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  • What are your favorite books?

    From the Sci-fi thread it looks like we have some serious readers here. What are your top 5 favorite books and authors?

    Here are mine:

    Fiction:

    1. Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follet (also like his thrillers, like Eye of the Needle and Key to Rebecca)
    2. The Magus - John Fowles
    3. Jack Reacher series by Lee Child
    4. Michael Connelly's books
    5. John Grisham's books

    Non-fiction:

    1. A World Lit Only By Fire - William Manchester
    2. Ghengis Khan and The Making of The Modern World - Jack Weatherford
    3. Walter Isaacson's biographies of Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin
    4. David McCullough's John Adams and 1776
    5. Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief - James McPherson
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  • #2
    I don't really have what you would call favorites excepting Mark Twain and Robert Rourke (a contemporary of and better writer than Hemingway). Steinbeck and Lewis are OK too but I don't re-read their works for entertainment. I got over the dour authors long ago, especially Europeans into which grouping I will include Russian authors. Anyhow.....

    Novembers titles.

    IQ by Joe Ide
    Long Shot by Jack Coughlin
    The Obsidian Chamber by Preston & hild
    End Game by David Hagerberg
    The Immortals - Jordanna Mx Brodsky
    Black Tide Rising - John Ringo & Gary Poole
    Foreign Agent - Brad Thor
    The God Wave - Patrick Hemstreet

    Adequate reads for the main part but nothing special.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm somewhat embarrassed as much of my reading ends up being work related. Doubt many here would enjoy biomechanics, nutrition, movement, etc.

      That said, here's a few non-work related books that I've recently enjoyed.

      Norman Granz: The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice
      Norman Dodge: The Brain that Changes Itself
      James McPherson: The War that Forged A Nation
      Ashley Kahn: The House that Trane Built: A History of Impulse Records
      Frank Buchmann-Moller: Someone to Watch Over Me: The Life and Music of Ben Webster
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
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      -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

      Comment


    • #4
      I've read my fair share of the more "serious" books in my lifetime, but I'm basically done with them now. I just want an enjoyable light read to pass the time, and books by Grisham and Baldacci give me that. I'm a political junkie, so bios of political figures (national and international) still capture my interest, as do books from insiders.
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      Comment


      • #5
        I may have mentioned this before but worth mentioning again. Ann Rice, an early non-:vampire novel about the castratti of 18th century Italy is "Cry to Heaven." Wonderful book, well researched and just a fun music related read.
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        • #6
          Top five:
          1. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh (Just finished it for the 25th time.)
          2. Foucaults Pendulum - Umberto Eco
          3. Röde Orm - Frans G Bengtsson (The long Ships) Swedish viking novel from the 1940s ... Highly amusing use of language that doesn´t translate well to other languages I´m afraid. But still a very good story.
          4. Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C Clarke (again ...)
          5. The Road - Cormack McCarthy (and agian ...)

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          • Guest's Avatar
            Guest commented
            Editing a comment
            I like Eco too. Too bad he's gone. Good semioticists aren't falling out of trees.

          • Per Sundell
            Per Sundell commented
            Editing a comment
            Couldn´t agree more. Too few novels came from that omnipotent pen.

        • #7
          If you've not read Tavris and Aaronson's "Mistakes were made (but not by me)" it's well worth getting hold of. That and Kahneman's "Thinking fast and slow".

          Comment


          • mkuller
            mkuller commented
            Editing a comment
            Kahneman's book was excellent but a little too long. I prefer Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers (didn't like David and Goliath) for those kind of insights.

          • Nattt
            Nattt commented
            Editing a comment
            Anders Ericsson's "Peak" (where Gladwell got some of his Outliers research from) was an excellent read.

        • #8
          Tough to list just a few, as I've loved so many, but here's what comes to mind:

          (BTW, I tend to be more geeky/nerdy with my books than my music)

          Frank Herbert - Dune (first four books)
          Azimov - Foundation series
          Daniel J. Boorstein - The Discoverers
          Stephen J Gould - pretty much everything he's ever written.
          Ken Follet - Pillars of the Earth
          Richard Brautigan - Trout Fishing in America
          DH Lawrence - Women in Love (no I can't explain why...but my GPS is named Ursula, and the previous one was named Gudrun)
          Aldous Huxley - After Many a summer Dies the Swan
          Ursula K LeGuin - The Left Hand of Darkness
          Tolkien - Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Simarillion
          C. A. Marchaj - Seaworthiness, the forgotten factor (if you are into sailing and understand the math, it's an awesome book)



          Steve Lefkowicz
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          Comment


          • #9
            Some, but by no means all, of the great reads that I have enjoyed:

            Stone's Fall- Ian Pears- an industrialist falls to his death, opening multiple story lines across time. Well written and powerful.
            History, a Novel- Elsa Morente- WWII from the perspective of peasants who are ordinarily beneath the scrutiny of the story tellers. This book is an enduring classic and borders on magic.
            Operation Mincemeat- Ben McIntyre- the true story of "The Man Who Never Was"- written by the author of Agent Zigzag- a book whose endorsement included a statement "The best book ever written." And it's all true. Ian Fleming, before he became a well-known novelist, is part of the team of British intelligence that concocts and executes a plot to fool the Germans- by disposing of a body with false plans for the Allied invasion.
            The Devil in the White City- Erik Larson- a serial murderer runs a gallery of death in the midst of the opening of the Chicago World's Fair. This is not a novel and the descriptions of the 1893 World's Fair and the movers and shakers who made it happen, are worth the price of admission. The murders are a grim undercurrent to this display of the "best" the human race can offer.
            I'll need to dig to find the next one- it is the more comprehensive biography of Tesla. Compelling.
            Blood Meridian- Cormac McCarthy- a gang of marauders, led by a large, hairless disturbed man ("The Judge"), based loosely on the Glanton Gang. Probably the most disturbing book I have read.
            King Suckerman- George Pelecanos- set in the '70s, among soul brothers and hillbillies, a drug gang goes wild. This is a time capsule of '70s culture, and Pelecanos, who has written for The Wire (that great tv series about urban life in Baltimore among the drug dealers and cops), knows how to deliver.

