JCC If you could recommend one book and only one, what would it be?"

Discussion in 'Community' started by TiniTinyTony, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. TiniTinyTony Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2003
    star 5
    My friend posted this on Facebook and I thought it was a pretty interesting question:

    "If you could recommend one book and only one, what would it be?"

    It froze my brain for a few minutes and I responded "A Christmas Carol". What would you have responded?

    So far the responses have been "The Barefoot Mailman", "Heaven Is For Real", "The Outsiders", "Five People You Meet In Heaven", and "Good Omens". I don't read so I don't know if people are being serious or joking. I'm sure I won't know here either.

    No one said "The Bible" (yet) in her comments, which surprised me.
  2. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Yeah, the Bible for me. It just has . . . all of life in it. Every emotion, every genre. And so much absolute beauty and truth. And if great literature is supposed to be the kind of thing you have to chew on and meditate on and wrestle with . . . well, the Bible is definitely that. I've been reading it for two decades now and I'm still miles from really understanding it or making peace with parts of it. I see new things every time I read it.

    I mean, even setting aside the influence its had on society down through the ages, it's just a cracking good read (except for I Chronicles). And it's certainly a book with reread value. Never gets old.

    Um, yes, King James Version, since it seems to need to be said these days.

    The Outsiders? That has to be a joke.
    Last edited by Rogue1-and-a-half, Nov 4, 2013
  3. Frank T. Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    It would be different for each person I know well. But for strangers? The first couple that come to mind are Three Musketeers and Hitchhiker's Guide. If it can only be one? Musketeers.
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  4. Sarge Chosen One

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    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    What @Rogue1-and-a-half said, although I didn't mind I Chronicles so much. Especially compared to Leviticus or Deuteronomy.
  5. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    The Bible, really? o_O The apparent definitive word of a spiteful, capricious creator whose twisted logic remains maddeningly unclear - he expects perfection of his flock, imbues them with almost guaranteed capacity to fail his standards and to prove a point, has his son tortured and killed - it contains (as Hitchens noted) "a warrant for trafficking in humans; for ethnic cleansing; for slavery; for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre."

    I assume the time spent reading it has been to cherry pick the bits that are less barbaric than others out, to mull over?

    The question of which one book is a difficult one, because you recommend books based on the preferences of the intended audience. Or at least, you should; my recommending Snow Crash or Neuromancer to someone who only enjoys thrillers is a fruitless exercise in personal vanity only. Similarly, my hard-sci-fi reading friends aren't exactly going to queue up to read Birdsong. There's a window of people who will find Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy tedious; or that having seen Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones, they've no need for the books.

    So, for a general fiction audience? The aforementioned Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. Because why the hell not, eh?
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  6. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Dude, seriously. Are you even aware of how ridiculous all that nonsense is?

    I mean, for starters . . . Jesus wasn't killed to prove a point. Where on earth did you get that idea? And then He's also not spiteful, capricious or twisted. God is love, after all. And before you accuse me of cherry picking the positive Scriptures, I'd have to warn you not to cherry pick the negative ones. Or misconstrue them. As to him having twisted logic, I'll just say that all the post-modernists need to apply their creed to the Bible: there are many truths. God, by definition, must represent and embody all of them. As Whitman said, "Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I contain multitudes." If Whitman contained multitudes, just imagine what God must contain. Hence the existence of scriptures like, "Every man must bear his own burden," and, just a few verses away, "Bear ye one another's burdens." You could get enraged about how illogical God is being to put both of those things in the Bible. Or you could consider that both of them actually are true, in the best sense of the word.

    And God doesn't expect perfection of us: "He knows my frame; he remembers that I am but dust." God's well aware of our human frailties and quite tolerant of them. For instance, He allowed you to spew all kind of misinformation about Him and the Bible just now. I did something this morning I shouldn't have done; God didn't drop an anvil on me. I apologized to the person that was involved, I apologized to God and then I forgave myself and got on with my day. We're good now.

    But I'm not saying you should read the Bible so you can get "saved." I'm saying you should read the Bible because it's a great frigging read; even if you come away from it, as you seem to have (you have read it? I'm assuming) incredibly angry with it. It's a book that needs to be wrestled with. David Plotz called his year long journey through the Bible an exhausting, protracted argument with the Bible's God. And he was glad he had that argument, even if he was still an atheist when he walked away.

