What's your favorite book - why?

Whether it changed your life, gave you a new perspective, made you cry, made you laugh, was just comforting to read. Anything

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  • Mein kampf.

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  • Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, and Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar are a few of my very favorites. I can't really explain why tho...

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    • I liked Calvino's 'If on a Winter's Night a Traveller' and 'The Baron in the Trees' but I find he tries too hard to be overtly funny and clever to really appreciate him deeply. I feel like shouting, 'Accept that there's something bigger out there than the size of your own head, will you?'. He seems too fond of the idea of himself as a visionary. At least, that's what I read in him.

      My favourite Italian writer is Anna Maria Ortese. You can read her novels as charming stories full of nostalgia, folklore and cute anthropomorphic animals, but they're locked together by this belief in the hidden power of the feeble, vulnerable things in life, and the inner strength of little people, who turn out to be the movers and shakers of the world completely unbeknownst to those who are only interested in being the biggest and the richest and the best.

      What's 'Invisible Cities' like?

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      • Oh, yes! I liked both of those too, The Baron in Trees more than If on a Winter's Night. I can understand what you're saying about him... haha my first contact with his work was a compilation of Italian folktales, next came Invisible Cities.

        I'll try tell you what it's like for me. It's not exactly a story... I mean, it is in the sense that the descriptions of these cities are interwoven by conversations between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. They are the places Polo has visited and his accounts to Khan are full of magical imagery. Since I've read it a few times and was involved in a theater adaptation of it, the meaning and interpretation of them has changed over the years. I'm curious to go back and find out how I'll experience it now.

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        • I might have that compilation of Italian folktales on my shelf... is it a bilingual edition, by any chance?

          I only read Calvino because I had to for university. I never considered Calvino and Ortese comparatively, but it's interesting how they both use elements of he fable, collective memory and fantasy realism but are so different from each other in tone.

          My fave Ortese is an epistolary murder mystery about an adopted puma with human emotions and an academic that loses his marbles and starts acting like a puma.

          There's another one, 'The Iguana', which I think is a sort of counterpoint to Calvino's image as a 'man of the Enlightenment', about an anthropomorphic iguana. It is set in the 18th century (I think). The iguana-girl is 'owned' by a community of Portuguese noblemen who live on a secluded island, and they are discovered by a rich Count who makes his business 'discovering' and selling uncharted islands. The Count discovers that the iguana is exploited and abused by her owners, and he ironically falls in love with her. In my view, taken as a whole it's a sort of 'answer' to hard rationalism, capitalism and colonial presumption.

          Texts are so precious when we re-read them and experience them in other contexts and modes - I'm happy for you 😊.
          I like Pygmalion/My Fair Lady for that reason!

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          • I just looked Anna Maria Ortese up. I've never read anything by her and she seems interesting. However, I couldn't find any translations or ebooks. I was even willing to read in the original but all download sites were those full of ads that pretty much don't let you actually download it. :/

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  • the very hungry caterpillar RIP eric carle

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  • George Orwell's 1984

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  • An old leather bound Catholic Bible with scratches, and bite marks on the cover from a three-legged, orange, tabby cat I rescued named Duncan.

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    • It's been really satisfying seeing my little guy gain weight, grow a thicker and healthier coat, regain some health in his eye, and act more like a cat than a stray

      I bet you felt that way too about Duncan. It's such an awesome, warm feeling in my chest just seeing him healthy and happy

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      • Oh yeah, my little Duncan was a very special cat! When I first got him back it was very hard to look at him after he lost his left back leg, but eventually it became easier. He was a good kitty, but he could be feisty, and had a tendency to intimidate a lot of dogs.

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    • Love this! Mine is the Bible too - a pocket-size ESV. It isn't a Catholic Bible per se, but I've noticed that you can now get versions of it with the Apocrypha. It got ruined (not from overuse; more because I just don't look after my stuff), so I DIY-ed a new cover for it out of some cotton, an old pair of jeans and an Amazon delivery box.

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  • "The Hunt for Red October" by Tom Clancy. I seriously don't know how that book was ever cleared for publication.

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  • The Wonderling: Songcatcher by Mira Partok. An imaginative world and a beautiful story.

