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Milton

Book Recommendation's

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Any really excellent Reads you would recommend?

I'll begin with:

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Russian: Один день Ивана ДениÑовича Odin den' Ivana Denisovicha) is a novel written by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, first published in November 1962 in the Soviet literary magazine Novy Mir (New World).[1] The story is set in a Soviet labor camp in the 1950s, and describes a single day of an ordinary prisoner, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov.

[brilliant. Difficult to put down]

We is a dystopian novel by Yevgeny Zamyatin completed in 1921.[2] It was written in response to the author's personal experiences during the Russian revolution of 1905, the Russian Revolution of 1917, his life in the Newcastle suburb of Jesmond, and work in the Tyne shipyards during the First World War. It was on Tyneside that he observed the rationalization of labour on a large scale.

[Not on my all time favorites, but some on this forum would enjoy. This was the inspiration for Orwells 1984.]

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A non-fiction novel?

Here's the nearest you'll get. Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. This attempted to establish the new genre of faction, being the account of the real-life murder of the Clutter family in Kansas in 1959.

Capote read a three line account of the murders in the New York papers. The killers, a couple of damaged, criminal drifters with dreams of stealing enough money to retire to Mexico, were interviewed extensively by Capote in jail, and he witnessed their eventual hanging. The book brings a novelist's sense of the dramatic to bear on the cold facts of a unique and horrifying case.

Here's a taster, showing Capote's detached eye for detail. Meet the hangman:

Dewey had watched them die, for he had been among the twenty odd witnesses invited to the ceremony. He had never attended an execution, and when on the midnight past he enterered the cold warehouse, the scenery had surprised him: he had anticipated a setting of suitable dignity, not this bleakly lighted cavern cluttered with lumber and other debris. But the gallows itself, with its two pale nooses attached to a crossbeam, was imposing enough, and so, in an unexpected style, was the hangman, who cast a long shadow from his perch on the platform at the top of the wooden instrument's thirteen steps. The hangman, an anonymous, leathery gentleman who had been imported from Missouri for the event, for which he was paid six hundred dollars, was attired in an aged, double-breasted pin-striped suit, overly commodious for the narrow figure inside it - the coat came nearly to his knees; and on his head he wore a cowboy hat which, when first bought, had perhaps been bright green, but now was a weathered, sweat-stained oddity.

Enjoy!

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Fiction

In Cold Blood is indeed excellent

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Non-Fiction

Pity The Nation by Robert Fisk

Collapse by Jared Diamond

How To Get Rich by Felix Dennis

Travel

Anything by William Dalrymple esp 'From The Holy Mountain'

Lots more but can't think of em now...

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Just finished Alfred Döblin's Berlin-Alexanderplatz, which, while not light entertainment, certainly goes a long way to explaining how Hitler managed to get himself into office.

Nevil Shute's In the Wet is also one of my favourite reads, especially his proposed changes to the voting system. Were it to be implemented here you got guarantee that Gordon and his morons would never get anywhere near elected office again, with no need to start an almighty recession in order to achieve this outcome.

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Guest X-QUORK

One I'll read again and again is Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton. Set in Earls Court in 1939, it's a very black comedy centred around George Harvey Bone and his alcohol infused infatuation of a self-centred failed actress called Netta. George suffers from a split-personality, at times a nervous sop to his muse, at others a confident monster who despises Netta and all her fake friends.

The book was written in 1941 and the language is very much of that era, which is part of the charm of this book for me. Give it a go, it's a Penguin Classic.

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Guest theboltonfury
One I'll read again and again is Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton. Set in Earls Court in 1939, it's a very black comedy centred around George Harvey Bone and his alcohol infused infatuation of a self-centred failed actress called Netta. George suffers from a split-personality, at times a nervous sop to his muse, at others a confident monster who despises Netta and all her fake friends.

The book was written in 1941 and the language is very much of that era, which is part of the charm of this book for me. Give it a go, it's a Penguin Classic.

Just finshed The Great Gatsby. A bit arty maybe, but short and sums up this poney banking culture very nicely.

I am not a fan of him, but Piers Morgans Insider is fascinating.

Also recommend.

Crime and Punishment - a story of the original anti-hero. He murders women yet you end up rooting for him!

