Favourite Book

I’m sure this one has been done many times before but I couldn’t find anything in “search” using my limited parameters and non-american spelling.

What is your favourite book and why? I am most interested in books that have taught you something (though not necessarily so). Both fiction and non-fiction qualify. I would also like to know what it is that book taught you (in the faint hope that I might be able to get the lesson cheaply :)).

I am expecting a few people to say the Bible (or whatever religious text pertains to you) and I am also expecting some people to certain textbooks from school or university. That’s cool.

My own personal favourite book is Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. It taught me to see things as they are rather than they appear to be. It also taught me that life is important but self-integrity and honour must go hand-in-hand with survival. Besides that, it also made me laugh so hard I would start uncontrollable coughing fits. It is a genuine shame that (IMHO) Heller never came close to that inspired brilliance again with his subsequent works.

I have a different favorite book every day, but today I’ve been thinking a lot about John Keegan’s The Face of Battle.

The book begins with one of the most astute chronologies of military history writing that I have ever read. Why do people pretend to read Clausewitz today to the exclusion of Jomini and du Picq? It’s in there.

Then, the reason why Keegan has devoted so much time and space to describing military history writers becomes self-evident: he’s doing something completely different. He goes on to accurately describe three separate and different battlefields: Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme. Through those three battles, he traces the evolution of warfare, but he also goes on to describe the sights, the sounds, and the social and psychological factors that played important roles on those battlefields.

In this book, we see what the soldier sees, not the generals. The analysis was groundbreaking when it was published a quarter of a century ago, and still highly relevant today. Keegan’s idea has been applied to everything from the Greek phalanxes to the Spanish Armada, with spectacular results. More than anyone else, Keegan gave military historians the ability to ask and answer “why,” alongside the “how” and “when.”

Hum, favorite book. . .there’s too many. But I’d have to say The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. It’s the last in a 3 book series he wrote, the first being The Golden Compass, and the second The Subtle Knife. You should read the series. It’s absolutely wonderful!:slight_smile: I really can’t tell you why because that would be like asking, “Why did the Supreme Court vote Bush into office?” It just can’t be answered. I wrote reviews for all 3 of them for my local paper and I’ll email them to you if you want to check them out because they would take up too much room here (I can’t help but write long reviews for every book review I send in to my local paper). Just email me and I’ll send them to you. You should be able to get my address from this site but if you can’t it’s:

A1) “Watership Down” by Richard Adams! By far, this book turned me back ON to reading while the public school system, and its wonderful English teachers, succeeded in their mission to snuff out even the smallest spark of reading pleasure.

I like the author’s style known as “anthropomorphism” - telling a story as perceived by an animal’s perspective. It goes beyond just “personification”. To do so, the author does extensive research on the behavior of his subjects to make even the smallest detail true-to-live - as far as thier habits, etc. Then, fiction fills in the rest.

A2) “Traveller” is highly recommended if you like the Civil War. Historically accurate, or so I am told by those in-the-know! Cool!

B) Apollo 13 - Highly recommended. Slightly technical, but you need not be so inclined. It is fascinating to read Jim Lovell’s inside story to the problems with Apollo 1 and Apollo 13, and life with NASA, in general. Much more went wrong than the movie could cover!!! And, you’ll see how the Space Shuttle explosion echoes the same stupid “just launch the thing” mentality of Apollo 1. And, why Apollo 1 was REALLY Apollo 2 - and how that came to be!

C) For Pre-K and early elementary: I like reading “Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You”, “Fox in Socks”, and “Goodnight Moon” to my 2-yr old daughter! :wink:

D) For 5-7th graders, I highly recommend “Mrs. Frisby & The Rats of NIHM” by Scott O’Brien, I think. It is a Newberry award winner - done in that same “anthropomorphic” style. Or, “The Teddy Bear Habit”, but I forget the author. One last funny kid’s novel: “The Pushcart War”! Today’s drivers would love it, too - fast reading!

