The Serious Book Recommendation Thread

  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Aug 25, 2015 1:24 AM GMT
    Maybe we keep it to a maximum of two recommendations, and not classics or things a lot of people would know, but something we think might be "new" to most people.

    (1) "Kristin Lavransdatter", by Sigrid Undset (Penguin, 2005, 1144pp.)

    This behemoth of a novel was originally published 1920-1922, and Undset - a Danish-born Norwegian - won the Nobel Prize in 1928. I read the first 100 pages in high school, lost interest, then lost the book. I rediscovered it in a bookstore here. It was translated into dozens of languages in the 1920s but, as far as I know, English is the only language in which there is a newer, second translation, and it is brilliant.

    For those of you who enjoy making the investment of weeks (sometimes months?) in reading an "unputdownable" novel, this is it. It takes place in 14th-century Norway, and Undset meticulously researched every detail; you'll feel like you've moved there.

    Become a member of the now "cult" community that knows this great novel!

    (2) "Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure", by C├ędric Villani (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015, 260pp, translated from the French).

    Ever wonder what mathematicians actually DO all day, if they are not teaching? Villani won the Fields Medal in 2010 and gives, in this book, a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable read. Warning: As they say, "some knowledge of - or at least interest in - mathematics required"


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    Aug 25, 2015 3:00 AM GMT
    One of my favorites that I like to re-read every so often is Farley Mowat's Grey Seas Under. Click on that title to go to wikipedia's synopsis.

    The first 1/4th or so of the book is definitely slow but then it picks up and it's quite engrossing. A good book to read in the winter or during a storm since that's when most of the action takes place in the book.
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    Aug 25, 2015 3:29 AM GMT
    WrestlerBoy said(1) "Kristin Lavransdatter", by Sigrid Undset (Penguin, 2005, 1144pp.)

    It's available as 3 separate books from my library, same as listed here (goodreads).

    http://tinyurl.com/npvyscp
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    Aug 25, 2015 3:31 AM GMT
    1- Roger Zelazny "Lord of Light"- puts the struggle between Hinduism and Buddhism in a futuristic, sci-fi setting

    2- Neil Gaiman "Smoke and Mirrors"- some may not consider it exactly serious literature but then some don't think Leonard Cohen is a serious poet. It's a collection of short stories, one of which made me understand love in a new way. Akin to "You Got Me Singing" did.
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Aug 25, 2015 3:50 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    WrestlerBoy said(1) "Kristin Lavransdatter", by Sigrid Undset (Penguin, 2005, 1144pp.)

    It's available as 3 separate books from my library, same as listed here (goodreads).

    http://tinyurl.com/npvyscp


    Important to make sure it is that Tina Nunnally translation, yes; I remember the original being just too "antiquated" to read.

    It's interesting to note that she teaches at Wisconsin. The best Scandinavian Languages departments today are, of course, at Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, etc., as our great influx of Scandinavian immigrants to those parts helped ensure that those languages were passed on down.

  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Aug 25, 2015 3:57 AM GMT
    Wyndahoi said1- Roger Zelazny "Lord of Light"- puts the struggle between Hinduism and Buddhism in a futuristic, sci-fi setting

    2- Neil Gaiman "Smoke and Mirrors"- some may not consider it exactly serious literature but then some don't think Leonard Cohen is a serious poet. It's a collection of short stories, one of which made me understand love in a new way. Akin to "You Got Me Singing" did.


    They're actually both in stock at my local bookstore (which amazes me... this local bookstore, I mean), and they'll deliver them by COB today!
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Aug 25, 2015 4:02 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal saidOne of my favorites that I like to re-read every so often is Farley Mowat's Grey Seas Under. Click on that title to go to wikipedia's synopsis.

    The first 1/4th or so of the book is definitely slow but then it picks up and it's quite engrossing. A good book to read in the winter or during a storm since that's when most of the action takes place in the book.


    I have never read anything Mowat wrote, but I shall now. There was a long piece on him in the New York Review of Books (shortly before, or shortly after, he died, don't recall). I just checked on Wiki... the guy sold 17 million books. It always amazes me that what we today call "minor" authors... are not minor, at all. I mean, if you say $1 a book, he put a few kids thru school very nicely, there!
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    Aug 25, 2015 4:16 PM GMT
    Expect only non-fiction and bios from me, usually historical:

    The Sleepwalkers - the diplomatic prelude to WW1.

    Wilhelm II, Into the Abyss of War & Exile - As compelling a case that the Kaiser was truly a sociopathic closet homosexual.

  • Amira

    Posts: 327

    Aug 25, 2015 5:56 PM GMT
    There's an African author who has two books I've both read who shares her perspectives on love, community, failures and growth through her values from her tribe in West Africa. Her books are short but full of inspiration and wisdom.

    Her name is Sobonfu Some

    The Spirit of Intimacy

    Falling Out of Grace

  • wellwell

    Posts: 2265

    Aug 25, 2015 8:43 PM GMT
    "The Sacred Tarot" (Egyptian Tarot)
    CC Zain


    Light.org
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    Aug 25, 2015 10:22 PM GMT
    If you're interested in zombie Apocalypse, I recommend "The Remaining" by Dj Moles. It's a six book series. I listened to the audio book and enjoyed every second.

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    Aug 25, 2015 11:29 PM GMT
    The Miracle in You
    ....U will never look at things the same way again ....life changing icon_lol.gif
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    Aug 26, 2015 3:13 AM GMT
    " 1493 "
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    Aug 26, 2015 9:12 PM GMT
    WrestlerBoy said
    Lumpyoatmeal saidOne of my favorites that I like to re-read every so often is Farley Mowat's Grey Seas Under. Click on that title to go to wikipedia's synopsis.
    The first 1/4th or so of the book is definitely slow but then it picks up and it's quite engrossing. A good book to read in the winter or during a storm since that's when most of the action takes place in the book.
    I have never read anything Mowat wrote, but I shall now. There was a long piece on him in the New York Review of Books (shortly before, or shortly after, he died, don't recall). I just checked on Wiki... the guy sold 17 million books. It always amazes me that what we today call "minor" authors... are not minor, at all. I mean, if you say $1 a book, he put a few kids thru school very nicely, there!

    I find his record uneven; some books I loved, some not so much or were tiresome.