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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
    More: Scary, Manic Street Preachers, Moby Dick, bookshelf  
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20923 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 27 Apr 2012 at 10:43 AM (6 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2012-04-27 08:55:14 AM  
4 votes:
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 11:06:13 AM  
3 votes:
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 09:35:41 AM  
2 votes:

Horrifically overrated pop-philosophy.

Largely arbitrary list is arbitrary.
2012-04-27 07:36:15 AM  
2 votes:
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 07:00:57 AM  
2 votes:
Total read: 5
Total enjoyed: 0
2012-04-28 01:31:00 AM  
1 vote:

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.
2012-04-27 09:01:30 PM  
1 vote:

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 02:09:37 PM  
1 vote:
Not on the lis, but should be: House of Leaves
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2012-04-27 12:36:30 PM  
1 vote:
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2012-04-27 12:36:18 PM  
1 vote:
So, women aren't allowed to read them?
2012-04-27 12:04:23 PM  
1 vote:

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 11:39:56 AM  
1 vote:

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 11:29:53 AM  
1 vote:

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 11:18:52 AM  
1 vote:

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

You probably were led into it by a sinister conspiracy.
2012-04-27 11:05:22 AM  
1 vote:
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 10:55:01 AM  
1 vote:
No thanks I don't read books just because they are difficult to read and will impress my friends.
2012-04-27 10:54:30 AM  
1 vote:
fark that. Crime and Punishment is just the rough draft for the Bros Karamazov.
2012-04-27 10:37:00 AM  
1 vote:
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 09:54:01 AM  
1 vote:
Books? What channel are they on?
2012-04-27 09:15:31 AM  
1 vote:
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2012-04-27 08:13:26 AM  
1 vote:
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 07:38:42 AM  
1 vote:
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 07:37:00 AM  
1 vote:
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 07:04:54 AM  
1 vote:
My head coach didn't want any sissies, so he read Ulysses to us.
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