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(Short List)   14 daunting books that every man should read. Subby has read less than zero of these   (shortlist.com) divider line 303
    More: Scary, Manic Street Preachers, Moby Dick, bookshelf  
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20908 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 27 Apr 2012 at 10:43 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-27 07:00:57 AM
Total read: 5
Total enjoyed: 0
 
2012-04-27 07:04:52 AM
I liked "How Boots fooled the King."
 
2012-04-27 07:04:54 AM
My head coach didn't want any sissies, so he read Ulysses to us.
 
2012-04-27 07:36:15 AM
James Joyce is nigh unreadable.

I like Moby Dick, though. The book can be interpreted as practically anything if you want to. I'm not saying it's great in a general sense, but I liked it.

But really, most of the classics can be considered from the standpoint of condensed summaries, with some of the more critical passages quoted. Is it as good as reading the entire book? No, but as the number of "must read" books increases over time, and the amount of information we have access to in general increases over time, going through an entire primary source is terribly inefficient after a while.
 
2012-04-27 07:37:00 AM
I'm a big reader, having read thousands of books, but I haven't read any of these. The only one that's on my To Read list is A Brief History of Time.

The rest just look long and boring. I read for enjoyment, and to learn, not because I have trouble falling asleep.
 
2012-04-27 07:38:42 AM
Obviously, because if subby had read them, he would have known to start the sentence with a spelled-out cardinal number, like this:

"Fourteen daunting books that every man should read."
 
2012-04-27 07:40:04 AM
Read 7 of them...

The only one that bored me to tears was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

I would also say that as far as Joyce goes, Finnegan's Wake if far more daunting than Ulysses.

I would say Moby Dick is my favorite book on that list.

Every year they have a week long reading of the book at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The wife and I have participated a couple of times. It's actually a lot of fun.
 
2012-04-27 07:50:12 AM

Sid_6.7: I like Moby Dick, though. The book can be interpreted as practically anything if you want to. I'm not saying it's great in a general sense, but I liked it.


Moby Dick is that rare tome that translates better into a film than on paper, at least in the hands of a capable writer and director.
 
2012-04-27 08:02:23 AM

dittybopper: Sid_6.7: I like Moby Dick, though. The book can be interpreted as practically anything if you want to. I'm not saying it's great in a general sense, but I liked it.

Moby Dick is that rare tome that translates better into a film than on paper, at least in the hands of a capable writer and director.


I disagree... Yes, the movie with Gregory Peck was a masterpiece, but the book is much richer in content and meaning and the lyrical nature of some of the passages could never be accurately translated into a visual medium. Huston did an amazing job, to be sure, though.

My grandparents were on the waterfront in New Bedford watching them shoot the departure scene. There's a reel to reel film of it lying somewhere in my basement. My grandfather shot it from the bottom of Union St. Apparently it was a huge attraction in the area, at the time.
 
2012-04-27 08:06:01 AM
I read Foucault's Pendulum before they invented Wikipedia.

I'm not sure how I did that.
 
2012-04-27 08:13:26 AM
Moby Dick was as much travelogue as adventure story. It has one of the most brilliant openings of any book ever.

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago- never mind how long precisely- having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

A Brief History of Time is a bit of a slog, but damn useful.

Little Dorrit is Dickens. How can anyone hate Dickens?

Don Quixote is classic, and a lot more entertaining than a lot of folks imagine.

To be fair, Tolstoy I've never cracked open.

Foccault's Pendulum is essentially a thriller, albeit dense and with lots of odd occult bits. You really have to love conspiracy theory to get into it, but if you do, it's a joy.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a bit over rated, but at the time it came out, it was brilliant.

Ullyses...I farking hate Joyce. I just despise how he constructs sentences and plots.

Infinite Jest is frippin' funny. I'm surprised more folks haven't read it. If you liked the Illuminatus trilogy or Gaimen's Good Omens it's no more dense than either.

Proust. I am not a fan.

It's not a bad list, but read what you want. There's a lot of great stuff out there, and while some books get a lot of attention, about their importance, in the end, it's what grabs you. Lately, that's been going back and rereading stuff for me. John D. MacDonald, I go back reread his Travis McGee series every few years. It's grounding for me. Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn series is on my shelf right now, and about a 3rd of the way through, because he's fun, and it's a nice placeholder for Richard K. Morgan's sequel to The Steel Remains. Got the entire Near Space stories on the shelf next, by Allan Steele, because I like blue collar science fiction. Banana Yoshimoto's on the pile too, because she's quirky and funny.

Never mind what other people expect you to read. Have fun.

In that: Melville is fun, if you toss out the idea that he's some weighty author. He was a popular novelist of his day. He wrote stories that took folks to far off lands. Got the whole John Carter series on the phone, and Burroughs is fun. Age of a book doesn't necessarily mean a slog. A lot of critics like to make books a lot weightier than they are, instill great meaning to books that were meant to be fun reads. And like to suck out the meaning of popular fiction like MacDonald, where the books have a bit more going on than just detective fiction. In the end, it's what you get out of them, and how much you enjoy the read.
 
2012-04-27 08:16:17 AM

Teknowaffle: My head coach didn't want any sissies, so he read Ulysses to us.


hello, faddah. where ya been?

muddah's still a whore, by da way.
 
2012-04-27 08:37:36 AM
I've read (& enjoyed) Moby Dick, thumbed through Motorcycle Repair & want to read Brief History. Some of the others are on my 'someday' list (Don Quixote tops that) & some I'll avoid like the plague (Ulysses).

Now, the 50 Coolest Books list (just below this one) I did much better on. I've read 9 of those over the years.
 
2012-04-27 08:38:01 AM

keylock71: I would also say that as far as Joyce goes, Finnegan's Wake if far more daunting than Ulysses.


I've read Finnegans Wake and enjoyed it, despite having to write many, many essays on it, but In the Name of the Rose broke me. I tried so hard.
 
2012-04-27 08:47:13 AM

hubiestubert: I farking hate Joyce. I just despise how he constructs sentences and plots.


I'll never understand Joyce hate. I farking love him. He uses language like an instrument... or several instruments at once actually. It's brilliant. It inspires me to want to write while simultaneously making me feel completely inadequate as a writer.
 
2012-04-27 08:51:55 AM

skinnycatullus: hubiestubert: I farking hate Joyce. I just despise how he constructs sentences and plots.

I'll never understand Joyce hate. I farking love him. He uses language like an instrument... or several instruments at once actually. It's brilliant. It inspires me to want to write while simultaneously making me feel completely inadequate as a writer.


I'm just not a fan. Not every writer resonates the same with folks.
 
2012-04-27 08:55:14 AM
Really? They're publishing a list of books that "every man must read" and subtitling it "tackling the white whale"?

Because, you know, tackling the white whale, at least in reference to Captain Ahab's efforts in Moby Dick, is not a reference to "taking on and eventually conquering a very difficult task that you are better for doing." It is a reference to "being a farking idiot who can't see past his own obsession and ends up destroying everything he has."
 
2012-04-27 08:55:14 AM
The main difficulty when reading Moby Dick?

Cetology.
 
2012-04-27 09:10:10 AM

Pocket Ninja: Really? They're publishing a list of books that "every man must read" and subtitling it "tackling the white whale"?

Because, you know, tackling the white whale, at least in reference to Captain Ahab's efforts in Moby Dick, is not a reference to "taking on and eventually conquering a very difficult task that you are better for doing." It is a reference to "being a farking idiot who can't see past his own obsession and ends up destroying everything he has."


Which is a grand lesson for any man.

Let's face it. Men are linear thinkers. We can plan, we can sit and wait, we can lay plans for our goals from multiple angles, but in the end, we tend to focus on goals with an intensity. Be that a job. Be that a gal. Be that a piece of property. Be that collecting. But we tend to obsess on those goals, and we can get lost in them. Melville illustrates that wonderfully, and tells a ripping yarn while doing so.
 
2012-04-27 09:15:31 AM
ecx.images-amazon.com

ecx.images-amazon.com
 
2012-04-27 09:19:09 AM
I love Joyce, plowed through Eco, adored Melville and muddled through the Hawking despite understanding very little of it. A lot of this list is stuff you read through in high school or college. Right?
 
2012-04-27 09:19:13 AM

keylock71: dittybopper: Sid_6.7: I like Moby Dick, though. The book can be interpreted as practically anything if you want to. I'm not saying it's great in a general sense, but I liked it.

Moby Dick is that rare tome that translates better into a film than on paper, at least in the hands of a capable writer and director.

I disagree... Yes, the movie with Gregory Peck was a masterpiece, but the book is much richer in content and meaning and the lyrical nature of some of the passages could never be accurately translated into a visual medium. Huston did an amazing job, to be sure, though.


That's true, in a sense, but much, if not most, of that content doesn't actually move the story along. It's full of descriptions of whaling, and whales, and sailing, etc., but if you condensed the book down to just the stuff necessary to move the narrative, it would be half the length. Huston, and especially Ray Bradbury, knew that. It's also apparently why it's considered 'daunting', in that unless you are actually interested in those subjects, it can make the book seem like it's dragging to a large degree.

My grandparents were on the waterfront in New Bedford watching them shoot the departure scene. There's a reel to reel film of it lying somewhere in my basement. My grandfather shot it from the bottom of Union St. Apparently it was a huge attraction in the area, at the time.


That departure scene was shot in Youghal, County Cork, Ireland.
 
2012-04-27 09:20:09 AM

hubiestubert: Which is a grand lesson for any man.

Let's face it. Men are linear thinkers. We can plan, we can sit and wait, we can lay plans for our goals from multiple angles, but in the end, we tend to focus on goals with an intensity. Be that a job. Be that a gal. Be that a piece of property. Be that collecting. But we tend to obsess on those goals, and we can get lost in them. Melville illustrates that wonderfully, and tells a ripping yarn while doing so.


I'm not disputing that Moby Dick teaches a good lesson, or that it's well written, or that people should read it, or anything else. I'm saying that it demonstrates an astonishing lack of of understanding basic thematic concepts to decide that a list of "things you should do" centered around "great literature" would be subtitled with a phrase that speaks very specifically to a fool's errand.
 
2012-04-27 09:35:41 AM
ZEN & THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE

Horrifically overrated pop-philosophy.

Largely arbitrary list is arbitrary.
 
2012-04-27 09:48:28 AM
Why are these books for men again?

hubiestubert: Let's face it. Men are linear thinkers. We can plan, we can sit and wait, we can lay plans for our goals from multiple angles, but in the end, we tend to focus on goals with an intensity. Be that a job. Be that a gal. Be that a piece of property. Be that collecting. But we tend to obsess on those goals, and we can get lost in them. Melville illustrates that wonderfully, and tells a ripping yarn while doing so.


Kind of surprised to see you write that.

/linear-thinking gal
 
2012-04-27 09:50:08 AM

dittybopper:
That's true, in a sense, but much, if not most, of that content doesn't actually move the story along. It's full of descriptions of whaling, and whales, and sailing, etc., but if you condensed the book down to just the stuff necessary to move the narrative, it would be half the length. Huston, and especially Ray Bradbury, knew that. It's also apparently why it's considered 'daunting', in that unless you are actually interested in those subjects, it can make the book seem like it's dragging to a large degree.

Yeah, good point... I am interested in those subjects, so I guess I'm a bit biased.
That departure scene was shot in Youghal, County Cork, Ireland.


So, they were... After a bit of digging, it appears I was confusing that with the Parade that was held in New Bedford for the movie's Premiere.

This isn't my grandfather's, but I found it online.

New Bedford Moby Dick Parade (Why they put that cheesy stock music over the film is anyone's guess).
 
2012-04-27 09:51:00 AM
..and excuse the HTML fail in that post.
 
2012-04-27 09:51:52 AM

Pocket Ninja: I'm not disputing that Moby Dick teaches a good lesson, or that it's well written, or that people should read it, or anything else. I'm saying that it demonstrates an astonishing lack of of understanding basic thematic concepts to decide that a list of "things you should do" centered around "great literature" would be subtitled with a phrase that speaks very specifically to a fool's errand.


It's often misinterpreted. Or rather, folks project an interpretation that they want to force, because it suits them at the time, and usually projected to people who haven't taken the time to actually read the damn thing.

Look at Starship Troopers as a for instance. That is a book that I would include on a "must read" list, because it's not a book about fighting bugs in space, so much as musings on the nature of citizenship, on the nature of conflict, loyalty, and how screwed up things can be in the military and in conflicts. And it's often misinterpreted, willfully so with Verhoeven's film who wanted to parody the book instead of actually making a film that respected it. Verhoeven didn't get it wrong, he willfully twisted it, because he hated it so, and to be fair, RAH, if he'd been alive, would have chopped him to kindling for what he did to the book.

What's sad, is that the CGI cartoon series got a lot closer to the heart of the book than the movie ever did, and that's kind of sad.

But then again, look at the folks who keep shoving down their interpretations of the Bible, and ignoring all the charity, compassion, and forgiveness portions of the show...
 
2012-04-27 09:53:49 AM

coco ebert: Why are these books for men again?

Kind of surprised to see you write that.

/linear-thinking gal


I accept the limitations of my biology. ;)
 
2012-04-27 09:54:01 AM
Books? What channel are they on?
 
2012-04-27 09:58:43 AM
But this is a call to arms. Five ShortList members of staff are going to attempt to conquer the most testing novels written - follow how we fare at ShortList.com. So it's time to unearth that hefty work of intellectual brilliance, blow off the dust and show those titans of literature who's boss.

Wait a minute. They haven't even read the books yet and they're trying to tell ME which books I HAVE to read?
 
2012-04-27 10:14:54 AM
I've read 4 of those. I really enjoyed Foucault's Pendulum. Don Quixote and Moby Dick were both for class.
 
2012-04-27 10:37:00 AM
I have read...4 of those. I highly recommend Focault's Pendulum and Don Quixote. Moby Dick wasn't bad either but star trek II kinda ruined it.
 
2012-04-27 10:39:24 AM

unlikely: I really enjoyed Foucault's Pendulum.


I think I've started that one 2 or 3 times, and for one reason or the other I never make any headway...

Don Quixote was pretty good. I read it when I was living in a hostel, had no job and plenty of time on my hands. I ended up giving the copy I had to a homeless guy, who used to hang out in front of the hostel, when I finally got a job and a place of my own. Three years later I'm walking by the hostel late at night, and the same homeless guy recognizes me and we have a long conversation about the book.

That memory alone makes it a great book, in my opinion.
 
2012-04-27 10:45:29 AM
Why would I read a huge book about a donkey named Ote?
 
2012-04-27 10:47:31 AM
im 1.2 of 14, and I will never improve on that number.
 
2012-04-27 10:47:57 AM

Teknowaffle: My head coach didn't want any sissies, so he read Ulysses to us.


Does your bunk mate have malaria?

/and the counselors hate the waiters
 
2012-04-27 10:50:24 AM
Some of the best books I have ever read have been insanely short.

Andre Gide's "The Immoralist", for example. Herman Hesse's "Demian". Jean Genet's "Funeral Rites".

//Most of those books are pretty good, though.
///James Joyce is wank, though. Read "The Dubliners". It's written in English.
////And David Foster Wallace is.....ugh.....he appeals to a specific sort of person. I am not that kind of person.
 
2012-04-27 10:51:16 AM
War & Peace is the only book I ever read that had a glossary list of all the characters in the book. Still couldn't keep track of them. Some 5 years later still haven't finished it.
 
2012-04-27 10:54:30 AM
fark that. Crime and Punishment is just the rough draft for the Bros Karamazov.
 
2012-04-27 10:54:45 AM

coco ebert: Why are these books for men again?

hubiestubert: Let's face it. Men are linear thinkers. We can plan, we can sit and wait, we can lay plans for our goals from multiple angles, but in the end, we tend to focus on goals with an intensity. Be that a job. Be that a gal. Be that a piece of property. Be that collecting. But we tend to obsess on those goals, and we can get lost in them. Melville illustrates that wonderfully, and tells a ripping yarn while doing so.

Kind of surprised to see you write that.

/linear-thinking gal


I'm going to ahead and echo this sentiment, exactly why are these books specifically men should read?

Read 3 of them. I love Eco but Foucault's Pendulum is nowhere near his best work. I love me some Baudolino.
 
