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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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20909 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.
 
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