Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby Carlington » Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:37 am UTC

TheOtherDOOMGuy wrote:...And then I went on to read other Stephen King, and thought, wow.... And this guy wrote something as good as the Dark Tower?

Oh, that's a big call! I'll have to disagree, I'm afraid

Also, I already mentioned the Dark Tower a while back.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:47 am UTC

TheOtherDOOMGuy wrote:The Gunslinger, by Stephen King.
His first ever book written,
Er..... What?
His first book was Carrie in '73. The Dark Tower stuff wasn't published until .. well, it was put in a magazine first in '77 to '81, then published as a formal book in '82.

...which reminds me, I should check and see what edition my dad's old copy is.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby Lithium33 » Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:14 pm UTC

TheOtherDOOMGuy wrote:Don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but I can't believe I totally forgot about it.

The Gunslinger, by Stephen King.
His first ever book written, and turned into a massively detailed, deep story. Although I will probably be disagreed with, I definitely think this series is well worth a read.

And then I went on to read other Stephen King, and thought, wow.... And this guy wrote something as good as the Dark Tower?


The Stand is better than The Dark Tower series, although I love them both.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby rat4000 » Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:49 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
TheOtherDOOMGuy wrote:The Gunslinger, by Stephen King.
His first ever book written,
Er..... What?
His first book was Carrie in '73. The Dark Tower stuff wasn't published until .. well, it was put in a magazine first in '77 to '81, then published as a formal book in '82.

...which reminds me, I should check and see what edition my dad's old copy is.

He didn't say the first one to come out, he said the first one written.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:43 pm UTC

That.. would still be Carrie, which his wife rescued from the garbage can and made him finish. Unless we're counting "written" to mean "ideas floating in one's head that aren't committed to paper or anything concrete that allows one to work them out into a coherent story"
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby aurumelectrum13 » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

The only Stephen King books I could read were The Dead Zone and Lisey's Story, because they aren't horror, per se. THe dark Tower books are pretty damn dense.

Anyway, on topic:

Tess of the D'Ubervilles and "The Three Strangers" (Short Story) by Thomas Hardy
Utopia by Sir Thomas More
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, if only to realize why so many people hate it.
"The Final Question" (Short Story) by Isaac Asimov, as well as any other stories that catch your eye.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby dedalus » Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:29 am UTC

I was going to ask why Atlas Shrugged was such a bad book, but then I read the wikipedia plot synopsis and it all became clear :P...
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby rat4000 » Fri Jul 31, 2009 3:23 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:That.. would still be Carrie, which his wife rescued from the garbage can and made him finish. Unless we're counting "written" to mean "ideas floating in one's head that aren't committed to paper or anything concrete that allows one to work them out into a coherent story"
My mistake, then. I thought that somewhere in the Dark Tower series itself he said that it was the first book he wrote, but apparently I read wrong. Or maybe I read right and it simply wasn't that way in reality.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:50 pm UTC

Or maybe he's defining his first book differently than I. I mean, if he had the story kicking around for a while but never put it down to paper until after he'd already written and published a bunch of other stuff (Carrie, Salem's Lot, a crapload of short stories) then he may be counting it as his first. I would not.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby Ouiser » Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:26 pm UTC

And--oh, infamy!--where is Thomas Covenant? Where is the Unbeliever?



This post had objectionable content.


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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby inarus » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:12 pm UTC

Regardless of what genre you read, Fahrenheit 451 should be compulsory. It shows how the world would be without books, and although it is now sixty years old, it's still important, and it always will be. Other than that, I think it depends on what you like to read.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby dg61 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:45 pm UTC

I'm noticing that there seems to be some neglect of non-english and non-western lit. With that in mind, here are some random essential non-English or non-western work.Apologies if any of this has already been mentioned.
The Baghavad-Gita,the Tao Te Ching, the poetry of Hafiz, Ferdowsi's Shanamah, Persian poetry in general, anything by Dostoyevsky, Akutagawa's stories, Kawabata's Snow Country(hauntingly,hauntingly, beautiful), and the short stories of Borges. It can't hurt to read Arabic-language novels, either, but the only ones I've read are the first two books of the Cairo Trilogy by Mahfouz. In general, I feel that the the biggest boosts American culture could receive is most widespread reading of literature in translation that isn't French or prehaps Russian.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby Aardvarki » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:30 pm UTC

Lithium33 wrote:
TheOtherDOOMGuy wrote:Don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but I can't believe I totally forgot about it.

