Escape From Reality

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Escape From Reality

Post by Lovebird on Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:21 am

Narrowminded wrote:Keep dreaming I’ll wake up to a new thread by LB collecting them all in one place. Smile

You know I can't resist a suggestion like that!  Very Happy As long as nobody expects me to collect the book recommendations that were posted at MDA as well...  Shocked  Laughing

and yes, title is based upon a songtext, but also because great books can be exactly that... Smile



Narrowminded wrote:Harry Potter series
The Year of Less
Kon Mari

AutumnTiger wrote:early Harry Potter books
Wheel of Time series

Meant2Move wrote:Helen Harper's "Highland Magic" series
Molly Harper's "Mystic Bayou" series

Feel free to add any books/series you love and like to share!
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Re: Escape From Reality

Post by Narrowminded on Fri Nov 23, 2018 9:48 am

One of my fav Queen songs, of course they all are.

Thanks for Starting the thread LB. I knew the suggestion would get you moving. Smile
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Re: Escape From Reality

Post by Lovebird on Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:05 am

Lovebird wrote:As long as nobody expects me to collect the book recommendations that were posted at MDA as well...  Shocked  Laughing

Well... it's raining... so I thought 'why not?'  Smile Can't believe I've read so many of these books that follow... I know we've shared several in M2M's journal at MDA, but it's not that easy to find those again...

from the archives at MDA (removed names unless current members here):

Favourite book?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Timeless book. Well worth reading.

The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien creates an entire new world, with detailed geography, history, and languages, and the good guys win in the end.

Honorable mentions would be 1984 and Les Miserables. The former is probably the most terrifying book I've ever read. The characters aren't even safe within their own minds. The latter would be my favorite book if Victor Hugo had cut out about 2-300 pages of unnecessary sections. The best fictional scene I've ever read is when Bishop Myriel forgives Jean Valjean for stealing.
In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.

"Aztec" by Gary Jennings. Not sure if it's still in print. I'm like 97% certain you'll absolutely love it. Giant, sweeping, epic historical fiction following an Aztec guy across the empire. It has everything.
This might still be my #1 favorite book, even though I haven't read it in maybe 15 years.

I also love all things Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. And I LOVED Pillars of the Earth. The sequel was fine but not great like the first. I also LOVE the Game of Thrones books!

JoanieL aka LoonieJ wrote:Was I only supposed to pick one? Another Roadside Attraction, The Godfather, and Atlas Shrugged. Narrowing it down to one would depend on my mood or what I was focusing on that day: spirituality, loyalty, or mass stupidity.

I also have to include three books: Atlas Shrugged, Doctor Zhivago (even better than the awesome movie), and David Copperfield. An absolute favorite is impossible to pick, and anyway it varies with my mood.

Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence.

Rig D wrote:Another vote for Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. But a caution on it-- It is a huge monster, and has some really long-winded (and to me, boring) sections. It is a chillingly great foreshadowing of today's societal problems with the "gimme" crowd and an overbearing FedGov. Rand has a definite philosophy, Objectivism, and if you are in the group who thinks "we are our brother's keeper" you will definitely not like this book. But you will know who John Galt is. You might want to break yourself in to Rand's ideas with Anthem. A quick read.

If you like sci-fi, try Lucifer's Hammer -worldwide calamity, lots of action.

I actually think Fountainhead is the best Rand book. I think Peter Keating is the best character study in any of her work and a lesson to those who's cliff-notes Ayn Rand is "business-good, government bad". Similar to the James Taggart character in Atlas but I think a level or two better.

Anything by Terry Pratchett or P.G. Wodehouse.

Frankenstein is a timeless idea but I thought the writing was singularly awful. What you would expect from a schoolgirl on summer break which I think is close to literally what it was.

I like Asimov's Foundation series as the 'biggest story ever told'. Remaking galaxy-wide civilization over a thousand years through subtle effects. Wow! ('Til the Gaia crap screwed up the whole series)

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Follows a man who went crazy from too much deep lateral thinking and had to undergo electric shock therapy...and much of his radical theories developed from lateral thinking, particularly on what is Quality. I love books that are more about philosophy and less about fiction.

Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey. Favourite Author, Robert Heinlein, so anything by him, but especially Stranger in a Strange Land and Starship Troopers. 3rd favourite author (Anne McCaffrey being #2), hmmm, used to be Vonda McIntyre, especially Dreamsnake, but I think Mary Gentle (Ash, White Crow, Grunts) has probably edged her out now.

Recommendations? Might I suggest the winner of the 2014 Hugo Award this weekend, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. Tolkein is of course, always a good read and David Gemmell if you like Fantasy. Karen Traviss has an excellent 5-part military SF series with a UK bent, where the colonial military force are Royal Marines (which is what got her the gig writing Star Wars tie-ins). Charlie Stross if you like geek-oriented SF.

Other than that I read crime fic by Val McDermid and Linda Fairstein among others and rather enjoy Napoleonic mil-fic a la CS Forester's Hornblower and Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey (Master and Commander) series. Just now starting Dudley Pope's Ramage series. I also grew up on Alistair Maclean and Hammond Innes, but I don't know how well they would stand up today without the rosy tint of nostalgia to colour them. I think The Golden Rendezvous still takes some beating and the classic opening lines of When Eight Bells Toll.

But if you like Frankenstein, then you might like the darker steampunk of China Mieville - Perdido Street Station is the only one I've actually read, but I have King Rat on my to-read stack/shelf/library.

As for my favorite book, A House for a Mouse. It tells the tale of an intrepid rodent looking for a home. His struggle is highlighted by the prejudice he feels. "'No, you can't live here Mr. Mouse. This is my bed,' says the Cat." "Ha, silly mouse, that is not a house for you. This is a house for dogs.'" A tear jerker for sure.

I kid, but really that was the first book I remember reading back when I was 3 or 5 or some such. Perhaps I read others first, but it stuck in my head, and it sparked my love for books. I used to read it a few times a year for nostalgia's sake. Sadly it disappeared in a move a few years back. I should hunt for another copy.

My favourites changes all the time but recent one that has somewhat meaningful impact on my life was

Noelle Hancock - My year with Eleanor

Based on true facts book about author who decided to spend a year long period coping with various fears (climbed mountain, went to do stand up and so on).

ssndoc wrote:Favorite books... lots of good suggestions here, but I can't pick just one "favorite"..... because there are so many subjects to choose from....

for bizarre sci-fi, how can you not like Doug Adams "Hitchickers Guide".... Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" was a bit of a mind trip as well.....

Winston Churchill's autobiography is a pretty good read as well, particulalry if you like history.....

I tend to read things that most folks won't touch.... because I find them interesting. Books like "Human Action" by Ludwig vonMises (economics), John Locke's treatise on government, "Man, Power and State" by Murray Rothbard (government/economic), "Theory of Moral Sentiments" by Adam Smith, etc. etc. etc.....

Not sure if I have a definite favourite, but much love for:
- Lolita
- Let the Right One In
- 1984
- Revolutionary Road
- To Kill A Mockingbird
- We Need to Talk About Kevin

yeah
We Need to Talk about Kevin was a really tough read. Excellently written. Before parenthood, I would have been shocked and probably disgusted by what she decides to do with her relationship with her son in the end (I'm being intentionally vague in case someone hasn't read it and intends to). However, as a parent now, I'm shocked at how much I understand her. Anyway, a really intense book. Glad I read it.

Nightly Orange wrote:Ironically, I find that Rand's criticism of Nietzsche applies just as much to her own writing. She once said of him that "he projects at times (not consistently) a magnificent feeling for man's greatness, expressed in emotional, not intellectual, terms." I have the same impression of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. As hard as she tried to establish a coherent moral code founded on purely logical grounds, in the end she failed to escape Hume's Guillotine. I suppose that shouldn't be held against her, since no philosopher since Hume has been able to, not even Kant.

Still, I'm fond of Rand's fiction, even if all her characters read like computer programs executing philosophical axioms coded into their heads rather than behaving like real human beings (or rather, I like her fiction precisely because of the way the characters are written; it's fun seeing an embodiment of an abstract principle like Howard Roark smashing unstoppably through all the Keatings and Tooheys in his path like Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo). According to Nathaniel Branden (who may admittedly be a biased source), Rand once confided to him that she knew nothing of human psychology (source), and reading her novels, this admission is easy enough to believe. I'm always wary of people who find Rand's characters to be desirable role models, since their brains literally don't work like actual human brains and thus they represent not only unattainable but also unapproachable ideals, but as pure entertainment and a starting point for philosophical discussion, Rand's fiction is pretty enjoyable. If nothing else, as literature her books are completely unique.

