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Your Top Five Books

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Showing 1-25 of 35 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Oct 2010 17:40:30 BDT
Steve Jensen says:
The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Limits of Enchantment - Graham Joyce
We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson
The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde - Peter Ackroyd
Ghost Story - Peter Straub
The Godfather - Mario Puzo

Yes, I know this is the Fiction forum :D but...

Top Five Nonfiction:

The Occult - Colin Wilson
Oscar Wilde - Richard Ellmann
Rosebud - David Thomson
Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson - Camille Paglia
In God's Name - David Yallop

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2010 17:48:23 BDT
JJG says:
Hate to be picky but you're going to have to cut one fiction book :)

Posted on 21 Oct 2010 17:49:10 BDT
Florence43 says:
It's like being asked to name my top five pets. I have seven - who will I leave out?

No I won't do it!

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2010 17:54:16 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 Oct 2010 17:54:39 BDT
Steve Jensen says:
Doh! :D Well spotted, JJG. :)
Six is the new five, folks! :D

Posted on 21 Oct 2010 20:26:22 BDT
Sou'Wester says:
Done a "Desert Island Discs" here and imagined having to live the rest of my life with only five books. Difficult choice but finally settled on these.
In no particular order:
ALL THE MOWGLI STORIES: Kipling's beautifully written and often haunting tales which I grew up with and pretty much learned to read with.
THE CRUEL SEA: Nicholas Monsarrat's grippingly realistic account of the war at sea, by an accomplished author who experienced it at first hand.
TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD: Probably in many folk's top five; rightly acknowledged for the way it tackled prejudice but it also has a wonderful evocation of childhood.
RUMPOLE: (Any of the earlier books, sadly they went off the boil in later years). My guilty pleasure; always find a little dose of John Mortimer's gentle but perceptive humour a relaxing read after a particularly stressful day.
I CLAUDIUS/CLAUDIUS THE GOD. Cheated here in having two books, although they are usually sold in one volume. First read this nearly fifty years ago and still regard it as the finest historical epic.
If I could really do Desert Island Discs and have eight books (and I'd prefer these to records even though I love music), would find room for some Dickens and Bronte (probably David Copperfield and certainly Jane Eyre) and - to keep the spirits up - Bill Bryson's "Notes From A Small Island". O.K. That's three more books than Mr Jensen stipulated, but hey: it's my island!

Posted on 21 Oct 2010 22:05:24 BDT
The Crow Road - Iain Banks
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Red Shift - Alan Garner
The Bell - Iris Murdoch
The French Lieutenant's Woman - John Fowles.

Posted on 22 Oct 2010 10:35:10 BDT
I Readalot says:
I am with Florence43 on this one. Impossible to choose 5, and even if I did it would no doubt have changed by this time next week.

Posted on 22 Oct 2010 14:41:21 BDT
konarciq says:
Nrs. 1, 2 and 3 (in random order, for I canŽt choose between them :-)
Asking for trouble (by Elizabeth Young, but the Dutch translation ("Een ideale man") is better written than the original - strange but true)
Aan de andere kant van de deur (On the other side of the door / by Tonke Dragt)
A place called here (by Cecelia Ahern)

And then two more?
Today IŽll go with
Star Trek TNG / Imzadi (by Peter David)
Escape to Witch Mountain (by Alexander Key)

Posted on 22 Oct 2010 14:54:24 BDT
Penguin Egg says:
The Gormenghast Triology by Mervyn Peake
The Best of Robert Bloch
The illustrated Songs of Innocence and Experieance by William Blake
The Making of the English Working Class by E.P.Thompson
For Whom The Bell Tolls - Hemmingway

Posted on 28 Oct 2010 15:31:11 BDT
Karen Duff says:
I'm with Florence43 and I Readalot, there is no way I could pick just five books. Even if I did, by the time I'd clicked on post I would have changed my mind.

