Favourite book?

I love the way I get close to new ideas and recognitions by reading books. I have lots of favourite books, which have been soothing balms for my inner disquietude at times.

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. I simply cannot get bored with it! It is brilliant! One of the best books ever! The movie version is not even close to the book – this is what I always say. And I love Russian literature, Bulgakov, Dostoevsky, Solzhenitsyn. I am mesmerised by the special atmosphere they create, very sophisticated and earthly at the same time.

EMŐKE: Right now, James Hilton’s Lost Horizon.
TAMÁS: Murakami Haruki’s works. All of them. But most recently, I have read Scenes from a Marriage by Ingmar Bergman. I was astounded by that book. I had never read such poignant dialogues before. They were almost unpalatable. I could not read it at one go.

What has made the greatest impression on me recently was T by Pelevin, which I red last year. Furthermore, Apuleius’ Golden Donkey and E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Murr the Cat’s Philosophy of Life are works that I have read many times.

I dip into every book. Unfortunately, these days I hardly ever get to read a novel. I have re-read Borges’s short stories and Krúdy’s works, besides books related to my work. I red bits of one of Maurich Blanch’s books last summer. I did not read it as a novel, only savored it. It was a sensual kind of text for me. He has a major essay on Kafka that I liked a lot.

Don Quixote, Henry Miller’s books, good old Dostoevsky but I’m not in the mood these days, and oh yes, of course: Haruki Murakami’s short stories that I’m adapting into an animation feature!

Too Loud a Solitude by Hrabal and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Márquez.

My preference is to read works and reports on sociological topics. I’m not a big reader of novels. I like György Moldova’s early writings and his descriptions of social groups, which are absolutely on the mark. I’m interested in anything to do with prisons. Most recently I read Krisztián Ungváry’s The Siege of Budapest.

Awakening the Sleeping Buddha by Tai Situpa XII, which gives me new insights upon each reading. To help make it available to everyone, I published the book in Hungarian. Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trungpa has also been a very influential book for me.

I haven’t done any reading lately, but The Master and Margarita is one of my favourites. I’m fond of Russian novelists and I used to be keen on Czech writers.

I read all kinds of books. I read the most when I was in secondary school ... in those good old days. Back then I read The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Kundera several times. That book really carried me away.

None. Though I used to think I had some. I used to have favourites but when I reread them, I found they were not so definitive any more, or that previously less important books had jumped to the top of my list. I have recently reread The Master and Margarita and made me hungry for reading some short stories.

I don’t have any. The last one I read was A mi utcánk (Our Street) by Sándor Tar. I enjoyed it very much. But of course there are many books that I like.

KCsCs: The Collector of Worlds by Ilija Trojanow. It’s a great book for travellers of both the inner and the outer world.
ZK: Any time I feel down, I grab one of Örkény’s one-minute stories to get back on track.

The Bible. It is strong and deep. I can read, re-read and re-read it, again and again.

The Possibility of an Island by Michel Houellebecq. It has been my favourite for years, one of the few ones that I read again. But even after I reread it, it has kept its first place.

None. It’s been ages since I last read a book. This is another thing I unfortunately don’t have the time for. Back when I led a less hectic life, I had time to read a book from cover to cover. These days I read three or four books simultaneously, but I never finish any.
When I have a little time beside work (I work as an Art Director), I play music and sports (skydiving, BASE jumping), travel, and most importantly, spend my time with my son.

I have many, mainly classics. I will highlight two: Don Quixote and The Pickwick Papers (by Dickens). I also like Chekhov's short stories. It keeps changing who my favourite contemporary author is. (By the way, I am currently reading short stories by Heltai. I do not know how it came to me to read them again. In any case, they are very entertaining.)

I scarcely read, I don’t have the time. I do most of my reading when I travel.

They are (in random order):
TOP 10
1. Death Is My Trade by Robert Merle
2. 1984 by George Orwell
3. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
4. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Márquez
5. Belly Button by András Réz
6. Triumphant Road – The History of Human Soul by Zsuzsa Bistey
7. Books by Carlos Castaneda, including The Teachings of Don Juan, A Separate Reality, Journey to Ixtlan, Tales of Power, but my favourite is Journey to Ixtlan
8. The Childhood of a Leader by Jean Paul Sartre
9. The Road to Plenitude by Sándor Weöres
10. Sheet Music – Last Conversation with Alaine Polcz by Magdolna Singer

I’ve recently re-read Hamlet, because I’m helping out with the music for a performance in Miskolc, but I don’t know when was the last time I read a book before that. I believe everything follows a circular pattern. At times one genre is important, and at other times another. When I was young I watched every movie and read every book. I used to listen to music even back then, but it didn’t play such a central role in my life. Nowadays music has replaced literature as the main focus in the world. We don’t have real movies any more. It’s music that shows us best what’s happening, rather than literature or film.

It’s always hard for me to answer this kind of questions… there are many amazing books, how to choose just one? Most probably it would be an esoteric book, with many layers of meaning, so that I could read and re-read and re-re-read and grow with the book.

A Man’s Life by Lajos Kassák. Master and Margarita by Bulgakov, which is also about life. Protected Men by Robert Merle. But I have many favourite writers; wonderful books full of funny stories.

I don’t have a favourite book; I don’t read a lot. My own thoughts and daydreams seem to be enough for me.

I have many. One of my all-time favourites is Gyula Krúdy’s The Adventures of Sinbad, but I also like the works of Antal Szerb, Oscar Wilde, Paul Auster, Dostoyevsky and Stanislaw Lem.

I have little time for literature. I mostly just dip into the books of Nádas, Térey and Krasznahorkai. I’m a diligent reader of specialist literature including books and journals.

There are so many books that have left a deep impression on me that it would be difficult to single out just one. The most recent book I read was Death in Venice.

It would be easier for me to say “none”. Actually, there is one that I love but it’s very special to me and, for that very reason, I’d rather not reveal the title.

I have lots of favourite books. I’ve been working for five years now on an Italian-language opera based on Seven Floors, a short story by Dino Buzzati. That short story has been in my head ever since. I also compose music with the band W.H. to some of Shakespeare’s sonnets too, so those poems are around me a lot. Currently I’m reading Playback by Raymond Chandler.

József: The Pope's Rhinoceros by Lawrence Norfolk. But, come to think of it, I liked his other book, Lemprière’s Dictionary even more.
Ibolya: I have very little time to read, unfortunately. I love Sándor Márai’s books, though.

I’ve been living in and among books decades, so this would be quite a long list. Or I could tell you what I consider the most significant pieces of the 20th century or the most outstanding books in Hungarian literature. I usually read several books at once. Currently, I have Jung, Oravecz (Hungarian author) and a manuscript by Vilmos Csaplár (Hungarian author) on my agenda. But there is another tower of books beside my bed. So I don’t have a single favourite. Instead I’d say that I have a lot of re-discovered favourites. At the moment these are Sándor Tar, Oravecz, Ádám Bodor, or Ferenc Szijj (Hungarian authors). I’m discovering them all for the second time. As I read them again, I perceive new colours as the texts reveal themselves to me again.

The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann.

I’m prone to idolising authors. I never simply read a book: I always need to know who wrote it, when, why, how, what the author’s life was like, what age he or she lived in, who their contemporaries were, etc. I always have a current favourite - now it’s a volume of short stories entitled Last Cigarette, Last Judgement by Ferenc Karinthy. I also like to peruse the writings of Albert Goldmann on American music and culture in the 1950s.

I read The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga this summer. I liked it.

I have many. Four or five years ago I read Capote’s In Cold Blood and it made a great impression on me. Otherwise, I’m a huge Kundera fan, so if I had to name a favourite author, it would be him. My most recent read was Madame Bovary, which is a universal classic, since she could be you or me. Every day I see Madame Bovarys around.

I don’t read books because I fall asleep as soon as I start reading.

Zsolt: It would be unfair to choose one book as my favourite. I’ve just started reading the Steve Jobs book and I often read parts of Dr Thomas Gordon’s Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.). And I really love Tranquility by Attila Bartis.
Donát: Every book I read catches my attention for a different reason. Books usually make a good impression on me and there are fragments that stick in my mind. I particularly enjoyed Solid Geometry by Ian McEwan and Doppler by Erlend Loe. I wouldn’t pick one favourite because it would seem that I prefer one over the other. But nowadays I read less as my schedule has become quite busy.
Ákos: Franny and Zooey by Salinger.

Right now I am reading a samurai story in Japanese. This is what I am really interested in at the moment.

My current favourite is a memoir by Patti Smith (Just Kids), which I got for my birthday. As I mentioned, she was a great favourite of mine back in the eighties. I’d also mention The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, which I read in the summer. It was a really interesting read.

Lust for Life about Van Gogh’s life, Quo Vadis (perhaps mostly because of Petronius) and lately City by Baricco.

Ádám: I have tons of favourites. My current favourites are Murder Ballads and Other Legends by Bohumil Hrabal, Diaries by Sándor Márai, Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas and Michael Kohlhaas by Heinrich von Kleist.
Sándor: Froth on the Daydream by Boris Vian.
Tibor: Hrabal, Böll, Vonnegut, Vian, Eco…
Orsolya: The writings of Pedro Juan Gutiérrez and Pelevin. Oh, and Vonnegut and Venedict Yerofeyev.

I read six to eight books simultaneously. For a long time, I always carried Virágzabálók (Flower Eaters) by László Darvasi and Esti by Péter Esterházy with me. And I’ve been reading Paul Ricœur’s collection of essays entitled Hermeneutics of Discourse for nearly two years now.

There’s no single book or piece of music that I would keep reading or listening to fanatically. My preferences keep changing. Although I could probably pick a favourite book or music, it’s much closer to the truth when I say that I don’t have a particular favourite. Or to put it in a different way, I have tons but it would be unfair to single out just one or two.

I’ve read nearly every book by Murakami, who is a big hit in Western Europe. The last book I read was the autobiography of the drummer from the The Who, Keith Moon entitled Dear Boy: The life of Keith Moon by Tony Fletcher.