As far as Tolkien goes, I like The Silmarillion much more than The Lord of the Rings. The prose is more beautiful, and the whole quasi-mythical feel is awesome. Reading The Silmarillion feels like reading the collected mythology and legends of some lost, ancient culture. Pretty damn cool.

That being said, my favorite epic fantasy series is R. Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing and Aspect-Emperor trilogies. This stuff is even more grim and depressing than GRRM's writing, but I'm a masochist that way, and Bakker's world-building is fantastic. Maybe not quite on Tolkien's level (he'll be #1 possibly forever just due to the fact that he invented several functional languages solely for the sake of fleshing out his setting), but pretty close.

Other fiction...hm, too much to completely list.

Blood Meridian, which is the best of the handful of McCarthy novels I've read.

Ratner's Star is amusing.

Blindsight is quite entertaining and rather thought-provoking as well, as sci-fi goes, especially if you're into cognitive science.

American Psycho is actually really hilarious, as an overblown parody of ambitious young professionals. Patrick Bateman is a lawyer, but I've seen a bit of the archetype he represents peeking out from behind the shiny megawatt smiles of some Big 4 accountants and I-Bankers I know. In the future, if the library police or whoever it is that maintains those "banned books" lists ever loosen the hell up, American Psycho should be taught in schools as a brilliant example of historical satire.

Other writers I like in general include Shirley Jackson, Bruno Schultz, Lovecraft, Ligotti, Borges, Nabokov, and...uh...Bill Watterson. Calvin & Hobbes is the highest low art there is.

Pet Sematary is the best thing Stephen King ever wrote.

For nonfiction, I'm currently reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, which is fascinating. A lot of the cognitive biases he describes are rather egregiously evident in the health and diet community (as well as, to be fair, just about every other human community there is). Reading about all the flaws in human cognition is strangely encouraging and dispiriting at the same time. Encouraging, in that now that we're aware of them, we can begin to attempt to remedy them; but dispiriting, in that these heuristics and biases are so endemic to human nature that overcoming them, even in part, requires nearly superhuman effort.

I like the following authors: Douglas Adams, Terry Prachett, Dee Henderson, Mark Tufo, Tanya Huff just to name a few.

I thought Plague Dogs and a Child Called It were very good but very sad.

As for great reads, "Bartleby, the Scrivener" was the last thing of note that I read and although a different genre it really helps separate the wannabes (e.g. Rand) from the giants (Melville). Rand seems to lose a lot of readers with her long monologues from Roark and Galt that don't really seem to add much to the overall work. Melville, on the other hand, never loses stride. Also, in a thousand years nobody will be reading Rand, but Melville's themes will still be relevant. It's expletive amazing from a writer's perspective.

The Lord of the Rings
The Count of Monte Cristo
1984
The Stranger
The Vampire Chronicles
Harry Potter series
Siddhartha

Just finished Ender's Game, which someone mentioned earlier, and enjoyed it very much.

And finally, I agree with Nightly Orange that Calvin and Hobbes is the highest of all "lower art". I have all of the C&H books, and feel like I grew up with the characters. Bill Watterson is a genius.

I'll throw in my fav non-fiction book too: I Am A Strange Loop, by Douglass Hofstadter

Sabriel, by Garth Nix.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children is good, also The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, and Room.

And The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy five part trilogy, Good Omens, and Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way.

I read too much... And I'm okay with that.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs and Room, by Emma Donoghue. I couldn't put both those books down.

Apart from that "Never let go" by Dan John.

The entire series is very cool. Moggett is definitely my favorite character, but I love the entire concept of it.

The Dresden Files is awesome. I think many here would dig it. It's hard to pick a favourite book out of 15 (plus the assorted short stories), but I'll go with Dead Beat and give this short synopsis:

Zombie T-Rex

I am such a child.

