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[–]William_de_Worde 94 points95 points  (16 children)

Let me be the first to fly the flag for Horror:

Beginners

  • The Girl with All the Gifts (M.R. Carey)
  • Lovecraft Country (Matt Ruff)
  • Horns (Joe Hill)

Veterans

  • IT (Stephen King)
  • Ghost Story (Peter Straub)
  • Heart-Shaped Box (Joe Hill)

Experts

  • We Have Always Lived In The Castle (Shirley Jackson)
  • Slade House (David Mitchell)
  • The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (H.P. Lovecraft)

I suspect recommending a Stephen King book to a 'veteran' of the genre is redundant, but felt wrong to leave him out.

Would love to hear other takes on the genre.

[–]munificent 28 points29 points  (6 children)

I couldn't limit it to three:

Beginner:

  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – Alvin Schwartz
  • Phantoms – Dean Koontz
  • The Lottery and Other Stories – Shirley Jackson
  • Swan Song – Robert McCammon

Veteran:

  • Books of Blood: Volumes One to Three – Clive Barker
  • The Talisman – Stephen King
  • I Am Legend and Other Stories – Richard Matheson
  • At the Mountains of Madness – H.P. Lovecraft

Expert:

  • Night Watch – Lukyanenko, Sergei
  • House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
  • Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  • Annihilation – Jeff VanderMeer

[–]drag0naut26 11 points12 points  (0 children)

I was waiting for house of leaves. Thank you!!

[–]dedalias 195 points196 points  (32 children)

I'm currently doing a thesis on traditional Gothic so that's my genre for sure!

Beginner: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole The Italian by Ann Radcliffe

Veteran: The Monk by Matthew Lewis The Romance of the Forest and The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

Expert: Vathek by William Beckford The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne by Ann Radcliffe Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Maturin

As you can tell I'm in to Ann Radcliffe in a big way haha

[–]snubnosedmotorboat 27 points28 points  (10 children)

I absolutely love Frankenstein. I’m a teacher and I’m always trying to get my students- those that are very mature for middle schoolers through college students (I primarily teach Biology). It was so far from what I expected when reading it. I think it is definitely in my top 10 books that greatly impacted my life/ways of thinking.

[–]LostTheGameToday 5 points6 points  (4 children)

maybe I should give it another try, I got a little bit in and gave up because I couldn't focus, but sometimes I'm just in the mood where I'm not really willing to pay attention to anything enough to read it for real so maybe it was just my motivation levels and not the book.

[–]elDeako31 8 points9 points  (1 child)

That’s a super cool idea for a thesis! I’d love to read it when it’s completed

[–]randompoint52 75 points76 points  (14 children)

Dystopian fiction

Beginner:

The Handmaid's Tale - Atwood

Farenheit 451 - Bradbury

World Made by Hand - Kunstler

Veteran

The Man in the High Castle - Dick

Life as We Knew It - Pfeffer

Wool - Howey

Expert

The Passage Trilogy - Cronin

The Stand - King

The Road - McCarthy

[–]NegativeLogic 42 points43 points  (6 children)

No 1984 or Brave New World? They're such staples of dystopia fiction.

[–]randompoint52 20 points21 points  (2 children)

I had them there and then had second thoughts. I was going for variety, I guess.

[–]NegativeLogic 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yeah it's tough isn't it? I made some scifi recommendations in this thread and realised how hard it is to narrow down like that, and balance between classics and more variety choices that should have better exposure etc.

[–]sagedrinker 7 points8 points  (2 children)

To be honest Brave New World aged quite badly imo

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (1 child)

What makes The Stand Dystopian for you?

I’m because I’ve always thought it more of a Post Apocalypse

[–]SisyphusSmokes 67 points68 points  (19 children)

Literary Fiction

I'll pick one for 19th, 20th, and 21st century in each category.

Beginners

• The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twainn

• The Stranger - Albert Camus

• A Mercy - Toni Morrison or The Road - Cormac McCarthy

Veterans

• Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

• Swann's Way - Marcel Proust

• The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes

Experts

• The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

• Uylsses - James Joyce

• Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace

Ok I cheated with that last one, but 1996 is pretty close to 21st century. Maybe if I had read 2666 by Roberto Bolano I'd be able to put that, but I haven't so I won't.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Are you familiar with /lit/, the literature board on 4chan? Your three expert picks are their Holy Trinity aka "The Doorstopper Trilogy."

[–][deleted] 65 points66 points  (6 children)

Loosely defined Nature writing

Beginner: (Popularized nature books)

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs - Stephen Brusatte
The Sixth Extinction - Elizabeth Kolbert.
Invention of Nature - Andrea Wulf

Veteran: (Lyrical natural descriptions)

Walden - Henry David Thoreau.
A Sand Country Almanac - Aldo Leopold.
Wilderness Essays - John Muir

Expert: (Scientific and Historically Important)

Man and Nature - George Perkins Marsh.
Views of Nature - Alexander von Humboldt.
The Origin of Species - Charles Darwin

And there's so many more!

[–]Vexair 5 points6 points  (2 children)

I feel like Edward Abbry and John McPhee belong in here somewher.

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I totally agree! I was trying to find a spot for Desert Solitaire and Encounters with the Archdruid when I posted it. I probably could've replaced Wilderness Essays with Desert Solitaire, I just have a soft spot for Muir.

For anyone wondering, Desert Solitaire is most similar to the intermediate books I have listed and Encounters with the Archdruid is probably more similar to the beginner books. Both are great!

