What is the Greatest Book Ever Written...has been moved

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by snap-hiss, Oct 28, 2001.

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  1. snap-hiss Jedi Grand Master

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    Aug 23, 2001
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  2. Lord Bane Manager Emeritus

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    Define what makes a book great? We all have our favorites, but sometimes you may hate a book, but think it's a masterpiece. How do you judge literary greatness w/o falling into the "But it's my favorite" trap?

    1984 may be a great book, but why is it the greatest?

  3. snap-hiss Jedi Grand Master

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    Aug 23, 2001
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    It seems my question has raised an even tougher question...

    What makes a book great? IMO, one that makes you think, challenges you, changes you.

    1984 did all three and then some for me.


    !snap
  4. Commander Antilles Force Ghost

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    Jul 21, 1999
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    The greatest? In terms of quality or social impact? If the former, then leaving aside the Bible/Koran, then it'd probably have to be Darwin's "Evolution of Species". This changed the way we perceive the world in an instant.
  5. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 3, 1999
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    I actually preferred Animal Farm to 1984, as far as Orwell goes.

    I think we need to define some parameters of what kinds of books we're talking about, and what is "great."

    My personal vote is Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, because it created a wonderful new western mythos, a story that helps us to understand the kind of power we have access to and the way it needs to be weilded... or not weilded.
  6. snap-hiss Jedi Grand Master

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    I guess I should have specified 'What is the Greatest Fictional Book Ever Written?'.


    !snap
  7. Darth Ludicrous Manager Emeritus

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  8. Herman Snerd Force Ghost

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    Oct 31, 1999
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    As far as its impact on later works, Lord of the Rings has no peer.

    Its influences can be seen in all forms of science fiction, and it almost entirely spawned the current fantasy genre.

    Though no doubt I'll return later realizing a different book that I've forgotten for the moment. :)
  9. Lord Bane Manager Emeritus

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    I would say for a work of fiction, It has to be the greatest work I've read in the past few years. The intricacy of the storylines, the rich character development and social issues addressed made it a stunning read.

    It is definately not another beach book or horror throwaway.
  10. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 19, 1999
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    I was going to say The Iliad because it essentially started the concept of literature, but it seems like the crowd is going for more contemporary works here. ;)
  11. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 3, 1999
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    Good point, that.

    LB, I thought I was the only one who'd consider putting It on a great literature list -- I picked LotR, simply because it redefined a genre and influenced everyone (including King, in a big way), but It is top of a whole lot of my personal lists. King can't resist a few gratuitous scenes, but the writing, the plotting, everything in that book is marvelous, and the last few pages -- Bill's dream of leaving Derry -- always make me cry, no matter how many times I've read it.
  12. jasman Administrator Emeritus

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    Aug 29, 1998
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    Uhhh... Star Wars? ;)

    But seriously, I'd have to go with LOTR, of all the fiction I've ever read. No, I'm not "Classically educated" and have never read the Iliad and all those things. I have read the Bible, and, speaking purely from a literary standpoint, I'd say it's not all that well-written.

    This is my first post in the "Senate." I feel so special! :)
  13. ktwsolo Jedi Master

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    Feb 25, 2001
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    Eh, the Odyssey is high up there, with Lord of the Rings.
  14. ElfStar Jedi Master

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    Mar 24, 2001
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    Lord of the Rings ( you knew I was going to say that).
  15. Wattowatta Force Ghost

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    The Illiad or The Odyssey.
  16. Jeff 42 Manager Emeritus

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    I don't think it makes much sense to call the Iliad the greatest book ever written. Yes, it is a good book, and yes, it is an extremely significant book, but that does not mean it is the greatest.

    Dark Lady Mara said that "it essentially started the concept of literature." How do we know this? Just because it is the earliest work of literature known does not mean there were no others made before it that we have no record of. Also interesting to note is that the Iliad and Odyssey were composed orally instead of being "written" like modern books. How this applies to the debate I'm not sure.

    Another point I would make is that literature has progressed greatly since the times of Ancient Greece. I think it would be a pretty sad commentary on the state of human creativity if nothing greater than the Iliad had been produced in the ensuing 2700-odd years.

    So what is the greatest book ever written? I have no idea. There are too many diverse books for me to decide. Which is kind of funny, because if you asked me what the greatest movie of all time is I would instantly respond with The Empire Strikes Back. :) But for books it is much harder to pick just one.
  17. IronParrot Manager Emeritus

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    Aug 2, 1999
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    Greatest book in terms of works of fiction? I'd say it's The Lord of the Rings. I'll justify it later, when I feel like it.

    If I didn't limit my take on this to just fiction, this would get complicated, because there are some works that just can't be compared because they are so incompatible. This is already a general framework I'm using.
  18. ktwsolo Jedi Master

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    Feb 25, 2001
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    Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead are the best original sci-fi books I have ever read. Sorry Zahn :).
  19. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    As far as its impact on later works, Lord of the Rings has no peer.

    While not originally a book, per se, I'd say that the Illiad and the Odyssey had a huge impact on later books and storytelling technique, not to mention various religious texts which are now often in book form, notably, in the western world, the Tanakh, the New Testament, and the Kuran. As for contemporary works, I'd say that Manheim's translation of Michael Ende's The NeverEnding Story is virtually without peer. I read it at just the right time for me, and it's never left me.
  20. Spiderdevil Jedi Master

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    Sep 20, 2000
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    I'll probably take a lot of flak for this, but I'll say it anyway. I'm currently reading The Fellowship of the Ring. I'm almost to the beginning of book 2, and the book had better start improving soon. Thus far, it seems terribly uneven to me and frankly, I'm finding it boring.

    Maybe once I've read the trilogy and can look upon it as a whole, I'll feel differently about it. But at the moment, there's no way I'd call it the greatest book ever written.
  21. Gonzonaut Jedi Knight

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    Apr 28, 2000
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    Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. Beautiful. You will shed tears of joy.
  22. Epyon-X Jedi Knight

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    Sep 26, 2001
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    Spiderdevil, I felt exactly the same way about FOTR. In fact, when I first started it, I read about 2 or 3 chapters in, got bored and put it away. Only a few years later I read it again just for the heck of it, and found myself liking it like no other book I've ever read. It really gets going by Book II.

    And about the topic, my choices would be: Lord Of The Rings, and The Oddysey.
  23. Spiderdevil Jedi Master

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    Sep 20, 2000
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    It's starting to pick up a little, but I still have to practically force myself to pick the book up.
  24. Bob marley Jedi Knight

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    Apr 10, 1999
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    Why does everyone find FOTR boring?
    I couldn't put it down when I first read it.

    Now the silmarillion, that's boring ;).
  25. Spiderdevil Jedi Master

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    Sep 20, 2000
    star 4
    People have different tastes. What I find boring, you find engaging.
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