The Gunslinger, by Stephen King.
His first ever book written, and turned into a massively detailed, deep story. Although I will probably be disagreed with, I definitely think this series is well worth a read.

And then I went on to read other Stephen King, and thought, wow.... And this guy wrote something as good as the Dark Tower?


The Stand is better than The Dark Tower series, although I love them both.


I haven't read The Dark Tower series, but having read The Stand, I find this statement difficult to believe. I'm a big King fan, but the ending to The Stand was the most anti-climactic crap I'd ever read. The first thousand or so pages were AWESOME, and then the ending came and crapped all over everything and put a permanent nasty taste in my mouth. The ending is what you remember best, after all.

Spoilered - even though I'm not giving away any plot details
Spoiler:
I was 50 pages away from the end of the book thinking "why hasn't something big happened yet?" - then I was 25 pages away from the end thinking "it's gotta be coming soon, why hasn't something big happened yet?" - then I was 10 pages away from the end thinking "WTF!? Why isn't anything big happening!?" - and then finally, something like two pages from the end of the book, THE ENDING HAPPENED! The end. No conclusion, nothing. It just happened. Then the book ended. It felt like the editor just cut him off as he was getting to the end and said "okay - you've got 10 minutes to finish it, lets wrap it up", so King just scribbled down a couple pages of crap with which to end the book. Honestly, I think I could've ended it better myself, and I'm a terrible writer.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby MotorToad » Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:41 pm UTC

Aardvarki wrote:Spoilered - even though I'm not giving away any plot details
Spoiler:
I was 50 pages away from the end of the book thinking "why hasn't something big happened yet?" - then I was 25 pages away from the end thinking "it's gotta be coming soon, why hasn't something big happened yet?" - then I was 10 pages away from the end thinking "WTF!? Why isn't anything big happening!?" - and then finally, something like two pages from the end of the book, THE ENDING HAPPENED! The end. No conclusion, nothing. It just happened. Then the book ended. It felt like the editor just cut him off as he was getting to the end and said "okay - you've got 10 minutes to finish it, lets wrap it up", so King just scribbled down a couple pages of crap with which to end the book. Honestly, I think I could've ended it better myself, and I'm a terrible writer.

You should try Hearts in Atlantis. No, really. You'll go back to The Stand thinking it's the strongest, most fulfilling ending to a book. Ever.

I really like his story lines and characters, so I think in the future I'll just read 80-85% of the book and spend the rest of my life wondering how it ended. I'm sure my imagination can't be worse than his endings.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby Aardvarki » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:21 pm UTC

I really like his story lines and characters, so I think in the future I'll just read 80-85% of the book and spend the rest of my life wondering how it ended. I'm sure my imagination can't be worse than his endings.


Agreed, agreed, agreed.

On the subject of terrible endings - have you read Crichton's "Sphere"?
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby lollypatrolly » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:45 pm UTC

It's probably been mentioned, but anyone who wants to touch on sci-fi or fantasy should go through a mandatory course of Dune, Enders Game, and I hate to say this, LotR. While LotR may not hold up very well to today's standards, particularly with regards to characters and pacing (depending on how high you set your standards, at least), it's still a landmark in the genre and along with Dune provides good examples of world building whch are pretty much unmatched to date.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby novax6 » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:16 am UTC

Aardvarki wrote:
Lithium33 wrote:
TheOtherDOOMGuy wrote:Don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but I can't believe I totally forgot about it.

