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Flawless books?

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    PatboyXPatboyX Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    In no particular order:

    Lolita
    Cat's Cradle
    Crying of Lot 49
    Wuthering Heights
    Cyrano de Bergerac
    World According to Garp
    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
    All Quiet on the Western Front

    I could do this all day.
    I lied. They are listed in order that stacks nicest.

    PatboyX on
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    deadonthestreetdeadonthestreet Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    The prose in A Tale of Two Cities was beautiful. Probably the finest I've read. It was also unforgiveably opaque, and I never made it past the first 20 pages. I would read a page, and think, "My, but this is pretty," and then realize I had no idea what had just happened.
    I totally agree. "Wow this is amazing. I mean, what?"

    Great Expectations, on the other hand, I adored.

    deadonthestreet on
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    evilbobevilbob RADELAIDERegistered User regular
    edited May 2007
    I wouldn't say it was perfect, but I adore House Of The Spirits

    evilbob on
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    OboroOboro __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2007
    t PatboyX-- I wouldn't hold Lolita up as one of Nabakov's best works. Really, it has an absolutely stellar beginning and middle, but it just takes an unforgivable dove-tail as the focus changes entirely and his prose becomes increasingly more mundane.

    Oboro on
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    Nova_CNova_C I have the need The need for speedRegistered User regular
    edited May 2007
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Me, I find myself liking Stephen King's The Long Walk more every time I read it. He generally fucks up a book during the climax, or writes himself into a corner, but this one is just awesome in its simple brutality.

    I found The Long Walk to be the most disturbing thing I've read by him. It was really good, though. The ending fit perfectly in with it. Speaking of Stephen King, I'd say The Shining is about perfect.

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    CrimsonKingCrimsonKing Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Maniac Magee

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    ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2007
    Maniac Magee

    I loved that book.

    Shinto on
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    Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator Mod Emeritus
    edited May 2007
    Oboro wrote: »
    t PatboyX-- I wouldn't hold Lolita up as one of Nabakov's best works. Really, it has an absolutely stellar beginning and middle, but it just takes an unforgivable dove-tail as the focus changes entirely and his prose becomes increasingly more mundane.
    Yeah the "road novel" aspect of it was basically why I chose Ada instead. Still, I don't think the prose ever diminishes so much as the pacing starts moving in odd spurts. Still, even those sections are surprisingly dense if you're reading them for narrative subtext and the like, which is really Nabokov's big thing.

    Irond Will on
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    kaz67kaz67 Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Not sure if it has been mentioned yet, but I can't think of any flaws in Kafka's The Trial.

    To go off topic for a bit, how do you think someone who hated Ulysses but loved A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man would feel about Dubliners? Thanks to those two books I have somewhat conflicting feelings towards Joyce so a bit wary about buying another of his books.

    kaz67 on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Bliss 101 wrote: »
    A Small Good Thing by Raymond Carver. A perfect short story.

    The Bath was better. For example, The Bath didn't end in laughable, saccharine masturbation.

    Also, you can read Araby and The Dead, the best Dubliners stories, online for free. If you're curious you might as well.

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    PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    The correct answer to this thread is Dante's commedia in its original Tuscan.

    The Inferno, at least, was a clever idea saddled by Dante's insistence on badmouthing everyone he didn't like. I kept imagining some highschooler hunched over his chair thinking, "You taped a Kick-Me sign to my back! I'm totally going to get even with you, through the power of literature!"

    Good book, but hardly flawless. I'll go with "extremely impressive, given the time period."

    Try writing any insult in terza rima and get back to me.

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    ClevingerClevinger Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    kaz67 wrote: »
    Not sure if it has been mentioned yet, but I can't think of any flaws in Kafka's The Trial.

    Isn't that the one Kafka never finished?

    Clevinger on
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    Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    arod_77 wrote: »
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

    Flawless my ass, the entire last 3rd of the book where Tom Sawyer enters in is intolerable.

