Literature List of must read books?

sallyomally

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So... I'm off for the summer (one of the many perks of working in a school), and want to read and read a lot. I'm making a list of classic books-and by "classic", I mean from any era or genre. What should be on my list? Aaaannnddd.... go!
 

Muggle

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The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien.
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bron
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Bron
Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett (and then the rest of the witches books)
Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett (and then the rest of the Watch books )
Monstrous Regiment - Terry Pratchett
Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle - Manda Scott (or M.C. Scott)​
About the Boudica book. That is the first of a quartet. They are amazing books but if you're in America or Canada then ignore the "fantasy" genre they're listed under. They are actually historical fiction but Manda's American publishers refused to publish them as "historical fiction" because Americans can't comprehend something older than 200 years actually being history, not fantasy. (Not my words! Manda's publishers' words! She told me so :p )​
Her more recent books ( the Rome series) are published under the name "M.C Scott" to encourage more men to read them. (Men refusing to read historical fiction written by female authors, of course :rolleyes: ) Don't bother with the Rome series unless you've read the Boudica books though. You could read them as a standalone series but in the first Rome book, several characters from the Boudica series turn up and it's totally awesome. :p
Anyhoo, back to my list...​
The Winter King - Bernard Cornwell (Followed by Enemy of God and Excalibur )
Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys​
I'll think of some more later. Got stuff I need to do now...​
 
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Renee1

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One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The World According to Garp - John Irving
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
The Outsider (L'Etranger) - Albert Camus
Candide - Voltaire
1984 - George Orwell
A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
A Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Stone Angel - Margaret Laurence
Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maud Montgomery
Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie

ETA: Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
 
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Moll Flanders

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I've read a lot of classic novels but I didn't enjoy some of them. :D Some of the classic books I have liked include:

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte,
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley,
The Color Purple - Alice Walker,
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier,
Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger,
Song of Solomon - Toni Morrisson,
The New York Trilogy - Paul Auster,
Dracula - Bram Stoker,
Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell.

A Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

That author influenced me to become a vegetarian.:)
 
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Digger

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If you're into old-school science fiction I highly recommend The Mote in God's Eye (1974) by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.
... and if you never read it as a child... A Wrinkle in Time (1962) by Madeleine L'Engle
 
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mlp

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I second The Handmaid's Tale, The World According to Garp, Anne of Green Gables, and 1984.

I would add The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.
 

Forster

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Little bit more random and more historical than your typical recommendations (at least I hope so)

One of my all time favorites (but I'm from the area):
Tough Trip Through Paradise 1878-1879

This book grew out of a manuscript left by Andrew Garcia on his death in 1942. Ben Stein acquired the manuscript and edited it to tell Garcia's story of the 1877 war between the U.S. government and the Nez Perce people, the end of the buffalo herds and other historic events in Western life.

http://www.amazon.com/Tough-Trip-Th...=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339430169&sr=1-1

Band of Brothers

Probably heard of it, the mini series was incredible, but so IMO is the book

http://www.amazon.com/Band-Brothers...=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339430390&sr=1-1

Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter Alone in the Wilderness

Winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award, Indian Creek Chronicles is Pete Fromm’s account of seven winter months spent alone in a tent in Idaho guarding salmon eggs and coming face to face with the blunt realities of life as a contemporary mountain man. A gripping story of adventure and a modern-day Walden, this contemporary classic established Fromm as one of the West’s premier voices.

http://www.amazon.com/Indian-Creek-...=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339430484&sr=1-2

These one's are more fiction but if one is interested in the West they are IMO great.
The Power of the Dog

First published in 1967 to critical raves, Thomas Savage's The Power of the Dog now includes an afterword by Annie Proulx. It traces the tense relationship between two bachelor brothers, Phil and George Burbank, on a Montana ranch in the 1920s. When George marries a widow, Phil, a bullying, repressed homosexual, terrorizes his new sister-in-law. And when her teenage son comes to the ranch, things get even more complicated. This is just the first reissue of a long-out-of-print book by Savage, hailed as a true master of the western genre.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Power-Dog...r_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339430612&sr=1-11

And finally, a Pulitzer winner:

The Way West

An enormously entertaining classic, THE WAY WEST brings to life the adventure of the western passage and the pioneer spirit. The sequel to THE BIG SKY, this celebrated novel charts a frontiersman's return to the untamed West in 1846. Dick Summers, as pilot of a wagon train, guides a group of settlers on the difficult journey from Missouri to Oregon. In sensitive but unsentimental prose, Guthrie illuminates the harsh trials and resounding triumphs of pioneer life. With THE WAY WEST, he pays homage to the grandeur of the western wilderness, its stark and beautiful scenery, and its extraordinary people.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Way-West-...=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339430800&sr=1-1

I'd also recommend The Big Sky by Guthrie.