Patrick Rothfuss is also amazing. Name of the Wind and Wise Man's Fear are two of the coolest fantasy novels I've read by far.

Thomas Mann; The Magic Mountain. A good read that learned me about the spirit of hypochondriasis

The Lord of the Rings, probably.

I'm currently slightly obsessed with Jo Nesbø's stuff. Butcher's Crossing is excellent, can't go wrong with John le Carre

Along the lines of my YA reading inclinations, I also love love love the Abarat series (what exists so far) by Clive Barker. The paintings are amazing. The books are wonderfully silly and creepy.


There is another thread you might like to check out: http://forum.marksdailyapple.com/forum/the-primal-blueprint-forum-discussion/primal-blueprint-odds-and-ends/62347-what-book-are-you-currently-reading/


Last edited by Lovebird on Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:25 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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Re: Escape From Reality

Post by Rig D on Sat Nov 24, 2018 9:30 am

Quite a list you have collected.
When I was in college in the late 60's and a big sci-fi fan, I read Robert Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" and enjoyed it quite a bit. The book is in two major sections, the first part was great, the second half was not so hot, way too touchy-feely for me. He introduced one of my favorite concepts, the Fair Witness, who, when asked what color the farmer's barn was replied "It is red - on this side."
--
For a contemporary take on the Frankenstein tale, I highly recommend Dean Koontz' 3 book Frankenstein story, where it turns out that Victor Frankenstein is alive and well and running a biotech outfit in New Orleans, secretly creating sterile super-soldier type creatures and planning to rule the world. The original monster, now called Deucalion, literally pops in and out and works with a pair of detectives trying to figure out what's going on. Good, fast paced read.
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Re: Escape From Reality

Post by Narrowminded on Sat Nov 24, 2018 4:10 pm

Thank you LB

I read 1984 in HS and hated it, not much for Sci-Fi, but I know if I read it now, It would really come to life. A lot like a book my kids read in Middle school. Right now the title is escaping me, but very similar to 1984. I read it with my DS and then 7 years later with DS, the understanding an impact was so different the second time as many things going on basically showed up in the book. Wish I could remember the name.

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Re: Escape From Reality

Post by Lovebird on Sun Nov 25, 2018 2:55 am

Thanks for sharing Rig! I checked the library for the Dean Koontz series on Frankenstein and they had them available. On the list, right after I finished my current stack of books. Smile

You're welcome NM. First to come to mind was Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, but I think that was written too long ago for schools to turn to, so perhaps Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury?


I love SciFi/dystopian books/time traveler stories. Then again, like music, I don't really have favourites or fav genres. It depends on mood etc. Mostly I love books that get you thinking during/afterwards, other times some brain candy as M2M calls them is a better choice.

Let's see... 'The Time Traveler's Wife (Niffenegger), 11-22-1963 (King), Life After Life (Kate Atkinson), The Traveler (JT Hawks), also the Jack Reacher series (Lee Child) and similar books (Baldacci/Clancy/Connelly etc), not forget Lisa Gardner... however there are so many more... Jodi Picoult/Nora Roberts/Maggie O'Farrell  to name a few.

I also read young adult/urban fantasy series; was the one to introduce several here to The Hunger Games, before it was a hype and movie. Really liked The Courtyards of The Others by Anne Bishop.

My favourite non fiction book would probably be The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Do cookbooks count too? Very Happy Definitely Hemsley & Hemsley.

I prefer to read library books, as new as possible. Sometimes, when it's really special or contains lots of info (like H&H) I buy them anyway or ask for them as a birthday gift.
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Re: Escape From Reality

Post by Narrowminded on Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:19 am

Ok, I asked DD the book was “The Giver”

They did read Fahrenheit 451 in HS.

I too like Jodi Picoult but now right now. I can’t handle them at the moment, I need light.
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Re: Escape From Reality

Post by Lovebird on Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:34 pm

Narrowminded wrote:Ok, I asked DD the book was “The Giver”

They did read Fahrenheit 451 in HS.

I too like Jodi Picoult but now right now.  I can’t handle them at the moment, I need light.

I looked it up (Lois Lowry) and realized I saw the movie, good one, plan to pick it up from the library anyway. Sorry, the term 'middle school' is unfamiliar, hence the suggestion of the 2 books I do know.

