Friday Question of the Day

In honor of the National Book Festival this weekend I thought I’d ask a totally random FQOTD similar to when I asked what was your first concert. So anyway I’m a fairly voracious reader and I’m always looking for good recommendations. So the FQOTD is what is your all time favorite book (fiction or non fiction limit 3)? Also what’s the last great book you’ve read?

My all time favorite book is nearly impossible to pick but since I asked the question I’ll go with Cannery Row by Steinbeck, although I also was blown away by You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe. Currently I am reading a phenomenal book called The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. If you’re looking for a well written, smart page turner I highly recommend it.

Your turn.

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  • the incredible lightness of being. all time favorite. knuffle bunny is my favorite of the week.

  • The Danzig Trilogy by Gunter Grass (The Tin Drum, Dog Years, and Cat and Mouse), the first Dune book by Frank Herbert, and The SOund and the Fury by William Faulkner

  • not all time favorites, but fantastic books nonetheless. they’re all non-fiction and all have there is a similar thread of sustainability

    * cradle to cradle – must read! things are designed with an end-of-life and don’t need to be
    * omnivore’s dilemma & in defense of food – both by michael pollan. will make you question what you eat and the farm bill
    * guns, germs, and steel – how countries’ wealth (or not) came to be based on geography, availability of resources, native vegetation, etc. very interesting, though a bit on the academic side. follow-up with collapse – same author, more academic, and how societies collapsed because they squandered their resources, but didn’t know it. sounds like the world today.
    * confessions of an economic hitman – ok, so not about sustainability and his story does sound like a tall tale, but it does make you wonder how much of the govt actions are orchestrated. author will be at the green festival in november
    * three cups of tea – dirt poor dude by choice so he can build schools in afghanistan. amazing.
    * urban homestead: guide to self-sufficient living in the city – title says it all. i really want to grow a garden, compost, get a rain barrel, and all that good stuff. this is a good intro on all that and more. too bad i’m sort of lazy.

    these books should keep you busy!

  • The Brief & Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz still resonates with me, months later.

    The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, requires re-reading, every year.

    Three way tie for me between Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston), Sula (Toni Morrison) and Tender is the Night (F. Scott Fitzgerald) in the favorite of all time category.

  • One of the best books ever written is “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole. I have many favorites, but this work seems to keep coming back to me again and again. I’ve bought several copies of it because I keep giving it away.

  • “All the Kings Men” – Robert Penn Warren

  • stoner, by john williams

    the easter parade, by richard yates

  • Go Dog Go – Dr. Seuss Early Reader Series… I still read it and I’m nearing my 30s
    Memoirs of a Geisha
    The Omnivore’s Dilemma

    Those are recent history favorites… that was a hard QOD! There are about 10 books I would have put there.

    As a child I read the Little House on the Prairie series 15 times or so and I loved the Chronicles of Narnia (way before the movies).

  • Anything by Cormac McCarthy, Richard Price or George Pelececanos.

  • Fiction – To Kill a Mockingbird

    Non-fiction – Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America.

  • “In Cold Blood” “Catcher in the Rye” & “To Kill a Mockingbird”

  • Man, I couldn’t for the life of me choose three favorite books, but here are some authors I’d recommend: Huraki Murakami, Roberto Bolano, and Barbara Holland (Endangered Pleasures is a great, quick read).

  • Adam’s Curse by Bryan Sykes- a book about the genetic failings of man and the possible extinction of the male sex in the future. The beginning is a bit slower with a lot of basic genetic information but the rest is really interesting.

    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss- SciFi/Fantasy- If you liked Lord of the Rings, Eragon, Harry Potter, etc you will probably enjoy this as well.

    Twilight by Stephanie Meyer- I know I will be masacred for this, but whatever, I loved this sappy little vampire romance. 🙂

    The Blue Wolf:
    The Epic Tale of the Life of Genghis Khan and the Empire of the Steppes by Frederic Dion – A historical fiction about Genghis Khan (the first one).

  • J.G.Ballard: The Unlimited Dream Company
    Philip K. Dick: Valis
    Paul Bowles: The Sheltering Sky

    that is all.

  • I agree with ET. I always bring To Kill A Mockingbird with me when I travel. I’ve read it a thousand times and never get tired of it.

