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I have my books and my poetry to protect me - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
j4
j4
I have my books and my poetry to protect me
Mememememememememe first seen on rysmiel's journal:

1. Name a book you love no matter what anyone says.
2. Name a book you loathe no matter what anyone says.
3. Name a book you think is undeservedly obscure.
4. Name a book you think is undeservedly famous.
5. Name a book you think you ought to read.
6. Name a book you think I ought to read.
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Comments
burkesworks From: burkesworks Date: June 22nd, 2004 08:29 am (UTC) (Link)
1) "Breakfast Of Champions", Kurt Vonnegut
2) "Prozac Nation", Elizabeth Wurtzel
3) "I, Jan Cremer", Jan Cremer
4) "Atlas Shrugged", Ayn Rand
5) "Giles Goat-Boy", John Barth
6) "The Rotters' Club", Jonathan Coe
j4 From: j4 Date: June 22nd, 2004 09:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh. Have read "House of Sleep" and "What a Carve Up!" by Coe, and liked them (with reservations, but overall they were good) so I will probably like "The Rotters' Club" too ...

I haven't even tried reading "Prozac Nation" because every time I even pick it up and look at it I just find myself wanting to strangle somebody, preferably the author...
nja From: nja Date: June 22nd, 2004 08:44 am (UTC) (Link)
  1. John Berryman, Dream Songs

  2. Fred Nietsczhshzcjhe, Beyond Good and Evil, or: How to be Hitler

  3. Michael Hamburger, Variations

  4. Dunno. If a book's famous, there must be something people like about it, which is why it's difficult to say the fame is undeserved.

  5. One of the huge unread pile by my bed. Let's say Bertrand Russell, Power

  6. See answer to question 1
(Deleted comment)
nja From: nja Date: June 22nd, 2004 10:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Beyond Good and Evil is basically Naziism without the antisemitism. Everything else is there - the racial stereotyping, the drooling admiration of the Great Leader who ACTS rather than thinking, the hatred of compassion or kindness or all the other qualities that I think make humans rather better than animals (ironic, given the incident that finally toppled Nietzsche into his final madness). Toss in misogyny too. I've probably forgotten some really objectionable bits - the whole thing's like wading through a sewer. His sister tacked on antisemitism (the one foul opinion Nietzsche objected to) but there's really not a very great difference - I think the only reason Nietzsche wasn't antisemitic was that he thought all non-German people were shit.
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: June 22nd, 2004 08:56 am (UTC) (Link)
1. Won't mean much to most people here, but I found What To Expect... While You're Expecting useful and readable. Most posters on pregnancy/parenting newsgroups hate it with a passion, but I found it very useful as a starting point. I guess they were treating it as a bible and therefore finding too much fault with it, but I found it (and the sequels, WTE... The First Year, and WTE... The Toddler Years) not very preachy and quite informative.
2. Middlesoddingmarch by George sodding Eliot. :)
3. The Eliza stories by Barry Pain. Or most of the non-Winnie the Pooh A.A. Milne stuff. Not his preachy anti-war stuff though.
4. Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance or The Dice Man. OK, but not all that as they say.
5. I really ought to try some different crime novelists, I've read all the available titles by the ones I know I like.
6. Have you read any of the Georgette Heyer Regency novels? Arabella is fun as a starting point.
j4 From: j4 Date: June 22nd, 2004 09:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Agree on The Dice Man (it was good, but...) but ZATAoMM completely blew me away. Overhyped, yes, but I think at least some of it's deserved.

Crime novelists: I'm assuming you've read Chandler, yes? I don't read much crime so probably don't have many useful recommendations here.

Heyer: yes, have read one or two, and indeed I did start with Arabella. :-) Not fussed about reading any more, though, to be honest; if they were lying around I'd read them, but I wouldn't seek them out. Sorry!
oldbloke From: oldbloke Date: June 23rd, 2004 12:54 am (UTC) (Link)
And Dashiell Hammet, of course. He was, after all, a Pinkerton man and knew whereof he wrote
tlingel From: tlingel Date: June 22nd, 2004 11:39 am (UTC) (Link)
1) Skylark of Space ('Doc' Smith)
2) Starship Troopers (Heinlein)
3) Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse)
4) Someone mentioned Ayn Rand already, can't do better than that.
5) Foucault's Pendulum (Umberto Eco)
6) The Mouse and His Child (Russell Hoban)
sion_a From: sion_a Date: June 23rd, 2004 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I have a copy of The Mouse and His Child, which j4 is of course welcome to borrow if she can get to the shelf with the Hs on. Although if I were to recommend a Hoban, I think I'd be more likely to say The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz (which is sitting next to it....)
j4 From: j4 Date: June 23rd, 2004 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually The Mouse and His Child looks a lot more appealing to me than The Lion of whatsis ... but one day I will probably get round to reading one of them. They're quite thin, innit? :)

Is 'H' behind the hatstand?
sion_a From: sion_a Date: June 23rd, 2004 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
They are pretty thin. H is behind my paperwork (there's Viriconium lurking in there as well).
j4 From: j4 Date: June 23rd, 2004 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Agreed on Siddhartha, though I could say the same for plenty of other Hesse (everything apart from The Glass Bead Game and Steppenwolf, basically, could be described as 'undeservedly obscure' by comparison...).

