No 1

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Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:35 pm Post

vic-k wrote:
bobueland wrote:What is your favorite book no 1?

. . . . "I've only read one novel, that caused me to seriously consider changing the path I was desirous of my life taking, and that was, 'Lady Chatterley's Lover', by D. H. Lawrence.

In 1960, on the cusp, twixt a life enhancing education, and the seeking of gainful, revenue generating full time employment, I read LCL. Thereafter, I felt that I no longer wanted to be a train driver, or a bus driver, but a gamekeeper instead. As you would expect, with all the publicity the LCL obscenity trial generated, applications for game keeping posts, were ridiculously over subscribe to. I became an apprentice panel beater instead.

Nothing I'd read prior, or since, has had that kind of impact on my preconceived notions of the path my life should take.

I,ve read many books that have left a lasting impression on me, though, but they all fall into the categories you've put the block on.[/i][/color]


Hmmmmm, now that I think about it, perhaps Lady Chatterley's Lover really did have a significant effect on my life, or at least nudged me toward writing for a living, if that's significant. Except it wasn't the book itself, but Ed Zern's review it of it in a 1950s edition of Field & Stream, from which I learned it was possible to get paid for making fun of things in an intentionally oblique fashion:

"Although written many years ago, Lady Chatterley's Lover has just been reissued by the Grove Press, and this pictorial account of the day-to-day life of an English gamekeeper is full of considerable interest to outdoor minded readers, as it contains many passages on pheasant-raising, the apprehending of poachers, ways to control vermin, and other chores and duties of the professional gamekeeper. Unfortunately, one is obliged to wade through many pages of extraneous material in order to discover and savour those sidelights on the management of a midland shooting estate, and in this reviewer's opinion the book cannot take the place of J. R. Miller's ''Practical Gamekeeping.''"

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Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:43 pm Post

Ahab wrote: it was possible to get paid for making fun of things in an intentionally oblique fashion:
:twisted: 8) :wink: :? :| :? :( :( Chance'd be a fine thing.
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Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:25 pm Post

geoffh wrote:Yep, that's correct. Brilliant film-maker though Aronofsky, I loved The Wrestler.

Brilliant: Yes. I love "PI" and will one day take my heart to watch "Requiem..."


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Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:36 pm Post

The book that shaped my mental landscape the most is The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. It's been my favourite since I was a kid. :)

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Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:08 am Post

bobueland wrote:What is your favorite book no 1?

You are only to pick ONE SINGLE book. I know it might be hard to pick just one, but still choose just one. Not the book which is most beautiful or impressively written. Not the most rescent book that made an impression on you. But the one book which has meant more in your life than any other book.

Tough choice. So many books, so many great authors.

Although I am tempted to list The Riders by Tim Winton, given the criteria I'd probably choose the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson. For the pedants who say "That's not a book, it's a trilogy" I say "Pah!" (and also that I don't remember the individual titles, so can't say which of them meant the most). My screen name, "nom", actually comes from a character in the Second Chronicles that I chose to use for games in the 80's and carried over to the online world in the 90's.

Stephen Donaldson and Tim Winton are two of my literary heroes. I will never be able to write like either of them, but if I can write even half as well I'll be happy.
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Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:11 am Post

nom wrote:Stephen Donaldson and Tim Winton are two of my literary heroes. I will never be able to write like either of them, but if I can write even half as well I'll be happy.

Yes Im a big fan of Tim Winton, too. And likewise I can barely aspire to write even a single sentence as compelling as his. Dirt Music has been my favourite so far.

His brother Andrew Winton is also incredibly talented, as a musician. I saw him perform at the Tamworth Music festival a few years back, and he was far and away the performer I enjoyed the most. And as good as his prepared material was, the repartee between songs, where he riffed along, gently messing with the minds of the audience, was even more remarkable.

A gifted bunch them Wintons!

vic-k wrote:As soon as I read this, I was reminded of Alan Sillitoe's, 'Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, part of which was made into a movie of the same name. ... nce_Runner
I suspect it would be of interest to you

Oh, please don't remind me!!! I did read that way back then, and boy that was another blast of bleak! :)

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Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:23 am Post

Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon. I read it when I was 11 or 12, and it influenced my thinking greatly at an impressionable age.

(I too am a fan of Tim Winton. Breath is a terrific surfing novel.)
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Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:07 pm Post

I didn't read anything when young that had a profound influence on me. I had things read to me in 45 minute blocks when I was 8 and 9 at school ... Black Beauty, Treasure Island, The Severed Hand, a whole lot of Pickwick Papers ... they influenced me, I guess, into not wanting to read novels and short stories. So when I did start reading, it was psychology, mythology and ancient history ... I think the first novel I read, about 6 years later, was The Black Arrow but I wouldn't put it at No. 1.

