Your Top Ten Books

by GinnyTosken 52 Replies latest jw friends

  • RR

    Not neccessarily in this order, but here is my list:

    1. Apoclypse Delayed - M. James Penton

    2. Crisis of Conscious - Raymond Franz

    3. Dating the Desolation: 607 - Jerry Leslie

    4. In Search of Christian Freedom - Raymond Franz

    5. Jehovah's WItnesses and Kindred Groups - Gerald Bergman

    6. Millennial Fever - George R. Knight

    7. The Laodicean Messenger - Memoirs of Pastor Russell - W. Wisdom

    8. The Divine plan of the Ages - Charles Taze Russell

    9. The Disappointed - Ronald Numbers/Jonathan Butler

    10. 30 Years a Slave of the Watchtower - WIlliam Schnell

    Less Religion and more Jesus!

  • Englishman

    OK, here's mine, just a few novels that I couldn't put down.

    A Painted House - John Grisham.

    Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres.

    The seventh scroll - Wilbur Smith.


  • RedhorseWoman

    Well, of course, Stephen King can knock the JW out of pretty much anyone, as can Dean Koontz.

    However, along the lines of challenging religious ideas:

    1. One River, Many Wells.

    2. The Celestine Prophecy.

    3. Rabbi Jesus.

    4. Things Your Church Doesn't Want You to Know.

  • Tina

    Hi Ginny!,
    Like I said ,it's gonna be hard to narrow it down to just 10 books,that I found influential.....
    1.The Mask Of Sanity-Cleckley
    2.Between Universalism and Skepticism-Philips
    3.The Informed hear-Bettelheim
    4.The Weaker Vessel-Fraser
    5.Cults-Faith,Healing and Coercion-Galanter
    6. Recovery from Cults-Langone
    7. Madness and Moderism-Sass
    8.Anything by Lifton.SInger,and Zimbardo
    Douglas,Ressler,Hazelwood-(too many articles and books to name lol

  • wasasister

    Finally got around to finding the quote I was looking for. When I first went online, a friend insisted I must read "Gravity's Rainbow" by Thomas Pynchon. Although the book is almost cruel in its weirdness, it does have bits of great writing. The following passage describes the experience of a young American soldier during WW2, visiting the home of his British girlfriend and her elderly aunt. The aunt has decided to show her approval of the young man by sharing her collection of rare, pre-war candies with him. He finds them all disgusting, but is trying to be polite. He descibes some of them as tasting like mayonnaise or gin. It gets worse from there.

    (I hope I get this "quote" mechanism right, if not forgive me?)

    Darlene is handing him a hard red candy, molded like a stylized, which oddly enough even tastes like a raspberry, though it can't begin to take away that bitterness. Impatiently, he bites into it, and in the act knows, f**ing idiot, he's been had once more, there comes pouring out into his tongue the most godawful crystalline concentration of Jeez it must be pure nitric acid...."Oh, that's nothing try one of these" The Meggezone is like being belted in the head with a Swiss Alp. Menthol icicles immediately begin to grow from the roof of Slothrop's mouth. Polar bears seek toenail-holds up the freezing frosty-grape alveolar clusters in his lungs. It hurts his teeth too much to breath, even through his nose, even - necktie loosened - with his nose down inside the neck of his olive-drab T-shirt. Benzoin vapors seep into his brain. He head floats in a halo of ice. Even an hour later, the Meggezone stil lingers, a mint ghost in the air...

    I have a few other books to add, but for now I would give honorable mention to a great non-fiction work: The Language Instinct by Stephen Pinker, a wonderful insight into how the human minds manages spoken words.

    Thanks Ginny, for making us all think about great books.

  • dedalus

    Wow, great topic. First, an aside to Englishman:

    A Painted House - John Grisham.

    Grisham -- no, no, he's rubbish, trash, a hack, aaaargh!

    Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres.

    An first-rate novel. Too bad Nicolas Cage is going to screw it up in the soon-to-be-released movie adaptation.

    Okay, my list -- some of these helped with Witnesses and getting away from them -- all of them have helped me with getting along in life.

    1) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce.

    I get my handle from the main character, who escapes the net of family, religion, country, and devotes himself to art. I snuck out of a district convention when I was a teenager and bought this book ... it changed the way I read, thought, wrote.

    2) Ulysses, James Joyce.

    Yeah, it's difficult; yeah, you need a book of annotations to understand parts of it properly. But what most people miss is how funny this book is.

    3) The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon.

    I can't say I've read Gravity's Rainbow yet, probably because it requires the same attention as Ulysses. This smaller and more accessible book is great for its uncanny depiction of American life, with all its lunacies, conspiracies, banalities ...

    4) Selected Poems, James Tate.

    A friend of mine had this book in high school; recently I got another copy, reread it, and the effect was ghostly, I guess. The poems to me are both new and familiar; I think it's more than nostalgia. Here's a poem, and you either get it, or you don't.

    Frivolous Blind Death Child

    The lake was filled with wax,
    and the ducks were wax.
    The reeds were wax reeds,
    and the wind was a waxy wind.

    How beautiful you are
    asleep in my arms.
    So as not to waken you
    I gladly cut them off.

    Frivolous blind death child
    covered with stardust,
    why do you stick your tongue
    inside the clock,
    why do you follow me
    into the toolshed?

    You have a third mouth
    where most people hide
    their third eye.

    Can you taste the gold mountain,
    can you taste the gold flower,
    can you taste the gold knife?
    No, no! That is the gold butterfly!

    5) The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky.

    The right of the son to murder his father; the right of man to dispense with God. Impossible to do justice here to this book.

    6) Tom Jones, Henry Fielding.