For whom the bell tolls - Hemmingway. Set in just 3 days of war, but a very moving story. You can see from this (and Farewell to Arms) just why Hemmingway topped himself.

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Guest DisposableHeroes

I'm currently reading:-

Around the World on a Bicycle - Volume 1 - From San Francisco to Teheran (English)

Around the World on a Bicycle - Volume II - From Teheran To Yokohama (English)

Written around 1880-1890. You can download them both as free ebooks.

They are a little non pc at times, but you can accept it because of the time they were written. It sounded like a real adventure. I mean cycling around the world on a penny farthing!

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Guest theboltonfury
I'm currently reading:-

Around the World on a Bicycle - Volume 1 - From San Francisco to Teheran (English)

Around the World on a Bicycle - Volume II - From Teheran To Yokohama (English)

Written around 1880-1890. You can download them both as free ebooks.

They are a little non pc at times, but you can accept it because of the time they were written. It sounded like a real adventure. I mean cycling around the world on a penny farthing!

Travel books can be very rewarding. Just not that contrived shite by Ewan Mcgreogr and his posh mate on a bike.

Always liked Bryson. For a right good laugh and lighth entertainment, Tony Hawkes has 3 books out that I enjoyed completely.

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They're nearly all good recs so far, but you're not a very cheery lot!

Interestingly I've read nearly all of them - HPC mindset?

So, for slightly less thoughtful but lighter entertainment :

Terry Pratchett is excellent for wordy type humour, too many cultural references for foreigners though.

Poor old bugger has early-onset Alzheimers. :(

Louis de Bernieres combines sardonic humour, interesting historical references and great human stories.

The books set in South America are funny but less good, go for the Meditteranean ones.

For males only (never known a woman to like them) with an interest in knowing Victorian history via a laugh-out-loud medium, the Flashman novels by George Macdonald Fraser.

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Guest DisposableHeroes
Just finshed The Great Gatsby. A bit arty maybe, but short and sums up this poney banking culture very nicely.

I am not a fan of him, but Piers Morgans Insider is fascinating.

Also recommend.

Crime and Punishment - a story of the original anti-hero. He murders women yet you end up rooting for him!

For whom the bell tolls - Hemmingway. Set in just 3 days of war, but a very moving story. You can see from this (and Farewell to Arms) just why Hemmingway topped himself.

I recently read the Great Gatsby, yes it does. It did leave me with a feeling of being content with what I have. Mind you I still wouldn't mind a big mansion, Yacht, super car and endless parties :-)

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Guest DisposableHeroes
They're nearly all good recs so far, but you're not a very cheery lot!

Interestingly I've read nearly all of them - HPC mindset?

So, for slightly less thoughtful but lighter entertainment :

Terry Pratchett is excellent for wordy type humour, too many cultural references for foreigners though.

Poor old bugger has early-onset Alzheimers. :(

Louis de Bernieres combines sardonic humour, interesting historical references and great human stories.

The books set in South America are funny but less good, go for the Meditteranean ones.

For males only (never known a woman to like them) with an interest in knowing Victorian history via a laugh-out-loud medium, the Flashman novels by George Macdonald Fraser.

Yes sad to hear that. They once showed his office on the tv, six lcd's on his desk.

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I hadn't read a book in over 10 years until I went on holiday 2 years ago. I bought Angels & Demons on the fly at the airport and finished it in 3 days. Thought it was great.

Going to ready Stephen Hawkins book A Brief History Of Time soon. My 2nd book in 12 years :-D

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Guest DisposableHeroes
I hadn't read a book in over 10 years until I went on holiday 2 years ago. I bought Angels & Demons on the fly at the airport and finished it in 3 days. Thought it was great.

Going to ready Stephen Hawkins book A Brief History Of Time soon. My 2nd book in 12 years :-D

Dan Brown's books certainly flow. I enjoyed it too. The space plane I had to take with a pinch of salt :-)

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Has anyone read purple hibiscus, finished that recently. I'm reading One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest now, has anyone read it? I'm not sure how I feel about it but it's really well known so I will persevere, I've just been finding it difficult to find time for long periods to get stuck into it so at the moment I've only been reading a couple of pages at a time. I'd appreciate anyone else's opinions.

