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Read Ye, Read Ye
a book lover's den for news, discussions and gossip on books.
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Like the old joke says, books are better 'in bed' | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times

Like the old joke says, books are better 'in bed' | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
What's your favorite place to read?

"You know that joke that shows everything's better when you add "in bed" to the end? The same can be said for books, according to a report by Sony released Friday.

The survey, conduced in March, showed that 79% of Americans are most likely to read books in bed. That's more people choosing to read in bed than in the living room (73%), on vacation (37%) or while commuting (8%)."
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Aaron and Ahmed - Interesting graphic novel about 9/11

Aaron and Ahmed - Interesting graphic novel about 9/11 | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
Have you ever read a graphic novel? I haven't but I'd like to and this one looks really good. Intense.

"The first shock of Jay Cantor's and James Romberger's comic book Aaron and Ahmed—one could say graphic novel, but the about-the-author sketch of Cantor ripping open his shirt to reveal a Superman costume makes comic book the way to go—is seeing the planes fly into the towers. Across four appalling pages everything happens, both at once and in stop-time, here too fast for the eye or the mind to follow or for memory to enclose, there too frozen, almost, to allow the viewer to return to the story that is taking shape. And this is because, along with one Aaron Goodman, an Army psychiatrist in a VA hospital in Kansas, you are not bearing witness; you are witnessing."
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Biography of William Styron, as told by his daughter

Biography of William Styron, as told by his daughter | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
At this point, I've only read one William Styron book, Darkness Visible - an amazing memoir on depression. Styron won a Pultizer Prize for The Confessions of Nat Turner and critical acclaim for his other four books, which include Sophie's Choice. Yet, according to this biography by Styron's daughter, Alexandra, Styron had insecurities and demons that hung like pervasive grey clouds over his head.

"For William Styron, writing was the "bid to be loved." His family did love him through years of neglect and then all-out dependency, but he was never happy long because he was happiest being celebrated. Even for a writer as talented as he was, accolades are rare. Solitude and self-doubt are constant. Some self-doubt is generative: too much is crippling. It's hard not to wish that William Styron could have been happy having written five books, three of which not only depicted history but influenced it. Or not to notice that Alexandra Styron—who has written one good novel and this extraordinarily sensitive biography of her father—has done for him what he did for Nat Turner and Sophie Zawistowski: she found the human behind the carapace."

According to the linked review, Alexandra Styron's biography, "Reading My Father," is extremely well-researched and gives readers a close observer's insight into one of the America's best writers.
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Read vs Unread: Self-Balancing, Book-Weighted Wall Shelf | Designs & Ideas on Dornob

Read vs Unread: Self-Balancing, Book-Weighted Wall Shelf | Designs & Ideas on Dornob | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
Looking for a new way to shelve your books? Take a look at these innovative book "shelves."
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Salman Rushdie reading picks to stock New York hotel's rooms

Salman Rushdie reading picks to stock New York hotel's rooms | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
This is so cool! I'd love to have a job, paid or unpaid, as the official book selector!

"Acclaimed novelist Salman Rushdie has come to the aid of guests who check into a trendy Manhattan hotel with nothing to read, choosing 13 celebrated American books for their rooms.

The upscale Standard Hotel in Manhattan already provides high-definition televisions and iPod docks in rooms but had previously not included so much as a Gideons Bible for guests with more literary tastes.

As of next week, guests will find a copy of one of the 13 books from Rushdie's reading list in their room...

...the books will be well-thumbed second-hand copies donated by Housing Works, an organization that provides services for people with AIDS and the homeless and raises funds, in part, by running thrift stores.

Salman Rushdie's Standard Selection includes:

Walt Whitman: Leaves of Grass

William Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

Eudora Welty: The Collected Stories

Bernard Malamud: The Complete Stories

Saul Bellow: Humboldt's Gift

Philip Roth: Portnoy's Complaint

Flannery O'Connor: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse-Five

Thomas Pynchon: V.

