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Best book ever?

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 2:13 pm

Here it is, folks.  Round 1 of the not very eagerly awaited Culture Cup.  First round is a simple one.  What is the best book ever?  Is it by Brontë, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky or maybe Dan Brown, JK Rowling or whatever goon wrote 50 Shades of Grey?

Please see the poll for which book the absolute cream of v2 consider to be nulli secundus.

Cast your votes here.  Please vote for you top 2 from the poll.

Remember voting is open to everyone on the site!!!

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Post by seanmichaels on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 2:20 pm

hmm. had to go for the 2 Roald Dahl ones as they're the only one's I have read apart from my choice.

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 2:25 pm

Not that I am taking part, but I went for To Kill a Mockingbird as it is the best book ever written and Trainspotting as it is a modern classic and I am proud that I managed to read it despite the fact it is written in Scottish.


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Post by Rowley on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 2:25 pm

Went for To Kill a Mockingbird which is brilliant and one I wish I had picked. Also went for The Old Man and the Sea. Prefer a farewell to arms but is still a brilliant book.

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Post by Union Cane on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 2:30 pm

I've only read one of those (not including my own) so my vote has to go to THHGTTG.

I did once read a Godfather book that was not by Mario Puzo and covered all the things that happened in between the events of the three films, but as that is not up there I can't vote for it.
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Post by jbeadlesbigrighthand on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 2:31 pm

And I opted for the Big Sleep, which I nearly nominated, but decided it wasn't 'cultural' enough, and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, on the basis of ruling out the other options that I've read.

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Post by Galted on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 2:32 pm

Went for my own choice as I don't value self-respect, decency and fair play particularly highly.

Didn't really help that I've only read 3 of the books listed & Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, enjoyable as it is, doesn't really strike me as being a contender for greatest book ever.

The other one I went for was Lord of the Rings, easy to forget what an epic it was before that fat little hobbit from New Zealand got involved.
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Post by Bull on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 2:38 pm

Can i join?

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 2:40 pm

Bull wrote:Can i join?
You can vote but you're too late to join. Sorry pal.

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Post by seanmichaels on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 2:44 pm

Has anybody read awaydays by Kevin Sampson? That was my second choice.

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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 2:55 pm

Went for Jekyll and Hyde (which is great) and my childhood favourite, Mr Fox. Some on the list are "classics" but Moby Dick rambles more than Les Mis without any of its redeeming plot and character study. Hitchhiker's guide was close. TLOTR is not Tolkien's best work so I couldn't vote for that. Need to read a couple on this list but from what I've read, I am happy that my choice is IMO the best piece of literature, despite being a comic book
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Post by Rowley on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 2:57 pm

Would just like to say whoever voted for Niall Quinn's biography is possibly my hero. Love anyone who enters a culture competition when that is the best book they have ever read.

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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 2:57 pm

Oh and To Kill A Mockingbird is very good but I never quite rated it as highly as most seem to. Maybe to do with studying it at school
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Post by Rowley on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:02 pm

Used to work with a kid who had only ever read one book and that was To Kill a Mockingbird at school. I was reading it on my lunch and we got to talking about it. Said he read the whole book at school as he had to and did not get it. I asked him what there was not to get and apparently he did not realise the guy on trial was black until he watched the film years later.

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:04 pm

He was black?

Ah, now it all falls into place.

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Post by jbeadlesbigrighthand on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:05 pm

Rowley wrote:Would just like to say whoever voted for Niall Quinn's biography is possibly my hero. Love anyone who enters a culture competition when that is the best book they have ever read.
Could have been worse. Could have been Mickey Quinn's autobiography.

I'm also glad that you have broken the seal of snobbish digs. While Fantastic Mr Fox may be a wonderful story, I'm not sure that a book aimed at 7-11 year olds belongs on any best book list.

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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:07 pm

Laugh anyway, I prefer "personal/individual" introspection to "cultural" introspection in the whole, I find it more interesting and braver on the behalf of the author, which is probably why I prefer my choice and the two I voted for over the likes of Mockingbird
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Post by Rowley on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:08 pm

jbeadlesbigrighthand wrote:
I'm also glad that you have broken the seal of snobbish digs. While Fantastic Mr Fox may be a wonderful story, I'm not sure that a book aimed at 7-11 year olds belongs on any best book list.
Can't comment on Fox as it is currently hammering my own selection. But to be fair even I don't think my selection is the best ever so can't really expect others to think it is.

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Post by Guest on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:10 pm

I voted only for Storm of Swords because it's the only book on the list, besides my own nomination, that I've read and actually enjoyed. I was expecting 1984, Catch 22, The Beano Annual, not this crazy bunch.

