What is the best book that you ever read...and why?

United States
January 9, 2007 11:56pm CST
There are so many great books, and I often find out about new ones online. Where do you find out about great books? And what do you consider your favorite book. For real readers, I realize that this is a difficult question because there are so many great books out there. One of my favorites is a book called "The Coast of Chicago" by Stuart Dybeck. It's a collection of short stories about growing up in Chicago and if you've ever lived there, you will have a great time experiencing the place along with the characters. I also like books by Amy Tan, especially "Joy Luck Club" and I love the fact that she names characters in the novel after actual streets in San Francisco (Waverly being one of them). What great books should I read? What do you like?
8 people like this
46 responses
@khalablue (309)
• Canada
11 Jan 07
My favorite book is often the one that I am currently reading, which at this precise time is "The Language of God" by Francis S. Collins. In this book Francis Collins, who was the head of the human genome project discusses his journey from Atheism to belief in God. I learned about this book when Francis Collins made a guest appearance on "The Charlie Rose" show. Basically, I am fascinated by books of many subjects and I have a high degree of respect for fiction authors who can come up with a unique story angle. Some of my favorite authors are Maeve Binchy, Dan Brown and Nelson DeMille. I recently read the DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons. Although the DaVinci Code was made into a movie I much preferred Angels and Demons.
• United States
11 Jan 07
You can find out about some awesome books from "The Charlie Rose Show." It is, hands down, one of the best interview shows on television. I'll have to look for that book by Collins, sounds good. I love Dan Brown and have read every one of his books except "Angels and Demons," so I will have to correct that. His other books are good, too, if a little different. He focuses on the spy agencies in Washington, DC. After I read "The Da Vinci Code," I read a ton of other related books to find out more behind the story. I can't wait for Dan Brown to come out with his next book, which is supposed to be about the Founding Fathers in the US and the Freemasons. He really knows how to pull you into a story. I was so disappointed in "The Da Vinci Code" movie, however, as I loved the book so much and did not feel that it in any way lived up to the book.
• Canada
11 Jan 07
If you like Dan Brown's style and you haven't read anything by Nelson DeMille, then I would strongly recommend the latter author to you. One of my favorites was called "The Charm School" and another excellent one that comes to mind is "The Lion's Game." Nelson is a fantastic story teller and I often find that once I pick up one of his books it is very difficult to put it down. I agree that Charlie Rose is an excellent source of information when it comes to interesting literary works as well as many many other subjects. I have started a discussion group about him specifically, as I am interested in other people's opinions about his very fascinating guests.
• United States
11 Jan 07
Thanks for the DeMille suggestions; I will check them out when I go to the bookstore this weekend. I have of course seen the name many times, but never read anything by him. That's why these online forums like MyLot are so beneficial; people can always point you in a good direction. A short story about Charlie Rose. A friend of mine was living in NYC several years back and met Charlie Rose in a hardware store, buying paint. They got into a conversation and he invited her to a party at his house, but she never went. (She had never heard of him...arghhhh...can you imagine that missed opportunity?)
• United States
10 Jan 07
I am not sure I have a favorite book as I read all of the time. JRR Tolkien has to be among the best. Amy Tan as you mentioned is also very talented at bringing home the humor and heartache of her characters one of my favorites from her is The bonesetters daughter, you might want to check that one out. I am a Stephen King fanatic and have read nearly every word he has written. Anne Rice is on the top of my list also with her vampire chronicials. I was disappointed when she stopped writting them. The Prince of tides comes to mind as a favorite by Pat conroy. I also enjoyed the North and South series by John Jakes. Not to mention Harry potter, can not wait for the next one. My 12 year old read them with me, we had such a good time. Jean M. Auel has a series called earth children starting with Clan of the cave bear, another one of my tops.....Gosh I could go on and on here..clive barker some of daniel steel and lets not forget the classics that we were forced to read in school but now I enjoy.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
I haven't read "The Bonesetter's Daughter" yet; I will surely put that on my list. I have read "Clan of the Cave Bear," but that was long ago. Pat Conroy is a great writer; one time I met his editor, and she talked about how when she first got the manuscript for "Prince of Tides," she knew it was going to be a great book, although at that time it was kind of in a jumble. Sounds like you read a diversity of authors, which is probably the best way to read because then you get a more interesting picture of the world of books and the world in general.