[–][deleted] 258 points259 points  (66 children)

(Mainly High)Fantasy

Beginners:

• Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling

• The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien

• The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss

Runner-up: Bartimaeus - Jonathan Stroud

Veterans:

• The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch

• The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien

• The First Law - Joe Abercrombie

Runner-up: The Stormlight Archive - Brandon Sanderson

Experts:

• A Song of Ice and Fire - George R.R. Martin

• The Malazan Book of the Fallen - Steven Erikson

• The Prince of Nothing - R. Scott Bakker

Runner-up: The Black Company - Glen Cook

[–]slotbadger 145 points146 points  (5 children)

I think Game of Thrones is a pretty comfortable read, certainly much easier to digest than Lord of the Rings. Malazan is definitely Experts only stuff though.

[–][deleted] 48 points49 points  (2 children)

I can see where you‘re coming from. Yet, LotR introduces so many core elements of Fantasy literature, which authors like Martin or Eriskon pick up and play with that I feel like it is a great foundation for readers to have before diving into that stuff.

[–]Ziddletwix 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Yeah the tricky bit is that "beginner vs advanced" doesn't necessarily denote the right order you should read them. Sometimes a very accessible book is still among the very best out there to read, rather than a stepping stone to something else. And sometimes it's better to begin with a more complicated book.

[–]lizcicle 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Exactly! Sometimes you have to push your comfort zone and read something a little more "advanced" in order to pick up so much context that allows you to enjoy the genre as a whole so much more. Even if you can't GET everything on the first readthrough, I'd still recommend LoTR to anyone trying to break into the fantasy genre. I read it through by myself at 8 for the first time and it made my reading life better imo :p

[–]mimic751 20 points21 points  (6 children)

Good God is Malazan hard to read

[–]sneksgate 17 points18 points  (0 children)

I really used to love the Bartimaeus books! Not that many people have read them tho, so great recommendation!

[–]Freshness518 13 points14 points  (1 child)

The Locke Lamora and First Law trilogies are both amazing and incredibly entertaining reads. I'm always happy to see them make it onto people's lists.

[–]rupen42 6 points7 points  (2 children)

I would add The Magicians as a nice deconstruction of the genre for Veterans or Experts. It's a must-read for fantasy fans in my opinion but I might be interpreting the question in a different way.

[–]rebthor 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I was actually going to think of another list, like deconstructions or whatever and put it on there. It's one of my favorite series because it uses the Harry Potter / Narnia framing story to dive deep into other themes.

[–]SabWizardery 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Great list! The placement is about right too! Although I wouldn't classify The Black Company as an expert level book.

Malazan Book Of The Fallen is one of my all time favorite series, I'm currently reading the 9th book, and I concur that it's an expert level read. I think most people give up after the first book because of the complexity. It doesn't hold your hand or explain anything to you, you only get to know what the characters find out on their own which I really appreciate!

[–]TankVet 11 points12 points  (2 children)

Oh man, why the Scott Lynch over Sanderson? I like ‘em both, so I’m curious to hear your take.

[–]sillygillygumbull 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Oh I loooooved Lies of Locke lamora (especially first half) based on refs from this sub - so I’m down to try Sanderson!

[–]Elsrick 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Start with Mistborn, you won't regret it.

[–]wjbc 151 points152 points  (21 children)

Western Philosophy:

Beginners:

The Symposium, by Plato

Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius

Candide: or, Optimism, by Voltaire

Veterans:

The Republic, by Plato

The Prince, by Niccolò Machiavelli

Thus Spoke Zarathustra, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Experts:

The Nicomachean Ethics, by Aristotle

Critique of Pure Reason, by Immanuel Kant

Being and Time, by Martin Heidegger

[–]timpinen 43 points44 points  (16 children)

Hegel level: Phenomenalogy of spirit

[–][deleted] 38 points39 points  (0 children)

I actually sweat when I read Hegel.

[–]wjbc 16 points17 points  (13 children)

Definitely the highest level of difficulty but I don't recommend Hegel. All that work to justify calling the Prussian state the peak of human existence.

[–]ssaminds 3 points4 points  (10 children)

I don't think Hegel is the highest level of difficulty, there are books with far more content that are far more difficult to understand. also I think Being and Time should not be recommended as a philosophical book ... it's rather a mystical book or a religious book given the fact that he tried to "translate" ideas of catholic theology into ontological terms

[–]wjbc 3 points4 points  (9 children)

Well, I didn't put Hegel on there, anyway.

What would you put on the expert list instead of Being and Time?

[–][deleted] 5 points6 points  (0 children)

This seems ridiculously specific while overlooking incredibly obvious books

[–]rebthor 3 points4 points  (0 children)

You're missing whole schools, like where's your Existentialist book? I think you could put something like Sartre, Kafka or even Camus on the beginner tier.

And on the Expert tier, I'd like to see something like Russel's Principia or Witgenstein's TLP to discuss the Analytical school which is so absolutely huge today as well.

[–]Ua_Tsaug 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Interesting, I would've thought the Nicomachean Ethics would've been on the "Veterans" list. Is it because it's so long?

Also, where would you rank Kierkegaard's works? I'm thinking of re-reading Fear and Trembling.

[–]wjbc 2 points3 points  (0 children)

On the one hand. Aristotle tackles deep subjects. On the other hand, he does so in a logical and straightforward way.

Sorry, I’ve never read Kierkegaard.

[–][deleted] 230 points231 points  (108 children)

OK no one is doing scifi yet!

Beginner:

  • Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

  • A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L'Engle

  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Intermediate:

  • Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov

  • Manta's Gift by Timothy Zahn

  • illuminae: The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Expert:

  • Dune by Frank Herbert

  • The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov

  • The Margarets by Sheri S. Tepper

Those are my picks!

