Never heard of the White Spider. Will keep it in mind. Hadn't realised it was also by Harrer. (looked it up on a book site)
I also really liked Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) and Like Water for Chocolate (Laura Esquivel).
Alpen, those first two you mentioned sound interesting. Must look them up.
I have read so many books that I really liked but I guess my all-time faves until now would be:
- Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
- Seven Years in Tibet (Heinrich Harrer)
- The Perfect Storm (Sebastian Junger)
- Catch me if you Can (Frank Abagnale)
In general I really like biographies, autobiographies, and true stories. Like the series of true spy stories by Aline, Countess of Romanones. She was an American spy during WWII. Her stories are fascinating!
Also like John Grisham/Robin Cook/James Patterson-style thrillers and some of Stephen King (something about that twisted, scary stuff enthralls me for some reason ;-)
And I love funny travel books - nobody can beat Bill Bryson! He is a hoot!
I have several, but the top ones would probably be:
Apsley Cherry-Garrard's "Worst Journey in the World", about a trek in Antarctica in midwinter 1912. It's a very humbling book, when you read what these guys went through, just to get a couple of Emperor Penguin's eggs.
E.H. Jones' "The Road to En-Dor". Two British officers trying to escape from the Turks by getting repatriated as 'madmen', but without themselves actually going insane in the process. An absolutely mind-blowing book.
And for light relief: G.M. Fraser's "Flashman" series. Novels set around great moments in 19th century history, but unusual in that the hero (or should that be anti-hero?) is an absolute badstar and a coward. It's good to read about people who aren't fictional superhuman characters!
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile, the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting ----
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
~ Mary Oliver
Well, Shakespeare is one of my favorite writers, for sure. My two faves of his are The Merchant of Venice -- love that Portia gal! And of course Midsummer Night's Dream...then also there's Hamlet...ok, maybe more than two, because there's The Taming of The Shrew, which I adore. I don't have time to read much these days, but now I'm into poetry. If you want a new, wonderful experience, look up Mary Oliver on the web and read some of her stuff. She very much lives in nature and ties that world to ours in a truly wonderful way. I'm going to an additional post to give it to you all.
Yes DScoular, I've read all Shakespeare's works but really didn't consider them a book, as all are plays. But they did help with some of the legaleze I have to read on a monthly basis for a board I'm on.
Favourite books; I prefer biographies and brain candy as I call it. Sidney Sheldon, Jackie Collins, never miss one of their books.
But besides my bed is always a biography. Reading "He Came Running" on John Garfield right now. Does give great background into why some people in the 30's got caught up into the communist/socialist movement which later came back to bit them in the bu*tt in the 50's.
A few favourite bios are; Will there ever be a morning by Frances Farmer (altho her husband at the time inserted his own version and thoughts into it; see Shadowland on Frances Farmer for more of the real story. Doris Day's book was actually fascinating. I thought it was just going to be light reading and turned into some heavy stuff.
Again it depends on the writer if it's just going to be a fan gushing or a really well researched book and give a balanced appraisal of the person.
Has anyone else read Georges Bataille's "Story of the Eye"? It is a must read for many university curriculums, but I read it for personal curiousity. Interested to know if anyone else has read and what you thought. It was written in the early 1900's, but the story is as if it were written in the last few decades. It's different, that's for sure!
Orion - going back to the Anne Frank House: it wasn't "ambiance" unfortunately - we were so many in there it was almost impossible to move forward and to see everything - crammed in like sardines! That's the kind of place where I would like to be by myself. Call me selfish... (oh ok maybe with one or two other people)
Your post (well Arthur's actually) was lovely.
For the French speakers here: have you read Marcel Pagnol? Two of my faves are Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources. They made movies out of these books and the movies were wonderful! Very touching and funny at the same time. I am sure they have been translated into English. I read them in French. There is also La Gloire de mon Pere and Le Chateau de ma Mere also made into movies. These last two are Marcel Pagnol's childhood memories.
Ah yes! The Prophet! How could I forget him?
There are 3-4 books written by an American woman called Aline, Countess of Romanones (she was/is married to a Spanish count). She was a spy during WWII and she has written her "memoirs" and adventures in these books. Really fascinating!
Another good one I read a while back is Saudi Princess, written in secret by one of the Saudi princesses, about her weird and wonderful life at the Palace of Saudi Arabia. There was a sequel as well. Both very interesting.
I have read so many books that I really liked or found fascinating it's hard to choose just a few.
I will tear the veils from every mystery -- mysteries of religion or of nature, death, birth, the future, the past, cosmogony, and nothingness. I am a master of phantasmagoria.
I dreamed of Crusades, voyages of discovery that nobody had heard of, republics without histories, religious wars stamped out, revolutions in morals, movements of races and continents; I used to believe in every kind of magic.
Sometimes in the sky I see endless sandy shores covered with white rejoicing nations. A great golden ship, above me, flutters many-colored pennants in the morning breeze. I was the creator of every feast, every triumph, every drama. I tried to invent new flowers, new planets, new flesh, new languages. I thought I had acquired supernatural powers. Ha! I have to bury my imagination and my memories! What an end to a splendid career as an artist and storyteller!
I called myself a magician, an angel, free from all moral constraint.... I am sent back to the soil to seek some obligation, to wrap gnarled reality in my arms.
The French poet Arthur Rimbaud from "A Season in Hell"