Joseph Heller: Catch-22

Toni Morrison: Beloved

Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay"

Great list!!!
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Amazon announces e-book loans for the Kindle

Amazon announces e-book loans for the Kindle | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
"Want to check out e-books from the library and read them on your Kindle? That will be possible later this year as Amazon announced Wednesday that it would join a library loan program for electronic books."
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Ice-T Keeps it Real in New Memoir via @LATimes

Ice-T Keeps it Real in New Memoir via @LATimes | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
"In his spare, plainspoken autobiography, Ice-T speaks freely and unapologetically of youthful years spent heisting jewelry and other goods throughout the Southland. Like Jay-Z's "Decoded," "Ice" isn't a confessional; the man born Tracy Marrow doesn't purge his sins. Rather he brags about his tactical skills (learned in the Army) and daredevil stunts. But he's also clearly happy to be living a screen-star's life of ease, with his swimsuit-model wife at his side, rather than still banging in South Central or, like many of his friends, moldering in jail. Ice-T understands the incredible irony of having become world famous (or infamous) for co-writing a song called "Cop Killer" then finding a decade of sanctuary by playing a police officer on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." He's laughing all the way to the bank."
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Jennifer Egan, Siddhartha Mukherjee and Kay Ryan win writing Pulitzer Prizes | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times

Jennifer Egan, Siddhartha Mukherjee and Kay Ryan win writing Pulitzer Prizes | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
Wow. Wow. Wow. 2010 Pulitzer Prize winners have been announced! My first reaction was one of disappointment because Jonathan Franzen's book Freedom was not even a finalist. But that little wrinkle aside, Pulitzer Prize winners are always fun to read -- I like or love most of the Pulitzer Prize fiction I have read.

Click on the headline to view the complete list of winners. Here's an excerpt on the Fiction category:

"Jennifer Egan's "A Visit from the Goon Squad" has won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, it was announced Monday. "A Visit From the Goon Squad" was cited by the Pulitzer committee cited for being "an inventive investigation of growing up and growing old in the digital age, displaying a big-hearted curiosity about cultural change at warp speed." The book, Egan's fifth, is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction and is a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Fiction finalists:

"The Privileges," by Jonathan Dee (Random House), a contemporary, wide-ranging tale about an elite Manhattan family, moral bankruptcy and the long reach of wealth

"The Surrendered," by Chang-rae Lee (Riverhead Books), a haunting and often heartbreaking epic whose characters explore the deep reverberations of love, devotion and war."
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Flavorwire » Portraits of Authors in Their Own Words

Flavorwire » Portraits of Authors in Their Own Words | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
These cool portraits depict famous writers with the lines of their faces crafted from the words of their own works!
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E-book sales make history in the US, top paperback books in sales

E-book sales make history in the US, top paperback books in sales | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
If there's anyone out there still doubting the future of e-books, doubt no more. "The Association of American Publishers (AAP)...report shows that in February, e-book sales in the United States were the top selling format in all publishing categories for the first time ever."

I think it's only the beginning of the rising sales trend in e-books.

Although I consider myself to be a geek gadget, I have yet to cross the chasm into e-books. Sure, they don't take up as much space and are easier to travel with, but I actually love the sight of books on their shelves against the walls of my apartment. The one thing about e-books that will eventually compel me to cross the chasm is the availability of graphics -- like the ones you see in children's e-books today. I think there's going to be a trend in similar graphics for adult novels. That will definitely enhance the experience of reading.
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Fatale by Jean-Patrick Manchette | New York Review Books

Fatale by Jean-Patrick Manchette | New York Review Books | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
This crime-fiction novel sounds juicy with suspense, drama, and blood.

"Whether you call her a coldhearted grifter or the soul of modern capitalism, there’s no question that Aimée is a killer and a more than professional one. Now she’s set her eyes on a backwater burg—where, while posing as an innocent (albeit drop-dead gorgeous) newcomer to town, she means to sniff out old grudges and engineer new opportunities, deftly playing different people and different interests against each other the better, as always, to make a killing. But then something snaps: the master manipulator falls prey to a pure and wayward passion.

Aimée has become the avenging angel of her own nihilism, exacting the destruction of a whole society of destroyers. An unholy original, Jean-Patrick Manchette transformed the modern detective novel into a weapon of gleeful satire and anarchic fun. In Fatale he mixes equal measures of farce, mayhem, and madness to prepare a rare literary cocktail that packs a devastating punch."
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The Three Christs of Ypsilanti by Milton Rokeach | New York Review Books

The Three Christs of Ypsilanti by Milton Rokeach | New York Review Books | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
Either this reviewer is extremely persuasive or the reviewed book is really as fascinating as it sounds...or both! Guess there's just one way to find out: read it.