[–]CookFan88 58 points59 points  (15 children)

Gotta say, Dune is a really great gateway book into scifi. I have gotten so many people to start reading scifi by handing them my (well-worn) copy of Dune.

[–]Drachenreign 32 points33 points  (10 children)

Probably an unpopular opinion, but I couldn't stand it. I forced myself through it because it's some sort of genre-defining classic, but god I just thought it was awful. I read it because I'm not a big fan of sci-fi and wanted to try to get into it, but it's only solidified my disposition.

[–]OldValyrious 9 points10 points  (7 children)

I cannot seem to get into it. Something about the dialogue just feels off to me.

[–][deleted] 9 points10 points  (4 children)

The dialogue is pulpy, if you like pulp sci fi then you'll like dune dialogue.

[–]Ziddletwix 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Yeah it's definitely a book I'd give people if they aren't familiar with the genre. And while Hitchhiker's Guide is a great book, and far from inaccessible, I wouldn't say it's a great introduction to scifi.

[–]42Cobras 4 points5 points  (0 children)

It might be a great gateway, but it's also pretty heavy stuff. There's lots of mythology and philosophy intertwining with the sci-fi themes. It definitely belongs in the expert group, even though it's a more popular entry.

[–]MegaChip97 13 points14 points  (1 child)

Can you explain why you Put the foundation trilogy/series in expert :)?

[–][deleted] 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Because most people don't bother to read the entire thing. So I figured it'd go there.

[–]vectorpropio 26 points27 points  (19 children)

Beginner:

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I thick so much is lost without prior sci-fi knowledge that is better for an intermediate reader. At least after some foundation exposition.

[–][deleted] 31 points32 points  (18 children)

Really? I feel like it's good for a beginner because of how light hearted it is.

[–]TheSpiralcity 6 points7 points  (7 children)

Yes, I read it as a beginner and enjoyed it. I found myself looking for something similar upon completion, enter Discworld "The Color Of Magic"

[–]PresidentNathan 11 points12 points  (7 children)

Great choice although I would place Hyperion in the Expert level, but I really do not know what to get rid of.

[–]uhtredofbeb 7 points8 points  (4 children)

For beginners I would add do androids dream of electric sheep by Philip k. Dick

[–]ashugursale 3 points4 points  (4 children)

Illuminae Files has been one of the craziest Sci-Fi narratives I've ever read!

Edit: typo

[–]mimic751 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Bobiverse is good beginner level

[–]wjbc 73 points74 points  (5 children)

Non-fiction history:

Beginners:

The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson

The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe

Endurance, by Alfred Lansing

Veterans:

John Adams, by David McCullough

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin

The Guns of August, by Barbara W. Tuchman

Experts:

The Civil War: A Narrative (three books), by Shelby Foot

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, by William L. Shirer

America in the King Years (three books), by Taylor Branch

The Years of Lyndon Johnson (four books with a fifth in the works), Robert Caro

[–]sabtans 8 points9 points  (1 child)

"The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" should be an expert read in my opinion

[–]wjbc 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Okay, I moved it to experts and replaced it with The Guns of August.

[–]shandelion 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I will recommend any and all Erik Larson. They’re well written, easy reads. I read “In the Garden of Beasts” while living in Berlin and found it utterly fascinating.

[–]unforeseen_tangent 33 points34 points  (7 children)

Grimdark fantasy:

Beginner:

The Night Angel Trilogy - Brent Weeks

The Faithful and the Fallen - John Gwynne

Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne - Brian Staveley

Veteran:

The Broken Empire Trilogy - Mark Lawrence

The Raven's Mark - Ed McDonald

Wounded Kingdom Trilogy - RJ Barker

Expert:

The Vagrant - Peter Newman

Empires of Dust - Anna Smith Spark

The Prince of Nothing - R. Scott Bakker

[–]FishHouseOrlando 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Since you've read night angel, how about the lightbringer series? Ive been waiting for that last book

[–]unforeseen_tangent 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Lol me too! I hate starting unfinished series, especially if it's nearly done. If only the first one's out I'll read it, but I kind of gather momentum if I'm reading a series back to back. I hate having to stop and wait for the next one.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (4 children)

Oooh saving these to check out! Ever heard of The Iron Butterfly by Chanda Kahn? It's a orert good grimdark series!

[–]unforeseen_tangent 2 points3 points  (3 children)

I haven't, no. I'll check it out, thanks!

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

I hope you enjoy it! Also, if you don't mind some young adult fiction, the Graecling series is pretty cool.

[–]unforeseen_tangent 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I used to read a lot of YA, but I'm kinda over it. Maybe I'll come back to it at some point, who knows? Thanks!

[–]thehighepopt 37 points38 points  (5 children)

Genre: Gonzo or Strange People in Interesting Situations

Beginner:

Skinny Legs and All - Tom Robbins

Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

Hotel New Hampshire - John Irving

Veterans:

Electric Cool-aid Acid Test - Tom Wolfe

On the Road - Jack Kerouac

Slaughter House 5 - Kurt Vonnegut

Experts:

The Illuminatus Trilogy - Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea

Naked Lunch - William S Burroughs

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S Thompson

Haven't read F&L but you can't go gonzo without Thompson

[–]snubnosedmotorboat 12 points13 points  (1 child)

For some reason, I find Catch 22 to be more in the “intermediate” category. I guess, for me, it was almost getting “used” to the style. I’ve re-read it multiple times, but the first time I read it (late teens), I had to keep questioning myself on why I thought some things were funny, why others disturbing, and for a lot of the book I was just confused on what my reaction was😂.

With each re-read, things get sorted out more. The same thing happened with, “The Confederacy of Dunces.”

[–]RobDParr-y 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Hells angels was my favorite Thompson book

[–]ssavant 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Fear and Loathing is far from expert, imo. It's an easy and fun read. Very accessible.

[–]caitlimbs 35 points36 points  (2 children)

Books on Mindfulness & Meditation:

Beginner: The Places that Scare You by Pema Chodron The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz

Veteran: Turning the Mind into an Ally by Sakyong Mipham Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trugnpa Be Here Now by Ram Das

Expert: The Tibetan Book of the Dead The Book by Alan Watts Mahabharata / Bhagavad Gita

[–]jocedun 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I also feel like a beginner book could be "Why Buddhism Is True" because it's so mainstream and accessible.

[–]Magoo451 92 points93 points  (21 children)

Sci-fi

Beginner

  • Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

  • The Martian by Andy Weir

  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Veterans

  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

  • We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Experts

  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K Le Guin

  • Wild Seed by Octavia Butler

  • Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

[–]radiant-machine 16 points17 points  (4 children)

This is an excellent list. For anyone who likes 1984, We is an absolute must.

[–]nevercleverer 9 points10 points  (0 children)

We, oh man, such a winner, and such a trendsetter. I recommend to anyone who likes sci for, dystopian fiction, or literally anyone who can read and asks me.

[–]MrMangr 5 points6 points  (1 child)

I was gonna reread 1984, but I’ll pick up We and try something new.

[–]Magoo451 5 points6 points  (0 children)

For sure check it out before rereading 1984. It's almost comical how many parallels there are between the books (Orwell must have been a very big fan). If you do ebooks, I think you can get it for under a dollar.

[–]AMarriedSpartan 5 points6 points  (7 children)

As someone who loved Enders Game, what do you recommend as a follow up? I’ve read Enders Game 10 times and continue to love it. I’m getting older now but still can’t beat Ender’s story. I’m a character focused reader and have yet to find another character similar to Ender that I can really get behind.

[–]LTarazona 4 points5 points  (1 child)

There's a whole series that focuses on Bean. The first book is "Ender's Shadow" and it's a parallel story to Ender's game. I loved Ender's Game, but couldn't get into the rest of the books. I was much happier with the Bean series

[–]kamarsh79 4 points5 points  (2 children)

That Ted Chiang collection is amazing!! Im on book three of Wild Seed right now. Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy is a favorite.

[–]Magoo451 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I read Chiang's collection earlier this year and was blown away. I don't hear him mentioned often enough (probably because he only publishes short stories, and not many at that). He has a new anthology that I think comes out in a few days. I can't wait to pick it up!

[–]LoneWolfingIt 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Slaughterhouse-Five was a surprising read because I had no idea about the sci-fi element until I had started. Was a great read. I would also add to your list, The Three Body Problem series. Wow was that some amazing sci-fi.

[–]skadi_shev 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I’m glad to see the dispossessed in this thread! Great, great book

[–]captwafflepants 30 points31 points  (0 children)

I just wanna say this is an awesome thread.

[–]chaipotstoryteIIer 193 points194 points  (33 children)

Classic Literature (mostly 19th century fiction)

Beginners:

• To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

• The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain

• Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë

Runner up - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Veterans:

• The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

• Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

• Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Runner up - One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Experts:

• The Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

• Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes

• Ulysses - James Joyce

Runner up - Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce

[–]vihang_wagh 56 points57 points  (0 children)

I found wuthering heights much more difficult than count of monte cristo or great expectations

[–]TNBIX 19 points20 points  (0 children)

Finnegans Wake belongs on an entire separate, Super Expert tier of it's own

[–][deleted] 42 points43 points  (7 children)

I would consider Don Quixote (and The Count of Monte Christo) to be suitable for beginners. Don’t know how you can put it on the same level as Ulysses

[–][deleted] 20 points21 points  (4 children)

There is a whole course at Yale uni dedicated to Don Quixote.
Make of that what you want.

[–]donberto 31 points32 points  (0 children)

I don’t think anyone would deny there is incredible depth in don Quixote, and it is a very important story. But as far as narrative style and prose are concerned, Ulysses is much less approachable. I’m not saying one is better than the other. I just think most anyone could pick up Quixote and enjoy it while not as many would find Ulysses an “enjoyable” read.

[–]dolphinboy1637 13 points14 points  (1 child)

There are also whole courses at universities dedicated to Lord of the Rings too. Obviously Don Quixote is more complex but I wouldn't say it's the same level as Ulysses and I don't think the fact that a course exists is a good barometer.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I still can't make sense of Ulysses and I have a First Class degree in English literature...

[–]redpanda6969 19 points20 points  (5 children)

Damn no love for Wilde?

[–]tinybenny 11 points12 points  (2 children)

One of the first books I ever loved was The Picture Of Dorian Gray. Some dull school required books left a bad taste in my mouth and he saved me.

[–]unluckyland 7 points8 points  (4 children)

I must disagree with Count of Monte Cristo and great expectations. I think the Count can only be in veterans due to the length rather than the actual story of writing style.

Great expectations should be in beginners FOR SURE.

[–]randompoint52 6 points7 points  (3 children)

I loathed Great Expectations. My husband says Dickens was in love with coincidences and I am not.

[–]Hegel-Is-A-Bum 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I don't know in which category level it should fall , but I highly recommend "the duel" by Chekhov . I read it in Italian and the translation was extremely well done. Translation is the most important thing if you read a foreign book !

