Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

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Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#1  Postby Nautilidae » May 25, 2015 7:28 pm

Greetings, all.

I've been a faithful member of this forum for 5 years now, coming up on 6 if you consider my limited time at the RDF. Certainly, I've drifted in and out more than cat's interest in its own food, but I have always considered you all very dear to me, even in times of prolonged absence.

I've reached a point in my life where my utter lack of structured education has begun to reveal itself in very painful ways. As a select few of you know, I haven't been to school since the age of 13, and since then, virtually all knowledge I've sponged up has been entirely through my own endeavor. Because of this, I have developed a temperament and perspective that many people consider to be novel and entirely self-made, but perhaps more than a bit ashamedly, it also means that I'm stifled by enormous knowledge gaps left by my lack of educational discipline. My capacity for comprehension of the world around me has become blunt, and there are so many books to read -- fiction, non-fiction, biographies, textbooks -- that simply picking a place to start seems more daunting than any subject I could possibly pursue. Through my writing and through my love of movies, I've managed to learn a bit, but it's negligible compared to the knowledge bases of my peers.

What books would you recommend for someone who has read virtually nothing for the majority of his life and is quite frankly done with that being the case?

Here are the books I can recall having read in the past 5 years:

It's Only A Movie
The Good, The Bad, and The Multiplex: What's Wrong With Modern Movies
Point Omega
To Kill A Mockingbird
My Name is Asher Lev
Inherent Vice
The Old Man and the Sea
Summer Crossing
The Giver

I'm in the middle of Albert Camus's "The Stranger", and I have Don DeLillo's "The Names" waiting when that's done.
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#2  Postby Evolving » May 25, 2015 8:04 pm

Well, you're not an illiterate, are you? just not very widely read.

There's more to read than one could ever hope to cover in a lifetime. Find what speaks to you and read that, it seems to me.

There is some good stuff in your list.

A suggestion, which may or may not appeal to you. You say you love movies. Now, one of my favourite movies is Shakespeare in Love, and one thing that stirs something in me when I watch that film is to see how the other actors gather around the stage while Ralph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow are rehearsing Romeo and Juliet, hot from Shakespeare's pen, and it dawns on them that they are witnessing the birth of a masterpiece.

I would watch Shakespeare in Love, if you haven't already seen it, and then read Romeo and Juliet.

That's a suggestion that should work with someone who likes the sort of thing that I do.
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#3  Postby TopCat » May 25, 2015 8:15 pm

I'm embarrassingly poorly-read too. I tend to stick to authors I know, who write about things I'm already interested in (mostly flying and science). Mostly I'm just too busy most of the time, with too little patience, to take time out to read literature that requires effort, no matter how much it repays it.

However, I have now read a little Charles Dickens. I started with A Christmas Carol, since it was short, and I already knew the plot. I figured that since it was so short, it wouldn't take too much wading through.

I was right, it didn't, but I loved it. I loved the complex language, the archaic but still perfectly understandable expressions, and the gentility.

So I read A Tale of Two Cities, shortly after. I loved that too, and I learned a little about the French Revolution as well.

So I'd definitely recommend a dip into Dickens.
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#4  Postby Fallible » May 25, 2015 8:21 pm

Fiction's my thing. There are so many, but here are some of my favourites from various eras -

Lolita
The Master and Margarita
Under the Skin
The Crimson Petal and the White
The Plague
(If you are enjoying The Stranger)
The Death of Grass
Alas, Babylon
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Never Let Me Go
Kafka on the Shore
The Windup Bird Chronicle
The Shadow of the Wind
Crime and Punishment
Frankenstein
The Corrections
Nausea
Decline and Fall
The Great Gatsby
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Ham On Rye
Brighton Rock
It
Weaveworld
Imagica
Rose Madder
The Duma Key
The Tropic of Cancer
Catcher in the Rye
Moll Flanders
A History of the World in Ten and a Half Chapters
The Passion
(Jeanette Winterson - I think there are a couple of books with this name)
Perfume
Tipping the Velvet
Affinity
The Handmaid's Tale
Oryx and Crake
The Bloody Chamber
The Passion of New Eve
The Prestige
Inverted World
Of Mice and Men
Arthur and George
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
The Illead
The Odyssey
The Trial
Metamorphosis
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Notes on a Scandal
Uncle Silas
(The Sheridan le Fanu one)
Charlie Brooker's books, eg. Dawn of the Dumb and Screen Burn, are good.
Oh! And Lovecraft's work.

