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Thread: Essential reads

  1. #1
    Heavenly Creature
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    Essential reads

    Just wondered what people consider to be essential reads these days.

    It's really hard to make a short list!


  2. #2
    Bloody good question.

    What would you suggest?


    'Little house on the prairie' is a start....of sorts!

  3. #3
    Heavenly Creature Editor aman's Avatar
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    Penguin have a series of books called "Great Ideas" and I am thinking of reading them one by one. There are 100 in the series.

    Penguin Great Ideas is a series of largely
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    books published by
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    . Titles contained within this series are considered to be world-changing, influential and inspirational. Topics covered include
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    ,
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    ,
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    and
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    . The texts for the series have been extracted from previously published
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    and Penguin Modern Classics titles and purged of all editorial apparatus so as to appear as stand-alone texts. The concept of re-purposed extracts was inspired by an earlier Penguin series produced in the mid-1990s, the
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    , which were extracts of classic texts published in a small book format at the time of Penguin's 60th anniversary.
    The overall series is divided into five series of twenty books, each about a hundred pages long. Every book contains a notable
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    , often by a very well known writer. Some of these are slightly shortened. The third series features additional works by the previous series' most popular writers: Albert Camus, Sigmund Freud, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Orwell and John Ruskin. The fourth series includes a third essay by Orwell, and additional works by Michel de Montaigne, Arthur Schopenhauer, Karl Marx and Virginia Woolf. The fifth series will be the last.

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    PⒶUL
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  4. #4
    Chilling Out 2wheelsgood's Avatar
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    That Penguin idea sounds like an upmarket Readers Digest - dreadful.

    Top of my lent-and-not-returned list, and thus possibly an essential read, is Robert Pirsig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
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  5. #5
    Heavenly Creature
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    Originally Posted by 2wheelsgood
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    Top of my lent-and-not-returned list, and thus possibly an essential read, is Robert Pirsig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
    Mine suffered a similar fate. I really should read it again, if I can borrow a copy.

  6. #6
    Womble MacMac's Avatar
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    I would like to read more - will be looking at these Kindle or e reader tablets. My helper lady suggested I might like to read the books Mike Tomkies wrote - any one read these?
    “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” –

  7. #7
    God Is Not Great : How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens
    complete book here -

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    Comfortably Numb Rick69's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 2wheelsgood
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    top of my lent-and-not-returned list, and thus possibly an essential read, is Robert Pirsig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
    Been meaning to read that for a while..

  9. #9
    Me gone,bye bye.. NomadicRT's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 2wheelsgood
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    That Penguin idea sounds like an upmarket Readers Digest - dreadful.

    Top of my lent-and-not-returned list, and thus possibly an essential read, is Robert Pirsig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
    I read that when i was 17 along with the Upanishads..a contributory -but not only- factor to my being ejected by the priest from the church i was a part of...its a good read.
    Hebridean at heart..everywhere else is just somewhere on the way back there...
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  10. #10
    Tom sawyer and Huck Finn.

    Frankenstein.

    Great expectations.

    Lord of the flies

    Animal farm and 1984

    Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy.

    Koolaid acid test

    Keep the aspidistra flying

    On the road

    To kill a mockingbird.
    Last edited by zendaze; 28-12--2016 at 08:33 PM.
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  11. #11
    Heavenly Creature
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    Good list z, havent read the Koolaid Acid Test.

    I'll throw in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Machievelli's The Prince, and most of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets for a starter.

  12. #12
    Heavenly Creature
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    Originally Posted by 2wheelsgood
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    That Penguin idea sounds like an upmarket Readers Digest - dreadful.

    Top of my lent-and-not-returned list, and thus possibly an essential read, is Robert Pirsig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
    Yes, it's a good read, philosophically speaking. But only about one chapter on motorcycle maintenance; but what there is, is good.

  13. #13
    Chilling Out 2wheelsgood's Avatar
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    I've met people who've been disappointed because Zen and the Art wasn't about motorcycles. As long as you're expecting a book on philosophy it's fine.
    Did Lord of the Flies for O level and never want to see it or anything else by Golding ever again.
    There was a thread elsewhere on this forum which wandered off topic because someone was too young to recognise a Douglas Adams quote, so I'd thought about adding him here.
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  14. #14
    Ah found it! Moderator FriedOnion's Avatar
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    These kinds of lists often include things that people feel you should read rather than something they have read and enjoyed and feel would be enjoyed by others or benefit them in another way.

    Is to kill a mockingbird a good book? I have read others that are regarded similarly & been disappointed by them, perhaps I'm just a philistine.

