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Author Topic: Best Book Ever (?)  (Read 2118 times)
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Qantaga
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« on: September 23, 2010, 12:13:43 AM »

About 20 years ago, I began an affectation. Everytime I finished a book, I wrote down the title, author, and date finished on a 3x5 card and put it in a little card file.
   
At that time, I had already read hundreds of books, but I heard someone (I want to say Frederick Buechner, but I'm not sure about that) say that they kept 3x5 cards of every book they read and I thought that was really cool. Anyway, I didn't try to go back and record previous books, I just started at that moment and began recording the books I read on those little 3x5 cards.
   
This past weekend, I was looking back through my card index and found, to my surprise, that I now have over 1,000 entries in my card file.
   
Now, this is not intended as some GT "pat on the back" at my intellectual fortitude. Rather, it is a celebration of the joy of reading. To me, reading is life. I usually have 4-5 books going at once (that particular trait makes my wife crazy, she is very much a one-book-at-a-time kinda gal). I *need* to read at lunch, after work, before bed, and if I'm driving, I listen to unabridged audio CDs. I am very blessed in that I have a very nice, large public library less than a mile from my home.
   
As of tonight, although I am working almost 300 miles away from home, I am the proud owner of a brand spanking new Kindle DX, curteousy of my boss. He has no idea what an awesome gift he has chosen for me. My wife just called to tell me that it was delivered today. I might not sleep before I get my hands on it Friday evening.
   
So, all this has gotten me thinking. Out of all those books, what is my all-time favorite?
   
There are so many books that have given me great joy that it is very, very hard to try to pick just one. Right now, as I get ready to single out just one book, I find dozens of others jumping up and shouting, "Wait, what about me?"
     
However, when it all boils down to just one book, I find that my all-time favorite is:
   

 
That brings me to my question:
   
What's your all-time favorite book? No "well, sometimes this one, sometimes that one." No "here are my top 3s." Just one book.
   
I'm sure this has been done many times before. Favorites, top 10s, top 3s, etc. ad infinitum. However, I'm curious about my fellow GTers.
   
If you could only pick one, what is your all-time favorite book?
 
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JayDee
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2010, 12:15:26 AM »

That's a hard question but right now "Pillars of the Earth" would have to be my answer.
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Qantaga
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2010, 12:23:24 AM »

Nice call JayDee.  thumbsup
   
I still remember being enthralled with Pillars of the Earth. I had always enjoyed Follett, but Pillars was enchanted.
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theohall
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2010, 12:24:17 AM »

I can't pick just one book.  The problem is my absolute favorite is a series and the series stands out as a whole, while one book leaves it incomplete.
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Qantaga
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2010, 12:26:17 AM »

Quote from: theohall on September 23, 2010, 12:24:17 AM

I can't pick just one book.  The problem is my absolute favorite is a series and the series stands out as a whole, while one book leaves it incomplete.
 
Okay, I'll amend my rule. You can name a series. smile
 
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Nonnahob
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2010, 12:33:34 AM »

For me, it's Tolkiens middle earth. The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Unfinished tales - that world is my favorite. I've read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings probably 15 - 20 times.
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2010, 01:08:58 AM »

Until I can think of a better answer I will say,


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theohall
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2010, 01:28:30 AM »

Asimov's Foundation series.  Not the follow-ons written by others.  Just the ones he wrote.
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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2010, 02:13:36 AM »

Man, great question. I would have to say 1984, since it was the book that got me back in to reading. Until then, I had fallen out of reading and 1984 brought me back into the fold.
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Frog's Honey
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2010, 02:47:58 AM »

John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany" was an absolutely amazing book that changed the way I thought about so many things in my life.  The first time I read it I was living in Chicago and I was single in my mid-20s.  Besides the overall theme of the book, what I remember most is talking to friends who lived in my building and discussing the book for four straight hours one night.  I don't know if it is my absolute favorite, but from someone who reads about 100 books a year - it is a book that will stick with you for a lifetime.
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« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2010, 03:36:24 AM »

For me it's probably War and Remembrance.  I thought that Herman Wouk did a fantastic job at creating a set of characters and then making sure they were present at so many key events of World War 2.  I especially loved the moment where during an incredible depiction of the Battle of Midway, Wouk singles all the members of the Torpedo Dive Bomber squadron by name for their heroism. 
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ibdoomed
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2010, 02:09:00 PM »

The best book ever written hasn't been written yet.


