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What are your ten classic books?

Discussion in 'Arts & Entertainment' started by CivCube, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. CivCube

    CivCube Feelin' defiant.

    Jan 15, 2003
    Once upon a time, I started a thread for CFC's own list of classic books--books that are considered essential to understanding the world in fiction and non-fiction. This time around, you must post ten. No more, no less. Please explain why.

    1. The Bible - Let's get this one out of the way. Find yourself a good companion guide and get started on Semitic/Abrahamic culture.
    2. Shakespeare's works - Arguably the most influential writer ever when it comes to dramatic characterization, storytelling, diction, poetry, etc.
    3. Walden, Thoreau - A rambling thesis on self-empowerment that is far more thoughtful and compassionate than Ayn Rand's ideas.
    4. Strunk and White's Elements of Style - Because learning to write better will help you to read better and appreciate better prose.
    5. Poetry of Rumi and Hafiz - Like Shakespeare, what these two have written are surprisingly modern and relevant.
    6. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy - Before HBO character epics like The Wire, there was Tolstoy's look at different parts of Russian society during Napoleon's siege.
    7. Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud - One of the most influential books for me. Aside from gaining a better appreciation of the format, it also forces one to really think about how format can influence communication.
    8. Lore of Running, Tim Noakes - Contains tons of statistics, scientific studies, and important suggestions for running.
    9. Interpersonal Process in Therapy, Edward Teyber - I find Teyber's approach to be just as useful in therapy as cognitive-behavioral techniques. You can apply it to fiction and actually read characters' intentions better.
    10. Robert E. Howard's Conan stories - Because it's Conan and because Howard's gritty detail and storytelling are just as entertaining as ever.

    I reserve the right to say I'm wrong about all of this. ;)
  2. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

    Feb 23, 2005
    Strunk and White don't even follow their own rules in the book
  3. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

    Apr 9, 2002
    Salisbury Plain
  4. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

    Nov 14, 2003
    And if you'd like to tell us what "GGS" is supposed to mean in an entirely contextless comment, perhaps I won't delete it.

    Here is my incredibly western and anglo-centric list - based on the idea that the list is supposed to help us understand the world we live in:

    (1) The Bible, taking this as a single book.
    (2) Shakespeare, taking this as a single book.
    (3) The works of Plato - again, blah-de-blah.
    (4) The works of Aristotle.
    (5) Thomas Aquinas' Summa theologiae.
    (6) John Milton's Paradise lost.
    (7) Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights.
    (8) James Frazer's The golden bough.
    (9) Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote.
    (10) Joseph Conrad's Nostromo.
  5. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Deity

    Nov 14, 2006
    Las Vegas
    No mention of the Kama Sutra? Shame.
  6. Lillefix

    Lillefix I'm serious. You can.

    Dec 1, 2003
    Adding to the other suggestions: What about the Divine comedy and thousand and one nights. And Decameron.
  7. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

    Aug 28, 2005
    Stamford Bridge
    I'm going to do a sci-fi version of this (in no particular order)

    1. Dune (Herbert)
    2. Ender's Game (Card)
    3. Stranger in a Strange Land (Heinlein)
    4. Neuromancer (Gibson)
    5. 1984 (Orwell)
    6. Brave New World (Huxley)
    7. The Time Machine (Wells)
    8. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Clarke)
    9. Rendezvous with Rama (Clarke)
    10. Solaris (Lem)
  8. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

    Dec 17, 2004
    I think the Bible is classic, as is Dune.

    Most of my other recommendations would be for the latest edition of undergraduate course textbooks.

    In terms of human history, I think the American Civil War is in general Classic, though I'm not sure which books on the subject are truly classic, other than I'd recommend Shelby Foote's narrative of the civil war.
  9. rugbyLEAGUEfan

    rugbyLEAGUEfan Deity

    Feb 12, 2010
    sydney australia
    In no particular order.........

