Books that changed your world

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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:15 pm

I remember Jeffery Archer *washes slime out of mouth immediately* when he was incarcerated - if you can call it that - :roll: finding out the hard way that one can't wriggle out of writing awful things indefinitely. That (and his perjury) gave him a long overdue introduction to the real world of us lesser plebs :twisted:

Does he still write? Does any one know? Or care?

Someone (was it BaldJean or Friede?) was saying the other day about history being the victor's tale, but sometimes the reverse is true as well. Karl Marx for instance has gone through it from both sides and survived in various levels of popularity if only in academia

Marx wrote:"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."

What's viewed as beyond the pale in some eras is acceptable in others. Nobody can read every book in existence, so everyone to some extent is self-censoring in what they select to read and what they reject. How awful if nobody had ever read The Communist Party Manifesto or Das Kapital. Communism's got a tarnished rep these days but what a concept to miss out on! That everyone could be equal! Amazing - for all the wrong practical reasons maybe, because we're all venal competitive opportunistic story-telling apes who are all, almost to a man, woman, child and third sex, extremely good at deluding ourselves on just how great we are. But he changed the world and gave the 'masses' more than opium, religion and especially TV to chew over whilst they sank back into apathy. :roll:

Would you say the same thing about Mein Kampf or The Little Red Book? Are they not great in their own way? They're both certainly important and should be read - how else to study and learn how a nation can be deluded, manipulated and coaxed into euphoria, hysteria and finally selective dementia on a glorious road to Lebensraum through genocide and the systemic debasement and destruction of knowledge through racial dynamism and endeavour (both Germans and Jews). :evil: Or forced several generations into controlling and limiting the number of children they give birth to and penalised them heavily for not doing so, by being kept in poverty and enslavement in all but name in a totalitarian society that claimed to be equal for all...?

Where do you start saying - I won't read that? In the end it's all down to your own tastes and preference and all that I've said is complete and utter tosh, because, as much as some of those books really are important, however much they might be completely and utterly deranged and warped, I would never read them in a million years, or certainly in my allotted time, because their effects are already amongst us and I don't want to read them, even if I was attracted to them in any way whatsoever. Why not - honest reason? They'd bore the tits off me :roll: I don't need to read them.

Great as my admiration and 'affection' is for pooh's opinions, he could no more convince me that I should read Richard Dawkins than I could ask him to read the Silmarillion every night for an hour (I wouldn't wish on that on my worst enemy acutally, because I couldn't do it either! :lol: ). I'm an atheist too but I won't read a syllable of Dawkins god-busting literature from what I know of him, because I think on that subject he's an obnoxious, 'down your throat bigot', who's as bad in his way as the Rev. Ian Paisley and gives atheism a bad name... Plus reading about religion (or why there shouldn't be any) gives me a headache unless it's patently impossible, mythic or ridiculous, or all three, which actually means I could probably read most things and have in some respects. How can people get passionate about total bollocks? :lol:

Give me something unbelievable to believe in - now that's a real challenge and why I love fantasy :twisted:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Postby chris.ph » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:33 pm

thiis is doing my head in :lol: :lol:, who is the blinkin author :?: :?: :?: :?: pm me with the name :!: :!: i ve probably got the books anyway if they are fairly well known..... aaaarrrrrgggghhhhh ive got to know :twisted: :twisted:
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Postby spideyGirl » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:59 pm

I like Richard Dawkins but didn't like the God Delusion (I am an atheist so it wasn't that I was objectioning to its proposition). I just don't think it's arguments were coherent enough. It did have some very interesting points.

Would heartily recommend 'The Selfish Gene' though, it took me two gos to read it as I am came at it with the wrong mindset when I first tried it. I had no scientific background and just didn't get what it was saying. Very glad I tried again, evolution is indeed a wonderous thing. I knew the laymans version of what evolution was but this made me look the world in a completely different way. A true eye opener.

Knowing what I do now about the Narnia books has spoilt the magic of those books for me :(

As for Tolkien, loved these books but they did drag on a bit in parts...Anyone fancy a pint? :D
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Postby chris.ph » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:05 pm

somebody mention beer :D :D
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Postby spideyGirl » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:13 pm

chris.ph wrote:somebody mention beer :D :D


:D
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Postby deldaisy » Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:07 am

:wink: Bouncy's Bar shhhhhhhhhhh
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Postby BaldFriede » Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:22 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:
Give me something unbelievable to believe in - now that's a real challenge and why I love fantasy :twisted:

Are you aware that this is the advice the White Queen gives to Alice in "Through the Looking Glass"?