  • The Alienist by Caleb Carr
    Anything by Ian Rankin – if you like George Pelecanos, personally Ian Rankin is even better.
    Omnivore’s Dilema – already mentioned
    Middlesex – can’t remember author
    She’s Come Undone – Wally Lamb
    The People’s History of the Supreme Court – its about the people behind the landmark cases, slow read, but interesting
    The World Without Us – about what would happen to our earth and all the “stuff” in it if we as a race. were suddenly to vanish – this is the last book that I read. I loved it!!!

  • My all time favorite books are the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy by Philip Pullman. Kind of an agnostic’s rendering of Narnia, set in a parallel Oxford (I read the books when I was studying there so I think that’s part of the reason I love them so much). But I also love Catch-22 and anything by P.G. Wodehouse (all of his plots are essentially the same–usually involving some kind of mistaken identity. Think Three’s Company but set in England at the turn of the 20th century and usually involving a jewel heist of some kind).

  • James Joyce’s “Ulysses”

  • “Powers of Ten”

  • Middlesex–Jeffrey Eugenides

    Midnight in the Gaerden of Good and Evil–John Berendt

    Empire Falls–Richard Russo

    Bangkok 8–John Burdett

  • Oh, and Tales of the City–Armisted Maupin

  • After reading His Dark Materials I was amazed that this series did not take what seemed nearly as much opposition from the church as Harry Potter did. While I understand that Harry Potter was a much more popular series, His Dark Materials Trilogy has very strong points about how organized religious establishments are corrupt and evil while Harry Potter is just a bunch of kids who go to school and fight murderous wizards…crazy!

  • The World According to Garp


    The Corrections

  • Best ever — Catch 22

    Best most recently read — The Road

  • Prince of Tides – Pat Conroy
    She’s Come Undone – Wally Lamb
    I am Charlotte Simmons – Tom Wolfe
    Go Ask Alice – Anonymous
    Into Thin Air – Jon Krakaur

    Sorry – I have five favorite books and I couldn’t choose three! Good topic POP! xox.

  • Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
    In Search of Captain Zero – Adam Weisbecker
    Great Expectations – Dickens
    Captain Blood – Raphael Sabatini
    Dharma Bums – Jack Kerouac
    The Sun Also Rises – Hemingway
    The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide – Douglas Adams

  • …and so help me god, If any of you list Faulkner I will never speak to you again.

  • Atonement by Ian McEwan is excellent (and better than the movie) – one of my favorite books ever.

    also Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner and I’ll second the vote for Middlesex!

  • “A Clockwork Orange” Anthony Burgess

    Markus- I still think about “The Road” after a year+ of reading it

  • Cormack McCarthey. Any of them.

  • Fiction – 1984
    Non-Fiction – 1984

  • Fiction – The Bible

  • Recent favorites:

    MR. Sebastian and the Negro Magician
    Three Cups of Tea
    When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa

  • – The Civil War: A Narrative, trilogy by Shelby Foote (the gettysburg/vicksburg section alone would make this list)

    – Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky (“‘What do you mean… what is… Who is a murderer?” muttered Raskolnikov hardly audibly. ‘You are a murderer,’ the man answered still more articulately and emphatically, with a smile of triumphant hatred, and again he looked straight into Raskolnikov’s pale face and stricken eyes.”)

    – Light in August by Faulkner (“A fellow is more afraid of the trouble he might have than he ever is of the trouble he’s already got. He’ll cling to trouble he’s used to before he’ll risk a change.”)

    Oh, and Go Dog Go is by P.D. Eastman, not Dr. Seuss. But boy, it’s a great book, and my daughter just loves it.

  • ‘The Sheltering Sky’ by Paul Bowles

  • Sorry, flipflopirate.

  • Haha its cool, I’ve just been personally let down by Faulkner again and again as the herald of southern literature. Sound and the Fury, As I lay Dying, Absalom, Absalom! have all been a collosal dissapointment. I just can’t get behind american literary “masterpeices” that fail to capture my interest and require me to reread the book after every chapter to follow the plot, if it indeed exists. I don’t mind the stream of conciousness; its how I write and its a style I dig in principle… but somethin about his prose just drives up a wall.