2012-04-27 10:55:01 AM
No thanks I don't read books just because they are difficult to read and will impress my friends.
 
2012-04-27 10:56:33 AM
Read the Hobsbawm book (which is good but not great), the Hawking book, and Foucault's Pendulum. The Island of the Day Before and Baudolino were better. Have every intention of reading Proust next (been saying this for a number of years).

Just finished this:

images-eu.amazon.com

Lots of tasty tidbits inside, but has weak points. And crazy repetition. And a hard-on for the Poles.
 
2012-04-27 10:57:59 AM
For Proust I prefer Remembrance of Things Past . Proust's novel ostensibly tells of the irrevocability of time lost, the forfeiture of innocence through experience, the reinstallment of extra-temporal values of time regained, ultimately the novel is both optimistic and set within the context of a humane religious experience, re-stating as it does the concept of intemporality. In the first volume, Swann, the family friend visits...
 
2012-04-27 10:58:58 AM
I always judge people based on their opinions of Moby Dick. I love Moby Dick, and have since I was a small child. But if someone says they don't like it I always ask why. I can understand not liking it, and I can completely understand the reasoning behind why a person may not like the book, but when someone just says 'it's just a stupid book about a whale', or 'it was boring' I tend to judge them as complete morons.

Moby Dick is not about the whale. And it's far from a boring novel.

One thing I hate is the college edition that came bound with one of my textbooks back in the day. Beautiful cover, so I figured I would keep it for that because my edition, an old paperback thing, was falling apart. Then I opened the book and was shocked. Nearly every single word was annotated. They had put a notation beside the word harpoon> because some editor or publisher thought people were too stupid to know what a harpoon was!

Went back to using my old, in rather less than stellar condition edition. I can understand annotation in Shakespeare, and especially in Beowulf, but Moby Dick? Gah!

/PBS's American Experience actually has a fairly interesting documentary about the history of Nantucket whaling up on their website right now
//I had no idea that Moby Dick was based on a true story
 
2012-04-27 10:59:37 AM
I don't often get to brag on Fark, so here it goes...

I'm 14/14. But I'm also working toward a PhD in Cinema Studies and got my Masters in comparative lit.

Of those books, Infinite Jest is a must-read. It's up there with Gravity's Rainbow, House of Leaves, and Leaves of Grass as my favorites. Of course Moby Dick, War and Peace, and Don Quixote are atypical canon for book nerds and most people are at least familiar with the important aspects of the storylines even if they've never cracked a page. A Remembrance of Things Past and Ulysses are phenomenal works but I feel like they only really appeal to college students looking for a merit badge and wannabe writers who can admire the careful attention to prose and the experimental forms. 2666 was kind of underwhelming. I know Bolano put everything into it before he died and was banking on it being his M.O. but I actually preferred The Savage Detectives. Similar story, though I found Juan Garcia more loveable than any of the narrators or non-narrators in 2666 and the constant jumping around was less jarring. That's just like my opinion though, man.

Oh and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance wasn't that daunting at all. I'll take that over Discipline and Punish, or Derrida's lectures, or some other longwinded piece of theory any day.

Honestly they could have made a list of Pynchon's works alone, minus The Crying of Lot 49. That dude is a tough, but rewarding read.

Anyway, enough dick measuring for posterity. Rarely do I get the chance to boast in a Fark book thread. The moral is: read what you'd like, not what some list or some random dude on Fark (HI!) expects you to. I read most of those books because I was interested in them and some because I felt obligated. Reading because it was expected of me didn't make the experiences any more enjoyable. I'd rather re-read my Philip K. Dick books or some Poe and Dickinson than retread through most of the books on the list.

Happy reading Fark!
 
2012-04-27 11:00:09 AM
Replace Crime and Punishment with The Brothers Karamazov
Replace Don Quixote with The Count of Monte Cristo
Replace Little Dorrit with Gravity's Rainbow
and Replace Underworld with East of Eden
 
2012-04-27 11:02:47 AM
I'd replace Little Dorrit with Bleak House. Otherwise, decent list.
 
2012-04-27 11:03:14 AM
I've read 2/3 of Ulysses and I own A Brief History of Time.
 
2012-04-27 11:05:13 AM

mr_a: Total read: 5
Total enjoyed: 0


Did you (or anyone reading this thread) ever read Pillars of the Earth?

A bit off subject from the list of books but I recently tried reading Trainspotting and it was simply unreadable with the Scottish dialect used in the book. Stopped reading after about 60 pages.
 
2012-04-27 11:05:22 AM
There's a difference between "daunting" and "unreadable" or "unrewarding". Tolstoy, Dost, and Dickens were writing serialized stories meant to be digested one week after another over the course of a year or two; their time's equivalent of a television series. Joyce, like some other writers of his era, was more concerned with showing off how many obscure references he could make and how much violence he could do to sentence structure than to telling a good story. David Foster Wallace I'm not a fan of and I'll just live it at that.
 
2012-04-27 11:06:13 AM
I was hoping that Cormac McCarthy's The Road would be on there; the story of how to be a father in the most difficult of times.
 
2012-04-27 11:07:13 AM

mr_a: Total read: 5
Total enjoyed: 0


Well, I've only read three, but enjoyed them.
 
2012-04-27 11:08:27 AM

Sid_6.7: James Joyce is nigh unreadable.


My younger brother had to read Ulysses for a college course. His comment: "James Joyce was the world's first crack baby, wasn't he?"

/haven't read any of those
//"Proust in his book wrote about, wrote about...."
 
2012-04-27 11:08:40 AM
Ulysses?

Really?
 
2012-04-27 11:09:49 AM
i'm hardly a feminazi but are women just not meant to read at all, or just to focus on the jane austen works?
 
2012-04-27 11:11:12 AM
I've read:

Moby-Dick: damn fine book.
Brief History of Time: meh. Hawking doesn't do as good a job as Feynman or Weinberg.
Don Quixote: pretty good, actually.
War and Peace: another great book, if a little long
Foucault's Pendulum: hilarious meditation on conspiracy theories and the mutability of reality
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence: BOOOORING. Maybe groudbreaking in 1959, but in 1995, when I read it, it was very old-hat.
 
2012-04-27 11:12:07 AM

555-FILK: mr_a: Total read: 5
Total enjoyed: 0

Did you (or anyone reading this thread) ever read Pillars of the Earth?

A bit off subject from the list of books but I recently tried reading Trainspotting and it was simply unreadable with the Scottish dialect used in the book. Stopped reading after about 60 pages.


It's not that off topic, as it is a "daunting" read in a sense.

Reading Trainspotting was a lot like reading A Clockwork Orange. You have no idea what the fark you're reading at first, but then you begin to pick up on the language and it's easy as fark to read. I thought the accents and the slang in both books really worked, and they were far superior to their film counterparts, especially ACO, since Kubrick adapted the American version which lops off the last chapter and thus ruins the symbolism Burgess had going.

I actually missed the accent when I tried to read the sequel to Trainspotting, Porno.
 
2012-04-27 11:12:41 AM
I think the only thing David Foster Wallace wrote that I enjoyed was his suicide note.
 
2012-04-27 11:12:57 AM
I've read A Brief History of Time, Moby-Dick, Don Quixote, War and Peace, Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and Crime and Punishment. I loved Zen, but would recommend The Zen of Pooh in its place. I read Crime and Punishment in a few days because it actually made me feel like I had a fever the whole time I read it.
 
2012-04-27 11:13:16 AM

Seth'n'Spectrum: Read the Hobsbawm book (which is good but not great), the Hawking book, and Foucault's Pendulum. The Island of the Day Before and Baudolino were better. Have every intention of reading Proust next (been saying this for a number of years).

Just finished this:

[images-eu.amazon.com image 344x500]

Lots of tasty tidbits inside, but has weak points. And crazy repetition. And a hard-on for the Poles.


I liked it, though I'd disagree with you over his treatment of the Poles. It's important for someone thinking about history to realize the "losers" in the story had their own viewpoint, their own goals, their own culture, and their own accomplishments. Pointing that out, even though the "winners" would prefer you told their version of things by pretending the defeated never existed, is hardly showing favoritism.
 
2012-04-27 11:14:04 AM
Crime and Punishment, definitely a must-read.

TLDR Wall of Text to follow:

"The only difference is that I don't contend that extraordinary people are always bound to commit breaches of morals, as you call it. In fact, I doubt whether such an argument could be published. I simply hinted that an 'extraordinary' man has the right ... that is not an official right, but an inner right to decide in his own conscience to overstep ... certain obstacles, and only in case it is essential for the practical fulfilment of his idea (sometimes, perhaps, of benefit to the whole of humanity). You say that my article isn't definite; I am ready to make it as clear as I can. Perhaps I am right in thinking you want me to; very well. I maintain that if the discoveries of Kepler and Newton could not have been made known except by sacrificing the lives of one, a dozen, a hundred, or more men, Newton would have had the right, would indeed have been in duty bound ... to eliminate the dozen or the hundred men for the sake of making his discoveries known to the whole of humanity. But it does not follow from that that Newton had a right to murder people right and left and to steal every day in the market. Then, I remember, I maintain in my article that all ... well, legislators and leaders of men, such as Lycurgus, Solon, Mahomet, Napoleon, and so on, were all without exception criminals, from the very fact that, making a new law they transgressed the ancient one, handed down from their ancestors and held sacred by the people, and they did not stop short at bloodshed either, if that bloodshed-often of innocent persons fighting bravely in defence of ancient law-were of use to their cause. It's remarkable, in fact, that the majority, indeed, of these benefactors and leaders of humanity were guilty of terrible carnage. In short, I maintain that all great men or even men a little out of the common, that is to say capable of giving some new word, must from their very nature be criminals-more or less, of course.
 
2012-04-27 11:14:08 AM

proteus_b: i'm hardly a feminazi but are women just not meant to read at all, or just to focus on the jane austen works?


Who knows, I can't say I'm a huge Austen fan. I prefer Charlotte Bronte. All I know is that I apparently fail as a woman AND a Canadian because I hate, hate, hate, HATE, Margaret Atwood.
 
2012-04-27 11:14:20 AM

Because People in power are Stupid: Gravity's Rainbow


I tried, several times. Couldn't hack it. I did read "V" and enjoyed it, but not GR.
 
2012-04-27 11:14:58 AM

Heron: There's a difference between "daunting" and "unreadable" or "unrewarding". Tolstoy, Dost, and Dickens were writing serialized stories meant to be digested one week after another over the course of a year or two; their time's equivalent of a television series. Joyce, like some other writers of his era, was more concerned with showing off how many obscure references he could make and how much violence he could do to sentence structure than to telling a good story. David Foster Wallace I'm not a fan of and I'll just liveleave it at that.


bah.
FTFM
 
2012-04-27 11:15:46 AM
I read Ulysses along with 3 other books that explained all the references and stuff. It took me 3 1/2 months. I loved every minute of it.

I don't recommend reading it on its own. You have to have the companion books. Otherwise you miss a shiatload of awesomeness.
 
2012-04-27 11:17:12 AM
I also thought 'An Eternal Golden Braid' deserves more recognition, but it's kind of metaphysical in a way that isn't accessible for some. I could read EGB but I couldn't make heads or tails of 'Unbearable Lightness of Being'.
 
2012-04-27 11:18:20 AM
1

I read A brief history of time.
 
2012-04-27 11:18:52 AM

Confabulat: I'm not sure how I did that.


You probably were led into it by a sinister conspiracy.
 
2012-04-27 11:19:06 AM
Also, I'm kind of disappointed to see no love for William Gaddis's "The Recognitions," or Michael Chabon's "The Amazing Adventures of Kavlier and Clay."

I'd recommend those long novels over Delillo or The Age of Extremes.

/opinions are like the nose nose. Never closed, always blow.
 
2012-04-27 11:19:06 AM
I've tried reading Crime and Punishment, I really have. But every time, I get about 25-30 pages in and just feel my enthusiasm deflating. The only others I've read on the list are Brief History of Time and War and Peace. The former I read because I'm a physics geek and felt obligated, the latter was simply for the cliche value of actually having read War and Peace, though honestly I found myself drawn into it moreso than a lot of other things I have read, but themes of determinism/predestination have always been interesting to me.
 
2012-04-27 11:20:07 AM

Heron: Joyce, like some other writers of his era, was more concerned with showing off how many obscure references he could make and how much violence he could do to sentence structure than to telling a good story.


Eh... That's a bit harsh, I think. There's were a lot of writers and artists doing a lot of experimentation with form at the time. Some more successfully than others, of course.

As far as Irish writers, I always preferred Flann O'Brien over Joyce. He was a journalist and was a little more concise and structured than Joyce even when he ventured into Absurdism. I also think he had a more developed sense of comedy than Joyce had.
 
2012-04-27 11:20:39 AM
If there was a book I'd have to add to the list, it would be Lolita, despite how cliched that might be.
 
2012-04-27 11:20:47 AM
http://cdn.audiobooksonline.com/media/ss_size1/Louis-L%27Amour-The-Sac ketts-Book-17-Treasure-Mountain-unabridged-compact-discs-Random-House- Audio.jpg
 
2012-04-27 11:21:41 AM
How is Moby Dick a tough read? The challenge of the book isn't in it's reading. On the surface, it's a bit of a page turner with good characters and plotting. The beauty of that farking book is that every god damned time you read it, you can walk away with a different interpretation. That's not "daunting". It's awesome. I read that book once a year, every year. It teaches me every year a little bit more about who I am, and where I'm at.

Pretty dumb list. Yes, Proust and Joyce are difficult reads that are also rewarding (Hmm. Perhaps not Proust. His work doesn't seem to hold up to me. Joyce, however, is great when read aloud over drinks.). Hawking? Hmm. If you have no science background, perhaps, but it's worth the investment. Tolstoy can be tough, I guess.

The rest? Zen and the Art is a book any knucklehead can read. It's best read when you're 17, with a headfull of drugs and trying to decide who the fark you are. Things like this book (as well as beat poets) seem deep and meaningful until you get older and such. Four I haven't read.

Point is, saying Moby Dick is daunting is like saying Catch-22 or Huck Finn is daunting. They aren't. It's just that their meaning reflects the human condition so well, you can spend a lifetime appreciating them on a deeper and deeper level as you get older.
 
2012-04-27 11:21:45 AM
I tried to read Infinite Jest, but couldn't get into it. That book annoyed the shiat out of me.
 
2012-04-27 11:22:17 AM
These days, I read mostly for pleasure.

I've read a few of those.

They were not pleasurable.
 
2012-04-27 11:22:27 AM
Trust me when I say that Moby Dick is not a book you need to read. If you're going to read old books, read useful old books like Plutarch's Lives, or Montaigne's Essays.
 
2012-04-27 11:22:47 AM
A Brief History of Time is a hard book?

/Wanabe physics nerd.
/only have read 3 on the list
 
2012-04-27 11:23:03 AM

keylock71: Heron: Joyce, like some other writers of his era, was more concerned with showing off how many obscure references he could make and how much violence he could do to sentence structure than to telling a good story.

Eh... That's a bit harsh, I think. There's were a lot of writers and artists doing a lot of experimentation with form at the time. Some more successfully than others, of course.

As far as Irish writers, I always preferred Flann O'Brien over Joyce. He was a journalist and was a little more concise and structured than Joyce even when he ventured into Absurdism. I also think he had a more developed sense of comedy than Joyce had.


I've made a rule to be suspicious of people who claim to understand or are amused by Finnegan's Wake.
 
2012-04-27 11:23:25 AM
Gravity's Rainbow
The Magus
 
2012-04-27 11:24:18 AM

Because People in power are Stupid: [ecx.images-amazon.com image 300x300]

[ecx.images-amazon.com image 300x300]


Yea.
 
2012-04-27 11:25:36 AM

proteus_b: i'm hardly a feminazi but are women just not meant to read at all, or just to focus on the jane austen works?


Heh- I've read 4 of the 14. Does that make me 28.57% male?

Anyway, the rest of you should read War and Peace if you can. It's a good book- this Tolstoy guy isn't half bad.
 
2012-04-27 11:26:09 AM
Oh, another one: I, Claudius.
 
2012-04-27 11:27:11 AM
List fails without Three Kingdoms (aka Romance of the Three Kingdoms)

Link

The most read book in Asia is available in most languages globally. A good read, and some translations are enjoyable. I like the 1991 Roberts translation.
 