The Gunslinger, by Stephen King.
His first ever book written, and turned into a massively detailed, deep story. Although I will probably be disagreed with, I definitely think this series is well worth a read.

And then I went on to read other Stephen King, and thought, wow.... And this guy wrote something as good as the Dark Tower?


The Stand is better than The Dark Tower series, although I love them both.


I haven't read The Dark Tower series, but having read The Stand, I find this statement difficult to believe. I'm a big King fan, but the ending to The Stand was the most anti-climactic crap I'd ever read. The first thousand or so pages were AWESOME, and then the ending came and crapped all over everything and put a permanent nasty taste in my mouth. The ending is what you remember best, after all.


Actually it's probably true, because, although I haven't read The Stand, The Dark Tower is one of the most disappointing series i've ever read. It should be on the 'books every reader should stay away from' list, IMO.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby fillster » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:17 am UTC

For books that every reader should read, I would suggest Turn of the Screw for its unspoken and infinitely frustrating challenge to the reader to refrain from conclusions, One Hundred Years of Solitude for its lack of resemblance to any other book that I have read and its incredibly intricate storytelling that places horror beside beauty and gives the reader an idea of Latin America's history, Crime and Punishment for knowingly persuading the reader to abandon their morals and become a cold-blooded murderer living as his pathetic character, Dune (as many others have), and LoTR(of course).
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby Okapi » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:19 pm UTC

inarus wrote:Regardless of what genre you read, Fahrenheit 451 should be compulsory. It shows how the world would be without books, and although it is now sixty years old, it's still important, and it always will be. Other than that, I think it depends on what you like to read.


False. Nothing by Bradbury is Gospel. Nothing by Bradbury is good. And the irony is that Fahrenheit 451 is one of the few books that I would, in fact, burn, if only so that I would never accidentally pick them up and read them again. Trained monkeys write better than Ray "Anticlimax" Bradbury.


Personally, spanning and transcending genre and interest, the only book that I can say should absolutely be read by everybody at some point is East of Eden. It is easily one of the, if not simply the, best novels ever written, and is a journey through the human psyche and the human condition.



EDIT: And yes, King sucks, but he at least has his place, in the hands of children that enjoy horror stories and also those with IQ's of under 80, whereas, say, Bradbury, has absolutely no place in civilized literature. Or anything at all involved in education or entertainment.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby novax6 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:36 pm UTC

Okapi wrote:
inarus wrote:Regardless of what genre you read, Fahrenheit 451 should be compulsory. It shows how the world would be without books, and although it is now sixty years old, it's still important, and it always will be. Other than that, I think it depends on what you like to read.


False. Nothing by Bradbury is Gospel. Nothing by Bradbury is good. And the irony is that Fahrenheit 451 is one of the few books that I would, in fact, burn, if only so that I would never accidentally pick them up and read them again. Trained monkeys write better than Ray "Anticlimax" Bradbury.


Personally, spanning and transcending genre and interest, the only book that I can say should absolutely be read by everybody at some point is East of Eden. It is easily one of the, if not simply the, best novels ever written, and is a journey through the human psyche and the human condition.



EDIT: And yes, King sucks, but he at least has his place, in the hands of children that enjoy horror stories and also those with IQ's of under 80, whereas, say, Bradbury, has absolutely no place in civilized literature. Or anything at all involved in education or entertainment.


That seems harsh, I've never read Fahrenheit 451, but both The Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked This Way Comes are both very enjoyable books.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby Okapi » Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:48 am UTC

Believe me, the Martian Chronicles is the peak of Bradbury. And it isn't any good, either, in my opinion.

Still, Steinbeck is Best American Author of All Time.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:53 am UTC

I realize that I will make a lot of enemies by saying this, but you do need some Ayn Rand. Yes, she is a bit simplistic in her good vs evil views, but her description of 'collectivism' is horrifyingly accurate; there is always a few in power only interested in having as much control as possible over every aspect of your life, the founders ALWAYS put themselves as supreme leader.

Also, her complaint that "popular" art and architecture seem to be little more than 'tack on as much shit as possible', is rather spot on.