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Guest theboltonfury
Has anyone read purple hibiscus, finished that recently. I'm reading One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest now, has anyone read it? I'm not sure how I feel about it but it's really well known so I will persevere, I've just been finding it difficult to find time for long periods to get stuck into it so at the moment I've only been reading a couple of pages at a time. I'd appreciate anyone else's opinions.

I am pleased you said that. I read it, and got so bogged down. The same with Brave New World. Made me feel thick afterwards, but tried them again and concluded that they are just weirdly written. A bit like Catch 22, though that is laugh out loud funny at times.

Just because a book is listed as a classic doesn't mean it's a good read IMO.

Most over rated book - Catcher in the Rye. What is the ******ing point?

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Dan Brown's books certainly flow. I enjoyed it too. The space plane I had to take with a pinch of salt :-)

Pissed myself when Stephen Fry called The DaVinci Code "loose stool water....**** gravy of the very worst kind" on QI.

For upsetting them religious folk and for holiday reading they're not bad but prefer something a little weightier.

Uhuru and Something of Value by Robert Ruark are both books I could read time and again.

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Here's a strange mix from the Mangle:

Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K Jerome.

For an oldie, this is remarkably funny. I was laughing out loud at a book written in Victorian times. Related books are Three Men In a Bummel and Diary of a Nobody

The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

Currently being made into a film. A romantic book but definitely not just for weepy women. Amazing book. Read reviews.

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Most over rated book - Catcher in the Rye. What is the ******ing point?

I read that a few years ago as I felt like the last person on Earth who hadn't. I kind of enjoyed it, but I thought it would appeal more to somebody of the same age as the main character, so 15 or 16 I think. Having had a not totally disimilar weekend in London at around the same age I could empathise with his experience.

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Pissed myself when Stephen Fry called The DaVinci Code "loose stool water....**** gravy of the very worst kind" on QI.

You've just reminded me about one of Stephen Fry's novels - The Stars' Tennis Balls. My wife threw it to me and said I'd really enjoy it, so with a great deal of scepticism I gave it a go. The scepticism was soon brushed aside as I got into what was a superb story, full of intrigue and nastiness. The levels of darkness really surprised me, it just wasn't what I'd expected from Mr Fry. One of those books I was sorry to finish.

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A few I've enjoyed:

The Restraint of Beasts: Magnus Mills. Black comedy following 2 scottish fencing contractors and their hapless English "foreman" as they tour the country as they deal conclusively with a series of clients;

The Innocent: Ian McEwan. Dark, fictional account of how a straight laced English GPO worker gets sucked into cold war MI5/CIA 'Operation Gold' - set in 1950s Berlin;

Eight bells and Top masts: Christopher Lee. Non-fiction diary of 2 years at sea on a tramp steamer at the end of UK's tenure as a significant power in merchant shipping.

At the moment, I'm just finishing Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert tressell.

Also, The Trial: Kafka, though some people on here probably don't need to read this one, as they seem to be living it :lol:

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Guest theboltonfury
I read that a few years ago as I felt like the last person on Earth who hadn't. I kind of enjoyed it, but I thought it would appeal more to somebody of the same age as the main character, so 15 or 16 I think. Having had a not totally disimilar weekend in London at around the same age I could empathise with his experience.

Fair point, I was 30 when I read it, it had no empathy from me at all. I paid such little attention at school that I decided to reread my entire GSCE book list.

All Quite on the Western Front - great

Lord of the Flies - better than great

War of the Worlds - Great and relevant

Day of the Triffids - Particularly relevant to all you oil boffins.

Catcher in the Rye - nuff said.

It's a worthwhile exercise to anyone stuck for inspration.

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You've just reminded me about one of Stephen Fry's novels - The Stars' Tennis Balls. My wife threw it to me and said I'd really enjoy it, so with a great deal of scepticism I gave it a go. The scepticism was soon brushed aside as I got into what was a superb story, full of intrigue and nastiness. The levels of darkness really surprised me, it just wasn't what I'd expected from Mr Fry. One of those books I was sorry to finish.

So true. Try Hippopotamus and The Liar. A bit homoerotic and masturbating centric (the character, not me) but thoroughly well written and demonstrative of his wit.

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