AR385
Topic Author
Posts: 6742
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:25 am

Best Novels Of All Time

Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:09 pm

I love to read. Almost all genres, except for poetry. So I thought that given how international this forum is, it would be a good idea to post your three favorite novels of all time, so we can all increase our literary knowledge with interesting literature from around the world. You can also feel free to comment why they are your favorites. Mine are:

1. Mrs. Flor and her two husbands, Jorge Amado
2. The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follet
3. No longer at Ease, Chinua Achebe

Regards
 
TransIsland
Posts: 1826
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 9:22 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:27 pm

Just a very small selection of some of my favourite books...

1. Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf.
2. Heinrich Mann, The Loyal Subject.
3. Edgar Hilsenrath, The Nazi and the Barber.
4. Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby.
4. Jules Verne, Michael Strogoff.
I'm an aviation expert. I have Sky Juice for breakfast.
 
hka098
Posts: 532
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:50 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:49 pm

I don't as to what the 'best' work would be, but here are some of my recent favorites.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
1984 by George Orwell
Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins
The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder by Vincent Bugliosi
 
comorin
Posts: 3857
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 5:52 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:43 pm

My top three favorites are:

3. The Shining, by Stephen King - nobody writes like Stephen King, except:
2. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre - Great English Writer. But the outstanding book is:
1. A Winters Tale by Mark Halprin - a magical tale set in a mythical early New York.

I like them all because they create beautifully crafted, wondrous worlds of imagination that take me far away. Their command of language and craft do not overtake a story they want to tell. Oops. I forgot "The Life of Pi" - what an amazing book.

I would also like to put in a plug for my favorite author Tom Wolfe who has written many brilliant books that shaped my outlook on the world. Each one is brilliant gem. Another brilliant writer is Joan Didion, who is a literary Miles Davis - very cool and Californian.

My favorite Genre is Travel Writing, so the best of the best are:

1. Paul Theroux - The Happy Isles of Oceania, The Great Railway Bazaar
2. William Dalrymple - [i]The City of Djinns
3. Alexander Frater - Beyond the Blue Horizon, Chasing the Monsoon

I have also tried to get into books with a South Asian backdrop, and the following are amazing:

1. Rohinton Mistry - A Fine Balance - the definitive, heart-rending, Dickensian book on India's poor.
2. Salman Rushdie - Shalimar the Clown, Midnight's Children - Kashmir setting, with filigree precision
3. William Dalrymple - The Last Moghul Masterly work and riveting account of Empire.


I consider all the above as simply amazing literature.

I grew up reading Blyton, W.E. Johns and Bunter, graduating to Hardy, Du Maurier and Wodehouse.

So I don't 'get' a lot of contemporary literature:

1. Neverland - Huh? Most boring book ever.
2. White Light - Don De Lillo
3. Corrections - Jon Franzen
4. Anything by VS Naipaul
5. The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy - annoying book.

As well as Shakespeare and Jane Austen.




So many books, so little time....
 
TheCol
Posts: 1857
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:30 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:06 pm

Here's my top 5:

Shake Hands With the Devil - LGen. Roméo Dallaire (a must read for every Canadian)
My War - Andy Rooney
The Bright Blue Sky - Max Hennessy
The Challenging Heights - Max Hennessy
Once More the Hawks - Max Hennessy
No matter how random things may appear, there's always a plan.
 
RussianJet
Posts: 5982
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 4:15 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:08 pm

I love Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.
✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
 
texan
Posts: 4059
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2003 2:23 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:34 pm

Gosh, there are so many great novels.
Pride and Prejudice
A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Power of One
The English Major
A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

Those are just five off the top of my head. And while I understand the genius of Cormac McCarthy, I cannot read his books. They annoy me to no end.

Texan
"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."
 
fridgmus
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:28 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:44 pm

Let me see, I do have quite a few but here's a good Top Three

1. Armageddon by Leon Uris

2. Winds of War and War & Remembrance (two parter) by Herman Wouk

3. The Hope & The Glory (another two parter) by Herman Wouk

I also encourage all of you who have children to read to them every chance you get, it will bring you closer to your child (hopefully) and in this age of smartphones, computers and iPods etc, give them a love of books. It was the greatest gift my Father ever gave to me.

Have a great weekend all, Thanksgiving or not!