    Sometimes, when Joyce and Pynchon and Tate become irritating in their obscurity, it's refreshing to have a helpful narrator who does whatever he can to make your reading more pleasurable, even if it means taking time out from the story to ask how you are, share a friendly thought or two, fluff up your pillows, and warn you of what's to come.

    7) Of Human Bondage, W. Somerset Maugham.

    REM already mentioned this; I like it because Philip, the protagonist, discards all of his values, morals, and ethics (religious and otherwise) and starts over. But he doesn't lose his humanity -- he doesn't become a Raskolnikov -- doesn't murder his uncle when he has the chance.

    8) If on a winter's night a traveler, Italo Calvino.

    The first chapter is a seduction of the reader, who is the main character, who is trying to read a copy of If on a winter's night a traveler. This isn't an easy task, since the novel has been incorrectly bound by the publisher. So I suppose you both are and are not reading this novel when you read it. All comic postmodernist fiction should be this fun; where writers like Barth become tedious, Calvino stays fresh and interesting.

    9) A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, Julian Barnes.

    Okay, so, this novel shouldn't be on a top ten list, but I'm putting it here anyway. It's comic, clever, sometimes a little cute -- in all, a pretty good anti-novel that is strangely obsessed with termites. A good amount of biblical satire. (A better choice for this spot on my list would have been Molloy, by Samuel Beckett, but it's too late to change anything now.)

    10) One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

    Read this book. Read this book. Read this book.

    That's it, more or less. I can't rightly call this my top ten, really -- just the ten books that first came to mind.


  • dedalus

    oops, posted twice

  • Tina

    Hi Ded!!
    Im going to put the Marquez book on my order list. Thanks. Wishing you and yours well,hugs,T

  • JanH

    Hmm, good thread idea, Ginny. As I am drowning in books, it will be quite hard to pick my top 10. So, this is really just Ten Books I Like and Which Comes Off the Top of My Head Right Now, In No Particular Order. I have only added one book by each author.

    1. Jack Miles. God - A Biography.

    Jack Miles is an expert in Biblical studies -- Hebrew in particular --and also in literary criticism. This sounds like an odd combination, but what is better than analyzing the figure "God" as we find him in the Tanakh (Jewish Bible; the Old Testament in a slightly different order). We follow The Bible's protagonist, a Sky-God called, somewhat unimaginatively, God, from Genesis through Job, where he decides to stop talking, until we see him as an ancient, silent man with white hair in Daniel. It is a brilliant story, and one that helped me to really understand some Bible sections I had read countless times earlier, for the first time. Won a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize.

    2. Richard Dawkins. The Selfish Gene.

    Any of Richard Dawkins' books for the general public could have made this list, but I choose this one. A revolutionary book about the science of evolutionary biology. First, it tells the amazing story about how life originated from natural causes, and what the modern synthetic theory of evolution is. His wit and clear thinking gives great entertainment while teaching us a complicated topic. Creationism was arguably dying when this book was published. This book nailed the coffin shut. Second, the book started a whole new field with the speculation about "memes", arguably one of the best ideas expressed in the whole decade.

    3. J. R. R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings.

    This trilogy defined, if not created, the whole fantasy genre. If you haven't read it, you've lost a whole world. Enuff said.

    4. Isaac Asimov. Foundation.

    I read the Foundation Trilogy at the same time as the Lord Of Rings. Amazing how much great fiction a mind can absorb at one time. Asimov created a whole, populated world out of our galaxy. He also created a history of a civilization that is not and was not, but that may well be. Breath-taking.

    5. Nick Hornby. High Fidelity.

    Fun, witty, great, brilliant. I only have one thing against this book: it gave away too many secrets to women. Some of them may have suspected we were actually like this. Now they know. Ah, well. It had to happen sooner or later.

    6. Patrick Süskind. Perfume -- The Story of a Murderer.

    One of the best novels ever written, period. It's about a man who perceives the world of pre-revolutionary France through his nose. Originally written in German (I read it in Norwegian). I could not imagine such a brilliant book could even exist before I read it, and was unprepared for the shock.

    7. Neil Stephenson. Snow Crash.

    One great science fiction novel. Fun and, IMO, one of the most conceivable stories about the future written in our time.

    8. Douglas Adams. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. ('Trilogy' of 5)

    What can I say? The classic. Everything written by Douglas Adams is great and fun. Having fun with the English language like few others, Adams creates the Monty Python version of Asimov's "Foundation". A classic. You can hardly find a newspaper in modern Britain without a headline making a pun on some Hithchiker's theme. Don't panic! But read it.

    9. Rodney Stark. The Rise of Christianity.

    Sociologists are an odd bunch. Most sociology written over the last few decades have been postmodern junk of miniscule scientific value. Stark uses serious statistical analysis, and combines it with source criticism, creating a sociological-historical analysis no historian of early Christianity will be able to ignore. The rise of christianity from a small beginning is well explained.

    10. Norman Cohn. Europe's Inner Demons.

    The continuation of Christianity, so to say. The book is about the horrible witch processes, which unlike what people think did not happen in Medieval Europe but in the 1500s and 1600s. Cohn goes through the real records and debunks lots of popular myths. He demonstrates there were no real witches, no primitive nature religion, just a community of Christians all too eager to have their fellow Christians killed over their own fantasies about a hidden brotherhood of evil (continued today in various conspiracy theories).

    - Jan
    "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate." - Occam

  • logical

    My 10 favourite books:

    01] The Bible
    02] The Internet
    03] Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
    04] Restaurant at the End of the Universe
    05] Life, the Universe & Everything
    06] So Long and Thanks for the Fish
    07] Mostly Harmless
    08] Adrian Mole
    09] Argos Catalogue
    10] Cooking instructions on food

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