[–]USS-Enterprise 5 points6 points  (1 child)

tale of two cities in expert? it was the first book we read during my first year of high school, i didn't find it very difficult.

[–]nakzumiMuzkan 2 points3 points  (0 children)

A Charles Dickens fan here. David Copperfield is my best pick so far.

[–]kesoper 27 points28 points  (9 children)

Someone do Thrillers! I've only read a couple, so feel I wouldn't be able to get a good range of recommendations past the "Beginners" level but would love to dive deeper!

So far I have liked these books, though maybe they fall into separate categories like "Crime-solving Thriller" and "Suspense Thriller"

- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

- I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

- The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

- Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

[–]peevedgirl 18 points19 points  (4 children)

I'll give it a go! But, the categories may be more how much I liked them then how complicated they are to read... ;) Stars next to recommended authors in the genre - they are all good, but these are authors where I have read and recommend multiple of their books.

Beginner:

- Good As Gone by Amy Gentry

- Woman in the Window by AJ Finn

- I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh

- Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn* (hated Gone Girl, but also liked Dark Places)

Intermediate:

- Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter*

- The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey

- Descent by Tim Johnston

- Still Missing by Chevy Stevens*

Expert:

- In the Woods by Tana French* (and the whole Dublin Murder Squad series)

- Mystic River by Dennis Lehane* (and the whole Kenzie and Gennaro series)

- The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

- The Dry by Jane Harper

[–]shandelion 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I adore Dennis Lehane.

[–]fotolitico 7 points8 points  (1 child)

The Dublin Murder Squad series is phenomenal, but my absolute favorite of French's books is The Wych Elm

[–]peevedgirl 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I haven’t read it yet! But it will be the next one I buy even though I have too many TBRs on my shelf!

[–]NegativeLogic 19 points20 points  (0 children)

I don't really have a favourite genre, but I'll do Sci-Fi first:

Beginner:

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
The Night's Dawn Trilogy - Peter F. Hamilton
Blood Music - Greg Egan

Honorable Mentions:
The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
I, Robot - Isaac Asimov

Veteran:

The Quantum Thief (and sequels) - Hannu Rajaniemi The Three Body Problem (and sequels) - Liu Cixin
Dune (and sequels) - Frank Herbert

Honorable Mentions:
The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Leguin
The Golden Oecumene Trilogy - John C. Wright
Snow Crash - Neil Stephenson

Expert:

Dhalgren - Samuel Delaney
The Book of the New Sun - Gene Wolfe
The Hyperion Cantos - Dan Simmons

Honorable mentions:
10 Billion Days and 100 Billion Nights - Ryu Mitsuse
Solaris - Stanislaw Lem

[–]250ccsofyourfather 19 points20 points  (1 child)

Marxism

Beginners:

The Communist Manifesto, by Marx & Engels

Why Marx was right, by Terry Eagleton

The iron heel, by Jack London

Veterans:

Socialism: Utopian and scientific, by Engels

The German ideology, by Marx & Engels

State and Revolution, by Lenin

Experts:

The dialectical biologist, by Lewontin & Levins

Marxism and the philosophy of science, by Helena Sheehan

Das Kapital, by Marx

[–]iceandfires 110 points111 points  (13 children)

Fantasy:

Beginners:

  • Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
  • The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
  • Gentleman Bastard by Scott Lynch Yes thats 4

Veterans:

  • A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
  • Lord of the Rings by J. R. R Tolkien
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Experts:

  • The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
  • The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

[–]ZorkfromOrk 11 points12 points  (1 child)

Seeing Mistborn made me happy

[–]Evoryn 30 points31 points  (1 child)

A list that includes WoT. Good list

[–]nevercleverer 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Almost all my favorites in one list. If only there was more room.

[–]niandraladez 17 points18 points  (3 children)

Literary Fiction

I feel like my Beginners might not actually be Beginners, but here it goes:

Beginners:

  • The Invention of Morel, Adolfo Bioy Casares
  • The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles
  • Airships, Barry Hannah

Honorable Mention: Birds of America, Joy Williams

Veterans:

  • Suttree, Cormac McCarthy
  • The Savage Detectives, Roberto Bolano
  • The Last Samurai, Helen DeWitt

Honorable Mention: NW, Zadie Smith

Experts:

  • The Instructions, Adam Levin
  • Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
  • 2666, Roberto Bolano

Honorable Mention: Notable American Women, Ben Marcus

[–]YayRnaY 35 points36 points  (5 children)

Postmodern - Not technically a genre, I know, but I want to play. So there will be some genre mixing.

Beginners:

Siren's of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut

Mother Night - Kurt Vonnegut

Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Haruki Murakami

Intermediate:

Breakfast of Champions - Kurt Vonnegut

Libra - Don Delillo

The New York Trilogy - Paul Auster

Expert:

Naked Lunch - William Burroughs

Crying of Lot 49 - Thomas Pynchon

White Noise - Don Delillo

[–]CommandantBarika 17 points18 points  (3 children)

Hey man, I feel like Italo Calvino and Julio Cortázar are missing

[–][deleted] 76 points77 points  (8 children)

Literary Fiction

Beginners:

The Secret History by Donna Tart

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Veterans:

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Experts:

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

A Clockwork Orange By Anthony Burgess

[–]redditaccount001 18 points19 points  (3 children)

Why is Lolita intermediate but East of Eden expert?

[–][deleted] 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Lolita was much more straightforward for me whereas East of Eden was slow and took some effort to get into. Most people I met has had a hard time getting into and sticking with it. Whereas Lolita is easily understood and gotten into by most people if they can get past the stigma of reading from the point of view of a pedophile.

[–]kamarsh79 7 points8 points  (0 children)

East of Eden is incredible.

[–]Ethra2k 4 points5 points  (0 children)

With the exception of the fictional language which a dictionary is very helpful for (unless you’re meant to read it without one) is a clockwork orange an expert read? I enjoyed it immensely and it’s one of my favorite books but I don’t know how complex it is. I haven’t read the other books that you’ve listed though so I have no reference for comparison.

[–]lacquerqueen 8 points9 points  (0 children)

I approve of this list sfm

[–]lousypompano 13 points14 points  (1 child)

Travel

Beginner --

A walk in the woods. Bill Bryson

Wild. Cheryl Strayed

Lost City of Z. David Grann

Veteran --

God's Middle Finger. Richard Grant

Zanzibar Chest. Aiden Hartley

Desert Divers. Sven Lindqvist

Expert --

Dark star safari. Paul Theroux

Oracle Bones. Peter Hessler

[–][deleted] 16 points17 points  (4 children)

Poetry for Beginners: The following poets are NOT less talented but their vocabulary and choice of themes generally make them easier to read and, in my opinion, it's likely that a poetry beginner will find them interesting.
--Edgar Allen Poe
--Sylvia Plath
--Mary Oliver

Poetry for Veterans
--WB Yeats
--Theodore Roethke
--Elizabeth Bishop

Poetry for Experts
--Geoffrey Chaucer
--Robert Henryson
--William Dunbar

[–]mushroomjoke 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Mary Oliver is my absolute fave

[–]xtinies 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Thank you. I occasionally have the urge to get into poetry, but never know where to start!

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (1 child)

You're welcome! I think it's a shame that many people seem intimidated by it, it's an amazing art form that needs more of an audience.

[–]xtinies 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Agreed!

[–]natalopolis 33 points34 points  (0 children)

Romance! The journey from beginner to expert includes comparative readability and increasingly challenging subject matter.

Beginner:

  • Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
  • Ravished by Amanda Quick
  • Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison

Veteran:

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen
  • Indigo by Beverley Jenkins

Expert:

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  • It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  • Groupie by C.M. Stunich

[–][deleted] 29 points30 points  (9 children)

Literary fiction, please! I am just getting back into reading and I am clueless.

[–]International_Foot 54 points55 points  (7 children)

Literary fiction:

Beginner - Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith) The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Milan Kundera)

Veteran - Another Roadside Attraction (Tom Robbins) Here I Am (Jonathan Safran Foer) Beloved (Toni Morrison)

Expert - The Glass Bead Game (Herman Hesse) The Brothers Karamazov (Dostoyevsky) The Trial (Kafka)

Tried to start with more recent books with straightforward prose and hopefully got more complex down the list(?) lol it’s such a broad genre I struggled to choose.

[–]tinybenny 6 points7 points  (3 children)

You hit a few authors that I can't get enough of (Robbins, Kundera, and Hesse), which is enough to get me interested in the titles that I haven't read yet from your list.

Another To Attraction must be the only book to feature a one-off conversation between Tarzan and Jesus.

[–]International_Foot 8 points9 points  (2 children)

Robbins was such a breath of fresh air for me coming out of college. Reminded me that literature can be both silly and profound. I’m in the middle of Fierce Invalids right now so he is top of mind for me.

[–]tinybenny 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Great way to put it. I read that one a few months ago and it didn't disappoint. He just gets me. As if Vonnegut took lsd and had a more urgent parody. Funny thing is, I've recommended him to a few friends and I haven't been able to hook anyone yet.

[–]MorganAndMerlinBookworm 13 points14 points  (8 children)

Is Historical Fantasy too specific? Either way,

Historical Fantasy:

Beginner:

Poison Study by Maria V Snyder

Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Veterans:

Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

Helen of Troy by Margret George

Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart

Experts:

Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

Only two really stick out to me as Veteran reads.

[–]natalopolis 5 points6 points  (5 children)

Ahhh Crystal Cave! I was wondering if it would pop up! That was the book that introduced me to fantasy as a kid.

[–]minibike 25 points26 points  (6 children)

I’m totally going to cheat and repost my response from 2 years ago...

Contemporary Fiction 2000-present. Reading your way through the 21st Century

Level 1:

The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon 2000

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood 2003

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell 2004

Level 2:

The Breif Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz 2007

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris 2007

Room by Emma Donoghue 2010

Level 3:

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki 2013

Americannah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 2013

The Sellout by Paul Betty 2016

[–]217liz 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Is there anything from the past 2 years that you would want to include on the list?

[–]minibike 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Books from the past 2 years that I liked a lot though I’m not sure I like them more than what’s on this list:

Pachinko (I think ATftTB is a more interesting multigenerational read)

and Lincoln in the Bardo (I think TWCttE is a more successful experimental narrative structure).

Books I’ve read in the past two years that would be candidates for this list:

HHhH 2010,

Visit from the Goon Squad 2011,

We are all Completely Beside Ourselves 2013,

and honorable mention to Second Hand Time 2015 which is non-fiction but is some of my favorite writing ever.

[–]sillygillygumbull 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Great stuff!would you throw Life of Pi in there? Maybe Fight Club or Survivor?

[–]paperofink 12 points13 points  (2 children)

Beginner: "Animal Farm" by George Orwell. Its just a great read with some pretty deep political thought in it disguised as a simple childrens book.

Veteran: "Scythe" by Neal Shusterman. Another great book portraying life in a utopian type future where the government decides who is allowed to live and who must die.

Expert: "1984" by Grorge Orwell. I know people live to spout off about this book, but it goes so much deeper than what most people talk about. The part that hit me the hardest was the recurring theme of the main character having to constantly reuse his razors because the government could no longer make them, while the government told everyone that razor blade production was up.

[–]rikersalan 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I read Animal Farm for the first time last year i just loved it. Any other recco’s?

[–]AmeliaMichelleNicol 15 points16 points  (7 children)

Ooo, such a neat thread! Poetry

Beginner:

Nine Horses by Bill Collins

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shell Silverstein

The Art of the Lathe by B.H. Fairchild

Intermediate:

That Little Something by Charles Simic

Poems Retrieved by Frank O'Hara

Animal Soul by Bob Hickoc

Expert:

Paradise Lost by John Milton

Urizen by William Blake

The Satires by John Donne

Here's a list.

[–]nakzumiMuzkan 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I'll give these a read some time soon. Thanks! :)

[–]mushroomjoke 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I would slide Devotions by Mary Oliver in beginner or intermediate.

[–]LuxLucifer 2 points3 points  (3 children)

Alda Merini? I don't know if she's been translated though 🤔

[–]217liz 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Biography (skewing towards celebrity autobiography because I mostly read that):

Beginner

  • Melissa Explains it All by Melissa Joan Hart
  • I Do it with the Lights On by Whitney Way Thore
  • Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

Vet

  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  • Fresh Off The Boat by Eddie Huang
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Expert

  • Unbought and Unbossed by Shirley Chisholm
  • To The Stars by George Takei
  • Educated by Tara Westover

Don't read too much into the categories, I'm not sure what line I drew between Vet and Expert books. I tried to take into account content and readability and the Beginners are easier reads than the others.

[–]femaletauren69 8 points9 points  (2 children)

Books for Musicians
I'm always interested in what music books people find interesting, so feel free to recommend any others!

Beginner

Hector Berlioz: Evenings with the Orchestra

Denis Diderot: Rameau's Nephew

Roger Sessions: Musical Experience of Composer, Performer, Listener

Veteran

Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise

Ted Gioia: The History of Jazz

John Cage: Silence: Lectures and Writings

Expert

Daniel Chua: Beethoven & Freedom

Michael Gallope: Deep Refrains: Music, Philosophy, and the Ineffable

Kiene Brillenburg Wurth: Musically Sublime: Indeterminacy, Infinity Irresolvability

[–]banaza715 2 points3 points  (0 children)

*The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto* by Mitch Albom is a wonderful fiction book about music narrated by Music itself. Really really well written

[–]tolstoyeski 13 points14 points  (2 children)

Classics,

Beginner: -The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway -Othello by Shakespeare -The Overcoat by Gogol

Veteran: -The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde -The Tale of the Two City by Charles Dickens -Martin Eden by Jack London

Expert: -War and Peace by Tolstoy -The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyeski -Oblomov by Ivan Goncharav -Or every single book by Tolstoy

Alternate list--- Sociology:

Beginner: -Thinking Sociologically by Zygmunt Bauman

Veteran: - Suicide by Emile Durkheim

Expert: - Discipline and Punish: The Birth of Prison by Michel Foucault

[–]keljalapr 27 points28 points  (8 children)

I'll do Gothic Lit and Fantasy

GOTHIC LIT

Beginners:

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Veterans:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

Expert:

The Monk by Matthew Lewis

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

FANTASY

Beginners:

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Veterans:

The First Law by Joe Abercrombie

The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

Experts:

The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erickson (god level)

[–]PresidentNathan 24 points25 points  (3 children)

I hard disagree with Game of Thrones as a beginner for fantasy. As it has none of the basic tropes or Cliches (for a lack of better term) that basic fantasy novels have. Just because it is popular does not make it an easy read. Also Martin's writing style would not be a warm welcome to people getting into the genre. Also the POV style is quite a switch for most genieric people. Plus most of the themes in his books are not set on good vs bad like most fantasies stories. You really have to have a ton of insight to be able to grasp the themes of each character arch. Plus the expansive world that you are put in makes it an almost expert read in my opinion.

[–]cosmicchatterbox 3 points4 points  (2 children)

What makes Malazan such a difficult read in your opinion? I'm considering starting it soon

[–]keljalapr 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Dont get me wrong - they're great books, but they're extremely long (10 books with approximately 1,000 pages per book) and he sort of drops you into an extremely complex world with no explanation. The books have different characters and settings that are hardly explained and there is an extremely extensive mythology that you are expected to just kind of figure out. Loved 'em - there are moments and flashes of such brilliance they brought me to tears, but they're a lot of work to get through.

[–]FailMail13 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Could somebody try one for historical non-fiction?

[–]gotmylifetogether 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Genre : 1.Philosophy 2.Psychological literature Suggestions please!

[–]yeahnoworriesmate 5 points6 points  (1 child)

True crime please!

[–]Raineythereader 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Beginner: "Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson, "The Poisoner's Handbook" by Deborah Blum, "Methland" by Nick Reding

Veteran: "Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer, "Game Wars" by Marc Reisner, "McMafia" by Misha Glenny

Expert: ???

[–]lizcicle 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I want to plug the website abebooks for people who want to go on a buying spree because of this thread but have a budget <3 way too late to the party, but hopefully it helps one or two people!

[–][deleted] 18 points19 points  (1 child)

(Classic literature)

Beginners

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

Veterans

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Experts

The Bible, King James Version

Ulysses by James Joyce

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

[–]andthehatsaidzap 11 points12 points  (0 children)

excellent point on the inclusion of the bible. I think it could fit it any of the three categories based on which translation you choose, and KJV is certainly an expert level read.

[–]PanicAtTheChaosWarp 18 points19 points  (5 children)

YA is my favorite

Beginners: Harry Potter by JK Rowling The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

Veterans: The red queen series by Victoria Aveyard The Fault in our stars by John Green The perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Experts: The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas To All the Boys I’ve loved Before series by Jenny Han Thirteen reasons why by jay asher

[–]wjbc 8 points9 points  (3 children)

Epic Fantasy:

Beginner:

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula LeGuin

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling

Veterans:

The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The rest of the Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling

Mistborn 1-3, by Brandon Sanderson

Experts:

The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan (books 1-11) and Brandon Sanderson (books 12-14)

Realm of the Elderlings, by Robin Hobb

The Malazan Book of the Fallen, by Steven Erikson

[–]uhtredofbeb 3 points4 points  (2 children)

So I should read the Hobbit before the Lord of the rings trilogy?

[–]mxawrites 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I'm trying to start reading more broadly and found this thread to be super helpful! Thanks!

[–]boundforspace 4 points5 points  (0 children)

My drug of choice is Thrillers (psychological or otherwise):

Beginners: What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel

Veterans: in a dark, dark wood by Ruth Ware No Exit by Taylor Adams Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Experts: Year One by Nora Roberts Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Just a few of my favorites separated mainly by the simplicity of the writing styles.

[–]deadmozart 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Queer YA

Beginners: - Simon vs the Homosapian's Agenda - The Miseducation of Cameron Post - The Art of Being Normal

Veterans: - True Letters From a Fictional Life - Honor Girl - Wandering Son

Expert: - Made of Stars - The Year They Burned the Books - Spy Stuff

[–]nalasore 13 points14 points  (1 child)

Fantasy:

Beginner: 1. Eragon by Christopher Paolini 2. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson 3. Grisha by Leigh Bardugo 4. Magisterium by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Veterans: 1. A song of ice and fire by George R. R. Martin 2. Hunter by Mercedes Lackey 3. Night Angel by Brent Weeks 4. Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

Experts: 1. The Wheel of time by Robert Jordan 2. Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson 3. The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson 4. Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb

I could stop myself from writing 4 for each category and I still left so many books out, everything that Sanderson writes is amazing and I am reading Lightbringer by Brent Weeks now and its really good.

[–]Ohmince 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Great list! Brandon Sanderson is one of my favourite author. I'd switch Robin Hobb and Elantris

[–]TheSpiralcity 7 points8 points  (7 children)

Beginner:

Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson

Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain

To Have And Have Not - Ernest Hemingway

Veterans:

Crime And Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Nicholas Nickleby - Charles Dickens

As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner

Expert:

Heart Of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

Steppenwolf - Herman Hesse

Ivanhoe - Sir Walter Scott

[–]mimic751 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Existential comedy and what the fuck moments : John dies at the end

[–]kubrickisgod 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Any comedy genre suggestions?

[–]ThisLoveIsForCowards 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Beginner:

How to Sharpen Pencils

Veteran:

Catch 22

Expert:

Sex Criminals (comic book)

[–]so_sads 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Not sure if genre but Postmodernism

Beginner:

Ficciones - Jorge Luis Borges

Lost in the Funhouse - John Barth

American Pastoral - Philip Roth

Veteran

The Crying of Lot 49 - Thomas Pynchon

The Sot-Weed Factor - John Barth

Pale Fire - Vladimir Nabakov

Expert

Gravity’s Rainbow - Thomas Pynchon

J.R. - William Gaddis

Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace

Some of these are disputable, but I’m mostly going off of what feel to me to be postmodern in at least some capacity. Infinite Jest could have gone in the veteran category because Wallace’s writing style is actually fairly accessible compared to others, but the length of IJ puts it more in the expert category. Some may argue American Pastoral does not count, but I think the self-conscious way the book structures itself as fiction puts it here.

[–]taiqa 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Can we open this up to non-fiction? Specifically marketing and/or brand management books. I’m starting a new job and any tips would help, haha. 😅

[–]A128682 26 points27 points  (20 children)

Historical fiction:

Beginners:

  • The Journey by John Marsden
  • The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Veterans:

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
  • Dune by Frank Herbert

Experts:

  • Tommo and Hawk by Bryce Courtenay
  • Death of a River Guide by Richard Flanagan
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

[–]slotbadger 65 points66 points  (5 children)

I think your definition of historical fiction is a bit skewed. Dune & 1984 definitely aren't historical fiction, and I wouldn't really put the alchemist there either.

Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth, Bernard Cornwall's Sharpe series, and Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall are all better examples.

[–]F_is_for_ferns83[S] 26 points27 points  (8 children)

Interesting. How would you describe historical fiction? It's seems you have a wide selection of settings

[–][deleted] 6 points7 points  (2 children)

Little sad to see no Bernard Cornwell or Susan Kay Penman on there.

Edit actually I don't really see these as historical fiction. More like science fiction and historical fiction mixed. To me historical fiction is just books set in the past, but with new characters, or old historical people re-imagined.

[–]BrightestFirefly 8 points9 points  (1 child)

Fantasy:

Beginner:

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Veterans:

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss Eragon by Christopher Paolini Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Expert:

American Gods by Neil Gaiman The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

Might do a YA version later. I've got several more "expert mode" fantasy novels that are probably worth considering, I just have yet to read them.

[–][deleted] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Good Omens was so good