PDA

View Full Version : The Greatest Books



Angela
14-08-20, 19:07
One man's opinion of mostly novels, but some other types of books as well. I agree with most of it, although not necessarily the order. (I would not include "The Great Gatsby", for example)

His explanation:
"This list is generated from 128 "best of" book lists from a variety of great sources. An algorithm is used to create a master list based on how many lists a particular book appears on. Some lists count more than others. I generally trust "best of all time" lists voted by authors and experts over user-generated lists. On the lists that are actually ranked, the book that is 1st counts a lot more than the book that's 100th."

https://thegreatestbooks.org/

Any others you would include? It's too English language centered, I think, although it's not only English language books.

Maciamo
14-08-20, 20:01
I have read quite a few books in the list (already 12 in the top 30), but overall I was not impressed. Fiction usually feels like a waste of time to me. There are so many things to learn. Why bother with fake stories? I read every day, about one book per week, all year round, and it's almost excursively non-fiction. Nowadays at least, as I learned the hard way that all the famous "classics" are not for me as they just reflect the shortcomings and narrow-minded of people in the past; people who didn't know anything about modern science, and especially neurosciences, genetics and psychology, and often believed in god(s); people who didn't know that love was a set of hormonal and neurochemical reactions rooted in evolution; and people who followed ridiculous social rules of a time governed by stupidity and ignorance.

As a form of (mild) entertainment, Candide, Great Expectations, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Dangerous Liaisons, or Hamlet (and other Shakespeare's) were perhaps fun enough to read when I was a teenager. However I hated Madame Bovary, Don Quixote and In Search of Lost Time.

The Odyssey, The Canterbury Tales, Gulliver's Travels, Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Metamorphosis are just so stupid... (I can't stand anything irrational).

Faust, Paradise Lost and the Divine Comedy are meaningless for an Atheist.

Lord of the Flies happened for real (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/13/the-real-lord-of-the-flies-mano-totau-survivor-story-shipwreck-tonga-boys-ata-island-peter-warner) and did not happen at all as the author imagined (quite the opposite).

Brave New World and 1984 proved completely wrong in their predictions of the future and just highlight of the shortsightedness of the authors.

Waiting for Godot : a boring waste of time...

A Passage to India, War & Peace, Anna Karenina, Les Misérables, The Remains of the Day, and all the Charles Dickens are all right, but not really worth the time to read them when real history books are available. Good enough as movies though.


EDIT: Novels and plays are useful as practice to learn a new language because they are rich in vocabulary. I read all the Shakespeare's when I was 18 and learning English. I of course preferred the "biographical" ones (as biased or fanciful as they may be) and disliked the outlandish rambling that was A Midsummer Night's Dream. I read Goethe and Kafka when I was learning German (I probably would have a hard time now as I haven't practised it for a long time). I wanted to read The Tale of Genji in Japanese, but it was too difficult and too long in my 2nd year of learning Japanese, so I had to make do with the manga version.

Angela
14-08-20, 20:19
Couldn't disagree more, but I know I'll never convince you, so I won't try. :)

The only nonfiction books I read are in the fields of genetics, history, and archaeology, biography if I know it isn't a hatchet job. I never read psychology or sociology books of any kind anymore. Self-help books are anathema to me. :) There's a reason there's a crisis of replicability in the social sciences. Most of it is nonsense, either fabricated to suit an agenda or the result of terrible sampling and math. One of the worst areas is the so called nutritional "sciences". The entire output from a major university has had to be dumped in the trash bin.

I'd be interested to see your, say, top ten favorite books, the ones which most impacted you in your life, if you care to share them.

Oh, I read cook books all the time, just for fun, have a huge collection, and gardening and landscaping books, if that counts as non-fiction. :)

Maciamo
14-08-20, 20:41
I'd be interested to see your, say, top ten favorite books, the ones which most impacted you in your life, if you care to share them.

I did share them before. I have a thread dedicated to my book recommendations (with link in my signature) and posted the link of my "virtual library" on Libib last year. It includes the list of my 'must-read' books (https://maciamo.libib.com/i/mustread-books) (I did not include history books in that list as there are too many I have read and liked). The list is intended as a recommendation for "anybody", books that everyone should read, whatever their background. I did not include too technical books or textbooks.


Oh, I read cook books all the time, just for fun, have a huge collection, and gardening and landscaping books, if that counts as non-fiction. :)

That doesn't even count as reading for me. (just like I don't count instruction manuals or what's written on packages of cereal boxes)

Angela
14-08-20, 21:57
I did share them before. I have a thread dedicated to my book recommendations (with link in my signature) and posted the link of my "virtual library" on Libib last year. It includes the list of my 'must-read' books (https://maciamo.libib.com/i/mustread-books) (I did not include history books in that list as there are too many I have read and liked). The list is intended as a recommendation for "anybody", books that everyone should read, whatever their background. I did not include too technical books or textbooks.



That doesn't even count as reading for me. (just like I don't count instruction manuals or what's written on packages of cereal boxes)

That seems more than a little unduly harsh, but whatever...

It depends on the types of culinary books you're discussing.

I think you're missing a lot by not reading books like this...
https://www.amazon.com/Mediterranean-Feast-Celebrated-Cuisines-Merchants/dp/0688153054/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=a+mEDITERRANEAN+FEAST+-+HISTORY+OF+FOOD+IN+THE+mEDITERRANEAN&qid=1597434279&sr=8-2

Angela
14-08-20, 21:59
I hope other members who haven't thrown all the works of celebrated authors of the past into the dustbin of history will contribute and add some of their favorites not included in the list. :)

Maciamo
14-08-20, 23:23
That seems more than a little unduly harsh, but whatever...

It depends on the types of culinary books you're discussing.

I think you're missing a lot by not reading books like this...
https://www.amazon.com/Mediterranean-Feast-Celebrated-Cuisines-Merchants/dp/0688153054/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=a+mEDITERRANEAN+FEAST+-+HISTORY+OF+FOOD+IN+THE+mEDITERRANEAN&qid=1597434279&sr=8-2

I didn't mean to say that cooking books are not useful, but that's not 'reading' as much as following some instructions on one specific page. You don't read the book from cover to cover. In the same vein I read Italian Cuisine: a cultural history (https://smile.amazon.com/Italian-Cuisine-Cultural-Traditions-Perspectives/dp/0231122322/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3IUO5QXAAXVDX&dchild=1&keywords=italian+cuisine+a+cultural+history&qid=1597440007), but that's more a history book about gastronomy than a cooking book per se.

Dorquest
15-08-20, 01:25
I'm new here, but I like Richard Dawkins The Ancestor Tale - When I was a kid reading about evolution it always stopped at the Great Apes, so I was thinking what happened {before} that? Do I have a common ancestor with my Golden Retriever, a squirrel?!! This breaks it all down. Further Cosmos by Carl Sagan. I do like fiction also Ernest Hemingway For Whom the Bell Tolls, All Quiet on the Western Front among others.

Angela
15-08-20, 03:24
I'm new here, but I like Richard Dawkins The Ancestor Tale - When I was a kid reading about evolution it always stopped at the Great Apes, so I was thinking what happened after that? Do I have a common ancestor with my Golden Retriever, a squirrel?!! This breaks it all down. Further Cosmos by Carl Sagan. I do like fiction also Ernest Hemingway For Whom the Bell Tolls, All Quiet on the Western Front among others.

Yes, I like Hemingway too, even if I don't always agree with his world view; he had a tremendous impact stylistically on future generations.

All Quiet on the Western Front is a wonderful book.

You picked the best two about that era. :)

I understand why they included The Great Gatsby. A lot of literary critics and cultural historians think it explains "America" and "The American Dream". I completely disagree with Fitzgerald's vision of America, just sour grapes imo, and I think the book makes symbols of its characters instead of presenting real people, so that's one I don't think belongs on the list.

I would put even more works by William Faulkner on the list. He deserved his Nobel Prize as few others have...everything anyone wants to know about race relations in the U.S. can find its beginnings there.

Maciamo
20-08-20, 16:55
There's a reason there's a crisis of replicability in the social sciences. Most of it is nonsense, either fabricated to suit an agenda or the result of terrible sampling and math. One of the worst areas is the so called nutritional "sciences". The entire output from a major university has had to be dumped in the trash bin.


It's surprising that you call most social sciences 'nonsense' considering how active you are in the field of social sciences (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_science) on the forum. This includes anthropology, archaeology, (social) history, linguistics, and some could say even population genetics as it deals with society. I strongly disagree that most social sciences is nonsense. There are always people who interpret the data to suit the political agenda, but that's a completely different thing.

On the other hand I don't see how nutritional sciences are part of the social sciences.

Angela
20-08-20, 17:55
It's surprising that you call most social sciences 'nonsense' considering how active you are in the field of social sciences (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_science) on the forum. This includes anthropology, archaeology, (social) history, linguistics, and some could say even population genetics as it deals with society. I strongly disagree that most social sciences is nonsense. There are always people who interpret the data to suit the political agenda, but that's a completely different thing.

On the other hand I don't see how nutritional sciences are part of the social sciences.

You;re right: I should have been more precise.

The crisis in replicability which has rather recently been revealed is mainly in the fields of psychology and sociology. They're supposed to be more "data" based, and it turns out a majority of the papers supposedly based on data cannot be replicated. Errors, intentional or not, litter the papers.

In seconds you should be able to find some of the most egregious examples.

They should come out with a list of those books and papers which CAN be replicated.

When you get into "cultural" anthropology, especially, you have to be very cautious, imo, because precious little of it is actually "data"; most of it is interpretation and you can usually spot the bias or preconceptions/assumptions a mile off. The same can be true of certain "social" histories unless you know a LOT of the history covered yourself.

As for economic and political predictions....

I read all of these:

Paul Ehrlich: The population bomb

How many books predicted that Japan would be the global economic power? I read quite a few

When China Rules the World: Martin Jacques. Larry Somers loved it; took it to Davos with him.

Fukuyama: The End of History

I don't read any books of this sort any more. Imo, the only thing we can know for certain about the future is that it's unknowable.

Maciamo
20-08-20, 19:32
You;re right: I should have been more precise.

The crisis in replicability which has rather recently been revealed is mainly in the fields of psychology and sociology. They're supposed to be more "data" based, and it turns out a majority of the papers supposedly based on data cannot be replicated. Errors, intentional or not, litter the papers.

In seconds you should be able to find some of the most egregious examples.

They should come out with a list of those books and papers which CAN be replicated.

When you get into "cultural" anthropology, especially, you have to be very cautious, imo, because precious little of it is actually "data"; most of it is interpretation and you can usually spot the bias or preconceptions/assumptions a mile off. The same can be true of certain "social" histories unless you know a LOT of the history covered yourself.

As for economic and political predictions....

I read all of these:

Paul Ehrlich: The population bomb

How many books predicted that Japan would be the global economic power? I read quite a few

When China Rules the World: Martin Jacques. Larry Somers loved it; took it to Davos with him.

Fukuyama: The End of History

I don't read any books of this sort any more. Imo, the only thing we can know for certain about the future is that it's unknowable.

Oh, I completely agree with you that a lot that comes from sociological and economic "theories" are often mistaken and later proven wrong. That's because human society is so complex that it is very hard to reduce human behaviour to so simplistic models. In psychology it really depends on the kind of study (social psychology, cultural psychology, individual psychology, psychotherapy...). There has been a lot of research and quite a few theories have also been disproved. But that does not mean that psychologists have not found anything that passed scrutiny. Most of the interesting findings in interpersonal and intrapersonal psychology were summarised in books like Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (https://smile.amazon.com/Behave-Biology-Humans-Best-Worst-ebook/dp/B01A7YX4TW/ref=sr_1_1) by Robert Sapolsky, You Are Not That Smart (https://smile.amazon.com/You-Are-Not-So-Smart/dp/1592407366/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3QEI13JS05XSA) by David McRaney or Thinking, Fast and Slow (https://smile.amazon.com/Thinking-Fast-Slow-Daniel-Kahneman-ebook/dp/B00555X8OA/ref=msx_wsirn_v1_1/136-9298971-7511723) by Daniel Kahneman. The first one is really more neuropsychology and explains the underlying mechanisms in the brain that influence our behaviour. Modern fMRI imagery has provided ample hard evidence to explain how the brain circuitry works and plenty of experiments have been done in the last decade to explain psychology in a much modern scientific fashion that what used to be done in the 20th century.