Excerpt:

"On July 1, 1959, at Ypsilanti State Hospital in Michigan, the social psychologist Milton Rokeach brought together three paranoid schizophrenics: Clyde Benson, an elderly farmer and alcoholic; Joseph Cassel, a failed writer who was institutionalized after increasingly violent behavior toward his family; and Leon Gabor, a college dropout and veteran of World War II.

The men had one thing in common: each believed himself to be Jesus Christ. Their extraordinary meeting and the two years they spent in one another’s company serve as the basis for an investigation into the nature of human identity, belief, and delusion that is poignant, amusing, and at times disturbing. Displaying the sympathy and subtlety of a gifted novelist, Rokeach draws us into the lives of three troubled and profoundly different men who find themselves “confronted with the ultimate contradiction conceivable for human beings: more than one person claiming the same identity.”"
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‘This Life Is in Your Hands’ by Melissa Coleman - Review

‘This Life Is in Your Hands’ by Melissa Coleman - Review | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
This memoir by Melissa Coleman looks very intriguing, especially given the New York Times' description of a suspenseful element to the book. [Note: you must have a paid subscription to read the NYT's article.]

Here's an excerpt about This Life is in Your Hands:

"Melissa Coleman was born in 1969 to parents who were hippie pioneers. In 1968 they had moved to Cape Rosier, Me., to start an organic farm and devote every waking hour to its upkeep...Their goals reflected Thoreau’s determination “to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life.”

Even if “This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone” did not have a subtitle that refers to a damaged family, the expectation of trouble in paradise would be inevitable.

...But the Colemans did not face an ordinary set of domestic problems, and that’s a big part of this book’s intense readability. Ms. Coleman, a freelance writer, overworks the foreshadowing and omen-dropping, but she manages to weave a lot of real suspense into the question of what type of destruction is in the offing.."
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23 Great Books Made Into Great Movies

23 Great Books Made Into Great Movies | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
It's a common complaint among book readers that movies based on books are typically not as good as the books. I agree - I'm usually disappointed by films based on books. But I also think the reverse occurs, as well. I'd bet these days there are more good-to-great films based on mediocre-to-bad-books (my supposition is that filmmakers are increasingly looking to books for inspiration). I'll add another post on a list of bad books but great movies.

This list is about great books made into great movies. Note that this list only includes the books I've read and then watched.

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (both the 1971 and 2005 movies are great renditions of this imaginative book)

2. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (as good as the book is, the movie might be even better)

3. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (the movie is such an amazing, well-acted version of this amazing book)

4. Dracula by Bram Stoker (the Francis Ford Coppola version of this book expertly captures the creepy, Gothic tone of the book...but the book is even scarier)

5. The Firm by John Grisham (a fast-paced, page-turning thriller that they translated really well for the movie...Tom Cruise is good)

6. The Godfather by Mario Puzo (the book is pretty good but I definitely think the movie is superior)

7. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (damn good movie with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh but if you believe it, the book is utterly riveting)

8. The Hours by Michael Cunningham (the acting in this great movie is memorable and powerful but what's missing is the pleasure of the exact prose in the brilliant book)

9. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (the book is engrossing and really puts you in the setting...the marvelous movie is a delicious version but this is one of the cases where there is so much more to think book even)

10. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (great movie, the book is even better)

11. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (really good movie classic but this book's brilliance may be impossible to fully express in another medium)

12. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien (perhaps my favorite book of all time -- the set of 3 -- and I was so grateful to be under the spell of the movie...again, though, this is one of those brilliant works that may be impossible to fully translate to another medium)

13. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

14. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

15. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (amazing, disturbing book that they really effectively transformed into a movie)

16. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (terrific book with a movie just as terrific)

17. Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy (the book is a little better but the all-star cast for the movie makes it pretty powerful)

18. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (I may like the movie even better than the book, which was damn good)

19. The Road by Cormac McCarthy (I admit that I had more appreciation for the book after watching the movie, but both are pretty powerful and emotional)

20. Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin (good book, even better movie)

21. Shopgirl by Steve Martin (since the author also stars in the movie, it's like having deja vu because the translation is seamless)

22. Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (both the book and the movie are terrifying)

23. Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (bizarre, deep book that is a damn good movie)
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The Uncoupling - The Barnes & Noble Review

The Uncoupling - The Barnes & Noble Review | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
First off, I am amazed by this review because it's in the form of colored drawings! I've never seen a book review like this before, have you? The illustrator is named Ward Sutton, and he draws/writes these once a month. Totally rad.

