35 votes

I'm looking for a good read. What's your favorite book and why?

I can't say I've ever read a bad book when somebody's declared it as their favorite. I'm just looking for some ideas. I'll work through the list if anybody answers.

For the record, it's only fair to answer the question yourself when you throw one out there. It's not a bait thread. I'd say my favorite book (novella) would have to be "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka.

It's about a regular ole guy who works at a job he hates in order to take care of his destitute family, but then one day he wakes up and discovers he's been transformed into a giant man sized beetle. The rest is a slow decline into madness and abandonment.

It captures a sense many Libertarians are probably familiar with. I'm not sure I would "suggest it", but I have no doubt that if you read it, you won't regret it.




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A Wrinkle in Time

brings back great memories. My current favorite would have to be a Thousand Splendid Suns about the tribulations of Afghani women. Metamorphosis was not what I expected it to be. After hearing that something was Kafkaesque for the umpteenth time I decided to read one of his writings. I loved its weirdness and helplessness.

-Matthew Good

This was my favorite book when I was 10

and I swore when I grew up I'd have me an Irish Setter - Big Red

http://www.amazon.com/Big-Red-Champion-Trappers-Winderness/d...

When this movie came on the Wonderful World of Disney, I'd be glued to the TV. I thought Walter Pigeon was MEAN! And I remember when I saw my first setter when I went to the park and I was overwhelmed. The owner let me pet it and the coat was so silky.

I never did get a setter, but I still have that book.

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
James Madison

If you like books about the JFK Assassination...

I would definitely recommend: JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James W. Douglass. This is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most well researched and complete book on this subject that I have ever read. It also explains much of what we see happening in the world today and who might be behind it. If you ever had any question about whom might have been involved with this crime this book will answer those questions. I have read many books on this subject but none so rich in details and eyewitness accounts than this one. However, I will warn you. You should only read this if you TRULY want to know. Once you know you can't unknow. This will shake your confidence in your government and your country to the core. Enjoy.

A surprisingly deep read : Discworld

Grab any of the Discworld books that revolve around Sam Vimes, such as Thud!, and you'll notice quite a few accurate shots at how law enforcement and government. Good book for anybody who claims to be religious would be Small Gods of the same series. This one about nails any religion you care to name. The best thing is that you don't need to read all of the proceeding books to pick one up AND they are funny at the very worst of times.

The Sam Vimes books

I agree -- those are the best of the Discworld series, by far. They include: Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, The Truth, Night Watch, Monstrous Regiment, Thud!, and Snuff.

I haven't read Snuff yet, but I can happily recommend all the rest. The Truth won the Prometheus Award from the Libertarian Futurist Society for best novel, back in 2001.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...

Just finished The Truth

Excellent book. Snuff is a very good book as well; deals with social bias/racism very handily.

jrd3820's picture

Hey Michael...I can't break the bookshelf can I?

I'd hate to overstock it and have people flood the mod box to tell Jon it is loading slow. Or like that time when someone forgot to close their tags and the jam session was all italicized and bolded and whatnot. I'd hate to break the bookshelf, but this should be on there. For all the people writing novels. If you want to write a great novel, you have to read some great novels. It's hard to deny the quality of this one. Plus it's one of my favorite titles. The title itself is amazing.
Gone With the Wind

For a long time people thought that that was the only story Mitchell had ever written. Later, not until the mid 90's I think, they found a notebook of hers including this story. It's actually pretty poorly written in my humble opinion, but it is interesting because it was written before Gone With the Wind so to compare and contrast from this story to the genius of Gone With the Wind is interesting.

Lost Layson

Michael Nystrom's picture

No I don't think you can break it

But I asked Jon anyway, and he said no.

But something weird is going on with the site.

All art is only done by the individual. The individual is all you ever have, and all schools only serve to classify their members as failures. E.H.
jrd3820's picture

Let's get some young adult lit on this shelf

A few of my favorites from when I was younger

Where the Red Fern Grows

Island of the Blue Dolphins

I used to work for a nonprofit doing literacy promotion, mentoring, and tutoring for at-risk-youth. I watched kids fall in love with this book and learn to read because of it:
The Giver

And one of my personal favorites that I read and read and read again as a kid:
Charolotte's Web

In my world of lit, Francie Nolan is one of the coolest characters in all of literary history.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

One September, at a Welcome-Back-

To-School night, the teacher let parents know which books our children would be reading in class that year. That way we could ensure that they didn't happen to choose those books for any extra-curriculum reading they might do. Read in school for the first time, the stories would appear "fresh." I nodded as the teacher mentioned one of my all-time favorites, Jack London's The Call of the Wild.

The next day I procured a copy and began to read it aloud to my children that night. NO WAY was my children's enjoyment of THAT BOOK going to be marred by continual interruptions for questions! "What are some of the changes Buck goes through as he adapts to his new life as a sled dog?... How does Buck feel about stealing?... In addition to his experiences, what else helped Buck to adapt?...

