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1,000 Greatest Books I've Read...[ongoing]

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The Long Hard Road Out of Hell - Neil Strauss,Marilyn Manson
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Horror Fiction

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IT - Stephen King
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Phantoms - Dean Koontz
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Page-Turners (Suspense)

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Psychological Fiction

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House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski
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Dystopian Sci-Fi

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Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
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The Fall of Hyperion - Dan Simmons
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Hyperion - Dan Simmons
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Epic Fantasy

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People who added this item 129 Average listal rating (65 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
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People who added this item 203 Average listal rating (124 ratings) 8.7 IMDB Rating 0
The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
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The Neverending Story - Michael Ende
Written by Michael Ende

Having grown up with the franchise in visual format such as two or three movies and a tv series, I must admit that until now I had yet to visit the original source by which the phenomenon sprang forth from in 1979. And I got to say I was ultimately curious, having there been a "NeverEnding Story" sequel, when there was indeed only one book, and every adaptation I have seen of the book, seems to be somewhat different in form of basic plot - the first movie was the only version that seemed to involve the Nothing in it. -What I found was not only the greatest 'breaking the fourth wall' children's' story ever written but ended up affecting me so profoundly my jaw nearly hit the floor in how much I found my own personal life situation entangled into the subject of the book. It's nothing short of shocking! Having been deduced to being classified an avant-garde children's fantasy tale, having never read the book myself I found myself perplexed as to why the 1984 movie treatment of the book - which sue me, I liked! - has been so heavily dismissed by most movie fans to the point of being nearly buried if not for 80s' nostalgics' fond memories. Now that I've read the original - I see the reason why. -I'll leave my points of interest in the astronomical differences between the book and film treatment to those who wanna check out my movie review here. What I will say is that what I found is truly to be one of, if not the most esoteric/metaphysical fiction stories I have ever read in me entire life! It truly transcends that young adult generation demographic that the book was originally entitled for and it's for that reason that I feel this book can't be heavily promoted enough - especially in the wake of more stuffy, over-hyped fantasy fiction such as "the Hobbit".

The story actually 'begins' in the middle of the book believe it or not, the first twelve chapters are unknowingly a prologue that comprised the entire length of the film treatment. There are two parallels occurring throughout the duration of the book that are overlapping in more ways than one. The opening pages we read about a plain, unattractive, flawed 10-year-old boy who wanders into a book store one day before school, after being chased by some meddling bullies who harass him 'physically and verbally' every day, only to bump into the cranky store-owner who ends up harassing him 'psychologically'. Already I have the staunching suspicion that writer Ende is more than just a clever witty writer in the subliminal way he includes puzzling symbolism and philosophies that leads one to suspect his material may be coming from a source other than simply the ink of his pen? The bookstore owner's name is revealed to be Carl Conrad Coreander, likewise the boy introduces himself as Bastian Balthazar Bux, 3 and 3 make the number "33", considered amongst Pythagorists to be a sacred number, a perfect number. -As the story continues Bastian is subconsciously driven to commit theft in stealing a book from the store, elegantly embroidered with a symbol of a jewel which exists within the book that he's stolen. He locks himself inside the attic of his school, risking a visit from the police if not a lecture from the school principal for playing hookie, if not a stern lecture or unimagined punishment from his absent father, still distraught over the death of his wife to play any pivotal role in his son's life. Everything that I'm saying plays a key role in the analysis of the narrative by the end of the story, and it's truly quite ingenious - but I'll try not to give too much away. --When Bastian starts to read the opening chapters of the book he comes to find himself strangely immersed in the subject matter of the story. The fantasy world of Fantastica (pronounced phant-asia) are destitute due to a mysterious new threat known as the Nothing, that endangers the lives of all the inhabitants there. The Nothing itself is indescribable and I can see how it would have been a bitch to translate into visual media, it's often described in the book as an empty void that grows like a cancerous tumor in Fatastica, pulling everyone and everything into it. With the ruler of Fantastica, the Childlike Empress powerless to do anything, due to an unknown illness that no one in Fantastica can provide a cure for. Which is a 'trick' that the reading audience is made unaware of until all becomes clear later on, when Bastian's role in the affairs of Fantastica turn to be too integral that it's too late to turn back.

The Empress sends her messenger Cairon on an important task to deliver her most sacred object AURYN (pronounced orin) to a young boy of a clan of hunters known as the Greenskins, the boy named Atreyu, only so he can be sent on a unspecified Great Quest himself, with nothing to guide him and no details as to what he's supposed to do and nothing to protect himself other than what he takes with him. The name Atreyu itself actually a derivative of ancient Sanskrit folklore being an alternative to Atreya ("receptacle of glory; descendant of Atri" - Atri meaning "who devours; overcomes; progresses; prosperous and glorified.") -Atreyu is given AURYN (which is often referred to in the book as "the Glory"-) and told that only he can find the cure to the Empress' illness and that to do it he will have to abstain from using AURYN's power, and allow it to make all the navigational decisions from here on out. The gem, happens to be shaped exactly like the symbol on the book that Bastian's reading that's on the book that WE'RE reading right now. Little by little Atreyu has to overcome obstacles and suffer personal losses such as the death of his faithful horse Artax in the Swamps of Sadness, only to be given an alternative companion in the form of Falkor the Luckdragon when he saves him from terrible fate at the hands of Ygramul the Many. (It's around here I began to notice a whole bunch of "Lord of the Rings" comparisons in the literature and perhaps that's why the book is often overlooked by die-hard Ringers? - I mean the spider in this book is even the same gender as the one in LOTR.) Each step of the way Atreyu is helped in the the next phase of his quest but it always seems to come at a price or should I say - a risk, to procure it. Unaware to Atreyu what lies beyond his mode of thinking actually turns out to be his saving grace again and again as Bastian's bleed-through into the Fantastican world actually helps Atreyu out in particular sticky situations. --Moving along, we go from Ygramul to the Southern Oracle, where the narrative gets even more trippy at the feat of the Three Magic Gates, in which each phase involves a gate that Atreyu must pass through with seemingly nothing behind them? Each phase is more esoteric in philosophy than the next with the two Giant Sphinxes where Atreyu loses his fear, to the Magic Mirror Gate where Atreyu sees Bastian reading the story as Bastian is reading him looking at him? ...yeah, you get the picture. And Atreyu ends up losing his memory and almost abandons the task at the No Key Gate if not for Bastian's intervention. There Uyulala, who turns out to be a bodiless voice, sends him on his next task, to find a new name for the Childlike Empress which he only finds out later can only come from a human outside of the world of Fantastica. By the time Atreyu finally arrives at the Ivory Tower to deliver the disappointing news to the Childlike Empress he is shocked to learn that everything that has happened to Atreyu thus far was not only known, but has been planned out well in advance, all for the result of Atreyu's accomplishment in the success of bringing Bastian straight to her. It was in this chapter and the next one which I really found my head EXPLODING with plot revelations and symbolism and truly sets the tone for the whole underlining message of the book once you understand the metaphysical concepts that Michael Ende was reaching for in his story!

[SPOILER ALERT]The Childlike Empress represents God, where as the inhabitants of Fantastica often refer to her as the Golden-eyed Commander of Wishes, in which every single inhabitant of Fantastica owe their very existence to her, and thus they all look up to her, whether good or bad, knowing full well that it is her who keeps Fantastica together. Yet, she's often described as having all the power in the world yet she never once makes any attempt to exercise her power. The point is, she needs to get Bastian to do it for her. To use her power is to corrupt her very existence, and in his eyes she valued all inhabitants of Fantastica equally, good or bad, and thus cannot show favoritism. -The symbolism of AURYN is that it represents 'intuition', or if you will Atreyu's connection with God, as the Empress tells Atreyu at one point that as long as he was wearing AURYN on his quest she herself was always 'with him', guiding him from beyond his five senses. So I guess you could translate as saying AURYN acts something like faith when worn. But it gets even deeper in the next chapter. -When Bastian proves to be too much of a coward to go to Fantastica and do what he knows deep down has to be done, the Empress forces her hand by showing Bastian the illusory nature of his own existence, which works as his own conductor behind the curtain moment for Bastian. Where the Empress goes to meet the Old Man of Wandering Mountain who is the exact opposite to the Empress' existence and thus warns her that the two of them are not supposed to meet but she makes an exception and ensnares Bastian in a trap to bring him to Fantastica when it's revealed that the Old Man is the author and thus architect of that which is the NeverEnding Story, in which everything he writes down - happens. The Empress ensnares Bastian in an infinite time loop by starting the book all over again thus showing why it was Bastian found himself driven to Coreander's bookstore that morning when it's narrated in the opening pages of the book that Bastian wasn't quite sure what prompted him to come into the store, he was just sort of lead there? -The same thing with stealing the book. --Here's the eureka moment, the NeverEnding Story is 'US', is life. Bastian needed a generic kind of fantasy character to relate to on order to be drawn to Fantastica, just like we the reader needed a generic kind of fantasy character that we could relate to to be drawn outside our OWN reality into the NeverEnding Story.