Second, the book that Sutton reviews, The Uncoupling, sounds interesting: it's about a town whose women are plagued by some mysterious "bug" that makes them find sex repelling.
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Earth Day 2011: 9 Of The Best Books You Should Read To Celebrate (PHOTOS)

Earth Day 2011: 9 Of The Best Books You Should Read To Celebrate (PHOTOS) | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
It's Earth Day, and in order to celebrate, we asked you what you'd be reading, or recommend reading, to recognize the day.
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Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War One >> Nonfiction that sounds juicy enough to read as fiction

Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War One >> Nonfiction that sounds juicy enough to read as fiction | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
Did you know that the World War I era leaders of Britain, Russia and Germany were all cousins? Yep, they were all descendants of Queen Victoria, if I'm correctly reading the summary of this nonfiction book. Poor Victoria must have been spinning around in her grave when war broke out and the blood that was shed shared the same genes.

"In "George, Nicholas and Wilhelm," a finalist in the biography category for this year's Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, British biographer Miranda Carter focuses on the nexus among the heads of state in three of the major combatants, Britain, Russia and Germany. The allied King George and Czar Nicholas were not only first cousins (their Danish mothers were sisters) but they looked so much alike that people frequently mistook one for the other. Nicholas' wife was also a first cousin to George (on his father's side) and Kaiser Wilhelm bore the same close relationship to both. (He was also related twice over to the czar.) In Carter's capable hands, what could so easily be little more than an annotated family tree springs to life full of vivid, flesh-and-blood characters and replete with family attachments, feuds and quarrels. As her story unfolds, we see just how determinative — and sometimes irrelevant — these turned out to be."
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Maya Soetoro-Ng Is the Latest Obama-Family Author

Maya Soetoro-Ng Is the Latest Obama-Family Author | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
I don't know what rock I've been hiding under, but apparently President Obama has a half-sister AND she just published a book!

"Mr. Obama was by then a best-selling author. But when he offered to introduce his little sister to his agent, Ms. Soetoro-Ng said, she refused. And she did not show him her book — a fictional paean to their mother, the free-spirited anthropologist Stanley Ann Dunham — until it sold to a publisher.

“That’s probably the stubbornness of a younger sister,” she said. “We all want to find our own path.”

But the path she has chosen, in her family at least, is crowded. When Ms. Soetoro-Ng’s book, “Ladder to the Moon,” hit bookshelves on Tuesday, it added to a growing Obama family literary canon. President Obama, whose first two books earned millions, recently published a children’s book. His wife, Michelle, just signed a contract with Crown Publishing for a book on the White House garden, due in April 2012."
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9 books about the gulf oil spill | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times

9 books about the gulf oil spill | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
I'm so excited to see that the number one ranked book about the BP oil spill, according to this LA Times reviewer, is written by a person I recently met en route to SXSW in Austin! The book is actually co-authored: oil-rig mariner John Konrad (the person sat next to on the flight) and former Washington Post reporter Tom Shroder.

Here's an excerpt on the top three books about the BP oil spill:

1. "Fire on the Horizon: The Untold Story of the Gulf Oil Disaster" by oil-rig mariner John Konrad and former Washington Post reporter Tom Shroder, Mohan writes, "deftly navigates around the good-guy versus bad-guy leitmotif.... Artfully and compellingly told, the book marries a John McPhee feel for the technology to a Jon Krakauer sense of an adventure turned tragic. Konrad writes, 'This is not a story of a rig, technology, the environment, corporate policy or government oversight, but it concerns each.' "

2. "A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea: The Race to Kill the BP Oil Gusher" by Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post, Mohan writes, "adds a candid view of the media's coverage." Mohan continues, "Achenbach lives up to his promises to make the disaster 'into a tale that everyone can comprehend,' with fluid, often Spartan prose and a candid tone.... Achenbach appears to be the only author among the bunch who bothered to obtain emails and other documents that were not revealed in testimony, which allows him to focus on Washington's response to the disaster."

