General Question

jfos's avatar

Can you recommend a book that I should read, based on these books that I have read and enjoyed?

Asked by jfos (7380points) December 8th, 2009
52 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

I like these books:
-Candide by Voltaire
-Crime & Punishment by Dostoevsky, Fyodor
-1984 by George Orwell
-The Antichrist by Neitzsche, Friedrich
-The Possessed/The Devils by Dostoevsky, Fyodor
-The Stranger by Camus, Albert
-The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger, J.D.
and others…

I would prefer that it is in English; however, I am currently learning French so I wouldn’t object if it was written in French, if it is worth it.

Observing members: 0
Composing members: 0


ragingloli's avatar

Faust I and II by Goethe
Bahnwärter Thiel by Gerhart Hauptmann
Kabale und Liebe by Friedrich Schiller

I’m sure you can find english translations of those.

dpworkin's avatar

Try some Tolstoy. (Not a Constance Burnett translation.)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Maggus by John Fowles

stratman37's avatar

plug those books in Amazon, and they’ll do the rest…

janbb's avatar


jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Try these, if you haven’t already:

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

jenandcolin's avatar

Kafka, and Geek Love (Katherine Dunn).
Also, try this:

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

You should also try
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

These don’t exactly relate to the books you posted, but I have enjoyed these, and I imagine almost anyone would:

The Stand by Stephen King
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey

Darwin's avatar

Camus originally wrote in French – perhaps some of his books in the original?

You might also consider Miracle of the Rose by Jean Genet, as well as other works by Dostoevksy such as The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov, The Gambler, The Devils, Poor Folk, Notes from the Underground, or The Adolescent.

Other novels on a par with the ones you have already read include:

Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Celine

The Black Sheep by Honore De Balzac

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

Nostromo by Joseph Conrad

A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera

Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee

A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Tin Drum by Günter Grass

Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

charliebrown's avatar

you should read Fathers and Sons by Turgenev. it’s a fantastic book about point of views and also it will give you a good idea about Russian culture/history.
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann. it also may interest you by the ideas of aesthetics and beauty.
Chronicles of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. c’mon. it’s Marquez. who wouldn’t love him?
Samarkand by Amin Maalouf, it’s oriental and mysterious and historic. so fun to read.

aprilsimnel's avatar

A Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
An Island at the End of the World by Umberto Eco
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Snarp's avatar

You actually enjoyed those books? Who enjoys Nietzshe?

Jeruba's avatar

My tastes are very similar to yours. That’s what my reading list was like in my teens and twenties. Books such as these form an excellent foundation for a lifetime of reading and help shape the core of your inner life.

Do the rest of Dostoevsky. Read Camus’ The Plague. Read Also Sprach Zarathustra.

I have followed many literary paths since then. Right now I am working my way through Haruki Marukami.

I enjoyed Nietzsche too. Enjoyment comes in many flavors. Some people enjoy mocking others who read what they can’t grasp.

Darwin's avatar

I went on a major Dostoevsky jag when I was in college – I read everything I could find by him, including his not-so-short short stories. I suggest that you read more by authors you know you like, but also sometimes pick up a book with an interesting title and try it. If you like it you can find more by that author. If you don’t you can simply move on.

You might also consider subscribing to the New Yorker magazine. It contains a number of excellent articles each week plus one short story of the inimitable New Yorker type.

Snarp's avatar

and some people have no sense of humor and try to make things personal

Jeruba's avatar

@Darwin, I did too. Actually it started when I was 14 with Crime and Punishment and continued through college. After Notes form the Underground I branched out into a series of Doppelgänger stories also, all the way through Nabokov’s Despair.

I would definitely recommend all of Nabokov as well, @jfos. You don’t have to start with Lolita. That’s just the most common association with the author. I would suggest the shorter novels to start: Despair; Invitation to a Beheading: King, Queen, Knave. When you’re ready for a long one, read Ada.

jaytkay's avatar

Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz

Dr_C's avatar

Night by Ellie Wessel
A day in the life of ivan denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

these are all short and a great read… but also a great starting point based on your previous reads.

Foolaholic's avatar


I agree, either Slaughterhouse 9 or Cat’s Cradle. Also, if you enjoyed Wells, I would suggest Animal Farm.

zephyr826's avatar

@Dr_C I love Brothers K, but you thought it was short?
Also, Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

dpworkin's avatar

Oooh Ralph Ellison! Good one!

holden's avatar

@zephyr826 @pdworkin absolutely second The Invisible Man, especially since you go for that existentialist stuff.
Also TBK (but that’s only short if you consider an 800 page novel short), and Kafka. War and Peace sounds like it’d be up your alley; I’m reading it right now. Also, All the King’s Men is a good political novel.

holden's avatar

Hey fellow Dostoevsky cultists, what is your opinion on The Idiot? Is it worth reading? What is it about?

Jeruba's avatar

I read it with considerable appetite. I did and do think it was worth reading. But, I’m sorry to say, it’s not one that still sticks after more than four decades.

Dr_C's avatar

@zephyr826 any book i can get through in a couple of days is short in my book (no pun intended).

@holden yes.. read the idiot!

Iclamae's avatar

Can I put a vote in for /Invisible Man/ and /Brave New World/

I also LOVE Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s stuff but didn’t think the magical realism fit with your provided list. It’s a very different writing style.

I’m also not entirely sure if this fits with your list but I thought /Atlas Shrugged/ was a good book for building up from. (Don’t know anything about the rest of Rand’s stuff, but I really enjoyed Atlas Shrugged)

Dr_C's avatar

@Iclamae If you’re going for Marquez then you shoud definatelly read Coehlo… (all hiw books are amazing).

