List of great books

    The contributors to this list have picked their favorite book.
See also Craig's List of great, but seldom seen, movies!




Noah Gordon (novel in the background of the medieval times)
The Physician
German title: Der Medicus

(Recommended by Detlef Brümmer)


Barry Hughart (fantasy)
A Bridge of Birds
German title: Die Brücke der Vöel

A whimsical, yet somehow grave novel set in a fantastic Ancient China. All of the children in the village of Number Ten Ox fall ill due to a slow-working, but deadly poison; and Number Ten Ox sets off on a search for the cure, the mystical Great Root of Power, with Li Kao, a sage with a slight flaw in his character. It's a delightful combination of a quest with a mystery, whose solution took me by surprise. It's perfectly delightful and I can't imagine someone not enjoying it.
Co-winner of the 1984 World Fantasy Award, Winner 1986 Mythopoeic Award.
(Recommended by Thorsten Habermann)


Jim Davis (cat cartoons)
Garfield

Compared to Charlie Brown, Calvin & Hobbes, etc, Garfield has the largest fun factor. See the homepage on the WWW.
(Recommended by Henning Warnek)


Jane Austen (novel on relations, lovers, etc.)
Emma

A book from 1815.
(Recommended by Regina)


B. Traven (novel, 1926)
Das Totenschiff

An american sailor misses the departure of his merchant ship during a stay in Holland. Stranded without passport he hires on a ship but dosn't get out of a harder side of life.
(Recommended by Stefan Forster)


Stephen King (creepy novel)
It

Comments on the WWW.
(Recommended by Rainer Kaske)


Stanislaw Lem (science fiction)
Kongres futurologiczny (original, polish title)
German title: Der futurologische Kongress

In the era of phycho-chemistry, beautiful halluzinations mask a problematic world. Different points of view obtained under the influence of different drugs make it difficult to find out, what is really behind it. A short book to recommend to any one who likes the movie "The matrix". A little exaggerated, though.
(Recommended by Burkhard Beinlich)


Pierre Barret, Jean Noël Gurgand (novel in the background of the medieval times, written 1982)
Gott will es! (Die Geschichte des ersten Kreuzzuges 1095-1099) (german title)
Original french title: Si je t'oublie Jerusalem - La prodigieuse aventure de la 1ère croisade 1095-1099

In the first third -- which is a little technical -- a crowd of people is gathered from various central European coutries by the pope for the first and most successful crusade. In the following years the hopeless crowd will vagabondize across various cities in Greece and Turkey, the remaining of which will finally conquer Jerusalem.
The story captures a lot of interesting and authentic details. Still, the character of mankind shows off plain and cruel.
(Recommended by Andre)


Albert Camus (novel)
L'Etranger (original, french title)

First half: a man's normal life, funeral of his mother, and during summer heat, he shoots a man on the beach. Second half: the trial in court. What was not important to the man (and to the crime) becomes important to the judges: his unconcernedness about his mother's death.
(Recommended by Monsieur Irmer, english and french teacher)


Wolfgang Körner (written from taped interviews, 1981)
S.Fischer/Goverts Verlag
Noch mal von vorn anfangen - Maenner erzählen, wie sie ihr Leben veränderten (original, german title)

The author interviews men who have totally changed their life -- to start from the beginning once more. The stories are versatile and deep, because they are told by the different characters themselves.
Comments on the WWW.
(Recommended by Isam Kamel)


Max Delbrück (1986)
Mind from Matter? An Essay on Evolutionary Epistemology


(Recommended by Quanfeng Wu)


Umberto Eco (novel on a secret society, conspiracy, and the ruling of the world, 1988)
Il pendolo di Foucault (original, italian title)
German title: Das Foucaultsche Pendel

Comments on the WWW.
(Recommended by "archi" Ralf Herrmann)


Angela und Karlheinz Steinmüller (science fiction)
Andymon (original, german title)

A space-utopia.
(Recommended by Hauke Bartsch)


Arno Schmidt (novel)
Kaff auch Mare Crisium (original, german title)


(Recommended by Klaus Obermayer)


Kandinsky, Wassili (artist's book)
Punkt und Linie zu Fläche (original, german title)

Axioms of drawing.
(Recommended by Hendrik Purwins)


Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle (science fiction)
The Mote in God's Eye
(german title): Der Splitter im Auge Gottes


(Recommended by Holger Schöner)


Joseph Conrad (novel)
Heart of Darkness

The story is like that of the movie "Apocalypse Now", but plays in Africa around 1900. Striking, because of very good descriptions of scenes.
(Recommended by Arunava Banerjee)


Erich Maria Remarque ((anti) war novel, 1928/29)
Im Westen nichts Neues (original, german title)
(english title): All Quiet on the Western Front


(Recommended by Charles)


Patrick Süskind (1985)
Das Parfum (original, german title)
(french title): Le Parfum

Smell is what makes the world for an orphan in the 18th century. However, he himself does not give off any smell, what makes him a person without personality, also for others.
(Recommended by France Ginchereau)


Kenneth Meadows (esoteric, 1994)
Scherz Verlag
Die Weisheit der Naturvölker

Knowledge about the influence of earth on our life and our character.
(Recommended by Dr. Motte)


Mikhail Bulgakov (1938)
The Master and Margarita

A masterpiece with philosophical treatment of Stalinist Russia and some influence by Goethe's Faust.
(Recommended by Volodymyr Ivanchenko)


Hermann Hesse (1927)
Der Steppenwolf


(Recommended by Thomas Thesen)


Douglas R. Hofstadter (1979)
Gödel, Escher, Bach


(Recommended by Simon Farrand)


Franz Kafka (novel, 1925)
The Trial

About Mr. K. who was involved in a trial not knowing what was the matter they accused him for. The trial was committed by an unofficial underground court. Initially, he tries to ignore the whole situation until he looses everything which was previously important in his life ...
(Recommended by Alex Zochios)


Julia Franck (novel, 1999)
Liebediener

Comments on the web .
(Recommended by André Grüning)


Frank Herbert (science fiction, 1981)
Dune (particularly part 4, God Emperor of Dune; German: Der Gottkaiser des Wüstenplaneten)

(Recommended by Tilo Beyer)


Milan Kundera (novel, 1988)
Immortality

(Recommended by Andreea Lazar)


Bryce Courtenay (novel, 1989, plays in the 1930s-1940s)
The Power of One

(Recommended by Olav Krigolson)


Miguel de Cervantes (1605/1615)
Don Quixote (El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha)

(Recommended by Carl van Vreeswijk)


Barack Obama (autobiography, 1995)
Dreams from My Father

Comments on the web .
(Recommended by Nora Boger)


George Orwell (novel, 1946/1947)
1984

Comments on the web .
(Recommended by Gervasio Puertas)


Delphine de Vigan (novel, 2007)
No and Me (No et moi)

This book is about a very precocious 13 year old girl, Lou, who lives in Paris with her parents. Due to a tragedy her mother suffers badly from depression and has little time for Lou. Her dad tries bravely to hold the family together. As a result of a school project, Lou meets and befriends No, a homeless 18 year old women. Although Lou's aim is to change No's life, in reality No changes Lou and her family's life. As the book is narrated by Lou, at first it does feel like a bit like a young person book. However, it is possible to overlook this due the charm of Lou's narration, which when required does not sound like a 13 year old. In fact sometimes the attempts at youth speech can be clunky (this may come from the translation from French to English). This is a well-structured book that offers a touching story of the impact of homeless and what can happen to a family when tragedy hits, as well as the interaction between people from different worlds. However, it never becomes preaching about social issues. The end is predictable but no less touching for that.
(Recommended by Mark Elshaw)


Jay Anson (horror, 1977)
The Amityville Horror: A True Story

Comments on the web .
(Recommended by Marcello Borghetti)


Sergei Lukyanenko (science fiction, 2007)
Spektrum

Comments on the web .
(Recommended by Dennis Hamester)




Here is an almost creation of a good book.

Actually, I don't have a personal best book, because I am mostly biased to the last which I have read. Though, a marks my favorite 5.

Here is another list for 100 novels and 100 nonfiction.
Some science fiction: Charles H. Hinton (1853 - 1907), Olaf Stapledon (1886 - 1950), Stephen Baxter (1957 - ), Christopher Priest (1943 - ).


Here is something on Soziobiologie (German). Here is an interview with Wolf Singer on Freier Wille (German).
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