3. "Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit" by Loren C. Steffy. Mohan writes: "Steffy focuses unrelentingly on BP's persistent failure to change its management culture.... The culture that rewarded short-term gains business unit by business unit wound up eviscerating the company's engineering, training and safety corps. That left BP more susceptible than most to an industry-wide blind spot: 'Exploration for oil in the Gulf of Mexico had become ruled by the engineer's conceit that the industry's technology was impeccable and by the financial arrogance that argued that safety would never be compromised because the fallout from a disaster would be so great that companies would never cut corners.' "
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"Three Cups of Tea" Author Greg Mortenson Under Scrutiny About Veracity of Book and Charity Orgs

"Three Cups of Tea" Author Greg Mortenson Under Scrutiny About Veracity of Book and Charity Orgs | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
Has anyone read "Three Cups of Tea?" I own a copy of the book but have yet to read it. I hear it's a great book. But author Mortenson is now being investigated for questionable actions around his charity organizations, as well as the claims made in "Three Cups of Tea," billed as nonfiction.

"But last fall, we began investigating complaints from former donors, board members, staffers, and charity watchdogs about Mortenson and the way he is running his non-profit organization. And we found there are serious questions about how millions of dollars have been spent, whether Mortenson is personally benefiting, and whether some of the most dramatic and inspiring stories in his books are even true.
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Trepidations Aside, ‘On the Road’ Becomes a Movie at Last

Trepidations Aside, ‘On the Road’ Becomes a Movie at Last | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
Jack Kerouac’s classic novel about the Beat generation is going to be made into a movie! This is one of my all-time favorite novels, so they better not screw up the movie. Apparently, "Twilight" star Kristen Stewart will be the female lead. The film is scheduled for release this Fall.



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A ‘Good Book,’ Absent God - NYT's Review [the Bible - re-imagined]

A ‘Good Book,’ Absent God - NYT's Review [the Bible - re-imagined] | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
There may be many Christians who will resent the premise of this book, but it sounds like The Good Book: A Humanist Bible takes a very intriguing intellectual approach to re-imagining the most influential book of all time.

The author, English philosopher A. C. Grayling (who spent 30 years compiling “The Good Book"), points out that the editors of the Hebrew Bible "took the legends of their Jewish forebears and wove them into one compelling, if digressive, narrative...in making their Bible of religious sources, its editors had implicitly renounced an entire humanist tradition, of the Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese and others, some of which was available to them."

It's true! I wonder how a very well-versed Christian would explain these gaps.

Author Grayling (who sounds like an atheist) imagines that "if things had gone a bit differently, we might have inherited a very different Bible. A better one..."

I hope this book isn't too dense because it is really something I'd like to read...maybe when I'm retired and have a ton of time on my hands. One day...

One more excerpt:

"“I noticed there is quite a contrast between those philosophies that derive from religious inspiration and those that derive from a humanist perspective, like Plato and Aristotle, Buddhism, Confucius, etc.,” said Mr. Grayling, who this month is touring the United States, speaking about and selling his bible.

“When you contrast those philosophies with the great young religions — Judaism and Christianity date from only two and three thousand years ago — I saw the humanist-derived ethical outlooks tended to take their start from the most generous view of human nature, and the belief that human life is very short, and we must understand how to make good lives for ourselves,” he said in an interview. “Whereas religious systems premise themselves on relationships between man and deity.”

That focus on the deity, Mr. Grayling believes, distracts from seeking the good life in the short time we are allotted."
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50 Most Influential Books of the Last 50 (or so) Years

50 Most Influential Books of the Last 50 (or so) Years | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
My Scoop.it friend, axelletess, is always so good at spotting these gems of articles. Thank you!

This is a very interesting list because it lists books of fiction and nonfiction that are considered to be "most influential. The listmaker, editors at SuperScholar, defined their criteria as follows:

"Not all the books on this list are “great.” The criterion for inclusion was not greatness but INFLUENCE. All the books on this list have been enormously influential.

...Because influence tends to be measured in years rather than months, it’s much easier to put older books (published in the 60s and 70s) on such a list than more recent books (published in the last decade). Older books have had more time to prove themselves. Selecting the more recent books required more guesswork, betting on which would prove influential in the long run.

