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My Life in Books

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message 1: by Keith (new)

Keith Kelly (nedkelly) Yeah looks like an interesting show. I just caught the end of it the other night.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

After a little thought I've decided on The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks, The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, To Hell or Barbados: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ireland by Sean O'Callaghan and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. They all give food for thought and are excellent reads. Some advice, though. Most people give up on The Satanic Verses quite early on as its beginning is very surreal, but as it continues it gets better and better dealing with the lives of the characters. A Brave New World, in some respects, hasn't aged well. As it goes on it compares our time to this concept of civilisation ending with a engrossing debate, where the complete works of Shakes spear are quoted like scripture.
Don't worry. I didn't give away too much.


message 3: by Dem (last edited Feb 28, 2011 12:14PM) (new)

Dem Oh I like this thread and will love reading other peoples choices, my 5 books would beTo Kill a Mockingbird a great discussion book,The Road This book still haunts me,Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe A feel good book that made me laugh out loud.Child 44 I love historical fiction and A Thousand Splendid Suns A real page turner.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I love The Life Of Pi and To Kill A Mockingbird. I could just as easily name ten.


message 5: by Keith (new)

Keith Kelly (nedkelly) Got to say I'm big Life of Pi fan. It's one of the few books that I re-read very soon after I finished it the first time. I really got a lot out of it on the second read. If you haven't re-read then I'd definately recommend it. Might actauuly be a good pick for book of the month sometime, even though many of us will have read it.

Will have to put a little bit of though into my life in books. Whats the premise Vicki? It's not just your top 5 is it? Is it meant to be a reflection of your life through books you've read over time?


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Vicki wrote: "There's some serious titles there in Declan's thread, I've only heard of catch 22. Very impressive list. I've also read A Thousand Splendid Suns and think that Khaled Houssini is fant..."

A couple of those books are sci-fi. If you read much of that genre you'd know Iain M. Banks and Aldous Huxley. If you can get a copy a copy of To Hell Or Barbados I'd really recommend it. It deals with what happened to the Irish after Cromwell. I didn't realise the extent of it. I couldn't recommend it any more.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Vicki wrote: "Yeah, not just your top 5. Books that influenced your life and give hints at what type of person you are. Im almost half ashamed to have Twilight on mine but it did re introduce me to books after y..."

Never be embarrassed by anything that you enjoy. The books that I chose are all morality tales. If I was picking favourites I'd have at least one John Connolly and Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. It was badly adapted in to a movie. The book was a war novel and focused on military life. So much was changed that it was hardly recognisable.


message 8: by John (new)

John Braine (trontsephore) Can I include the whole Iain (M) Banks catalog? Uncle Banksy guided me through on lot's of political and sociological musings. I have to pick one? I'll go with Whit just because it's such a funny poke at organised religion (Though Wasp Factory & player of Games are my favourites)

Middlesex - because Eugenides normalises a freak affliction by showing just how irrelevant it is when set against the growing pains of growing up that everyone wrestles with.

Rule of the Bone - Another coming of age book which was a real eye opener for me because it was handed to me highly recommended and I couldn't, at first, get over how basic the writing was - but it turned out to be a fantastic story, and the real power of the book is in the story not in the prose.

Bill Bryson.
Short History of Almost Everything
. Brilliant book that instigated a period (now over) in which I stopped reading novels in favor of non-fiction. Have never quite got back to reading sci-fi though, think I'm done with pure sci-fi.

Time Traveller's Wife. I adored this book which I was hesitant to read (see above) but was delighted to find people are writing great sci-fi without going over the top on the sci.

Not sure that'd be my definitive 5 when Anne Robinson rings me up though.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Another Banksy fan? I've only read about three of his Iain Banks novels, and one of those was Transition, which should have been an Iain M. Banks novel. Maybe we should try to get one his books on the April reads list?

I love the culture novels. His themes and ploys are very challenging. I'm always recommending him. Player of games would be a great introduction for anyone new to his books.


message 10: by John (new)

John Braine (trontsephore) Yeah - apart from 2 recent ones, I've read everything he's written (including a book on whiskey!). Though he's written some of my favourite books, I think I'm done with him for a while at least. I think can read too much of the one author. I found Transition to be a bit of a regurgitation of so many of his other novels. Unless I hear really good things about one of his new books I'm putting him on the burner for a while.