NO WAY was I going to have them hear THAT BOOK read by peers taking turns going up & down the rows reading the next paragraph: An oath from...from Perrault, the re... re... re-sound-ing... impact of a club upon a bonny frame... I mean, bony... and a shrill yelp of pain, her-al-ded... no, her-alded the breaking forth of pan, pan-de, pandemo-nigh-um... NO WAY were they going to hear that short novel over a period of WEEKS. They heard it over the course of the next few NIGHTS.

As a parent, sometimes you have to take a stand! Okay. Now I need to get back to reading... "Pike, the malingerer, leaped upon the crippled animal, breaking its neck with a quick flash of teeth and a jerk, Buck got a frothing adversary by the throat, and was sprayed with blood when his teeth sank through the jugular. The warm taste of it in his mouth goaded him to greater fierceness. He flung himself upon another, and at the same time felt teeth sink into his own throat. It was Spitz, treacherously attacking from the side... " http://www.amazon.com/The-Call-Wild-Jack-London/dp/1442434112

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

jrd3820's picture

All this talk of reading and writing lately got me thinking...

I have worked with kids as young as 18 months to as old as 18. I have tutored and mentored at-risk-youth. I have tutored English language learners. I worked on before and after school non profit reading programs. Some of these books are what I watched people fall in love with and become inspired to continue their path towards literacy.

Knowing how to read and comprehend the written word is one of the greatest freedoms someone can have. It's great to start with the classics that most people can't help but fall for.

You are right, a story like The Call of the Wild could bore a kid to tears if stretched out over a long period of time, but if done right (which it sounds like you did) it can be one of those stories that blows a kids mind.

I don't have kids. But I do have kids in the sense that I have a niece and kids I have been babysitting for on and off for years and the kids I tutor. Then I have myself, because I am a child and I still like taking a break from the deeper reads and whatnot to go back to the beginning of my love for reading.

I read Island of the Blue Dolphins in late elementary school, read it again a few years ago with a group of kids in a before school reading program. I just finished 3 books from the DP bookshelf and decided I wanted to be a kid again so I pulled that really quick. I might go back to Where the Red Fern Grows again also. I love that one.

This is one of the ones I recently finished from the DP bookshelf. It was a great piece of nonfiction. I loved it. Nonfiction can be a challenge for me. But when I made my DP reading list, I wanted to challenge myself so I pulled a bunch of nonfiction from the shelf. I'm so glad I gave it a try. It's good to step out of comfort zones. That is why I put a bunch of children's lit on the shelf. It's good for all the writers go either step out of literary comfort zones and try something new, or something so old that it is new.

Be Love Now
Ram Daas.
http://www.amazon.com/Be-Love-Now-Path-Heart/dp/0061961388/r...

Thanks for this one. It enriched my life. My world is better because of it.

More for young adults

Read Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow, and give your child a clue that the government is not as benevolent as schoolteachers claim -- and a fun, thrilling story. Also excellent: Alongside Night, by J. Neil Schulman, and Robert Heinlein's "juveniles", including especially: Red Planet, Tunnel in the Sky, Time for the Stars, Have Spacesuit Will Travel, The Rolling Stones, The Star Beast, Citizen of the Galaxy, and Between Planets.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...

When not reading history...

Just to disappear into another world, I reread the 4 book series: "The Crystal Cave" by Mary Stewart about once a year, and have for 20 years. It is her version of Arthurian legend told from the Merlin's POV. Starting with Merlin's birth until Arthur's death. I would love to see a movie (or series of movies made of her saga).

If my need to be RIGHT is greater than my desire for TRUTH, then I will not recognize it when it arrives ~ Libertybelle

"Khyber Knights" by Cu Chullaine O'Reilly

I can't describe how much I enjoyed this book except that unlike so many other reads, it had me 100% at the first sentence. I didn't have to read the first 50 to 100 pages to finally get into it.

Read the reviews. These critics do a brilliant job.

http://www.amazon.com/Khyber-Knights-Perilous-Adventure-Forb...

God forgives always. Man forgives sometimes. But Nature never forgives.

Best fantasy novel of the last decade

The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

agreed

also check out Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

“With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”
-Njal Thorgeirsson

The man who planted trees

A positive note.

NOSHEEPLE

Dire Dragons, Morning of Fire, Perilous Fight

No, this is not some new Tolkien like trilogy. These are three of the last five books I have read and enjoyed doing so.

Dire Dragons - Vance Nelson, speaks of evidence of dragons (dinosaurs) living at the same time as man. Though it did not give all of what I expected it at the same time offered many things I had not seen before.

Morning of Fire - Scott Ridley, is the story of Americas (or maybe more so John Kendrick's) attempt to establish a Pacific coast port in 1790's America.

Perilous Fight - Stephen Budiansky, speaks to Americas Navy and war on the high seas 1812-1815.

