abercrombie's Book of Law trilogy at the moment - pretty good gritty fantasy stuff, goes against the grain of most fantasy/quest type books I've read so seems very fresh for it.

(first post on new forum, Hi everyone)

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Daniel » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:22 pm

IGM wrote:I have been really disappointed with the recent Neil Gaiman books I've read. I loved all his books up until Fragile things and Anansi Boys, both of which I thought were terrible! I need to read up on his new one as I know nothing about it - I really hope it is a return to form though, as his earlier works are among my favourite books.

Recommendations? For Sci-Fi you have to read Consider Phlebas by Iain (M) Banks, it really is a great yarn. His sci-fi stuff is head and shoulders above his non-genre novels, I really would recommend any and all of his culture novels and most of his other sci-fi that I've read.

I don't want to fill the post up with 'books you must read' so early in the thread but I will pop back again and again to put more in. I am finishing Joe Abercrombie's Book of Law trilogy at the moment - pretty good gritty fantasy stuff, goes against the grain of most fantasy/quest type books I've read so seems very fresh for it.

(first post on new forum, Hi everyone)



Read Inversions a few years back and couldnt get into it.

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Drawlight » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:23 pm

Herb wrote:Also LOTR surely? It was voted Britains favorite book after all.


You know my feelings on that Herbi! :lol: Of course I'll put it in, though as it is a landmark piece of fantasy. Excellent choice with Dorian Gray as well- and Vonnegut for that matter!

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Vermin » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:30 pm

Please, please, please put David Mitchell on the Modern Recommendations list.

Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas are two of the most incredible, and informative works of fiction I've ever read.

Athankyou.

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Dowbocop » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:32 pm

Some books I'd recommend:-

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. I originally read it because I'm an Arsenal fan, but it's an excellent book, and it gives a pretty good idea of what goes through the head of a football fan and why we'll sit and suffer through dire performances for our entertainment.
The City and the Stars by Arthur C Clarke. It's set a billion years in the future in humanity's only remaining utopian city. People aren't born, they're stored in memory banks in the city's central computer, and basically come out for thousand year "lives" before being reabsorbed. The main character, Alvin, has a feeling that he doesn't belong. I read half of it, then got distracted by other things, and had to come back to it about a year later, I'm really glad I did.
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. I loved this book. It's about a mentally challenged man who undergoes a new procedure to make him a genius. It deals with the ethical implications of the procedure and how it changes the main character's life for the better and worse.
Ralph 124C41+ by Hugo Gernsback. I liked this, but it's definitely not for everyone. Ralph is the 26th Century's greatest scientist, and this book outlines Gernsback's 1930s view of what the 26th Century will be like. It sounds shite, but the interesting thing is he's pretty much dead on with some of the technology (he's also way off with some of it though, which is hilarious in its own unintentional right). Gernsback's writing style can be a little clunky at times, but that's because English is his second language. He was also the first editor of Amazing Stories, the world's first sci-fi magazine. One last note on it - my girlfriend says it's very hard to get hold of, so if you do see it, give it a shot.

I'm currently reading So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, obviously after reading the first three Hitchhiker's books. It's so silly, I love it!

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Pred » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:37 pm

You've done a great job on the OP. Will this be replacing Memento Mori's thread then?

Yardbird wrote:The Road (Cormac McCarthy) - Told it was possibly his best, and I thought it was brilliant. Short and sweet.


I recently read that after an impulse buy as part of Waterstone's 3 for 2, but I didn't think it was that great. I think the writing style partly put me off.

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Lotus » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:38 pm

I'm reading A Million Little Pieces at the moment. Loving it.

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Fallen Phoenix » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:38 pm

My reading lists are really limited. Don't have the attention span too pick up any of the classics people mention, I tend to just stick with what I like. And tbh they usually comprise of the top 20 paperbacks from Tesco :oops:

I tend to read several books at once, and have just recently finished Twilight Watch (the Night Watch Trilogy) The Unquiet (from the Charlie Parker series) and The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde. All brilliant books in their own right and all sadly the last books to read in the respective series (though The Reapers has just come out, but not a huge fan of HB). These books are really the extent of my interest (supernatural / sci-fi / fantasy / thriller) and other books just don't interest me. Suppose you could blame it on the fact the first book I properly read was the Da Vinci Code, which unsurprisingly I loved.

Currently reading two books - Storm Front by Jim Butcher and The Black Sun by James Twining. After watching the Dresden Files, and noticing Hexx mention the books, decided to pick up the first book. Enjoying so far, exactly my type book and a brilliant read. The Black Sun I bought because I picked up the first book Double Eagle from Tesco and really enoyed it. Theres way to many references to the first book unfortunately which makes me feel like I need to reread it before tackling it.

Anyway not the most exciting reading list I know (whats really to discuss about cheap reads like Black Sun) but I know what I like.

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Drawlight » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:55 pm

IGM wrote:I have been really disappointed with the recent Neil Gaiman books I've read. I loved all his books up until Fragile things and Anansi Boys, both of which I thought were terrible! I need to read up on his new one as I know nothing about it - I really hope it is a return to form though, as his earlier works are among my favourite books.


Hmm, I'm not sure if you'll get on with the Graveyard book- it certainly seems another step away form the much darker mode of his earlier stuff, and 'feels' more like things like Anansi Boys- obviously I can't judge the entire book on what I heard- but I will say that its about some ghosts in a graveyard who raise a small boy whose parents are murdered- like a more serious Johnny and the Dead (Pratchett) and it follows the boys life growing up in the graveyard. Its also getting a Harry Potter style Kids cover and Adults cover.

For the record, I loved Anansi Boys- really good way of doing a semi-sequel/spin off to American Gods, but he hasn't quite reached the same heights as American Gods/Sandman era, has he?

Crimson Reaper- how do the Night Watch books compare to the films? (if you've seen them) I probably wont bother with the books as the thing I really liked about the movies was the visual style, but I'd be interested to know how faithful they are, and which feels like the definitive version?

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PostRe: The Literature Thread
by Fallen Phoenix » Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:13 pm

Drawlight wrote:Crimson Reaper- how do the Night Watch books compare to the films? (if you've seen them) I probably wont bother with the books as the thing I really liked about the movies was the visual style, but I'd be interested to know how faithful they are, and which feels like the definitive version?


The books are definitely the definitive versions. The books themselves are actually split into 3 short stories kinda like the LOTR books, with each story following a certain part of the overall story. The first book, Night Watch is actually the basis for both films, though the second film is completly different to how its told in the book, both to the plot and to the characters. If i'm being honest the films ruin to books to an extent that they just change too much stuff. The whole magic of the books is the interpretation of the light and dark, or Night and Day Watches. The films are too rigid with these elements so you always feel the Day Watch is bad and Night Watch good. Once you start reading the books you quickly begin to understand the whole relationship between light and dark and that nothings as it seems.

Hope that helps you out a little.


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