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My favorite lengthy reads:

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Truesight by David Stahler Jr. (never got to finish the trilogy)
Perdido Street Station/The Scar/Iron Council by China Miéville (not really a trilogy just the same universe, I have two of them and currently going through it)
 

Layell

Alas poor Yorick!
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I read a ton of plays, but I'll try to list ones that are actually possible to find. Because unless your play is a classic piece of theatre or you know a good theatre book store.

Death of a Salesman as mentioned is very good, the first real dissection of a tragedy in a play.

Tenessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie is a great play that is similar in how it dissects success and happiness. I think it does a better job of establishing the tension between parent expectations and what children want.

Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding and Yerma are fantastically poetic even translated. The first one involves a bride who is set to be married but has her own secret love, and Yerma is about a women who cannot have children.

One of my favourites is Quebecois Wajdi Mouawad, he wrote Scorched, and Forests two fantastic plays. (Scorched was made into a film by its French name Incendies and nominated for an Oscar, and won a ton of awards). His plays have a scope not seen in many contemporary plays and if you ever have the chance to watch one of his plays, do so. You might have to use amazon for him since he's Canadian.
 

evan

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You have to read the footnotes to Infinite Jest. Parts of it are like entire chapters that go on for 20 pages or so.

Some of my favorites have already been covered in this thread, Murakami has been duly covered, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy given their due (though Bros. Karamazov is my favorite Dostoevsky and i can't even begin to recommend Anna Karennina more highly. what a triumph that novel is). For the Russians I have to recommend further reading: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev. The former a novel that will make you feel dirty reading it (the classic pedophilia novel) and the latter the sort of prototype for much of the revolution-era Russian writings you will find.

Tom Robbins is a writer who most people i know love. I think he's okay but his schtick wears thin after one novel (or halfway through one depending on what you're reading) but try Even Cowgirls Get the Blues or Jitterbug Perfume if you want.

Obviously Nick Hornby is a master at capturing that sort of malaise that urban youth now feel (previously midlife crises). About a Boy and High Fidelity are important works in mine and people like me's lives (also the high fidelity movie adaptation is great. john cusack is SO dreamy).

I might thinkof more later.
 
Ooh, good thread.

Battle Royale is pretty cool.

A Song of Ice and Fire is the best fantasy series ever.

Codex Alera is pretty cool too.

And The Dresden Files are full of badass.
 
I unfortunately haven't had much time for reading anything but music books since I started college, but I used to be rather into popular sci-fi/fantasy titles. I was also really into Carl Sagan growing up. I still claim Cosmos to be my favorite book of all time, because it was the first book that really got me to see that the things I thought and felt about religion and science and the big mysteries in life might not be so crazy after-all. His book Billions & Billions is also a great, enlightening, read. At the end of it, his wife, Ann Druyun, writes about Carl's final days and his battle with bone marrow/blood cancer, along with the ways in which the entire world mourned the loss of one of the greatest and most influential minds on the entire planet. RIP Carl.

I used to be really into Orson Scott Card. I read and would recommend all of the Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow series, as well as Treason and The Worthing Saga. I don't agree with a lot of his Mormon ideologies, but goddamn does he make characters that are easy to get attached to.

Spoiler alert:
I've read all of the Harry Potter books at least twice. JK Rowling's writing style is so simple, yet effective. My biggest complaint with the series is with that Elder Wand bullshit. I was expecting a hardcore,action-packed fight to the death with Voldemort for the final battle and instead got this lame-ass deus ex machina crap. The ending with Albus Severus Potter was pretty touching, though.
The last movie was pretty kick-ass as well. I love that they changed the final battle to actually be, well, a final battle.
/end spoilers

It's a pretty long read, but Stephen King's Dark Tower series is excellent. It's his only fantasy series and he seems to have no qualms with calling it his magnum opus.

The Fablehaven series is lovely because, like Harry Potter or Ender's Game, it's engaging for both children and adult readers. I felt like the first book started off rather slow, but once it picks up, it can be hard to put down.

I read and enjoyed The Hobbit and the First two Lord of the Rings books, but have never been able to finish The Return of the King. Reading through the whole series is on my bucket list, though, along with the Bible and other religious texts.
The movies are awesome, of course. New Zealand seems lovely.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series manages to both be deep and hilarious at the same time. There are long stretches, though, were it doesn't really manage to be either. It's been too long since I've read the books to be able to tell you when, though.
I've never seen the movie and I haven't heard anything good about it, either.

