Thursday, July 23, 2009

Question: Your Two Favorite Books?

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Fortunately, there is nothing better than reading a good state code book: the subtle and nuanced Ohio Revised Code, the surprisingly funny and richly-textured Illinois Annotated Statutes, and the haunting West Virginia Code. Beyond these beautiful works, however, the literary world sadly lets us down.

Still, I’m told there are a few good books out there. What are your two favorite books (other than state codes) and why?

20 comments:

LawHawkSF said...

Andy: Great. You left me without the ability to include "Deering's California Codes Annotated," or "Witkin's Summary of California Law (aka Witkin's Wit)." I won't include the Bible, since it's in a class of its own.

I'm going with The Federalist Papers (great writing, landmark thinking, history and political philosophy). And The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich because it is fascinating history, and a constant reminder of everything that can go wrong. In many ways, it is the story of a political theory and a madness that is exactly the opposite (and dark) side of The Federalist Papers.

CrisD said...

Vanity Fair by William Thackeray

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

Two of the most engaging, best written and well-thought out commentaries on society.

Writer X said...

I read for a living so it's impossible for me to pick two. But I'll give it a shot. I do love any well written book that let's me escape and not all my favorites are the classics. GONE WITH THE WIND, that's a given. And TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD really rocked my world. But, who could forget DO BLACK PATENT LEATHER SHOES REALLY REFLECT UP?

CrispyRice said...

CrisD, I recently read _Vanity Fair_ and perhaps I would have benefited from doing it in a class setting. I enjoyed it and found it interesting, but I'm sure I missed a great deal. _Jude_ is on my list.

Love GWTW.

But of the books I keep coming back to...

_Watership Down_ by Richard Adams. A wonderful societal / governmental commentary disguised as an adventure book about rabbits.

And, well, either _Lord of the Rings_ or _The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy_. Both really are sweeping tales of change and how to deal with them.

AndrewPrice said...

Lord of the Rings is definitely my favorite. That was just a great story, with great characters, and it was extremely well written.

After that, it gets a bit hazy. I really liked The Three Musketeers and All Quiet On The Western Front. I also really liked The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galazy and To Kill A Mocking Bird. You can't go wrong with Shakespeare. I loved The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, and The Foundation by Asimov.

But I think I'm going to have to go with another fantasy book, The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks.

Tennessee Jed said...

Since it is absolutely impossible to narrow it down to two alltime favorites, and since it is summertime, I am going to name two books I throughly enjoyed that are also fun reads:

1) The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. This is a book of non-fiction, but reads like a thriller. It is the story of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and has two major threads juxtaposed. The first follows the architect Daniel Burnham who built "The White City"and the second follows a Jack the Ripper like person ("The Devil") who was in town at the time. Fantastic author and great read!

2) Shogun or Noble House - I love the glimpse at Asian cultures. Clavell sets up incredible puzzle boxes from which his protagonists, Lord Yoshi Toranaga and Dirk Struan must escape. Story telling at it's finest

BevfromNYC said...

Hmmm, just two? I like all of your favorites. I have to go with "The Source" by James Michener. Well, I have loved pretty much all of Michener's historical fictions. (I am not so fond of his travelogues.)

And, the second, right now, it is a toss up between Ken Follett's "Pillars of the Earth"/"World Without End" or David McCullough's "John Adams".

As always, I refuse to be limited by your rules of "two"!

CrisD said...

Wow! A lot of To Kill a Mockingbird fans! Strong book, I agree.

Writer X: I was amazed when I read GWTW (about 15 years ago) and found out it was so different from the movie. Scarlett was much more interesting in the book, IMO.

Crispy, am so glad they are teaching Vanity Fair! Read it again some summer and just enjoy the satire. As to Hardy--the first 100 pages are hard but I became hooked on him and read them all last summer. Even got into his wonderful poetry.

Lots of fantasy fans--any Orson Scott Card folks? He wrote a big article warning against Obama during the campaign.

Writer X said...

CrisD, when I read GWTW for the first time, I was about 10. I stole it from my older sister's bookshelf. I did not come out of my bedroom for three days; I read it day and night. My parents thought I needed an exorcism or something. When the movie came around to our town, I dragged my sister to the theatre with me and we watched the midnight showing. (It was the only time left and my dad wouldn't let me go alone. My sister fell asleep during the movie) It's probably the one movie that I liked as much as the book. But, remember I was 10-11 at the time...and very much in love with Rhett Butler.

