Thursday, March 02, 2006

Second Question - Literary

Although sometimes this would be situational, but taken in general, if someone asked you for the three books (excluding the Bible or other main religious text - i.e. Koran, etc.) you'd recommend highest to them - fiction or non-fiction - what would those three books be? And plays count... like a Shakespeare play, for instance.

In other words, what are your very favorite three books? [And you can't pick a "complete works of," anthology, whole series, or chronicles or anything like that... just three books/plays.]


codepoke said...

All of Grace, by CH Spurgeon.
128 pages of refined grace and glory for anyone, any time, anywhere.

A Lifting up for the Downcast by William Bridge.
Wierdest book ever. I cannot seem to read it until I need it, and then it pulls me along.

Connecting by Larry Crabb.
A counselor says his job is superfluous, if only the church knew how to reach out to its own.

You didn't let me do series, or you'd have seen Thomas Covenant, Chronicles of the Unbeliever. Perhaps the greatest piece of (published) modern fiction. I cannot tell you how moving that series is, if you are twisted like me anyway. Ender's Game, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Stranger in a Strange Land made big impressions too.

Sorry about the whole lack of Literature in my list, but that's what you get from diesel mechanics.

B said...

Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen for the romance and for the characters that I love. Plus, I love Austen's irony.

Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo for the amazing story, and for the layers of meaning beneath the story.

Faerie Queene, by Edmund Spenser because there's something for everyone. Action, adventure, mystery, romance and comedy all in one!

Sensual Demoness said...

I've just wandered in by hitting the "Next Blog" button, and this is a wonderful question. Do you mind if I answer? It was quite hard to decide!

The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

Brett said...

In no particular order:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. Maybe the best American novel of the past decade.
I just loved it.

Please Kill Me by Leggs McNeill and Gillian McCain. It's an oral history of punk, absolutely fascinating. If you like punk music or the music inspired and/or influenced by punk, you absolutely have to read this book.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. It's a book based on a TV miniseries (rather than the reverse). Gaiman may have the world's biggest imagination. I know this selection isn't particularly high-minded. So? I'm not particularly high-minded. And I enjoyed reading this book as much as I've ever enjoyed reading anything.

DugALug said...


Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
Probably one of the greatest books on the virtues of conservative capitolism. It is godless, but still, there are some amazing obzervations hidden in this rather large text.

Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
What a brilliant book. I am of the opinion that God doesn't really need our defense, but this is a great read and a very compelling apologetic.

Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
The book's idea has been copied by numerous Sci-Fi authors, but the original is so intruiging. I hadn't read it before I was married and, in fact, I was encourged to read it by my wife. I actually read Ender's Shadow first. I can only imagine that when Ender's game came out it was revolutionary not evolutionary. Card, a devout Mormon, has some really excellent stories about abraham and sarah from the bible. He is trully brilliant.


codepoke said...

It's been years since I read Mists of Avalon, but I remember liking it.

"Who is John Galt?" Yeah. That was quite a ride. I loved it when I read it. Still brings a big smile to my face. Thanks for reminding me!

WandaV said...

What a hard question!!!Different books have been my favorites at different times. I'll try...

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley because it was the first book I'd read where the girl got to carry the sword!

Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini because the character drew me in with his passionate nature. And I didn't see the surprise coming.

Emergence- David Palmer
A Wrinkle in Time-Madeline L'Engle
Kristina Katerina and the Box (I don't remember)
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe-C.S. Lewis
A Knight in Shining Armor-Johanna Lindsey

They all mean alot to me.


Rich said...

I suppose I ought to answer my own question. A couple of mine have already been mentioned. Neverwhere and Les Miserables by Brett and b, respectively. Also, I'd love to list The High King by Lloyd Alexander and any of the three LOTR books by JRR Tolkien, however, I wouldn't want to recommend one without the whole series. Mere Christianity that Doug mentioned and anything by Spurgeon, whom codepoke listed, are also great. Even (the) sensual demoness hit on one of my favorites with The Brothers Grimm, but I consider that a compilation and therefore unusable for the question. Since all those have either been listed or are parts of series, I'll try to be original.

1) Macbeth by William Shakespeare [this play changed my outlook on literature forever]

2) The Challenge of Jesus by N.T. Wright [superb book for putting Jesus in a historical perspective, especially for a Western, 20th/21st century pop-culture-invaded mind like mine]

3) The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein [so meaningful, sweet, and probably the most touching book I've ever read, and it highlights unconditional love]

However, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman would knock # 2 and # 3 off, if I was really listing my three favorites.

Rich said...

Oh, and Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas) is oh so close as well.

codepoke said...

I just read A Wrinkle in Time-Madeline L'Engle for the first time. My daughter has really pulled away from me (17 years old, not a surprise), so I am reading the whole series to connect at some level.

That series really needs a whole conversation. I am enjoying it, though I seem to gather that she is anti-Christian from book 3. I'm sure others have the opposite opinion, and I would love to hear it. If anyone has an ongoing discussion, link me in!

(No spoilers on book 4, though. I'm only 1/3 through it.)

WandaV said...

Codepoke: I never considered Ms. L'Engle as anti-christian. I'd be curious why you would think so. I remember I was about 15 1/2 when I read A Swiftly Tilting Planet. Thus began my huge unicorn phase. I collected everything I could get my hands on about unicorns. Luckily for me, they turned into a fad about that time, so I got lots of stuff. I even named our new snow white cat Ananda.

The fourth book was thought provoking for me. Have you seen the movie they made of AWIT? My girls like it.

Have you read her book A Ring of Endless Light? I thought that one was cool, too. (it's #3 of a series) It involved dolphins.


codepoke said...

I'm over half-way through book 4 now, and yes, it is thought provoking. I have given my views elsewhere on the whole "sons of God and the daughters of men" thing, but it is making for a bang-up story.

What happens to Yalith?? ;-)

I honestly cannot be sure whether L'Engle is for or against Christianity. She certainly knows her stuff. She was raised Christian and did a lot of research on her own.

My ex-wife is a died-in-the-wool new ager these days (that would be a bonapropism). Everything L'Engle says in books 1&2 could have been written by my ex, and I doubt the things in book 3 could have been written by one who clings to Christ. When she portrays Christians in that foul a light, and spiritists in that glowing a light, she needs to assure me that Christ is more than a good teacher to her. I doubt she knows the Truth.

codepoke said...

I finished "Many Waters" last night, WandaV. It was a beautiful story.

I love it when authors "fill in the doubts" that the bible seems to leave out. It is so easy to read about Joshua, for example, and not remember that he probably was not always 100% sure of everything. When the Israelites fail at Ai, the bible only gives 4 verses to the crisis of faith that Joshua goes through. A good author can fill in so much more. L'Engle does a great job of that.

WandaV said...

I, too, liked Many Waters. Pre-Flood earth doesnt' get a lot of verses. Just a few to tell us that it was really bad. Noah and his family wren't perfect, by any means. But God saw fit to save them.

I liked what M.L. did for Yalith. Family dynamics haven't changed much in the last couple of thousand years. I think she did a good job portraying that.

I just finished reading "Looking for Alaska" and "Hatchet". Two really differnt books. (from each other.)