I mainly take issue with the whole "screw the weak" mentality she seems to have. She seems to live in a world where no one ever becomes disabled and can't work, or grows old and senile, or becomes pregnant. Sorry, individualism ends when you have children.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:57 am UTC

Okapi wrote:Still, Steinbeck is Best American Author of All Time.


Better than Mark Twain? Hemmingway? Ralph Ellison? Faulkner? Isaac Asimov? Heinlein? Arthur Miller?
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby Okapi » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:42 am UTC

Okay, Faulkner may have a case, but Twain is only third. And I detest Hemingway. The others are all intermediate, though, yes.

Best British authour is a different matter. Personally, just because you mentioned Twain, I am tempted to say Wilde. I'm rather fond of Yeats, but it is his poetry, not his prose, that I find appealing; Most people can't write poetry worth a shit, but a few can, and Yeats is one of them. The list, as far as I've seen it, is:
Plath
Yeats
Shakespeare
Blake
Keats
And I think I am forgetting one. But essentially everything else is crap.

But, yeah, you got me with the whole Faulkner thing, but Steinbeck is still possibly better.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:00 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:I realize that I will make a lot of enemies by saying this, but you do need some Ayn Rand. Yes, she is a bit simplistic in her good vs evil views, but her description of 'collectivism' is horrifyingly accurate; there is always a few in power only interested in having as much control as possible over every aspect of your life, the founders ALWAYS put themselves as supreme leader.

Also, her complaint that "popular" art and architecture seem to be little more than 'tack on as much shit as possible', is rather spot on.

I mainly take issue with the whole "screw the weak" mentality she seems to have. She seems to live in a world where no one ever becomes disabled and can't work, or grows old and senile, or becomes pregnant. Sorry, individualism ends when you have children.

I liked Ayn Rand the artistic individualist, less so Ayn Rand the hypercapitalist. I think if Ayn Rand gets an entry to the literary canon, it's The Fountainhead, rather than Atlas Shrugged.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby Scarborough » Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:09 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Okapi wrote:Still, Steinbeck is Best American Author of All Time.


Better than Mark Twain? Hemmingway? Ralph Ellison? Faulkner? Isaac Asimov? Heinlein? Arthur Miller?

David Foster Wallace? Thomas Pynchon? Donald Barthelme?
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:23 pm UTC

Take it to another thread
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby smw543 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:26 pm UTC

Okapi wrote:Okay, Faulkner may have a case, but Twain is only third. And I detest Hemingway. The others are all intermediate, though, yes.

Best British authour is a different matter. Personally, just because you mentioned Twain, I am tempted to say Wilde. I'm rather fond of Yeats, but it is his poetry, not his prose, that I find appealing; Most people can't write poetry worth a shit, but a few can, and Yeats is one of them. The list, as far as I've seen it, is:
Plath
Yeats
Shakespeare
Blake
Keats
And I think I am forgetting one. But essentially everything else is crap.
Spoiler:
The list, as far as I've seen it
This part: it's important.

Which is to say I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're simply unfamiliar with:
Essential:
Donne
Milton
Chaucer
Not Essential, but Still Really Good:
Wordsworth (and his homeboy, Coleridge1)
Shelley
Dryden
Tennyson

To name a few that popped into my head. And that's not even counting modern Brits (your most recent one died in the '60s). I know people who would tear you limb from limb for suggesting there are only five or six worthwhile British poets.

1Exception: Rhime of the Ancient Mariner is mandatory, at least until people stop misquoting it.
Books You Should Read:
Something Happened - Heller's followup to Catch-22. Didn't get as much attention, but Vonnegut said it was Heller's best book, and I have to agree. There's almost no plot, the protagonist is pretty much an asshole, and some of the parentheticals stretch as far as nine pages. But you'll love it.

In Pharaoh's Army - One of Tobias Wolff's memoirs. I guarantee you've never seen Vietnam like this. It's a fascinating, often insightful perspective on a little-understood conflict (and his engaging prose style certainly doesn't hurt any).

