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20 Books Everyone Should Read!


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I'm really surprised pretty much everybody has gone for fiction, even more so that books like Harry Potter 'ought' to be read.

 

I've gone otherwise, so recognise that none will hit the top 20 list, but feel they are all highly readable books with important things to say. I still struggled to whittle it down to 5, but feel these are a fair representation of (just) some of things people 'ought' to understand. I've obviously been fairly heavily influenced by my career as a primary teacher!

 

1. The Breakdown of Nations by Leopold Kohr

I'm reading this at the moment, so perhaps shouldn't include yet, but I was originally going to include Schumacher's Small is Beautiful, and this came first! A seriously undersung great.

 

2. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

There's a lot of it about. Science seems to be grossly misunderstood, and the results are not pretty. The chapter on Brain Gym alone was worth the cover price!! It was a toss-up between this and The Tiger That Isn't (Blastland & Dilnot) which does the same thing with statistics. This was slightly broader ranging.

 

3. Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Darwin's original is a great must-read, but this includes much more up to date supporting evidence. Perhaps the single most important piece of science for us to understand, helping us appreciate our real position on this planet. Appalling what little prominence this has in schools compared to other less substantiated topics, however much I respect people's belief in them.

 

4. Toxic Childhood by Sue Palmer

Should be read by every parent in our over-protective, over-hysterical country! Real education, as opposed to training in literacy and numeracy, is in real danger of total paralysis, and this goes a long way to explaining why and what should be done.

 

5. The History of the World by J.M. Roberts

I had to include one history book! This gives a superb overview - kept me engrossed.

 

(BTW my fiction selection would have been To Kill A Mockingbird, Bleak House, Sense and Sensibility, A Month In the Country (JL Carr) and The Canterbury Tales. All books that I loved and had something worthwhile to say. Equally difficult to reduce down to just five).

 

Some great ideas from this thread - I'll have to follow some of them,.

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Ooh. Some fantastic suggestions from Blencathra here. Bad Science really is a book everyone should read.

 

The Leopold Kohr book sounds fantastic. I'll have to hunt it down.

 

I chose mostly fiction because, well, almost all of my reading is fiction, but also I think that in many ways it tells more to a person than a non-fiction book; it is easier to carry morals using fiction.

 

I still included If This Is A Man by Primo Levi because, in many ways, I think it just about the most important book anyone could ever read.

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The Leopold Kohr book sounds fantastic. I'll have to hunt it down.

I bought it after seeing a fascinating exhibition in the Salzburg Museum. I partly only went there because it was a very hot day and the museum was pleasantly cool, but I spent a totally absorbing few hours there - it was oddly absurdly empty, which I couldn't understand given (a) Salzburg is chocker with tourists, (:lol: the museum was superbly laid out, bang up to date and © it was well advertised. Anyway, part of the museum was devoted to a rolling exhibition focusing on famous Salzburgers, one of the current ones (this was July) being Leopold Kohr. I left feeling I had to find out more! Ironically perhaps he lived in the UK for the last part of his life. He was a great proponent of the small is beautiful ethos. (Another one of the current five was Franz Wallack, the driving force behind the Grossglocknerstrasse, and equally interesting - it was a great exhibition!).

 

I chose mostly fiction because, well, almost all of my reading is fiction, but also I think that in many ways it tells more to a person than a non-fiction book; it is easier to carry morals using fiction.
True! Perhaps I was just being a bit contrarian, given that some of the fiction, including some of the current top 20, didn't exactly strike particularly as 'ought to' reading. I've read the whole of Harry Potter and thoroughly enjoyed it (it dipped a bit in the middle mind), but am intrigued as to why it is something one ought to read.

 

I still included If This Is A Man by Primo Levi because, in many ways, I think it just about the most important book anyone could ever read.
I must read this - you're not the first to tell me that! On the rest of your choices, I couldn't disagree with W&P, which was a stunning read both as a teenager and more recently in my fifties, or Catch-22, which I read as a teenager (I was blown away by the film at the same time) and must reread. I positively agree with Mockingbird - which I was introduced to two years ago by my teenage son who read it for GCSE and loved it. Your fifth I've never heard of - I must hunt it out! Edited by willoyd
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  • 2 weeks later...

most books on here are classics or very popular choices, having only read a handfull of books in my life i tend to not go for the big titles... the one everyone has read and get something more exciting and unheard of which gives me the simple pleasure of telling people about the book because they haven't heard of it, things like to kill a mockingbird and the stand everyone has heard of these, maybe some books that aint so popular but are still amazing to be posted here!!!!

