Your Favourite Book(s) of All Time

Hawki

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I saw that the movie favourite thread is still going. I don't think we've had one for books yet. So, come on, speak up.

Starting off, I'll say that my favourite book of all time is Brave New World. 1984 is certainly in that realm of all time greats, but BNW takes the top spot. I forget who said it, but there's a quote that's stuck with me for years when describing the two works - "1984 depicted a world where we were destroyed by what we hate. Brave New World depicted a world where we were destroyed by what we love." Dystopia in the form of utopia, pretty prophetic in some areas, and the final conversation between John and Mond is something that's always remained stuck with me.

If we're talking about non-fiction, I can't really nominate a favourite in the same way, but one thing that springs to mind is Sapiens. It's one of those rare books that actually managed to shift my perception of the world. So seriously, read it.

Also, final note, if we're talking comics, I'd suppose my favourite would be Maus or When the Wind Blows, but if we're talking series, it would be the Archie Sonic comics. Yes, I can enjoy low art as well as high art, thanks for asking. No shortage of other comics I grew up with though. And if we're talking about manga? Um...no idea.

Anyway, your turn.
 
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SckizoBoy

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I have a somewhat parochial taste in literature, and I don't mean that in a good way.

That said:

Magician - Raymond E. Feist
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

A Bridge Too Far - Cornelius Ryan
Ab Urbe Condita - Livy (mainly Books XXI-XXX)
 

gorfias

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I'll do one book and one comic book:

Book: Time Enough For Love by Robert Heinlein. If I re=read it today, I'd likely find it too schmaltzy for words but at the time, when I was a teen, I was blown away by this story of a 2,000 year old man who rejuvinates time to time, and tends to appear very young, and tells us future history.
Comic Book: Issues 1-14 of Miracle Man by Allen Moore. He took a silly concept, Billy Batson and Shazam, deconstructed it, and turned it into a very scary, moving series. I understand it inspired the Matrix movies.book.gifbook1.gif

EDIT: The two females by his (Lazarus Long) side in this photo are clones of him, genetically manipulated to be female rather than male, which presented its own interesting plot points.
 
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Agema

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Probably a toss-up between Titus Groan (Mervyn Peake) or the Lyonesse Trilogy (Jack Vance). Probably after that I could add The Iliad (Homer) and The Idiot (Fyodor Dostoyevsky).
 

happyninja42

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I'll do one book and one comic book:

Book: Time Enough For Love by Robert Heinlein. If I re=read it today, I'd likely find it too schmaltzy for words but at the time, when I was a teen, I was blown away by this story of a 2,000 year old man who rejuvinates time to time, and tends to appear very young, and tells us future history.
Comic Book: Issues 1-14 of Miracle Man by Allen Moore. He took a silly concept, Billy Batson and Shazam, deconstructed it, and turned it into a very scary, moving series. I understand it inspired the Matrix movies.View attachment 271View attachment 272

EDIT: The two females by his (Lazarus Long) side in this photo are clones of him, genetically manipulated to be female rather than male, which presented its own interesting plot points.
Yeah I really enjoyed Time Enough for Love, though I suspect that if I went back and read it now, similar to my experience with Anne McCaffery's Pern series, I'd find a lot of the social/gender dynamics particularly cringy.

But yeah the premise of a guy who is just so old he's become bored with life, but the family he's helped to sire trying to keep him interested in life enough to not commit suicide, made for some interesting storytelling.

OT: The White Dragon, by Anne McCaffery. I remember reading that as a kid, and being absolutely absorbed by it. The way the story transitioned from this fantasy setting, to a scifi one, and how it was done, was just really awesome to my kid brain. I loved the series as a while, because it very rarely had things resolved with violence. At most, you'd have a duel between 2 people over a conflict, but there were just almost never any open conflicts of large numbers of people. And I enjoyed that.

Let's see, other favorite books. Just by how many times I've listened to the audiobook over and over, Red Shirts by John Scalzi. The sheer joy of that trope-lampshading romp just makes me smile every time. And the epilogue, done in several different segments, is genuinely touching.
 
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gorfias

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Anne McCaffery's Pern series
Reviewing! I could use a good cringe!

EDIT: Gadzooks! 9 books? Or more!?!?! Still, reviewing.

Dragonsdawn (Pern Book 9)

EDIT 2: The series (as of July 2012) comprises 23 novels and several short stories.!!!!!!
 
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happyninja42

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Reviewing! I could use a good cringe!

EDIT: Gadzooks! 9 books? Or more!?!?! Still, reviewing.

