More Books 2

PREVIOUSLY:

REVIEWS:

“All I ask of life is a bunch of books, a bunch of dreams, and a bunch of cunt.”
—Tropic Of Cancer

Here are some quick thoughts on books I’ve read in the past year or so, from best to worst.

ISBN: 0451524934
1984
George Orwell is my hero.

ISBN: 0061686697
The Unbearable Lightness Of Being
A beautiful, philosophical novel about love, choice, and death.

ISBN: 0679735771
American Psycho
Incredible writing, though extremely disturbing (hungry rat trapped inside a woman’s vagina that was filled with blue cheese, etc.). For a good laugh tell a feminist this is your favorite book of all time.

ISBN: 1595404295
Animal Farm
Good stepping stone to 1984. Short book that you can read for free (along with 1984).

ISBN: 1593080085
The Jungle
Page turner with the biggest underdog character in modern literature. Poor Jurgis.

ISBN: 1592403379
American Shaolin
Hilarious memoir of a plucky white guy who moves to China to train with shaolin masters.

ISBN: 015626224X
Down And Out In London And Paris
Gritty story of a man surviving in Europe’s underworld. Semi-autobiographical.

ISBN: 0143036556
Collapse
Attempts to answer why past civilizations failed. Author’s evidence suggests it’s almost always due to environmental problems. Long but enjoyable.

ISBN: 0684856476
The Rum Diaries
Good read, especially if you like to drink.

ISBN: 0307387178
Into The Wild
Interesting story about a young man who gives up all his money and possessions for a long trip that ends with his death in the Alaska wilderness. Was he courageous or stupid?

ISBN: 0451529693
Fathers and Sons
19th century Russian novel about feudalism, youth, rebellion, and love. Decent.

ISBN: 1594480001
The Kite Runner
Starts off strong but fades into silliness.

ISBN: 0385333846
Slaughterhouse Five
War book whose most compelling passages were about alien abduction.

ISBN: 8585556013
How To Be A Carioca
Slightly dated expose into the culture of Brazilians, particularly those who live in Rio do Janeiro. Contains handy phrases full of slang.

ISBN: 0802131786
Tropic Of Cancer
A stream of consciousness diary of a man slumming it in Paris. Writing is incredible but if you need a plot then this book is definitely not for you.

ISBN: 0805062971
Fight Club
The only book I have read where the movie was better. Skip.

ISBN: 0743297334
The Sun Also Rises
It had a couple moments, but mostly a snoozefest.

ISBN: 0553247778
One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich
What a slog. Hated it.

ISBN: 0140042598
On The Road
The most tedious book I’ve ever read in my life. Cheesy dialogue and characters. I dare you to finish it.

ISBN: 0312320906
Honeymoon With My Brother
The main character couldn’t stop whining about how his fiance dumped him. Get over it loser.

ISBN: 0375725342
The Art Of Travel
If the art of travel can only be figured out by going to the Bahamas with your girlfriend then I’m doing it all wrong. Utter tripe.

Do you want to read more book reviews? Click here for the previous set.

83 Comments

  1. josh March 25, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Recomendations:

    “The lie” and “The Average American Male” both by Chad Kultgen.

    They are both hillarious. The lie especially will remind you of your days in college.

    The Average American Male doesn’t read like a novel. It reads like a biography of yourself. It’s quite strange.

    Get back to me.

  2. The Brooklyn Boy March 25, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Oh, man. On the Road took me more effort and more attempts than any book I can remember outside of Mrs. Dalloway, and that is the archnemises of my reading life. I liked OTR — or wanted to — but stop driving back and forth across the damn country and DO SOMETHING. Ha.

    The Brooklyn Boy’s last blog post: Two Haikus.

  3. josh March 25, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Forgot my email.

  4. Rudy and Blitz March 25, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Just now reading Orwell, Miller, Kundera, and Vonnegut? Did you go to high school or college? Jeez. You are right about On the Road, though.

    Anyway, you might like Dos Passos (Manhattan Transfer or USA Trilogy), Kundera’s The Joke, Easton Ellis’ Less than Zero, Saul Bellow, or Delillo, particularly White Noise.

  5. DF March 25, 2009 at 9:51 am

    I think ‘American Psycho’ is one of the most underrated satires in American literature. Its awesome and yes, a tough read. I’d recommend Dostoyevksi’s ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ but that’s kind of a long and involved read.

  6. chris March 25, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Want expat..ahem..literature…I recommend “The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia” by Mark Ames. Trust me.

  7. Tim March 25, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Some recommendations:

    Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon
    At about page 500 or so of this 750 page magnum opus, I wondered whether I was going to love or hate the book when I got to the end. Pynchon’s prose crackles on every single page and the thing is brimming with absurdist humor. Tyrone Slothrop is at once the single most pathetic character in literary history (which says a lot given that you’ve read Slaughterhouse 5), as well as the most moving. A tremendous (and tremendously rewarding), if difficult, book.

    Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
    While failures of dialogue are frequent (meaning that the dialogue is occasionally pretty stilted), Roberts has a good ear for descriptive detail and he is a master storyteller. The 900 or so pages fly by.

    Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela
    A well-written and extremely moving call to arms. Mandela emerges from this as perhaps the most human hero of the twentieth century.

    Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
    Follett is a vastly superior writer to most other potboiler writers out there. But he’s also got one thing that most of them don’t have and that’s the ability to weave together a massive cast of characters, tones, and plot into one cohesive, satisfying whole. This is long (over 900 pages), but breathtakingly quick reading.

    The Fate of Africa – Martin Meredith
    If you are even remotely interested in African history or politics, this is your introduction. Meredith brilliantly synopsizes the history of the continent since independence. This is history writ large – tragedy, crazy characters (Lumumba, Bokassa, Amin, etc.), humor – it’s got it all. Meredith is also an exceptional writer and the pages go by very quickly.

  8. Greg March 25, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.

  9. jkc March 25, 2009 at 10:55 am

    i agree with American Psycho. misunderstood and brilliant, not to mention extremely well-written. i think 20-30 years from now, it will be regarded as a masterpiece…

    If you like Ellis’ style, check out “The Delivery Man” by Joe McGinnis. added bonus – he lives in DC!

  10. Ida March 25, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Catch 22. Read it. You’ll love it.

    The Kite Runner is yuck. Starts off fantastically. Story line went downhill once the father croaked.

  11. Sam Midhurst March 25, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Orwell… yes indeed.

    I just finished Crossing California by Adam Langer. It was a great read. It’s set in Chicago in the late 70’s. He takes a bunch of characters and does a great job at weaving their stories together.

  12. Anonymous March 25, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Clash of Civilizations by Samuel P. Huntington. Will help a lot in your understanding of conflicts and cultures all over the world. Always gives me something to say to a foreigner about her country when I meet one in DC. I need to reread this.

    About Into the Wild: the guy was a complete moron. Giving up money and possessions is fine, but he died like a fool.

  13. Carl Sagan March 25, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Book recommendations, where do I begin?

    Well, first off I have to recommend Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

    Essentially these are the personal philosophical musings of the most powerful man in his time (he was the Emperor of Rome). This was a personal journal he kept while he was on a military campaign fighting the barbarians in Europe. I’m sure you can read it for free on the internet.

    Another book I’d recommend is Cosmos by Carl Sagan. Just an all around amazing book. If you don’t feel like reading the book, watch the documentary series for free on Hulu.

    Lastly, I would have recommended Guns, Germs and Steel over Collapse by Jared Diamond.

  14. Firepower March 25, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    When I crash into the vapid fleshbags of Barworld, I’m encouraged that people like me can still appreciate literature. That is, until they hunt us down and execute us.

    Read H.G. Wells The Time Machine and

    Cornelius Ryan’s The Longest Day.

    TTM has the usual Wells social insight that was way too un-PC for the movies. Disturbing

  15. Rajia March 25, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Vonnegut – “Welcome to the Monkey House”.

    Kerouac – I found that The Dharma Bums was far superior to On the Road.

    And for Krakauer, I prefer Into Thin Air to Into the Wild. I seriously read it in one night, then read it again. Then read The Climb, and then read Into Thin Air again. Am waiting patiently for his book on Pat Tillman and the war.

  16. Rajia March 25, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Oh – and also “Crossing Over” by Ruben Martinez.

  17. Chuck March 25, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    “On the Road” is a great book. Don’t know how you didn’t like it.

    Good pick up on the Hunter S. Thompson, although “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “Fear and Loathing: Campaign Trail 1972” are much better.

    You *have* to read Charles Bukowski’s novels if you haven’t already. “Post Office” is hilarious. First time I’d ever heard the word “shack-job” as term for woman who lives with you. It’s also the quintessential drunk, struggling writer novel.

    Others:

    “The electric kool-aid acid test” – Tom Wolfe

    “Hip: The History” – John Leland, gives insight into the development of what’s been cool in America

    “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” – Ken Kesey

    “Moneyball” – Michael Lewis

    “Junky” – William S. Burroughs

    Also, if you’re feeling philosophical, check out Jiddu Krishnamurti. He’s a dead indian guy, but he doesn’t spout all this Buddhist/Hindu b.s. He’s above that.

    Chuck’s last blog post: The Directional Burp.

  18. Kathryn March 25, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Excellent write-up.

    Re: Into the Wild – I would argue he was both courageous *and* stupid. A little preparation would have gone a long way.