I like reading when some English teacher doesn’t tell me how to think, etc.! (Sorry, but I had only a few good English teachers.)

  • Jinx

“Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid”. This book made me think deeply about consciousness and identity. Not to mention making me actually appreciate classical music!

1984 by George Orwell. I love it’s scary warning of the “future” (it was not a prediction), and it’s depressing, pessemistic ending that even the hero cannot be saved in that world. It’s such an important book, but most people ignore it’s message because they think, “Silly old Orwell. None of that stuff came true in 1984! I don’t have to worry!” and throw the book aside.

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay.
The South Africa setting is exotic,the characters real and sympathetic, the writing lyrical.
It is a coming of age tale unlike any other I’ve read; it is enthralling storytelling.

‘The Dharma Bums’ by Jack Kerouac. It’s all about letting go of your inhabitions and doing what you want to do, and living, loving, and learning from everything around you. It combines mountain climbing and Buddhism, which IMO are two of the most worthwhile things to do on this Earth. Such a good read!

Well, I don’t need to write anything because Jinx said exactly what I was going to say. The level of detail and the whole world (with religion) Adams created for the rabbits is amazing. It’s not a book about rabbits with human characteristics, or an allegory about humans using rabbits to represent people, but an entire book about what it really would feel like to live as a rabbit. And it’s a pretty damn exciting story, too.

And I’ll say it again, since you asked me nicely. :slight_smile:

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is the book that changed my life. It’s about a girl named Francie growing up in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn in poverty. It’s about how her family came together and what goes on as she grows up.

It is the most hopeful book I have ever read. It is never base or filthy, but it is painfully honest. Smith is completely truthful about being a poor child in the city. I can relate to that, and this book truly made me believe that I could be and do anything, that I could overcome all of my past hardships and be somebody worth being. It taught me to cherish the past, whatever pain it may have brought me, and to look forward to the future with the purest hope inside of me. Someone said that Wally Lamb, another excellent author, loves his characters more than God does. The same is true of ATGIB - with every page, every difficulty, every heartbreak, Smith and I are there with Francie, Neeley, Katie and Johnny, loving them like family, wishing with all we have that they will make it, and feeling true sorrow if they don’t. And although Smith is completely honest in what she portrays - every character is inherently flawed and gifted - you see her love for each person with every word she writes.

This is the book that truly taught me about the sort of person I want to be and showed me that the world is a gift open before me. I can honestly say, looking back, that most of my current happiness, peace of mind, and joy for living stems from this book.

What more can I say? It is a piece of someone’s life, written out in true, honest, beautiful language for you. Imagine how much you have grown in 17 years; reading this book is like living an extra 17 years, learning lessons that you may have missed the first time, understanding the motivations and sadnesses and loves that drive you. You can spend 400 pages in another person’s life, and it will make you appreciate what you have in ways you can not imagine. It will cause you to see, in stark black and white, the greatest possibilities that are before you; at the same time, it will foster a love in you for all the beautiful shades of gray.

I truly believe the world would be a better place if everyone read this book.

Somebody To Love. Grace Slick’s autobiography. It is an excelent book that talks about her life from her childhood up to 1998. It has some original drawings and her sense of humor is interesting. The downdide is that the musical aspect of the book is mostly left out.

Murder on the Orient Express. One of Agatha Christie’s greatest books. 13 people are trapped on a snowbound train, and a man is murdered in a locked cabin. Poirot has to solve it before the train is rescued.

The Murder of Rodger Akroyd The book thar made Agatha Christie famous, with a surprise ending that fools everyone.

**The Real Frank Zappa Book ** Frank Zappa’s autobiography. The book tells about his whole life and his music. It has many stories behing the songs and stories about touring. It also talks about his family, which is interesting too. One of the funniest books I have read.

Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon. A small town has a secret fall harvest ritual that only the women know. This book is creepy to read, especially if you are like me and live in a small farming community.

I think I’ve gone on long enough.