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  • I just remembered two others worth mentioning: 'O Vendedor de Passados' by José Eduardo Agualusa (strangely titled 'The Book of Chameleons' in English - although it would be hard to translate literally) and Paul Auster's 'In the Country of Last Things'

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  • I have got a few favourites.
    First the wizard of Oz because that's the first book I ever read.
    Then Manifesto of the Communist Party by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (I'm communist), The Mars Project (I am a future astronaut), The song of Ice and Fire (game of thrones), Space: 10 Things You Should Know, The influence of morphology, AGN and environment on the quenching histories of galaxies by Dr Becky Smethurst, The Penguin History of New Zealand (about my country), The Autobiography of The Queen, Saving Britain: How We Must Change to Prosper in Europe.

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  • I really liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books. Lisbeth went through a lot and came out wise and capable. Mikael was a decent man, clever too. They outsmart and outmaneuver evil people despite the hardships. Maybe not Mikael, but Lisbeth definitely fulfills her character's goals in just a really satisfying way.

    The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick was a great tale. A girl can see the future but no one believes her. It's set during a war in a European country and she goes on a journey to save her brother. She learns and adapts so much, essentially gaining veteran level experience in a matter of weeks

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  • Atlas shrugged. People who've read the book could understand why I enjoyed the book.

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  • the complete poetry of arthur rimbaud, I guess. he was a french symbolist poet and one of the first people to ever really get me into reading poetry (he also made me learn to read french). I have a nice dual-language version of his work.

    if not him, then maybe "l'etranger" or "brothers karamazov"

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    • The poet sounds really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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  • There are so many that I like.

    But a book from about a decade ago that really informed me about something important I did not know and raised my awareness of other society issues:

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by: Rebecca Skloot

    This book actually changed how the medical profession in western countries treat patients and deal with certain issues.

    It won the Book of the Year award by something like 50 different organizations, and I understand was on the New York Times best seller list for multiple years.

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  • Not so much a book as authors. Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt, Augusten Burroughs, John Elder Robison, Paul McDermott, Sam Bowring, Gregory Maguire, Jasper Fforde, Douglas Adams, David Sedaris, Alan Bennett, Robert Rankin...

    Ugh I haven't read a book in too long.

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  • I haven't read that much honestly, but a few that really changed my perspective on things are:

    Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Time
    Michio Kaku: Physics of the Future
    George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four.

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  • Favorite novel is, "The Prince of Tides", by Pat Conroy.

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  • a confederacy of dunces

    cause its a masterful novel that makes you wanna laugh and also take a shower cause its so fucked up

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  • Most of the Harry Potter books.

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  • I have this book from the 80s called "The Chronicles of America" and it goes over all the way back to thr times of the clovis people first getting to America through Russia. It goes over every year of the Americas all the way until the year it was written (however after 1776 it concentrates more on the US than elsewhere). Its really fuckin cool. It also goes into detail about Christopher Columbus and does not try to sugar coat things he did nor does it try to make him out to be a demon. It also gives sources on how they got their info, witnesses, etc on the side of the page. Sometimes on a nice day I'll go out on my patio and look at the book with whiskey. Its really fuckin cool its on ebay for only 5 dollars its a huge book. Its better than any history book they use in schools. Found it at goodwill paid 2 bucks for it.

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  • Cheers

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  • Hi dude I've read a bit of crime and punishment but that's it. What would you say is the best book by him?

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  • I was wondering if that was the case. I enjoyed them but I have to agree that the others you mentioned are definitely more memorable :)

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  • I love Dostoyevsky too!! I noticed you didn't include Notes From the Underground or The Gambler :)

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  • I'd say that my favorite books are the original Douay-Rheims Bible and the Summa Theologiae.

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    • Cut Clunk some slack everyone. I also said the Bible, and RoseIsabella said the Bible too.

      If you want to bash Clunk for it, you have to bash all of us.

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      • I'm also very serious when I say that. They are by far my favorite books. I couldn't in good conscience say any other books. I think people are against what I had to say because I specifically mentioned the original Douay-Rheims (the first Catholic Bible translation written in 1582-1610) and the Summa Theologiae (a summation of faith written by Thomas Aquinas). I think their problem is that I like a really old Bible and listen to the works of the Saints, since there are many people who reject the idea of listening to those who came before us.

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