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Your favorite books of all time. . . and a request for advice.

OceanSpray

MyPTSD Pro
As the title says, I want to know what your favorite books of all time are. I’d love to hear about things from all across the genres, from classic to modern. From silly to legendary. Just give it all to me.


The advice. How do I get into the classics? 😭 I’m doing the reading challenge and I’m struggling in a couple of areas. Particularly where I’m trying to read Anna Karenina and Walt Whitman. Both start interesting but then they lose me, I get so bored very quickly and I end up just feeling stupid.
 
trying to read Anna Karenina and Walt Whitman. Both start interesting but then they lose me, I get so bored
Hmmm… I feel like life is too short for boring books. One idea is to find short stories from those authors (but fair warning classic Russian short stories can be pretty long.) You could try modern classics? So many good books have been written since the 1920s, which is around when the classics end. Or International classics? So many good books have been written by people not from Europe or America.
 
I'm convinced at this point that people only get into the classics to make themselves feel more intelligent. Most of them are dry as hell.

That being said I have a soft spot for Shakespeare. You can't really understand his plays in modern times without commentaries but they are hilarious. The dude was a huge troll. And I'm a big Trekkie so I think Shakespeare is a requirement on entry.

Most of my favorites are textbooks, though (Harrison's Clinical Neurology was my shit for a while) so I'm not one to talk.
 
It took me years to realize that most of my favorite writers were writing about PTSD. Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Hemingway, PTSD.
Melville keeps me involved, and Shakespeare is easy to stay in but it does help to be reading a literature textbook at the same time I guess. Maybe i need a refresher.
 
Most of them are dry as hell.
Haven’t ever heard Hardy or Dickens described as dry!

Hardy can take a while to get warmed up, but he deals with some very heavy themes - if you’re into Shakespeare tragedies he’s potentially right up your alley. Tess is a good one to start with because it moves at a bit more of a pace.

At the other end of the spectrum, Dickens was writing newspaper ‘episodes’ for most of his works, so they’re akin to the modern day soap opera. (And often quite funny)

But I agree with the short story collection, and in the English Lit categories, Jeckyll & Hyde goes straight to the top of the list for me. Turn Of The Screw isn’t very long, and has been adapted to movies and tv more times than I can count.

Tolstoy isn’t one that I’ve ever bothered tackling, because I don’t have that kind of attention span. I keep meaning to give Dostoyevski another crack.
 
I'm convinced at this point that people only get into the classics to make themselves feel more intelligent. Most of them are dry as hell.

Funny enough I just had this discussion with a friend. They were like why do you want to like classics so bad? Because this isn’t the first year I’ve had this goal, that’s for sure.

And the best I could come up with is that I don’t feel legitimate as an intelligent author if I don’t have a handful of classics that I love and inspire me. But everytime I crack one open, I feel beyond bored, and frankly stupid because I don’t see what everyone else sees.
 
if I don’t have a handful of classics that I love and inspire me.
My favorite story/"book" of all time is a Star Trek fanfiction called Secret Vulcan Mating Rituals by chase820. Observations by jAnon is another fantastic work. Pat Foley has produced some of the most legit Vulcan cultural objects of the series. Her pieces about Sarek and Amanda are on the same level as Diane Duane's shit.

Tahariel and spicedpiano are two of the best authors of our generation, IMO. Look, the point is, anyone who polices your tastes sucks. Most people would make fun of me for liking fanfiction but there's a wealth of free, professional-level work out there! Just because it's a fanfiction doesn't make it less valuable.

I'm pretty well-known as a decent writer among the people who have read my work (I am primarily a fandom content producer and write a lot of hard sci-fi and historical fiction - as well as writing games in Twine) so f*ck 'em. But if you want some halfway good shit to read so you sound well-versed maybe look into poetry?

I am a huge poetry fan and have a big collection of works to draw on for inspiration and to include tidbits through my own works. I adore Tennyson, Amichai Yehuda, Paul Celan, Sylvia Plath, Wislawa Szymborska, Carl Sandburg, the beats like Allen Ginsberg (with the caveat that he was an enormous pedophile and card carrying member of NAMBLA, but do it goes), Wilde's Reading Gaol, some of Keats, and loads of others I can't be arsed to dig out right now.

Playwrights are another good choice. Big musical and play fan here - RENT, Wicked, Hadestown, 4.48 Psychosis, Blast, etc. There's so much awesome art in this word, you don't have to read Tolstoy just to sound smart, y'know? I refuse. If people genuinely like it that's one thing. But people who look down on you for not liking it are just pretentious assholes.

If you want an entry-level Shakespeare my favorite is King Lear, from The conscience of the king. Kirk meets the man who genocided half the population of Tarsus and asks him "the play's the thing/wherein I'll catch/the conscience of the king."

My fave passage is:
Come, let’s away to prison.
We two alone will sing like birds i' th' cage.
When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down
And ask of thee forgiveness. So we’ll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news, and we’ll talk with them too—
Who loses and who wins, who’s in, who’s out—
And take upon ’s the mystery of things
As if we were God’s spies.
 
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My favorite story/"book" of all time is a Star Trek fanfiction called Secret Vulcan Mating Rituals by chase820. Observations by jAnon is another fantastic work. Pat Foley has produced some of the most legit Vulcan cultural objects of the series. Her pieces about Sarek and Amanda are on the same level as Diane Duane's shit. Tahariel and spicedpiano are two of the best authors of our generation, IMO.

Look, the point is, anyone who polices your tastes sucks. Most people would make fun of me for liking fanfiction but there's a wealth of free, professional-level work out there! Just because it's a fanfiction doesn't make it less valuable.

I'm pretty well-known as a decent writer among the people who have read my work (I am primarily a fandom content producer and write a lot of hard sci-fi and historical fiction - as well as writing games in Twine) so f*ck 'em. But if you want some halfway good shit to read so you sound well-versed maybe look into poetry?

I am a huge poetry fan and have a big collection of works to draw on for inspiration and to include tidbits through my own works. I adore Tennyson, Amichai Yehuda, Paul Celan, Sylvia Plath, Wislawa Szymborska, Carl Sandburg, the beats like Allen Ginsberg (with the caveat that he was an enormous pedophile and card carrying member of NAMBLA, but do it goes), Wilde's Reading Gaol, some of Keats, and loads of others I can't be arsed to dig out right now.

Playwrights are another good choice. Big musical and play fan here - RENT, Wicked, Hadestown, 4.48 Psychosis, Blast, etc. There's so much awesome art in this word, you don't have to read Tolstoy just to sound smart, y'know? I refuse. If people genuinely like it that's one thing.

But people who look down on you for not liking it are just pretentious assholes.

Ya those are good points. I’m attempting Whitman as part of this challenge but it’s frustrating because I actually really like his writing for the first 1-2 pages of most poems and then I’m over it even though there’s ten more pages to go 🤦‍♀️


***edited to add that I will try plays and other poets.
 
Ya those are good points. I’m attempting Whitman as part of this challenge but it’s frustrating because I actually really like his writing for the first 1-2 pages of most poems and then I’m over it even though there’s ten more pages to go 🤦‍♀️


***edited to add that I will try plays and other poets.
James Joyce is hilarious. Ulysses is a slog but his letters to Nora Barnacle make me laugh every time. I also enjoy shit (as does James Joyce) like The Iliad, Metamorphosis, and a lot of ancient Greek literature. If you can't read the actual works, learning about the authors is a good strategy to make you appear well-read.
 
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