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  1. #21
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burymecloser View Post
    Is this to me? The Covey is non-fiction, the first three I guess it depends on your POV, the rest are fiction. That's at least 60% fiction by my count.

    Also, I devour fiction and I very seldom read full-length non-fiction books.
    I reckon Tolkein, Wilde and Huxley are the only fictional reads, although like you say it could be POV

  2. #22
    Senior Member burymecloser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I reckon Tolkein, Wilde and Huxley are the only fictional reads, although like you say it could be POV
    Oh, I don't think this is just POV.

    All Quiet is obviously influenced by Remarque's experience as a soldier, but it's a novel.

    The Iliad is clearly fiction. Unless you believe gods really fought against and alongside men? That the goddess Athena played a critical role in the Trojan War? :confused:

    Plato's Republic is an allegory; the conversation depicted almost certainly never took place.

    The other three I won't go into, because there's room for difference of opinion there, but to call the Remarque, Homer, and Plato non-fiction seems untenable to me. Are you familiar with the stories? They're obviously fiction. Apologies for derail.
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  3. #23
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burymecloser View Post
    The Qur'an - Similarly, it is immensely valuable to understand Muslim scripture, particularly in the context of contemporary arguments about what is and is not religiously required of Muslims. The Hadith is a good idea for the same reason.
    Non-Muslims much prefer to acquire their brilliant expertise on the faith at third hand, through the ever reliable and accurate media representations and the fulimations of those who write political polemics. How else are we to continue understanding them from our perspective? God forbid that we should try to understand them from their own!

    The Iliad - Apart from the Christian Bible, probably the most influential piece of literature ever written. Almost everything you've ever read was directly or indirectly influenced by this in some way.
    Hmm, I prefer the Iliad as a work of literature in most respects, but I would have thought that the Odyssey had a broader influence on future writing - certainly on the development of the novel form and literary realism, for example.

    All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque - The greatest war novel ever written, and the greatest novel of any kind I have ever read. No matter what you believe, it should change the way you think about war. If I really was picking just one book, this would probably be it.
    What about War and Peace then if we're speaking of war novels? Or the above work, for that matter?

    The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien - An accessible epic about love, war, and the end of magic. A devastatingly effective parable its author always insisted wasn't really a parable. It's inspiring, depressing, fantastic, realistic, touching, heart-breaking, and substantially different than the movies. As a side note, I despise Peter Jackson. He is a shitty director, and I am not willing to allow for a difference of opinion on this. If you think otherwise, you're a fucking moron and I hope you choke on a celery stick.
    I have no especial opinion on him as a director, but do you really think the likes of Speilburg or Lucas (or another Hollywood director likely to have been entrusted with something on this scale) would have done it better?

    Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley - Scarier and more prophetic than 1984. Permit me to quote the foreword of Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves To Death: Public Discourse In The Age Of Show Business.
    Nothing is more important than making sure we understand who is really in control and what is really happening as a consequence.
    Ha, I've often been a little puzzled by the relative attention the two books recieve. I suspect much of it is because Orwell's work played into the fears of the cold war, representing the easily percieved threat of totalitarian triumph; whereas Huxley's addressed more the sordid reality of the society we are actually living in and where it may be leading us, a reality that many of us do not want to confront to this day...
    Look into my avatar. Look deep into my avatar...

  4. #24
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burymecloser View Post
    Oh, I don't think this is just POV.

    All Quiet is obviously influenced by Remarque's experience as a soldier, but it's a novel.

    The Iliad is clearly fiction. Unless you believe gods really fought against and alongside men? That the goddess Athena played a critical role in the Trojan War? :confused:

    Plato's Republic is an allegory; the conversation depicted almost certainly never took place.

    The other three I won't go into, because there's room for difference of opinion there, but to call the Remarque, Homer, and Plato non-fiction seems untenable to me. Are you familiar with the stories? They're obviously fiction. Apologies for derail.
    Your choices above are awesome!!!

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  5. #25
    Senior Member burymecloser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    Hmm, I prefer the Iliad as a work of literature in most respects, but I would have thought that the Odyssey had a broader influence on future writing - certainly on the development of the novel form and literary realism, for example.
    Interesting ideas, certainly plausible. The Iliad was such a direct influence, though, on Virgil -- moreso than the Odyssey, I think -- and the Aeneid has been enormously influential itself. The Iliad also portrays many more significant characters. I don't know, you've got me questioning now. It's easy to see parallels between the Odyssey and Divine Comedy or Paradise Lost. I think the Iliad at least is the better known of the two stories.

    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree
    What about War and Peace then if we're speaking of war novels? Or the above work, for that matter?
    I love Russian literature, and I like Tolstoy, but War and Peace is overrated. It's much too long, boring in places, and it's as much a soap opera (in a good way, like Anna Karenina) as a war story. All Quiet on the Western Front is a pure war novel, and it's simply devastating. They're very, very different. The Iliad is a heroic epic treating with war, and again, not really the same genre as the Remarque.

    All Quiet is the only one of the three really concerned with how war affects soldiers. I just think anyone expressing an opinion on any war ought to read Remarque's account. It's engaging, and it's not a depressing read. "Devastating" is the word I keep coming back to.

    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree
    I have no especial opinion on him as a director, but do you really think the likes of Speilburg or Lucas (or another Hollywood director likely to have been entrusted with something on this scale) would have done it better?
    I shudder to think. At least they were smart enough not to do it. I should probably limit myself on this topic; I tend to get kind of fired up about it. FWIW, though, I'm not just talking about LOTR.

    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    Your choices above are awesome!!!
    Thank you.
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  6. #26
    Senior Member Habba's Avatar
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    Why is it important to read the book that is influential or "first"? Wouldn't it be a better idea to read latter, more refined versions of the same story?

    Anyways, my choice would be Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence. It's a book that opened my eyes and made me think the first time: "Everyone should read this book".
    "The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine."
    -Nikola Tesla

  7. #27
    Senior Member burymecloser's Avatar
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    I believe it deepens our appreciation of literature to understand its influences, and books that have been influential usually were for a reason. To give one example, when I read Dracula for the first time, it really cast other vampire literature in a different light for me; it was interesting to see where other authors borrowed from Stoker. Furthermore, there are so many allusions to the Iliad that I think it really hinders your ability to understand literature if you're not familiar with it. Same thing for the Bible. If you aren't familiar with some of the more famous stories, you're going to be missing an enormous part of what later authors were trying to do.

  8. #28
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    To Kill a Mockingbird. Because it's probably the most perfectly-written book I've ever read. Lee makes a social statement, but she does it by bringing to life a cast of characters that are absolutely real and believable, never pawns or cardboard cutouts. The character of Scout absolutely astounds me. I love how she uses one Other character to illuminate another. Harper Lee never published another book. She didn't really need to.
    Something Witty

  9. #29
    Diving into Ni-space Crescent Fresh's Avatar
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    Tim Harford — "The Undercover Economist"

    This book really helps me to open my eyes on considering all things which I've never thought of.

  10. #30
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

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