Come to think of it, the last time I was on a book forum was a Banksy usenet group years ago.


message 11: by Keith (new)

Keith Kelly (nedkelly) John wrote: "Yeah - apart from 2 recent ones, I've read everything he's written (including a book on whiskey!). Though he's written some of my favourite books, I think I'm done with him for a while at least. I ..."

I've read good things about Iain Banks. Where would you guys recommend starting?


message 12: by John (new)

John Braine (trontsephore) Well The Wasp Factory is my favourite book (not just my favourite Iain banks book) . Doesn't get much better. When he writes sci-fi, he uses the name Iain (m) banks. And Player of Games is my favourite there, i second Declan on that one. Or maybe even Consider Phlebas, that's the one I stumbled across in a library years ago.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

I like the wasp factory. It's very dark in places. I prefer his sci-fi, though. Consider Phlebas was my first Banks novel, too. I loved it. Player of Games is probably my favourite of his, but Use of Arms would be a close second. He has very big ideas and once or twice he's gotten way too involved in the concept and the story suffered because of it. Books, like these three are character driven, and are much better for it in my opinion.


message 14: by Paul (last edited Mar 08, 2011 04:48AM) (new)

Paul (taytothief) I found The Wasp Factory overly dark. It clever and very original the way he dealt with religion but I felt he was trying too hard to shock. That may have been his intention but it was more than a little disturbing for me at places. I found Dead Air at an oxfams recently so I'll see what I make of that I guess.

On topic, I don't think I could name 5 books that had a profound effect on me. Those books are very rare and for me one would be Shantaram; it gave me a slap across the face as a teen and told me to open my eyes to a much larger world of experiences and problems.
The second book I'd choose would be Catch-22. My all-time favourite book that caused me laugh out loud constantly. I have read it twice and I nearly feel like framing it or something. Or maybe keeping it in a safe! Was a bit disappointed in the film though...


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I never saw the film. Maybe that's a good thing?

I don't necessarily believe that a movie adaptation will never be as good as the book, but with character driven novels Like Catch 22 you'd lose too much. The real hook of that book is the thoughts going through 's head.


message 16: by Katie (last edited Mar 08, 2011 03:13PM) (new)

Katie Mcsweeney (applekoko19) Jesus, this is impossible, 5 books I have read which have influenced and/or changed me... hmmm... in no particular order...
1)Into the Wild A classic example of a biography where I fell madly in love with the subject but also a book which made me think about the way we live in the world (I mean that the way it is worded) and also the way we change and effect the people we encounter.
2)A Woman in Berlin This book, another biography (but one that reads like fiction), made me realise that the second world war was not this romantic episode filled with heroes and villains that set the stage for fantastic books(e.g. Charlotte Grey) but rather was horrific. I knew it was a terrible time for some people but I only knew it in an abstract way before this book. Maybe it was because it was one woman's true story but it was mind-blowing.Night probably would have done the same if I had read it first.
3)Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism MattersNot a great book in itself but it made me realise I am a feminist and that being a feminist isn't something I need to be ashamed of... even if it does mean I will constantly have to explain to friends that they are feminists too, they just haven't realised yet!
4)Ways of SeeingI read this for art history in first year in college but I bought it because of its cover! It's a wonderful little book packed with big ideas... it makes you stop reading to look at the world and reassess it!
5)I Am Legend Wow...introduced me to post apocalyptic fiction one of the best genres ever and one which I will never get enough of!