Dragonsdawn (Pern Book 9)

EDIT 2: The series (as of July 2012) comprises 23 novels and several short stories.!!!!!!
Oh yes it's a very large series that she put out before her death. The series holds a place in my heart as probably the first book (Dragonsong or Dragonsinger, I forget which one specifically) I consciously picked up as a kid to read because it looked interesting on the library shelf. It was back in the 80s, and I was in 3rd grade, and we were in the library being forced to watch one of those old slideshow with storybook things, where the track makes a loud 'BONG!" noise to tell the teacher to switch to the next slide for the storybook. It was Black Beauty. And I was incredibly bored. Not because it was Black Beauty, that was fine, just the format of the storytelling was mind numbing to me, which was funny considering the whole point was to try and inspire us to start reading. But I was sitting indian style on the floor, leaning against a book shelf, and looked over at a book next to me, and saw the cover art, of this young woman on a beach, clearly singing, arms out wide, with a flock of tiny dragons circling around her. "Well that looks interesting." I thought, and pulled it off the shelf and started reading. And I was instantly hooked, so much so that I turned my back to the projector and focused on the book. This got my teachers attention, and she came over and booped my head, thinking she was going to have to reprimand me. I looked up and she was like "What are you doing?" Stern teacher/mom face. I remember clearly thinking it was a dumb question, as I was in a library, reading a book. So I held up the book to her in a clear "duh! the thing you want me to be doing!" though I didn't say that part. Just let the book speak for itself. She kind of just blinked, and the mom face vanished and she was like "oh...well....ok then." And went back to the rest of the class. I went back to my book, and that story session birthed a lifelong love of that series.
 
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gorfias

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Oh yes it's a very large series that she put out before her death. The series holds a place in my heart as probably the first book (Dragonsong or Dragonsinger, I forget which one specifically) I consciously picked up as a kid to read because it looked interesting on the library shelf. It was back in the 80s, and I was in 3rd grade, and we were in the library being forced to watch one of those old slideshow with storybook things, where the track makes a loud 'BONG!" noise to tell the teacher to switch to the next slide for the storybook. It was Black Beauty. And I was incredibly bored. Not because it was Black Beauty, that was fine, just the format of the storytelling was mind numbing to me, which was funny considering the whole point was to try and inspire us to start reading. But I was sitting indian style on the floor, leaning against a book shelf, and looked over at a book next to me, and saw the cover art, of this young woman on a beach, clearly singing, arms out wide, with a flock of tiny dragons circling around her. "Well that looks interesting." I thought, and pulled it off the shelf and started reading. And I was instantly hooked, so much so that I turned my back to the projector and focused on the book. This got my teachers attention, and she came over and booped my head, thinking she was going to have to reprimand me. I looked up and she was like "What are you doing?" Stern teacher/mom face. I remember clearly thinking it was a dumb question, as I was in a library, reading a book. So I held up the book to her in a clear "duh! the thing you want me to be doing!" though I didn't say that part. Just let the book speak for itself. She kind of just blinked, and the mom face vanished and she was like "oh...well....ok then." And went back to the rest of the class. I went back to my book, and that story session birthed a lifelong love of that series.
dragonsong.gif
 
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happyninja42

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It wasn't that one specifically, now that I look at it. My memory isn't great on the best of days, especially that far back, and they've made multiple covers for that series, and the art changes. If memory serves, I think the image was her sitting on a rock on the beach, playing a flute? And the dragons were circling her head, and a few were like, chilling out on her shoulder, or lap, napping like cats. Like I said, I can't remember exactly. But it was definitely captivating to my little kid brain. "Ooh! It's called Dragonsong/Singer! I love dragons! And I love music! What's this about?!" *snatch and read voraciously*

I still love the series, but I do find the social structure she made, namely the gender roles and politics to be...very dated. Even though she made very good female protagonists, that often were portrayed as bucking the system, the rest of the system and it's implications were....less than appealing, reading them again as an adult. Still, they are really good books, and I loved them as a whole for a long time, and they shaped a lot of my early interests in reading, as well as helping to reinforce my pacifism, given I could point to her series as an example of making a really epic, dramatic series of books, that didn't rely on "And then they all fought each other to death" as the focal point of the conflict. Which is sadly uncommon in storytelling these several decades.
 
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gorfias

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It wasn't that one specifically, now that I look at it. My memory isn't great on the best of days, especially that far back, and they've made multiple covers for that series, and the art changes. If memory serves, I think the image was her sitting on a rock on the beach, playing a flute? And the dragons were circling her head, and a few were like, chilling out on her shoulder, or lap, napping like cats. Like I said, I can't remember exactly. But it was definitely captivating to my little kid brain. "Ooh! It's called Dragonsong/Singer! I love dragons! And I love music! What's this about?!" *snatch and read voraciously*