            The Last Sultan- Robert Greenfield- the biography of Ahmet Ertegun, from his teen age years as the child of a diplomat, smoking reefer with Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club, to the beginning of Atlantic Records, hiring Tom Dowd, from Ray Charles to Led Zeppelin, Ertegun was that rare breed of cultivated bohemian who not only lived the life, but invented the script for it.

            Comment


            • #10
              I just finished Bernard Lewis' The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2000 Years.

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              Comment


              • Bill Hart
                Bill Hart commented
                Editing a comment
                He's good. I think Lewis is 100 years old. I read The Crisis of Islam--gave me some insight.

              • mkuller
                mkuller commented
                Editing a comment
                Another one I would recommend is "Lawrence in Arabia" by Scott Anderson.

            • #11
              A few personal favorites...


              Fiction:
              "Anna Karenina" Leo Tolstoy - from the famous opening lines to the tragic ending, a great story set in pre-revolutionary Russia.

              "Don Quixote" Miguel De Cervantes - considered the first true novel. Lovely meditation on the perception of reality and truth.

              "The Wind Up Bird Chronicle" Haruki Murakami - choosing my favorite Murakami is like choosing your favorite child. One of the great novels of the 20th century.

              "Pride and Prejudice" Jane Austen - consider chick lit; there is a reason it remains popular

              "Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human" Harold Bloom - part biography, but primarily an exploration of how Shakespeare re-invented the art form of the play. A great book to read cover to cover or to simply explore your favorite play.

              Non-Fiction:
              "Winston Churchill" William Manchester - 3 volume opus on one of the most consequential lives of the 20th century. The final volume completed by Paul Reid. The greatest biography of the 20th written in the English language, rivaled on by Churchill's biography of his ancestor the Duke of Marlborough and...

              "Lyndon Johnson" Robert Caro - Multi-volume biography of one of the seminal figures of the 20th century. Exhaustively researched. Most recent volume 4, brings us to the end of the first 100 days of Johnson's Presidency.

              "The Great Bridge" David McCullough. Sweeping story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge...

              "The Intelligent Investor" Benjamin Graham. Still the greatest book about investing ever written.

              It has been said that to understand America you need to know three things; baseball, jazz and the Civil War:
              "Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn" David Hadju
              "Miles Davis" Quincy Troupe

              "The Soul of Baseball" Joe Posnanski. Ostensibly a book about baseball but so much more. The most uplifting self-help book you will ever read.
              "The Teammates" David Halberstam. Dom DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky's roadtrip to visit their dying friend Ted Williams.

              There have been many wonderful books written about Lincoln, here are a couple of personal favorites:
              "Lincoln At Peoria" Lewis Lehrman
              "Lincoln At Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President" Harold Holzer

              Miscellaneous:

              "The Panda's Thumb" Stephen Jay Gould
              "Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea" Charles Seife
              "Horns, Hogs & Nixon Coming: Texas vs Arkansas In Dixie's Last Stand" Terry Frei. The story of the 'game of the century' in 1970..
              "How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide To Human Nature and Happiness" Russ Roberts
              "The Boys In The Boat" Daniel Brown
              "Justice" Michael Sandel
              "Democracy In America" Alexis de Tocqueville. A French aristocrat remains the greatest guide to understanding America.

              Comment


              • jazdoc
                jazdoc commented
                Editing a comment
                Bill - I almost included "True Grit" on this list

              • Bill Hart
                Bill Hart commented
                Editing a comment
                Doc- some of those old western books on which the Duke based movies were great. Far grittier than the films. The Shootist is another good one. There is a modern writer- James Carlos Blake--who has written about the Missouri-Kansas border wars, Quantrill's Raiders,* etc. who I also enjoy very much.

                *Which ties into the James Gang, and then Funk #49 starts playing in my head.

              • MylesBAstor
                MylesBAstor commented
                Editing a comment
                No Ball Four on the list?

            • #12
              My favorite bio this year

              Comment


              • #13
                "Catch-22" - Joseph Heller
                "The Fan Man" - William Kotzwinkle
                "No Country for Old Men" - Cormac McCarthy (pretty much anything by him)
                "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" - Carson McCullers
                "Glencannon - Great stories from the Saturday Evening Post" - Guy Gilpatric
                "Guns, Germs, and Steel - The Fates of Human Societies" - Jared Diamond
                "A People's History of the United States" - Howard Zinn
                "The Fatal Shore: The epic of Australia's founding" - Robert Hughes



                Comment


                • #14
                  I just finished Hess & the Penguins by J.P. Farrell - it gave new meaning to Spandau Ballet

                   

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    Just arrived.

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                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                    Comment

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