So understandable... everyone can do with a bit of brain candy now and again. Smile
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Re: Escape From Reality

Post by Narrowminded on Sun Nov 25, 2018 1:03 pm

LB - here middle school is grades 6-8 then HS is 9-12. Elementary is considered Kindergarten to 5th. Hope that helps.
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Re: Escape From Reality

Post by Narrowminded on Sun Nov 25, 2018 1:04 pm

Meant to say before, this title of the thread is awesome because I do feel like I need to escape from reality around here. Smile
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Re: Escape From Reality

Post by Lovebird on Sun Nov 25, 2018 2:28 pm

Narrowminded wrote:LB - here middle school is grades 6-8 then HS is 9-12.  Elementary is considered Kindergarten to 5th. Hope that helps.

Thanks. I already figured that out when I noticed where to find the book at the library, but was too lazy to look it up this morning. It does help.

Narrowminded wrote:Meant to say before, this title of the thread is awesome because I do feel like I need to escape from reality around here. Smile

You're welcome. That's what I love most about good books. Glad to hear you find time (and take your mind of things for a moment or more) to read something nice.
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Re: Escape From Reality

Post by Meant2Move on Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:44 pm

I go on the occasional Sci-Fi bing.
I know Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card has already been mentioned. I have to remind myself that the author's politics don't influence the quality of the work, but occasionally I get miffed by that. To that end, I loved Ender's Shadow as the other side of the story.

Peter Clines has a couple of loosely related books. They stand alone well too. 14 and The Fold. I enjoyed both of these very much. There is a third that is in my to be read pile, so I can't comment on the quality, Paradox Bound.

Sometimes I really like John Scalzi, sometimes his writing seems a bit juvenile. There is often a good message buried in the fun of his books. Fuzzy Nation was a favorite, and Lock In was intriguing. I also recommend the novella The Dispatcher.

The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey is that bit dark, but good for a brush with post-apocalyptic fiction.
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Re: Escape From Reality

Post by Nightly Orange on Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:05 am

Wow, when did I make that post? I don't even remember writing it, haha.

Coincidentally, 2 days ago I watched part 1 (of 3) of the Atlas Shrugged film on Amazon Prime. It's surprisingly faithful to the novel in terms of plot and dialogue, though pares away basically everything that could be considered non-essential. This makes it fast-paced and not clunky at all, though in exchange you lose the deep, immersive feel of the book.

Also coincidentally, I'm reading/re-reading Bakker's Second Apocalypse heptalogy right now, since he hadn't completed it yet at the time I made that previous post.

Narrowminded wrote:I read 1984 in HS and hated it, not much for Sci-Fi, but I know if I read it now, It would really come to life.  A lot like a book my kids read in Middle school.  Right now the title is escaping me, but very similar to 1984. I read it with my DS and then 7 years later with DS, the understanding an impact was so different the second time as many things going on basically showed up in the book.  Wish I could remember the name.

I think good literature is like that. When you can read something at 15 and then read it again at 30 and walk away with completely different insights, you know there's some real substance to that book.

Some books just aren't meant for the young, though. I don't know who on what school board thought it was a good idea to make 17-year olds read Moby Dick, but it definitely did not work out at all in my high school literature class. I didn't get anything at all out of that book until I tried re-reading it again a decade later, and even in my mid/late 20s some parts were still a slog. Maybe when I'm approaching 60, I'll finally be ready.

Speaking of 1984, that was my 2nd favorite of the big high school dystopian novels I remember. My favorite was A Clockwork Orange, which had this crazy made-up gangster slang that lent the entire novel a feverishly violent dreamike sort of atmosphere. After those two it was Brave New World, and I liked Fahrenheit 451 the least of all.

I still need to watch the Kubrick film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange. Everybody says it's super-intense.
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Re: Escape From Reality

Post by Meant2Move on Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:59 pm

Nightly Orange wrote:I still need to watch the Kubrick film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange. Everybody says it's super-intense.

Eek! Have not read the book, but saw the movie in my 20's and I would say I am still horrified by what I saw (I'm 55 now). The memories are vivid and awful. Approach with caution!
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