'You needn't say "exactly",' the Queen remarked. 'I can believe it without that. Now I'll give you something to believe. I'm just one hundred and one, five months and a day.'

'I ca'n't believe that!' said Alice.

'Ca'n't you?' the Queen said in a pitying tone. 'Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.'

Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said 'one ca'n't believe impossible things.'

'I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!'
Last edited by BaldFriede on Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby mystmoon » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:32 pm

BaldFriede wrote:
Jan Van Quirm wrote:
Give me something unbelievable to believe in - now that's a real challenge and why I love fantasy :twisted:

Are you aware that this is the advice the White Queen givwes to Alice in "Through the Looking Glass"?

'You needn't say "exactly",' the Queen remarked. 'I can believe it without that. Now I'll give you something to believe. I'm just one hundred and one, five months and a day.'

'I ca'n't believe that!' said Alice.

'Ca'n't you?' the Queen said in a pitying tone. 'Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.'

Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said 'one ca'n't believe impossible things.'

'I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!'

I'm completely against drugs of course...but some of the things people comeout with whilst under the influence are hilarious!
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Postby poohcarrot » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:42 pm

mystmoon wrote:I'm completely against drugs of course...but some of the things people comeout with whilst under the influence are hilarious!

:? I'm not! :lol:
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Postby BaldFriede » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:56 pm

mystmoon wrote:
BaldFriede wrote:
Jan Van Quirm wrote:
Give me something unbelievable to believe in - now that's a real challenge and why I love fantasy :twisted:

Are you aware that this is the advice the White Queen givwes to Alice in "Through the Looking Glass"?

'You needn't say "exactly",' the Queen remarked. 'I can believe it without that. Now I'll give you something to believe. I'm just one hundred and one, five months and a day.'

'I ca'n't believe that!' said Alice.

'Ca'n't you?' the Queen said in a pitying tone. 'Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.'

Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said 'one ca'n't believe impossible things.'

'I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!'

I'm completely against drugs of course...but some of the things people comeout with whilst under the influence are hilarious!

I sincerely doubt you are completely against drugs, unless you belong to some kind of sect. You are completely against coffee? Against tea? Against cocoa? Against tobacco? Against alcohol? Against any kind of medicine?
No, what you probably mean is that you are against illegal drugs. But you should keep in mind that which drugs are legal or illegal is completely arbitrary; it greatly varies from country to country.
I am not against drugs at all; they have been part of human culture for all of history, and there is in my opinion nothing wrong with using them. The problem is not USAGE, it is ABUSE. I am no smoker, yet I will smoke a cigar from time to time after a really exceptional meal (a really good one, of course). Since I am co-owner of a restaurant "really good does mean something. It happens about every three months.
I also use a certain hallucinogenic mushroom (amanita muscaria) every three months for certain rituals of my religion. And I drink alcohol and coffee in small quantities and tea in slightly larger quantities. I definitely am a drug user.
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Postby mystmoon » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:02 pm

:roll: no,i'm not completely against all forms of drug, I just meant that I wouldn't encourage anyone to take opium like Caroll probably did
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Postby BaldFriede » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:13 pm

mystmoon wrote::roll: no,i'm not completely against all forms of drug, I just meant that I wouldn't encourage anyone to take opium like Caroll probably did

I would neither encourage nor discourage anyone. I would give information about how opium works, including the possibility of forming an addiction.
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Postby BaldFriede » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:21 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:I remember Jeffery Archer *washes slime out of mouth immediately* when he was incarcerated - if you can call it that - :roll: finding out the hard way that one can't wriggle out of writing awful things indefinitely. That (and his perjury) gave him a long overdue introduction to the real world of us lesser plebs :twisted:

Does he still write? Does any one know? Or care?

Someone (was it BaldJean or Friede?) was saying the other day about history being the victor's tale, but sometimes the reverse is true as well. Karl Marx for instance has gone through it from both sides and survived in various levels of popularity if only in academia

Marx wrote:"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."

