Go Back   Home > Forums > Member Areas > The Lounge

The Lounge A place to talk about almost anything but politics and religion.

Please consider donating to help us continue to serve you.

Ads on/off / Custom Title / More PMs / More album space / Advanced printing & mass image saving
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 23rd August 2010, 02:47 AM   #1
thadman is offline thadman  United States
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: west lafayette
Default Recommended novels for an engineering student

Being an Engineering student, I don't get much exposure to the humanities. I expect that I am doing myself a disservice by not exposing myself to the wealth of knowledge available with such studies. As a result, I'd like to try and complete a classic novel every two weeks for the length of the semester.

I remember reading:

1984
The Good Earth
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Red Badge of Courage
The Scarlet Letter
Lord of the Flies
Frankenstein
Moby Dick
The Great Gatsby
Anthem


Last week, I picked up an old copy of The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas at the library. It wasn't until I reached the 200th page, that I realized I was reading an abridged version. I immediately drove to Borders and picked up the unabridged version (I couldn't put the book down and the library didn't have any other copies). One of the employees informed me that I should pay particular attention to the translator if the novel was not originally written in the english language. I also purchased Atlas Shrugged by Rand, War and Peace by Tolstoy, and The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck at the Borders employee's recommendation.

I'm over half way through the unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo and it almost feels as if I was previously reading a different book. There is no comparison and I won't make that mistake again. It may be the most fantastic story I've (currently) ever read.

As far as style goes, I studied the Iliad and the Odyssey in Latin. I have a deep interest in mythology and the ancient world, but do not soon wish to repeat the experience of reading a large piece of text in iambic pentameter (difficult to follow).

Has anyone read the prose versions of either of those texts? Was it easier to follow and enjoyable to read?

Initially, I found Anthem by Ayn Rand a bit difficult to follow. She refers to individuals in the plural until the end of the novel. However, I grew to appreciate this decision. I was forced to think about the story differently, which offered a new reading experience.

I've gone through Amazon and found the reviews worthless. They all get great reviews. How should I begin my study of the classics with 10 books, when it seems there are enough to last me 10 years!

I'd greatly appreciate any recommendations. If its not much trouble, I'd also appreciate the translator (or any information you have) if it was not originally written in english.

Thanks,
Thadman
__________________
"It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because it was possible to find them."

Last edited by thadman; 23rd August 2010 at 02:50 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 23rd August 2010, 03:28 AM   #2
stoc005 is offline stoc005  United States
diyAudio Member
 
stoc005's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Midwest in the USA
"The Soul of a New Machine" - Tracy Kidder. Time Machine - HG Wells
  Reply With Quote
Old 23rd August 2010, 03:40 AM   #3
thadman is offline thadman  United States
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: west lafayette
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoc005 View Post
"The Soul of a New Machine" - Tracy Kidde
I wasn't even aware this book existed 5 minutes ago, but it looks to be exactly the type of book that would capture my interest. Thanks for the recommendation!

Have you read it? If so, what were your impressions?
__________________
"It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because it was possible to find them."
  Reply With Quote
Old 23rd August 2010, 04:13 AM   #4
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Canandaigua, NY USA
Go read Beowulf. That will instantly cure you of this humanities rubbish. Then go study the calculus like you're suppose to.

Maybe Fahrenheit 451, The Jungle (Sinclair), Catch 22 or some nice science fiction. I like the late great Jack L. Chalker, maybe get the Soul Rider series if you can dredge it up at a used book store, though almost anything he wrote is pretty decent. Most things by Niven & Pornelle are decent, together or alone.
__________________
May the root sum of the squares of the Forces be with you.
  Reply With Quote
Old 23rd August 2010, 05:07 AM   #5
benb is offline benb  United States
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Not sure that novels help much with "exposure to the humanities" but I'll add "Animal Farm."
  Reply With Quote
Old 23rd August 2010, 09:14 AM   #6
diyAudio Member
 
stoolpigeon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Laputa
Try "The Golden ***" by Apuleius, "Mysteries" by Knut Hamsun and Graham Greene's "The Power and the Glory".