 

Spang

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mlp

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Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle - Manda Scott (or M.C. Scott)
About the Boudica book. That is the first of a quartet. They are amazing books but if you're in America or Canada then ignore the "fantasy" genre they're listed under. They are actually historical fiction but Manda's American publishers refused to publish them as "historical fiction" because Americans can't comprehend something older than 200 years actually being history, not fantasy. (Not my words! Manda's publishers' words! She told me so :p )​
Her more recent books ( the Rome series) are published under the name "M.C Scott" to encourage more men to read them. (Men refusing to read historical fiction written by female authors, of course :rolleyes: ) Don't bother with the Rome series unless you've read the Boudica books though. You could read them as a standalone series but in the first Rome book, several characters from the Boudica series turn up and it's totally awesome. :p

I am definitely going to get a copy of that. I've been fascinated by Boudica ever since I read a book about her when I was a girl.

IMO, some of the very best historical fiction has been written by women: Rosemary Sutcliffe, Mary Renault, Dorothy Dunnett. These women sparked and nurtured my interest in history.
 

Forster

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I am definitely going to get a copy of that. I've been fascinated by Boudica ever since I read a book about her when I was a girl.

IMO, some of the very best historical fiction has been written by women: Rosemary Sutcliffe, Mary Renault, Dorothy Dunnett. These women sparked and nurtured my interest in history.

If you like historical fiction, I recommend the Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough. Loved those books and she give you your money's worth.
 
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mlp

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If you like historical fiction, I recommend the Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough. Loved those books and she give you your money's worth.

Thanks - I will definitely put those on my list.

Historical fiction acts as a springboard for me - I get interested in a person/era/event, and follow up with reading nonfiction about it.

Oh, for lovers of historical fiction - I also highly recommend the Heaven Tree trilogy by Edith Pargeter (The Heaven Tree, The Green Branch, The Scarlet Seed).

Oh, an just a generally outstanding novel, IMO: The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver. It's set in the U.S. and Mexico in the years between WWI and WWII.
 

Muggle

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I am definitely going to get a copy of that. I've been fascinated by Boudica ever since I read a book about her when I was a girl.

IMO, some of the very best historical fiction has been written by women: Rosemary Sutcliffe, Mary Renault, Dorothy Dunnett. These women sparked and nurtured my interest in history.


Just to explain a bit more about Manda. Manda herself is a shamanic dreamer. In the books she has the "religion" (for want of a better word) of the Britons as a shamanic-based culture. The books aren't all about that, it's just something that is woven into the story, it's a not a shove-down your throat thing. But one of the things I love is that for Dreaming the Eagle her goal was that for everything to do with dreaming in it, she had either done herself or seen done. Which is interesting regardless of your beliefs about it. For the second book ( Dreaming the Bull ) she couldn't carry on with that due to something the characters do via dreaming.
Manda actually teaches dreaming courses and she always says to her students that if she got hit by a bus tomorrow then everything she was going to teach them anyway is in the Boudica books. They're very personal books to her. However (and it's a big however), plenty of people who have no interest or belief in dreaming love the books. They are amazing. If you read them you'll understand what I mean. (I always feel like I need to give a warning since I let a very Christian (ex) friend read Eagle after they said they would love to read a book about Boudica... Big mistake :rolleyes: )

And that's just reminded me. One perk of turning 21 tomorrow: I can now go on her dreaming course. When she starts running them again.

Oh yeah, the other thing. Manda is gay. It comes through in the books. But there's no such thing as bi, gay etc in the Boudica series even though nowadays we would classify some of the characters as that. Some slight sex scene descriptions but not graphic or anything like that.. But there are m/m, m/f and f/f scenes. If I was able to deal with them when I was 13 years old then I should think most adults would. :p
 
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mlp

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Annia, I ordered the first book, and look forward to reading it. (I generally check books out from the library these days, but this sounds like something my sister would enjoy reading also.)
 
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IamJen

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Definitely A Wrinkle in Time! It's one of the books my sister and I hold close to our hearts.

Some other ones I've read multiple times:
Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
The whole of the Narnia series
Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods (I don't know that I've ever laughed more while reading a book)

I really loved The Time Traveler's Wife too. If you've seen the craptastic movie, don't let that influence you. The book is rich and full of wonderful full-bodied characters. It's one of those books I wish I could go back and read again for the first time (though I had to stop part way through because there was one scene that just made me sob unbelievably...whew)

Are you reading only fiction?
 

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Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
White People - Allan Gurganus
The Things They Carried - Tim OBrien
Siddhartha - Herman Hesse
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood
Bring up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell