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intellectual books

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MiniN | 17:14 Sun 06th Jan 2008 | Books & Authors
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i love my fiction books, mostly thrillers and chick lits but i always wonder what books people are talking about when they say they like to read intellectual books and books that challenge them.

so, what are classed as 'intellectual' books?

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i do usually give feedback on my questions but my emails been down. but thank you for your feedback on this and my other post, no offence was meant by not replying.
As a sampler of 'intellectual' books, try giving the titles on any year's Booker Prize shortlist a go. Ian McEwan, Martin Amis - that kind of thing.
Question Author
yes i will thanks, any one that you can recommend personally?
I think that RoaldoM has hit the nail on the head with his description of what an intellectual book would be.....you could try reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - which is tremendously popular and I have to admit, a book that I really enjoyed.

I also recently read Kevin Brockmeier's The Brief History of the Dead which I found quite thought provoking despite there being several unanswered questions.

Quizmonkey's tip on reading books that have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize is a valid one, but to be honest, there is a lot of overrated rubbish in there! I find just browsing the shelves in your local bookshop and reading the dust jacket on random books can be just as rewarding (if not more so) than following the recommendations of 'critics'.

By the way.....I too love thrillers and chick lit, but every now and then, I try to throw in an 'intellectual' book even if all it does is make me appreciate the chick lit and thriller all the more!

PS - Avoid Ali Smith's 'The Accidental' at all costs.....this is one of those books that has been critically acclaimed for reasons completely beyond me.....!
Question Author
Thanks Katejess, thats a big help, i will definately have a look at your suggestions. i've been looking for a book to challenge me since finishing uni. thanks to guys i now have a starting point!
Mini, these are just a few practical hints for getting some 'intellectual' reading done.

1. Read book reviews in a "quality" paper or at their online sites - that will give you some ideas on what to try. Or as others have suggested, reading something from an award shortlist, or ask for advice at the bookshop or library.

2. When you are book shopping get a couple of your fave chick-lit or whatever when they are on 3 for 2 offers and get a book you wouldn't normally read as the freebie.

3. Library books are free to borrow so it won't hurt your wallet even if you decide you don't like them.

4. Join a reading club. I found that it was good discipline for me to read a book in an allotted time and even if I didn't like it or didn't finish it, the discussion would help me understand what other people saw in it. I often go away and finish a book that I had abandoned once I have heard other people 's ideas.

5. Read reviews again, from papers, book-selling sites etc, after you have read or tried to read the book. Sometimes that helps if you feel that you didn't 'get' the book.

6 Join one of the many on-line book groups if you can't get to a real-life group. (Search Yahoo groups) You could follow the discussion for a while to see how other people see the books if you are too shy or uncertain to jump in with your own comments straight away.

These are just a few hints that helped me move on from reading only crime books (though they are still my favourites!)

Question Author
would you consider Blindness by Jose Saramago an 'intellectual' read? Has anyone read it? is it really as good as the reviews say?

its definately on my 'to-read' list
I must admit MiniN, I'd never heard of Blindness before, but I've just read up on it on Amazon and it does look as though it would be an interesting read.

One of the books mentioned in the Amazon review is Lord of the Flies - which I would think could be classed as an 'Intellectual' book.....however, it is a very good book and would be one that I would recommend you consider adding to your list.

The trouble is, where do you start with listing 'intellectual' books.....? Off the top of my head, without thinking too hard about it, I could mention countless books that through time have been considered thought provoking.

A few classics of this nature that are often taught in a lot of schools are 1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Catch 22 by Joseph Heller and these are to name but a few.

I think the greater challenge is finding the modern books which haven't yet achieved the acclaim that the classics have obtained. I also think that more modern books have more pertinence to us as we are living in the time during which they are being written.

I'm sorry, I am waffling on a bit here......I think really what I'm trying to say is that you should rely on your own instincts by reading the synopsis to get an idea of the book before you buy/borrow. Everyone has different taste and what I might consider pure genius, you might think is utter rubbish!
Question Author
Katejess, you've been a real help, its been nice talking literature with you. sometimes its hard to find someone who wants to compare titles with and talk books.

thanks
x
It has been my absolute pleasure.

:o)

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