sp
  Reply With Quote
Old 23rd August 2010, 09:15 AM   #7
diyAudio Member
 
stoolpigeon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Laputa
@#$%^&*, it's the "Golden Donkey" then.
  Reply With Quote
Old 23rd August 2010, 02:54 PM   #8
Ron E is offline Ron E  United States
diyAudio Member
 
Ron E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: USA, MN
Ayn Rand - I guess I started with the wrong book I read "The Fountainhead" when I was much younger and I was so disgusted by the rape scene that I had to put it down. It was implied that the woman needed to be conquered and that the only way she would respect him is if he did that. Perhaps I felt Roark was too noble and identified with him too much, so that when he did something deplorable I couldn't get past it.

There are a lot of classics on Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg
Top 100 - Project Gutenberg

I took a theater class when I was in engineering school (one of the few classes we engineering geeks could see women in.) I found that reading plays is much more enjoyable than classic novels. Check out some of teh anthologies of plays you can find. I read a lot and I read quickly - but plays are very nice in that they come straight to the point without a lot of murky 18th and 19th century prose. If you want to be really annoyed, try reading "Ulysses" by James Joyce.

here's a professional (and reader-specified) top 100 list
The Modern Library | 100 Best | Novels
I find it amusing (I wonder if Random House readers typically have Scientologist leanings) that Battlefield Earth is in the top 10. While an entertaining novel, it is written at about a 4th grade level, and 1000 pages long in paperback. I read it when I was ~14.

I am more interested in quality speculative fiction nowadays, try:
"The Dispossessed" by Ursula LeGuin
"Treason" or "Enders Game", by Orson Scott Card
"Stranger in a Strange Land", by Heinlein
"Armor", by John Steakley - this book is really, _really_ good.
"Dune" by Frank Herbert
"The Jesus Incident", "The Lazarus Effect, The Ascension Factor" by Herbert/Ransom
"Consider Phlebas", "Use of Weapons", "Player of Games" - all by Iain M, Banks
"The Stand" and "The Talisman", by Stephen King and King/Straub, respectively.
"Hyperion" series by Dan Simmons
"Boat of a Million Years" by Poul Anderson

Another set of web lists, this time speculative fiction:
ISFDB Top 100 Lists
__________________
Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works. --Carl Sagan
Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence--those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. Aldous Huxley

Last edited by Ron E; 23rd August 2010 at 02:58 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 23rd August 2010, 04:04 PM   #9
stoc005 is offline stoc005  United States
diyAudio Member
 
stoc005's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Midwest in the USA
Kidder won a Pulitzer prize, I think, for this book. Think of it as a snapshot of engineering, although a bit dated. OTOH, I've worked 37 hours straight to get an IC released to the Fab, so heroic efforts do happen in engineering, like that book documents. The story is real, BTW. After you read it, research DG and see where they are today. As someone who is on the threshold of joining the engineering rat race, you will find that you will be working on many failed projects.
  Reply With Quote
Old 23rd August 2010, 04:09 PM   #10
diyAudio Member
 
stoolpigeon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Laputa
"Dune" is a great book by anyone's standards.

Pity the movie version is dreadful.

sp
  Reply With Quote

Reply


Hide this!Advertise here!
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Student tommy1 Solid State 6 17th January 2010 10:48 PM
Anybody have any bitme torrent invites for a poor engineering student? thadman Everything Else 4 14th May 2009 02:10 PM
WTB German Sifi novels woody Swap Meet 0 9th August 2004 12:29 PM
please help a student out theChris Solid State 10 8th April 2003 03:34 AM
Stupid Student NEEDS help.. (Thats Me...) SkinnyBoy Multi-Way 34 31st December 2002 04:30 AM


New To Site? Need Help?

All times are GMT. The time now is 04:56 AM.


vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 1999-2014 diyAudio

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2