  15. #15
    Walking back to happiness ma bungo's Avatar
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    Play Power, by Richard Neville (of Oz fame) is very enjoyable .

  16. #16
    Afloat ... or adrift? marshlander's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MacMac
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    I would like to read more - will be looking at these Kindle or e reader tablets. My helper lady suggested I might like to read the books Mike Tomkies wrote - any one read these?
    Thoroughly recommend an e-reader. So do other people it seems, because my first one was nicked out of my bag at King's Cross station a month or so ago. French Whale Fan bought me a replacement Kindle for Christmas. I would prefer it if I could buy books through an independent bookstore who subscribes to an e-reader service though. Living in a limited space, as many of us do, though, an e-reader is just the thing. Gay's The Word was apparently looking into it, but so far we are mostly left with Kindles, Nooks or Kobos or with corresponding apps on phones or tablets.

    As to essential reads ... no idea, although I have several titles among the hundred or more books on mine that I would not like to lose.
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  17. #17
    Comfortably Numb Rick69's Avatar
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    For those with an ereader there are many titles available here....


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  18. #18
    Turning On David Byron's Avatar
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    In addition to those already mentioned:-

    Aleister Crowley - The Book of the Law (Liber AL vel Legis)
    Robert Anton Wilson - Prometheus Rising
    Aldous Huxley - Brave New World & The Doors of Perception
    Dee Brown - Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
    James George Frazer - The Golden Bough

  19. #19
    Heavenly Creature
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    Originally Posted by FriedOnion
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    These kinds of lists often include things that people feel you should read...
    If you read the thread title ("Essential Reads") you will see that I'm calling for stuff which you must read.

    Iif you don't know Chaucer (also quite a giggle BTW) you won't click with a lot of stuff that comes after. And so on, I'm looking for the stones without which the wall will collapse, sort of thing. The trouble is that the nearer to our own time you get, the more of them there are, so it is also about picking winners. They don't all have to be works of genius or great erudition, for example I would like to include Simenon because he wrote so much and everyone has read one, or a few, as well as watching Maigret on the telly.

    Should we include Viz comics? Have they inspired any other literary work of significance? Or anything else? Maybe the Macc Lads, though I'm not sure which came first.
    Last edited by Brynhyffryd; 29-12--2016 at 10:17 PM.
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  20. #20
    Friedonion.....

    Tis true that readers and non readers both might include reads that you, me and anyone might consider inconsequential.

    Personally my brain is full. I've read enough to pickle and satiate my mind and we are moving into an era of cultural awareness whereby some of the critical messages of texts are becoming somewhat more mainstream.

    However.......essential reading implies a little more critical awareness than pretending or accepting the precept of riding the common or majority wave.....

    Essential reads are those that challenge ones ability to abide by the status quo.....a generation or two ago some families would be subject to little more than the bible......I would not add the bible nor Koran to my list of essential reads.

    I've read enough.....some may not have had the benefit of social recommendations for assisting their appetite.

    60% of my list came from word of mouth.
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  21. #21
    Ah found it! Moderator FriedOnion's Avatar
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    I like your list Zendaze, I've read about half of them & several mentioned by Brynhyffryd including much of Shakespeare. I have also read many classics which might be on many people's lists, Dumas for instance, but still, it's just a yarn and often overrated or perhaps just not suited to a modern reader. I haven't read anything by Simenon or seen Maigret on the telly. I can think of a few books that I feel people should read, such as Papillon but must read...? None. What about fairy tales, they were hugely influential and are often still a good read. Influence wise there can't be a bigger book than the Iliad & Odyssey.

    Nowadays when not reading something education I tend to stick to either history or pulp fiction. I think I'll try some of your suggestions though.
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  22. #22
    Chilling Out 2wheelsgood's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FriedOnion
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    These kinds of lists often include things that people feel you should read rather than something they have read and enjoyed and feel would be enjoyed by others or benefit them in another way.

    Is to kill a mockingbird a good book? I have read others that are regarded similarly & been disappointed by them, perhaps I'm just a philistine.
    Another one where any merit it may have was destroyed by being taught as literature.

    Some others, just because they're outstandingly good reads:-
    Anything by William Gibson, Virtual Light and Zero History are particular favourites.
    Everything by Barbara Kingsolver, especially The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven
    Mervyn Peake first 2 volumes of Gormenghast trilogy
    Iain Banks, Espedair Street and Whit
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    Heavenly Creature Cobra's Avatar
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    Mindfulness for Dummies
    The Little Book Of Hygge (The Danish Way To Live Well)by Meik Wiking (From The Happiness Research Institute,Copenhagen)
    The Power Of Now by Erkhart Tolle
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