    That being said, I’m very impressed by our collective lexicon of literary works. So far we’ve listed a plethora of books I have enjoyed and many more which I look forward to reading. Is anyone interested in starting up a PoP book club/book exchange? I’d be happy to start it off, perhaps: The Snake Stone – Jason Goodwin

  • My all time favorite book is A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.

    My three current/recurring favorites are:

    – The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
    – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron-Foer
    – The Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

    I can read these books over and over again.

  • to kill a mockingbird kavaleer and clay all quiet on the western front brothers karamotov currently reading america america by ethan canin

  • flipfloppirate, it says that book is a follow up to The Janissary Tree, do you think you have to read The Janissary Tree first to enjoy the second? Or is it more like say a Bond Movie where its just the same character and the stories can be read/watched out of sequence?

  • I think my favorite book of all-time is a book of essays — Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace. He committed suicide two weeks ago and I’m still sad about it.

  • forgot corma macarthy all and any book fiction or non where not one word is superfluous it’s like you could whistle through it lol! or somthing like that .clean, i guess is what i mean

  • My favorite book of all time is “Gone With the Wind.” Most recently I have read all the books by Philippa Gregory about the wives of Henry VIII and have enjoyed them all a lot.

  • Honestly Kalia, I wasn’t aware that there was a prequel. It came to me highly recommended and so far I’ve really enjoyed the vibrant and descriptive manner in which the author brings the street scenes of Old Istanbul to life. In fact, if you have any interest in historical fiction this is a great read from a purely academic standpoint as the author is a historian of byzantine culture. I’ve included the first paragraph below to wet your palette and included a the link that finally convinced me to break the spine of this interesting read.

    Paragraph 1:
    The voice was low and rough and it came from behind as dusk fell.

    “Hey, George.”

    It was the hour of the evening prayer, when you could no longer distinguish between a black thread and a white one, in ordinary light. George pulled the paring knife from his belt and sliced it through the air as he turned. All over Istanbul, muezzins in their minarets threw back their heads and began to chant.

    It was a good time to kick a man to death in the street.

  • laurens post brought to mind, kurt vonnegut and jerzy kosinski and while im focused on dead authors…does a cartoonist qualify? charles shultz fun topic! i could do this all morning. how about a book exchange some day? i have some i would love to pass on to make room for, yeah more BOOKS! thanks

  • Yarks! How could I forget:

    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson.

    Yeah, I know, the host said only 3. Sorry.

  • History of the World in Ten and Half Chapters by Julian Barnes were I to pick one.

  • flipflopirate, that does sound good! I would read it. I’ve never been in a book club before but if you started one I would be interested.

    anon-I also read all of phillipa greggory’s books about Henry VIII’s wives and found the whole history of them fascinating! I heard she will be at the Mall tomorrow for the book festival.

  • I’m going to make myself sound insufferable because my all-time favorite book is DFW’s Infinite Jest. Close behind is a bit of chick lit with Kingsolver’s Animal Dreams. Rounding out the top three with Vonnegut’s Sirens of Titan. And because I don’t know where else to stick it, I’ll flagrantly break rules and add a 4th – Sharon Kay Penman’s Here Be Dragons from the massive genre of 13th century Welsh historical novels.

  • A Prayer For Owen Meany – john irving

    A Brief History of Time – stephen hawking

  • I’d be down with a book club, i’ve tried out a few in the city but a lot of them end up being kind of lame. I would be willing to spearhead the initiative if folks wanted to do it.

    All time Favorite is probably Middlesex but I read voraciously and pretty much love all things except for Jonathan Safran Foer

  • Really, heatherf? I was going to say IJ as a joke. God, I’ve tried—Lord, how I’ve tried!—to make it through that. I’d say I’ve gotten about a 1/3 way through about eight times. Insufferable. I know only one person who has accomplished the feat. Also, hilariously enough, I have Here be Dragons on my shelf. It was actually pretty entertaining.

    Anyways, my favorite book ever is Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita. I re-read it every year religiously.

  • Look Homeward, Angel

  • I am late to the game today but Petworthian beat me to it:
    One of the best books ever written is the hilarious epic “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole. The first and only book ever that when I finished the last page I turned to page 1 and started it over.