Mr Lincolns War

The war isn't over ... Since Lincoln didn't declare war constitutionally and the supreme court declared secession was not legal there was no war. Just a little rebellion
( nothing to see here ) move along

Life is a sexually transmitted disease with a 100% fatality rate.
Don't Give me Liberty, I'll get up and get it myself!

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 200 Years Together, English Translation

Russo-Jewish History

Volume 1 - The Jews before the Revolution:

Volume 2 - The Jews in the Soviet Union

http://www.mediafire.com/view/q7znvoozoucw9oq/Aleksandr+Solz...

Right now...

I've just began reading "You The Healer" by Jose Silva and it is very thought provoking and interesting. Check it out at your leisure.

The Secret Art and Science of Proper Thinking

No, the above is not the name of the book I was thinking about, but could have been.

Why would I suggest this book? Because we think all the time and this book teaches the art and science of proper thinking. Have you ever been taught the science of proper thinking? Didn't think so.

The book: The Kybalion by Three Initiates
Easy read and free online.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/kyb/index.htm

"Everything You Know Is Wrong," by Lloyd Pye

I love this book because the author asks a lot of serious questions, and gives a possible answer to those questions that makes sense.

About ten years after reading this book, I don't agree with everything Lloyd Pye said, but his ideas are interesting and he gives an alternative, "hybrid," response to the Darwinist/Creationist theories on life.

Darwinists are the democrats, creationists are the republicans...and Lloyd Pye is the independent, the guy in the room who dared to raise his hand and ask serious questions to the two prevailing parties, challenging both of them at the same time.

http://www.lloydpye.com/eykiw.htm

Never be afraid to ask simple questions.

I believe that, when all is revealed,

we'll understand that tenets of both evolutionists and creationists are correct - that each explanation is merely incomplete. I've compared it to the fable of The Blind Men & the Elephant. Perhaps the blindness of both lay in their materialistic outlook and also vanity, each faction believing in the superiority of its own understanding. Like the blind man who's reached for the tusk - who is holding the proof in his very hand! - he is 100% positive that an elephant is "hard and smooth." How could anyone compare an elephant to a snake?! (The blind man holding onto the tail!) The creationist points to the Bible as his proof, Words he interprets also only based on his own limited knowledge and experience, not allowing that, just maybe GOD, the omniscient Creator of the Universe, could have a deeper understanding than him, able to have instructed/inspired those early Hebrew sages to record certain truths in Words that could serve for all time, able to be understood on *multiple levels* (seven, some believe) depending on one's level of spiritual enlightenment. As Jesus said, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Thanks, zooamerica. I look forward to checking out that book, also the recommendation by Education, below.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

if you are skeptical of both Darwinists and creationists, read

this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Development-Dynamics-Humans-Other-Prim...

Is evolution moving toward a human gestalt? This book provides a great deal of morphological evidence to support such a claim. Someone wrote a review on amazon that includes a nice summary of the book.

“With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”
-Njal Thorgeirsson

Sounds a bit

Sounds a bit Spenglerian.

Goetheian, anyway.

http://www.amazon.com/Man-Technics-Contribution-Philosophy-L...

Master Pretzel Twister
https://twitter.com/MenckensGhost

"Being There" "I had trouble

"Being There"
"I had trouble on the way to Solla Sollew"
"The Cats Cradle"
Plus one for "All quiet on the Western Front"

My favorite read of all time

My favorite read of all time has to be "Orthodoxy" by G K Chesterton. The title is deceptive, at least in the sense that it misleads people into not even picking the thing up and browsing its pages. It sounds like a book listing dogmas and doctrines. It isn't. It's a book about Chesterton's own intellectual journey into acceptance of Christian orthodoxy.

It is not an easy read, perhaps. When I first read it, my thoughts were often, "What in the world is this guys point? All this talk of fairy tales mixed with philosophy." But every so often in its pages an obvious but often overlooked truth would jump out at me, stated by Chesterton in such a streamline way that I found it fascinating. By my second or third time through the book, his points became crystal clear, and haunting for me personally. It led to a real revolution in my thinking.

An example of the above can be found in the chapter titled 'The Ethics of Elfland'. In it, Chesterton points out, in the most easy and streamline way, the same problem David Hume pointed out concerning induction, especially as it relates to the pursuit of science. Where as Hume was a philosopher writing at an academic level, Chesterton writes in a way that makes Hume's point understandable to even a child. As crazy as it may sound, I found it easier to understand Hume than Chesterton, at least at first. Chesterton is so basic in his approach to issues that we often miss his point. The book is like a call to go back and look at the most basic levels of our thinking, back to our basic presuppositions, the things we accept before reasoning through anything and everything else.

All the King's Men by Robert

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren, the first poet laureate of the United Stats and only author to win a Pulitzer in both poetry and prose. Almost everything is in that book.

The Count of Monte Cristo

Or really anything by Alexandre Dumas. The best part is that they are generally available for free through iBooks and other digital book stores.

On a side note, I'm reading In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson right now it is really good. Not sure if it will go on my favorites list, but it is an incredible story.