• United States
11 Jan 07
Yes I do, I read everything. What I do not like is trash romance novels I am sure you know which ones I speak of. I read non-fiction just the same. It does not matter what my problems are, the roof could be caving in on me in a rainstorm, if I have a book in hand nothing else matters. I am where my heroine or hero is at that moment. I can taste, smell and see what they are seeing. I can visit places I will never be able to with out my books. I also enjoy talking about them :)))
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
Angelwhispers, I am right there with you. Last year, for the first time in my life, I was in the hospital and nothing got me through the crisis better than the books I had and what friends brought me to read. Books truly are a lifesaver for me! I am with you on the romance books, although I know a lot of people like them. To each, his (or her) own. I tend to like modern fiction and political nonfiction/current events.
@chuggs (314)
• United States
10 Jan 07
I would have to say that my favorite book that I have read so far is actually four books. I am of course talking about JRR Tolkein's books, The Hobit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. These are wonderfull books and are my favorite because I love fantasy writings, and in my opinion the king of all fantacy books is the Lord of the Rings books, including The Hobbit.
@foxsoon (150)
• Australia
10 Jan 07
Yes, some how the Lord of the Rings trilogy seems to be particularly good which is my favorite book(s). Then again, these days I prefer all the textbooks I have to study in university since I guess the knowledge I'm studying is able to help others from it and gives me another perspective of life. "Life is like a storybook anyway, we just write our own stories without knowing the ending". cheers~!
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
Foxsoon, I like your analogy about life being a storybook where we write our own endings. Very good. However, I still think that literature has a huge role to play in educating and entertaining people.
@pyewacket (44031)
• United States
2 May 07
Believe it or not I tend to read a lot of children's or young adult books....so of course you can bet I'm waiting for the new Harry Potter book...but I also got involved with Erin Hunter's Warrior series about cats...its a whole series of books and I'm only on the first book of the second of the series...The last "adult" book I read was The Da Vinci Code...I never read a book so fast in my life as that one..and went to bed very late as a result...
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (44031)
• United States
2 May 07
Oh --I would really highly recommend the Warrior series to you...
1 person likes this
• United States
2 May 07
Many years ago, I worked in a local library, and read a lot of kids books when I worked there, but I haven't read any in years and years. Thanks for the recommendation.
@Stiletto (4584)
1 Mar 07
Oh there are so many it's tough to narrow it down to just a few (and impossible to just pick one) but I would have to include Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad - it's such an entertaining book and I'm a fan of his anyway. I've read it lots of times and never get bored with it. Also Life of Pi by Yann Martel - I just loved this book, so imaginative and cleverly written and there again Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge - I'm a huge Hardy fan as well but this is my favourite one of his books without a doubt. The "hero" Michael Henchard is probably my all time favourite fictional character. I would recommend all three but The Mayor of Casterbridge is a true classic - if you've not already done so I highly recommend reading that one.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Mar 07
I just read "Jude the Obscure" not long ago, so I'll have to get to "The Mayor of Casterbridge." I really like Hardy (but then I like anything depressing!) and I've read all of Jane Austen, so it looks like it's time to move on. Sincerely, though, there are so many of the classics I haven't read, it's shameful. I haven't read any of the great Russian authors, for example. I tend to read contemporary authors (although "Life of Pi" is still on my reading list) because they are easier, but I find the classics more rewarding if you stick them out.
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
2 Mar 07
Jude the Obscure is probably his gloomiest book. Actually it took me two attempts to read it - the first time I gave up because it was putting me on a real downer! Some of the Russian writers are worth reading - Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment is a great book - but they tend not to be an easy read. Probably best looked on as a challenge!
1 person likes this
• Philippines
28 Jun 07
The best books that I had ever read were "Scarlet Sunset Silver Nights" which was written by Leigh Greenwood and "Noli Metangere" which is written by my country's NAtional Hero, Jose Rizal. I am anyway a book lover so I follow all genre.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jun 07
I haven't heard of these, but I will be sure and check them out. Thanks for the suggestions.
• United States
26 Feb 07
It is so difficult for me to chhosse just one book. As a writer, any book that inspires me to write is a great book indeed. I love all of Anne Lammott's books. I actually like her nonfiction books more than her fiction books. "Bird by Bird" and "Operating Instructions" are two of my favorites. "The Corrections' by James Franzen was controversial and it is very long, but it is excellently written.I also love Sue Miller's writing, especially her novel "The Good Mother".
