Your best ever read, or the book that changed your mind. | Page 6 | PASOTI
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Your best ever read, or the book that changed your mind.

Dec 9, 2012
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I have been on a police procedural kick of late and just finished book 3 in Peter Lovesey's 'Peter Diamond' series.All have been phenomenal.

As far as the book that really got me into reading and changed my outlook if you will is Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway.All his books contain deeper meanings and thought provoking prose;truly was a legendary author.
A big tick for 'Old Man And The Sea'. As a misguided youth, I spent a huge amount of time fishing in and around Plymouth, and that book really fired my enthusiasm. Insurprisingly, nothing of that size ever appeared off Elphinstone pier!
 

Belfast Green

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Jun 23, 2017
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I have read a few 'alternative history'.

'Dominion' by C J Sansom was gripping, as was 'Fatherland' by Robert Harris.
I don't read much non fiction, but I recently reread 'Jupiter's travels' by Ted Simon. It is his account of a four year journey around the world on a Triumph motorbike. Brilliant.
Harris’s eye for detail is astonishing (he must do vast amounts of research). Fatherland was very good… did you read Conclave, about a papal succession? The detail was superb but the ending😱….
PS... Just seen this thread, bloody brilliant. Some catching up to do… 😁
 

Belfast Green

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The Great War For Civilization by Robert Fisk. Amazing book. Gives historical context to present day middle East politics.
Yes, that is one of the best non fiction books I have ever read. I saw him at a culture fest here in Belfast a few years back, shortly before he died. A brilliant and courageous man.
 

Belfast Green

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Great thread ..... some of the suggestions I'd echo as enjoyable bed-time reads - especially the Shardlake series by CJ Sansom - you can almost smell the Tudor period. A bit heavier (but not too much) is 'Captain Correlli's Mandolin' which I loved too (there was a crap film made of it apparently which I've deliberately avoided) . I know some people who reckon it starts slowly but I didn't find that and just thought it was great from the start. Heavier still but very moving and a really unforgettable read is 'Birdsong' by Sebastian Faulks about miners during the first world war.

One book that didn't exactly change my life but certainly changed how I look at things and may be right up your street Mervyn if it's sciencey things you like is the classic 'Selfish Gene' by Richard Dawkins. I can hear a sharp intake of breath from some as he has since become (in)famous as being an outspoken atheist that some people find objectionable. But the book is brilliant and I promise nothing about that.

It does deal with how evolution works but completely blows out the water the old fashioned 'survival of the species' idea to become the far more nuanced 'survival of the gene'. The first chapter as I recall may appear bleak by focusing on the harsh 'selfish' aspects of nature .... BUT there is redemption (if you'll pardon the religious connotations Mr Dawkins) when he explains how altruism evolved. Better still it explains using the mathematical principles of 'game theory' (nothing too heavy) why being co-operative and well, 'nice' to your neighbours is a much better survival strategy than being selfish for social creatures like us ...... it also explains though why some selfishness will persist in populations and has never quite been wiped out by natural selection. Fascinating stuff.
Birdsong was great, although Faulks must have swallowed a dictionary. A passage in it received the worst sex description award. I remember reading that his, erm, member was lambent! What?
 

Belfast Green

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Where I live there is an excellent independent bookshop. They encourage customers to do occasional reviews. These are some of my quick summaries - two non fiction and two fiction. I loved all four.
Added to my - rather long - list! Thanks Simon.
 

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I’ve only just realised that my best ever read has to be Lorna Doone, which I read aged about thirteen. Our English teacher encouraged us by saying that the book was so good he read it twice a year. It had such an impact that I’ve been scared to read it again, as I don’t want to spoil that memory.

In a similar vein, about ten years ago I read William Boyd’s The Blue Afternoon, and raved about it to friends and family for months afterwards. Tried it again last year and was bored after five chapters. Weird.
Good choice. I thought Lorna Doone was gonna be all picture book swashbuckling but it is dark, gritty and moody, a super book.
 
Mar 30, 2005
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Perth, Western Australia
'A Voice for Rebekah' by Elizabeth J Dennis. Not my usual genre but it is a well written historical novel partly based in Devon and also Western Australia. It follows the hardship suffered by a young Jewish girl who left Poland after the Second World War.

A footnote: Elizabeth J Dennis is a pseudonym for Mrs Deathadder.
 
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Jun 28, 2006
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Plymouth
Wisdom of Whores. Elisabeth Pisani.

Epidemiologist Pisani worked as a scientist predominantly with the AIDS virus. Part of her job was to work with Government agencies in the identification of viruses and planning their control. This book is funny and tragic in equal measure when it identifies the poor efforts made globally to combat the illness by scientists and wasted funds. The prostitutes, rent boys, lady boys and junkies you meet in the book tell a real world tale of the realities of living with the virus. The tragic circumstances that led them there will remove any prejudice one possibly has.

I have always seen myself as open minded and worldly wise. This book taught me that I wasn't.
 
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BDW

Apr 15, 2023
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Treasure Island is a mighty fine read.
The call of the wild, tugs the heartstrings.
Adrian Mole makes me laugh out loud.
A time to kill is thought provoking.
 
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Mar 1, 2014
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I've read soooo many good books... Not necessarily the best, but some more modern ones that caught my attention are:

* All The Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr ... a wonderfully tragic tale of the relationship between a boy and girl on two sides of WW2.
* Hex - Thomas Olde Heuvelt ... one of the few horrors to actually spook me with it's graphic descriptions.
* The Thursday Murder Club - Richard Osman ... delightfully easy to read, and subtly funny to boot.
* In The Relm Of Hungry Ghosts - Gabor Mate ... non-fiction, but genuinely a most thought provoking and inspiring voyage into the cure of addictions.
 
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