    Re: Ivan Denisovitch – I had to write about that for private school in 9th grade, then milked it for a 10th grade public school assignment that I handed in late but snuck into the teacher’s grading pile (after she told me she would not accept it late) and got an A without a single comment about its tardiness. Therefore, I love this book.

    Re: On the Road – I haven’t read this since 11th grade, when I wrote my AP English final paper on the Beat Generation. I so enjoyed my teacher’s inability to pronounce Kerouac – and the fact that she’d never even heard of him – that I will always love this book.

  19. de Tocqueville March 25, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    I second Michael Lewis’s “Moneyball” — ostensibly a book about baseball and statistics but it has become required reading for many MBA students. Very readable.

    I also suggest:

    – Sudhir Venkatesh’s “Gang Leader for a Day” — about a Chicago sociology grad student who infiltrates a Chicago South Side gang to see how black market capitalism really works.

    http://www.amazon.com/Gang-Leader-Day-Sociologist-Streets/dp/014311493X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238002197&sr=1-1

    – Ha-joon Chang’s “Bad Samaritans” — Cambridge Professor Ha-joon Chang’s revolutionary argument that developed countries became successful precisely through high tariffs and protection of infant industries and NOT free trade, and these countries are kicking away the ladder for developing countries by forcing on them a free trade regime. Sounds like dry economic reading but he writes it with personal anecdotes for laymen.

    http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Samaritans-Secret-History-Capitalism/dp/1596915986/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238002642&sr=1-1

    – Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” — Very well-written work on the premise that success is just as attributable to luck, background, and situational factors as it is to the commonly held notion of personal abilities or innate genius.

    http://www.amazon.com/Outliers-Story-Success-Malcolm-Gladwell/dp/0316017922/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238002940&sr=1-1

  20. Anonymous March 25, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Blindness by Jose Saramago. Great novel that shows the fraility of our society. As society melts away – how does basic human nature take over?

  21. Anonymous March 25, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Anyone who recommends a Malcolm Gladwell book is either:
    1) dumb
    2) naive
    3) not an independent thinker

    I read him before I realized how terrible of a thinker he was. His writing is great, it flows well, but they package some very poor ideas. E.g., Blink: trust your instincts, except when you shouldn’t. Outliers: To be successful, work hard, but often you need more and let me give you this one ancedotal example superficially paraphrased from wikipedia to prove to you why.

  22. Sebastian Flyte March 25, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Ivan Denisovitch is one of the best books I’ve read. I actually felt hungry after finishing it, a classic. I rarely if ever feel emotionally altered by a book, but One Day in the Life did that, it makes one appreciate what you have more.

    Here are some good books:
    Everyday Drinking by Kingsley Amis.

    Bruce Charlton’s Psychiatry and the Human Condition – explains how hunter gatherers had it best and how malaise is natural in an unnatural world. Brilliant. All online
    http://mangans.blogspot.com/2009/03/why-were-unhappy-truth-of-noble-savage.html#comments

    http://www.hedweb.com/bgcharlton/psychhuman.html

    Sebastian Flyte’s last blog post: Art of Pickup.

  23. Chuck March 25, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    de Tocqueville:

    is Chang’s “Bad Samaritans” really that groundbreaking?

    I recently had to read a paper by Harvard economist Dani Rodrik discussing how the Washington Consensus (a series of bullet points for success of emerging economies) was an utter failure. He pointed to India and China as evidence that countries can forget all the free trade crap and be highly successful.

    China has benefited greatly from America’s free-trade posture while they have been relatively closed.

    Very interesting implications, I’m just wondering if Chang originally developed that thought. Any insight into that? Thanks.

    Chuck’s last blog post: The Directional Burp.

  24. lurker March 25, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Walden, or Life in the Woods—Henry David Thoreau.

    Perfect book for a simple way of living. Very in tune with Roosh’s lifestyle, except with no talk of game.

    Other than that, though, its philosophy on money, work, nature, men, civilization, and living are right in line with Roosh’s.

  25. Anonymous March 25, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Roosh is to be commended for being able to finish books that he hates.

    I lost that wherewithall a few years back. If I get 100 pages in and its a chore at that point, I just chuck it. I even dumped a book recently that was by one of my favorite authors because it had an awful, unbelievable plot. It was called the Gatehouse. It was a follow-up to one of my all time favorite novels, The Gold Coast. I couldn’t finish the new book, and refused to make myself labor in my spare time by doing so. I guess Im getting lazy in that regard. Its a waste of money, but still………

    Ive done some movies in the past few years the same way. If they still suck forty minutes in………I’m inclined to leave and waste my money rather than sit through it attempting to daydream about what chores need doing that evening.

  26. chuck March 25, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    “I lost that wherewithall a few years back. If I get 100 pages in and its a chore at that point, I just chuck it.”

    Well that fits right in with Game then. Cut your losses. Manage your time wisely. If the feeling isn’t there, don’t force it.

    Women are like books. The rule of thumb I learned as a child is if I don’t understand 5 words on the first page of a book, I should just put it down. Same with chicks.

    The exhiliration of reading and finishing a great book is like falling in love with a woman. One of the best feelings one can have.

    chuck’s last blog post: The Directional Burp.

  27. Hotcake G March 25, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    You should read Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell, I really was surprised about the struggle inside Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War.

  28. de Tocqueville March 25, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Regarding Malcolm Gladwell, I didn’t like his “Blink” or “Tipping Point”, all that much. But I liked “Outliers” because it challenges the well-entrenched American convention that people are successful due primarily to innate abilities or effort (this norm supports the American notion of meritocracy and pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps). I’m not suggesting that this idea is novel — in fact, it is one of the oldest foundational tenets of social psychology (look up Fundamental Attribution Error on Wikipedia). But he packages this idea in a way that is accessible for non-social psychologists.

    We can apply this idea to the context of Game too. If someone is successful with lots of women, we might say that person has good game. Or it could simply be that he is a white male living in a society that prescribes the highest ratings of attractiveness to white men. Or it could simply be that he is above 6 feet tall, so his attractiveness is not due to game but rather due to genetic luck. (Before you guys starting listing examples of some Asian dude using game or some 5’4″ dude doing well with women, please remember that these guys are the exceptions that do not disprove the rule).

    Regarding Ha-joon Chang, I don’t know if the “free trade is bad” idea is entirely attributable to him. I have taken classes at the Kennedy School so I am familiar with Dani Rodrik but Chang is the only one I know of who has written these into a single, cogent, readable book rather than smaller articles, lectures, symposia pieces, or blogs.

  29. Dave from Hawaii March 25, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I’m surprised you omitted the corollary to 1984 and Animal Farm…

    …Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

    Also available for free online.

  30. Anonymous March 25, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Lowest of the Low

  31. KassyK March 25, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    I have a few authors and books I would recommend going by your tastes, who are also just amazing writers in general.

    Philip Roth-I am shocked no one has mentioned anything by Philip Roth. He is one of the greatest writers of the past 20 + years.

    American Pastoral (Pulitzer Prize Winner) is one of his best, most revealing, and thought-provoking novels, but I also loved:

    The Human Stain & of course…his groundbreaking:

    The Plot Against America–

    “Roth imagines an alternative version of American history: What if Charles A. Lindbergh, aviator hero and isolationist had been elected U.S. president in 1940? In the imagined history that follows, Roth gives an account of a U.S. that negotiates an understanding with Hitler’s Nazi Germany and embarks on its own program of anti-Semitism. It has been hailed as Roth’s masterpiece. “[H]uge, inflammatory, painfully moving… It may well be his best, and it may well arouse more controversy than all the rest combined.… That Roth has written The Plot Against America in some respects as a parable for our times seems to me inescapably and rather regrettably true.”

    That is probably the best way to describe a book that is one of the most well written, moving, and disturbing books I have read. Ever.

    Then…Henry and June by Anais Nin–kind of the female counterpart to Tropic of Cancer…probably the only woman Henry Miller unequivocally loved…and respected. Amazingly. Also in diary format–beautiful and odd.

    Also most of Ian McEwan’s work, especially Atonement, The Cement Garden (really disturbing but great), and Saturday.

    KassyK’s last blog post: March Girl Crush: Penelope Cruz is Muy Caliente…oh, and an Oscar Winner too..

  32. twiceaday March 25, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    I’ll second the recommendations for Catch-22, Moneyball, and Bukowski’s novels, and add:
    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Beautiful writing, great characters, and an all-around amazing book. If I had to pick one novel as my favorite, this would be it.
    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Make sure you get a good translation.
    Ball Four by Jim Bouton. To this day, it might be the only honest account of life as a professional athlete. The writing isn’t great, but the stories are easily good enough to make up for it.

    Definitely agree with you about Fight Club, although the book is such a quick read that it didn’t bother me.

  33. Chuck March 25, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    de Toqueville:

    gotcha, thanks for the clarification. i’ll check the book out sometime.

    Cormac McCarthy is also great. Can’t wait for “The Road” to come out in theaters.

    I’ll agree on the sentiments here about Chuck Pahlanafuck…his writing is almost as annoying as Ernest Hemmingway’s. Seems to me like he tries too hard.

    Chuck’s last blog post: The Directional Burp.

  34. RW March 25, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Limiting myself to Roosh’s list, I’ll say that Orwell is a must. Since I read 1984 back in the fifth grade, it’s a game changer and as relevant as ever, particularly today.