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Feb 07
I haven't read any Anne Lamott, but I have certainly heard of her and will look up those books. I loved "The Corrections" and have read other stuff by Jonathan Franzen who is a great writer. He has one book called (I think) "How to be Alone" which is some of his best writing, I think. I also love Sue Miller and liked that book very much. Sounds like we have similar tastes.
@lynn3024 (198)
• Canada
14 Jan 07
when i was about 12 my sister had a book called the theif of always. It was about a magical place hidden behind a hologram brick wall. a young boy discovers this place while out for a walk one day. it is a place were the sun always shines and everything is close to perfect. the only things is that one day in this mystical place equals to one year in the real world. I read the book about 10 times and would love to read it again only i have no idea were the book ever went. and i cannot remember the name of the author. If you ever come across it definitily read it.
• United States
14 Jan 07
This sounds really good, I wish you could remember the title. I read a book called "The Phantom Tollbooth" that was similar that was really good (not the same story but it evokes similar feelings in the reader).
@rmuxagirl (7559)
• United States
11 Jan 07
The best book that I have ever read would have to have been "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe. It goes through the traditions and culture of a Nigerian tribe the Ibo. It's an excellent novel, I've read it 3 times so far.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
I have read this one; Achebe is a great writer, and I read this a long time ago (in college). It makes me want to go back and re-read it. If you like Achebe, you should check out Nadine Gordimer. I recently read one of her books. She is a South African writer who used to write about the days before apartheid was abolished in South Africa, and she has some very interesting things to say. The last book of hers that I read was called "July's People" and it was good.
• United States
11 Jan 07
memoirs of a geisha because it taught me so much about a different culture that is very different from my own. it opened me up to all cultures.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Jan 07
I have the book, but haven't read it yet. I saw the movie and really got a lot out of the DVD's special features, where they explore the geisha culture, what Tokyo was like when the book/movie timeline was occurring, how a geisha behaved, what clothes and hair and makeup was traditional (ouch, very uncomfortable to maintain that beauty). I can only imagine that the book is hundreds of times better than the movie, as books usually are. I guess I need to get this down from the bookshelves. Thanks for the recommendation.
• United States
11 Jan 07
Beneath A Marble Sky - by John Shors
As a professional book reviewer I've read many but I have to say one of my favorites is a fairly new book that I reviewed called "Beneath a Marble Sky" by John Shors. It is a historical fiction about the building of the Taj Mahal. Talk about a wonderful piece of literature!!!!! I have so many others too but this will remain one of my favorites.
• United States
11 Jan 07
This sounds great. I love books where you learn something while being entertained, which is why I think that "The Da Vinci Code" was so popular. I also love books about India and by Indians who live in the US or the UK, like Vikram Seth or Jhumpa Lahiri. Thanks for the recommendation.
• India
11 Jan 07
Yeah.. Ur right, there r so many many great books and its very difficult to pick one best book.. I like books that influence me.. I love this book called 'Fountain Head' by Ayn Rand.. I have become this author's fan after reading tht book.. Her philosophy on life is simply great.. She explains why our human brain is the greatest of everything in the world, about human greatness and how life should be lived.. Sometimes I think if everyone follows wat she says, world would be a much better place.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Jan 07
I've read "The Fountainhead" a couple of times: once when I was in college and again about a year ago. It is a great book and was even better the second time around. Ayn Rand was a very interesting person, and I'd love to read more of her stuff. I agree with you, if anyone hasn't read this book, they should put it on their reading list. Not to be missed!