Cheers,

F
The Lockheed Super Constellation, the REAL Queen of the Skies!
 
kiwiinoz
Posts: 1999
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2005 3:07 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:12 am

Quoting TransIsland (Reply 1):
4. Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby.

Love this one

Quoting comorin (Reply 3):
1. Rohinton Mistry - A Fine Balance - the definitive, heart-rending, Dickensian book on India's poor.

Probably my favourite of all time

Also, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

And another great, "The Book Thief" by some Aussie guy, can't remember his name. Best book I read in the last couple of years

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 5):
I love Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

If you love Dickens, I recommend a book called "Mr Pip". Can't remember the author but it has a great story that centres around the telling of a Dickens novel to a classful of eager students in a small town in Papua New Guinea
 
User avatar
WarRI1
Posts: 8620
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:51 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:29 am

My all time favorite is A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. A story that I find has a lesson in life that applies today, about how not to treat people and the possible consquence for those who do. The great lesson, The French Revolution.
It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees.
 
bookishaviator
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 10:39 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:45 am

Three novels that immediately spring to mind:

James Baldwin - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Thomas Hardy - Jude the Obscure
Mikhail Bulgakov - The Master and Margarita

There are many, many others that could be added to my favourites list. I think I'd find it impossible to whittle it down to a top three of 'all time'. Contributions from Jack Kerouac, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Evelyn Waugh and John Cheever would also appear on my list. And a bit of Stephen Fry and P. G. Wodehouse for some more lighthearted stuff. From the contemporary field: can't go past David Mitchell.

And so many authors/books that I'm yet to read!
When I die, when I die, I'll rot. But when I live, when I live, I'll give it all I've got.
 
texan
Posts: 4059
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2003 2:23 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:08 am

Quoting fridgmus (Reply 7):
I also encourage all of you who have children to read to them every chance you get, it will bring you closer to your child (hopefully) and in this age of smartphones, computers and iPods etc, give them a love of books. It was the greatest gift my Father ever gave to me.

  

Reading and writing are integral to every part of what we do. So since we do it so much we sure should enjoy it! Teach your children to love reading. I agree with Fridgmus -- my parents instilled that love of reading and writing in me and I thank them for it almost every day.

More books I forgot to add:
Survivor by Chuck Pahlaniuk
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
Catch 22
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Texan
"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."
 
Quokka
Posts: 1315
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:26 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:38 am

Quoting kiwiinoz (Reply 8):

And another great, "The Book Thief" by some Aussie guy, can't remember his name


By Markus Zusak. Excellent.

I liked the Cairo Trilogy "Palace Walk", "Palace of Desire" and "Sugar Street" by Naguib Mahfouz, an epic covering the development modern Egypt from WW1.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer's quartet which included "This Earth of Mankind", "Child of All Nations", "Awakenings" and "House of Glass" are set against the background of colonialism in the Dutch East Indies. For a long time the books were banned and the author was exiled by the Indonesian authorities.

A book that looks at the way people respond under tyranny , drawing on the lives of characters in Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union, is "Europe Central" by William T Vollmann.
 
Ken777
Posts: 9048
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:39 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:32 am

Quoting AR385 (Thread starter):
The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follet

That was exceptional.

My long time favorite writer is W.E.B.Griffin - I reread his series every few years. Right now I'm on The Corps Series Book IX. Under Fire. The first book in that series (Semper Fi) is probably the best book by Griffin to try.

These days I go into Barnes & Noble and pick up a few Bargain Books by writers I don't know, Anything I don't enjoy I drop off at the VA Clinic and it's taken on the shuttle bus to the VA hospital.

Which reminds me - you can write off donations of books to the VA Hospitals. The clinics generally have shuttle buses that will take them. Add a list with a return address and you can get a receipt. If it's a used book then put in the estimated value.

Besides books the Vets in the hospitals can really use some small toiletries.

And it's the Holidays. No matter where you live there are probably veterans hospitals and/or nursing homes. It doesn't cost a fortune to make some important lives in those facilities better.

End of Commercial. Thanks for any help you can provide to the vets hurting in your country.
 
RobertNL070
Posts: 4160
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 4:29 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:10 pm

This is an impossible thread: there are so many good novels and novelists.

At the moment I am re-reading Catch-22.