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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:12 pm

Good point. Probably voted for Fox based on nostalgia rather than real quality. Changed to Adams because comedy has no lesser a place in literature than tragedy and he uses it to make excellent points
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Post by Galted on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:15 pm

I'm so dismayed at how few books from the list I've read that I've just ordered The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Terror.  Hope there's no Favourite Painting by an Old Master round as it could put me into some financial turmoil, even with the 2 hours of overtime I did last month.
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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:20 pm

If people were honestly answering, you would expect an eclectic bunch, not the usual favourites. The "best books ever" by popular votes are there because very many people think they are of very high quality but I wager they are usually not many people's choice for the best- it's their consistent appeal that has them labelled as "greats". In a smaller number of people, really personal favourites and preferences come to the fore, hence the nominations seen. Nobody will have read the Sandman on here but it is exceedingly highly rated by critics in a genre that frankly gets sneered on by "mainstream literature" despite having a wider philosophical scope and often superior characterisation and looks deeper at what makes us human, rather than what it is like to be human which is a banal question in comparison. Thai is why despite enjoying "proper fiction", classics, non-fic and most other genres, I am firmly of the opinion that Speculative Fiction is actually the most worthy of all forms of writing
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Post by Guest on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:26 pm

No Stephen King either, I know so many people who love his stuff.

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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:27 pm

It's good but once again I reckon that lots of people really like King rather than a few people loving him
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Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:32 pm

Azzy Mahmood wrote:I voted only for Storm of Swords because it's the only book on the list, besides my own nomination, that I've read and actually enjoyed. I was expecting 1984, Catch 22, The Beano Annual, not this crazy bunch.
1984 was someones reserve choice actually.

Rowley's reserve choice was Anne Widdecombe's autobiography and Galted's was his favourite copy of Razzle from October 1998.

Shouldn't really disclose peoples choices but felt they had to be shared.

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Post by Rowley on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:34 pm

Mind the windows Tino. wrote:Rowley's reserve choice was Anne Widdecombe's autobiography and Galted's was his favourite copy of Razzle from October 1998.

Only picked that because choosing between Jordan/Katie Price's 48 autobiographies was just too tough a choice.

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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:35 pm

Number 39 is the best
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Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:36 pm

ChequeredJersey wrote:Number 39 is the best
Particularly good Readers Wives section if I remember correctly.

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Post by Guest on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 3:51 pm

Rowley wrote:Would just like to say whoever voted for Niall Quinn's biography is possibly my hero. Love anyone who enters a culture competition when that is the best book they have ever read.
What? you're supposed to have read 'em not just seen 'em on the shelf in WH Smith's.

Culture? Everytime I hear the word it makes me want to reach for me pint!

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Post by TopHat24/7 on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:10 pm

seanmichaels wrote:hmm. had to go for the 2 Roald Dahl ones as they're the only one's I have read apart from my choice.
Are you not allowed to go for your own choice??

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:13 pm

TopHat24/7 wrote:
seanmichaels wrote:hmm. had to go for the 2 Roald Dahl ones as they're the only one's I have read apart from my choice.
Are you not allowed to go for your own choice??
You are, but to quote a fellow poster

Union wrote: it is akin to masturbation
I expect you're used to self-loathing TopHat, so vote away pal.

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Post by TopHat24/7 on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:17 pm

Well sod it, it's the only vote I'm going to get.

Also went for Fox, it was the first book I ever read cover to cover on my own when I was a kid.

Annoying to see my back-up (Mockingbird) doing so darn well, should've been more popularist!

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:23 pm

TopHat24/7 wrote:Well sod it, it's the only vote I'm going to get.

Also went for Fox, it was the first book I ever read cover to cover on my own when I was a kid.

Annoying to see my back-up (Mockingbird) doing so darn well, should've been more popularist!
It's a strange one, To Kill a Mockingbird. Yes, it is populist, but it is also superb. Glad it is up there as it is my favourite book of all time.

Closely followed by Bugs Britannica by Peter Marren. All you need to know about arthropods in one handy hardback.

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Post by Union Cane on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:30 pm

The Willyfather by Mario
Willy Dick by Herman Melville
To Kill a Willybird by Harper
The Kindly Willies by Neil
The Willies of War by Frederick Forsyth
Willy by Wilbur Smith
The Big Willy by Raymond Chandler
Charlie and the Chocolate Willy by Roald Dahl
A Willy for a Knave by Barry Hines
The Ragged Willied Philantropists by Robert Tressell
The Strange Willy of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Willyspotting by Irvine Welsh
Lord of the Willies by JRR Tolkien
Hitchhikers guide to the Willy by Douglas Adams
Storm of Pork Swords by George RR Martin
Fantastic Willy Fox by Roald Dahl
Niall Quinn's Willy by, well, Niall Quinn strangely enough
The Old Man and the Willy by Ernest Hemingway
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Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:35 pm

Neil Gaiman is such a douche. And I hate that word, which proves how much I hate him. 