Posted on 31 Oct 2010 13:07:49 GMT
ceriithomas says:
The Story of the Night - Colm Toibin
Social liberation in post-Galtieri Argentina

Saturday - Ian McEwan
An intense drama, where a neurosurgeon is faced with difficult moral decisions

We Didn't Mean to go to Sea - Arthur Ransome
It's been some time since I read this, but it was the first novel I ever completed in an evening

The Collected Short Stories of Roald Dahl
Dahl had a gift of vilifying characters, almost to the point where the villains became heroes

Charlotte Grey - Sebastian Faulks
Heroism and tragedy in wartime France

Posted on 31 Oct 2010 17:26:02 GMT
Zigden says:
The Maltese Falcon- Raymond Chandler (ultimate noir)
The Grapes of Wrath- John Steinbeck (historical masterpiece and fluid prose)
Requiem for a Wren- Nevil Shute (deeply moving)
Norwegian Wood- Haruki Murukami (modern angst writ large)
The Dispossessed- Ursula Le Guin (SF tour de force)

Posted on 2 Nov 2010 01:59:20 GMT
I. Buchan says:
Interesting that most of the Classics are missing such as The Waverly novels by Sir Walter Scott along with the Works of Dickens, Thomas Hardy etc. after all they are World Reknown

Posted on 3 Nov 2010 21:04:53 GMT
M. Dowden says:
Zigden, it was Dashiell Hammet who wrote the Maltese Falcon. You are getting mixed up in that Raymond Chandler wrote the screenplay.

Posted on 3 Nov 2010 21:14:56 GMT
S. KNOTT says:
Ulysses - James Joyce (the ultimate great novel. And also tremendous fun!)
A Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (jaw-droppingly perfect)
Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight - Henry Williamson (a 15 novel sequence, but still, it's wonderful)
Ministry of Fear - Graham Greene (a light read, but perfectly formed)
Invisible Cities - Italo Calvino (not a word out of place, not a sentence which is not finely crafted)

Posted on 4 Nov 2010 11:36:51 GMT
The Lymond novels - Dorothy Dunnett (the most perfect historical novels ever)
Love in the time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gormenghast trilogy - Mervyn Peake
Fire and Hemlock - Diana Wynn Jones
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

That desert island is looking very appealing...

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Nov 2010 15:13:19 GMT
Julie C says:
Konarciq, can you say more about why you like Escape to Witch Mountain? As a kid, I saw that film, but I didn't realize it was based on a book, and I always wondered where the story came from.

The Truth About Dating

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Nov 2010 15:14:13 GMT
Julie C says:
Penguin Egg,
I own the Gormenghast Triology but couldn't get into it. I should try it again. What did you like about it?

The Truth About Dating

Posted on 6 Nov 2010 09:44:00 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 6 Jul 2013 08:40:34 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Nov 2010 10:17:12 GMT
Well said, Florence43. That's how I feel.

Having said that, I like seeing the choices other people make, whether they coincide with mine or not.


Posted on 6 Nov 2010 12:06:50 GMT
I could never choose. I dread these type of questions, same as top 5 songs/albums or films. My brain nearly explodes with trying to decide! Too much like Sophie's Choice ;)

But I am lurking around this thread for books that might go on my Wish List. If someone else loves them I might too. Much admiration for posters that are more decisive than me!

Posted on 6 Nov 2010 15:50:26 GMT
M. Dowden says:
Trying to choose my top 5 books is like trying to decide what dinner to have if I knew it was going to be my last.

Posted on 6 Nov 2010 16:30:17 GMT
At this moment, and without thinking, I would say:

For Whom The Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Thus Spake Zarathustra - Friedrich Nietzsche (This one will not expire, greatest book ever written)
Nineteen Eighty-four / Animal Farm - George Orwell

Everything by Chuck Palahniuk
God is a Bullet - Boston Teran

This list, not counting the above mentioned exception, will expire in 180 be replaced by something completely different.

Posted on 28 Nov 2010 13:59:49 GMT
Stracs says:
At the moment it is:

The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins.
The Forsyte Saga - John Galsworthy.
All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque.
East of Eden - John Steinbeck.
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley.

Sure to change though!

Posted on 5 Jul 2013 19:46:01 BDT
Off the top of my head here are 5 fiction although I could easily list lots more

Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
Ghost Stories - M.R James
The Woodlanders - Hardy
The Godfather - Mario Puzo
Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  30
Total posts:  35
Initial post:  21 Oct 2010
Latest post:  10 Jul 2013

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