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Favorite Book you've read in last ten years

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message 1: by Claude S (new)

Claude S | 200 comments Have to say Walker Percy's The Moviegoer.


message 2: by Muzzlehatch (new)

Muzzlehatch | 168 comments Boy that's a tough one. I'm just going to list a couple that come to mind; I can't really pick a single one, and most of these were read between '97 and '00:

Ralph Ellison, THE INVISIBLE MAN
Toni Morrison, SONG OF SOLOMON and BELOVED
Samuel R Delany, DHALGREN
Ursula K LeGuin, THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS
HG Wells, TONO-BUNGAY
CS Lewis, TIL WE HAVE FACES

The last two are certainly the most neglected and the two that I would most push on people (so I'd have someone to talk with about them).

I haven't read THE MOVIEGOER but it's high on my list of stuff to get to some day; I've had Percy recommended to me by a lot of people and I read and liked THE SECOND COMING in a southern lit class in college.


message 3: by Jacob (new)

Jacob | 17 comments Honestly, I can't say. I agree with Muzzlehatch on Song of Solomon, but you can't read too much Morrison at once for the same reason you can't eat a whole cheesecake in one sitting. It's just too rich. I really loved Guns, Germs, and Steel, but really think Diamond dragged it on for too long. That book's the reason I've started reading more nonfiction, though. I never read a nonfiction book outside of class until that book and since that one, I've read more nonfiction than fiction.

I didn't read anything huge in the last ten years, although a bit before that I discovered Kim Stanley Robinson, who writes some great SF. The Mars Trilogy is his most famous work, but I really liked some of what he did with the Three Californias. If you're into something a little more unusual, you could read The Years of Rice and Salt.


message 4: by Mtoast (new)

Mtoast | 1 comments Honestly, it's probably something I read last month, Rant by Chuck Palahniuk. Perhaps it was just a great book for the moment, but the style it was written just hooked me.


message 5: by Claude S (new)

Claude S | 200 comments do you recommend The Second Coming? I've honestly only read the one percy novel... but I'd love to read more. I love Til we have faces as well. I'll pick up tono-bungay on your recommendation.


message 6: by Muzzlehatch (new)

Muzzlehatch | 168 comments Ahh, I read "Second Coming" 20 years ago; I remember liking it, but not much more. Other books I read that semester certainly made a bigger impact -- Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor. Really can't say at this point, not knowing your tastes that well and not remembering enough.

"Tono-Bungay" makes me want to read more English realism from the Edwardian era; it is my favorite novel of the dozen or so I've read from Wells, and proof that he wasn't "just" a science fiction writer (though "Love and Mr Lewsiham" and "Kipps" are very good, they're really fairly minor and all-too autobiographical and therefore a bit dull). The central section in particular, with a devastating portrait of the smart, up-and-coming young man who marries for looks and charm and finds himself saddled with someone with whom he has no understanding and nothing in common, is just devastating. Brought me to tears, it was very reminiscent of a relationship I had that had just ended....

If anybody has read George Gissing or Ford Maddox Ford, or any of the other "mainstream" English novelists of the 00s-20s, I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommendations.


message 7: by Claude S (new)

Claude S | 200 comments I haven't read a whole lot from that period... The Secret Agent by Conrad... and remember it to be good. I was supposed to read The Good Soldier in college and never did, but I own it. I was too caught up in american novels at the time. O'Connor is another favorite, speaking of american. I'll have to add her to my lists.


message 8: by Claude S (new)

Claude S | 200 comments I remember loving the Dispossessed as well, speaking of LeGuin. I took a fantasy class in college, lots of tolkien, a leguin novel, and I forget what else.


message 9: by Frank (last edited Jan 07, 2008 07:33AM) (new)

Frank Hays (LogicalFrank) | 40 comments I liked Left Hand of Darkness a lot better than The Dispossessed, which just seemed way too similar to Stranger In a Strange Land to me at the time.


message 10: by grantonio (new)

grantonio | 24 comments I'm obviously still working on it, but at this point I'd have to go with Infinite Jest. I can't remember a book in the past 10 years that had me so rapt; not so much with suspense or infatuation with the plot in the page-turning sense, but just because of the richness, inventiveness, erudition and sheer entertainment value (quite funny, actually, if you know the book).

It's a sprawling 1000-page novel that I honestly wouldn't recommend to many people, despite my enjoyment of it. Only because it takes a certain appreciation for smart-assery, people-watching and wordplay to enjoy, and not because I'm saying it will go over too many people's heads.

Although written in 1996, I would say it has become more relevant than Wallace might have imagined. What is it about? Well, Quebecois separatists, tennis academies, film, halfway houses, fatal entertainment, 12-step programs, the future Organization of North American Nations (O.N.A.N.), addictions, etc.

So there it is: a favorite book that I'm both not finished with and hesitant to recommend.


message 11: by Muzzlehatch (new)

Muzzlehatch | 168 comments Mmm I've wanted to read 'Infinite Jest' since it came out. I have one of Wallace's collections of essays and have read precisely one piece from it (the shortest and easiest) and wow, the guy can write. I tend to be attracted to long works and my list of 1000+ page things to read is probably already too much for me to accomplish in my lifetime unless I somehow manage to suddently have triple the free time -- but the Wallace book is way up on there.

My example of such a novel is Samuel R Delany's 'Dhalgren' which is roughly the same length and also a hard slog, and also a book that is about an enormous number of things though like 'IJ' it is very much a book of it's time (the late 60s). Probably more so than 'IJ' actually, though I didn't think it dated when I read it.


message 12: by Dodd (new)

Dodd | 127 comments I'd have to say that my favorite from the last 10 years is C. McCarthy, Blood Meridian. It was my first of his books and had me hooked from the opening page. Very hard stuff to read but beautifully written.


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