A small selection of the many great works that I have read and enjoyed:

John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize winning The Grapes of Wrath
James Baldwin's Go Tell It On The Mountain
Harper Lee's only published novel To Kill a Mockingbird
Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms

It really is very difficult, but I think my favourite novel is Graham Greene's The Power And The Glory.

My two favourite Dutch-language novels are Harry Mulisch' De Ontdekking van de Hemel, translated title The Discovery of Heaven; and the Persian-Dutch author Kader Abdollah's excellent Het Huis van de Moskee, recently translated into English: The House of the Mosque

Quoting AR385 (Thread starter):
The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follet
Quoting Ken777 (Reply 13):
That was exceptional.

Hmmm, it was good, but not exceptional. I've just finished Ken Follet's latest tome Fall of Giants. Again it is a good and quite well written yarn, but it falls short of a literary masterpiece.
Youth is a gift of nature. Age is a work of art.
 
photopilot
Posts: 3069
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2002 11:16 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:16 pm

WOW, so many to choose from. Here are some of my favourites.

  • QBVII - Leon Uris

  • Mutiny on the Bounty Trilogy (includes Men Against the Sea & Pitcairn's Island) Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hal

  • Shogun - James Clavel

  • Roots - Arthur Hailey

  • 1984 - George Orwell


[Edited 2010-11-28 11:16:53]
 
RobertNL070
Posts: 4160
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 4:29 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:42 pm

Quoting RobertNL070 (Reply 14):
and quite well written yarn,

...with an interesting historical background, but it falls short of a literary masterpiece.

[edit]
Youth is a gift of nature. Age is a work of art.
 
petitechoux
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:46 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:16 am

the plague - albert camus

most of my books are def. non fiction tho. so im not a good person for this one!
 
wn700driver
Posts: 1475
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2001 10:55 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:31 am

Peter Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga, including the Void trilogy...

The Passage by David Poyer was pretty great...
Base not your happiness on the deeds of others, for what is given can be taken away. No Hope = No Fear
 
User avatar
Aaron747
Posts: 8538
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2003 2:07 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:04 am

A couple of selections for those in love with the English language:

Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov (you try writing prose like this in a second language)
The Magus - John Fowles (a hodgepodge of psychobabble food for thought)
Factotum - Charles Bukowski (a blissful ride through elegant vulgarity)
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
 
User avatar
UltimateDelta
Posts: 2068
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 7:56 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:52 pm

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 13):
My long time favorite writer is W.E.B.Griffin

Agreed. I'm reading the Honor Bound series at the moment.

I also really enjoy Michael Crichton. I haven't read anything by him in a while, but I will definitely get back into it. I think my favorites of his are Jurassic Park, Prey and Airframe (of course   ).
Midwest Airlines- 1984-2010
 
Ken777
Posts: 9048
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:39 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:18 am

My 9 year old granddaughter spent the weekend with us and brought her current book with her. The alst book in teh Harry Potter series.

Got me to thinking. The "best novels" are the ones that people really enjoy reading. To capture the imaginations of a mass of young kids like my granddaughter is very impressive in my "book".

And, a bit of tut - tut: my wife bought me a Kindle for an early Christmas. We're heading Down Under tomorrow and she can't stand me taking a stack of paperbacks on the planes.  
 
User avatar
aerdingus
Posts: 2645
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:58 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:15 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 19):
Factotum - Charles Bukowski (a blissful ride through elegant vulgarity)

  

Love him.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Marquez, one of my faves for a long long time.

Must get more of his.

And don't know why but Skeleton Crew by Stephen King is me fave of his!

Good thread.
2016: BHX GLA KIR LCY LGW MUC VIE BA EI FR LH OS A320 A321 ATR 42 ATR 72 B738 E190 E195
 
ferengi80
Posts: 484
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2007 2:23 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:29 pm

Desperation by Stephen King
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The War of the Worlds by H G Wells
If Only It Were True by Marc Levy
From The Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz

and my all time favourite: -

Jaws by Peter Benchley
AF1981 LHR-CDG A380-800 10 July 2010 / AF1980 CDG-LHR A380-800 11 July 2010
 
mt99
Posts: 6166
Joined: Wed May 26, 1999 5:41 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:50 pm

I know that i am a century or so late to the party - but i just finished reading "Around the World in 80 Days", "20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea"" and "Mysterious Island"..

