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  #51  
Old 09-27-2019, 01:28 PM
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Definitely something by Mary Renault, but within that it's so hard to pick.

Last of the Wine has the best lines ("I had been many - I was one, and to I, myself alone grey-eyed Athene spoke saying 'I am Justice, whom you have made both a slave and a whore'") and The King Must Die is the most famous, but The Persian Boy is the one that really enthralls me.
I agree about Mary Renault, my favourite author.
  #52  
Old 09-28-2019, 03:44 AM
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Definitely something by Mary Renault, but within that it's so hard to pick.

Last of the Wine has the best lines ("I had been many - I was one, and to I, myself alone grey-eyed Athene spoke saying 'I am Justice, whom you have made both a slave and a whore'") and The King Must Die is the most famous, but The Persian Boy is the one that really enthralls me.
Last of the Wine has a pretty good opening sentence hasn't it? -

"When I was a young boy, if I was sick or in trouble, or had been beaten at school, I used to remember that on the day I was born my father had wanted to kill me."
  #53  
Old 09-28-2019, 09:57 AM
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Speaking of Stephen King, what about Rita Hayward and the Shawshank Redemption and The Body, two stories in his Different Seasons anthology that were also made into fantastic movies (The Body became Stand By Me). I consider Shawshank to be one of his stories made into one of the best movies of all time.

And The Green Mile, story and movie too.
  #54  
Old 09-28-2019, 09:59 AM
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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman followed closely by The Martian. You can't beat that opening line.
  #55  
Old 09-28-2019, 11:00 PM
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Last of the Wine has a pretty good opening sentence hasn't it? -

"When I was a young boy, if I was sick or in trouble, or had been beaten at school, I used to remember that on the day I was born my father had wanted to kill me."
Yeah, but you cut off before my favourite bit...

"You may say this is nothing out of the way, yet I daresay it is less common than you suppose, for as a rule when a father decides to expose a child it is done, and there is an end of it."

Really grabs you by the scruff of the neck and positions you as an Ancient Greek audience member, ready to observe the story from an Ancient Greek point of view
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  #56  
Old 09-30-2019, 07:49 AM
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Henderson the Rain King, by Saul Bellows

https://www.amazon.com/Henderson-Rai.../dp/0143105485
  #57  
Old 09-30-2019, 10:51 AM
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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman followed closely by The Martian. You can't beat that opening line.
KTK --please forgive me; I momentarily thought we were in the other thread, "Famous works of fiction...which you do not care for". Clearly you genuinely love Tristram Shandy, as many do: I'm afraid its attractions / merit totally elude me; I was about to "concur with you" and say why. This, however, is not the place to do that...

Last edited by Sangahyando; 09-30-2019 at 10:52 AM. Reason: Correcting a word
  #58  
Old 09-30-2019, 11:44 AM
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Chaim Potok is one of my favorite first person authors. The Chosen and its sequel The Promise; My Name is Asher Lev and its sequel The Gift of Asher Lev are all fine reads.
  #59  
Old 09-30-2019, 12:14 PM
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KTK --please forgive me; I momentarily thought we were in the other thread, "Famous works of fiction...which you do not care for". Clearly you genuinely love Tristram Shandy, as many do: I'm afraid its attractions / merit totally elude me; I was about to "concur with you" and say why. This, however, is not the place to do that...
It's not an easy book to love, I'll admit. It may not surprise you to learn that my favorite Shakespeare play is Troilus and Cressida.
  #60  
Old 09-30-2019, 12:33 PM
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It's not an easy book to love, I'll admit. It may not surprise you to learn that my favorite Shakespeare play is Troilus and Cressida.
You have the advantage of me there -- I know one-and-a-half lines from another play, about the T/C couple; and that's absolutely all.

I certainly realise that Tristram Shandy does have many fans -- one of such, was a late uncle of mine (who was not named Toby ).
  #61  
Old 10-01-2019, 09:17 AM
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The Color Purple is an absolute masterpiece, both the Alice Walker novel and the Steven Spielberg film, which was nominated for 11 Oscars but received none. Spielberg did not get a nomination for Best Director, which is one of the Academy's biggest blunders. Who do they think put that movie together?
  #62  
Old 10-01-2019, 10:54 AM
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Not a novel, but Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck is narrated by him and is an enjoyable read.
  #63  
Old 10-01-2019, 11:10 AM
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I'm another fan of Tristram Shandy.

If you like 'age of sail' books, try Frank Mildmay by Capt. Frederick Marryat. It's semi-autobiographical. He lived through everything he wrote about.

Extract - coming aboard ship for the first time as a midshipman:

Quote:
Reaching the gangway, I was accosted by a midshipman in a round jacket and trousers, a shirt none of the cleanest, and a black silk handkerchief tied loosely round his neck.

