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A few books which everyone should have read.. (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
1984, as everyone said, should be essential reading. The same goes with Animal Farm.

I've read both. They are pretty good. It should be a must read, because half the peope when I'm talking, don't know what I'm talking about. I'm always in my book world.

One of my favorites now, is Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen. Tragic, but gets better. It's I'd say a historic fiction, but I think it's really pretty good. Sad, in a way, but good. I finished it last night.

Now I'm reading The Rifle, also by Gary Paulsen. I really like his works, I've decided.


Senior Member
I would say Infinite Jest and Don Quixote are two of the most rewarding books that I have ever read. Infinite Jest requires a bit of work, but the payoff is incredible.


Senior Member
I havn't read any but you should have mentioned The Lord of The Rings, it is just an epic story and has to be read. I have been meannig to read Dorian Grey after seeing the film.


Senior Member
I would raise Atlas Shrugged as a possibility for such a list. It's scope and influence are immense..

In the vein of 1984/brave new world, the dystopian novel We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is quite a masterpiece in its own right.


Senior Member
If we're talking dystopian novels here Fahrenheit 451 has to be included. It is about burning books after all... We was a good book, 1984 and Brave New World were both based on it. And plus it was by a Russian author... if any nationality knows about failed utopian orders well...

Another good book is Demons by Dostoevsky. The character Shigagalov (I think I spelled it right) pretty much describes his system for the new socialist order as subjugating 90 percent of the population so the other ten percent of able society can be truly free... sound eerily familiar? And written before the socialist revolution even took place. Genius.
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Terry D

Retired Supervisor
I find two aspects of this thread very interesting; the first is the title, the second, how few of the books mentioned I have read.

Why should everyone have read these books? What 'essential' information, or skills will I get from them? As a writer I can understand the benefits of reading a wide range of authors, styles, and themes, but only as fodder for my own style, and creativity. Other books, many of which would be far removed from these lists, can provide the same grist for my mental mill. Tell me you like a book, but please . . . essential? There is no essential reading (beyond basic composition instruction).

Before you decide that I'm a crotch scratching barbarian; I've read Hemmingway, Orwell, Steinbeck, Vonnegut and others mentioned above -- I even enjoyed a few. For the most part, though, I found them ponderous and sedative. I'll never tell someone what they should read. All I ever do as a teacher, is tell people what I've enjoyed, what has influenced me; names like Poe, Wells, Stevenson, Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Bradbury, Cormac McCarthy, Dan Simmons, Arthur C. Clarke, and even Stephen King.

Well, I must be going now, I see the villagers are gathering their pitchforks and lighting the torches . . . oh! . . . that reminds me, Mary Shelly too!


Senior Member
Another dystopian novel is "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess. I think anyone old enough to handle the graphic parts should read it, for being a citizen, and also for how one treats others.


Senior Member
Would just like to say much thanks for all for the recommendations. I have to spend an unholy amount of time in traffic getting to and from the place that pays my rent and have realised the best way to pass the time- and quell my road rage- is with audio books. I don't know if it's considered cheating, but I don't care anymore. What better way to use time which would otherwise be wasted and to make a dent in my ever-growing 'must read' list? Anyway, quite a few suggestions here will soon make an appearance in my car's CD player, so thank you.

Of all the great authors and titles here, including the early reading recommendations, I'm surprised Roald Dahl hasn't made an appearance (unless I've missed it). I grew up reading his children's books, which I still delight in, and his adult short fiction made me want to become a writer. Which I will be... one day... when I grow up.


Senior Member
[-( I thought this was going to be a "basic repertoire" thing, made up of the literature one should have read in order to understand certain concepts in their most classic form.
My list:
Anna Karenina and/or War and Peace
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Things Fall Apart
and/or Animal Farm
To Kill a Mockingbird
Fahrenheit 451
Of Mice and Men

... and some Shakespeare.

Oh, wait! I'm not finished!
The Iliad and the Odyssey
Madame Bovary
Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea
Moby Dick
The Great Gatsby
Great Expectations
Civil Disobedience
Common Sense
The Three Musketeers
The Count of Monte Cristo

... and at least some of the Bible, in one form or another... and some of those ole Greek philosophers...

...oh, and The Catcher in the Rye.
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Kel Sicarius

Senior Member
A book I would suggest is Shadowmagic. It's not your normal fantasy - it's a short book with an incredibly fast moving plot. But, it's an interesting read with a developed world and a good group of protaganists who you get to know and relate to quite well.