    As for Solzhenitsyn, you pick the most accessible title and couldn’t hack it. That’s too bad. It’s easier than the three volumes of Gulag Archipelago.

    Anyone who values freedom and independent thought must make it a point to understand a system that systematically destroyed tens of millions of its own citizens outright and tried to destroy this Republic along the way.

    Not to worry, all those lefties crying about the downfall of the Soviet Union now have someone to worship, I mean idolize in the Western Hemishere.

    It’s a tossup between Chavez and Commander Zero.

    Michael Lewis is worth a mention. Absolutely excellent.

  35. Ned March 25, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Here’s a book you might dig:

    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

    It’s 6 sort of connected stories taking you from the 1850’s until after the fall of civilization. you’d like the future part where people are ruled by (not surprisingly) corporations.

    starts off slow but gains lots of momentum in the middle

  36. Roosh March 25, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Re: why On The Road sucks. This review on amazon shares my sentiment..

    On the Road by Jack Kerouac is not a book to be read it is a book to be survived as most wild things are, and this is pretty wild. It is almost like a force of nature itself with all it’s snazzy words that blow you away into one of two places. You either find yourself in a smoky coffeehouse of enlightenment or stuck in a whirlwind of confusion. I am a self-proclaimed bookworm and it is not often that I come across a book that I take a strong disliking to, but with this one I did. It is said that the book was mailed to the publisher on a single roll of paper with only one single-spaced paragraph, and it shows. The book rambles on seemingly endlessly, and if the story were being told by mouth the teller would have long since been dragged off in a straight jacket after having been pulled away from their triple latte double mocha surprise with extra sugar.

    I found that this book really tested my love of the written word. I might have found the book more enjoyable to read if Kerouac made an attempt to seem like he had taken a few minutes to think about what he was saying before typing at one hundred miles an hour. In other words, the book was just downright incoherent.

    The book tells of an era that I have a hard time grasping the concept of, but even with the frequent musings on life, people and anything else that happens to wander through Kerouac’s mind, I still find that I don’t feel myself understanding it any better. When I read a book, I expect to feel some sort of connection with the characters and places. With this book, the connection was obviously absent. I could never find it in my heart to give the characters that smidgen of sympathy that would have made them more real to me. Regardless of the fact that these characters are based on real living, breathing people, I find them quite dead despite the energy that Kerouac is trying to get across. I find that he falls hopelessly short.

    On the Road follows the adventures of Sal Paradise in his many excursions across America and into Mexico. He has many traveling partners, the most notable being Dean Moriarty. Most of the book is spent in telling how Sal hitch hikes his way between New York and California constantly picking up and dropping off countless major and minor characters, adding to the snarl of people caught in the pages. The remainder seems to be drunken prattle or the ravings of a caffeine driven mind. Cities are mostly recognized by their bars and a round of wondering if Dean’s father may be found there. It is written as if spoken and so many unrelated subjects pop up during explanations and descriptions confusing those desperately trying to follow along.

    Kerouac spins a tale of journeys, discovery, religion and philosophy. There are so many elements rolled into the pages that it is near impossible to pick out each component separately. Lots of philosophizing takes place but it is so confusing to the point of rambling. The tone seems to cheapen the words, making them seem more like the musings of a drunk, than words worthy of Plato. Just the way they speak of serious things so casually, like taking on more wives or discussing God in a babble of words is less than awe-inspiring.

    Despite the fact that Kerouac is enthusiastic in his story telling, it seems that his energy is channeled in the wrong direction. He gets too caught up in his own storytelling and reminiscing, which can quickly lose a reader. From the man who inspired a movement, I find myself disappointed. I thought it would take something more deep to produce such a result. Kerouac may be the voice of an era, but he is sadly lost to me.

    I think that this book is only for certain readers, of which I am not one. I am not saying that the book is bad, you just have to approach it with the right mind set, and a little background knowledge wouldn’t hurt. If you are interested in the Beat movement then you will probably enjoy the book much more than I did. If, however, your impression of the beat generation was a group of guys in black pants and striped long sleeve shirts with berets and little round sunglasses beating on bongo drums in a coffee house spouting “Cool daddio” and “you dig” then you might find yourself severely disillusioned. There is no middle ground with this book, you will either like it or not.

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R32X9SUO7FNRU9/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

  37. Chic Noir March 25, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    This is a very good reading list. A few of those books are on my list. I shall be reading into the Wild very soon. Forgive me for saying this but… many of the books you posted are on the list of the SWPL crowd.

    Read Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller. Miller was running game before you dad was born. One of the women Miller ran game on Anis Nin was a gamer in her own right. She took money from her husband to give to Miller. She was also a very sick woman; she knowingly banged her dad as an adult.

    Chic Noir’s last blog post: Release the bats.

  38. Chic Noir March 25, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Rudy and Blitz

    Just now reading Orwell, Miller, Kundera, and Vonnegut? Did you go to high school or college? Jeez. You are right about On the Road, though.

    snob

    IIRC, Rosh was a “hard” science major in college so…

    Chic Noir’s last blog post: Release the bats.

  39. KassyK March 25, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Chic–Have you read Henry and June or her other diary formats? Amazing and insane. Love this passage about her diary and Henry Miller.

    –Henry Miller who read her unexpurgated diary in the 1930’s, claimed that when published, it would take its place “besides the revelations of St. Augustine, Petronius, Abelard, Rousseau, Proust.”

    KassyK’s last blog post: March Girl Crush: Penelope Cruz is Muy Caliente…oh, and an Oscar Winner too..

  40. Chic Noir March 25, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigerian author) –It’s about the Nigerian Civil War. I read her first book Purple Habiscus and it was good but if you can only read one, read Half of a Yellow Sun. It’s a bit of a tear jerker and I’m not much of a crybaby. It reads like History book/novel.
    If you really want to read a book that makes you feel like your are inside of the story try Kindred by Octavia Butler. This book is soooo spooky but a quick read.
    Looking throught these comments there are a lot of Beat Gen readers here. SMH that is so SWPL. If you shake your head at our socities decadence, look no further than the beat writers who were the first to make be nilest and deviance cool(-flappers).
    Can I recommend Memoirs of a Beatnik by Dianna Di Prima

    kassyHave you read Henry and June or her other diary formats Not yet, I will add it to my Amazon list. To be honest, after reading a biography on Anias Nin, I was a bit turned off.
    I really need to start reading more books. These days I spend way to much time on forums.

    Chic Noir’s last blog post: Release the bats.

  41. Chic Noir March 25, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Nora Vincent’s Self Made man is a good read for any woman who needs help understanding men.I think she kinda bluffed it and was a bit redundant in the male sexuality chapter. I guess since she isn’t biologically male there was only so much she could say.

    Chic Noir’s last blog post: Release the bats.

  42. JFo March 25, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    American Psycho is one of my favorite novels. I don’t feel the least bit bad about that.

    Recs:
    1. Bangkok 8 and Bangkok Tattoo
    Crime/mystery novels. Written by a Westerner but protagonist is Thai.
    2. The Best of Roald Dahl
    Devoured his kids’ books growing up. Glad I found his short stories just as entertaining.
    3. The Arms of Krupp – William Manchester
    One of the best history works I have read. About the family of German steel makers cum arms manufacturers.
    4. Lunar Park
    As a follow up to American Psycho.

    JFo’s last blog post: Fire in the Hole.

  43. finefantastic March 25, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    crime & punishment- dostoyevsky

    virtually any adult story by roald dahl

    the death of ivan ilyich – tolstoy

    demian- hermann hesse

    the bang bang club- greg marinovich & joao silva (fascinating accounts of pulitzer winning photographers in south africa)

    we wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families- gourevitch

    the world without us- alan weisman

    chemical pink- kate arnoldi

    finefantastic’s last blog post: Angsty; or didn’t I do this already?.

  44. chilly March 25, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    i need to finish ATLAS SHRUGGED only on page 447, goddamn that book is long!

  45. KassyK March 25, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Chic–Yeah, her life was wild and decadent but her writing is incredible…especially for how insane and confused she was at many points in her life. Her gift really is in her phrasing, her notice of everything, the fluidity of her words, and her need to give love.

    Her diary might make you more sympathetic to her–if anything, I don’t dislike her–I feel for her. She lived a really messed up, incredible life.

    Oh and I forgot to mention one of the best weaved stories of the past ten years—

    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Incredible book–amazing, British gothic mystery…and notoriously had the highest bidding war between publishers for a first time novelist’s story since Harry Potter came out.

    KassyK’s last blog post: March Girl Crush: Penelope Cruz is Muy Caliente…oh, and an Oscar Winner too..

  46. alphadominance March 25, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Good list. I really enjoyed “War and Peace.” On a more scientific note, “Power, Sex, Suicide” by Nick Lane is excellent.

    alphadominance’s last blog post: Ten Trillion and Counting.

  47. Chuck March 26, 2009 at 1:23 am

    finefantastic:

    haven’t read Dahl’s adult stuff, but why overlook his children’s material?

    BFG, Matilda, and Witches are wonderful.

    Also, there’s a book that I mean to get talking about how Roald Dahl was a spy during WWII.

    Chuck’s last blog post: The Directional Burp.

  48. Rita March 26, 2009 at 1:26 am

    I second the people who recommended Blindness by Saramago and Crime & Punishment by Dostoevsky. Those are two of my favorite books.