    Catch 22..........hilarious and nothing else remotely like it
    Anna Karenina.........Tolstoy`s best . more concise that W A P

    Don Quixote...........The Don is just a great guy and who can resist 16th century fart jokes
    The mote in Gods eye............my favourite sci-fi
    War and Peace........laboured in parts but just so epic
    The Godfather.........lightning pace and a great insight into another world
    Animal Farm.........ingenious
    The grapes of wrath..........Steinbeck in my opinion the best American writer

    any of the books in the Flashman series.............words can`t describe how hilarious these are..........highly recommended if you have never tried one.

    pity I can`t find anything Australian to even remotely make the list
  10. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

    Feb 23, 2005
    James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom. Which has merit chiefly because the author spends probably more time on the non-fighting aspects and the runup than on the fighting itself.
  11. ParadigmShifter

    ParadigmShifter Random Nonsense Generator

    Apr 4, 2007
    Liverpool, home of Everton FC
    Not read many classics. Here's some I would put on my list, in no particular order:

    The Lord of the Rings (bit long winded though)
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - best kid's book adults can also enjoy
    Stormbringer (Michael Moorcock) - great fantasy book
    The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Robert Tressel) - classic book about socialism
    Euclid's Elements
    Dracula (Bram Stoker)
    The Demolished Man (better put some SF on there, this was best I have read)
    Shakespeare has to be on there (complete works)

    I'd also have a good dictionary on the list since I play Scrabble so much ;)
  12. Earthling

    Earthling Deity

    Nov 9, 2008
    I make take out Rama and include H2G2, failing that a LeGuin work (and perhaps both have priority over something else on there), but really solid list nonetheless.

    Another great list, and 100x recommendation for the Moties, but it is a bit less well-known book for whatever reason.

    I too think Steinbeck is really solid, especially for the 20th century, but I'd have to recommend Twain otherwise if you are just looking at top American literature.

    By the way I think Perfection was referring to a bunch of technical publications ;)
  13. Meteor Man

    Meteor Man En Route to M81

    Aug 6, 2007
    New Mexico
    Sorry for bumping this guys, but this is a great thread, and I'd like to keep it going.

    1. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck - he is one of the greatest writers ever, possibly the greatest writer
    2. 1984 by George Orwell - another great writer, and an even greater book, 1984 really capitvates the mind.
    3. Animal Farm by George Orwell - this guy is a master at depicting totalitarialism in this classic, which is just so (as Rugbyleaguefan pointed out) ingenious.

    Another author: Ernest Hemingway. A great American literary for sure. I've read a couple of his short stories.
  14. Harvin87

    Harvin87 The Youth

    Jun 12, 2009
    Berlin, DE
    1. Hundered years of solitude (Gabriel García Márquez)
    2. The brothers Karamasov (Dostoievsky)
    3. The Stranger (Albert Camus)
    4. The Sun also Rises (Hemingway)
    5. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel García Márquez)
  15. GoodSarmatian

    GoodSarmatian Jokerfied Western Male

    Apr 25, 2006
    There isn't much useful stuff in there, it's mostly just a guide about how an Indian nobleman should behave. It features helpful advice like 'don't marry a woman who has a hot younger sister'.
  16. JohannaK

    JohannaK Heroically Clueless

    Oct 13, 2011
    SPACE! Maybe?
    Ah, I haven't read enough "classics" to be able to put a Top 10, I have just a few:

    1. A Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez
    2. The Lord of the Rings, by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
    3. Republic, by Aristocles (aka Plato)
    4. 1984 by Eric Arthur Blair (aka George Orwell)
    5. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    6. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
    7. Las Aventuras del Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, by Miguel de Cervantes
  17. mayor

    mayor Heart & Mind

    Mar 31, 2009
    The Netherlands
    If you're listing the Bible as essential for understanding the world of fiction and non-fiction you should also list other holy books.

    If you only list the Bible you should change the OP to 'understanding the world of fiction and non-fiction of the western world'.
  18. emzie

    emzie wicked witch of the North

    Jul 5, 2004
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.

    The other 3 don't matter much.
  19. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

    Jun 1, 2002
    St. Petersburg, Florida
    I enjoyed a hundred years of solitude, surprised to see it make people's top 10 lists though.

    I have some non-fiction books in my sig but I'll stick with fiction for now (off the top of my head, probably not my ultimate classics list if I had more time to think but whatever :D).

    1. The Power of One
    2. Siddhartha
    3. Narcissus and Goldmund
    4. Ishmael
    5. The Long Walk
    6. Slaughterhouse Five
    7. Of Mice & Men
    8. One Flew Over the ****oo's Nest
    9. The Duplicate :D

    Can't think of a 10th right now.
  20. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

    Jul 18, 2005
    This one is going to require an explanation. I read it about a year ago, to see what the hype was about (and because I'm and omgwtf Bronte sisters fan), and walked away very disappointing. I've never seen a story with such roundly horrible people for characters. I mean, it was a great story and all, but with the exception of Isabella (who is merely pathetic) everyone else in the story is just a really bad person. Why is this book so essential to understanding our world, or even just the literature aspect of it?

    The rest of the list I cannot help but agree with.

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