The Dune series is deep and complex and altogether wonderful for probably the first three books. The last three books in the series are alright, but he basically repeats the same shit over and over again in the epigrams at the beginning of each chapter. The epilogue of the last book, where he writes about his wife's last days, are absolutely moving, though.
I've never seen the movie and honestly, it doesn't look like it would be entertaining.

The Time Traveler's Wife is kind of a sci-fi/romance novel that I was rather emotionally attached to throughout. Would read again.
I've never seen the movie, though. I've heard mixed reviews about it.

I read so many books as a kid, I can't even remember half the titles for them. I bought a lot of books specifically because they won the Hugo and/or Nebula awards and I still haven't read a good bit of them.

Fight Club is my favorite movie and also one of my favorite books. Chuck Palahniuk is the shit. Most of his other books are basically the same ideas behind Fight Club, just with a different plotline.

1984 and Animal Farm were both entertaining and thought-provoking. It got me thinking long and hard about the different forms of government. It's mandatory reading in a lot of schools for a reason. The allegory behind Animal Farm is absolutely brilliant and the ending of 1984 is unforgettable.

Finally, for you Music Education or Music Performance majors, or band directors out there who play or wish to be better teachers at some form of wind instrument, Song and Wind by Brian Frederiksen (former bass trombone of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) is a must-read. It discusses the playing philosophy of Arnold Jacobs, former longtime principal tubist of the CSO and master of wind pedagogy. It is extremely informative and encapsulates a large majority of what my University tuba professor still covers in lessons after 25+ years of teaching and virtuosic playing.
 
I really hope you make it through Mr. Indigo. You would be the only person i know of who has finished Infinite Jest. Do you actually read the footnotes? or do you just skip those?
Absolutely I read the footnotes; they're not real footnotes, they're parts of the narrative.

My favourite book is House of Leaves, though, and the footnotes there are the entirety of the narrative, so it's not something I'm unfamiliar with.

I actually came across David Foster Wallace's name in connection with House of Leaves on that very point. My Tax lecturer, in his first lecture introduction spiel, said that he was a big fan of DFW so I asked him which book to read first, and he suggested Infinite Jest as the magnum opus, given I've read difficult literature before.


Spoilers
EDIT: I agree TubaKing, the Elder Wand loyalty plot was weak. Disarming changes it? Bollocks. What would have been better is for Voldemort to have set Nagini on Snape, but then after he left, Snape forces Harry to perform the final blow with avada kedavra after collecting for the pensieve.
 

Woodchuck

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Although the premise of The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy seems a bit boring at first, the book turns out to be a good read and is quite funny. Yes, the beginning is a bit slow, but once you get past chapter 5 it's smooth sailing.
I lied. There's a lot of rough weather and boating in that book.


 

Bad Ass

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slaughterhouse 5 is the greatest book i have ever read. emotionally touching, thought provoking. i fell into a depression after reading it, it just connected with me on so many levels, and vonnegut's prose is gorgeous

1984 i also fell into a depression after reading but goddamn was it an excellent fucking book. like vonnegut, orwell's prose is beautiful but in a different way. you feel the environment perfectly, as if you were there -- the hallways smelling of cabbage, the tobacco falling out of third rate cigarettes, and there is always the feeling of dread, always a tenseness that i have not felt in any other book. i had not heard of the ending, so
i was expecting winston to find a way to escape the whole book. when he sacrificed julia to save himself, i nearly cried; in fact, the entire torture part of the book was intense. newspeak is very interesting, as is the philosophy that free will does not exist.
the whole book was thought provoking and excellent

crichton is pretty good

palahniuk is great i dont think im good enough to understand him fully but i still like him. haunted was insanely good though.
 

His Eminence Lord Poppington II

proverb:the fish who eats most dies still too
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hey, i've read slaughterhouse 5, it was indeed pretty awesome.

i'm pretty much unable to get my hands on more books before i move to a place with a library, but i'll definitely try and get more vonnegut (one of my friend's favourite writers).
 
I haven't read much Vonnegut, but I did like Cat's Cradle a lot.