    A few others:
    -Anything by Gabriel García Márquez.
    -Anything by Jorge Luis Borges.
    -The Tunnel by Ernesto Sábato (extremely short, extremely complex)
    -The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde! I told you about that one already 😛
    -Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

    Okay, I’ll make myself stop here because I could go on forever.

  49. Bobby Rio March 26, 2009 at 8:35 am

    I don’t have time to read all the comments, so if some these books have already been stated- I apologize;

    And I completely agree about on the road… its like i try so hard to like it but just can’t…

    The Best (non business, non self help books)

    1. Lonesome Dove by McCarthy (best period)

    2. For whom the bells toll by Hemingway (much better than sun also rises)

    3. bright lights big city

  50. mitzi March 26, 2009 at 8:36 am

    why is it a good laugh to tell a feminist that American Pyscho is your favourite book of all time? That’s a really ignorant thing to say…It’s not offensive to feminists..

  51. Jen March 26, 2009 at 8:50 am

    I have to disagree with the recommendation for Pillars of the Earth. I thought it was very badly written. It is the only Ken Follett book I have written, but he comes across as a hack.

  52. Rudy and Blitz March 26, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Kassy is right about Philip Roth. I’d also add Evelyn Waugh to the list – very dry humor, and a fantastic storyteller.

  53. schoolboy March 26, 2009 at 10:10 am

    I highly recommend:

    Bang by Roosh V

  54. Chuck March 26, 2009 at 10:32 am

    bobby rio:

    i think you mean lonesome dove by larry mcmurtry

    Chuck’s last blog post: The Directional Burp.

  55. finefantastic March 26, 2009 at 11:30 am

    chuck: they are wonderful but most people don’t know his stories for adults. they have the same subversive tone as the kids books, but with more sex and violence and strange plot twists.

    finefantastic’s last blog post: Angsty; or didn’t I do this already?.

  56. chris March 26, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I second, third and fourth “Catch 22”. Funniest book you’ll ever read. Also, the movie is worth a look, but only after the book.

  57. Chuck March 26, 2009 at 11:55 am

    “but with more sex and violence and strange plot twists.”

    well i’ll be sure the check those out then…thanks!

    Chuck’s last blog post: New Gamesian Economics.

  58. The G Manifesto March 26, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    “American Psycho
    Incredible writing, though extremely disturbing (hungry rat trapped inside a woman’s vagina that was filled with blue cheese, etc.). For a good laugh tell a feminist this is your favorite book of all time.”

    Ha.

    This is probably my favorite book of all time (or top 5).

    It was my bedtime novel for years.

    – MPM

    The G Manifesto’s last blog post: James Beard Foundation Awards Nominees for 2009.

  59. T. AKA Ricky Raw March 26, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I don’t think the problem with the Fight Club book is that it’s inferior to the movie. I think the book’s problem is that the movie was incredibly faithful to it, to the point that the book feels almost redundant and irrelevant if you saw the movie first. Usually the joy of reading a book after watching the movie is to see what good parts the movie left out or to see characters fleshed out better or to see what the movie butchered. You get none of those joys with reading Fight Club because the differences between the book and adaptation are minimal. I think this may be what creates the impression that the book is inferior to the movie to people who saw the movie first.

    T. AKA Ricky Raw’s last blog post: A Question to the Readers.

  60. Kathryn March 26, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Am currently reading The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders – you’d love some of the theories.

  61. Anonymous March 26, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    roosh are u in venice, lemme know i swear i thought i saw you yesterday outside bondi bbq….

    if not, some dude who looks like u is rolling thick in calicali

  62. Chuck March 26, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    T:

    Good point. Usually, a movie is produced with quite a bit of lag time after the book. In the case of “Fight Club” the movie was produced within a couple of years of the book. Also, the book wasn’t wildly popular or anything. So, many people did see the movie before reading the book. I did as well.

    I’ll have to think back to past situations where I’ve seen the movies before the books and vice versa to see in which case the books seem better. I’d suspect that you’re right on this.

    Chuck’s last blog post: New Gamesian Economics.

  63. Benedict Smith March 26, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    pick up Less Than Zero by B.E. Ellis for his novel that made him an overnight success and cannot be overestimated. It’s amazing and you’d appreciate the nihilism.

    Benedict Smith’s last blog post: “Too Much is Never Enough” – Shyne.

  64. Grand Inquisitor March 26, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I second DF’s recommendation of Brother’s Karamazov. It is long but reads very quickly. If nothing else just read the first third and see if you aren’t hooked.

    Also Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb and I think you’d probably enjoy Sway (Braffman) from a game/ social dynamics perspective. Its so short you can read it at the bookstore easily.

    Lastly, The Mating Mind by Geoffrey Miller is very good, although I suspect you may have already read it.