Sorry if that's overload.
She battled through in every kind of tribulation,
She revelled in adventure and imagination.
She never listened to no hater, liar,
Breaking boundaries and chasing fire.
Oh, my my! Oh my, she flies!
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#5  Postby UncertainSloth » May 25, 2015 8:26 pm

i think you forgot the 'with thanks to us for his help' bit....;)
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Tolkein
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#6  Postby Fallible » May 25, 2015 8:27 pm

Because you refuse to use capitalisation, that looks like you think I should have thanked myself and someone else.
She battled through in every kind of tribulation,
She revelled in adventure and imagination.
She never listened to no hater, liar,
Breaking boundaries and chasing fire.
Oh, my my! Oh my, she flies!
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#7  Postby UncertainSloth » May 25, 2015 8:30 pm

Image

to keep things on track, the stranger is a great book

i would also suggest animal farm, 1984, war of the worlds etc...any of the orwell/wells stuff is essential...
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Tolkein
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#8  Postby UncertainSloth » May 25, 2015 8:33 pm

and m r james short stories....and the sherlock holmes stories...
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Tolkein
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#9  Postby UncertainSloth » May 25, 2015 8:33 pm

and ignore what fall said about the great gatsby - it's insufferably shite...
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Tolkein
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#10  Postby Fallible » May 25, 2015 8:34 pm

Nope.
She battled through in every kind of tribulation,
She revelled in adventure and imagination.
She never listened to no hater, liar,
Breaking boundaries and chasing fire.
Oh, my my! Oh my, she flies!
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#11  Postby UncertainSloth » May 25, 2015 8:37 pm

and, though fall will poopoo this....still & ulverton by adam thorpe....and a few others of his i can't remember the names of....ulverton is a fantastic book & you should like still as a movie fan....i did anyway....
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Tolkein
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#12  Postby UncertainSloth » May 25, 2015 8:37 pm

Fallible wrote:Nope.


Image
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Tolkein
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#13  Postby scott1328 » May 25, 2015 9:19 pm

I nominate the foregoing as the best argument against marriage put forth on this forum thus far. Could a mod move it to the abolish marriage thread, please?
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#14  Postby Fallible » May 25, 2015 9:20 pm

:lol:
She battled through in every kind of tribulation,
She revelled in adventure and imagination.
She never listened to no hater, liar,
Breaking boundaries and chasing fire.
Oh, my my! Oh my, she flies!
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#15  Postby scott1328 » May 25, 2015 9:26 pm

Book recommendations

The Dragonriders of Pern series, but only those stories by Anne Mcaffery
The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
The High Crusade by Poul Anderson
Polymath by John Brunner
Ringworld series and sequel series Fleet of Worlds by Larry Niven, et al.
I have tons more, but my battery is dying...
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#16  Postby Nautilidae » May 25, 2015 11:02 pm

Thank you very much, everyone! All of these have been placed on the list. Please keep them coming!

Also, this thread's official banner:

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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#17  Postby Onyx8 » May 25, 2015 11:08 pm

Scott, have you read Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson)? With your other suggested books I would think you might like it. You too Naut.
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#18  Postby scott1328 » May 25, 2015 11:11 pm

Onyx8 wrote:Scott, have you read Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson)? With your other suggested books I would think you might like it. You too Naut.

no, but i will give it a look.
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#19  Postby Fallible » May 25, 2015 11:19 pm

Damn, I forgot all about him. I have to psyche myself up to read his books because I find them quite daunting, but I enjoyed Snow Crash, and also Quicksilver.
She battled through in every kind of tribulation,
She revelled in adventure and imagination.
She never listened to no hater, liar,
Breaking boundaries and chasing fire.
Oh, my my! Oh my, she flies!
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Re: Book Recommendations For An Utter Illiterate

#20  Postby Onyx8 » May 26, 2015 1:56 am

Oh, oh, oh…and 'Starfish' and sequels by Peter Watts. They get seriously grizzly by the third/fourth, but brilliantly conceived.
The problem with fantasies is you can't really insist that everyone else believes in yours, the other problem with fantasies is that most believers of fantasies eventually get around to doing exactly that.
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