Lighter reading:

The Abhorsen Trilogy, Ragwitch, and Shade's Children by Garth Nix.The first two are more fantasy-based, whereas Shade's Children is more sci-fi. My memory's a bit shaky because I haven't read these since about 2005, but I did enjoy them immensely. Easy to read, moderately intricate plots. Not deep, thought-provoking literature, but entertaining nonetheless.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. A new way of approaching Holocaust literature, narrated by Death.

Abarat series by Clive Barker. Very creative fantasy, Barker illustrates them with his own paintings. May look childish when you first pick them up, but I've enjoyed them a lot.

Heavier reading:

Almost anything from ancient Greece or Rome is good. My favorites are Philoctetes and Antigone by Sophocles, as well as the Iliad and Odyssey by Homer.

Neuromancer by William Gibson. This is a staple in science fiction, winning three awards and helping develop what we now call cyberpunk. Published in 1984, the novel foresaw a futuristic society that heavily relies on cyberspace. I found that the writing takes a lot of getting used to, but it is worthwhile. I don't know if this will have any significance to you, but I kept getting flashes of Ghost in the Shell while I was reading this.
 
So, I finished Infinite Jest in it's entirety.

It's very enjoyable, and I'd recommend it for people who are keen on speculative and ergodic literature, but I did guess what the conclusion would be, in that:

It didn't have one. The last page of the book, minus appendices, was a coma dream of one of the characters in which a former partner-in-crime was executing for stealing from his employer and using the money to get super-high.

None of the plots about The Entertainment, the Incandenza family, his drug addiction, the traitor Marathe, etc. were resolved at all.


I'm currently reading Danielewski's "Only Revolutions".
 

evan

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Yeah you're spot on with regards to the ending of Infinite Jest, but I would argue that

the whole premise of the novel is how empty and pointless entertainment is. It just kind of ends in an unsatisfying, inconclusive manner because that's the nature of the beast. If it was a perfectly satisfying piece of entertainment it would be The Entertainment and you would never stop reading. Also, at least one of the plots is resolved: Hal and his addiction. He eventually takes that super drug and his greatest fear is realised: no one understands him anymore. Just like that test subject.


I loved it and thought it was masterfully written and almost always engaging. As far as House of Leaves however, I admit to only getting about halfway through before tiring of it. It's the same sort of meta-novel as Nabokov's Pale Fire, but not as well written. Further, it goes way too far over the top with its form. I admit to being intrigued by it at first, but as soon as I got to, say,

the chapter about the labyrinth in which the footnotes are themselves a labyrinth you cannot escape from!!!


I felt he let the concept get too far away from him. It's "okay" but could be better I think.
 
hey, i've read slaughterhouse 5, it was indeed pretty awesome.

i'm pretty much unable to get my hands on more books before i move to a place with a library, but i'll definitely try and get more vonnegut (one of my friend's favourite writers).
Are ebooks an option for you? A lot of people don't like them because it means reading off a screen. Undoubtedly, holding a book is better than reading off the screen, but sometimes I can't get my hands on books and I can't wait for a paper copy, so I read ebooks.

I don't actually own an ebook reader and those are better than reading on the computer, I imagine, but it's something I'd like to purchase sometime.
 

His Eminence Lord Poppington II

proverb:the fish who eats most dies still too
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well, since i have a computer i'd say ebooks are an option, however, i really don't like reading on a screen.

i'll be moving to australia for uni within half a year though, so i'll have access to a library / bookshops there, np.
 
Yeah you're spot on with regards to the ending of Infinite Jest, but I would argue that

the whole premise of the novel is how empty and pointless entertainment is. It just kind of ends in an unsatisfying, inconclusive manner because that's the nature of the beast. If it was a perfectly satisfying piece of entertainment it would be The Entertainment and you would never stop reading. Also, at least one of the plots is resolved: Hal and his addiction. He eventually takes that super drug and his greatest fear is realised: no one understands him anymore. Just like that test subject.
Oh, absolutely I understand that's why the ending was as it was, though I wasn't really convinced with Hal's ending whether or not it was just dream or something, or where it fit in the chronology.