2012-04-27 11:27:38 AM
Three for me:
1) Moby Dick
2) A Brief History of Time
3) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Moby Dick is a great read. We read about two-thirds of it in high school,skipping many of the chapters which were not so literary but more about the whale hunting industry. I re-read it again twenty years later and the book meant much more to me. In fact, those chapters we skipped were vital to the story. Not only did they give insight into what America was about in the early 1800s, but the actual tedium of life at sea (and the associated time available for brooding about The Whale) came through.

Hawking is fine. Good way to introduce deep physics. Pirsig is also fine. Read it in college. Was unimpressed. Read it after my oldest kids were teenagers. Made more sense.

Great books give you more each time you read them.
 
2012-04-27 11:27:44 AM
A Pilgrim's Progress, so that you give up reading forever?
 
2012-04-27 11:28:41 AM

Janky_McGank: keylock71: Heron: Joyce, like some other writers of his era, was more concerned with showing off how many obscure references he could make and how much violence he could do to sentence structure than to telling a good story.

Eh... That's a bit harsh, I think. There's were a lot of writers and artists doing a lot of experimentation with form at the time. Some more successfully than others, of course.

As far as Irish writers, I always preferred Flann O'Brien over Joyce. He was a journalist and was a little more concise and structured than Joyce even when he ventured into Absurdism. I also think he had a more developed sense of comedy than Joyce had.

I've made a rule to be suspicious of people who claim to understand or are amused by Finnegan's Wake.


Took me months to get through it, and I'll be damned if I know what it was about... There were points where I found myself asking "Why am I even bothering to plod through this?".

If there's a deeper meaning to it, it went right over my head. Not ashamed to admit that.

The Dubliners contains some of Joyce's best work, in my opinion.
 
2012-04-27 11:28:58 AM

Heron: I liked it, though I'd disagree with you over his treatment of the Poles. It's important for someone thinking about history to realize the "losers" in the story had their own viewpoint, their own goals, their own culture, and their own accomplishments. Pointing that out, even though the "winners" would prefer you told their version of things by pretending the defeated never existed, is hardly showing favoritism.


I absolutely agree with you on your general point. My point about Davies showing favoritism has more to do with the fact that the Poles get far more attention than any other "loser" nation.

I've skimmed through bits of his other book, Vanishing Kingdoms, and that does seem to address my complaint quite well. I plan to go through it in detail soon.

Davies also wrote an entire book about Poland in particular, which is probably why he focuses on it so much in Europe. After all, you play to your strengths, right?
 
2012-04-27 11:29:08 AM

proteus_b: i'm hardly a feminazi but are women just not meant to read at all, or just to focus on the jane austen works?


Well to be fair, I'm not sure that Jane Austen really counts as reading...

Girlfriend tried to get me to read Pride and Prejudice, and I...ugh, got about 20 chapters (or pages) in and just couldn't do it anymore. I told her if she got me Pride and Prejudice and Zombies I might give it another go; she said the only reason she would ever buy that book would be to throw it at my head.
 
2012-04-27 11:29:53 AM

ModernLuddite: James Joyce is wank, though. Read "The Dubliners". It's written in English.


Dubliners is great...beautifully written, but accessible to mere human beings. It's frustrating the way Joyce's writing went after that (to me...I'm sure literary critics disagree).
 
2012-04-27 11:31:23 AM
And as a last comment before I go to sleep, I has a sad that there are so many David Foster Wallace haters here. Why is that? Do people think he's hipster? Personally I find his work to be touching in that "aw shucks," kind of way, not to mention insanely funny. One of my favorite lines of all time comes from the first page of IJ when Hal says, "I am in here," despite being dumb as a result of a fungus/nervous breakdown/self-choice/mystery. Every section with Steeply and Marathe on the Mesa is sheer brilliance. There is so much awesome in that book.

The fact that Orin is a hyper-muscled punter who is scrawny on the right side of his body and superhuman on the left in a future NFL where there are pyrotechnics and players descend from the rafters. The Quebecois wheelchair assassins who shove the broom handle down that guy's throat - and the one brave soul who watches James Incandenza's film. Troeltsch who talks into a fake microphone to prepare for a career as a tennis announcer. The fact that the top tennis recruit who will eventually make it to the show is named John Wayne. So many small details of that book are hilarious.

It also happens to be a really accurate portrayal of depression and drug use, as far as I'm concerned. You really get a sense of authenticity throughout the book despite all of the off-the-wall creation that DFW does.

I also love his non-fiction work. A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again is a brilliant travel essay. Consider the Lobster is unexpectedly touching and makes you really empathize with the meat we consume. I haven't read The Pale King yet but I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy that one as well.

So tell me farkers, why the hate for DFW? He's one of my favorites, and a big influence on my authorship pipe dream.
 
2012-04-27 11:31:56 AM
1. Moby Dick -- surprisingly enjoyable. The tangents and discourses on whales are pretty cool. Plus "pockets full of sperm; sperm everywhere, etc." is unintentionally hilarious.

2. A brief history of time: world's most overrated science book. Go read Sagan or Gleick or that "elegant universe" guy instead.

3. Don Quixote: there's a recent translation that's quite good.

4. Foucault's Pendulum: read it several times when it came out. It's not as good as Name of the Rose, but it's a HELL of a lot better than it's numerous Templar conspiracy imitators

5. Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: read this 25 years ago or so. I can't remember jack all about this book -- makes me think its "importance" is somewhat overrated.

6. Ulysses -- if you can make it past the first section (Stephen Daedelus's point of view), your home free. It's not as hard to read as everyone says, and it does get brilliant. The last couple sections (the part written in question and answer form & Molly's soliloquy) are fantastic.

Plus, hey: Marilyn Monroe read it too: 28.media.tumblr.com

7. Infinite Jest -- tried reading this, gave up pretty quickly. I think it's more a problem of the format than anything else. 2000 pages in hardcover is a lot to schlep around on the subway. Plus, having 2 bookmarks (for the text & for the voluminous endnotes) was a PITA. If any book cries out to be read on a Kindle, this is it. Maybe one day I'll try again, but I find DFW trying.
 
2012-04-27 11:32:03 AM

Weigard: I think the only thing David Foster Wallace wrote that I enjoyed was his suicide note.


You know, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery....

Just sayin
 
2012-04-27 11:33:07 AM

Rhypskallion: List fails without Three Kingdoms (aka Romance of the Three Kingdoms)

Link

The most read book in Asia is available in most languages globally. A good read, and some translations are enjoyable. I like the 1991 Roberts translation.


Three Kingdoms is too idealistic for me Water Margin I think would be a better inclusion. As they say 少不读水浒, 老不读三国
 
2012-04-27 11:33:55 AM

Rhypskallion: List fails without Three Kingdoms (aka Romance of the Three Kingdoms)

Link

The most read book in Asia is available in most languages globally. A good read, and some translations are enjoyable. I like the 1991 Roberts translation.


Came to say this and The Art of War and Blood Meridian.
ROT3K is like La Morte D'Artur, the Civil War, and a Chinese history book rolled into one. The older translations are better IMO since you get a lot of words that aren't really in circulation anymore.

I've read about 4 on the list. All mostly enjoyable. I've got Ulysses, the Russian novels, and maybe 1 or 2 more on my iPad to read some day. Maybe.
 
2012-04-27 11:34:07 AM

BohemianGraham: especially ACO, since Kubrick adapted the American version which lops off the last chapter and thus ruins the symbolism Burgess had going.


I thought it was the other way. The american version added that abismal ending, something about the publisher thinking that american audiences were not smart enough to enjoy a book without a happy ending. That book was worse for the happy ending.

not sure which version is which now
 
2012-04-27 11:35:14 AM
Moby Dick was the most boring and difficult book I ever tried to plow through. gave it up.

I am reading The Corrections right now and really liking it. CSB.
 
2012-04-27 11:36:32 AM
2/14 for me.
Don Quioxte was quite enjoyable. Picked it up as a challenge and enjoyed myself which was surprising.
Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintence - Philosophy 101 class freshman year. I think I fell asleep trying to read the assigned chapters more than I did in my 8am chem class.

My other challenge books were The Tale of Genji (bleh) and A Journey to the West 4 volume set (enjoyable but really repetitive).
 
2012-04-27 11:37:18 AM

Janky_McGank: I also thought 'An Eternal Golden Braid' deserves more recognition, but it's kind of metaphysical in a way that isn't accessible for some...


+1

/Loaned that to a friend a couple of years ago. Thanks for reminding me to get it back.
 
2012-04-27 11:38:01 AM

StrangeQ: I've tried reading Crime and Punishment, I really have. But every time, I get about 25-30 pages in and just feel my enthusiasm deflating


that happened to me too. probably started it 4-5 times, failed at the 30ish page mark. Finally cracked it on a cold winter's day when i was stuck inside with nothing else to do. its actually quite good if you can make it far enough in to get hooked
 
2012-04-27 11:38:26 AM
0.tqn.com
 
2012-04-27 11:39:56 AM

hubiestubert: Look at Starship Troopers as a for instance. That is a book that I would include on a "must read" list, because it's not a book about fighting bugs in space, so much as musings on the nature of citizenship, on the nature of conflict, loyalty, and how screwed up things can be in the military and in conflicts. And it's often misinterpreted, willfully so with Verhoeven's film who wanted to parody the book instead of actually making a film that respected it. Verhoeven didn't get it wrong, he willfully twisted it, because he hated it so, and to be fair, RAH, if he'd been alive, would have chopped him to kindling for what he did to the book.

What's sad, is that the CGI cartoon series got a lot closer to the heart of the book than the movie ever did, and that's kind of sad.

But then again, look at the folks who keep shoving down their interpretations of the Bible, and ignoring all the charity, compassion, and forgiveness portions of the show...


I loved the book Starship Troopers. When I read it, I came away thinking, "This is how a man is turned into a soldier." The futuristic setting seemed a lot less important than the transformation of a man into a soldier. Even the nature of citizenship was secondary, to me.

hubiestubert: Foccault's Pendulum is essentially a thriller, albeit dense and with lots of odd occult bits. You really have to love conspiracy theory to get into it, but if you do, it's a joy.


Fouccault disappointed me. I agree with you 100% that the book is essentially a thriller, and the thriller plot was pretty so-so. The metaphysical stuff, the elements of the book that hinted at deeper meaning, those were just a tease. They were dropped for a rather pedestrian thriller, and I ended up feeling cheated.
 
2012-04-27 11:40:27 AM

Saiga410: BohemianGraham: especially ACO, since Kubrick adapted the American version which lops off the last chapter and thus ruins the symbolism Burgess had going.

I thought it was the other way. The american version added that abismal ending, something about the publisher thinking that american audiences were not smart enough to enjoy a book without a happy ending. That book was worse for the happy ending.

not sure which version is which now


Just checked I am wrong. The american publisher thought that the american audience would not like the happy ending.

/prototypical american
 
2012-04-27 11:42:41 AM

hasty ambush: ooops


Okay, that wall of jpgs was completely unnecessary, plus there were some WTF choices as well. Next time, just list the titles, with Amazon links if you must.
 
2012-04-27 11:46:26 AM
I've read:

Don Quixote - Surprisingly quite enjoyable.

War and Peace - Despite too much peace and not enough war, it was overall a good read. The essay at the end was a slog, though.

Night Night Cream Puff: My other challenge books were The Tale of Genji (bleh)


I actually really enjoyed Tale of Genji, but that's because I read a book with a thoroughly detailed collection of footnotes explaining the Japanese time period, history, culture, and poetry. Without those fascinating notes, it would've been a chore to read.
 
2012-04-27 11:50:32 AM

BohemianGraham: 555-FILK: mr_a: Total read: 5
Total enjoyed: 0

Did you (or anyone reading this thread) ever read Pillars of the Earth?

A bit off subject from the list of books but I recently tried reading Trainspotting and it was simply unreadable with the Scottish dialect used in the book. Stopped reading after about 60 pages.

It's not that off topic, as it is a "daunting" read in a sense.

Reading Trainspotting was a lot like reading A Clockwork Orange. You have no idea what the fark you're reading at first, but then you begin to pick up on the language and it's easy as fark to read. I thought the accents and the slang in both books really worked, and they were far superior to their film counterparts, especially ACO, since Kubrick adapted the American version which lops off the last chapter and thus ruins the symbolism Burgess had going.

I actually missed the accent when I tried to read the sequel to Trainspotting, Porno.


I enjoy reading a lot but I just coudln't get past the difficulty I was having with Trainspotting. I just heard it was really good book and movie and I had just finished Requiem for a Dream. That book hit me in a way like no other book ever has. I want to see the movie but it sounds more "brutal" than the book and from some of the stuff I saw on You Tube the book doesn't seem as harsh as the movie. Not sure I can stomach the movie but love the characters in the book and how I rooted for them to kick their habits. I never connected with those characters than I did in RFAD. There was no happy ending and their hopes and dreams failed them all. Very sad and I think it's more non-fiction than it's meant to be.

One book I read at a rather bad time in my life after my divorce was Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Excellent book, IMO, and makes what I was going through pail in comparission to what Frankl went through in a concentration camp during WWII. Actually helped me get through that rough patch with a more optomistic approach rather than self-destruct.

On a lighter note I recently read Shiat My Dad Says by Justin Halpern. Quick and easy read and farking hilarious. Read it if you have a really healthy sense of humor--you'd enjoy it. I was in tears a few times from laughter.
 
2012-04-27 11:50:41 AM
Well I've read It and listened to Under the Dome, both over 1000 pages. Does that count?

I might read Don Quixote but I will more likely watch Man of LeMancha.

Since people are recommending things, here's mine:

Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon series (Park Ranger who is a female John McClane )

James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series (You can feel the humidity and the weight of life pressing down on Dave as you read/listen to them)

CJ Box's Joe Pickett series (Wyoming game warden who can't shoot but loves his wife and kids)

John Sandford's Prey series (Lucas Davenport, cop who doesn't need to be a cop. Drives a Porsche, deals with the sick puppies of Minnesota)

John Sandford's Virgil Flowers series (Spin off of Prey series but different enough to be completely separate)

Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody Emerson series (Hilarious with good mystery and homages to Haggard (Emerson) and Doyle (Ramses) romance too for the women)

Okay so I'm stuck on mystery/thrillers. I'm not into navel gazing even though there is enough in the Burke, Box, and Sandford. I listen to most of them as I have a one hour commute each way every day.

As a suggestion though if you read a Burke or Sandford Prey novel, make the next one a Barr or Peters. The first two can weigh on the psyche and the latter two are a nice lift, except for Barr's Winter Study, that's kinda dark.
 
2012-04-27 11:51:44 AM

Embden.Meyerhof: I was hoping that Cormac McCarthy's The Road would be on there; the story of how to be a father in the most difficult of times.


Hop on Pop by T. Geisel is better.
 
2012-04-27 11:52:29 AM
Read quite a bit Foucault's Pendulum. I've never seen bigger lists published in a book. That list of pictures in this thread is pretty close to it though.
 
2012-04-27 11:56:12 AM
Moby Dick - Read it when I was in 6th grade for some dopey reason, probably should reread since I know I completely missed the point.
Crime and Punishment - Damn fine book. Couldn't put it down!
War and Peace - Oy. I can say I read it, at least. That's about it.
 
2012-04-27 11:57:52 AM
"A Brief History of Time" is the only book on the list that is anything other than style points for artsy types.
 
2012-04-27 11:57:53 AM
Meh... I would drop most of the books from that list. I'd keep dostoevsky, tolstoy, joyce, proust, melville and cervantes. although, if I absolutely had to read only one dostoevsky, I'd make it brothers karamozov... (although, the idiot is his greatest)... and I wonder of anna karanina might actually be a better work of art than war and peace... not as cool of a title though.

I like some of the other books (i love some of them), I just don't think they're part of some canon or part of a must read to understand western art, or hard to read.

(I count the russians as western enough -- at least artistically, they were more a part of the dialogue with europe than with asia -- even their orientalism was geared towards european tastes)

/ probably should add some Hugo... since this list is very novel-centric, he was one of the best... after dostoevsky of course, who is the greatest novelist of all time (you can say and I will admit there are better writers... but for the novel, he pretty much nailed what the medium could do)
// i might add a 20th century american, either fitzgerald or hemingway or that other guy... not that they're difficult or even comparable, but they were pretty influential on american literature in their own ways.
/// and I would probably add a different 19th century brit.
 
