Tuesday July 29, 2003

Recommending books

Category: Opinionated | 14 Comments | Posted 0:26

I don't think I'll actually ever do a book review section on this site, so how about a shortened version of it? I recommend some books (or authors) for anyone who's bored, and in return you're invited to recommend some to me. :-) Oh and btw, just as a general note - READ PEOPLE READ!!

Anne Rice - The Vampire Chronicles
OK these are probably my favourite books, or at least way up there. I guess my favourite is Memnoch the Devil, but it's probably wisest to read them in chronological order.
OK, now Anne Rice is Gothic. Don't read it if you're not at all into dark stuff and vampires, you will not enjoy it. But there's so much more to her novels - don't judge her books by the Interview with a Vampire film! The depth of these stories, of the relationships between the vampires, the intensity of what they feel and what haunts them, are incredible. As you move along with them through the centuries, you get drawn into their intricate world, into their bonds and their feuds.
Also, the Chronicles are amazing historical novels that take you back to ages long past - from Ancient Rome (Marius) through Renaissance Italy (Marius and Armand) and 18th-19th Century France (Lestat and Louis) to her beloved present-time New Orleans. Her descriptions of the different eras are incredible - well researched, convincing and very enticing.
In short, Anne Rice is a genius. She's written an astonishing number of novels (beside the Chronicles, there are also the New Tales of the Vampires, the Lives of the Mayfair Witches and various other works). And although not each and every one of them is "pure genius", the majority of them are and I am quite certain she will be remembered way beyond her lifetime.
PS Here is a comprehensive list of her works on Amazon, with the option to read extracts from most of them.
PPS Sara is reading Body Thief :D Isn't she wonderful? :x

Douglas Adams - Complete Works
OK, some of you may know Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (tho it surprises me how many people don't, even in the UK). Anyway, Adams was another genius, full stop. Highly intelligent, a science & gadget freak, plus a great fiction & comedy writer. The Hitchhiker's Guide (5 books make up the set) is amazing because it's
hugely funny and imaginative,
quirky and absurd,
very clever and well thought out,
poking fun at humans, the world, and everything.
When I was introduced to it by the great Tobias, my mentor, he told me it was a must-read, and I couldn't agree more. So there you go. You must read it. Nuff said.
The rest of Adams' work is totally worth reading too. Notably the Dirk Gently series and the wonderful (Deeper) Meaning of Liff, which uses place names to describe "common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no words exist." The stuff is serioulsy "laugh out loud" funny, and the "OMG yeah I totally know what he means" effect adds to the fun.

Well, I was going to give you 5 recommendations, but I've spent so much time writing about two of my favourite authors ever that I think that should be enough for now. ;-) Haha, most of you probably found this entry boring. I don't care, I had fun praising these people I admire and love. And, well, if you don't read, it's your loss really. I pity you. ;;)


damn right i am! lol

Posted by: Sara at July 29, 2003 02:09 AM

LOL, I'd not even dare to recommend a book to you, cuz you read so much that I believe you've read already everything that I know and would seriously recommend.

Posted by: Michelle at July 29, 2003 02:37 AM

Hi, I'd like to recommend books of my three favourite authors, Wolfgang Borchert, Franz Kafka and Klaus Mann.

You have to read all of Borchert's works (it isn't that much 'cause he died at the age of 26), not only his famous drama "Draußen vor der Tür" (what's it called in English? I think it's "The Man Outside"). His style is pretty unique (maybe you know what the expression "Kahlschlag" means: very short sentences without pathos and without unnecessary adjectives or adverbs etc.). Most of his topics relate to war (he lived from 1921 to 1947, i.e. he took part in the Second World War), but if you read ALL of his works you might even find other topics, like strange and funny anecdotes regarding his family or love poems.
I really like Borchert's use of adjectives (synaesthesia to express emotions).

The second author I'd like to recommend is Franz Kafka. You probably know the expression "kafkaesque", but Kafka too did not only write sinister stories. It's true that his works are dreamlike, but amongst them are also funny ones (e.g. "Bericht für eine Akademie", don't know the English translation). Best known is, of course, "The Metamorphosis" ("Die Verwandlung"), but I like most of all his works (that I've read - unfortunately I still haven't read all Kafka wrote) "In der Strafkolonie". This is a pretty brutal, but also very impressing story. Kafka's talent is to write strange, crazy and very subjective things in a way so rational and objective that you are totally convinced of their correctness (even if you KNOW that they're wrong). But you have to read it to understand what I mean.