  65. Rick March 27, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I agree somewhat on On the Road – its not my favorite book, but I would definitely say that its something you should read. Its just very time/scene-specific, and you really have to read it with that in mind. If you like poetry, jazz and drugs, youll probably like that book.

    American Psycho is fucking amazing. The movie is pretty great too, but the book is like fresh squeezed to the movie’s Snapple. I’d also recommend the other Ellis books Less Than Zero and Rules of Attraction. Dark and fucked up, but great commentary on certain parts of society and oddly addicting.

    The Jungle is widely known, but pretty underrated as far as getting recommended. It should be required reading for Americans, and especially those who jerk off to capitalism and large corporations. A lot of people are intimidated by it as being ‘wordy’ or something, or that its bland, but its actually a good page turner, and you really care about this family. Poor Jurgis is right. I’d also recommend Sinclair’s book “Oil”, which inspired There Will Be Blood, a fucking awesome movie. Oil is sort of more of a historical document than some amazing story, but again, people should know about this stuff.

    The Sun Also Rises is untouchable. As are For Whom The Bell Tolls, and A Farewell to Arms.

    I would recommend The Road by Cormac McCarthy – I too look forward to the movie. Shit is DARK though, fucking stark and depressing, but sort of fits your worldview, Roosh.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray is fantastic. Prob in my top 5. Good for those who ever thought they might like debauchery a little too much.

    Catch 22 is the one book Ive had to stop reading, and more than once. I just couldnt do it. Something about its sense of 50s/60s humor just annoys me.

    And finally (sorry so long), I strongly recommend the book, Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. Hard to explain this book, but something about finishing it will make you feel glad you did. The one thing you have to know about this book is that you MUST push through the first 100 pages. Its odd, but literally after 100 pages the book frees up and is much easier to read. Awesome book. Hank Stamper is a true Alpha.

  66. Donnie March 27, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Henry Miller is easily one of the most underrated writers to ever walk the planet. Everyone should read Tropic of Cancer to see what kind of art can be wrested from the fetid swamp of literary mediocrity in which we swim.

    I second the Brave New World and Catch 22 recs; I imagine you’ll dig both. Not a big fan of Bukowski’s novels, but went through three copies of Burning in Water Drowning in Flame before I had one custom-bound for my travels. Poetry is the least appreciated of all art forms, but I see Roosh written all over Burning.

    Kassy’s Roth rec is spot on too btw. Guy is a giant, truly.

    But for the pinnacle, my hat in the ring is The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Chabon is a lightning strike of unadulterated genius, a lyricist in a world of functionaries, and Mysteries, written before he had a reputation to uphold, far exceeds his later works. Also pick up A Model World, a collection of his early short stories. Thank me later.

  67. Suburban Sweetheart March 28, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    I’m a feminist who owns everything Bret Easton Ellis has ever written, starting with “American Psycho.” Try again, bud. Feminists like good lit, too. Even the disturbing stuff.

  68. hotdoguero March 30, 2009 at 12:17 am

    “One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” was a quick, somewhat dull read, but that doesn’t mean that Solzhenitsyn is a bad writer. If any of you want a truly enthralling, informative, and sometimes even darkly funny read (despite its enormous size), then get the entire four volume set of “the GULAG Archipelago” An incredible, terribly sad, grotesque look into all the details of the enormous soviet prison system that existed under Joseph Stalins rule in Russia. Too many people have no idea that this network of communist concentration camps killed at least 3 times more people then Hitler’s death camps.

  69. Lost Artist March 31, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    I have to disagree with you about The Sun Also Rises but your opinion on the Kite Runner is spot on. Sadly I haven’t read anything else on your whole list. I’ve been meaning to get around to some of the ones towards the top though. If you like Bret Easton Ellis you should read Less Than Zero. I thought it was phenomenal.

    Lost Artist’s last blog post: GGG ’09: Airbrush is forever..

  70. gordon comstock April 1, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    About ten years ago a beautiful teenage girl was browsing the Penguin Classics in a bookstore in a London suburb so i asked her if this was for study or pleasure…which led to asking what her favourite book/author was? She replied ‘American Psycho’. I brought her a copy of the Fermanta by Nicolson Baker and earmarked the two ‘story within a story’ short stories or ‘rot’ and asked her to think of me when she read them. Such a sweet beautiful girl.

  71. Hope April 2, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    You missed a very important book series.

    Dune.

    Read it. It awoke a spirituality in me that had long been dormant. It was absolutely life-changing for me.

  72. Lisa April 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    This is awesome, it is like a “What to buy your book-reader boyfriend for birthdays/holidays” tip sheet.

  73. Luke May 26, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Vladimir Nabokov is the greatest writer to come out of Russia, rivaled only by Tolstoy.

    Try “Lolita,” “Invitation to a Beheading,” or “Pale Fire.”