2012-04-27 11:59:06 AM

tlchwi02: StrangeQ: I've tried reading Crime and Punishment, I really have. But every time, I get about 25-30 pages in and just feel my enthusiasm deflating

that happened to me too. probably started it 4-5 times, failed at the 30ish page mark. Finally cracked it on a cold winter's day when i was stuck inside with nothing else to do. its actually quite good if you can make it far enough in to get hooked


That's the impression I get. I just need to get over that hump. One of these days...
 
2012-04-27 11:59:24 AM
came for mentions of gravity's rainbow

/leaving satisfied
 
2012-04-27 12:00:47 PM

Carth: Replace Crime and Punishment with The Brothers Karamazov
Replace Don Quixote with The Count of Monte Cristo
Replace Little Dorrit with Gravity's Rainbow
and Replace Underworld with East of Eden


I second the Count of Monte Cristo. Fantastic story of revenge.
 
2012-04-27 12:00:54 PM

adamgreeney: I love Joyce, plowed through Eco, adored Melville and muddled through the Hawking despite understanding very little of it. A lot of this list is stuff you read through in high school or college. Right?


This is more like a list of what Wrestling fans consider high falutin' literature.
 
2012-04-27 12:01:40 PM
The only one of those I've read was Don Quixote, and that was in French. The only one intend to read is Hawking's.
 
2012-04-27 12:04:23 PM

Janky_McGank: keylock71: Heron: Joyce, like some other writers of his era, was more concerned with showing off how many obscure references he could make and how much violence he could do to sentence structure than to telling a good story.

Eh... That's a bit harsh, I think. There's were a lot of writers and artists doing a lot of experimentation with form at the time. Some more successfully than others, of course.

As far as Irish writers, I always preferred Flann O'Brien over Joyce. He was a journalist and was a little more concise and structured than Joyce even when he ventured into Absurdism. I also think he had a more developed sense of comedy than Joyce had.

I've made a rule to be suspicious of people who claim to understand or are amused by Finnegan's Wake.


It is a telltale sign that they did not understand. I read it with a group of grad students, we each brought a speciality to the table. A few classics grad students (for all the greek and latin), someone who loved irish crap, and me, the local old english/germanic languages guy. you need to know at least half a dozen languages to even grasp a fraction of his meaning. then, that only gets you in the door, then you have to realize all of his wildly esoteric references, to catch the cut of his jib. finally, you need to be able to read it fast enough, with all of this esoteria on the surface of your mind, to catch onto his structure

/ that book was joyce's joke on the world. it was never meant to be taken seriously or understood.
// you would have to be an 80 year classics professor before I would even think about believing you when you said you got finnegan's wake -- and then i'd question whether you deserve your phd, because you're probably a liar.
 
2012-04-27 12:05:38 PM

Embden.Meyerhof: I was hoping that Cormac McCarthy's The Road would be on there; the story of how to be a father in the most difficult of times.


Just finished it. Horror and beauty in one novel.
 
2012-04-27 12:09:00 PM
Now I just want to make fatty porn where Ahab obsesses with "spearing" the White Whale.
 
2012-04-27 12:09:09 PM

I know it may be cliche, or geeky, or predictable, or whatever... but that doesn't change the fact that it was a pivotal milestone in my early literary adventures. This...

2.bp.blogspot.com


... taught me the meaning of the word "epic."
 
2012-04-27 12:09:34 PM
War and Peace would be 2/3 the size if old Russian writers used pronouns.
 
2012-04-27 12:09:37 PM

keylock71: unlikely: I really enjoyed Foucault's Pendulum.

I think I've started that one 2 or 3 times, and for one reason or the other I never make any headway...

Don Quixote was pretty good. I read it when I was living in a hostel, had no job and plenty of time on my hands. I ended up giving the copy I had to a homeless guy, who used to hang out in front of the hostel, when I finally got a job and a place of my own. Three years later I'm walking by the hostel late at night, and the same homeless guy recognizes me and we have a long conversation about the book.

That memory alone makes it a great book, in my opinion.


That truly is a CSB :)
 
2012-04-27 12:10:10 PM
I tried reading Moby Dick about ten years ago, but I was totally unprepared for it to be as metaphysical as it was, and I gave up when it turned from an adventure story to the narrator's internally-focused musings (or, at least that's how I remember it).

But, one of my resolutions this year is reading Moby Dick. To prepare myself, I read "The Loss of the Ship Essex, Sunk by a Whale" which includes several first- and second-hand accounts of the story on which Moby Dick was based. It is really incredible (and gross -- cannibalism amongst the crew survivors).
 
2012-04-27 12:10:32 PM
That seems to be mostly a list of diversions. There's nothing essential, or particularly useful there. For instance, I would replace Moby Dick with The Wretched of the Earth, if you are interested in madness.
Granted, the list is daunting. But manly?
 
2012-04-27 12:10:37 PM

Elvis_Bogart: I liked "How Boots fooled the King."


i216.photobucket.com
 
2012-04-27 12:10:38 PM
I wouldn't call A Brief History of Time "daunting." It's written for the layman and is pretty entertaining.
 
2012-04-27 12:11:02 PM
I was a teenager when I read Zen. I remember enjoying it and thinking it seemed important. Not sure if I really got it though, Read Moby Dick a couple of years ago.

I have had Grapes of Wrath and Seven Pillars of Wisdom waiting on the shelf for years, will get around to them one day.
 
2012-04-27 12:12:17 PM
I'm a used book scavenger / dealer and the only frequently profitable one on this list was Infinite Jest. I rarely come across current editions of most of these titles, although Foucault's Pendulum is out of demand in any edition.

I just looked over at my personal shelves and thought "What do I have that's both daunting and so worthwhile I haven't sold my own copy" and realized there's no such thing. Maybe De Re Metallica, or Wolfram's books.

Sigh, I need to put pants on and head on out to scavenge books across the region.
 
2012-04-27 12:14:09 PM
I'm still working my way through the Penguins of Madagascar series, so it'll be a while before I get around to Joyce.
 
2012-04-27 12:15:13 PM
I don't think I got any good parenting lessons from The Road. We're all kind of on that road already, just without all the ash.
 
2012-04-27 12:16:00 PM
I've read eight of those titles. Don Quixote is by far my favorite among them.

Dickens is god awful and his work, along with Hardy, Austen and anyone named Bronte should be collected on to a rocket and hurled toward the sun.

Gravity's Rainbow has been anchoring the bottom of the stack of books I'm meaning to get to since 1996. At least it makes a solid base.
 
2012-04-27 12:16:30 PM
Bah, I hated Ulysses. What a bunch of self-aggrandizing CRAP. The whole thing smacks of "look how brilliant I am putting that bit there and this bit here".

I would take a clearly written book over literary masturbation any day of the week and would recommend "Every Man" do likewise.

/not trolling, I promise.
 
2012-04-27 12:16:54 PM

keylock71: Read 7 of them...

The only one that bored me to tears was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

I would also say that as far as Joyce goes, Finnegan's Wake if far more daunting than Ulysses.

I would say Moby Dick is my favorite book on that list.

Every year they have a week long reading of the book at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The wife and I have participated a couple of times. It's actually a lot of fun.


I agree, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was terrible. I don't know why it gets so much attention.
 
2012-04-27 12:19:22 PM
I've read just over one and a half of those. Read Moby Dick all the way through and half of Don Quixote, and one chapter of Crime and Punishment. I was pretty young when I read Moby Dick and even younger when I tried reading Don Quixote. That's probably why I got bored with it. Tried reading Crime and Punishment but found I was pretty burnt out on Russian fiction after taking two Russian history classes in college. I've been toying with the idea of reading Ulysses. Maybe this will inspire me to give it a go.
 
2012-04-27 12:19:41 PM
I've only read one of those: Crime and Punishment (twice).

/English major
 
2012-04-27 12:20:15 PM

hubiestubert: Pocket Ninja: I'm not disputing that Moby Dick teaches a good lesson, or that it's well written, or that people should read it, or anything else. I'm saying that it demonstrates an astonishing lack of of understanding basic thematic concepts to decide that a list of "things you should do" centered around "great literature" would be subtitled with a phrase that speaks very specifically to a fool's errand.

It's often misinterpreted. Or rather, folks project an interpretation that they want to force, because it suits them at the time, and usually projected to people who haven't taken the time to actually read the damn thing.

Look at Starship Troopers as a for instance. That is a book that I would include on a "must read" list, because it's not a book about fighting bugs in space, so much as musings on the nature of citizenship, on the nature of conflict, loyalty, and how screwed up things can be in the military and in conflicts. And it's often misinterpreted, willfully so with Verhoeven's film who wanted to parody the book instead of actually making a film that respected it. Verhoeven didn't get it wrong, he willfully twisted it, because he hated it so, and to be fair, RAH, if he'd been alive, would have chopped him to kindling for what he did to the book.

...

But then again, look at the folks who keep shoving down their interpretations of the Bible, and ignoring all the charity, compassion, and forgiveness portions of the show...


THIS.

I think the same thing about the heavy political writings, such as Marx, Rand, Mill, et al; That people miss some of the important aspects, highlight the ancillary ones, and deliberately misrepresent the other side. Those books, like religious texts, are probably best taken as a whole- for example, I didn't take Marx or Rand or Mises seriously until I read different sides and had a better understanding/contextual appreciation of the central discussion. I have only been able to appreciate the Bible because I've also read the Tao and the Koran.

My opinion, ymmv.
 
2012-04-27 12:23:25 PM

karmaceutical: I don't think I got any good parenting lessons from The Road. We're all kind of on that road already, just without all the ash.


Wow, you just blew my mind!
 
2012-04-27 12:26:31 PM
Have read front to back:

Moby Dick
A Brief History of Time
Little Dorritt (thanks to the Alec Guinness / Derek Jacobi TV version)
War & Peace
Crime & Punishment

Got through about 20 pages of Ulysses and gave up. Have been reading Proust's In Search of Lost Time in bits and pieces for over 20 years. Infinite Jest is in my pile of books to still read, as is a book that should have been on there, Gravity's Rainbow.

This should have been on there, I only finished it out of spite:
photo.goodreads.com
 
2012-04-27 12:26:33 PM
Read Moby Dick and Crime and Punishment, started but never finished Don Quixote and A Brief History of Time. I haven't even heard of 4 of those books.

/liked Moby Dick
//greatly preferred Dostoyevsky's The Idiot over Crime and Punishment
 
2012-04-27 12:26:53 PM
Since people are recommending daunting books, let me suggest The Silmarillion. Now that's an epic.
 
2012-04-27 12:27:28 PM
Speaking of McCarthy, the last book I read was 'Blood Meridian'. That book is too horrifying to describe without a death metal soundtrack. Good, though. It probably ties with 'The Road' as his best work.
 
2012-04-27 12:27:50 PM
Proust is wroth it, even if Remembrance of Things past is very long, it's well worth it even with the shifting around in time, shifting of characters it's always easy to follow and even if it is seemingly unending actually reads well without much you find yourself thinking of as filler or dull, which if you think about it is quite the achievement.
 
2012-04-27 12:28:58 PM

Henry Holland: I only finished it out of spite:


Not long after that was released a woman wrote to Mann "I was not bored by your book and with every page I read I was stunned I was not bored".
 
2012-04-27 12:29:06 PM

Embden.Meyerhof: I was hoping that Cormac McCarthy's The Road would be on there; the story of how to be a father in the most difficult of times.


I read his Border Crossing trilogy about fifteen years ago and that cured me of ever wanting to read anything by Cormac McCarthy ever again.
 
2012-04-27 12:29:16 PM
As odd as it may sound, I would never actually recommend my favorite book as I realize it is very possibly full of itself, but I loved House of Leaves.
 
2012-04-27 12:29:21 PM

Type40: I have had Grapes of Wrath...


Excellent book... Good call.

Still one of my favorites and still an amazingly relevant book.

This is from Cannery Road, but it's a continual theme in Steinbeck's work:

"It has always seemed strange to me... the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second." - John Steinbeck
 
2012-04-27 12:30:01 PM
Jeez... Cannery Row, even.
 
2012-04-27 12:30:08 PM

stevetherobot: Since people are recommending daunting books, let me suggest The Silmarillion. Now that's an epic.


Townes Van Zandt wrote a song about it.
Orchestral country music and high fantasy is weirdly appropriate in this case.
 
2012-04-27 12:30:13 PM

WhyteRaven74: Proust is wroth it, even if Remembrance of Things past is very long, it's well worth it even with the shifting around in time, shifting of characters it's always easy to follow and even if it is seemingly unending actually reads well without much you find yourself thinking of as filler or dull, which if you think about it is quite the achievement.


i163.photobucket.com
 
2012-04-27 12:30:15 PM

Embden.Meyerhof: I was hoping that Cormac McCarthy's The Road would be on there; the story of how to be a father in the most difficult of times.


I do not know if I learned anything about being a father but when I finished reading each night I had to check in on my 1 year old boy just to whisper that I loved him.
 
2012-04-27 12:31:13 PM
Read: 4
Started and never finished: 3

Don Quixote is brilliant. For a ~400 year old book it is surprisingly funny. Best of the list IMHO.
Foccault's Pendulum should come w/ a tin foil hat due to conspiracy overload but I found it an entertaining read.
Moby Dick is a great and a well-deserving classic
Crime and Punishment is a slog to get through but is another great read.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Could never get through it. Pretentious pseudo-philosophy.
Ulysses. Mind-numbingly boring gave up after the first hundred pages
War and Peace. I was actually intrigued by the story, but wasn't persistent enough to push on. Put the book aside for too long and then never got around to pick it up again.
 
2012-04-27 12:31:24 PM

Dear Jerk: There's nothing essential, or particularly useful there.


Don Quixote is generally considered rather essential. And plenty of people will make a case for Remembrance of Things Past as one of the best novels of not just its time but of all time.
 
2012-04-27 12:31:37 PM
I've read Foucault's Pendulum, it wasn't actually that hard to read, and I went through it pretty speedily, same with The Name of the Rose.

Neil Stephenson's work since Cryptonomicon have been in the 1000+ page range ever since, It can be daunting, especially The Baroque Cycle, but they are all still very, very readable.

upload.wikimedia.orgupload.wikimedia.orgupload.wikimedia.orgupload.wikimedia.orgupload.wikimedia.orgupload.wikimedia.org

/still need to get around to finishing The System of the World and to start on Reamde. Also, The Mongoliad when it comes out.
 
2012-04-27 12:32:45 PM

k4mi: I agree, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was terrible. I don't know why it gets so much attention.


As I said, it was mind-blowing in 1974. It's not 1974 any more.
 
2012-04-27 12:34:56 PM
only one I've read was "Zen and the art..." I really dug it. Made notes in the pages.

tried reading "A Brief History of Time." and bored the crap out of me.

555-FILK: A bit off subject from the list of books but I recently tried reading Trainspotting and it was simply unreadable with the Scottish dialect used in the book. Stopped reading after about 60 pages.


I read trainspotting (and a bunch of other Irvine Welsh) in college with me mates(sic). We ended up speaking Glaswegian for a period of 6 months, despite living in Baltimore and all being born in the States.
 
2012-04-27 12:36:18 PM
So, women aren't allowed to read them?
 
2012-04-27 12:36:30 PM
upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-04-27 12:37:34 PM
Oh as for a book to add to the list, Bocaccio's Decameron. Which has the benefits of being ten people telling ten short stories each over the course of ten days, so it's easy to read in small chunks and then there's the sex. Oh yes, there are a few stories that you find yourself stunned don't start with "Dear Penthouse, I never thought it would happen to me..." until you remember Penthouse Letters didn't exist back then.

And if you want non-fiction, since today is the author's birthday, Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Yes it's long, yes it's ungodly dense in parts, yes Gibbon does beg a few questions and it's not history done the way we're used to it, but it reads like an awesomely written novel and it is never, ever, boring. And the footnotes at times are more entertaining than most history books.
 
2012-04-27 12:37:42 PM

ClintonKun: It can be daunting, especially The Baroque Cycle, but they are all still very, very readable.