The second half of the book is where the subject matter begins to get darker and seems to be all about the nature of 'power' and how noble intentions can be corruptible, in which this is where Bastian transforms to become one of the most infamous anti-heroes literature as ever seen, never has there been an instance of the main hero and villain of a story having a single co-existence before. Bastian is brought into the book itself - seemingly transported to another world. Most may translate this as being interpretive symbolism of going 'out-of-body' instead, as I found the whole book to have definite altered states paraphernalia riddled throughout, people with green skin, purple buffaloes, multicolored desert, Grograman the Many-Colored Death, mirrors within mirrors, I believe I even read a passage where the argument is brought up where reality itself seems to be made up of a complex series of reflections? -Bastian meets the Childlike Empress when Fantastica is seemingly destroyed and Bastian is seemingly given the Empress' power through AURYN, to which he reads and misinterprets the inscription written on it DO AS YOU WISH. With unlimited access to creative power Bastian makes himself into the hero of Fantastica and is basically encouraged to take on a role as a leader, patriarch to the newer re-formed world. Only to find that the more he tries to do good, the more it blows up in his face to the point of driving him to become an megalomaniacal empirical dictator, who is helping his friends one minute, then cursing them and trying to kill them the next. But once again - it all boils down to the NeverEnding Story and how the Empress - renamed Moon Child, was aware of what Bastian was going to do before he did it, but allowed it to happen anyways on order for him to come to the conclusion on his own what it means to have her power. There's parts where the message of the book is so blunt it's almost merciless toward the reader. -But something that's unfairly been labeled a children's book since the release of the movie, I found this book to be rather deep and found there to be so much symbolism embedded in the material, that I had a hard time figuring out where to begin explaining? -There's an abundant obsession with cycles, and balance, good and evil, light and dark. The emblem of AURYN itself is of two snakes biting each other's tails in an endless circle, one light one dark, representing karmic death and rebirth, yin and yang, male and female, good and evil, could possible also represent kundalini practice, the snakes going up and down the spine, or the double helix DNA which human beings consist of. Grograman is the tragic figure of a character that is left all to himself except for the one visit bestowed upon him by the creator of Fantastica Bastian, his fate - to die every night and be resurrected in the morning, just like Dame Eyola's existence, but somehow Grograman sees pride in his existence in that his role serves a purpose, to give life to the Night Forest Perelin, only to incinerate it back into desert under the intense heat of his body, never able to leave the desert as he is the desert, therefore is forced to take it with him wherever he goes. --The overall moral of the story, don't hate on me but truth be told I was just reading another review of the book online before writing this so I may be ripping this from another source, hope the author doesn't mind. By enforcing his will upon the inhabitants of Fantastica Bastian does more harm than good cause there is no such thing as incorruptible power, true inspiration and good will doesn't come from political leaders and tyrants who pull the strings from behind the scenes, it comes from the personal interactions in the course of your life in the community. True wishes come from deep down and gradually float to the surface as is mentioned in the book, Bastian allowed himself to get distracted with the egoic pursuit of trying to be everyone's hero when he should have inspired more to elevate the others around him to his level instead. It's a fascinating read, I 'HIGHLY' recommend it!

The thing I found the most unsettling is the inclusion of Gmork, who to me seemed to represent the including of Secret Societies and outside sinister forces into the mix! I don't know if anyone else got that. The discussion he has with Atreyu about the Nothing and what becomes of Fantasticans when leaping into it was so surreal, it's truly one of the highlights of the book. --What you're left with is a 'breaking the fourth wall' parable about the deceptive illusory nature of reality. Michael Ende might as well have been speaking directly about spirituality. The obsession with numbers 33, and also there's an abundance of "7", seven magical powers the Empress has, a seven holder candelabrum found in the attic with Bastian, Falkor tells Atreyu after returning from speaking with Uyulala that he had been gone from seven days and seven nights. And the obsession with death and rebirth, the book itself beginning and ending - all fixed, after Bastian there will be another Nothing, another chosen one to come to Fantastica to give Moon Child her new name, and everything must be allowed to repeat itself, the new readers must learns the same lessons for themselves. With the symbolism of the Empress' name perhaps being representative of reincarnation and infinity. We are all born with 'identities' that we are given here in the three-dimensional plane but in reality we are all one infinite void of pure cosmic existence, that is simply temporarily having an 'experience' as Bastian Bux or Atreyu, ect. We need the new name, new identity, on order to 'perfect' our existence, through hard-earned lessons. I hope I haven't spoiled the book for all of you who haven't read it, but I figured it's been out for quite a while, I'm just simply saying what's on my mind when I read it, this book truly helped me out when I needed the push the most and integrated itself with my pursuit of time travel, but that's another story and shall be told at another time...