We also tried to keep a balance between books that everyone buys and hardly anyone reads versus books that, though not widely bought and read, are deeply transformative. The Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa never sold as many records as some of the “one-hit wonders,” but their music has transformed the industry. Influence and popularity sometimes don’t go together. We’ve tried to reflect this in our list."

Below are the books I've read from this 50 best list. I've included my agreement/disagreement for the book's inclusion in this "most influential" list.

- "Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code (2003), an entertaining thriller, has been enormously influential in getting people to think that Jesus is not who Christians say he is and that Christianity is all a conspiracy." [Baochi: okay, I understand the point the editors are making in reinforcing the novel's key theme, but did this theme really influence that many people about a possible Christian conspiracy? I know a lot of people that read this novel, and I didn't hear them saying that this "theme" got them thinking about such a conspiracy. I disagree with this selection.]

- "Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Successful People (1989) set the standard for books on leadership and effectiveness in business." [Baochi: I agree with this choice. This book did set a standard for business books and perhaps even a trend in such books.]

- "Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) served as prelude to the civil rights advances of the 1960s by portraying race relations from a fresh vantage—the vantage of an innocent child untainted by surrounding racism and bigotry." [Baochi: totally agree with this choice.]

- "Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), as an example magical realism, epitomizes the renaissance in Latin American literature." [Baochi: totally agree with this choice. This novel also set a trend in the popularity of the magical realism genre of fiction.'

- "Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved (1987) provides a profound and moving reflection on the impact of American slavery." [Baochi: I mainly agree with this novel and the reason why it was chosen. I think a far more effective example, though, is Morrison's Song of Solomon, especially given it's the bigger masterpiece.]

- "J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series (seven volumes, 1997-2007), loved by children, panned by many literary critics, has nonetheless set the standard for contemporary children’s literature." [I agree with this choice. This series also encouraged scores of children to read -- always a bonus. But I do have to say that this series is nowhere the masterpiece of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings -- Tolkien's work is just hard to read and therefore less available to the masses.]

Looks like I've only read six out of the fifty books. By that definition, I haven't read many "influential" books. Titles I think should've been included on this list:

- The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester. Barnes and Noble synopsis here: http://bit.ly/eRyG6l. Influential because it was the first popular book about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary, giving readers a personal look into two very intriguing people who were major contributors to a reference book that has been the de facto standard for definitions of words in the English language. It's a nonfiction book that includes so many juicy details that it reads like a juicy novel.

- Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron. Barnes and Noble synopsis here: http://bit.ly/dYZ5nn. This firsthand account of depression by a Pultizer-prize winning author was the first of its kind because it fearlessly described the experience of depression to a public that at the time was largely hush-hush about the prevalent disorder.

- His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman. Barnes and Noble synopsis here:http://bit.ly/exmu8O. In this day and age of free thinking and suspicion of religion, there are still very few people who outright say they are atheist. Pullman is one of those. In this fantasy trilogy -- religion, Christianity, and purportedly C.S. Lewis' religion children series Chronicles of Narnia -- are all called into question and challenged.


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The Pumpkin Eater by Penelope Mortimer | New York Review Books

The Pumpkin Eater by Penelope Mortimer | New York Review Books | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
Anyone in the middle of a life crisis? This novel might be good commiseration therapy.

Excerpt:

"The Pumpkin Eater is a surreal black comedy about the wages of adulthood and the pitfalls of parenthood. A nameless woman speaks, at first from the precarious perch of a therapist’s couch, and her smart, wry, confiding, immensely sympathetic voice immediately captures and holds our attention. She is the mother of a vast, swelling brood of children, also nameless, and the wife of a successful screenwriter, Jake Armitage. The Armitages live in the city, but they are building a great glass tower in the country in which to settle down and live happily ever after. But could that dream be nothing more than a sentimental delusion? At the edges of vision the spectral children come and go, while our heroine, alert to the countless gradations of depression and the innumerable forms of betrayal, tries to make sense of it all: doctors, husbands, movie stars, bodies, grocery lists, nursery rhymes, messes, aging parents, memories, dreams, and breakdowns. How to pull it all together? Perhaps you start by falling apart."
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Now Reading | 'American Fashion Travel'

Now Reading | 'American Fashion Travel' | Read Ye, Read Ye | Scoop.it
What are the travel preferences of the rich and famous? This book tells all.
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