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Author Topic: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!  (Read 5120 times)

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Offline stethacantus

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2020, 10:13:15 AM »
I haven't read that many novels in my lifetime. If you were to see my top 25 list, then you would see a lot of crap on there just to get it all the way up to 25 books.  About three of the novels I read were due to them being mandatory reading back when I was in high school.  Each semester the English teacher would select a novel the entire class was requested to read. Some of the English teachers picked Shakespeare plays instead of novels, which I didn't put on my list.  The Catcher in the Rye was one of those mandatory books. In fact, John Lennon was killed  when we were halfway through reading it and it was made public the killer was driven to shoot Lennon after reading Catcher in the Rye. We had a class discussion on if we should stop reading the book and start another novel, which the teacher preferred doing, or continue reading it. We were too young to remember the Beatles and were being asked to abandon a book we were halfway through reading and start a new book which we would need to complete during the Christmas vacation, so damn right we ignored our crying English teacher and chose to continue reading the novel. Also, it was a really good novel. And an even better drink:
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/w16rAa8jFSk" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/w16rAa8jFSk</a>
« Last Edit: September 27, 2020, 10:14:47 AM by stethacantus »


Offline CJones

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2020, 04:32:55 PM »
#50f A Tale of Two Cities, By Charles Dickens

1 List, 22 Points
Top Vote #4 Russoguru

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I debated how much I should fake knowledge of this book, and have decided not to. Anyone better versed in it want to talk about it? To give you some idea of how much I know about this book, I only just now found out what the two cities are that the tale is of :P (London and Paris).

Fun Fact: The 45-chapter novel was published in 31 weekly installments in Dickens' literary periodical titled "All the Year Round", from April 30th 1859 to November 26th 1859.

Fun Psuedofact: A Tale of Two Cities has been cited as one of the best-selling (if not THE best selling) novels of all time by various sources including The Guardian and The Telegraph. It has been stated to have sold 200 million copies since its first publication, though this figure has been dismissed as "pure fiction" by Oxford University's Peter Thonemann, who claims it is the result of poor reference checking on Wikipedia. World Cat listed 1,529 editions of the work, including 1,305 print editions.
   


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2020, 06:07:51 PM »
I've really enjoyed the small amount of Dickens I've read, but I've not read A Tale of Two Cities.
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Offline CJones

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2020, 06:36:35 PM »
#44a Night Watch, by Terry Pratchett

1 List, 23 Points
Top Vote #3 goflyblind

“That was always the dream, wasn't it? 'I wish I'd known then what I know now'? But when you got older you found out that you NOW wasn't YOU then. You then was a twerp. You then was what you had to be to start out on the rocky road of becoming you now, and one of the rocky patches on that road was being a twerp.”

“But here's some advice, boy. Don't put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. That's why they're called revolutions.”

“And so the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn't that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people.
As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn't measure up.”

“Ninety percent of most magic merely consists of knowing one extra fact.”

“In the words of the philosopher Sceptum, the founder of my profession: am I going to get paid for this?”

For a policeman, there can be few things worse than a serial killer at loose in your city. Except, perhaps, a serial killer who targets coppers, and a city on the brink of bloody revolution. The people have found their voice at last, the flags and barricades are rising...And the question for a policeman, an officer of the law, a defender of the peace, is:  Are you with them, or are you against them?

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Finally, a book I've actually read. Night Watch is the twenty-ninth novel in the comic fantasy Discworld series, written by Terry Pratchett, and the sixth to focus on the character of Sam Vimes and the City Watch of Ankh-Morpork. Pratchett called the humor in the book "the humour that comes out of bad situations", comparing it to the humour of M*A*S*H. The contents of the book, such as the secret police and the torture chamber, meant that an abundance of gags would seem wrong. Reminds me of Small Gods in that regard.

On the suggestion of the book having "darker" themes, Pratchett responded:

    "A dark book, a truly dark book, is one where there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Where things start off going bad and carry on getting badder before they get worse and then it's all over. I am kind of puzzled by the suggestion that it is dark. Things end up, shall we say, at least no worse than they were when they started... and that seems far from dark to me. The fact that it deals with some rather grim things is, I think, a different matter."

