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PhiNotPi's avatar

What are some good books?

Asked by PhiNotPi (12259 points ) January 1st, 2012

This question may seem very straightforward, but the key to this question is what I mean by “good.” I am not looking for a sad, emotional novel. I am also not looking for a happy, feel-good novel. By “good book,” I mean a book that enlightens the reader, and brings a new understanding of the world and how it works. If there is a book that you think that it is important for everyone to read, then submit it as an answer to this question. If there is a book that has had a profound impact on how you view the world, then submit it as an answer. This question is looking for the books that are the best of the best. The book can be either fiction or non-fiction.

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18 Answers

stardust's avatar

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand is quite the read.

Charles's avatar

What’s a book?
.....

Many holocaust survivor memoirs will satisfy your request.

Ela's avatar

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

boffin's avatar

Wind in the Willows ~ Kenneth Grahame

Wish You Well ~ David Baldacci

babybadger's avatar

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
The Host by Stephenie Meyer

tranquilsea's avatar

Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Simply the best book I’ve ever read.

marinelife's avatar

A short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

gailcalled's avatar

“Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Jared Diamond Info This won the 1998 non-fiction Pulitzer.

Gödel, Escher, Bach” by Douglas Hofstadter Infoödel,_Escher,_Bach This won the 1980 non-fiction Pulitzer.

Earthgirl's avatar

I read Flight of the Eagle by J.Krishnamurti but this may be a better compilation of his philosophy.
http://www.amazon.com/Krishnamurti-Reader-J/dp/1590309383/ref=pd_sim_b_24

I feel he is a person who had true wisdom. His book helped me at a time when I sorely needed it. One of the thoughts that stays with me is the idea that by judging yourself and feeling you should be other than you are, you do violence to yourself. This is not a simple idea of self love and self acceptance. It is a whole way of opening yourself up to the world, a way of approaching life without preconceived ideas clouding your vision. It teaches seeing things as they are. I also like that he keeps saying, don’t believe it just because I say it is so. Think for yourself, and see for yourself.

augustlan's avatar

To Kill a Mockingbird had a big impact on me.

Also, I have yet to read it, but many people have recommended Siddhartha to me.

tranquilsea's avatar

@augustlan I read Siddhartha and it kind of made me mad. Read it and let me know what you think :-)

Symbeline's avatar

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh is probably my favourite book ever. It made me think a lot, it’s hilarious at times, and downright scary at others. It’s a story about some heroin addicts, (not all of them, but the story does center around this) and they take turns narrating the events in their life, some passed memories and everything, and everything eventually leads to when they stumble on a scam that could make their lives better, at least for a bit.
It’s pretty messed up, but it’s a very intelligent book that looks at a lot shit society doesn’t want to look at. The author is also pretty much telling the story of his own life as a youth, so it’s not all embellished or made up. Or at least not too much, I’d guess. It takes place in the late eighties Scotland, (mostly) and the book uses Scottish dialect and slang, but it’s really easy to understand, whether you can pronounce it or not lol.

jerv's avatar

Most of Neal Stephenson’s works; Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, The Baroque Cycle, Snow Crash, Anathem… all good, and all have some elements that are quite profound. All gave me new insight into many things about society, and a few things about science and history as well.

babybadger's avatar

@augustlan Ditto To Kill A Mockingbird

AnonymousWoman's avatar

I recommend How to Click with People: The Secret to Better Relationships in Business and in Life by Dr. Rick Kirschner. This is a very valuable book that may help you understand people you might have thought you would never be able to understand. Best of all, it’s up-to-date as it was published in July 2011.

Earthgirl's avatar

I would like to add a few books.
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley-dystopian view of the future, and Big Brother
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World
The Giver by Lois Lowry-another dystopian novel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Giver
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood-yet another dystopian novel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Handmaid%27s_Tale

All of these are cautionary tales that should be well-heeded.

jamin101's avatar

‘Sideways’ by Patrick Oniell
‘Hello Darkness’ by Sam Debrito
‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald
‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac

All VERY good reads. In my opinion anyway…... Highly recommend ‘Sideways’.

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