Also, if you like Atlas Shrugged you must try The Fountainhead… love that book

dpworkin's avatar

Oy Ayn Rand is for Narcissistic MBAs who want to be Wall Street Gods.

Dr_C's avatar

@pdworkin I am not an MBA and have no interest in Wall Street.. but nice generalization there bud :P

Iclamae's avatar

@pdworkin I don’t know. I’m more the artsy biologist who will live in a cardboard box type..

Iclamae's avatar

@Dr_C ooh, ok. I’ll look them up. Ever read Italo Calvino? I like most of his short stories but will admit i have limited exposure

Dr_C's avatar

@Iclamae haven’t but will. Thanx for the suggestion!

And specifics for coehlo.. read “the alchemist”, “brida”, “eleven minutes” and “the zahir”...
(the last two will stay with you)

Iclamae's avatar

@Dr_C :) Thanks much.

Darwin's avatar

@holden – It is a little difficult to summarize The Idiot in just a few words. Basically, it features Prince Myshkin, the “idiot,” who has epilepsy (as did Dostoevsky himself) and who is returning to Russia after four years away in an asylum in Switzerland. On the train to Saint Petersburg, Myshkin meets and befriends the dark and enamored Rogozhin who tells the prince about his passion for Nastasya Filippovna, a beautiful, pale, suffering woman. The prince feels an irresistible desire to meet her after hearing about her. He does indeed meet her, and the ins and outs of his relationship with her and hers with Rogozhin essentially make up the story.

Basically, Myshkin represents goodness, purity and light as well as the values that Russian society professes to admire, while Rogozhin represents the opposites as well as the reality of Russian society which cannot actually tolerate those like Myshkin..

filmfann's avatar

The Man in The Iron Mask by Dumas
A Tale Of Two Cities
The Green Mile by Steven King
Dante’s Inferno
The Life and Death of Mahatma Gandhi by Fischer.

ratboy's avatar

Hunger by the Norwegian author Knut Hamsun.

Dr_C's avatar

@ratboy I’m so sorry but after i read your response i laughed for like 10 minutes straight until my sides hurt when I realized I misread the author’s name as “Kunt Hamsun”.
I am sooooo immature

Zen_Again's avatar

Jerzy Kosinski.

dpworkin's avatar

Really? A little dark, and a little suspect, no?

janbb's avatar

Why suspect? I read The Painted Bird years ago and found it very powerful.

dpworkin's avatar

Apparently none of that stuff ever actually happened to him. That’s OK in a novel, but in a memoir it’s rather expected that people tell the truth.

janbb's avatar

Was that Jerzy Kosinksi and was it supposed to be a memoir? There was another guy who wrote a Holocaust memoir which was shown to be made up, but was Kozinski’s too?

janbb's avatar

Guess you’re right @pdworkin, much as it pains me to say it. (Google is not always your friend.)

dpworkin's avatar

It is still a beautiful book, but in my eyes diminished because he insisted on lying about it. Kinda sad.

Darwin's avatar

So pretend it’s fiction and read it anyway.

Certainly some reviewers assumed from the get-go that it was fiction:

“Of all the remarkable fiction that emerged from World War II, nothing stands higher than Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird. A magnificent work of art, and a celebration of the individual will. No one who reads it will forget it; no one who reads it will be unmoved by it. The Painted Bird enriches our literature and our lives”—Jonathan Yardley, The Miami Herald.

Time magazine included the novel in its “TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005,” which sounds as if Time didn’t consider it a memoir.

The Polish literary critic and University of Warsaw professor, Paweł Dudziak, noted that the Painted Bird is a great, if controversial piece. He stressed that since the book is surreal – a fictional tale – and does not present, or claim to present – real world events, accusations of anti-Polish sentiment are nothing but a misunderstanding of the book by those who take it too literally.

The book was published and marketed as a fictional work although it was generally assumed that it was based on the author’s experiences during World War II. However, we all know what happens when we assume too much.

The book is beautiful. The author maybe not so much. However, that has been often true of both books and authors.

dpworkin's avatar

Well if it’s good enough for Jonathan Yardley of The Miami Herald, I suppose it oughta be good enough for a schmo like me. I take it all back.

janbb's avatar

@pdworkin What are you now, a schmo?

From my cursory Googling a few moments ago, there seems to be not so much a question of whether The Painted Bird was memoir or novel, but how much of it was derivative or attributable to collaborators (the literary kind.) It still does work very as magic realism even though as Darwin says, Kosinski’s reputation is not what it was.

dpworkin's avatar

I appear to be a schmo, yes.

Darwin's avatar

So not liking Jerzy Kosinski as a person makes you a stupid or obnoxious person? Since when do you have to like everybody? From what I can see you are a real mensch most of the time. Loving the book doesn’t mean you have to love the writer.

To quote what someone else said about another author, whose work is better than he was:

“Spanier said Hemingway’s personality is sometimes characterized as “swaggering, macho, male chauvinistic, alcoholic, adventurer,” which she said can make people view him as one-dimensional. But Spanier said she believes there is a “distinction between a writer’s personality and the art that person creates.”” Source

dpworkin's avatar

I’m not as certain as you that Kosinski wrote his own books. Hemmingway seems to have done so.

Darwin's avatar

I never said I believed he wrote his books in their entirety. Actually, few authors write their books entirely by themselves. That’s what editors, ghost writers, and helpful friends are for. All I am saying is that the book stands on its own merits. How it came to be is not as important as what it is.

Answer this question




to answer.

Mobile | Desktop

Send Feedback