If you like just-so-stories with Marty Stus on every page with Stephenson's personal crank-yanking, then sure. Cryptonimicon was fine, the System of the World blew goats, and Anathem was an exercise in Socratic leading-question whatthefarkery. I haven't read REAMDE, I'm done with Stephenson.
 
2012-04-27 12:37:59 PM
They wouldn't qualify as a top ten books everyone should read, but I've been working my way through these two the last week or so and enjoying them greatly:

Cathedral - Raymond Carver

The Moviegoer - Walker Percy
 
2012-04-27 12:39:54 PM
batting .357.

started ulysses with the self-agreement that i wouldn't fixate on understanding every little thing. took six months to read one day. enjoyed it thoroughly and still think about it a lot.

others were eco, delillo, pirsig and hawking.

want to read don quixote and have started it a couple times, but failed. never heard of 2666 but it sounds great.

saw it mentioned up thread, the magus is my favorite book. 600 pages of non-stop trolling.
 
2012-04-27 12:40:18 PM

ZiegZeon: As odd as it may sound, I would never actually recommend my favorite book as I realize it is very possibly full of itself, but I loved House of Leaves.


I got that as a wedding present; completely un-explained, and un-hyped. Loved the crap out of it.
 
2012-04-27 12:40:21 PM
A daunting read:

upload.wikimedia.org

/because it's horrible
 
2012-04-27 12:40:33 PM

reverend maynard: War & Peace is the only book I ever read that had a glossary list of all the characters in the book. Still couldn't keep track of them. Some 5 years later still haven't finished it.


Then stay far away from The Red Wheel.

proteus_b: i'm hardly a feminazi but are women just not meant to read at all, or just to focus on the jane austen works?


You're right, no one has ever put together a list of must-read books for women.
 
2012-04-27 12:43:18 PM
Oh and as a bonus, you can get the Decameron for free online, legally. Project Gutenberg has two different translations available, and there's other sources as well. And Gutenberg also has Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
 
2012-04-27 12:46:04 PM
Everytime I start Moby Dick, I just end up putting the book down and watching The Wrath of Khan instead.
/prefers non-fiction books
 
2012-04-27 12:46:43 PM

keylock71:
The Moviegoer - Walker Percy


Heh - I'm currently sitting two blocks from the theatre where he wrote some of the first draft. Good book, glad it hasn't been forgotten.

graphics8.nytimes.com

That's him in the middle with his leg outstretched.
 
2012-04-27 12:47:01 PM
Why is the novelization of Caddyshack not on this list?
 
2012-04-27 12:48:37 PM

likefunbutnot: I've read eight of those titles. Don Quixote is by far my favorite among them.

Dickens is god awful and his work, along with Hardy, Austen and anyone named Bronte should be collected on to a rocket and hurled toward the sun.

Gravity's Rainbow has been anchoring the bottom of the stack of books I'm meaning to get to since 1996. At least it makes a solid base.


While I tend toward agreement THOMAS HARDY IS AWESOME. I had been warned and warned about how terrible he was, then somehow ended up reading "Jude the Obscure". That book is farking amazing. I really, really encourage everyone to read that one novel.

//In the introduction, Hardy argues that he is "not a pessimist".
///LOL.
 
2012-04-27 12:48:56 PM
ecx.images-amazon.com

www.unlimitedmagazine.com
 
2012-04-27 12:49:00 PM
All joking aside, Moby Dick is a wonderful read. It has a fart joke within the first 10 pages, I mean, come on.
 
2012-04-27 12:49:56 PM

washington: All joking aside, Moby Dick is a wonderful read. It has a fart joke within the first 10 pages, I mean, come on.


"Catcher in the Rye" beats that by four pages.

/damn near blew the roof off
 
2012-04-27 12:50:35 PM

keylock71: They wouldn't qualify as a top ten books everyone should read, but I've been working my way through these two the last week or so and enjoying them greatly:

Cathedral - Raymond Carver

The Moviegoer - Walker Percy


walker percy is fantastic. the moviegoer and love in the ruins both are excellent. the gf calls me binx due to my tendency to wander the streets and watch the world go by.
 
2012-04-27 12:51:13 PM

amindtat: /because it's horrible


Good God, was it ever. Such a shiatty, shiatty book.
 
2012-04-27 12:53:23 PM

theorellior: amindtat: /because it's horrible

Good God, was it ever. Such a shiatty, shiatty book.


Agreed. I'm almost embarrassed that I read it.
 
2012-04-27 12:55:04 PM

ZiegZeon: Now I just want to make fatty porn where Ahab obsesses with "spearing" the White Whale.


To the last, I will grapple with thee. For hates sake I blow my last load at thee.

too funny
 
2012-04-27 12:56:22 PM

ModernLuddite: THOMAS HARDY IS AWESOME


He is. As for Dickens the thing to keep in mind is, his novels weren't for the most part written as single books, they were serialized, appearing a chapter or two at a time month after month in a magazine. And Dickens wrote each installment on the fly. And he wasn't the only one either, a lot of 19th century novels actually appeared first in the same format and their authors also just wrote it on the fly without an outline or even coherent idea of where they were going next.
 
2012-04-27 12:58:10 PM

luyseyal: Bah, I hated Ulysses. What a bunch of self-aggrandizing CRAP. The whole thing smacks of "look how brilliant I am putting that bit there and this bit here".

I would take a clearly written book over literary masturbation any day of the week and would recommend "Every Man" do likewise.

/not trolling, I promise.


As a Creative Writing major, I feel that the only literature worth reading is the kind that shows off an authors brilliance. I want to feel the pages stick together from their massive deposits inspired by their own work. If you can't appreciate that, go back to your Dan Brown and James Patterson.

Oh, and did you want that coffee with room for cream?
 
2012-04-27 12:59:05 PM
ecx.images-amazon.com
 
2012-04-27 12:59:31 PM

amindtat: A daunting read:

[upload.wikimedia.org image 222x350]

/because it's horrible


But it made a great Broadway show.
 
2012-04-27 01:00:23 PM
I read Foccault's Pendulum when it first came out. I remember loving the book until the ending and the ending was hugely disappointing. Don't remember anything else about it though. I may have to give it a re-read.
 
2012-04-27 01:02:22 PM
OK Farkers, what is the best version of Don Quixote to read?
 
2012-04-27 01:06:19 PM
www.corfus.com

cd.pbsstatic.com

img2.imagesbn.com
 
2012-04-27 01:07:42 PM

OldManDownDRoad: Heh - I'm currently sitting two blocks from the theatre where he wrote some of the first draft. Good book, glad it hasn't been forgotten.


My wife bought The Moviegoer for me... I'm ashamed to say I had never heard of him before that. Thoroughly enjoying the read, though. Can't wait to read more by him!

johnny queso: walker percy is fantastic. the moviegoer and love in the ruins both are excellent. the gf calls me binx due to my tendency to wander the streets and watch the world go by.


Heh... One of the reasons my wife got it for me. She said, "You'll like it. The main character wanders around aimlessly like you do."
 
2012-04-27 01:10:55 PM

ModernLuddite: likefunbutnot: I've read eight of those titles. Don Quixote is by far my favorite among them.

Dickens is god awful and his work, along with Hardy, Austen and anyone named Bronte should be collected on to a rocket and hurled toward the sun.

Gravity's Rainbow has been anchoring the bottom of the stack of books I'm meaning to get to since 1996. At least it makes a solid base.

While I tend toward agreement THOMAS HARDY IS AWESOME. I had been warned and warned about how terrible he was, then somehow ended up reading "Jude the Obscure". That book is farking amazing. I really, really encourage everyone to read that one novel.

//In the introduction, Hardy argues that he is "not a pessimist".
///LOL.


Hardy is grossly under rated.

Then again, I really like George Elliot. That was a woman after my own heart though...
 
2012-04-27 01:11:46 PM

Xythero: Agreed. I'm almost embarrassed that I read it.


I was facepalming with the descriptions of Turtlehead the Winkie and the talking animals/Jews and the armless Witch of the East and the totalitarian Wizard but I just lost my shiat with the orgy involving a tiger, a dwarf and a clockwork automaton.

I finished it just because I wanted to be able to appreciate it's complete and total horribleness.
 
2012-04-27 01:11:55 PM

under a mountain: OK Farkers, what is the best version of Don Quixote to read?


Edith Grossman's
 
2012-04-27 01:12:08 PM
Not really a book, but something I wish more people read. It's tough, requires a lot of thought, and is usually eclipsed by lesser works written by the same man:

Letter from the Birmingham Jail

Seeing the recommendations above for Thomas Paine and James Madison gave me the warm fuzzies, thinking that there are a few people left in this country who have read the essential works.

/or maybe it's Friday and I just feel good
 
2012-04-27 01:13:09 PM

adamgreeney: As a Creative Writing major, I feel that the only literature worth reading is the kind that shows off an authors brilliance. I want to feel the pages stick together from their massive deposits inspired by their own work. If you can't appreciate that, go back to your Dan Brown and James Patterson.

Oh, and did you want that coffee with room for cream?


Heh... Did you ever see Adventureland?

One of the characters tells a girl he's on a date with after she asks him what he studied in college:

"Russian literature and Slavic languages, which qualifies me for a job as a cabbie, hot dog vendor, or marijuana delivery guy."

I was a Communications Major so I'm in no position to ridicule Creative Writing Majors... (I did go back and get a degree in Graphic Design when I was in my 30s, though).
 
2012-04-27 01:13:10 PM

hasty ambush: ooops


Jesus, check out this douchebag.
 
2012-04-27 01:16:48 PM

under a mountain: OK Farkers, what is the best version of Don Quixote to read?


I liked the latest translation by Edith Grossman, but I'm no Cervantes scholar.
 
2012-04-27 01:17:25 PM
Worst booka I ever read other than the first 400 pp of Twilight (I was really drunk mmkay, I didn't finish the book because I ran out of rum) were:


Candy by Terry Southern - I honestly couldn't get into it
Each Man's Son by Hugh MacLennan - Fark him. I farking hated that book. I fail as a Canadian and a Bluenoser, since I don't support local hacks
The Robber Bride and The Handmaid's Tale both by Margaret Atwood - yes, as I pointed out before, I fail as a woman and as a Canadian
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory - The stupid bint thinks her poorly written harlequin romance wannabe trashy novel is actual historical fact. Fark her. I'm especially upset about her writings since I'm a history dork (BA and all), and it's piss poor research. She's also too farking obsessed with incest in all of her books apparently.
Beloved and Sula by Toni Morrison - I hated the characters, and felt that some crassness really took away from the plots
 
2012-04-27 01:17:39 PM

under a mountain: OK Farkers, what is the best version of Don Quixote to read?


The George Guidell audiobook. Seriously. It's freaking amazing.
 
2012-04-27 01:20:43 PM

keylock71:
I was a Communications Major so I'm in no position to ridicule Creative Writing Majors... (I did go back and get a degree in Graphic Design when I was in my 30s, though).


I was a double major in English/History. When I realized that would be slow starvation, I shifted in my senior year to Journalism. That department at my uni is now "Communications" since journalism jobs started drying up about 15 years into my career, and includes PR and electronic media - including design.

Taught myself web development. I assume those jobs will start drying up soon, but hopefully not before I can retire. Or win the lottery.

Anyway, the so-called liberal arts curricula at least teach you how to read, process, think, and arrive at new knowledge. Whether that's learning new skills or proving in a Fark thread on books that not all Farkers are sub-liberate morons blaming everything on Rethuglicans or Muslim Socialists, rational thinking is a skill worth every hour spent at the library.

/or so I keep telling myself
 
2012-04-27 01:27:47 PM
I really enjoyed 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'.

Caveat - read it as a mopey teen, which is really prime time for pseudo-philosophy. For me, at the time, the revelation that the function of a device was fundamentally to increase my happiness, as opposed to whatever narrowly defined task it was designed for, was a big deal.

My first answering machine, for example - it enraged me when I tried to use it to actually record messages, but it filled me with joy when I properly used it as a device to be thrown out the window as a warning to all of the other appliances. I know that is trite - but honestly the idea of making my own happiness a goal went a long way towards becoming something other than a bystander in my own life.

So the book was good for that, at least. Possibly redundant for anyone with an emotional age greater than 14, but I certainly couldn't say.

Oh - and I'd add the Heaney translation of 'Beowulf' with John Gardner's 'Grendel' as a companion piece.
 
2012-04-27 01:29:06 PM
I have read three from the list. All the heavy reading I had to do in college ruined me for anything over 3 or 4 pages now.
 
2012-04-27 01:29:12 PM

Saiga410: Saiga410: BohemianGraham: especially ACO, since Kubrick adapted the American version which lops off the last chapter and thus ruins the symbolism Burgess had going.

I thought it was the other way. The american version added that abismal ending, something about the publisher thinking that american audiences were not smart enough to enjoy a book without a happy ending. That book was worse for the happy ending.

not sure which version is which now

Just checked I am wrong. The american publisher thought that the american audience would not like the happy ending.

/prototypical american


I'm Canadian so I got the British ending. It's pretty bad, much like the epilogue of Deathly Hallows, but at the same time, Burgess had the whole age of consent symbolism going on with that, and the film kinda farked it up. It's a form of censorship to have even cut out the last chapter for US release IMHO.

555-FILK: BohemianGraham: 555-FILK: mr_a: Total read: 5
Total enjoyed: 0

Did you (or anyone reading this thread) ever read Pillars of the Earth?

A bit off subject from the list of books but I recently tried reading Trainspotting and it was simply unreadable with the Scottish dialect used in the book. Stopped reading after about 60 pages.

It's not that off topic, as it is a "daunting" read in a sense.

Reading Trainspotting was a lot like reading A Clockwork Orange. You have no idea what the fark you're reading at first, but then you begin to pick up on the language and it's easy as fark to read. I thought the accents and the slang in both books really worked, and they were far superior to their film counterparts, especially ACO, since Kubrick adapted the American version which lops off the last chapter and thus ruins the symbolism Burgess had going.

I actually missed the accent when I tried to read the sequel to Trainspotting, Porno.

I enjoy reading a lot but I just coudln't get past the difficulty I was having with Trainspotting. I just heard it was really good book and movie and I had just finished Requiem for a Dream. That book hit me in a way like no other book ever has. I want to see the movie but it sounds more "brutal" than the book and from some of the stuff I saw on You Tube the book doesn't seem as harsh as the movie. Not sure I can stomach the movie but love the characters in the book and how I rooted for them to kick their habits. I never connected with those characters than I did in RFAD. There was no happy ending and their hopes and dreams failed them all. Very sad and I think it's more non-fiction than it's meant to be.

One book I read at a rather bad time in my life after my divorce was Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Excellent book, IMO, and makes what I was going through pail in comparission to what Frankl went through in a concentration camp during WWII. Actually helped me get through that rough patch with a more optomistic app ...


I'm also a huge reader, and Trainspotting really interested me, because I had just recently watched the film (I was also 16 or so), and since I was able to slough through ACO (read the book before I watched the film actually, grabbed the book off the school library shelf because I knew it was a Kubrick film. I'm a horrible person, as most of my personal library came from my high school, and they never missed the books because no one had checked any of them out since the 1980s, and we still had paper and pencil checkouts, no electronic shiat), I didn't mind Trainspotting at all and actually found it a bit easier to read. Of course, I was apparently one of the few teens in the world who actually likeas Great Expectations, and read it for fun. Ditto for The Great Gatsby. My parents gave me Edgar Allan Poe to read at the tender age of 6, and my mother made me read Roots at age 11, and then we sat down and had an adult discussion about it.
 
2012-04-27 01:30:00 PM
I forgot that I checked out Infinite Jest. I should read that but it's probably expired by now. However, I don't care about specific books. Just read some farking books other than Twilight and you're good with me.

ModernLuddite: While I tend toward agreement THOMAS HARDY IS AWESOME. I had been warned and warned about how terrible he was, then somehow ended up reading "Jude the Obscure". That book is farking amazing. I really, really encourage everyone to read that one novel.


Someone else likes Thomas Hardy? I am besides myself. I love Jude the Obscure and everyone else hates it.
 
2012-04-27 01:32:17 PM
From this list I have read Zen, Infinite Jest and Underworld. All three of them made me want to vomit in my sock drawer. What, no Tom Robbins fark-fests for extra literary brownie points?

