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The one book I cannot live without

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert | 17 comments Mod
What's the one book you cannot live without?

It's not an easy question to answer.

As a writer, I would offer Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. Not always the easiest reading but it made me see what honest, brave writing makes possible. It woke me up.

As a reader, I would offer The Stand by Stephen King. Not great literature, but the world created through complex character interactions swallowed me alive.

As a human, I would offer the poem "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver. Okay, not a book, but the opening line gave me permission to be who I am without apology or second guessing. It starts "You do not have to be good". The complete text is here.

That's three. I cheated. What's your one book you cannot live without?


Song of Solomon
The Stand
Mary Oliver


message 2: by Darren (new)

Darren L. | 1 comments This may seem boring and certainly common, but mine would be To Kill a Mockingbird. There's such a voice there -- innocent enough to see what we older folks are sometimes too jaded to see, even though it's right in front of us. The themes of prejudice -- whether based on education, class, race, gender, mental disorders -- call out to me in a slick way that sometimes reminds me of a valuable lesson: A little empathy can go a long way in life. The challenge, I suppose, is to keep that naivete alive, at least a little. I never really want to lose the part of me that feels what Scout feels.


message 3: by Laura (new)

Laura | 14 comments Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
This is my "comfort book". It is the one I re-read whenever I am depressed or can't sleep. I'm not sure why love it so much. It may be partly because of the celtic folklore at the core of the story or it may be that it reminds me of how much fun I had at college as a undergraduate. It is a fantasy novel, set on a college campus in the 1970's. On the surface, the story is a retelling of the Scottish ballad of "True Tom" or "Thomas the Rhymer". But the story is really about being on your own for the first time and navigating all the different types of college relationships.


message 4: by Robert (new)

Robert | 17 comments Mod
Neither boring nor common. To Kill a Mockingbird is a great book. When I became a dad, a good friend gave me a paperback recovered with paper. The title she provided was something like "The Thougtful Man's Guide to Being a Father." The book was To Kill a Mockingbird.

When my daughter gets older, I'm sure I will ask myself "WWAD: What Would Atticus Do?"


message 5: by Owen (new)

Owen | 5 comments My literary answer ... The Winds of War and War and Remembrance ... a great example of telling the story of complex history from a personal point of view.

My "on a deserted island" answer. Harry Potter series. Love it. Listen to the audio tapes over and over again. Never read anyone who could age characters so perfectly, capturing the subtle changes that make 15-year-olds different from 13-year-olds.


message 6: by Mandy (new)

Mandy | 1 comments If I had to pick one Stephen King book, I think it would be Lisey's Story. I loved the way that Scott existed in or entered that other world. Aside from that, Lord of the Rings trilogy or C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia, because they confront many societal issues in a fictional setting. I love those good versus evil conflicts. There are too many good ones out there to choose from :)


message 7: by Stephanie (last edited Dec 04, 2008 07:19PM) (new)

Stephanie | 4 comments I honestly can't answer that as of yet. I have not found just one book that I cannot live without. I am a sucker for Harry Potter and The Dark Tower series by Stephen King but both of those have 7 books. Plus, if I had to choose just one book I would want one with more substance.
I have yet to find the book that truly speaks to me and teaches me something new every time I read it. Until then I could never choose just one.


message 8: by Robert (new)

Robert | 17 comments Mod
Stephanie wrote: "I honestly can't answer that as of yet. I have not found just one book that I cannot live without. I am a sucker for Harry Potter and The Dark Tower series by Stephen King but both of those have 7 ..."

I know its not fair to ask someone to pick just one book. I couldn't do it, either. I cheated with three.

Very glad to see a Dark Tower fan here. I'm a huge fan. Which is your favorite? I loved the first three and HATED Wolves of the Calla.



message 9: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 4 comments I like the Drawing of the Three, but i don't know if i could pick a favorite, I think of it as one big book. One thing I really liked about Wolves of the Calla were the Seeker weapons. I found that interesting on a their world after our world making it feel real kind of way.




message 10: by Heather (new)

Heather | 5 comments Wow. One book? I'm with Stephanie about Harry Potter & the Dark Tower series. I probably could pick one if you pinned me down, but it'd be difficult! (With Dark Tower, I think I'm one of the only people on the planet that actually LOVED the first book. Most people I know hated it!)