  • I would also be interested in a book club. Maybe whoever is willing to spearhead it could if they are okay with it list their email here and then anyone who is interested could email them? I’m thinking we could meet up at the Red Derby or somewhere.

  • @springroadintoaction – I genuinely love the book. It’s a bit embarassing because I’ve read it 8-9 times, and bits and pieces outside of that. But it’s DEFINITELY a book you’ll either love or loathe. I’ve never met anyone with a “meh…” reaction to it.

  • heatherf, I would say that I *both* love and hate IJ (been trying to read it for 2 years, currently halfway through…)

  • I would be down for a book club, too, God Bless you Mr. Rosewater or Galapagos by Vonnegut, Picture of Dorian Gray, The Little Prince…. too many to list.

  • I’m totally with you, Anonymous and Kalia! I absolutely LOVE Philippa Gregory, and cannot wait to hear her at the Book Festival.

  • Red Derby Book Club works for me, I’ve never been a part of a book club but so long as the books are reasonably off the Oprah Book Club beaten-path I’m willing to give it a whirl.

  • The Apocalypse Watch by Robert Ludlum

    The Bancroft Strategy by Robert Ludlum

    The Janson Directive by Robert Ludlum

    The Ambler Warning by Rober Ludlum

  • The Known World by Edward P. Jones, a Pulitzer winner about black slave owners in Virginia in the 1800’s. Mind blowing and beautifully written, and the author is from Alexandria I believe.

  • The Count of Monte Cristo

  • I’m partial to a book club where there is food!

  • Flipflopirate – we meet again:) Support your local public library! We can be assured of space there and many of the books can be ordered in advance.

    Oprah’s book club is not so bad – both The Road and Middlesex which several people here mentioned are on her list.

    I would suggest A Confederacy of Dunces for the first read if not all have read it. Monday night for book club at the library?

  • Kalia – I am also a fan of food. It is allowed in the library for groups like a book club.

  • -Most books by John Irving (Cider House Rules & Until I Find You are real favorites)
    -I am thoroughly enjoying the Walking Dead & Fables graphic novel series
    -We were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
    -The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

    I also really enjoy reading Philippa Gregory novels. I liked Philip Pullman’s trilogy. There was quite a bit of crazy coming from the Catholic Church about this series — Mostly, when the movie came out. And of course, I love Harry Potter!

  • Chronicles, Volume I
    Ahab’s Wife
    Undaunted Courage

  • @CHLibrarian – I’m with Kalia, I like to discuss my literature over hot food and cold beer. However, I have been meaning to get my petworth library card for some time now; so as long as its kosher with the other interested parties I’m fine with meeting at the library initially. Assuming this thing makes it off the ground we can go from there on meeting places, books, and lobbying our friendly neighborhood wanderin’ blogger to stop in for a beer and a book. You can expect my email shortly. Hear ye, hear ye we’ve got us a good-ol-fashioned book readin’ a-foot, meet your friendly neighborhood neato bandito and expand your burgeoning noggin in the process. Please contact our fearless leader for details: [email protected]

  • Book Club!

    There will be a meeting at the Petworth Neighborhood Library Monday night, September 29th, at 7:00 pm to discuss the formation of a book club. Whether the group decides to hold it at the library or the Red Derby in the future is up for discussion as are dates and times. The meeting is for all interested parties to get together and work it out.

  • Ack! i hated Faulkner too, but then it was ‘taught’ to me.
    I’m totally keen on a book club. PWL is ideal but I’m down for wherever. word.

  • I don’t know any of y’all, but I went ahead and reserved the library’s meeting room for you for 7-8:45 on the night of the 29th.

    Tony Ross @ Petworth Neighborhood Library

  • A Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.

  • The Great Gatsby
    The Sun Also Rises
    All the King’s Men (unabridged, please — Willie Talos, not “Stark”)
    A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
    David Copperfield

    Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72
    No Ordinary Time
    The Origins of Totalitarianism

  • @Tony – I think you know me…

    Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis

  • The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
    Grandmother & the Priests, Taylor Caldwell
    The Nine Tailors, Dorthy Sayers
    The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

    Some works are just timeless.

  • I’m wondering if the first commenter (anonymous) meant the Unbearable Lightness of Being. I can’t find a particular book under the “Incredible” title.

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