Mythology (Edith Hamilton) - The woman was made an honorary citizen of Athens. 'Nuff said.

Limericks: Isaac Asimov & John Ciardi in a War of Words - Nearly 600 limericks of the highest quality; if you only buy one book of limericks, make it this one. (Also, they take turns introducing each section, and end up spending the whole time ripping on each other (from the opening: "The true form absolutely demands that third rhyme, and what it demands is that the rhyme be both deft and outrageous. Asimov has never found it hard to be outrageous. Unfortunately, he learned his deftness by rule of thumbs—ten of them").)
Spoiler:
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby MotorToad » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:11 pm UTC

smw543 wrote:Limericks: Isaac Asimov & John Ciardi in a War of Words - Nearly 600 limericks of the highest quality; if you only buy one book of limericks, make it this one. (Also, they take turns introducing each section, and end up spending the whole time ripping on each other (from the opening: "The true form absolutely demands that third rhyme, and what it demands is that the rhyme be both deft and outrageous. Asimov has never found it hard to be outrageous. Unfortunately, he learned his deftness by rule of thumbs—ten of them").)

How have I never found this? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN HIDING IT? I needs this.
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Re: Books You Believe Every Book Reader Should Read.

Postby tommorris » Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:55 pm UTC

The Rumpled Academic wrote:
I'm told Plato's Republic is a nifty read.


It actually is! There's a lot of really crazy shit tucked away in the second half - like how reproductive rights out to be distributed by a fixed lottery, favouring those with more desirable genetic traits and excluding the weak/ugly proportion of the population from getting jiggy, without them realising it. I'm not even kidding - it's in there.


Republic is good, but people need to read more of the rest of Plato. There is so much more! Euthyphro is brilliant, as is Apology and Crito. A lot of readers of the Phaedo have found it emotionally engaging; I have to say I didn't get very exicted by it. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the Euthydemus - it's a total knock-about.

SpiderMonkey wrote:Speak of which, Ayn Rand is a waste of time - half baked philosophy for spoilt college students looking for something to justify their immense, unearned privilege. It is for people who doggedly refuse to recognise the benefit they have gained from society as a whole and thus consider it terribly unfair they are expected to pull their weight. Don't try and give anything back, just strut around calling yourself a 'Prime Mover' or some shit like that...


Hell yeah. Rand's politics is actually the least bad bit of her philosophy. Her logic, metaphysics and epistemology are a joke, and how she moves from metaphysics and epistemology to ethics and politics seems the unargued for step in her philosophy. While I agree with the outcome of her metaphysics and epistemology, I don't believe that (a) she makes a good case for them or (b) she makes a convincing case that if you accept her metaphysics and epistemology, they entail accepting her ethics and politics.

The only Coupland that has been suggested is JPod. It was okay - but I didn't rank it quite as high as Coupland's other novels. JPod just felt like it was Microserfs updated to be more Web 2.0. Which is fine, but Microserfs is still worth reading. I greatly enjoyed Hey, Nostradamus!. Obviously, though, Generation X must be re-read every so often.

As for my books everyone should read list:

Friedrich Nietzsche. Take your pick, really. Human, All Too Human is my particular favourite. Problem is that the follow-up to Human, All Too Human - The Wanderer and His Shadow aren't available in Penguin - you have to get the expensive scholarly edition to read that. Obviously, also read On the Genealogy of Morals and Thus Spake Zarathustra.

Kierkegaard. Either/Or. Tough one to pick a Kierkegaard. Problem with Either/Or is everyone gets so crazy about the Diary of the Seducer (which they read as autobiographical or they read for tittilation - and it isn't really good as either). I tend to prefer the rest of "A". Read the Hong and Hong or Swenson edition, don't bother with the Penguin abridged version.

Anything by David Armstrong. Universals: An Opinonated Introduction changed my way of thinking a lot. But, you know, it's analytic philosophy. Not exactly mass market.
tommorris
 
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