@SexyMhei (153)
• Philippines
11 Jan 07
I love reading. And I am quite surprised that many of mylot users also do since many have responded to your post. Back to your question, that depends on your taste or preferences. My favorite is the classic of Victor Hugo, Les Miserables. I don't know if you have already read it, but if you want some historical description with shade of suspense and human drama, you'll love it. Then ofcourse you shouldn't miss Charles Dicken's Oliver Twist and David Copperfield. They are wonderfully touching, though true to the Dickensians genre, the characters are often depicted in such miserable conditions that if you are a serious and emotional reader, you'll feel the pain as if you're in the story. Ready for something mature? Try Danielle Steel Message from 'Nam and Bittersweet. That's a realistic fiction, depicting human feelings in an almost natural environment. If you're the kind who loves suspense and mystery, try The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, or those novels written by Sidney Sheldon. One of my favorite is his book If tomorrow comes. A very nice fiction which will keep you in suspense the whole time. Want to be scared? Start reading Stephen King's Pet Sematary and Thinner. I guess I've given you a long list already. If you have already read some of it, I hope we can talk about it, I am also looking for someone who can really discuss the books they have read, that would be much fun for avid book readers. Enjoy reading.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
You have given quite a range of authors and genres. For classic fiction, I love Jane Austen, and I think that I have read all of her novels (and seen a lot of the movies that have been made from them, of which the recent "Pride and Prejudice" with Keira Knightly was excellent). I've only read "Tale of Two Cities," so I surely need to hunker down with Charles Dickens. I know that I bought "David Copperfield," but I have never read it yet. Thanks for so many good suggestions. I hope that people on MyLot will continue talking about books because there is so much great reading material out there!
• United States
11 Jan 07
This is a very difficult question. I guess, for today, I would have to say my favorite book is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. There is something very alluring about that book. It's set in a totalitarian society in the future and it is kind of a wake-up call to us. It shows some of the possible dangers our society may encounter and it tackles difficult questions of old world morals versuses new. It explores culture clashes and questions the very idea of civilization. It's a must read.
• United States
13 Jan 07
I can't believe that I haven't read this book; "Brave New World" has been around a long time and is a known classic. I think looking at totalitarian societies is very important for recognizing how fragile a democracy or open society can be. I think "The Handmaid's Tale," a similar sort of story was a great book that looked at such conditions, where women were only used for childbearing. The hope comes at the end of the book when there is a secret uprising. Life doesn't always work out so well. Thanks for the great reading suggestion.
@fujin1985 (684)
• Philippines
11 Jan 07
I'm really not digging into books, but i had the chance to finish The Purpose Driven Life. It's contents are self-inspiring, and is really needed by everyday-living people.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Jan 07
I haven't read "The Purpose Driven Life," but from what I understand, it is quite good and has sold a lot of copies, which says something. Thanks for the recommendation.
@masigho (976)
• Indonesia
11 Jan 07
My best book is Romeo and Juliet
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
Romeo and Juliet is a really good story, and of course, Shakespeare has a lot of those. They are challenging to read because of the use of old English, but if you can stick it out, the rewards are great. Somehow I think it is easier to see Shakespeare in play form. I like "Two Gentlemen of Verona" and "Antony and Cleopatra," and of course, "King Lear." Great choice.
@sigma77 (5385)
• United States
11 Jan 07
Brules, by Harry Combs...it is a great western novel that could have been a movie. Most people don't read westerns anymore. However, one of the greatest authors ever was Louis L'Amour. He never wrote a bad book. When you read hundreds of books, it is almost impossible to pick a favorite. There are so many that never fail to entertain.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
I must admit, I have never read any Westerns, but I know that a lot of people love Louis L'Amour; I will have to give them a try. Thanks for suggesting it.
@Devinarun (387)
• United States
11 Jan 07
well i took to reading very recently....when the dan brown series had come out i got hold of the prequal to dan vinci code....angels and demons....its really amazing.that you wwill noyt eevn put down the book if ur hungry...
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
I am definitely planning on reading "Angels and Demons." I know I could not put down "The Da Vinci Code." Dan Brown really knows how to lure his readers in and keep them hooked. There are other writers who I like better, but none of them keep me reading the way he does.
• United States
10 Jan 07
The last book I read was a really good one. It was called Join Me. It was about a guy that asked people to join him, he didn't have a reason at first. All he asked was for a picture and you saying you would join him. It started because his Grand pa wanted to start a village. He didn't get it done so he thought he would try it but justed asked people to join him. It was a really good book and funny and well written, and a true story. There is a web sie today last i knew if people wanted to still join him.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
This sounds like a very interesting concept! I like authors that explore human behavior in different ways; for example, someone wrote a book based on grocery lists they had found while shopping...not their own, other people's. Another person wrote a book based on conversations overheard on the subway. I like this kind of stuff, very creative.
• United States
10 Jan 07
i dont read much but probable dr. seuss books they were the best great story and catchy so them but really thas all i read because i hate reading but who does
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
Dr. Seuss is a classic for all ages. They are the kind of books you can read over and over and enjoy every time, whether you're a kid or adult.