Damn, was Jules Verne an awesome story teller or what. I was blown away...
Step into my office, baby
 
poz2brs
Posts: 156
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:05 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:53 pm

The Earth was invaded by an alien race last Tuesday. I faced them alone, armed with only my bus pass and a winning smile. Fortunately they came here not to fight or conquer, but to pick up a copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude from Waterstones.
I'm finding it hard to believe, I'm in Devon.
 
comorin
Posts: 3857
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 5:52 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:43 pm

Quoting POZ2BRS (Reply 25):
The Earth was invaded by an alien race last Tuesday. I faced them alone, armed with only my bus pass and a winning smile. Fortunately they came here not to fight or conquer, but to pick up a copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude from Waterstones.

I presume they died after reading it.
 
UH60FtRucker
Posts: 3252
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 9:15 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:55 pm



...That was my favorite book when I was about ~10yrs old. I especially loved the illustrations. haha
Your men have to follow your orders. They don't have to go to your funeral.
 
fridgmus
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:28 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:31 pm

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 27):

...That was my favorite book when I was about ~10yrs old. I especially loved the illustrations. haha

You were 10? I thought you came as a new model right from the Sikorsky Factory!!!   
The Lockheed Super Constellation, the REAL Queen of the Skies!
 
mbmbos
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 4:16 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:40 pm

Quoting bookishaviator (Reply 10):
James Baldwin - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Thomas Hardy - Jude the Obscure
Mikhail Bulgakov - The Master and Margarita

All very good choices. I will refrain from making a list because, like you, there are far too many great books out there. I wouldn't know where to begin.
 
deltaownsall
Posts: 1091
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2001 3:25 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:53 pm

Perhaps I missed them, but have Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck) and Catcher in the Rye (Salinger) really not been mentioned yet?? Stereotypical choices, sure, but no doubt two of the all-time greats. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald), as well.

Quoting hka098 (Reply 2):
Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins

Ripping-good yarn, this one!
 
connies4ever
Posts: 3393
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:54 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:08 pm

For me:

"The Grapes of Wrath", John Steinbeck,

"Don Quixote", Miguel de Cervantes

"Crime and Punishment", Fyodor Dostoyevsky, as mentioned above

"It Can't Happen Here", Sinclair Lewis

"The Dispossessed", Ursula K LeGuin.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
poz2brs
Posts: 156
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:05 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:43 pm

Quoting comorin (Reply 26):
Quoting POZ2BRS (Reply 25):
The Earth was invaded by an alien race last Tuesday. I faced them alone, armed with only my bus pass and a winning smile. Fortunately they came here not to fight or conquer, but to pick up a copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude from Waterstones.

I presume they died after reading it.

Yes, they were carried away by ants  
I'm finding it hard to believe, I'm in Devon.
 
2H4
Posts: 7960
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:11 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:52 pm

Quoting hka098 (Reply 2):
1984 by George Orwell

Indeed. Here in the US, the development of the TSA/DHS makes it even more chilling.
Intentionally Left Blank
 
einsteinboricua
Posts: 4666
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:11 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:33 pm

My all time favorite novels (in no particular order);

1. Harry Potter series
2. The Kite Runner (K. Hosseini)
3. A thousand splendid suns (K. Hosseini)
4. The reader (B. Schlink)
5. El Principito (The little prince) (A. de Saint-Exupery)
6. Felices Dias Tio Sergio (Happy days, uncle Sergio) (M. Garcia Ramis)
7. I read A catcher in the rye, but I wasn't TOO thrilled about it.
8. The bookseller of Kabul (A. Seierstad)
9. The black tulip (A. Dumas)
10. The prince and the pauper (M. Twain)

I know I have more...
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
NAV20
Posts: 8453
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 3:25 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:54 am

Good topic, AR285, thanks!

I approached this from the point of view of which book, among all those I have read, influenced me most when I was young. After reflection that turned out to be Ernest Hemingway's 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' - which is still on my bookshelf (copy dated 1961  ).

Hemingway had a beautifully 'spare' way of writing - simple words, almost ALL of them short, which constantly build up 'visual impressions,' mind-pictures, rather than mere thoughts. And in what most people regard as an 'action novel,' he managed (as one reviewer on the fly-page of my old copy puts it) to provide a complete 'mind-picture' of what the Spanish Civil War was about:-

""Only four days out of the whole civil war, only a few peasants in their cave - yet it seems as if all Spain and all its troubles were here; and it is impossible not to admire the manner in which this immense feat has been accomplished. You are, indeed, moved and held."