That's odd only one of those is fiction (I am Legend, coincidentally I read it in one night, its quite short) even though the vast majority of what i read is fiction... maybe I just don't take it seriously. hmmm...


message 17: by cazdoll (new)

cazdoll | 1 comments Mine would be:
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) by J.K. Rowling
Just loved this story, brilliant read :)
2. The Beach House by Jane Green
Perfect summer read
3. The Quickie by James Patterson good unexpecting twists
4. Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson beautiful love story
5. The Seven Secrets of Happiness by Sharon Ownes this book will make you cry and laugh and smile :)


message 18: by Mae (new)

Mae (goodreadscommae) | 43 comments Katie:
I found fascinating your reaction to a the feminist book. I am a little older and attended a women's University in the US (weird yes). My University produced the two original modern american feminist Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. I attended University in the midst of the feminist revolution in the US... younger generations forget what we have accomplished. Any intelligent, independent woman or man with a humanist perspective is inevitably a feminist. Unfortunately the word has become a bad word. Naomi Wolf is a good read for the younger generation. Keep talking it up.
And for the record, I am a catholic, a mother, an educated woman and a a Feminist.


message 19: by Mae (new)

Mae (goodreadscommae) | 43 comments My five books...hmmm (could be 25 or 100) but I will try. I can say this today it might change next year....
1. Diary of Anne Frank-- This book I read when I was very young 10 or 11. It gave me a chance to discover the horrors of humanity and the plights of survival. Anne was my neighbor, my best friend every little girl in the world... I believe this book is a beacon in my humanist pursuits.
2. La casa de los Espiritus (House of Spirits) Isabel Allende Again a book that is intertwined in my soul. We latin americans have very close contacts with the magic realism... in real life. This is the way we live and think. I believe this book, written by a woman felt right for me. Finally magic realism was defined with me in mind--.
3.One Hundred Years of Solitude -- It introduced the understanding of Magic Realism to my life and my culture. Made me understand the Latin American world I was part of.
Sidhartha--Herman Hesse just because I sooo wanted to be Hippie and still sort of am.
Finally Man's Search for Meaning by Frankle. The ultimate work on humanity and the power to survive and forgive.


message 20: by Katie (new)

Katie Mcsweeney (applekoko19) Hey Mae, Your choices look interesting (except for Sidhartha which I read around a page of last week and was not keen on). I must look up the House of Spirits and the Frankle one.

As for my reaction to feminist book... ah what can I say I am a product of my generation. :) The first feminist book I read was The Noughtie Girl's Guide to Feminism and as I said in my review of it here on Goodreads, I didn't like it much but I liked the way it made me think about the world with a feminist slant. I'm currently reading The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women and I am enjoying it much more than the Valenti or Levenson books. I chose the Valenti book for my 5 books because without it I don't think I would have bothered reading The Beauty Myth. The Feminine Mystique (pilfered from to my aunt's bookshelves) is beside my bed but I cannot seem to get into it. I get the gist of what Friedan is saying but it does seem a bit dated now (still important but not a smooth read). I think the young women writing now are doing a great service to the feminist cause simply because they get people like me interested. I do not think they are saying anything that Friedan or De Beauvoir hadn't thought of already but they are saying it in a way that a dilettante like me can appreciate.
I think you are very right about younger generations (i.e. my generation)forgetting what has been accomplished, I think we also forget that there is a lot left to accomplish. For example take the appointments of female politicians in Ireland's new government; Joan Burton, the deputy leader of the smaller party in the coalition, did not get the position in the department of finance instead it went to a man, Brendan Howlin, she got "social protection". Fair enough, you might say but the only other woman to get a top job was Frances Fitzgearald and she is now the Minister for Children. The ladies got ‘womeny’ jobs. Also, there are fewer women in this Cabinet than in the outgoing government. I am all for people being given jobs based on their merits and I believe the best person should be given a job. Women shouldn't get top jobs just to be politically correct but when the only two women in cabinet are given girly jobs it just reinforces the notion that the best person for an important job is a man. When I heard about it last night I was really disappointed.

I was very serious in what I said about having to explain to my friends that they are feminists too, most of them would claim to be humanists but they shudder at the though of feminism. They imagine, like I did, that it involves being a crazy, bra-less loon who eyes men suspiciously. Stupid of us, I know. They also seem sure that women have it all now and that while their may have been a need for feminism before, now it's work is done. To remedy this I am now suggesting that they watch this video clip, it's only 2mins long http://www.weareequals.org/.