/"literary" rarely means "good"
 
2012-04-27 01:32:22 PM

keylock71: OldManDownDRoad: Heh - I'm currently sitting two blocks from the theatre where he wrote some of the first draft. Good book, glad it hasn't been forgotten.

My wife bought The Moviegoer for me... I'm ashamed to say I had never heard of him before that. Thoroughly enjoying the read, though. Can't wait to read more by him!

johnny queso: walker percy is fantastic. the moviegoer and love in the ruins both are excellent. the gf calls me binx due to my tendency to wander the streets and watch the world go by.

Heh... One of the reasons my wife got it for me. She said, "You'll like it. The main character wanders around aimlessly like you do."


Nice. :)
 
2012-04-27 01:32:32 PM

hasty ambush: [ecx.images-amazon.com image 300x300]


i834.photobucket.com
 
2012-04-27 01:36:30 PM
I've read Hawkings book. Liked it. Most of the rest i would never read, only because i dont bother with fiction books. I think if my bookcase at home has more than 5 fiction titles, its a lot.
 
2012-04-27 01:38:59 PM

BohemianGraham: 555-FILK: mr_a: Total read: 5
Total enjoyed: 0

Did you (or anyone reading this thread) ever read Pillars of the Earth?

A bit off subject from the list of books but I recently tried reading Trainspotting and it was simply unreadable with the Scottish dialect used in the book. Stopped reading after about 60 pages.

It's not that off topic, as it is a "daunting" read in a sense.

Reading Trainspotting was a lot like reading A Clockwork Orange. You have no idea what the fark you're reading at first, but then you begin to pick up on the language and it's easy as fark to read. I thought the accents and the slang in both books really worked, and they were far superior to their film counterparts, especially ACO, since Kubrick adapted the American version which lops off the last chapter and thus ruins the symbolism Burgess had going.

I actually missed the accent when I tried to read the sequel to Trainspotting, Porno.


If I didn't read finish Trainspotting would be okay to read Porno? Also along that genre did you ever read Last Exit to Brooklyn?

This is a great thread but didn't hear much about The Count of Monte Cristo. I'll keep reading because I'm sure someone mentioned it. Once I finish "Pillars" I'm going to read In Cold Blood and then The Count of Monte Cristo.

proteus_b: i'm hardly a feminazi but are women just not meant to read at all, or just to focus on the jane austen works?


I'm not a feminazi myself but I just don't think women read as much as men and I mean books, not Cosmo, Glamour or People, etc. I hang out at the local library a lot and see far more men reading and looking for books than women. Women are usually looking for DVDs to borrow. This is just what I observe.

I was held back in second grade because I was small for my age and picked on, yada, yada, yada and hated school with a passion! Paniced at the site of the building, the teachers were nice and knew I struggled with reading but I mostly hated the kids for making school hell for me for a those few years. I couldn't read so my parents had me repeat the third grade. I simply didn't apply myself but knew I had it in me learn. Hated my parents at the time for doing it but as I got older I understood why they did it and now I thank them for doing so.

I real a lot of books and magazines from time to time and am the only one in my family who actually reads books cover to cover. They're actually quite amazed at how much I do read. Really started reading more and more once I hit my 30s. I'd much rather read a book than watch some crappy show peppered through evening television. That's not to say I don't like to watch cooking and home and garden shows or older re-runs of Law & Order-type shows.

+1 for Subby for a great thread. I love book threads.
 
2012-04-27 01:40:31 PM

Braindeath: I forgot that I checked out Infinite Jest. I should read that but it's probably expired by now. However, I don't care about specific books. Just read some farking books other than Twilight and you're good with me.

ModernLuddite: While I tend toward agreement THOMAS HARDY IS AWESOME. I had been warned and warned about how terrible he was, then somehow ended up reading "Jude the Obscure". That book is farking amazing. I really, really encourage everyone to read that one novel.

Someone else likes Thomas Hardy? I am besides myself. I love Jude the Obscure and everyone else hates it.


Another Thomas Hardy fan here, albeit a casual one.

I've been meaning to read Jude the Obscure as well as Far from the Maddening Crowd, I loved the film. I've personally enjoyed The Woodlanders (first Hardy I ever read when I was about 15) and Tess of the d'Urbervilles.
 
2012-04-27 01:52:07 PM

OldManDownDRoad: keylock71:
I was a Communications Major so I'm in no position to ridicule Creative Writing Majors... (I did go back and get a degree in Graphic Design when I was in my 30s, though).

I was a double major in English/History. When I realized that would be slow starvation, I shifted in my senior year to Journalism. That department at my uni is now "Communications" since journalism jobs started drying up about 15 years into my career, and includes PR and electronic media - including design.

Taught myself web development. I assume those jobs will start drying up soon, but hopefully not before I can retire. Or win the lottery.

Anyway, the so-called liberal arts curricula at least teach you how to read, process, think, and arrive at new knowledge. Whether that's learning new skills or proving in a Fark thread on books that not all Farkers are sub-liberate morons blaming everything on Rethuglicans or Muslim Socialists, rational thinking is a skill worth every hour spent at the library.

/or so I keep telling myself


My original intent was to go into Radio... I quickly found out I would be better off going into commercial fishing (Which I also did for a while, as well as Chef, Bouncer, Laborer and Sign Fabricator).

I was working as a Travel Agent when I got laid off in 2003. So, I did the reasonable thing and went to Art School... : )

Honestly, money was never much of a motivator for me. I never had it growing up, so it's not like I'm missing out on anything, and I love what I do now (Senior Designer at an advertising agency and also do a lot of freelance work).

If I had it to do again, I wouldn't change a thing.
 
2012-04-27 01:52:25 PM
I've read none. I'm not too big on Fiction. Though I'll always love "Where the Red Fern Grows'

We Die Alone, The Long Walk, and the Journeys Out of the Body trilogy by Robert Monroe are some of my faves.

Yea, I'm not too sophisticated.
 
2012-04-27 01:53:05 PM
Huh, Fark likes Thomas Hardy, eh?

I've always thought he was melodramatic. Then again, he's at the tailend of the Victorians, so everything is poetry about dead chicks and starving children.

The end of Jude the Obscure always struck me as unrealistic.

SPOILER

His twelve-year-old son and daughter hang themselves, their reason being to relieve the stress and burden of cost against their parents, and Jude's wife leaves him for another man. Really? How do children of that age conceive of suicide? Are children really so adept that they perceive that their deaths would alleviate their parents' suffering?

After Hardy wrote Jude he received so many letters decrying how depressing the book was that he stopped writing novels altogether and solely worked on poetry. I'm not surprised, that book is a gauntlet. It's not like Tess is any better either. Dat rape scene...
 
2012-04-27 01:55:48 PM

keylock71: If I had it to do again, I wouldn't change a thing.


Actually, that's a lie... I would have tried harder to bang my high school crush, Meagan Farley.
 
2012-04-27 01:59:05 PM
There is nothing "pseudo" or "pop" about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and it is not philosophy.

It is one thing, not to understand. It is quite another to disparage from ignorance.
 
2012-04-27 02:04:27 PM

BohemianGraham: I didn't mind Trainspotting at all and actually found it a bit easier to read


Someday I'm sure I'll pick up Trainspotting again. It seemed like a good book and just like with Requiem for a Dream, Selby's writting was quite unconventional from what I'm used to reading but once I got past the first 50 pages I got the hang of his style of writing and slang.

and they never missed the books because no one had checked any of them out since the 1980s, and we still had paper and pencil checkouts, no electronic shiat),

I was in high school in the mid-80s and we the cards with the old-school stamp that was used to date books for when they were due back.

We actually had to use the Dewey Decimal System/Card Catalog system throughout school and my family had A-Z of the Encyclopedia Britannica at home in the glass shelves. Yes, the glass shelves to keep them free from dust and to keep the leather bindings in fine condition for generations to come. My mom donated them to Goodwill after I graduated high school when the folks redcorated the family room and got rid of the glass shelves. Lolz :)
 
2012-04-27 02:06:55 PM

Springy23: Really? How do children of that age conceive of suicide? Are children really so adept that they perceive that their deaths would alleviate their parents' suffering?


LOLWUT? I'm thinking you don't know many 12 year olds.

Just food for thought, according to many Christian sects, age 12 is when you are fully capable of accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and become culpable for any sins you may commit.
 
2012-04-27 02:08:47 PM

God Is My Co-Pirate: keylock71: I would also say that as far as Joyce goes, Finnegan's Wake if far more daunting than Ulysses.

I've read Finnegans Wake and enjoyed it, despite having to write many, many essays on it, but In the Name of the Rose broke me. I tried so hard.


Hmmm, all I recall of FW was that it was several hundred pages of this.
(excerpted and hot)

What clashes here of wills gen wonts, oystrygods gaggin fishy-
gods! Brékkek Kékkek Kékkek Kékkek! Kóax Kóax Kóax! Ualu
Ualu Ualu! Quaouauh! Where the Baddelaries partisans are still
out to mathmaster Malachus Micgranes and the Verdons cata-
pelting the camibalistics out of the Whoyteboyce of Hoodie
Head. Assiegates and boomeringstroms. Sod's brood, be me fear!
Sanglorians, save! Arms apeal with larms, appalling. Killykill-
killy: a toll, a toll. What chance cuddleys, what cashels aired
and ventilated! What bidimetoloves sinduced by what tegotetab-
solvers! What true feeling for their's hayair with what strawng
voice of false jiccup! O here here how hoth sprowled met the
duskt the father of fornicationists but, (O my shining stars and
body!) how hath fanespanned most high heaven the skysign of
soft advertisement! But was iz? Iseut? Ere were sewers?
 
2012-04-27 02:09:37 PM
Not on the lis, but should be: House of Leaves
farm1.staticflickr.com
 
2012-04-27 02:12:37 PM

DeaH: I loved the book Starship Troopers. When I read it, I came away thinking, "This is how a man is turned into a soldier." The futuristic setting seemed a lot less important than the transformation of a man into a soldier. Even the nature of citizenship was secondary, to me.


Cyberpunk by Bruce Bethke was much the same. I view them both as transition from boyhood into manhood though. They're about learning and growth.

Just finished Hunger Games(all 3). I kept thinking it'd be a similar tale, but found it was too similar to twilight's vapid every-woman thing only they made it masculine enough that it did it for both the sexes. Saving grace was a meta-story / action that made you stick with it instead of giving up in a fury.

Before that it was Wheel of Time(all books). Robert Jordan was one of the worst authors I've ever read. Repetition, over and over, redundantly so, reviews of what the unchanging characters felt, usually about the other characters. Hunger Games had a little of that going on, it only saved itself by being so short. Gave this set up in disgust the first time I tried to tackle it, as it was also aggravatingly slow. Once you get a feel for it, you learn to scan through the more than useless filler. Where Cyberpunk and Starship Troopers got growth right, A Clockwork Orange got it wrong(an almost instant switch in the famous cut off chapter) as did Wheel of Time in that it almost never happens to any characters, except the one's with a magical fate, and then it takes extreme environments. Perpetual childhood, for the whole planet. Sure, maybe there's a meta-message in there, a reflection on society, whatever. Hunger games, we get a mongoloid ignorant main character who's stunted.

_________________

As to the listed books. If daunting means boring, then yeah. Old tales for an old generation where thinking outside the box wasn't allowed really. I'm not all that big on finding a meaning within, I prefer the in your face confrontation with ideals and what X really means, but that doesn't mean it has to be blunt or glaringly obvious. Almost too careful avoidance of a real theme just makes me think of artsy try-hards. A million dollar white canvas piece of art, and it's subsequent celebration as brilliance and talent...

Same for convoluted stories where one can dig up and read into the work any type of meaning or parallel they want, is also annoying. Still akin to the blank canvas...

I find much of that reading, irrelevant. The tales carry morals that suit a different age, concepts that sound silly today, or meaningless "I wish i had a better life" such as Jane Austen's tragedy turned fantasy. (Although Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was mildly entertaining.) Dickens can be good, even shakespear, but IMO, they make better movies/plays. Mel Gibson's Macbeth was great, Romeo & J modernized but only visually was entertaining(yes, even with young Leo, but he dies, so maybe that's why I liked it). Great Expectations modernized was also a great tale, Dinero was awesome. Reading these were about as entertaining as digging a ditch.

Maybe you enjoy it, that's fine, as long as you don't get pretentious about it. I read what grabs me, immerses me, and entertains me. Sometimes I've got to sort through some real garbage, either within a book, or within a genre, to find something I like, or atleast find some redeeming quality.

I'm not going to choke down caviar so much that I become acclimated to it's foulness, just to fit someone elses idea of what I "should" like. I simply won't eat it.

I very much like C. S. Friedman's books. A pulp series called Deathlands(post apocalyptic group of adventurers, cheap stuff I know, but it fills a craving). Cyberpunk - William Gibson has some good ones, Heinlen of course(but some are too out there, or too silly, but there are several gems). Foundation(a set that spans centuries), Diamond Age, The Belgarion set(Started with the last book first by chance, Belgariad which also covered vast amounts of time). Hmm....more fantasy, Forgotten Realms - RA Salvatore and the like(goes back to where my reading started).

Right now, I'm jumping the gap, again, and reading the novels for the Halo(videogame) universe. The beginning of which, are like Cyberpunk and Starship Troopers with the training of spartans(a couple of books do this), and deals with their missions along the way, and spin a neat sci-fi universe as it goes on. They're writing books 100,000 years ago in the same line(about forerunners), as well as finally continuing the saga after Halo 3 and the last book written years ago(the first is out i believe).

I liked the story for that game, but the books do it so much more justice.
 
2012-04-27 02:16:04 PM
I like to thread bomb!

Anyway, since this is a literary thread, could anyone recommend some new novels for me if I love Jim butchers Dresden, and moderately like the Anita Blake series (laurell k Hamilton). I like the supernatural, the detective, the 'going up against odds which should kill me and surviving by will power and grit and intelligence and planning' aspects. I hate the endless sex scenes and romantic plots of hamiltons novels, they're just boring.

I've tried Kim Harrison, but her writing is honestly just too g rated for me. Pellet guns, no swearing, etc. just strikes me as overtly child friendly, to the point of being sanitized.

As to topic at hand, of the books I've tried on that list, I didn't enjoy them. Ergo I didn't read them. I read for enjoyment of the story, and have no real interest in the agendas of the author. For comparison, I don't read king because I don't enjoy his novels either. No matter how grossly popular they are.
 
2012-04-27 02:27:34 PM
Hey, speaking of books....

Go to librivox.org and you can browse for and download free audio books which are in the public domain. Then you can have books read to you while you drive, if you have figured out how to interface your MP3 player to your car stereo. It's a great way to catch up on old classics, since it does not contain recently published - copyrighted - materials.

I'm a fan, not an affiliate. The only downside is that all reading is done by volunteers. Some are highly competent and a delight to the ears while others are apparently practicing English.

I am now learning about the history of ancient Egypt from books by Gaston Maspero. I recently enjoyed several works about ancient Greece. Thucydides' Peloponnesian War" really ought to be on a 100 books to read type of list, and not because of anything in it specific to Greece. The bulk of works available from librivox are of fiction, however.

/my two cents
 
2012-04-27 02:31:42 PM
Excuse me:
upload.wikimedia.org

Or, for something more accessible:
www.thomaspynchon.com
/hot images
 
2012-04-27 02:39:00 PM
Read most of them, and find "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" to be, in the words of Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels, "Total shiate."
 
2012-04-27 02:42:28 PM
"Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds", Charles Mackay, 1841

Written 170 years ago. In a nutshell, it documented how stupid people are. Things have not improved.

Wiki-wack-pedia

Being as old as it is, free versions are readily available. If you can't read the whole thing, read the sections on "bubbles" and think about recent history.
 
2012-04-27 02:46:31 PM

kroonermanblack: Anyway, since this is a literary thread, could anyone recommend some new novels for me if I love Jim butchers Dresden, and moderately like the Anita Blake series (laurell k Hamilton). I like the supernatural, the detective, the 'going up against odds which should kill me and surviving by will power and grit and intelligence and planning' aspects. I hate the endless sex scenes and romantic plots of hamiltons novels, they're just boring.