The 'hero,' an American saboteur, has the job of motivating a group of Republican 'guerrilleros' to undertake a very dangerous sabotage mission - blowing a bridge in the Fascist rear. If I'm allowed to use quotes, this bit shows how the saboteur ('Jordan'), by means of a play on words, uses his own - extreme right-wing - family background to convince them of his loyalty to the 'republican' cause in 1930s Spain. It also shows how brilliantly Hemingway wrote conversation in English, but in the 'Spanish idiom,' throughout the book:-

“Can I go?” Maria asked. “May I go too, Pilar?”

“Yes, beautiful,” the woman said, then turning her big face, “Isn’t she pretty?” she asked Robert Jordan. “How does she seem to thee? A little thin?”

“To me she seems very well,” Robert Jordan said. Maria filled his cup with wine. “Drink that,” she said. “It will make me seem even better. It is necessary to drink much of that for me to seem beautiful.”

“Then I had better stop,” Robert Jordan said. “Already thou seemest beautiful and more.”

“That’s the way to talk,” the woman said. “You talk like the good ones. What more does she seem?”

“Intelligent,” Robert Jordan said lamely. Maria giggled and the woman shook her head sadly. “How well you begin and how it ends, Don Roberto.”

“Don’t call me Don Roberto.”

“It is a joke. Here we say Don Pablo for a joke. As we say the Senorita Maria for a joke.”

“I don’t joke that way,” Robert Jordan said. “Camarada to me is what all should be called with seriousness in this war. In the joking commences a rottenness.”

“Thou art very religious about thy politics,” the woman teased him. “Thou makest no jokes?”

“Yes. I care much for jokes but not in the form of address. It is like a flag.”

“I could make jokes about a flag. Any flag,” the woman laughed. “To me no one can joke of anything. The old flag of yellow and gold we called pus and blood. The flag of the Republic with the purple added we call blood, pus and permanganate. It is a joke.”

“He is a Communist,” Maria said. “They are very serious gente.”

“Are you a Communist?”

“No I am an anti-fascist.”

“For a long time?”

“Since I have understood fascism.”

“How long is that?”

“For nearly ten years.”

“That is not much time,” the woman said. “I have been a Republican for twenty years.”

“My father was a Republican all his life,” Maria said. “It was for that they shot him.”

“My father was also a Republican all his life. Also my grandfather,” Robert Jordan said.

“In what country?”

“The United States.”

“Did they shoot them?” the woman asked.

“Que va,” Maria said. “The United States is a country of Republicans. They don’t shoot you for being a Republican there.”

“All the same it is a good thing to have a grandfather who was a Republican,” the woman said. “It shows a good blood.”

“My grandfather was on the Republican National Committee,” Robert Jordan said. That impressed even Maria."


Terrific action scenes too, towards the end - like this one as the attack starts. All the more praiseworthy when one considers that the book was written in the late Thirties, and published in 1940 - long before many people at all knew what modern close-quarter combat with light automatic weapons was about:-

"He lay there behind the pine tree, with the submachine gun across his left forearm, and he never looked at the sentry box again until, long after it seemed that it was never coming, that nothing could happen on such a lovely late May morning, he heard the sudden, clustered, thudding of the bombs.

"As he heard the bombs, the first thumping noise of them, before the echo of them came back in thunder from the mountain, Robert Jordan drew in a long breath and lifted the submachine gun from where it lay. His arm felt stiff from
its weight and his fingers were heavy with reluctance.

"The man in the sentry box stood up when he heard the bombs. Robert Jordan saw him reach for his rifle and step forward out of the box listening. He stood in the road with the sun shining on him. The knitted cap was on the side of his head and the sun was on his unshaved face as he looked up into the sky toward where the planes were bombing.

"There was no mist on the road now and Robert Jordan saw the man, clearly and sharply, standing there on the road looking up at the sky. The sun shone bright on him through the trees.

"Robert Jordan felt his own breath tight now as though a strand of wire bound his chest and, steadying his elbows, feeling the corrugations of the forward grip against his fingers, he put the oblong of the foresight, settled now in the notch of the rear, onto the center of the man’s chest and squeezed the trigger gently.

