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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 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.
 
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