You may like the Night Watch series by Lukyanenko. It's very, very Russian.
 
2012-04-27 02:46:53 PM
I tried to read A Brief History of Time and gave up after the first page or so when he managed to get Kant wrong. I mean, it's understandable, but kind of kills his credibility. And yes, I have read the Critique of Pure Reason - Kant needed an editor. The earlier version, A Treatise on Human Nature, was better. Hilariously wrong, but at least it was whimsically and hilariously wrong in the telling, rather than a phone book.

Foucault's Pendulum was nice, and I really enjoyed the notion that all of that ancient mystery mumbo-jumbo was just good, old-fashioned dumbfarkery. Rather like In the Name of the Rose, people in it for the story are bound to be disappointed.

I'd add the Gulag Archipelago to this list.
 
2012-04-27 02:46:56 PM
I 2nd/3rd/4th Dostoyevsky's 'Brothers Karamazov' - definitely in the top 3 of my greatest novels list; (not that Crime, Idiot, Underground are crap, I just like Brothers better).

The first time I read Tolstoy's 'War and Peace', I read it over one extended weekend (about 300 pages a day iirc). I put it away for 10 years, then read it again at a more leisurely pace - about 10 days. I think it's brilliant. If I had to make a recommendation, try to read it at a faster than normal pace - I do better keeping track of the gamillion characters. (Simarillion comes to mind.)

I tend to read at 3 different speeds: it may seem counter-intuitive, but quite fast when I'm trying to mem data - may require multiple passes but I retain more if I keep the pace up, (my brain gets 'tired' the longer I go, so cram it in quick), medium when I'm reading for enjoyment, and medium for 20pgs/set the book down for three days, because I don't want to know who the damned author is going to kill/torture/maim next... (GRRM, Malazan Series, etc. Gah!)

lol, I mentioned to my wife that the Anna Korenina movie was on one night. She didn't know the story at all, so I told her she should watch it without me as I had to leave for a few hours. Big mistake. The words not happy do not convey her state of mind afterwards...

If you want a taste of Russian lit w/o slogging through 400-900+ pages, Start with Gogol's 'The Overcoat', in the top 3 of my greatest short stories list - you can read it in 30m easily (I like his other stuff too, like 'Taras Bulba', and if you want a more surreal story, try Bulgakov's 'Master and Margarita' - maybe not for everyone, but I thought it was brilliant also.

Along with Cervantes and Melville, I'd include Goethe's 'Faust'; and if I could only pick one Hesse novel, I guess it'd be 'Magister Ludi'/Glass Bead Game'. Books I really like, I tend to re-read several years later, as my perspective/life experiences colors and/or resonates - at times - very differently when I revisit the story.

I apologize, but I am not a Joyce or Proust fan. doh. (Or Michener for that matter). Yet another blasphemy: I preferred Henry Fielding's 'Tom Jones' to almost all of Dicken's works - I did like 'David Copperfield'.

Granted, they're completely different, but I tend to think of Zen... and Catcher... in the same light - a good read when you're mid/late teens, but doesn't hold well with time. For that type I preferred Knowles' 'A Separate Peace', or Keyes' 'Flowers for Algernon'.

/stopping now, approaching tl;dr status.
//allocate - oh six months of your life and read Erikson's Malazan Series. Capital 'D' dark in places, but brilliant.
 
2012-04-27 02:52:53 PM

adamgreeney: As a Creative Writing major, I feel that the only literature worth reading is the kind that shows off an authors brilliance. I want to feel the pages stick together from their massive deposits inspired by their own work. If you can't appreciate that, go back to your Dan Brown and James Patterson.


Actually, I'm more of a Dune/LOTR kinda guy but also very much enjoy non-fiction. Even I think Dune is written in a rather obtuse style and could've used some editing to increase readability.

I'm fine with footnotes, references, etc. but there is a point when it's obvious you're just tooting your own horn to the detriment of the narrative. Ulysses crosses that line with pride. It's proud of its pride and it's proud of that, too. ("Stupid Texas Song" by the Austin Lounge Lizards).

I didn't like it but I understand why LitCritNuts like it. I just hate that it's shoved down our throats that "It's the greatest novel of the 20th century" when by other criteria, it ain't.
 
2012-04-27 02:54:10 PM

The Loaf: The main difficulty when reading Moby Dick?

Cetology.


images.wikia.com
 
2012-04-27 02:56:17 PM
upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-04-27 03:02:44 PM

Embden.Meyerhof: I was hoping that Cormac McCarthy's The Road would be on there; the story of how to be a father in the most difficult of times.


If the key criterion is daunting then I don't think this qualifies among McCarthy's work, unless by daunting you mean a read full of constant, intense foreboding. Blood Meridian surely is a more daunting novel. Arguably, so is Suttree. In fact next to No Country, The Road is McCarthy's most accessible novel. That's not meant to be a criticism.
 
2012-04-27 03:20:08 PM

BohemianGraham:
Reading Trainspotting was a lot like reading A Clockwork Orange. You have no idea what the fark you're reading at first, but then you begin to pick up on the language and it's easy as fark to read. I thought the accents and the slang in both books really worked, and they were far superior to their film counterparts, especially ACO, since Kubrick adapted the American version which lops off the last chapter and thus ruins the symbolism Burgess had going.


You mean the pointless chapter bolted on at the end, which is completely counter to the rest of the book? That chapter falls flat. The idea of Alex transforming into a mature person and avoiding the ultra-violence he formerly embraced when he reaches 21 is absurd. He was the youngest member of the gang, several of whom become bullying police officers. He spent time in prison, where he was the object of lust of older, violent inmates. The government officials essentially bribed him after performing surgery on him to remain in office. A much older victim of his tried to get Alex to kill himself. Kubrick knew what he was doing, and he did it right.
 
2012-04-27 03:29:03 PM

omeganuepsilon: DeaH: I loved the book Starship Troopers. When I read it, I came away thinking, "This is how a man is turned into a soldier." The futuristic setting seemed a lot less important than the transformation of a man into a soldier. Even the nature of citizenship was secondary, to me.

Cyberpunk by Bruce Bethke was much the same. I view them both as transition from boyhood into manhood though. They're about learning and growth.

Just finished Hunger Games(all 3). I kept thinking it'd be a similar tale, but found it was too similar to twilight's vapid every-woman thing only they made it masculine enough that it did it for both the sexes. Saving grace was a meta-story / action that made you stick with it instead of giving up in a fury.

Before that it was Wheel of Time(all books). Robert Jordan was one of the worst authors I've ever read. Repetition, over and over, redundantly so, reviews of what the unchanging characters felt, usually about the other characters. Hunger Games had a little of that going on, it only saved itself by being so short. Gave this set up in disgust the first time I tried to tackle it, as it was also aggravatingly slow. Once you get a feel for it, you learn to scan through the more than useless filler. Where Cyberpunk and Starship Troopers got growth right, A Clockwork Orange got it wrong(an almost instant switch in the famous cut off chapter) as did Wheel of Time in that it almost never happens to any characters, except the one's with a magical fate, and then it takes extreme environments. Perpetual childhood, for the whole planet. Sure, maybe there's a meta-message in there, a reflection on society, whatever. Hunger games, we get a mongoloid ignorant main character who's stunted.

_________________

As to the listed books. If daunting means boring, then yeah. Old tales for an old generation where thinking outside the box wasn't allowed really. I'm not all that big on finding a meaning within, I prefer the in your face confrontation wit ...


tl;dnr
 
2012-04-27 03:42:26 PM
Did somebody post Sherlock Holmes in a thread about daunting books?
 
2012-04-27 03:55:56 PM

keylock71: keylock71: If I had it to do again, I wouldn't change a thing.

Actually, that's a lie... I would have tried harder to bang my high school crush, Meagan Farley.


You never made it with Meagan Farley? Everybody else did, even the janitor.
 
2012-04-27 04:01:44 PM
Dopy Dick is a really great book but the Confidence Man is better. And murkier.

Loved Ulysses, gave up on war and peace 'cause crybaby leo is a crybaby and zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance because it was stupid.

seriously, read Melville's The Confidence Man.
 
2012-04-27 04:08:47 PM

Confabulat: I read Foucault's Pendulum before they invented Wikipedia.

I'm not sure how I did that.


It's not hard when you consider all the main characters are basically intellectually bullshiatting one another 90% of the time and can be safely assumed the characters have no clue about their jibber-jabber beyond the last sentence they uttered.

That or I'd read enough goofy conspiracy theories for it all to make basic sense.

/Grad school prepared me for the former
//The internet prepared me for the latter
 
2012-04-27 04:17:06 PM
I've read Ulysses a number of times and I think if you go in with the expectation you're reading something that is about style and not necessarily story, then you can enjoy it much like how one can enjoy an abstract painting or a piece of music. Joyce was a High Modernist and very learned (too learned) writer who was interested in puzzles after the naturalism of Dubliners. Kind of like a Writer's writer to the Nth degree.

Finnegans Wake works for me one paragraph on a randomly chosen page at a time. Kind of like the entire book is telling the same fairy tale over and over again in different OULIPO tricks.
 
2012-04-27 04:21:21 PM
3/4 of the way through John Muir's "Nature Writings" -- nearly 1000 pages worth! I laugh at these so-called "daunting" books...
 
2012-04-27 04:29:23 PM

sprawl15: kroonermanblack: Anyway, since this is a literary thread, could anyone recommend some new novels for me if I love Jim butchers Dresden, and moderately like the Anita Blake series (laurell k Hamilton). I like the supernatural, the detective, the 'going up against odds which should kill me and surviving by will power and grit and intelligence and planning' aspects. I hate the endless sex scenes and romantic plots of hamiltons novels, they're just boring.

You may like the Night Watch series by Lukyanenko. It's very, very Russian.


I did read them actually. I loved the first (after seeing the movie version) then they got progressively less interesting as they went along. I think I just got depressed or bored on the final one before I finished it.

Not so big on the 'main character is in effectual at everything, is useless and simply a pawn moved obviously against things he simply cannot and does not fight'.
 
2012-04-27 04:36:04 PM
None of those books are about dating.
 
2012-04-27 04:41:50 PM

Embden.Meyerhof: I was hoping that Cormac McCarthy's The Road would be on there; the story of how to be a father in the most difficult of times.


nice thoughts!
 
2012-04-27 04:46:40 PM
A Dinner of Onions, by Nora Harmony Wallace
 
2012-04-27 04:49:50 PM

under a mountain: OK Farkers, what is the best version of Don Quixote to read?


If it's not your native language, one that's not in French, I assure you.
 
2012-04-27 04:55:46 PM

kroonermanblack: sprawl15: kroonermanblack: Anyway, since this is a literary thread, could anyone recommend some new novels for me if I love Jim butchers Dresden, and moderately like the Anita Blake series (laurell k Hamilton). I like the supernatural, the detective, the 'going up against odds which should kill me and surviving by will power and grit and intelligence and planning' aspects. I hate the endless sex scenes and romantic plots of hamiltons novels, they're just boring.

You may like the Night Watch series by Lukyanenko. It's very, very Russian.

I did read them actually. I loved the first (after seeing the movie version) then they got progressively less interesting as they went along. I think I just got depressed or bored on the final one before I finished it.

Not so big on the 'main character is in effectual at everything, is useless and simply a pawn moved obviously against things he simply cannot and does not fight'.


You might like the Repairman Jack series by F. Paul Wilson. It has all the 'supernatural, the detective, the 'going up against odds which should kill me and surviving by will power and grit and intelligence and planning' aspects' that you are looking for.
 
2012-04-27 05:12:48 PM
Ready Moby Dick and Little Dorrit all the way. I have partial on 6 others.

Moby Dick IS a good book, as long as you have the endurance.
 
2012-04-27 05:14:36 PM
I read Crime and Punishment and Moby Dick, and they are both my 2 favorite books....

Moby Dick probably took a good 6 to 8 months to get through it though, but i took my time, sometime only reading a few pages a day.
 
2012-04-27 05:15:31 PM

Confabulat: I read Foucault's Pendulum before they invented Wikipedia.

I'm not sure how I did that.


Me too, and I empathize with your comment completely.
 
2012-04-27 05:20:03 PM

hasty ambush: [ecx.images-amazon.com image 300x300]


You magnificent bastard!
 
2012-04-27 05:22:05 PM
 
2012-04-27 05:35:17 PM
The Sportswriter by Richard Ford would fit nicely into this list. Not exceedingly long, but cripes is it dense and ponderous. It's like the eeyore of books. Tried to read the follow up Independence Day and couldn't get 30 pages in.
 
2012-04-27 05:47:04 PM
I've read five, but I've also read ZAMM about half a dozen times, so I should get extra credit for that.
 
2012-04-27 05:50:41 PM
Read and enjoyed most of these, but refuse to finish Ulysses.
Joyce can go to hell as far as I'm concerned.
 
2012-04-27 05:51:26 PM
I'm at 9/14; I finally finished Ulysses after being off and on with it for two years, and the last two sections are pretty stellar.

After I read 2666 my dad told me he was listening to it on a 31 CD set.

Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow is one of three books I started and didn't finish; I got about 300 pages into it (about 250 more than the other folks in my book club did), and just thought, "I don't care." (A colleague [who did his PhD on it] said "after 4 readings you really start to get the nuances.")

other two, just for completeness:
Tomb for 500,000 Soldiers (Guyotat)
Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson (Gurdjieff)

of the former, a friend had sent it to me. I emailed him after I was about 100 pages in and I said a lot of the excessive violence seemed more gratuitous than powerful and he replied, "I felt the same way." nice gift...

of the latter, I just found it ridiculous after maybe 60 pages.
 
2012-04-27 05:53:50 PM
A brief history of time. Liked it.
Foucault's pendulum. Slogged through it. Thought it was a massive intellectual wankfest.

The rest aren't even on my itinerary. (still slogging through Mein Kampf. Ugh)
 
2012-04-27 06:04:00 PM
6 of 14.
Yes tough reading.
For a daunting read, might I suggest Michener's The Source?
 
2012-04-27 06:23:51 PM
photo.goodreads.com

/5.25 out of 14. farkin Proust, man.
 
2012-04-27 07:16:39 PM
Screw those books, subby...

photo.goodreads.com

These should be required reading for anyone who wants a full grasp of what the img1.fark.net tag really means. Carl Hiaasen is one of the great writers of our time. Give him a try.
 
2012-04-27 07:19:25 PM
A Brief history of time is a book people brag about reading at parties. How many understand it? Zero. Yes. That includes you.

/physicist.
 
2012-04-27 07:21:54 PM

DeaH: Fouccault disappointed me. I agree with you 100% that the book is essentially a thriller, and the thriller plot was pretty so-so. The metaphysical stuff, the elements of the book that hinted at deeper meaning, those were just a tease. They were dropped for a rather pedestrian thriller, and I ended up feeling cheated.


CravenMorehead: I read Foccault's Pendulum when it first came out. I remember loving the book until the ending and the ending was hugely disappointing. Don't remember anything else about it though. I may have to give it a re-read.


Nurglitch: Foucault's Pendulum was nice, and I really enjoyed the notion that all of that ancient mystery mumbo-jumbo was just good, old-fashioned dumbfarkery.



Nurglitch's comment here is what I thought made the book so brilliant, and this isn't the first time I've met people who hated the book for that same reason. Before I read it I'd previously read Illuminatus! and everything else Robert Anton Wilson wrote, I enjoyed Foucault's Pendulum on that level until the reveal, and promptly had my mind blown.

It's changed the way I think about the world and things in it more than almost any other book I've read -- to name two things, that kind of story, and the human mind and how it works. I talk about the book all the time. I mentioned it in a Politics Tab thread just a couple days ago when we were making fun of a crackpot theory about where fossil fuel comes from.
 
2012-04-27 07:49:37 PM
Got through two of them, though both of them on audio. Listening to Crime & Punishment during your daily commute is a total waste. Took about three months to get through it, don't think I processed any of it.

Tried to make it through four others (Ulysses twice) and didn't make it halfway through any of them.

/tard
 
2012-04-27 07:53:42 PM

Springy23: And as a last comment before I go to sleep, I has a sad that there are so many David Foster Wallace haters here. Why is that? Do people think he's hipster? Personally I find his work to be touching in that "aw shucks," kind of way, not to mention insanely funny. One of my favorite lines of all time comes from the first page of IJ when Hal says, "I am in here," despite being dumb as a result of a fungus/nervous breakdown/self-choice/mystery. Every section with Steeply and Marathe on the Mesa is sheer brilliance. There is so much awesome in that book. ...