    I agree, and Twain would likely as well. He said on many occasions that he had trouble ending the novel, and that he was ultimately less than thrilled with the last section of it.

    I'd Nominate Twain's Roughing It, Letters From the Earth, and The War Prayer.

    Regina Fong on
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    PatboyXPatboyX Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Oboro wrote: »
    t PatboyX-- I wouldn't hold Lolita up as one of Nabakov's best works. Really, it has an absolutely stellar beginning and middle, but it just takes an unforgivable dove-tail as the focus changes entirely and his prose becomes increasingly more mundane.
    Yeah the "road novel" aspect of it was basically why I chose Ada instead. Still, I don't think the prose ever diminishes so much as the pacing starts moving in odd spurts. Still, even those sections are surprisingly dense if you're reading them for narrative subtext and the like, which is really Nabokov's big thing.

    I could see this point of view. I didn't put Ada in because it had already been brought up. But I think he is such a perfectionist, almost anything he did could be put in there. He is a craftsman.
    I disagree on the middle of the novel but I (obviously) loved the whole damn thing. That's the problem with these lists...
    And since there wasn't enough drama-love "Oleanna"
    Mamet gets both insane amounts of praise and criticism but I think this is one of his that continues to have a place.

    On Kafka, because I looked at my bookshelf when I got home and was horrified I put down nothing, I might have to go with The Castle.
    On the same shelf, Roth's Goodbye, Columbus. That short story destroyed me (maybe because I dated a chick from Short Hills in High School.)
    And next to it, Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (specifically "What's in Alaska?")

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    Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Fahrenheit 451 and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

    I see your Bradbury and Heinlein and raise you Brin and Niven:


    Startide Rising, and the short Neutron Star.

    Regina Fong on
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    kaz67kaz67 Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Clevinger wrote: »
    kaz67 wrote: »
    Not sure if it has been mentioned yet, but I can't think of any flaws in Kafka's The Trial.

    Isn't that the one Kafka never finished?

    Fairly sure you are thinking of The Castle but could be wrong.

    kaz67 on
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    SithDrummerSithDrummer Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Maniac Magee
    You brilliant bastard. Good choice indeed.

    SithDrummer on
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    Target PracticeTarget Practice Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    The correct answer to this thread is Dante's commedia in its original Tuscan.

    The Inferno, at least, was a clever idea saddled by Dante's insistence on badmouthing everyone he didn't like. I kept imagining some highschooler hunched over his chair thinking, "You taped a Kick-Me sign to my back! I'm totally going to get even with you, through the power of literature!"
    Until this moment, I never thought Michael Crichton had anything in common with Dante.

    Target Practice on
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    thorpethorpe Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury. Damn is that an amazing book. Incredibly beautiful writing and imagery.

    "There Will Come Soft Rains" still gives me shivers.

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    BedlamBedlam Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Breakfast of Champions.

    Those that read it can finally say "Goodbye blue monday!"

    Bedlam on
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Does Les Miserables belong here? I think it might, although there may have been a few too many then-contemporary references for it to age well. Then again, the same holds of a lot of Shakespeare's stuff.

    Daedalus on
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    setrajonassetrajonas Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    This might have been mentioned already for drama, but Othello was as damn near perfect as it gets for the Shakespearean tragedies that I've read (being Othella, Hamlet and Macbeth; does R&J count?). For his comedies, Taming of the Screw was awesome as well.

    setrajonas on
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    TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    For graphic novels I'd say The Life Eaters.

    For books I'd say The Princess Bride.

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    RustRust __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2007
    I'll throw in Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson.

    Rust on
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    Eela6Eela6 Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    I can't give you a perfect story, but I can give you: John Dies At The End.

    Is it a technical masterpiece? Hell no. Does it have an overarching message? Maybe. Does it ramble and have plot holes and contradict itself? Hell yes.

    Is it the funniest goddamn thing you will ever read? Oh yeah. That's as 'perfect' as I need. Best of all, it's free and online, and you owe it to yourself to read it.