Seriously though, my wife is the same way, obsessed (in a good way) with books. She burned through a sony e-reader and picked up a nook so I have no idea how many books she goes through but the nook almost never leaves her side.

Anyway, my favorite "book" is the dark tower series but in no way would I say it's the best at anything.
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Speaker2Animals
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« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2010, 02:55:30 PM »

Dune. Frank Herbert.
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2010, 02:56:19 PM »

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
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« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2010, 04:35:08 PM »

wow, good tough question. 

at the start, it was either a toss up between Speaker2Animals and Isgrimnur's choices. 

The Talisman by King and Straub.  such a great story that hooks you in and does more than just tells you a story, it draws you in to the world.
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« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2010, 04:38:30 PM »

American Tabloid by James Ellroy. He perfects his staccato delivery from White Jazz and delivers a great alternative history of the JFK assassination. This is the book that turned me into a rabid Ellroy fan - too bad the next two books in the trilogy did not live up to this fantastic start - Bloods a Rover was just a chore for me to read.
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The Grue
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« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2010, 06:13:53 PM »

Quote from: Isgrimnur on September 23, 2010, 02:56:19 PM

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

+1  The only books I've read a bunch of times (I usually read a book once).
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Scuzz
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« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2010, 07:00:30 PM »

Impossible to answer............I have enjoyed (loved) so many books in so many genres......How could anyone pick one favorite among so many?

I agree with some of the choices made above...

Hobbit and LOTR
The Original Foundation Trilogy

but best book ever......I could never say.......
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Lassr
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« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2010, 07:10:13 PM »

the first one that popped into my head was

Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard

it's been 20+ years since I read it so I don't know how it will hold up now since my taste have changed a little over the years.
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« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2010, 07:48:14 PM »

Not going to be popular with this choice but the book I go back to over and over again, for years and years...............The Bible.

Second would be like an above poster...JRR Tolkien's "what-ever" books. Poetry of Tom Bombadill...and all the others relating to Middle Earth.
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« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2010, 08:08:07 PM »

Tough one! Maybe J R Stroyar's The Children's War. If I had to name a series it would be either Thomas Covenant or Malazan Empire.
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« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2010, 08:17:03 PM »

The Anne Rice Sleeping Beauty books.  icon_twisted
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« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2010, 08:24:18 PM »

As of right now I would say Byzantium by Stephen Lawhead.  However, if the succeeding books in the series are any good, The Name of the Wind could become my new #1.

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Rowdy
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« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2010, 08:53:15 PM »

The Bible.

I found Name of the Wind very over rated.  It's like Harry Potter for grown ups.
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farley2k
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« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2010, 08:54:17 PM »

Quote from: Mithridates on September 23, 2010, 08:24:18 PM

However, if the succeeding books in the series are any good, The Name of the Wind could become my new #1.

If he actually finishes in under 3 books.   If he takes a Jordan and turns it into 30 novels where nothing happens, or if he pulls a Martin and takes 30 years between each book I will hate him forever.  

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farley2k
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« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2010, 08:54:56 PM »

Quote from: Rowdy on September 23, 2010, 08:53:15 PM

I found Name of the Wind very over rated.  It's like Harry Potter for grown ups.

So wonderfully entertaining, enjoyable to read, and generally a treat for readers?
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« Reply #26 on: September 23, 2010, 08:58:25 PM »

Fiction : House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski
Non-Fiction : Gödel, Escher, Bach - Douglas Hofstadter
Graphic Novel Series : The Sandman - Neil Gaiman
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Qantaga
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« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2010, 09:17:57 PM »

Quote from: Arclight on September 23, 2010, 07:48:14 PM

Not going to be popular with this choice but the book I go back to over and over again, for years and years...............The Bible.
 
You'll find no resistance from me. I think of the Bible as more of an essential of life rather than a book, so I most definitely agree with your and Rowdy's selection.
     
As for all the other selections, there are wonderful choices all around. Just reading through everyone's selections has brought back wonderful memories of great stories and characters.
   
I have read all of them listed so far, with the exception of Moliere's Shantarum and Tscott's House of Leaves. After looking them up, they both sound fascinating. I have added Shantarum to my Kindle (even though I won't get my hands on the Kindle itself until tomorrow evening). Unfortunately, House of Leaves is not available on the Kindle, so I'll have to look for it during my Saturday library visit.
   