Hitchhikers, LOTR, Godfather, To Kill a Mockingbird; all worthy of my vote. Very surprised Nineteen Eighty Four didnt make the list, it was my third choice. Godfather was my fourth, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory my fifth. Life of Pi, His Dark Materials (I would argue it really isnt one book), Fatherland, Catcher in the Rye were others that came into my thinking. 

Id imagine only a poor reaction to choosing a Harry Potter book, whilst Jasper Fforde has too many to pick from, like Lee Child and Robert Crais.

People should not be put off voting for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because it is Dahl and a children's book. It is one of the best stories ever written, with wonderful imagery and provocative characters throughout.

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Post by Bull on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:35 pm

Union Cane wrote:The Willyfather by Mario
Willy Dick by Herman Melville
To Kill a Willybird by Harper
The Kindly Willies by Neil
The Willies of War by Frederick Forsyth
Willy by Wilbur Smith
The Big Willy by Raymond Chandler
Charlie and the Chocolate Willy by Roald Dahl
A Willy for a Knave by Barry Hines
The Ragged Willied Philantropists by Robert Tressell
The Strange Willy of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Willyspotting by Irvine Welsh
Lord of the Willies by JRR Tolkien
Hitchhikers guide to the Willy by Douglas Adams
Storm of Pork Swords by George RR Martin
Fantastic Willy Fox by Roald Dahl
Niall Quinn's Willy by, well, Niall Quinn strangely enough
The Old Man and the Willy by Ernest Hemingway
Headscratch 

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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:37 pm

Dolphin Ziggler wrote:Neil Gaiman is such a douche. And I hate that word, which proves how much I hate him. 

Hitchhikers, LOTR, Godfather, To Kill a Mockingbird; all worthy of my vote. Very surprised Nineteen Eighty Four didnt make the list, it was my third choice. Godfather was my fourth, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory my fifth. Life of Pi, His Dark Materials (I would argue it really isnt one book), Fatherland, Catcher in the Rye were others that came into my thinking. 

Id imagine only a poor reaction to choosing a Harry Potter book, whilst Jasper Fforde has too many to pick from, like Lee Child and Robert Crais.

People should not be put off voting for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because it is Dahl and a children's book. It is one of the best stories ever written, with wonderful imagery and provocative characters throughout.
I did like you, and now unfortunately I cannot Sad
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Post by Guest on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:43 pm

It's okay, his mummy will read him a chapter from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tonight after his bath and hot chocolate, so he'll get over it Whistle

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Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:50 pm

Not a Gaiman fan. I hate Amanda Palmer far more.

If you cannot appreciate the craft of storywriting for children, especially in a title that has enthralled generations as a book and on the big screen, then I feel you lack the culture necessary to even comment on such a thread. But then, I am surrounded by books in my house, with a family like mine.

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Post by The Boss on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:52 pm

Jeff, I hope you've at least read Me Quinn's stunning autobiography before taking us on your tour of the high road!

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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:54 pm

No worries, you don't have to like Gaiman. Calling him a douche, not sure what that's based on though. Dahl is great but his best book IMO was the Witches, followed by Fox
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Post by TopHat24/7 on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:55 pm

Nah, BFG all the way.......

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Post by Guest on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:56 pm

I preferred Matilda and the BFG actually.

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Post by compelling and rich on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:57 pm

ive read 4 on there and two were road dahls which left me with my own and my first pick which i didn't get lord of the rings.

if the lord of the rings trilogy was allowed i should have put down a song of fire and ice (game of thrones series for the tv viewer) which is the whole series done by martin, certainly would have bulked up my option. instead i just picked the best book out of the series (even though thats in two parts!)


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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:57 pm

Matilda also very good. The Musical is cracking
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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:59 pm

Tbf tLotR is meant to be 1 book, not a Trilogy.
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Post by compelling and rich on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 4:59 pm

on road dahl, i thought james and the giant peach, boy, danny champion of the world, the witches were all better than fantastic mr fox. although charlie and the chocolate factory is up there with his best

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Post by TopHat24/7 on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 5:01 pm

Boris, Bunce and Bean......
One short, one fat, one lean......

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Post by compelling and rich on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 5:01 pm

ChequeredJersey wrote:Tbf tLotR is meant to be 1 book, not a Trilogy.
return of the king is my favourite, would have been interested if they were split to see what came out on top even though i see them as a whole. although expect all 3 together to walk this, the bible to any fantasy work

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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 30 Aug 2013, 5:02 pm

Have you read Children of Hurin?
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