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Here is mine, but I haven't read every book that was ever written (yet), so how could I know what everyone should read? :)

 

1. Little, Big by John Crowley because it is so strange and poignant, and yet seems under-appreciated.

 

2. Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes because this book is layered with meaning, although it seems simple at first glance

 

3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee because of this one line: "There is one kind of folks. Just folks." Well, there are other reasons as well. :D

 

4. A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. because it is not just science fiction, it is deeply philosophical

 

5. 1984 by George Orwell because of it's frightening similarity to current reality

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Here are some ones that came to mind... I would probably choose differently if I sat down and thought about it.

 

1. Brothers Karamazov - Doystoesky

2. The Power and the Glory - Graham Green

3. The Bible

4. Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

5. The Hobbit - Tolkien (great adventures :) )

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1. Reading Lolita in Tehran- Azar Nafisi

 

2. My Sister's Keeper- Jodi Picoult

 

3. Dracula- Bram Stoker

 

4. Harry Potter- J.K. Rowling

 

5. P.S. I Love You- Cecelia Ahren (the movie dosn't even begin to compare to the book!)

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O my days just reading the titles of these books makes me excited!

 

Here are my 5-

Middlesex- Jeffrey Eugenides

Gone with The Wind- Margaret Mitchell

East of Eden- John Steinbeck

To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee

Harry Potter series- J.K Rowling

 

I could put so many more up here but limiting to 5 is not a bad idea at all, really makes you think about it!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Some good stuff right here

 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest- Ken Kesey

The Onion Girl- Charles De Lint

Slaughterhouse 5- Kurt Vonnegut

Watchmen- Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

The Amazing Adventures of Kavelier and Clay- Michael Chabon

 

All of these books are amazing. read them

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If you've read any thing from the Newford series(Dreams Underfoot or The Ivory and the Horn) the onion girl is like the culmination of the series. It features all the character's seen in the short stories focusing on the life of Jilly Coppercorn. I thought of all the short stories being T.V. episodes while The Onion Girl is the movie. It feels like a big budget, go for broke effort to create the best Newford story in the series and it broke every expectation I had for novel. The Onion Girl is truly De Lint at his finest.

Edited by Los Ping
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One can debate the implicit criticism of the religious life found in the book, but Hermann Hesse's Narcissus and Goldmund is one of the best evocations of the chaos of medieval life, and of life in general.

 

Hesse himself was often at odds with authority figures in his life, and (obviously) believed in ignoring the advice of elders in favor of experiencing things first-hand, rather than avoiding or doing certain things as recommended by parents or others.

 

Hesse is somewhat out of fashion perhaps: he was bigger 40 years ago, and certainly Demian and Siddhartha were first choices back then. But Narcissus and Goldmund is the stronger book.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would choose these books;

 

1. Dan Brown - The da Vinci code

2. Agatha Christie - And then there were none

3. Tom Sharpe - Riotous assembly

4. Jane Austen - Pride & Prejudice

5. A.A. Milne - Winnie the Pooh

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5 books? Shouldn't be too hard. XD

 

1. Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler

This book is what made me fall in love with the author. The writing is spell-binding, and transforms something that may happen to anyone's family into a meaningful piece of writing teaching us that books don't have to be epic to make an impact.

 

2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy series by Douglas Adams

It's popular science fiction plus humour, written in such a sarcastic tone that I can't help but laugh along. It parodies real life and adds a creative twist all at the same time. Bravo.

 

3. Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

I was so spooked and intrigued by this book when I reached the end of it. This is a well-written prophecy of the world run by authoritarian regimes, and it's definitely good for reading analysis as well as a hint of what politics is like. I must say I like this much more than Animal Farm.

 

4. Crooked House by Agatha Christie

While emelee likes And Then There Were None, I must say Crooked House strikes me as wonderful. I've always been a fan of Christie, since I was 9 years old, and Crooked House-- the idea of a whole family of ruthless, unscrupulous people-- fascinates me utterly.

 

5. Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck

It made me cry. Such a simple story, written in only a hundred pages or so, with compelling characterisation and a comprehensible storyline. Applause.

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My personal top 5 books are:

 

1.) Twilight saga (go figure!! :D ) Just downloaded the never to be released 5th partial book Midnight sun to my kindle! Just loved it! Sorry it ended

2.) Escape

3.) Eat, pray, love

4.) The broken window

5.) Spud series

Edited by Nollaig
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