Best Books of All time?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by welsh, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Those guys are big on Nabokov, welsh.

    I also see Gilgamesh and Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching

    It's kind of stupid to list stuff like "Shakespeare's collected works" or "Chekhov's short stories" or "Borges' collected fictions". They may be great pieces of prose, but bundled together and read is not how the author intended them and thus not really how they should be judged. It's just a cheap way of getting Shakespeare in there.

    It's funny how non-Russian lists never put Crime and Punishment very high, even though (in Russia and Europe) it is considered to be the best work of Dostoevskij in a pure literary context.
  2. SimpleMinded

    SimpleMinded Vault Fossil

    Jun 17, 2003
    I see myself in the same boat as you frissy. My best books of all time list probably wouldn't stand much ground in terms of literary quality but it's about books I enjoy. So maybe rather than 10 best books, I could give you my 10 favorite books.

    Mmm and Kharn, I was curious about Crime and Punishment. That's the only Dostoevskij I've read and I thought it was great (if a little slow at times).

    And what's the fuss with Joyce? I tried reading his stuff before and in terms of approachability, he sucks the big one.

    I'll have to think about my top ten but it won't be anything like these :).
  3. Lazarus Plus

    Lazarus Plus The smoovest

    Apr 1, 2005
    Whoa! No Foundation by Isaac Asimov!?

    The list is not complete.
  4. Jebus

    Jebus Background Radiant

    Jan 29, 2004
    For me personally, it'd be the collected works of Hans Christian Andersen.

    Not that I still read it - but I've read it dozens and dozens of times when I was but a wee little Gob-spawn, and have nothing but fond memories of it.
  5. quietfanatic

    quietfanatic Ancient One

    Dec 10, 2003
    I have read very little, but as a young child I loved LOTR and Roald Dahl and now I am a big Pratchett fan. As it is finally summer holidays now, I can read some of these more adult books.

    Here is the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) popular list. It has some Russians as well as several Aussie authors you wouldn't know. No Hubbard either.

  6. The Man From Utopia

    The Man From Utopia First time out of the vault

    Nov 6, 2005
    The fuck? Captain Underpants is Australia's 16th favourite book? I knew the state of education among prisoners was bad but I never realized how much.
  7. greatatlantic

    greatatlantic It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jan 29, 2005
    I just have to say Catch-22 by Keller is simply amazing. Its a funny, dark, commentary on war and society. Then, its written achronologically, which is tremendous literary feat. If you haven't read, I think you haven't read the best novel written in the past 50 years, at least.

    Having Ayn Rand on the list is a joke, and putting her number one is even a bigger joke. I've read some Rand, and she is a terrible novelist. Heck, the best part of Atlas Shrugged (the title) was penned by her husband. She was going to call it The Strike or something lame like that. Yeah, Ayn Rand made a career of telling people it was their right and indeed necessary to be jerks.

    As for truly naming a greatest novel, you probably want to start by limiting it to a single culture. Then you need a book that summarizes the values of that culture, has incredible literary merit, and teaches us something about ourselves. Might I suggest See Spot Run?
  8. Jarno Mikkola

    Jarno Mikkola Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Jul 14, 2005
    Nahh, I'll just wait for the movie 8)
  9. alec

    alec White heterosexual male Orderite

    May 21, 2003
    Best Dutch book ever? Easy: that would be 'De avonden' by Reve. Multatuli's 'Max Havelaar' would be a close second, but 'De avonden' is still better in lots of ways.

    A top ten of the world's best novels would surely have to include work by Joyce ('Ulysses'), Kafka (I'd go for 'The trial'), Dickens (can't pick one, 'cause most of them are just too bloody good), Vonnegut ('Slaughterhouse Five') and Perec ('La vie une mode d'emploi'). I'm sure some Russians deserve to be in that list as well, but I've yet to read one of the big Russians. The size of their books just completely demotivates me.

    My personal list, though, would look like this:

    1 Kurt Vonnegut, 'Slapstick or Lonesome No More' (not his best book, true, very true, but the book that intrigued me the most, a bizarre mixture of post-apoc fiction, autobiography and horror)
    2 George Perec, 'Un homme qui dort' (one of the only books I know of that was written in the second person singular, about a guy who is bored and depressed and who sleeps a lot, it's only about a hundred pages, but they will haunt you for the rest of your life)
    3 Thoreau, 'Walden' (a treatise on individuality, written by the greatest optimistic cynic whom ever roamed the earth or something like that, and full of wonderful sentences)
    4 Franz Kafka, 'Die Verwandlung' (in my opinion his best work, starts with one of the most famous sentences in literature (if not the most famous sentence), about a guy who wakes up and finds himself changed into a bug, brilliant)
    5 Lewis Carroll, 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' (plus the sequel 'Through the Looking-Glass', simply marvellous fiction, they don't write books like that no more, alas)
    6 J.D. Salinger, 'The Catcher in the Rye' (you gotta love this book, it influenced so many writers worldwide)
    7 Julian Barnes, 'A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters' (I getting tired of explaining why, so I'll leave it at that)
    8 Reve, 'De avonden'
    9 Paul Auster, 'Mister Vertigo'
    10 George Orwell, 'Animal Farm'

    Number 9 and 10 I just filled in because I'm bored thinking up titles. There are better books out there than those, but they're not bad either.

    I could easily compile a personal top ten list consisting merely out of Vonnegut novels, though.
  10. welsh

    welsh This ghoul has seen it all

    Apr 5, 2003
    Got to love Thoreau. Read him and Salinger in 11th grade. Also the Hawthorne's the Scarlet Letter and Huck Finn. It was a good year for fiction.
  11. SimpleMinded

    SimpleMinded Vault Fossil

    Jun 17, 2003
    Wow, I don't know if anyone noticed this but GOOSEBUMPS is on the Australian list... mmm I didn't even think those books were written well when i was in 5th grade. e gads.

    Though I guess Captain underpants would be a bigger surprise :).

    Hrmm mand Davinci code at 9. I can see a lot of people being upset with these.
  12. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign Abalutza oTO Staff Member Moderator Orderite

    Apr 1, 2005
    I remember GOOSEBUMPS. I recognized R.L Stein's attempt to pump out as many books as he could when I was 10. They were good when I was in the 5th grade, but on a top ten book list? Whatever floats your boat I guess! Just for shits and giggles...

    Favorite GOOSEBUMP books

    Night of the Living Dummy
    Monster Blood
    The Haunted Mask
    One Day at Horrorland
    Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes
    Beast from the East
  13. Zaij

    Zaij Vault Senior Citizen

    Feb 10, 2004
    The Heart of the Matter is considered Graham Greenes greatest? Disgusting. And why the hell is Dune lower than Harry Potlet?
  14. John Uskglass

    John Uskglass Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Aug 29, 2003
    1) The Bible
    2) City of God
    3) Summa Theologiae
    4) The Brothers Karamozov
    5) I have no idea