Thanks for your comments Mae and I will be looking up those books!


message 21: by Katie (new)

Katie Mcsweeney (applekoko19) Thanks Vicki,
Well I definitely think it is something we should be talking about whether people agree or disagree about the possibility of sexism being involved. The minister for Children is a new job isn't, it wasn't around before??

I don't know, I don't think that a woman would be any better at it than a man but I just think that putting a woman in there has connotations about what women are good at and should stick to.I wholeheartedly agree about Joan Burton being robbed she seemed like a great choice and I would have had a lot of faith in her.


message 22: by Mae (new)

Mae (goodreadscommae) | 43 comments I agree with Katie... I would coin the "womany" jobs expression--Priceless!!!! That is exactly what it feels like, and the final outcome is just what Katie says that " given girly jobs it just reinforces the notion that the best person for an important job is a man." I have seen this happening lately and I saw it when I was involved in the corporate world. I thought that had changed... but it crept right back. We need to be with our eyes wide open. Heck, if they don't want to be called feminists... good, at least walk the walk.
My daughter is a feminist...at 16-- but keeps it a secret.


message 23: by John (new)

John Braine (trontsephore) This was a recent topic of a blog i read,
http://theantiroom.wordpress.com/2011...


message 24: by Katie (last edited Mar 10, 2011 08:07AM) (new)

Katie Mcsweeney (applekoko19) Ohh John, thank you! Very interesting stuff and provided just the right sort of distraction from working on my thesis!
Are you an offender? I call women and girls "ladies" all the time because I feel like a right tool saying anything else!I hate being called a girl and so I don't refer to others that way but women is wrong as well as it is too formal. Maybe it's because I am from Cork but if you don't say "girl(s)" it sounds like you are trying to make a point! "Ladies" for me is the obvious middle ground! I should point out I see nothing wrong with the word woman but it has ideas implicit in it about power and strength, I mean that in a good way. As Britney said I'm "not a girl, not yet a woman", I feel too young and flighty to deserve to be called a woman in the same way I wouldn't call male friends in college "men"!

And Mae, fair play to your daughter, now if she can quietly convert a few of her friends and spread the word we'll be doing well!


message 25: by John (new)

John Braine (trontsephore) An offender? Let's see, well I'm sure I have referred to grown women as girls before but never in a derogatory way. Would have been in the same context as I might call grown men boys. I think when both men and girls is used in the same sentence/context is when there's an obvious problem. Particularly in a professional environment. I think like most words that people may be offended by it's mostly about context & intent but yes sometimes ignorance.


message 26: by Katie (new)

Katie Mcsweeney (applekoko19) I think I started on the ladies thing when I was coaching teenagers, I was only a few years older than them but they were calling me Ms.
Yea you are right about the men/girls thing especially at work. As a waitress I am constantly referred to as "girl" and more infuriatingly "love"; all I can do is nod and smile. Company policy frowns on correcting customers!


message 27: by Katie (new)

Katie Mcsweeney (applekoko19) Ha! Vicki I'm a norrie too! My parents are from different parts of Munster though so it's not something we say at home but you walk out the door and it's all "hiya girl".... there is no escape! When people use girl in that way I don't find it too annoying but "love" that really gets on my wick! Or oh Jesus, hold-me-back "pet"!!

As for Frances Fitzgerald I have nothing against her getting the appointment at all. I just would have liked to have seen more women get into cabinet in a broader range of roles. It's not like they didn't have good options what with women like Róisín Shortall for example.

Talking about it today made me remember 1st year year CSPE in school (c.2000) when the teacher asked what was the Táinaiste's job and I said she was the woman in charge and the Taoiseach was the man in charge. I was a bit of a chancer but you know I think I might have been onto something there!


message 28: by Mae (new)

Mae (goodreadscommae) | 43 comments Interesting all this talk reminded me... when I was 9 I asked my mother, why if all the girls were the best students in class... the doctors and lawyers and the bankers and the politicians were all men???


message 29: by Mae (new)

Mae (goodreadscommae) | 43 comments I hate to tell you but vicky you are!


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

There are worse things.

Watch these.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9cAa6...

And this one especially.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yl8g8S...


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