The third author, Klaus Mann, is the eldest son of the famous Thomas Mann. The background of his works is contemporary history (especially German history from 1933 to 1945, as he was a fanatical opponent to the Nazi-regime: he emigrated in march 1933, i.e. shortly after Hitlers seizure of power). He sometimes has a very pathetic way of writing that you may not like much because it may seem a bit excessive. But nevertheless he is worth reading because you get an idea of what "the other Germany" was like, what it was like when you did not follow the rules of a tyrannic government and chose to leave your native country. I highly recommend his second autobiography, "The Turning Point". It was written in exile in the US, that means he first wrote it in English and later translated it into German. The German version ("Der Wendepunkt") of it contains some more material (diary entries etc.), but there are also some details left out that German readers would not understand (e.g. stuff about prominent figures from the USA that are not known in Germany). Maybe both versions of the autobiography are worth to be read (I've only read the German one yet).

OK, that's it for now. Maybe I'll add some other recommendations later.

Posted by: Katja at July 29, 2003 03:09 AM

I haven't returned some books to the library on time and I will have to pay money for it if I return the books now but I don't want to pay
(I haven't even read the books,they finally seemed boring to me)
My friend warned me that they can come to my home and ask for the books and money.


sorry for a bit irrelevant comments

Me is a good reader .

Posted by: Lo at July 29, 2003 10:27 AM

*isn't even sure wants to look at list as will be full of lots of fancy French authors... BML doesn't really read*

Posted by: The BML at July 29, 2003 10:44 AM

Ah, ok... two authors *lol* Thought would be hundreds.

Posted by: The BML at July 29, 2003 11:50 AM

LOL @ Katja. I really really don't like Kafka.
Yes, Borchert would be an idea. I've only read Draussen vor der Tür so far.
I don't read German at all anymore tbh... I'm not sure why.

LOL @ Lo Baaad!!!

Yes BML only 2. Wanted lots more at first, but would've got too long. And no fancy French authors. Only stuff ppl would maybe actually read

Posted by: Clarissa at July 29, 2003 11:55 AM

Kafka rocks!

Posted by: Michelle at July 29, 2003 02:50 PM

I really want to read Hitchhiker's Guide, but I'm poor so I'll have to find it at the library... a library I don't already have millions of dollars of fines racked up at, that is...

Do you like postmodern fiction? At the moment I'm reading Margaret Atwood's "The Blind Assassin" - complicated, but wonderfully written and exquisitely intricate. If you like poetry, A.S. Byatt does some great postmodern work incorporating poetry, like "Possession" (I have a love/hate relationship with this) and "The Biographer's Tale" (not half as good as Possession).


Posted by: Proo at July 29, 2003 02:52 PM

Oooh, and "The French Lieutenant's Woman" by... er...

Posted by: Proo at July 29, 2003 02:54 PM

I like this idea. When I was on holiday I read 'Love in the Time of Cholera' by Gabriel García Márquez and I really enjoyed it. It's a love story that covers more than half a century and it's very intruging. Also interesting because it's all in Latin America (Colombia if I am right). http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140119906/qid=1059488708/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/103-1483749-5073459

Then I also read Vladimir Nabokov's 'Lolita' but I think you have probably already read that. I liked the writingstyle, although the story was a bit sick. Greatly written though. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0679723161/ref=lib_rd_btb/103-1483749-5073459?v=glance&s=books#product-details

I read 'Sunken Red' by Jeroen Brouwers (Dutch author but it's been translated into many languages). It's a sad story but very impressive, autobiographically about his childhood in the Japanese concentration camps in Indonesia during WWII. It describes his relationships with his mother, who was there with him. Very psychological stuff. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1561310255/qid=1059490189/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-1483749-5073459?v=glance&s=books (here you can read some of the pages)

And I think you will also like Harry Mulisch. His books are a bit complicated, very intellectual and often psychological but they're brilliant. He draws so much into his books (philosophy, mythology, history, religion), and he twists reality. I can highly recommend 'Siegfried'. It's the (fictitive)story of the son of Hitler and Eva Braun which Hitler hided from the world. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0670032530/qid=1059490085/sr=2-3/ref=sr_2_3/103-1483749-5073459

And then there is 'The Discovery of Heaven' (also Harry Mulisch) which is enormous, there has also been a movie made. It's about a conspiracy of heaven and about fait and some really weird things. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140239375/qid=1059489834/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/103-1483749-5073459 (you can also read some pages here).

I hope there's something for you there

Posted by: Evelien at July 29, 2003 04:53 PM

Hi Clarissa:

I recommend anything Norman Mailer, especially "The Executioner's song"....


Posted by: RS78 at July 29, 2003 06:57 PM

Aaah I'm very glad my entry has inspired some ppl to comment. I will take all of your suggestions into account.

Prueball, I do like post-modernism. I will read. Not much into poetry I must say
Evelien, I decided to start reading Marquez a while back, so far I have 100yrs of Solitude in my "queue". Will tell you how I like it. I have indeed read Lolita and not liked it so much ( @ Lo). One of my friends wrote her dissertation about it.
Harry Mulisch, yes, I've heard about him, I shall have closer look
RS78, I've heard of Mailer, tho never actually read him. I will have a look

Posted by: Clarissa at July 29, 2003 07:28 PM

Posted by: Lo at July 30, 2003 08:31 AM