Foucault's Pendulum was good fun, worth reading once, but I'm not sure I'd read it again.
dorianegray From: dorianegray Date: June 22nd, 2004 11:39 am (UTC) (Link)
1. Name a book you love no matter what anyone says.
My Brick, otherwise known as the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. That is, bar none, the best present I was ever given. (And yes, I do read dictionaries and grammar books for fun.)

2. Name a book you loathe no matter what anyone says.
"The Lord of the Rings". It took me three tries to actually read all the way through it - and it was finally achieved by skipping large chunks. I think it's one of the worst-written books ever.

3. Name a book you think is undeservedly obscure.
"The Hawthorn Tree" by Patrick Little (of which I am still trying to track down a copy). An excellent Tam Lin-inspired tale.

4. Name a book you think is undeservedly famous.
Other than LotR? I'll say the "Ghormenghast" trilogy, by Mervyn Peake, which I never have managed to wade through.

5. Name a book you think you ought to read.
(Definition of a "classic book": one that everyone wants to have read and no-one wants to read.) I probably ought to give Dickens another try.

6. Name a book you think I ought to read.
I have no idea what you've read and what you haven't! To pick something randomly, I'll say "Fire and Hemlock" by Diana Wynne Jones, another wonderful Tam Lin tale.
oldbloke From: oldbloke Date: June 23rd, 2004 12:56 am (UTC) (Link)
The trick with Gormenghast is not to bother with the 3rd volume. And read them while out of your mind on whatever you happen to enjoy, in one big go when you have FA else to do soemtime.
oldbloke From: oldbloke Date: June 23rd, 2004 12:52 am (UTC) (Link)
1. Simple Electric Car Racing (Vic Smeed)
2. What's Bred In The Bone (some Canadian bloke)
3. The Journal Of A Disappointed Man (WNP Barbellion)
4. That one about the jewish kid fleeing the nazis that was in all the lists a few years ago.
5. Getting The Best Of It (Sklansky)
6. Consciousness Explained (Dennett) [doesn't explain it, really, but some good stuff to think about]
nja From: nja Date: June 23rd, 2004 01:48 am (UTC) (Link)
2. I enjoyed the Cornish trilogy at the start, but by the end I never wanted to read anything by the fruity old ac-tor ever again. "This master of the pen", as an Amazon reviewer puts it. He's the favourite author of readers who like to describe people as "a master of the pen". Forsooth. Some writers have a big dictionary and like to show it off.

3. M3 T00. Actually if I'd been at home rather than at work I would have probably suggested that rather than Michael Hamburger's book (which is a couple of feet above my head now).
sion_a From: sion_a Date: June 23rd, 2004 06:03 am (UTC) (Link)
1. I think I'm going to stick with what I said last night. Not so much a book I love no matter what anyone says, but one I don't think is as (comparatively) deserving of the vilification it gets. Stephen Donaldson's The One Tree, ie. volume 2 of the Second Chronicles etc. etc. which is generally reckonned to be the worst of the bunch (no matter how low or high ones general opinion of the series). Whereas it's the first of them I'd save from the ceremonial pyre. (Somewhere between The Belgariad and The Mallorean. Maybe even before The Belgariad.)

2. Magician by Raymond Feist. Beats Jane Gaskell's Atlan series (which I abandonned part way through book 1 before the tedium caused irreparable damage) because the latter is quite obscure and the former has a number of apologists. Why? for crying out loud. It's a join-the-dots, paint-by-numbers novellization of a game. There's a huge supply of fantasy brick franchises out there, and quite enough with more redeeming features than this.

3. I could just insert my standard rant about how there appears to be lots of good, non-formulaic fantasy which only gets a US publisher and is thus a pain to obtain on this side of the pond. Swordspoint would be an excellent example, but this time, I'm going to single out One for the Morning Glory which suffers the double whammy of being quirky fantasy (darkly humorous but rarely overtly comedic) written by a science fiction author (John Barnes).

4. Can't help but go for a big target here. Pratchett. No question he's done good stuff, but I don't think he deserves the lionization he gets. Go read some Tom Holt. It might not be as good, but it's not that much worse.

5. 1984 is probably at the top of that list, although Brave New World is likely to beat it to the top of the to-be-read pile. Although I've not read Gormenghast, I strangely don't feel too strongly compelled to. Getting round to HP4 and 5 in the near future would be a good idea.

6. You know there's quite a list of these. Top at the moment would have to be The Athenian Murders (José Carlos Somoza). Watchmen would also be highly placed. If you're going to keep bouncing off Freedom and Necessity then I'm not going to keep on recommeniding it -- there's quite enough other stuff to read.
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