Fun Fact: Paul Kidby illustrated the cover of the British edition, with Night Watch being the first main-sequence Discworld novel not to have a cover by Josh Kirby. The book's cover parodies Rembrandt's The Night Watch.

     


Offline dbsommer

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2020, 06:49:36 PM »
Oh hell. I just realized I messed up and chose 'Guards, Guards,' when I meant to go with Night Watch which I found a lot better. Pratchett had a better feel for Vimes in this one and the results of the revolution. Also young Vetinari. Oh well, it just would have been a little higher (It was Number 6 for me).


Offline CJones

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2020, 08:07:36 PM »
#44b Time and Again, by Jack Finney

1 List, 23 Points
Top Vote #3 Cole Stratton

“So all in all there wasn't anything really wrong with my life. Except that, like most everyone else's I knew about, it had a big gaping hole in it, an enormous emptiness, and I didn't know how to fill it or even know what belonged there.”

“It may be that the strongest instinct of the human race, stronger than sex or hunger, is curiosity: the absolute need to know. It can and often does motivate a lifetime, it kills more than cats, and the prospect of satisfying it can be the most exciting of emotions.”

“Have you ever given someone a book you enjoyed enormously, with a feeling of envy because they were about to read it for the first time, an experience you could never have again?” <-- I both love and hate this feeling.

Science fiction, mystery, a passionate love story, and a detailed history of Old New York blend together in Jack Finney's spellbinding story of a young man enlisted in a secret government experiment.

Transported from the mid-twentieth century to New York City in the year 1882, Si Morley walks the fashionable "Ladies' Mile" of Broadway, is enchanted by the jingling sleigh bells in Central Park, and solves a 20th-century mystery by discovering its 19th-century roots. Falling in love with a beautiful young woman, he ultimately finds himself forced to choose between his lives in the present and the past.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Two time travel novels in a row! This one I haven't read though. Time and Again is an "Illustrated Novel", and while the illustrations are real, not all are really from 1882, the year the bulk of the story takes place in. Wikipedia has surprisingly little to say about this book. There was a sequel, From Time to Time, published in 1995, the same year Finney died. And while that book suggests a third was intended, no such book was ever written.

Fun Fact: In the afterword of 11/22/63, Stephen King states that Time and Again is "in this writer’s humble opinion, the great time-travel story." He had originally intended to dedicate his book to Jack Finney.   


Offline goflyblind

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2020, 10:21:18 PM »
#44a Night Watch, by Terry Pratchett

Truth, Justice, Freedom, Reasonably Priced Love, and a Hard-Boiled Egg!

i had trouble limiting myself to two discworld novels for this list.
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Online George-2.0

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2020, 10:24:49 PM »
Only read a handful of Dickens works (not including Two Cities), but there are a lot of superb movie adaptations I've enjoyed (especially the films from David Lean)

I like what I've read of Finney, though he didn't make my top 25. I remember buying The Third Level based on Stephen King's recommendation in Danse Macabre. Surprised that Finney stories never showed up on the original Twilight Zone (nostalgia and time travel... seems a perfect fit for them)

I've not read Pratchett, but absolutely loved the Good Omens miniseries shown on Amazon, which he wrote with Neil Gaiman.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 10:28:26 PM by George-2.0 »


Offline dbsommer

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2020, 08:33:09 AM »

Truth, Justice, Freedom, Reasonably Priced Love, and a Hard-Boiled Egg!

i had trouble limiting myself to two discworld novels for this list.

I kept it to one of each type for a series I liked. So one Pratchett. One John Carter. One Vampire Hunter D since they are part of a series as opposed to one shot novels., though as I said I meant to use my favorite Pratchett one and am annoyed I didn't. NW should now be a little higher because it really was my favorite.