BevfromNYC said...

Writer X and CrisD - Okay, GWTW, I don't even consider a book or movie, it is a lifestyle. I was 10 or 11 when my mother took me to see a re-release of GWTW, which led me to read the book. The first 1000 page book I ever read. I was in loooove with Ashley. I don't know about you, but, GWTW has been my touchstone to gauge my level of maturity. My admiration for certain characters has changed as I have "grown up".

Though, Law - You may have convinced me to should pick up a copy of "Deering's California Codes", but only if I can find a "unannotated" version. I will be going to the beach soon.

CrisD said...

Writer X:
Hilarius account. Rhett Butler and Ashley (Bev!!!): To die for...

I was a bad girl at 12 and stole all the John O'hara and John Cheever books from my parents and found out what the grown-ups were really up to...dismay!!!

Writer X said...

CrisD, my parents didn't typically hide books from us but they did hide THE EXORCIST. Of course, I found their hiding spot and read it--and still regret it to this day. That book still gives me the creeps and I've never been able to see the movie.

And, Bev, Rhett could kick Ashley's butt. No question. Although I did read something that Vivien Leigh said in an autobiography. She said that Clark Gable had bad breath and that sort of stole some of the air out of my balloon.

StanH said...

I have to go with, “Lord of the Rings” as we all know an incredible tale of good- vs.- evil and “Atlas Shrugged” has risen to my top of my list as it relates to our current political situation, prophetic …as is Orwell’s “1984.” Not always be a political curmudgeon but, Mark Levine’s “Liberty and Tyranny” a must read in the world we find ourselves, well researched and a quick read. I know that’s more than two Andrew, I tried : )

AndrewPrice said...

I see that none of you can follow directions. . . excellent! It's like a libertarian paradise (or it's like Italy, I'm not sure which).

Bev, my mother has all of Michener's books, but I've never read them.

What's this Gone With the Wind thing you all keep talking about? (just kidding. . . calm down. . . calm down)

Stan, you remind me that Animal Farm is one of my favorites too.

BevfromNYC said...

Writer X: My mother burned "The Exorcist"! I did see the movie and I regret it. I shutter every time I hear "Tubular Bells".

Yes, I know Rhett could kick Ashley's butt. I always like Rhett, but I think I had a thing very early on for those weak, dreamer-type romantics. But I think if Melanie had been physically stronger, she could have kicked Scarlett's butt. I have grown to really admire Melanie - a physically weak, but more mature version of Scarlett.

Ummm, Andrew - GWTW, is really the female equivolent of "The Godfather" without the horse head scene. But to GWTW's credit, there are dead Yankees!

I love Orwell too. See this is why it's hard to choose.

freedom21 said...

Sigh...you guys are so classically well read. I would love to come up with something awesome and intellectual. Sadly, I'm just not that deep.

I'll go with my gut and be honest...Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) and Bitter in Black (Jen Lancaster).

And obvioulsy the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. It's a real doozie.

AndrewPrice said...

Freedom21, the tax code. . . ah, the tax code. It literally brings tears to my eyes reading the tax code. LOL!

Pride and Prejudice -- good book!

patti said...

other than state codes?!

i am tired and cranky and can't think (it's the damnable south texas heat/humidity) yet i can offer one book: grisham's a time to kill. his best. the end.

sorry for the crank. i blame it on the marriage proposals.

AndrewPrice said...

We forgive you Patti, after all, that was an awful lot of proposals for one person.

DCAlleyKat said...

I am so behind my Commentarama reading, I just stumbled upon this one! "Two", Andrew how could you be so cruel. There is no way...get that - no way. I would have to break it into genre, am just going to throw out some of my faves, in no particular order other than #1 is The Bible..

Charlotte's Web, GWTW, Ian Fleming's 'James Bond' series, anything by John Douglas (profiler) or Ann Rule, A New Introduction to Greek, Marxism by Thomas Sowell, The Creature From Jekyll Island, The Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbon, Send In The Waco Killers, any Calvin & Hobbes book, Sketches of Jewish Social Life In The Days of Christ, Lord of the Rings, 1776, Benjamin Franklin by Hawke, the "Harry Potter" series, a good historical romance or true crime with a cup of tea.

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