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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 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.
 
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