“Who did you want, sir?” said he.

“I wish to speak with Mr Handstone, the first lieutenant,” said I. He informed me that the first lieutenant was then gone down to frank the letters, and when he came on deck, he would acquaint him with my being there.

After this dialogue, I was left on the larboard side of the quarter-deck to my own meditations. The ship was at this time refitting, and was what is usually called in the hands of the dockyard, and a sweet mess she was in. The quarter-deck carronades were run fore and aft; the slides unbolted from the side, the decks were covered with pitch fresh poured into the seams, and the caulkers were sitting on their boxes ready to renew their noisy labours as soon as the dinner-hour had expired. The middies, meanwhile, on the starboard side of the quarter-deck, were taking my altitude, and speculating as to whether I was to be a messmate of theirs, and what sort of a chap I might chance to be—both these points were solved very speedily.

The first lieutenant came on deck; the midshipman of the watch presented me, and I presented my name and the captain’s message.

“It is all right, sir,” said Mr Handstone. “Here, Mr Flyblock, do you take this young gentleman into your mess; you may show him below as soon as you please, and tell him where to hang his hammock up.”

I followed my new friend down the ladder, under the half-deck, where sat a woman, selling bread and butter and red herrings to the sailors; she had also cherries and clotted cream, and a cask of strong beer, which seemed to be in great demand. We passed her, and descended another ladder, which brought us to the ’tween decks, and into the steerage, in the forepart of which, on the larboard side, abreast of the mainmast, was my future residence—a small hole which they called a berth; it was ten feet long by six, and about five feet four inches high; a small aperture, about nine inches square, admitted a very scanty portion of that which we most needed, namely, fresh air and daylight. A deal table occupied a very considerable extent of this small apartment, and on it stood a brass candlestick, with a dip candle, and a wick like a full-blown carnation. The table-cloth was spread, and the stains of port wine and gravy too visibly indicated, like the midshipman’s dirty shirt, the near approach of Sunday. The black servant was preparing for dinner, and I was shown the seat I was to occupy. “Good Heaven!” thought I, as I squeezed myself between the ship’s side and the mess-table; “and is this to be my future residence? Better go back to school; there, at least, there is fresh air and clean linen.”

I would have written that moment to my dear, broken-hearted mother, to tell her how gladly her prodigal son would fly back to her arms; but I was prevented doing this, first by pride, and secondly by want of writing materials. Taking my place, therefore, at the table, I mustered up all my philosophy; and, to amuse myself, called to mind the reflections of Gil Blas, when he found himself in the den of the robbers, “Behold, then, the worthy nephew of my uncle, Gil Perez, caught like a rat in a trap.”

Most of my new associates were absent on duty; the ’tween deck was crammed, with casks, and cases, and chests, and bags, and hammocks; the noise of the caulkers was resumed over my head and all around me; the stench of bilge-water, combining with the smoke of tobacco, the effluvia of gin and beer, the frying of beef-steaks and onions, and red herrings—the pressure of a dark atmosphere and a heavy shower of rain, all conspired to oppress my spirits, and render me the most miserable dog that ever lived.
  #64  
Old 10-01-2019, 11:48 AM
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I'm another fan of Tristram Shandy.
The legends are true!
  #65  
Old 10-01-2019, 12:06 PM
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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is one of my favorites
  #66  
Old 10-01-2019, 01:15 PM
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I'm happy to see some love for The Great Brain series, my favorite books as a kid. If you're willing to go YA and younger, there's scads of great first-person storytelling, starting with the works of Judy Blume. Another favorite of mine from when I was a kid is It's Like This, Cat, by Emily Cheney Neville.

In a more literary vein, I would suggest Hemingway's masterpiece (IMO), The Sun Also Rises.
  #67  
Old 10-01-2019, 01:54 PM
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The legends are true!
"For my own part, I never wonder at any thing; - and so often has my judgment deceived me in my life, that I always suspect it, right or wrong, - at least I am seldom hot upon cold subjects. For all this, I reverence truth as much as any body; and when it has slipped us, if a man will but take me by the hand, and go quietly and search for it, as for a thing we have both lost, and can neither of us do well without, - I'll go to the world's end with him."
  #68  
Old 10-01-2019, 01:55 PM
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Jane Eyre.
Definitely Jane Eyre. The first time I read it, I didn't care for it, but it grew on me over time and has become one of my favorite books.
  #69  
Old 10-01-2019, 03:54 PM
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Great thread! The books listed range from some of my very favorites to ones I'd never heard of.

I'll add James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Which coincidentally also has one of the great opening lines: "They threw me off the hay truck about noon."