If I had to pick one book for entertainment purposes, etc, I'm not sure I could. I'll think about that and get back to you. If I were picking based solely on "influence and lessons of life" variety, I'd have to be cliche and say the Bible. :)


message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Thomason | 1 comments All the comments have made me think back to my adolescence when I read and loved To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone with the Wind, and Ben Hur. I may have to consider rereading them.


message 12: by Robert (new)

Robert | 17 comments Mod
Heather wrote: "Wow. One book? I'm with Stephanie about Harry Potter & the Dark Tower series. I probably could pick one if you pinned me down, but it'd be difficult! (With Dark Tower, I think I'm one of the onl..."

I loved the first book, too. "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." Such a simple way to start a massive epic about the universe and everything in it.

And for those who haven't read it yet, the man in black is NOT Johnny Cash. Just want that clear up front. :)


message 13: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 4 comments i have to say i did not like the first book. I like the story and i love the first line, but however, i did not need to read for pages about how dry and hot it was. or how thirsty the characters were. A little too much description for me.


message 14: by Robert (new)

Robert | 17 comments Mod
Stephanie wrote: "i have to say i did not like the first book. I like the story and i love the first line, but however, i did not need to read for pages about how dry and hot it was. or how thirsty the characters we..."

I think I just really like the desert. But you're right. There's not much happening in that first section. I think Drawing of the Three is my favorite in terms of action.


message 15: by Robert (new)

Robert | 17 comments Mod
Mike wrote: "Again, I can't imagine life without Barbara Pym, still the most underrated writer of the twentieth century. "

Okay. I'm convinced. I've added both to my to-read list. I really enjoyed your reviews. Consider me intrigued.


message 16: by Heather (new)

Heather | 5 comments Robert wrote: "Stephanie wrote: "i have to say i did not like the first book. I like the story and i love the first line, but however, i did not need to read for pages..."

Okay. I know postings on this thread died about 3 months ago, but I'm never good at keeping up with discussions!

I just wanted to say that I LOVED the first line of Gunslinger and it is probably one of my favorites of the series. However, most people I know that have read all of the Tower books like Gunslinger the least. There are a few people that haven't read the epic at all because they couldn't get past the first book. *GASP*

Thanks, Robert, for confirming that I'm not the only one that loved Gunslinger and didn't care for Wolves. : )




message 17: by K (new)

K | 3 comments Hmmmm. . . What can't i live without? Well, although I love them I cannot say the Harry Potter Series.

I'll cheat with three as well. The Great Gatsby is one because it's just so freaking awesome how EVERY single word in that novel is ESSENTIAL.

Then Howl's Moving Castle because it's a not so cliche fairytale. I loved it and the ending is probably the best ending to a book I've ever seen.

The third is Water for Elephants because it absolutely consumed me while I was reading it. I literally did not put it down until I was finished and then I wanted to read it all over again.


message 18: by Ollie (new)

Ollie | 9 comments The one book I cannot live without would be the King James Version of the Bible. It lifts me up when I am sad; it comforts me when I am lonely; and it provides guidance for my daily life. Setting aside the spiritual and just looking at the literature of the Bible any aspect of literature you want is provided in that one book from poems, parables, and letters are all there.


message 19: by ☺Caleb☻ (new)

☺Caleb☻ Sanders (killerkittyklaws) | 8 comments I have to agree with Howl's Moving Castle, I know its not true but I feel like I would be missing a part of me if I had never read that book...


message 20: by Laura (new)

Laura | 14 comments Caleb wrote: "I have to agree with Howl's Moving Castle, I know its not true but I feel like I would be missing a part of me if I had never read that book..."

Have you seen the Miyazaki animated version of this novel? It's a completly different story, but still good.


message 21: by ☺Caleb☻ (new)

☺Caleb☻ Sanders (killerkittyklaws) | 8 comments YES, I really liked it even though it was different, I dont really think of it as the same story.I liked alot of miyazaki's movies... = ]


message 22: by Edgar (new)

Edgar Polo | 1 comments Robert Grave's autobiography Good Bye To All That. His experience & observations as a British soldier in World War 1. Fascinating & enlightening. I've re-read a few times. Agreed, Faulkner's Great Gatsby is a fine, lyrical masterpiece.


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