I still love the series, but I do find the social structure she made, namely the gender roles and politics to be...very dated. Even though she made very good female protagonists, that often were portrayed as bucking the system, the rest of the system and it's implications were....less than appealing, reading them again as an adult. Still, they are really good books, and I loved them as a whole for a long time, and they shaped a lot of my early interests in reading, as well as helping to reinforce my pacifism, given I could point to her series as an example of making a really epic, dramatic series of books, that didn't rely on "And then they all fought each other to death" as the focal point of the conflict. Which is sadly uncommon in storytelling these several decades.
These books were written in very different times.
Lots of different art work for the various releases of these things too:
dragonsong.giftime.gif
 

happyninja42

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These books were written in very different times.
Lots of different art work for the various releases of these things too:
View attachment 274View attachment 275
Yeah both of them were interesting books, and a very informative lens on the cultural thoughts of that time. And yes, artwork for the covers has changed many many times. the one i had for Time Enough was him in a kilt, with a cane, sitting down, while what look like ghosts of women cluster around him. Much less sexually suggestive compared to the others, but still a bit kinky and weird.
 
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gorfias

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Yeah both of them were interesting books, and a very informative lens on the cultural thoughts of that time. And yes, artwork for the covers has changed many many times. the one i had for Time Enough was him in a kilt, with a cane, sitting down, while what look like ghosts of women cluster around him. Much less sexually suggestive compared to the others, but still a bit kinky and weird.
He made a thing of suggesting that is taboo now would no longer be so in an advanced enough society. So, Lazarus Long goes back in time and has sex with his... wait for it... own mom. I think he would not get her pregnant and neither have STDs , so, you are challenged to answer what is wrong with this. Try publishing a book like this now!
 

Agema

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These books were written in very different times.
Lots of different art work for the various releases of these things too:
View attachment 274View attachment 275
There was a great website somewhere on crap SF book covers. I expect that edition of the Heinlein book was on it.

Don't know if the site still exists, although even if not there will probably be about 48,000 imitators out there anyway.
 
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happyninja42

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He made a thing of suggesting that is taboo now would no longer be so in an advanced enough society. So, Lazarus Long goes back in time and has sex with his... wait for it... own mom. I think he would not get her pregnant and neither have STDs , so, you are challenged to answer what is wrong with this. Try publishing a book like this now!
there are a LOT more issues in that book than just the implied time traveling incest. but that's a discussion for...well not for me, as I don't really care to have it. Suffice to say that heinlein had some very dated ideas about society and gender.
 
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gorfias

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There was a great website somewhere on crap SF book covers. I expect that edition of the Heinlein book was on it.

Don't know if the site still exists, although even if not there will probably be about 48,000 imitators out there anyway.
Just did a search and there are a number with a handful of covers but nothing so far like you describe. I'll look some more as I'm sure there's a ton of great ones out there. Stuff by people like Boris and Frazetta etc.
 

Agema

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Just did a search and there are a number with a handful of covers but nothing so far like you describe. I'll look some more as I'm sure there's a ton of great ones out there. Stuff by people like Boris and Frazetta etc.
All I vaguely remember - going back well over 5 years (maybe over 10) here - was that it was on one of the blog hosters like Blogspot / Blogger, Livejournal (does that still exist?), etc. In the 60s they clearly seemed to like some more abstract bizarre stuff, moving into the 70-80s into slightly overwrought detailed art with fantasy/SF-styled people in stupid poses.

I find it quite interesting that publishers definitely seem to prefer different art styles for UK and US releases.
 
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Breakdown

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Off hand, I'd say my favourite book would be one of these -

Sword in the Storm/ Midnight Falcon by David Gemmell (2 books, but you have to read them back to back)
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny.
Drood by Dan Simmons, or maybe the Terror. Or Illium. Or Hyperion.

For my favourite comic strip, it has to be the first Bad Company series from 2000AD.
 
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gorfias

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Off hand, I'd say my favourite book would be one of these -

Sword in the Storm/ Midnight Falcon by David Gemmell (2 books, but you have to read them back to back)
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny.
Drood by Dan Simmons, or maybe the Terror. Or Illium. Or Hyperion.

For my favourite comic strip, it has to be the first Bad Company series from 2000AD.
Cat's Cradle is one of the reasons I love Kurt Vonnegut. Terrific read.
 

Trunkage

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Don’t really do Favourites

Brave New World is the best book I was forced to read at school. Tale of Time City is second (but for primary school)
I preferred Killshandra over Perm
Magician was great. The Empire and von Darkmoor series was good too.
Dead house Gates by Eriksen
Terry Prachett deserves to be in there but I’m not picking a favourite
Shadow Rising or Fire of Heaven for Robert Jordan
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
 

Hawki

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Don’t really do Favourites

Brave New World is the best book I was forced to read at school. Tale of Time City is second (but for primary school)
Oh hey, I was 'forced' to read BNW as well. Barely remember my primary school texts though. I recall Danny, the Champion of the World and Bridge to Terebithia, and that's about it.