As far as House of Leaves however, I admit to only getting about halfway through before tiring of it. It's the same sort of meta-novel as Nabokov's Pale Fire, but not as well written. Further, it goes way too far over the top with its form. I admit to being intrigued by it at first, but as soon as I got to, say,

the chapter about the labyrinth in which the footnotes are themselves a labyrinth you cannot escape from!!!


I felt he let the concept get too far away from him. It's "okay" but could be better I think.
That's why I like it - more as an example of "What can a book be? What can it do?" than for it's quality storywriting, although the ending (the Whalestoe Letters) is amazing for recharacterising all the events in the book. I'd continue to the end, despite the overplayed technique, just for that.
 
well, since i have a computer i'd say ebooks are an option, however, i really don't like reading on a screen.

i'll be moving to australia for uni within half a year though, so i'll have access to a library / bookshops there, np.
Whereabouts, to study what?
 
When I think literature I think of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, both by Seth Grahame-Smith.
 
Nicholas Sparks is a great- *is shot*

On a serious note, for plays I'd recommend:

-Othello, Macbeth and Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare
-The Crucible by Arthur Miller
-Antigone by Sophocles
-Medea by Euripedes
-Oscar Wilde's plays are almost all winners

Stay far, far away from Oedipus by Sophocles. Such terrible irony throughout the entire book that it's almost unbearable to read. You may find yourself facepalm-ing through the majority of the script.


For novel(ist)s:

-Terry Pratchett (If you can accept his almost nonsensical style)
-Michael Crichton (at least read Prey and The Andromeda Strain)
-Ray Bradbury (Sci-fi again, but truly, Bradbury is a master of socially conscious future-fiction that borders on satire occasionally)
-H.P. Lovecraft (His work is deliciously surreal and morbid)
-Vonnegut (Has been mentioned before, but his ingenious re-energization of modern satire can not be overstated)
-The Revelation Space novels are wonderful imo (The twin novellas, Diamond Dogs/Turqouise Days is my favorite book of the series)

Kill with fire 1984 and Atlas Shrugged (any other Ayn Rand work, too). Both are shameless plugs for their authors' belief system and are thouroughly oppressing reads.
 
If you're into anthropology I HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading Lovecraft. It's pretty good but he uses a bunch of outdated anthropology theories (Piltdown Man in Call of Cthulhu easiest to catch) and he's pretty racist so it's educational in a way.

Song of Fire and Ice is really good, easily my favorite fantasy series, but it's really addictive so you might need a free week or something to tear through ~5000 pages.

Man, I'll just list some stuff.
-The Alienist (Caleb Carr) - crime book, p creepy
-Fifth Business (Jefferson Davies) - REALLY canadian but pretty good man!
-World War Z (Max Brooks) - This book has been really popular recently but for a good reason
-The Pillars of Earth (Ken Follett) - this is a chick's book heh
-Crack Dealers in East Harlem (Phillippe Bourgois) - This is actually a publication but it's really really good.
 
1984/Animal Farm

standard reading material and everything but you know, you should of read these for a reason
 

Chill Murray

get well soon jacoby..
why do a third of these posts consist of things you should be reading in high school anyway

anyway, here are some things i enjoyed reading:

John Dies at the End: if you enjoy Cracked at all, read this. It is funny as hell. Not high literature in any sense of the word but definitely enjoyable.

The Dark Tower Series: on my second readthrough now. I used to think of Stephen King as the guy who did the mediocre horror novels, but holy shit. It's 7 books altogether, and with the exception of the first which kind of drags a bit they're all great reads. Not to mention they have one of my favorite protagonists of all time in Roland Deschain.

A Song of Ice and Fire series: I just got into these, as many people likely did, through the HBO series. I'm currently on the third book, and I've fallen in love with the series. It's not your standard LotR-type fantasy setting, though, as most of the plot is centered on political intrigue rather than questing.

Other than that, some of the suggestions in this thread have been spot on. American Gods by Neil Gaiman is a great read. Palahniuk is interesting to read but you'll figure out by the third book or so that all of his novels read the same, and personally Fight Club is the single example I can think of where the movie is better than the book. The Hitchhiker's Guide Series is also excellent, but it's been a long, long while since I've read them. People say that House of Leaves is either the most brilliant piece of literature to be created or a pretentious piece of shit, but personally I'd lean towards the former opinion (though I'd say it takes at least 3 readings to get any understanding out of it).
 

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