What's viewed as beyond the pale in some eras is acceptable in others. Nobody can read every book in existence, so everyone to some extent is self-censoring in what they select to read and what they reject. How awful if nobody had ever read The Communist Party Manifesto or Das Kapital. Communism's got a tarnished rep these days but what a concept to miss out on! That everyone could be equal! Amazing - for all the wrong practical reasons maybe, because we're all venal competitive opportunistic story-telling apes who are all, almost to a man, woman, child and third sex, extremely good at deluding ourselves on just how great we are. But he changed the world and gave the 'masses' more than opium, religion and especially TV to chew over whilst they sank back into apathy. :roll:

What you overlook is that those countries which claimed to have followed Marx's principles did not really do so. One of Marx's basic teachings was that the means of production should be in the hands of the working class. This was not followed in any Communist country, or only on paper; the real owner always were some party bureaucrats. So the so-called "Communist states" never were communist in the first place. That's something I always pointed out when someone tried to convince me of communism a la the Soviet Union or the German Democratic Republic.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:43 pm

I didn't overlook it, I just didn't mention it specifically or rather I did in part because I did make this sweeping observation on why communism doesn't/hasn't work(ed).

I wrote:Communism's got a tarnished rep these days but what a concept to miss out on! That everyone could be equal! Amazing - for all the wrong practical reasons maybe, because we're all venal competitive opportunistic story-telling apes who are all, almost to a man, woman, child and third sex, extremely good at deluding ourselves on just how great we are.

Any absolutism whether it's based on faith, practicalities or philosophic principles fails because we're human. We get things 'wrong' all the time, are inconsistent and unpredictable as individuals. Collectively yes, we can be manipulated or 'moulded' but the thing is we've evolved as a species to be able to change/adapt anything and everything we encounter, even the basic needs of our existence, including and especially environments by perception and attitudes, as well as physically or mentally. In the 1800s opium was just another drug you could buy from a chemist without a prescription in small amount and in larger ones from less savoury people and places. Today opium/heroin/crack are seen as dangerous addictive drugs. Then nude pictures of your kids was art, today it's abusive. It's just a question of perceptual and mental gymnastics aka science, education, cultural experience etc etc. As you say it's different in the same timeframe from region to region too. We are supposed to be diverse, but we're also 'civilised' and in most cultures that demands a measure of conformity. Sometimes that's hard to process without demonising or denigrating in some manner, by labelling behaviour or commodities as criminal or dismissively as 'bohemian' or 'bigotted'. At the time what's totally 'wrong' now was completely mainstream and not worth commenting on then.

I did know the '6 impossible things before breakfast' quote, but not that it was in the Looking Glass, although I would have guessed it was Lewis Carroll or maybe Edward Lear. :lol: TBH I 'know' Carroll by default - I've never read the original books (lots of scaled down adaptations in school libraries :roll: ) but Wonderland and Looking Glass are kind of 'out there' in the same way as Shakespeare and Dickens - I know them by rote in the school system I was in (short of University) and most Brits haven't read or even studied all the plays or all the books in the classics lists or even any of them, but 'know of them' more through TV and movies. The only classic author I actually enjoy reading for pleasure is Jane Austen (maybe Thackeray too but he's a lot harder work outside of Vanity Fair) - I had really lousy English teachers in retrospect and my own reading tastes were more or less formed at age 8 and they were all myth and fantasy! :twisted:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Postby BaldFriede » Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:23 pm

You just have to read Lawrence Sterne; his "Tristram Shandy" is hilarious. And Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" is another classi which I highly recommend.
Classics of the horror genre are of course Bram Stoker's "Dracula", Mary Shelley's "Frankentstein" and Henry James' "The Turning of the Screw". They have lost nothing of their grip today. The same can be said for thew Austrian authors Gustav Meyrink and Afred Kubin.
A rare book (there currently is no German edition of it), but also a classic of the horror genre is "Malpertuis" by Belgian author Jean Fay. The movie which was made based upon that boiok can be seen on YouTube; it features Orson Welles in one of his last roles. Unfortunately someone overdubbed the English with Czech or Polish, so neither the English text nor the Slavian can really be understood.
Another classic which I definitely recommend is "Simplicius Simplissimus" by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen. The original is hard to read for German readers because the book was written almost 400 years agio, but last year a translation into modern German was published. There are also English translations of it available. An hilarious book.
As is "Candide" by Voltaire; another hilarious classic
And what about Rabelais' "Gargantua and Pantagruel", another hilarious classic? I could go on naming classic after classic - there are sio many excellent ones.
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