But my "Desert Island Book" would be The Lord of the Rings especially if I could have it bound with The Silmarillion. Do I have to run and hide under the table?

Actually, I have read it many, many times and never tire of it. When people who listen to my anecdotes about life say, "You should write a novel", my usual answer is, "I can't; it was written by Tolkien!" I just feel anything I wrote would be too derivative in relation to that.

And I did read Stephen Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant but didn't really enjoy them. I persevered into the second set but gave up. I just found Covenant and the books too gloomy and negative, and the world Donaldson created didn't work for me ... it just seemed contrived. Sorry, nom.

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Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:08 pm Post

It seems that, even with Bob's careful introduction, at least two different kinds of "number one" are being presented: the book which knocked me on my ass when first I read it, and the book I'd want with me if stranded on a desert island.

The two might be the same, but -- at least in my instance -- are not. My earlier selection, Against Forgetting, is the desert island book. For the sit-down-fast selection, I'd have to go back and re-think my lifetime reading, and perhaps settle on Catch-22. Or Bleak House. Or Zorba the Greek. Or Kavalier and Clay. Or Doctor Zhivago. Or... well, you see the problem. Perhaps my dilemma solves itself, though, if one title steadily glows while others shine individually a moment and then are eclipsed.

Against Forgetting is an anthology; finding something new almost every time I pick it up strengthens its hold on my imagination. Bleak House, or any of the others, may provide a new insight on re-reading, but does not completely re-dazzle as AF can.

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Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:09 pm Post

If it has to be JUST ONE book, then for me it's The Hobbit. I was first exposed to the book by a really gifted teacher when I was in grade 5 or 6, and that story was the one that set the hook and made me a reader for life. Our teacher moved on to Fellowship in class after that, but by then I'd received the whole set for Christmas, and was already well past them devouring those too...

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Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:29 pm Post

Mark: I wouldn't say Thomas Covenant is my desert island book, but it was the one that made the biggest impact on me. It's hard, all these years later, to remember why, but I think it was probably the first adult (i.e. not young person's) book I'd read apart from Lord of the Rings and I was disturbed by the darkness of the books, as well as their ambiguity. Big impact.

By the way, if you don't like gloomy and negative, do not read Donaldson's Gap series. Although they open out into a grand story of redemption, the first novel in that series was unrelenting with darkness and misery. If I hadn't been given the second book I probably wouldn't have read the rest, although I am now very glad that I persevered. In the end it was a great series but, even on rereading, that first book is a bleak, tough, read!

Hugh: Breath is on my post-thesis list. At this stage everything is on my post-thesis list... :|
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Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:15 pm Post

I have been traveling since before this was originally posted. For me the greatest “book” or collection of writings in a book:


Not just in translation but in Hebrew and Greek, the great themes, pathos, insights, etc.

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Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:19 am Post

VALIS by PKD is a novel I read for the first time when I was 12. It has had more influence on my thought and perception than any other single work.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson was, perhaps, the first novel I ever read. It remains for me the best story I've ever had a narrator relate to me (although Lolita does to the English language was Naruda's spring time does to cherry blossoms and I love to get drunk on that pollen).

The book that never ceases to offer joy and comfort is Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. The gargantuan three-tome collection is among my most prized material items.

Sarajevo: A War Journal by Zlatko Dizdarević profoundly changed my life; among other things, its subject matter led to a 15-year journey of writing, travel, and scholarship.

So I guess I have four number 1s. What can I say? I am a literature slut.
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:41 am Post

Tentatively putting my toe into this deep water to test the temperature, as a relative unknown here. So many great responses and possible choices already named--Zarathustra; Godel, Escher, Bach; Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch. All have had impacts on my life at different times, different phases. Crime and Punishment; The Brothers Karamazov; War and Peace; Anna Karenina (I had a major Russian phase). And I'd put the Collected Far Side next to Calvin & Hobbes for pure joy.

But I'm not sure I can say just one, so I'll say two: the first novel I read that hooked me permanently on reading was The Grapes of Wrath. I was in 5th grade and somehow found my way to Steinbeck in the library. I pursued everything he wrote after that, and was a committed reader from then on. But the novel I keep going back to for unending inspiration is Gravity's Rainbow. (You never would have guessed that from my epigraph, huh?).

(However, if I only had one book to take on a desert island, I'd have to go with the Collected Shakespeare. Infinitely re-readable.)
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:27 am Post

My number 1, the book that has influenced my life and my thinking and the book I have read more often than any other book, is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Although I am the opposite of a motor bike rider ... :lol: