Favourite Book


War Hero
OK, so we've had favourite book genre and a whole host of music and film threads so I thought, as I'm currently looking for a book to read I would put this thread forward.

List the best 5 books you have ever read and importantly the one book which you would recommend to your best friend. It needn't be high brow just the one book which you feel perhaps changed your view of the world or passed some time pleasantly. I suppose I should start!

The best book I ever read was called Eagle in the sky by Wilbur Smith, now I don't really like Wilbur Smith but I have read this book 4 times it is brilliant. The rest of my five are:

Lord of the Rings- Tolkien Because I was 15 and it enthralled me.
The Dragonbone Chair- Tad Williams Because I was 30 and it enthralled me more than above
To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee Because it was my english GCE book and I've revisited it twice.
Einsteins Universe- Nigel Calder Because it really did change my life.

These threads seem to be the type people look in on when joining the site or when bored so I will add it to the other sticky's at the top of NBCD.


War Hero
Jeez, 5 books CT? Can we include the Beano Annual?

OK, here goes, I'm deliberately keeping it light:

1. A Short History of Nearly Everything: Bill Bryson
2. Eats, shoots and leaves: Lynne Truss
3. Erm... I'll get back to you on t'others.


War Hero
letthecatoutofthebag said:
4. Anything by Douglas Adams, but in particular Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. Anyone who can make quantum theory funny is a genius.
Agree the guy is brilliant

letthecatoutofthebag said:
And finally the one to reccommend:

5. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (it will change the way you think)
Dawkins is a brilliantly logical scientist, I read "The Selfish Gene" and "The Blind Watchmaker" a few years ago one after the other, evolution never made more sense. The God Delusion is equally as brilliant but left me feeling that he see's nothing "magical " in the mysteries of life. I agree with everything in the book but ended up feeling sorry for Dawkins!


Lantern Swinger
I'm deploying in a few weeks, and I'll take "The God Delusion", "Lord Of The Rings", Bill Bryson's "Short History Of Nearly Everything", and a shitload of Douglas Adams' stuff.

If you like your footy, then "Fever Pitch" is difficult to beat. Simon Hughes' "A Lot Of Hard Yakka" is the best cricket book out there.


War Hero
Fever Pitch is good even if you're not a "footy fan" to be honest. Nick Hornby is an excellent author- good call.


War Hero
I think I'd add my support to the Douglas Adams camp, first listened to Hitch Hikers on the radio, then read the books.

I think the most significant book I've ever read would be Chaos by James Gleick. I read the original edition in the 80s although it's been republished recently.

I have to say that given the number of books I read they all kind of blend a little, but:

Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
The Dhammapada.
Lord of the Rings, Tolkein.
My non-fiction five are:
1. The Scourge of the Swastika. - Lord Russel of Liverpool.
A truly terrifying book. As a young boy, I think I was about 10, I used to go to a nearby library to read it. It both repulsed and fascinated me for about two years and I hated the power it seemed to have over me. I recall my teachers used to worry about my paintings around the same time I was reading it and I remember having to take them with me when I was eventually sent to see the shrink. Russel's book put the whole idea of joining up into my head. It's also the reason why I can't bear to look at pictures and footage of the camps and why I've never been able to bring myself to watch Schindler's List.
2. Language, Sense and Nonsense - G. P. Baker and P.M.S. Hacker.
If you believe language is a 'mystery' to be solved by a pseudo-scientific theory of meaning you will hate this book. It's brilliant! A big influence on me at Uni.
3. Karl Marx - Francis Wheen.
Put aside the bogey-man image for a moment and read Wheen's witty and informative biography of an ogre, saint and human being. Read the five page Introduction and you will be hooked.
Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. - Ray Monk. Look at my avatar. Say no more :thumright: )
4. Longitude - Dava Sobel.
A historical thriller for matelots and a good example of how great and inspirational people can be the 'wrong kind' of people. (Two centuries later it was Alan Turing).
5. The Greatest Benefit To Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present - Roy Porter.
I never tire of recommending this book to people. Very readable and a marvellous gift. Utterly entertaining and quite fascinating. It's ferkin enormous too :)


War Hero
The 5 for me

1.Wind in the Willows-still enjoy reading this even after all these years..(Pipers at the Gates of Dawn).. :thumright:
2.The Bourne series-Liked these types of books during the long tours back when the cold war was still warm..(and Deighton)
3. The Teachings of Don Juan-Carlos Castaneda, this was during the 70's you had to be there... :dwarf:
4. The Ringworld Engineers-Larry Niven, thought this was truly outstanding stuff, again you had to be there...
5. The Hobbit-Pretty much started it all for me...

I would recommend The Wind in the Willows, your never to old to understand the meanings this book deals with...


War Hero
Karma said:
I think the most significant book I've ever read would be Chaos by James Gleick. I read the original edition in the 80s although it's been republished recently.
Wonderful book, I spent months playing with the Mandelbrot set first on my Atari ST (very slow and tedious) then a PC after reading it, this book introduced me to the logistics equation and ultimately led to my study of Maths!

HarryBosch said:
I've missed you Harry, where have you been? Not surprisingly this is the only one of your recommends I have read, agree it is good (I did my Senior Rates' Command Course presentation on the back of it " The importance of time"), I will get around to reading some Wittgenstein................ one day ^_^;
1. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - John le Carre
2. Smiley's People - John le Carre
3. Anything by Michael Connelly (Many of his earlier ones now come as Three-in-One novels. Begin with those. You won't be dissapointed).
4. The Colour of Law - Mark Gimenez. Have just read this variant of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. A nice read, often humourous whilst being respectful to the original. A good mess deck book for fans of either Atticus Finch or John Grisham.
5.Berlin Noir - Philip Kerr. I recommend this book to everyone I meet. Berlin Noir is actually a Three-In-One set about German cop Bernie Gunther trying to do his job. However, since the stories are set in 1936 (March Violets"), 1938 ("Pale Criminal"), and 1947 ( "German Requiem") Gunther has his work cut out. Absolutely brilliant. Just check out the reviews on Amazon. And New and Used from a fiver!Highly Recommended See the link.
Berlin Noir


War Hero
Whilst there are some already some quite profound, intellectual books, (have to admit there's a few I haven't come across yet, but if I live long enough, I'd love to read them) and do bear in mind I'm trying to help get the thread going & encourage those that are as thick as me...

Erm....4) Winnie the Pooh: AA Milne.

Yep, even a grown-up can really enjoy these books. I hadn't until I read them to my son about 5 years ago. Genius. (He's 27, by the way)
Hi Chief , Nice to be back. Eagle in the Sky was the first Wilbur Smith book I ever read and his best, I reckon.
Hi Ninja - You not like crime novels?
Lovely bed time book for very young children include The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark. You'll love it. See more of her stuff about half way down the page Here


War Hero
Ninja_Stoker said:
Whils I hadn't until I read them to my son about 5 years ago. Genius.
If you want your lad to grow up with an open mind, but not get all geeked out, and learn a bit; try these books Russ Stannard Start with The Time and Space of Uncle Albert, then the rest, be wary of the later religious ones but the rest are brilliant, really well written and imaginitive childrens stories with real science! I always recommend these to friends with kids around 9-13.

PS. Whatever happened to those brilliant Commando mags I used to read as a kid?
Favourite has to be "Swan Song" by Robert R McCammon, absolutely incredible read, I have read it 4 or 5 times and can never put it down once I've started it.

2) The Coffin Dancer - Jeffrey Deaver
3) The Time Travellers wife - Audrey Niffeneger
4) The Vanished Man - Jeffrey Deaver
5) Area 7 - Matthew Reilly


War Hero
HarryBosch said:
Hi Ninja - You not like crime novels?
I do indeed Harry, Old Arty Conan-Doyle-Double-Barreled-Hardly-Worthit is the limit on that front though, as they often have pictures too.

Good to see you back, by the way!
The book I'd recommend is a book I've just read that Harrybosch persuaded me to buy instead of the usual war history stuff....good call harry.

It's called "Tribes of Britain", it's all about who us british people are and where we've all come from since the last Iceage until now. Quite apt it the current climate really.

Can't remember who wrote it as I've already lent it to someone.


War Hero
chieftiff said:
PS. Whatever happened to those brilliant Commando mags I used to read as a kid?
Try Waterstones, seriously!

I was there for ages last weekend reading several condensed semi-hardback/paperback volumes (300+ pages per book) of the Commando series. Brilliant Artwork, pukka patriotism. Dropped a hint to the missus, I'd like one for my birthday.

Result ? A tin of Bassett's Allsorts.
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