"He felt the quick, liquid, spastic lurching of the gun against his shoulder and on the road the man, looking surprised and hurt, slid forward on his knees and his forehead doubled to the road. His rifle fell by him and lay there with one of the man’s fingers twisted through the trigger guard, his wrist bent forward. The rifle lay, bayonet forward on the road. Robert Jordan looked away from the man lying with his head doubled under on the road to the bridge, and the sentry box at the other end. He could not see the other sentry and he looked down the slope to the right where he knew Agustin was hidden. Then he heard Anselmo shoot, the shot smashing an echo back from the gorge. Then he heard him shoot again.

"With that second shot came the cracking boom of grenades from around the corner below the bridge. Then there was the noise of grenades from well up the road to the left. Then he heard rifle-firing up the road and from below came the noise of Pablo’s cavalry automatic rifle spat-spat-spat-spatting into the noise of grenades."


Thanks to the magic of the Internet, I discover that anyone who doesn't know the book can read the whole thing right here if they wish (click on the link at the top - the one showing the title - and the whole thing should download in English):-

http://borigen.narod.ru/hemingway_for_whom_the_bell_tolls.pdf

[Edited 2010-12-14 00:03:41]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
AM744
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2001 11:05 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:36 pm

My Spanish language top three.
"Don Quixote" Miguel de Cervantes
"One hundred years of solitude" Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"Pedro Paramo" Juan Rulfo (highly recommended for those who are into Garcia Marquez, as Juan Rulfo is his predecesor and teacher in Marquez' own words)

[Edited 2010-12-15 12:37:33]
 
B747forever
Posts: 12855
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 9:50 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:47 pm

Quoting kiwiinoz (Reply 8):
And another great, "The Book Thief" by some Aussie guy, can't remember his name. Best book I read in the last couple of years
Quoting Quokka (Reply 12):
By Markus Zusak. Excellent.

I just finished it! Man, am I touched by it. A fantastic book.
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
MDShady
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:02 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:34 pm

Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
The Jungle - Upton Sinclair
Nobody's Angel - Tom McGuane
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
 
poz2brs
Posts: 156
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:05 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:13 pm

Quoting MDShady (Reply 38):
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison

Ugh! Self-deprecation of the highest order.

The Great Gatsby is good though. We studied it in English classes at school.
I'm finding it hard to believe, I'm in Devon.
 
User avatar
TheRedBaron
Posts: 3081
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 6:17 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Sat Dec 25, 2010 7:06 pm

Quoting hka098 (Reply 2):
I don't as to what the 'best' work would be, but here are some of my recent favorites.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
1984 by George Orwell
Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins
The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder by Vincent Bugliosi

We are quite similar in our reads its scary!!

(havent read the last one)

I am reading now "The Island in the center of the World" very good history book.
The best seat in a Plane is the Jumpseat.
 
User avatar
SAHSA
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:12 pm

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:55 pm

Quoting deltaownsall (Reply 30):
Catcher in the Rye (Salinger)

After hearing so many positive reviews about this book I picked up the paperback the other day. Dear God, I can't believe this is called a "classic". It started off funny... I read on, waiting for something exciting....NOTHING. This book was essentially a few days in the life of a whining, lonely, angry misfit. Why is this book held in such high regard?

My favorite from 2010: The Millennium Trilogy - Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

After a slow start with 'Dragon Tattoo' the book quickly picked up and turned into the most thrilling series I read last year. 'Fire' was the best of them all and led right in to the 'Hornet's Nest', which was also wonderful. It's too bad the series won't continue since the author passed away.
 
PITingres
Posts: 994
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 1:59 am

RE: Best Novels Of All Time

Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:15 am

I could never figure out "Catcher" either, nor any of Salinger's stuff. Tedious and depressive IMO. My wife thinks I just don't appreciate great literature.  

I'd be hard pressed to come up with a "best" list, but any such list would have to at least include

Tolkien - Lord of the Rings
Hugo - Les Miserables

I've read the Denny and Fahnestock/Macafee translations of Les Miserables, and they are quite different. I'll have to get hold of the relatively new Rose translation one of these days.
Fly, you fools! Fly!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Gemuser and 27 guests