    As to all the things you say the Bible contains a warrant for . . . what the Bible contains is a warrant for treating others justly and with love. None of those things can co-exist with love. Just because something is in the Bible, don't assume that it means God condones it. Polygamy, for instance; a ton of people say the Bible condones polygamy. It doesn't; it's about polygamists in some sections, but their relationships are painted in such bleak, dark strokes that, if anything, the stories are making the point that polygamy doesn't work. You could say the same about many other things that people wrongly say that the Bible condones or allows. It often only allows that these things do happen, not that they should.

    This just proves to me that I need to revive my Bible thread. Oh, we could have fun in that thread. Were you around back when I started it? I think I made two posts and I'm wondering if you read them.
    Sarge, Everton, lbr789 and 1 other person like this.
  7. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Jul 13, 2008
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    Everybody Poops. It's perhaps the only wholly true book ever written, and leaves open by omission the broad philosophical question of a creator which, if extant, one presumes would poop of necessity.
    Last edited by Ramza, Nov 4, 2013
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  8. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    I have read it, and taking it for what it is - a verbose work of metaphorical philosophy, I'd take the Qu'ran any day. It was written in a period when Arab prose was flourishing and has a more poetic feel to it.

    But for all those points, no. Firstly it requires me to accept a numinous authority figure for whom there is no empirical evidence and for whom a more compelling argument can be made as a something created as a social control mechanism and who served a useful purpose as a final authority on the Big Questions of the day. It then details acts of absolute capriciousness by the apparently loving God in the first half, then changes characters for the second half. It leaves a bitter aftertaste on the nature of women (St Paul was an inspiration for the modern chauvanist, no? And that's not even getting into the notion that a woman was created so that Adam could stop jerking himself off!). Its Commandments from God are largely focused on fanning the flames of that titanic narcissist's ego at the expense of commandments against, say, rape (Unless of course you offer your daughters up for it, right guys?) or slavery.

    You absolutely are cherry picking the best bits out, and whilst you may and indeed probably do derive solace, comfort, and a sense of purpose from this book its very nature is such that in commending it to someone without a laundry list of caveats you're just as likely to inspire the next form of bigoted intolerance to add to religion's total as you are to save a soul. Surely there's less problematic works out there you could commend to someone?
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  9. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    I'll have to think about this. I shall go through my books, physically pick out the contenders and think about it with them sitting in front of me. Certain thinsg will be rule dout because they are sequels or part of a trilogy and would not make much sense unless you you read the 1st(or 2nd or whatever).
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  10. I Are The Internets Chosen One

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    Nov 20, 2012
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    The Glove of Darth Vader


    You'll never want to read anything ever again!
  11. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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  12. Darth Tunes SfC Part III Commissioner

    Game Host
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    Napalm & Silly Putty by George Carlin.
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  13. Volderon Force Ghost

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    Jul 23, 2007
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    Lucky Man by Michael J Fox
  14. tom Chosen One

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  15. Adam of Nuchtern Force Ghost

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  16. harpua Chosen One

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  17. Ender Sai Chosen One

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    Actually, if the criteria would be the potential of a book to reach the most number of people whilst having the widest possibly impact, I'd narrowly chose Dubner and Levitt's Freakonomics over Gladwell's Outliers. Outliers could be good in terms of explaining that mastery of an area requires a certain amount of work or practice; but explaining how to view things as an economist, and how economics works at a high-ish level, is too good to pass up.
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  18. I Are The Internets Chosen One

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    Serious answer: Catcher in the Rye
  19. Darth Guy Chosen One

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  20. Ender Sai Chosen One

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  21. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by the late, great Douglas Adams
  22. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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  23. Saintheart Chosen One

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    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Since the person you recommend the book to is going to presumably read other books after he's read the one you recommend, I think my pick has to be Reading like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by the hilariously-appropriately-named Francine Prose. I recommend it because it's the one book that unlocked literary classics for me, because it had one piece of advice that undid most of the damage high school and university did to my appreciation of good literature: slow down and savour the language. I wouldn't have gone anywhere near Charles Dickens before I read this book, and once I did, A Tale of Two Cities opened like a secret garden before my eyes.
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  24. Heavy Isotope Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 2013
    star 3
    I'd recommend the less popular Nobody Poops but You

    But seriously probably The King Beyond the Gate by David Gemmell or something more inspirational. I dunno. [face_plain]
    Last edited by Heavy Isotope, Nov 4, 2013
  25. JediKnightOB1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 26, 2003
    star 5
    Phone book. They are good to prop stuff up with, you can tear pages out of them. I have used one under my nephew as a booster seat. The possibilities are endless. Good times.