Thanks to everyone for sharing in this thread. I love seeing everyone's choices.
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« Reply #28 on: September 23, 2010, 09:43:42 PM »

Quote from: Qantaga on September 23, 2010, 09:17:57 PM

Unfortunately, House of Leaves is not available on the Kindle, so I'll have to look for it during my Saturday library visit.

It wouldn't work on the Kindle.  saywhat
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Qantaga
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« Reply #29 on: September 23, 2010, 09:46:55 PM »

Quote from: coopasonic on September 23, 2010, 09:43:42 PM

Quote from: Qantaga on September 23, 2010, 09:17:57 PM

Unfortunately, House of Leaves is not available on the Kindle, so I'll have to look for it during my Saturday library visit.

It wouldn't work on the Kindle.  saywhat
 
Ah, I should have dug a little further:
   
Quote
In addition to this Russian-doll layering of narrators, Danielewski packs in poems, scientific lists, collages, Polaroids, appendices of fake correspondence and "various quotes," single lines of prose placed any which way on the page, crossed-out passages, and so on.
 
I see what you mean.
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« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2010, 10:07:37 PM »

Connie Willis "To say nothing of the Dog"  I have in in hardback, paperback, Kindle version and Audible. 
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« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2010, 11:04:28 PM »



This has always been my favorite book.  I love the sense of mystery and the slow unraveling of Dracula's nature.  I especially like the beginning where Harker is traveling through the small towns of Romania and describing the strange sights and people.  I own several editions including a gigantic annotated and illustrated version with tons of notes and pictures and photos to go along with the text.
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« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2010, 11:52:51 PM »

Quote from: farley2k on September 23, 2010, 08:54:56 PM

Quote from: Rowdy on September 23, 2010, 08:53:15 PM

I found Name of the Wind very over rated.  It's like Harry Potter for grown ups.

So wonderfully entertaining, enjoyable to read, and generally a treat for readers?

Exactly, at least for me.  I love the Harry Potter books, so I guess it's no shock I loved The Name of the Wind.
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« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2010, 04:46:46 AM »

Quote from: Mithridates on September 23, 2010, 11:52:51 PM

Quote from: farley2k on September 23, 2010, 08:54:56 PM

Quote from: Rowdy on September 23, 2010, 08:53:15 PM

I found Name of the Wind very over rated.  It's like Harry Potter for grown ups.

So wonderfully entertaining, enjoyable to read, and generally a treat for readers?

Exactly, at least for me.  I love the Harry Potter books, so I guess it's no shock I loved The Name of the Wind.

I'm not suggesting it was a bad book, but I found it a fairly shallow and simple story.  Something about the prose also seemed very simplistic and almost boring to me.  I read that right after reading a lot of Steven Erikson, so maybe the huge contrast in tone between the two universes was part of my impression.  Likewise my feelings about Harry Potter is made on the same basis... they are good stories but read like books out of the "young adults" section of the store; and yes, I realize they are intended as such, or were at least, originally.  Give me Tolkein or Martin or Erikson any day.
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« Reply #34 on: September 24, 2010, 06:56:38 AM »

The Thomas Covenant series for me.
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« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2010, 09:02:36 AM »

i have many favourite books,from The Three Musketeers,Sherlock Holmes,Dark Tower,Lord of the Rings


at the moment i think i will say Stephen King-The Stand



i love the whole Apocalypse scene and the characters in it

i have only read the above version which is the copy i have,not the first version that was out,so not sure what's different

when i first got into Stephen King,i started at the beginning with Carrie>>Salem's Lot>>The Shining..and each were great but when the next novel happened,it seemed like the first 3 were SK getting into things,and finally finding his groove for The Stand
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« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2010, 11:02:20 AM »

Steven Eriksons Malazan series - awesome world building and attention to detail. Simply brilliant.
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« Reply #37 on: September 24, 2010, 12:02:51 PM »

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

I'm not sure how many times I've read it, but the number has ceased to be relevant. I know it.
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« Reply #38 on: September 24, 2010, 12:39:48 PM »

Quote from: zinckiwi on September 24, 2010, 12:02:51 PM

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

I'm not sure how many times I've read it, but the number has ceased to be relevant. I know it.

A fantastic book-i actually have that and 'Through the looking-glass(and what Alice found there)' in one volume

if people have only seen the many film/cartoon versions out there,they don't know the half of Wonderland
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« Reply #39 on: September 24, 2010, 01:59:20 PM »

Stephen King's The Dark Tower series.  I've read each book at least 3 times.
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