Last edited by Anny Middon; 10-01-2019 at 03:54 PM. Reason: correct typo
  #70  
Old 10-02-2019, 04:50 AM
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I very much enjoy THE JOYOUS SEASON BY Patrick Dennis (I believe AUNTIE MAME is also first person, but I cannot recall for certain). The unintentionally unreliable narrator makes the story a hoot.

And while it is certainly genre literature, I remember the first several Robert B. Parker SPENSER books to be first person narration also. I can honestly say these books changed my attitudes about politics, women, minorities, homosexuality, people of color, assassins, manliness, seeing things through, law enforcement, parenthood, and various other matters far more than any other experience in my life. They also reinforced my views about dark-haired beauties and their relationship to the meaning of life. (I believe the later books became an unintentional parody, but I still sometimes read them as a guilty pleasure. They just don't have the power and wonder of the first several books [the risk and danger was more or less gone by then and they sort of became a formula].)
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:55 AM
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I think, whether or not you love it, Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is a hugely entertaining reading experience. And no worries about him sharing a lot of himself - he is desperate to have everyone know him intimately. He can be in turns disarmingly frank or funny, points out his own failings as a writer and constantly hints that much of the story may not be true. Part autobiography, part God knows what. Races along. Read everything even the endpapers.
  #72  
Old 10-04-2019, 11:52 AM
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Definitely Jane Eyre. The first time I read it, I didn't care for it, but it grew on me over time and has become one of my favorite books.
I love books like that, I’ll give it a try. Art that grows on me seems to hold the closest spot to my heart.

So many great suggestions in this thread.
  #73  
Old 10-06-2019, 05:38 PM
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Another endorsement of The Great Brain series. I loved them, and they were often hilarious. Installing the first WC in town, for example.

In adult books, if you are looking for something lighter, I suggest the Andy Carpenter series by David Rosenfelt. The narrator is very witty and uses a lot of self-deprecating humor. The mysteries are more on the cozy side (which I prefer) in which innocent people, children, and most especially dogs are the clients. There's physical and legal jeopardy, and courtroom hi-jinks. I usually read one overnight.

Last edited by CelticKnot; 10-06-2019 at 05:38 PM.
  #74  
Old 10-07-2019, 04:14 AM
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In adult books, if you are looking for something lighter, I suggest the Andy Carpenter series by David Rosenfelt. The narrator is very witty and uses a lot of self-deprecating humor. The mysteries are more on the cozy side (which I prefer) in which innocent people, children, and most especially dogs are the clients. There's physical and legal jeopardy, and courtroom hi-jinks. I usually read one overnight.
A private detective has dogs as his clients? Do they pay him in bones? (I'm not ridiculing -- just, this is something totally new to me.)
  #75  
Old 10-07-2019, 10:15 AM
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Speaking of Stephen King, what about Rita Hayward and the Shawshank Redemption and The Body, two stories in his Different Seasons anthology that were also made into fantastic movies (The Body became Stand By Me). I consider Shawshank to be one of his stories made into one of the best movies of all time.

And The Green Mile, story and movie too.
Many of King's short stories are first person; my fave is probably, "Survivor Type," because it's totes insane.
  #76  
Old 10-07-2019, 01:56 PM
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The Martian, probably.
  #77  
Old 10-11-2019, 11:31 AM
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A private detective has dogs as his clients? Do they pay him in bones? (I'm not ridiculing -- just, this is something totally new to me.)
He's very wealthy due to an unexpected inheritance and winning big lawsuits, and can afford it.
  #78  
Old 10-11-2019, 02:01 PM
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The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein It's actually told in First Dog, not Person.

Some of Ursula K. Le Guin's stories are written in first person. Pretty much all of her books are delightful.
  #79  
Old 10-11-2019, 03:16 PM
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Am I the first to mention Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress?

But if we're talking about "greatest", rather than "personal favorite", I would argue that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird are the top contenders for the greatest work in American literature.
  #80  
Old 10-12-2019, 04:16 AM
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He's very wealthy due to an unexpected inheritance and winning big lawsuits, and can afford it.
Thanks ! Don't think I'll read the books, though -- I'm a stick-in-the-mud who prefers his mysteries to be about people.
  #81  
Old 10-12-2019, 07:31 AM
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The OP didn't specify novels or fiction, and most memoirs (or similar) are written in the first person. My favorites include:
The Double Helix by James Watson (He's become problematic in his old age, but what a great book!)
How to Talk Dirty and Influence People by Lenny Bruce
The Cuckoo's Egg by Cliff Stoll
Whoever Fights Monsters by Robert Ressler
  #82  
Old 10-12-2019, 09:18 AM
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Ooh, yeah, if we're going to include memoirs, then toss in Feynman's.
  #83  
Old 10-12-2019, 12:32 PM
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Add The Cuckoo's Egg to my list as well.
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