I like authors who can condense hundreds of pages of information into a single sentence. I’ve been reading a lot of foreign specialist books, studies and papers about cultural history lately and I enjoy it immensely. When it comes to literature, my favourite authors are Márquez, Merle and Eco.

I don’t have any favourites. When I find a writer I like, I read everything by that particular author. There are some authors whose works I often get back to, such as Oscar Wilde, István Örkény and Frigyes Karinthy these days.

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes.

Because of my DLA studies, I’ve been reading a lot of different things lately. Of the reading that I’ve done so far this year, I’d highlight the writings of Tibor Hajas.

There are two important books that I’ve read recently:
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, which nearly all my male friends have read,
and Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth by Gitta Sereny. All dictators have an architect and that’s where the question of responsibility arises. Just like Mario and the Magician, it’s about manipulation and susceptibility to manipulation by others.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Márquez. For me, reading and listening to music are part of my work so I do both every day.

I read all kinds of books. I’m a big Jorge Borges fan. Lately I’ve enjoyed reading the excellent articles and short stories of Iván Bächer, who’s also a friend. I like the true-to-life nature and candidness of his writings.

Greek philosophy, Persian literature.

Whatever I’m reading at present, although sometimes I don’t like or feel any connection to what I’m reading. Lately I’ve also been reading critical essays in English.

I like biographies from all eras – the Medicis, the Borgias, Faludy and now Steve Jobs.

I haven’t done much reading in the past five or six years because I’ve been preoccupied with so many other things. But if I had to pick a favourite, I’d say Chess Story by Stefan Zweig.

Mostly messages from Jesus and Mary. Right now I’m rereading The Life of Milarepa.

ND: The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.
GZ: Brassaï’s letters. In addition to being highly topical, the letters are also extremely subtle and dynamic.

RF: I tend to read Hungarian and American contemporary literature and biographies (of musicians). I’m about to finish Keith Richards’s Life. Before that, I read Jadviga's Pillow by Pál Závada. And I really felt a connection with György Dragomán’s The White King. I also like the books of Krisztián Grecsó, Magda Szabó, Paul Auster and Charles Bukowski among others.

JN: Ocean Sea by Alessandro Baricco.

Louis Aragon: Aurélien. Raymond Carver’s shorts stories.

I read tales to my kids every night, Right now, it is Rumini. I have not have time to read literature for a long time. I usually read books related to my professions these days. But I always loved Esterházy.

No real favourites. Right now, I am reading Keith Richard’s autobiography, which is interesting because of all the things he went through.

I have favourite writers rather than favourite books. But as regards books: Moon Palace by Paul Auster, and Daniel Stein, Interpreter by Lyudmila Ulitskaya – which I started reading but have not finished yet.

There are always books that I like at the time. Now it is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It is a book that shapes your a world view. I wish I had more time to read.

KI: Péter Popper’s book was the last one I read. I liked it.
NR: Pál Salamon: Sorel ház (Sorel house); Albert Wass: A funtineli boszorkány (The witch of Funtinel), Dragomán György: A fehér király (White king), Selma Lagerlöf: Jerusalem. And the all-time favorite: The Master and Margarita.
KS: Gabriel García Márquez: Of love and other demons.

All the books by Murakami and Salman Rushdie. The most recent favourite is Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald.

K: Magda Szabó: Liber Mortis.
A: I usually read articles about technological development on the internet.

I can’t mention just one. I am reading two right now: Aito-da-fé by Elias Canetti, and Occultism, Witchcraft and Cultural Fashions by Mircea Eliade.

TT: Karmic Management: What Goes Around Comes Around in Your Business and Your Life, Lama Ole Nydahl: Entering the Diamond Way.

A Book of Memories by Péter Nádas. Right now, I am reading t by Victor Pelevin.

I do not have one particular favourite but 200-300. But if you force me to choose, then it is Truffaut’s interviews with Hitchcock and Montaigne’s Esszays. Before I became an internet addict I had been a book addict.

Proust: In search of lost time; and Péter Nádas’s works.

The Neverending Story, The Plum in the Golden Vase, Tolstoj, Márquez, Balzac.

I usually read several books at the same time. Right now it is Cradle To Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart, and Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino.

There are at least 30.

The Future of the Image by Jacques Rancière. I would also like to read everything by Nietzsche, and I read a lot of ancient philosophy.

Hermann Hesse: Siddharta.

I am a bookoholic, and usually read several books at a time. Right now, The Charterhouse of Parma and Rózsa Sándor a lovát ugratja (Sándor Rózsa is jumping his horse). And I have recently finished Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s Flow.

The Plum in the Golden Vase (JingPing Mei).

I often stop before I get to the end of a book. I like György Spíró’s Őszi tárlat / Autumn exhibition and his volume of short stories titled Álmodtam neked / I have dreamt for you. I used to like Péter Nádas but I gave up his trilogy after one-and-a-half years.A was amazed at the lifelikeness of Günter Grass’ Peeling the Onion. Oh, yes, and Attila Bartis 

Mircea Eliade’s books and Patanjali’s yoga sutras.

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