... So many small details of that book are hilarious.

It also happens to be a really accurate portrayal of depression and drug use, as far as I'm concerned. You really get a sense of authenticity throughout the book despite all of the off-the-wall creation that DFW does.


I read it two years ago, enjoyed the experience, and then wondered if it was really as good as people say. The more I reflect on it the more I believe it really is brilliant. It's a rare book that makes me feel like I'm really inside one character's head; this one did it with dozens of them.

Plus I've always been fascinated by certain weird, trivial, often social-classy-things that, whenever I try bring them up in conversation, not one other person thinks is worth talking about, and Wallace was the rare person who loved that kinda shiat. (I wish I could think of a few good examples, but ADD. Sorry.)

And the book's funny.

My wild guess is it's unpopular because it takes a lot of effort to get immersed in, it's a book that's not for everyone, and people get skeptical after hearing too much praise sometimes. I dunno.
 
2012-04-27 08:06:15 PM
Another arbitrary list by some author who probably never read a book in their life.
 
2012-04-27 08:13:26 PM

PonceAlyosha: fark that. Crime and Punishment is just the rough draft for the Bros Karamazov.


Totally, C&P is a great light read but it pales in comparison to The Brothers.
 
2012-04-27 08:36:58 PM

Theonceovertwice: I've only read one of those: Crime and Punishment (twice).

/English major


How is it possible that the only book on that list you read as an English major was a Russian lit novel. I've never been to University so you'll have to help?
 
2012-04-27 08:37:47 PM
The "noble savage" shiat annoys the shiat out of me in Moby Dick, though a lot of the book is good. james fennimore cooper is somehow less annoying with the noble savage shiat than melville imo.

Mccarthy's The Road is about being a man for your son today, in this world full of cannibals and monsters. It might be post-apocalyptic if you are optimistic about the people around you, but I think the noble savage concept is wrong.
 
2012-04-27 08:39:36 PM
I've read quite a few of these, but I just wanted to say that 2666 is amazing (and I've read a fair bit of Bolano...love Nazi Literature in the Americas). The hardest part is getting past the beginning, with the friends and their obsession with Archimboldi, but that informs the whole novel. You just have to be prepared to be placed in a strange world of literary theory and somewhat bizarre scenes that may occasionally leave you a bit bored (it doesn't stay in that world, trust me) - they make more sense later when you reflect back on them though. As you go through the different "books" or chapters, the whole thing basically starts into this spiral into insanity/uncertainty and it becomes very intense. As it ramps up to the crimes, there's a brief, intense book ("The Part About Fate") that a lot of people don't like, but I think is brilliant - it becomes a staccato rhythm of small snapshots of moments that become more panicked and unhinged as they go along, and lead perfectly into what is perhaps one of the longest and most brutal pieces of literature I've read, "The Part About the Crimes," which is a punishing couple of hundred of pages of page after page of mystery, faltering romance and repeated brutal murders and basically serving as a commentary about the US/Mexico border. All this ties together in the end, and it is worth every page. I cannot recommend a book more highly.
 
2012-04-27 08:40:00 PM

Embden.Meyerhof: I was hoping that Cormac McCarthy's The Road would be on there; the story of how to be a father in the most difficult of times.


That book annoyed the crap out of me. 250 pages of EVERYONE is going to kill us.... Dad dies and the first person the kid meets is a Christian who is going to save him. Arrrrrgh.
 
2012-04-27 08:51:39 PM

unitednihilists: Theonceovertwice: I've only read one of those: Crime and Punishment (twice).

/English major

How is it possible that the only book on that list you read as an English major was a Russian lit novel. I've never been to University so you'll have to help?


I've got an English degree (would you like fries with that?), and I'd only read one of those as a part of my official studies (Moby Dick). Had to go back and read C&P, Don Quixote, and Ulysses for fun. Actually took Ulysses to the beach with my in-laws-to-be. Because I'm a diiiiick.
 
2012-04-27 09:01:30 PM

expobill: I recommend 13 moons by Charles Frazier


Good book, if a little long. Reminds me of Thomas Wolfe at his best.

It helps to read Cold Mountain first (for some historical background)
 
2012-04-27 09:20:34 PM
I don't read that soft-ass shiat

i104.photobucket.com
 
2012-04-27 09:28:54 PM
I, too, received my BA in English (mainly to get film criticism classes to count for something) [MA in Sociology, Doctorate in Theology], and the only one of these which was required reading was Moby Dick. Taking evening classes, the university offered many American literature classes, and few British lit ones. So Melville was read many times. About the fourth time, this class professor started us off by saying Moby Dick was one of the funniest books he knew. Start with the opening description, read it aloud like you are narrating a Rocky and Bullwinkle episode. Equate the cetology lessons with "Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!" I still pull it out and reread it every couple of years.
 
2012-04-27 10:16:45 PM
Add Rise and Fall of the Third Reich to that list, Shirer may have colored the Fascist Regime a little too kindly, but it remains one of the most readable comprehensive histories of the How and Why.

Also put Paradise Lost on the list, damned near unreadable, nuts to bolts.
 
2012-04-27 10:28:20 PM

Tired_of_the_BS: If I could only pick one Hesse novel, I guess it'd be 'Magister Ludi'/Glass Bead Game'.


Yes. So very much. I also liked Siddartha, but I'm rereading Magister Ludi right now, and had forgotten how much I loved it.

Tired_of_the_BS: Yet another blasphemy: I preferred Henry Fielding's 'Tom Jones' to almost all of Dicken's works - I did like 'David Copperfield'.


Oh, God, yes. Tom Jones was absolutely fantastic.

/Newsletter, subscribe, etc.
 
2012-04-27 10:38:17 PM
Ahem, every man? The War on Women continues!!!!
 
2012-04-27 10:47:31 PM

NathanAllen: Also put Paradise Lost on the list, damned near unreadable, nuts to bolts.


1.bp.blogspot.com

Milton's also boring. Just ask Mrs. Milton
 
2012-04-27 11:04:12 PM

555-FILK: mr_a: Total read: 5
Total enjoyed: 0

Did you (or anyone reading this thread) ever read Pillars of the Earth?

A bit off subject from the list of books but I recently tried reading Trainspotting and it was simply unreadable with the Scottish dialect used in the book. Stopped reading after about 60 pages.


I've read Pillars. Good stuff.

From the list, I read Crime and Punishment and select passages from Moby Dick in high school. Loved Crime, hated Moby Dick.
 
2012-04-27 11:19:51 PM

stuhayes2010: A Brief history of time is a book people brag about reading at parties. How many understand it? Zero. Yes. That includes you.

/physicist.


Zero includes you, smart, smug physicist guy...
 
2012-04-27 11:23:13 PM
why would i read what 'everybody else' is s'posed to read?

i'm not a literary lemming, man.

/stephen hawking is wrong
//about almost everything
 
2012-04-28 12:17:57 AM

unitednihilists: Embden.Meyerhof: I was hoping that Cormac McCarthy's The Road would be on there; the story of how to be a father in the most difficult of times.

That book annoyed the crap out of me. 250 pages of EVERYONE is going to kill us.... Dad dies and the first person the kid meets is a Christian who is going to save him. Arrrrrgh.


lol, well, I guess I don't have to read that now.
 
2012-04-28 12:22:27 AM

Tax Boy: 1. Moby Dick -- surprisingly enjoyable. The tangents and discourses on whales are pretty cool. Plus "pockets full of sperm; sperm everywhere, etc." is unintentionally hilarious.


I'm fairly certain there was nothing unintentional about it.
 
2012-04-28 01:25:35 AM
The definitive monochromatic novel of the 20th Century:
www.k-state.edu
 
2012-04-28 01:31:00 AM

mekkab: I read trainspotting (and a bunch of other Irvine Welsh) in college with me mates(sic). We ended up speaking Glaswegian for a period of 6 months, despite living in Baltimore and all being born in the States.


Also despite the book taking place in Edinburgh.

Springy23: I'm 14/14. But I'm also working toward a PhD in Cinema Studies and got my Masters in comparative lit.

Only because it abbreviates to C.Lit.
 
2012-04-28 01:42:14 AM
Seems like as good a time as any to offer Nabokov's top four. They are, in order:

Ulysses
The Metamorphosis
Petersburg
Remembrance Of Things Past (the first half)
 
2012-04-28 02:36:14 AM
Hearty lulz and a fistbump for the Manic Street Preachers tag, subs.

/bought Palahniuk's Invisible Monsters today.
 
2012-04-28 02:42:22 AM
I know I can read through just about each and every one of them in one read through if I really desired to read them. So not so daunting. About the only book that I wanted to read that took 3 starts is Atlas Shrugged. Now that is daunting. I remember thinking my god, is this how someone writes a bad philosophy parable in a 2nd language.
 
2012-04-28 05:10:25 AM
Total read: 8
Total enjoyed: 2
Total never heard of before: 4
 
2012-04-28 05:55:00 AM
Read 7 of them. Foucault's Pendulum was worth reading twice. The others, not so much.
 
2012-04-28 06:11:46 AM

Springy23: I don't often get to brag on Fark, so here it goes...

I'm 14/14. But I'm also working toward a PhD in Cinema Studies and got my Masters in comparative lit.


Yes, I would like fries with that.
 
2012-04-28 06:32:46 AM
Not daunting, but should be required reading for everybody. "The Law," by Frédéric Bastiat.
 
2012-04-28 06:49:31 AM
Romance of the Three Kingdoms is fun and very important, but it's nowhere close to my favorite classic Chinese novel. That honor goes to Dream of the Red Chamber, which is brilliant on many levels.
 
2012-04-28 08:08:04 AM

Nurglitch: I'd add the Gulag Archipelago to this list.


Agreed. It was riveting.
 
2012-04-28 08:44:50 AM
Moby Dick is worth reading just for the description of how to properly cook a steak, and you can never go wrong with Tolstoy or Dickens.
 
2012-04-28 09:28:31 AM
Read 7 of those so far, enjoyed them all except Joyce and Proust.

Ulysses is a cake-walk compared to Finnegan's Wake.

Just finished Little Dorrit a few weeks ago...took me over three months, a chapter or two at a time. Some critics think it his worst novel. I thought it was some of his best writing, if not the best novel. Some of those chapters are just spell-binding. Bleak House is a better novel, I think. Dombey & Son is the most heart-wrenching. Can't go wrong with anything by Charles Dickens.

Going to re-read Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground next.
 
2012-04-28 10:01:57 AM

kroonermanblack: Anyway, since this is a literary thread, could anyone recommend some new novels for me if I love Jim butchers Dresden, and moderately like the Anita Blake series (laurell k Hamilton). I like the supernatural, the detective, the 'going up against odds which should kill me and surviving by will power and grit and intelligence and planning' aspects. I hate the endless sex scenes and romantic plots of hamiltons novels, they're just boring.


The friend who got me into Anita Blake around the 2 or 3 book mark (i.e., back when there was more plot than sex) also recommended Kelly Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series (contemporary fantasy/mystery) which starts with a book called Broken. I thought they were okay, nothing particularly spectacular, but then I prefer classical fantasy (e.g., I love Dresden, but the Codex Alera is more my style).
 
2012-04-28 11:29:18 AM

theorellior: I've read:

Moby-Dick: damn fine book.
Brief History of Time: meh. Hawking doesn't do as good a job as Feynman or Weinberg.
Don Quixote: pretty good, actually.
War and Peace: another great book, if a little long
Foucault's Pendulum: hilarious meditation on conspiracy theories and the mutability of reality
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence: BOOOORING. Maybe groudbreaking in 1959, but in 1995, when I read it, it was very old-hat.


Moby Dick was a great read. Don Quixote and War and Peace were both good, but my attention span wavered. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was Baby-Boomer tripe, IMHO.
 
2012-04-28 12:14:05 PM
Almost finished Moby Dick but my deployment ended early and I mostly just read when I was in the field
My friend demanded I read Art of Zen and Motorcycle Maintenance, I got half way through it. I thought it sucked out loud.
 
2012-04-28 12:19:48 PM

The Loaf: The main difficulty when reading Moby Dick?

Cetology.


THIS

I hated how it went from adventure to a damn science lesson. I felt like I got stuck at a time share pitch when the book got to that part.
 
2012-04-28 01:06:54 PM

proteus_b: i'm hardly a feminazi but are women just not meant to read at all, or just to focus on the jane austen works?


Huh, that's interesting. I will admit to occassionally getting a bit feminazi at/over classical lit, but I didn't take any offense to the word man in the subtitle, I simply read it as "every man" = "everyone/ every human". I'm suprised it annoyed so many. If you found that offensive, I'd stay right away from the older classics, where there's definitely some nasty sexism (yes, I'm looking at you Count of Monte Cristo, your treatment of Mercedes rudely jerked me out of my immersion in what was, up 'til then, a ripping revenge tale.)

Of the books on the list, I've read 6, with Don Quixote being my favourite, and Moby Dick being my least liked. To be fair, I read Moby Dick very young ... I've since heard it's one of those novels that works best as an adult, so perhaps I simply didn't "get it" at the time. Then again, from memory it was fairly dry ... I prefer classics with a bit of sparkling wit, e.g., stuff by Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, or George Eliot.
 
2012-04-28 01:38:36 PM
I've read 4 and a half - had to read Don Quixote for a class, and don't remember how much I actually read - I know I really enjoyed it, though.

Mostly here to say that I loved War & Peace. Couldn't put it down - total page-turner....
 
2012-04-28 01:59:24 PM

555-FILK: mr_a: Total read: 5
Total enjoyed: 0

Did you (or anyone reading this thread) ever read Pillars of the Earth?

A bit off subject from the list of books but I recently tried reading Trainspotting and it was simply unreadable with the Scottish dialect used in the book. Stopped reading after about 60 pages.


I found a got the hang of Trainspotting after about 30 pages, just had to read aloud in my head (which I normally don't do) for long enough that my brain started auto-translating and I could read it normally. Had to repeat the learning process each time I put it down though, so I ended up waiting until I could polish the rest off in one sitting rather than reading a few chapters here and there.

What was worse was Feersum Endjinn by Iain M. Banks. Every second chapter was in a bizarre semi-phonetic/textspeak hybrid (e.g., Feersum Endjinn = Fearsome Engine). Like Trainspotting, your brain adapts, but because this was only every second chapter (and they're quite short chapters, perhaps 10 pages long) so I had to keep re-learning how to read it.

It's sitting on my shelf, so here's the first paragraph of the first crazy-chapter for those who haven't yet tortured their brains with it:
"Woak up. Got dresd. Had brekfast. Spoke wif Ergates thi ant who sed itz juss been wurk wurk wurk 4 u lately master Bascule, Y dont u 1/2 a holiday? & I agreed & that waz how we decided we otter go 2 c Mr Zoliparia in thi I-ball ov thi gargoyle Rosbrith."

Gah! But apart from the translation agony, it was a really good read, and Banks did have valid reasons to have the protagonist write that way (unlike Joyce, who was just being a pretentious wanker with Finnigan's Wake).
 
2012-04-28 04:17:44 PM

robertus: [photo.goodreads.com image 311x475]

/5.25 out of 14. farkin Proust, man.


The Joyce chapter is marvellous!
 
2012-04-28 05:57:26 PM
I find David Eddings to be much more accessible and worthy of a read. The way I can pick up any of his books and know what will happen and who will die is very reassuring to me.
 
2012-04-28 07:11:08 PM

Farty McPooPants: 6 of 14.
Yes tough reading.
For a daunting read, might I suggest Michener's The Source?




Actually enjoyed that, along with most of Michener's works...with the exception of Poland, which I gave up on after the first 29,302 pages.
 
2012-04-28 10:34:16 PM

Confabulat: I read Foucault's Pendulum before they invented Wikipedia.

I'm not sure how I did that.


Yes, it used every part of my knowledge...and then some.

But the key is to enjoy the book, not live it.
If you live it, then you'll be part of the conspiracy & the mystery...
 
2012-04-30 11:39:08 AM
Started reading Ulysses last night. Wish me luck.
 
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