Online George-2.0

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2020, 08:52:35 AM »
I read a lot of series mysteries, detective types, but aside from 1, I left those off because I struggled to remember which individual books I liked best... "Let's see, do I like the one where Harry Bosch solves a murder or the one where Harry Bosch solves a murder?'   ;)


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #25 on: September 30, 2020, 10:03:43 AM »
Oh, snap. I forgot detective fiction. I immediately regret a bunch of omissions on my list.


Offline linszoid

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2020, 01:31:30 PM »
I think I may actually go out and buy a Discworld novel. I've never read any of them.


Offline CJones

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2020, 05:39:20 PM »
I think I may actually go out and buy a Discworld novel. I've never read any of them.

Judging by what's on your list, they should be right up your alley. Don't start with Night Watch though. It involves too many previously established characters you won't know. Guards! Guards! is a good choice, and it's the first in the "City Watch" line of books. My first Discworld book was Mort, and that's also a good choice (and it's a prerequisite to one of the best books, which appears later in the list).

Oh, snap. I forgot detective fiction. I immediately regret a bunch of omissions on my list.

I don't think anyone had a single Agatha Christie novel, which surprised me greatly. She's only the best selling mystery novelist of all time. We did get some Arthur Conan Doyle, speaking of which...


Offline dbsommer

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #28 on: September 30, 2020, 05:53:55 PM »

Judging by what's on your list, they should be right up your alley. Don't start with Night Watch though. It involves too many previously established characters you won't know. Guards! Guards! is a good choice, and it's the first in the "City Watch" line of books. My first Discworld book was Mort, and that's also a good choice (and it's a prerequisite to one of the best books, which appears later in the list).


Loathe though i am to say it, it did take Pratchett a bit of time to find his groove. My friend loaned me his and I ended up reading things like Small Gods and Hogfather first. When I went back to the earlier ones I was annoyed they weren't as solid, but understood why. Also he needs to avoid the young adult stuff he did later in life. I couldn't make it through more than one of them.



Offline CJones

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Re: List o' Crap #127 Top 50 Novels Countdown!
« Reply #29 on: September 30, 2020, 06:17:46 PM »
#44c The Sign of the Four, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

1 List, 23 Points
Top Vote #3 Stethacantus

“My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession, or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world.”

“The man might have died in a fit; but then the jewels are missing," mused the Inspector, "Ha! I have a theory. These flashes come upon me at times... What do you think of this, Holmes? Sholto was, on his own confession, with his brother last night. The brother died in a fit, on which Sholto walked off the treasure! How's that?"
"On which the dead man very considerately got up and locked the door on the inside," said Holmes.”

“You have done all the work in this business. I get a wife out of it, Jones gets the credit, pray what remains for you?"
"For me," said Sherlock Holmes, "there still remains the cocaine bottle.”

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” (This Bird of Prey can fire while cloaked  8))

Yellow fog is swirling through the streets of London, and Sherlock Holmes himself is sitting in a cocaine-induced haze until the arrival of a distressed and beautiful young lady forces the great detective into action. Each year following the strange disappearance of her father, Miss Morstan has received a present of a rare and lustrous pearl. Now, on the day she is summoned to meet her anonymous benefactor, she consults Holmes and Watson.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The Sign of the Four was originally commissioned by Joseph M. Stoddart, managing editor of the monthly American magazine Lippincott's. He wanted to make a British version of the magazine, and Doyle story was to be the main attraction of the February 1890 issue. It sold for a shilling, or 25 cents in the US. Surviving copys are now worth several thousand dollars.

Sign of the Four is the second full length Sherlock Holmes story, and the first to include Watson's future wife, Mary Morstan.

I've never been much of a fan of Sherlock Holmes to be honest. Or Agatha Christie. It always seems so absurdly contrived. They'll come to these seemingly amazing deductions, but when you actually think about it, you could just as easily come to completely different conclusions using different but equally valid means. But those means don't suit the conclusions needed for the plot to happen.

I've heard complaints that this book is extremely racist. I guess that just goes with the time and setting, unfortunately :-\

Fun Fact: While the original title was "The Sign of the Four" (five words), the first republications, including the first novelization, re-titled it "The Sign of Four" (four words), even though the text of the novel itself says "the sign of the four".