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YA Fiction

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LGBT Fiction

People who added this item 5 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
Peter - Kate Walker
Written by Kate Walker

A very sensitive, very emotional, and a tad bit homo-erotic story from Australian writer Kate Walker. I think she does a splendid job of giving us this rather accurate first person narrative of a 15-year-old boy named Peter who is in a period of confusion in his life, living with a mean older brother and an overbearing mother he also happens to live in a very homophobic community - not necessarily violent mind you, simply because there don't 'seem' to be any homosexuals living in the neighborhood. Peter spends most of his time with his friends on his dirtbike in the woods on the trails, being given rather 'false' information about what homosexuals do and how they think and in a state of paranoia where everyone makes fun of one another out of fear they might become one. An issue young Peter, who does all the normal things 'guys' do he figures, he never really has to concern himself with an issue like this? -Then one day 'everything changes' when Peter's brother takes him to meet up with his recent best friend who happens to be in College. Peter is both 'intimated' and yet 'drawn' to tall handsome David who doesn't display ANY of the characteristics he's previously had towards homosexuals? And although Peter tries to keep his distance at first fearing what David might do if the two of them were alone, he finds himself 'incited' by the IDEA of a man like David since he turns out to be a very cool College gentleman. And impulse Peter actually ACTS UPON 'deliberately' in a very awkward scene in the supermarket. The rest of the book consists of Peter trying to come to grips with his identity and awakening sexuality and thinking he may very well be gay and have the hots for David! Walker definitely does not 'exploit' the material, not that I expected her too going in, and I feels gets into the head of this socially awkward and 'mixed up' male youth, bringing him to full life inside the mind of the reader, almost as if you could reach out and touch these characters. It's a lesser known title but I STRONGLY recommend it to anyone who is looking for literature of this kind of nature. Trust me, there are some I 'wouldn't' recommend on here or that I've read that you yourself or someone you know may be going through something similar, this is definitely one of the BETTER ONES you're gonna find out there, check it out!...

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Call Me by Your Name: A Novel - Andrรฉ Aciman
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Alternative Media

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True Crime

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My Top 1000

People who added this item 68 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0
Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
People who added this item 27 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0
People who added this item 197 Average listal rating (77 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
People who added this item 314 Average listal rating (166 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
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The Man without Qualities - Robert Musil
People who added this item 84 Average listal rating (48 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
People who added this item 159 Average listal rating (63 ratings) 8.7 IMDB Rating 0
The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
People who added this item 49 Average listal rating (30 ratings) 8.9 IMDB Rating 0
The Godfather - Mario Puzo
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Atonement - Ian McEwan
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Candide - Voltaire
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Moby-Dick or, The Whale - Herman Melville
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Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
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The Time Machine - H. G. Wells
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All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque
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-Watership Down(1977)
-The NeverEnding Story(1979)
-Human Race Get Off Your Knees - the Lion Sleeps No More(2010)

I would have gave a number at the top of this list but as I am discovering the splendid pastime of reading as both hobby and personal pursuit of something I desperately want out of life, something I 'allude to' already plenty of times in my movie list - this is the counterpart to that, only now I have replaced cinema with literature. I would like to say this is a complete and full list of books that deserve recognition as the best of the best throughout human history but that would certainly be a difficult reputance to uphold unless I did an exhaustive investigative study of mankind's literature throughout the ages. A medium that goes back MUCH farther than cinema. Until I have a CLEAR idea of how many books I plan to read or have enough DECENT titles to give a comfortable number to throw at people, this will just simply have to be an accumulation of how many books I have read thus far and WHICH books I've read, and would recommend.

But this is also, like my movie list, a list with a story. As we creep closer and closer to ascension date, I doubt anyone's going to have enough time to read and watch everything I present on my respective lists? So for the most part this is a check list for those whom HAVE read their share of what they see here and a bucket list for those who need to catch up. When it comes to reading most people find it exceedingly difficult to know WHAT to read? That was my biggest issue. -On a personal side I say, trust your 'instincts' to guide you to the appropriate titles as you go along. The answers are out there, that's what I've found. Which is what is displayed on here. The titles you see below me is what answers I found during my search for a particular subject, hopefully to guide me in the correct path. So this list may have a particular 'theme' to it. However, mixed in are some unrelated titles that I had the fortune of reading in the years prior that I just felt deserved a shout out for what they are!

If anyone wishes to suggest titles for me to read and review feel free to comment below, can't guarantee I'll get to them but will at least put them up in the list for future consideration. Short stories will be judgment calls cause their are so many short stories out there, I 'prefer' to reserve this list for more COMPLETE literate sagas. But I don't wish to exclude.

Also keep in mind the 'criteria' for making it onto the list. I can't guarantee I'll like what you recommend, and I can't guarantee it will make the final 'criteria', as this list sort of has an overall 'theme' to it, I wanna try and 'stick to it'...

But I won't right away dismiss anything without giving it a chance? -To try and sum it up, I suppose the criteria for making it onto this list is this: if the world was about to go up in (another) cataclysm - tomorrow! -what ten works of literature would you wish to save? What should mankind's testament to our existence be in the future?!!...

Aside from that, please comment how you all are liking what you see and whether or not you agree? I'm dying to know! Thank you.

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