    On a more serious note, The Great Gatsby is incredibly awesome, even though it was forced down my throat in school eight to seventeen times.


    Snow Crash
    is simply one of the most engaging reads I've ever had. I have no mouth and I must scream is an amazing short story. Then there's about a thousand other things.

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    tofutofu Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Love The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald was a goddamn genius.

    For flawless I would nominate The Hobbit (I don't think I can be objective on that though) and The Phantom Tollbooth (this one either really).

    tofu on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited May 2007
    -I could barely begin the Hobbit because the poor choice in wording... Flawless it is not. It mentioned Football to describe a throwing action.

    -The Great Gatsby is one of the most hotly argued about texts I have ever seen. Calling it flawless is... extreme.

    -The Raven was pretty damned insanely awesome, as was Telltale Heart. That said, Poe's other works include a story where he forgets that a piece of paper only has two sides.

    Incenjucar on
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    Cerpin TaxtCerpin Taxt Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Childhood's End.
    The Light of Other days.

    Both by Arthur C. Clarke.

    Cerpin Taxt on
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    tofutofu Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    I don't know, I think my default definition of flawless is "I really enjoyed this book!" If you are looking for a technically flawless story you'll be hard pressed.

    tofu on
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    Alistair HuttonAlistair Hutton Dr EdinburghRegistered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Carnivore wrote: »
    The Fifth Elephant.

    In my opinion certainly not Pratchett's best. For his "nature of humanity" musings I think Feet of Clay has it beat all ends up and I would nominate it for a perfect book except for the lazy, screamingly large, drive a bus sideways through it plot hole that sits in it. I would state Good Omens as being very close to the perfect novel.

    I'm glad no-one's tried putting up War & Peace for consideration. Tolstoy could write up a storm but boy did he hate Napolean and boy did he need to take some philospohy 101 classes before writting about the nature of free will.

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    SavantSavant Simply Barbaric Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    I'll chime in with All the Kings Men by Warren. Maybe not completely flawless, but an interesting story about Southern politics in the depression era inspired by the life of Huey Long. Some of the prose was startlingly good from what I remember of it.

    Savant on
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    ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2007
    I hate Fitzgerald.

    Characters I don't care about doing things I don't like.

    Shinto on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Shinto wrote: »
    I hate Fitzgerald.

    Characters I don't care about doing things I don't like.

    And you liked The Death of Ivan Illych?

    This seems contradictory.

    MrMister on
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    ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2007
    MrMister wrote: »
    Shinto wrote: »
    I hate Fitzgerald.

    Characters I don't care about doing things I don't like.

    And you liked The Death of Ivan Illych?

    This seems contradictory.

    The death had some utility in bringing home the reality of mortality which we all share.

    Fitzgerald? I just want to punch all his characters in the face.

    Shinto on
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    Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    setrajonas wrote: »
    This might have been mentioned already for drama, but Othello was as damn near perfect as it gets for the Shakespearean tragedies that I've read (being Othella, Hamlet and Macbeth; does R&J count?). For his comedies, Taming of the Screw was awesome as well.

    Yes, Romeo and Juliet counts as a tragedy. I mean, really. :P

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    HandgimpHandgimp R+L=J Family PhotoRegistered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun.

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    Witch_Hunter_84Witch_Hunter_84 Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    I'd throw my hat in for anything from Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series.

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    ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA Mod Emeritus
    edited May 2007
    The Cairo trilogy.

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    SenjutsuSenjutsu thot enthusiast Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    I'd throw my hat in for anything from Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series.

    :|D:

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    Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    edited May 2007
    Senjutsu wrote: »
    I'd throw my hat in for anything from Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series.

    :|D:


    I'd agree but someone already said the Drizzt novels.


    Clearly, some people have trouble differentiating between "flawless" and "stuff that seemed cool when I was a kid but couldn't manage to get all the way through when I tried to read it again later as an adult because it actually fucking sucks."

    See: Piers Anthony

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