More Books 3

PREVIOUSLY:

Here are some brief thoughts on books I’ve read in the past year, from best to worst in fiction and nonfiction categories.

FICTION

ISBN: 0140041796
Switch Bitch

A Roissy-recommended book of four short stories written by famous children’s author Roald Dahl, originally published long ago in Playboy magazine. The first and last story are about the wealthy Uncle Oswald and his womanizing ways. “The Great Switcheroo” is a story about two men who attempt to trade wives for a night, and “The Last Act” is about a suicidal woman who loses the love of her life. The stories are very well written and I found myself racing to the unpredictable climaxes.

ISBN: 0451230620
The Running Man

With nonstop action this is like a summer Hollywood blockbuster in book form. If you don’t normally like books because they’re “boring,” you’ll like The Running Man, written by Stephen King under his pseudonym Richard Bachmann.

The government owns “the Network,” a broadcasting channel that takes reality television to a new level: on one show people with heart conditions are put on a speeding treadmill for prize money while another is called “Swim With Crocodiles.” Cheers erupt when contestants drop dead. These shows serve as an opiate of the masses to hide more serious problems with society.

Our hero eventually signs up for The Running Man show where contestants have to run from The Hunters for thirty days in order to win a billion dollars. Contestants get extra money for killing cops, but viewers get money as well if they report a sighting. The longest contestant survived for 8 days. I don’t want to give away the end (like the book’s introduction did), but it was quite satisfying.

ISBN: 0393312836
A Clockwork Orange

A 15-year-old and his “droogs” go around town doing the “ultra-violence.” He eventually gets caught and is rehabilitated to be a puppy dog who cannot lay a finger on anyone, even to defend himself, raising the question of how important moral choice is to being human. The first 50 pages of this book is hard to understand because of the made-up language that Burgess uses, but eventually you pick up on it and enjoy parts 2 and 3, where the book becomes a page turner.

ISBN: 1441407820
Siddhartha

A novelized introduction to Buddhism (with Hinduism thrown in) that chronicles one man’s search for wisdom and meaning. If you like Eastern philosophy you’ll enjoy it as many of the concepts will be familiar to you. It’s a quick, somber read that gets you thinking.

ISBN: 0345342968
Fahrenheit 451

This book depicts a future dystopia where book ownership is outlawed, and those burning the books are firemen. The main character, Guy Montag, is a fireman who becomes curious of books and how things were like when firemen put out fires instead of starting them. To him, society has to be more than being constantly glued to the television, wanting to be entertained. This is an good book, but more like a warm-up to 1984 then something I’d say is on the same level.

ISBN: 0060850523
Brave New World

Another dystopia book that shows how humans of the future will be chemically conditioned at birth to fit pre-determined casts (gammas, deltas, betas, and alphas). Conditioning continues in childhood with “sleep learning,” where a speaker near the bed teaches them an entire belief system that they will keep for the rest of their lives, all to maintain social order and stability, the ultimate goal of civilization.

All future humans know their place and are always happy, amused with constant distractions and soma, a pharmaceutical that causes blissful relaxation. A problem arises when a “savage” enters the picture and questions civil society. Some say we’ve more realized the vision spelled out in this book more than in 1984, as we’re drugged, always entertained, and trained to be apathetic through individualism. Brave New World is not quite a page turner but I did enjoy it.

ISBN: 0156468999
Keep the Aspidistra Flying

This is one of George Orwell’s earliest works that he claimed to write solely for the paycheck. It’s about an English man who rebels against the “money God” and quits his corporate job for a meager life as a poet and bookshop assistant. He’s initially somewhat happy at his noble lifestyle, but money soon becomes an obsession that shapes his relationships and turns him into a neurotic mess, until a drunken escapade sends him into the abyss. The main theme of this book can best be described as “Being poor sucks,” and while I enjoyed reading it, I can’t help compare it to George’s more famous and interesting work, Down And Out In Paris and London.

ISBN: 1416500278
The Picture of Dorian Gray

After Dorian’s friend paints a beautiful portrait of him, he prays to never age. His wish comes true and the painting ages while he remains young and flawless. He leads a dark life and the painting becomes a source of all his shame, driving him mad in the process. This book contains mostly flamboyant dialogue, but is somewhat enjoyable. The author had a lot of interesting thoughts on beauty and women.

ISBN: 0060932147
The Book Of Laughter And Forgetting

This book has seven short stories that are loosely related and filled with Kundera’s real experience in Czech during the Soviet occupation. The halo around Kundera’s writing has faded a bit for me after my second reading of The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, due to fatigue from his constant explanations into the motivations and behaviors of his characters. Here’s his basic formula: present a difficult situation between individuals with symbolic references to innocence or sex and then explain it to death. His writing is excellent and he’s eminently quotable, but parts of this book was a slog to get through.

ISBN: 0679720200
The Stranger

An emotionally detached man ends up killing an Arab. During the trial his thoughts on the meaningless of life becoming more evident. This very short book is an introduction to the philosophy of absurdism.

ISBN: 0679723161
Lolita

An old man falls in love with a 12-year-old girl. I’ll admit I bought the book for the pedophilic sex scenes but there were none. Instead we have the main character drone on about his love for the little girl in language that was too flowery for my taste. The writing was fine, but by the end of the book I still didn’t understand why he was so deeply in love with her.

ISBN: 0375700706
An American Dream

A distinguished war veteran and former Congressman faces problems with his marriage that he is unable to solve. He ends up killing his wife and then gets involved with the dark New York underworld. The book starts off strong with great writing but then falls apart in the second act.

NON-FICTION

ISBN: 0679785892
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Very entertaining story of the most legendary trip to Las Vegas ever recorded. That’s all you need to know.

ISBN: 068484267X
Angela’s Ashes

Well-written memoir of a boy growing up poor in Catholic Ireland around World War 2. Provides a good view of how fucked up Catholicism is. Book starts off slow but becomes more engaging as the narrator hits his teenage years. A little disorienting with the lack of quotation marks in dialogue.

ISBN: 0802130313
What The Buddha Taught

The book teaches you the main concepts of Buddhism including The Four Noble Truths, Anatta (doctrine of no soul), and Meditation. I wrote detailed notes about the book here.

ISBN: 0743223225
Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy

I read this book because I’m bombarded with so many different messages on what I should and shouldn’t eat that I was becoming confused. Basically I needed a manual on how to eat food. The book didn’t disappoint, using a scientific approach to push a natural, plant-based diet low in saturated and trans fat. The author skewered the USDA food pyramid and offered one of his own that limits dairy and meat intake. It was written a few years ago but is otherwise current with its conclusions.

ISBN: 0345390547
Den Of Lions

A reporter for the AP based in Lebanon repeatedly ignores dire warnings to his own safety until he finally gets kidnapped by Islamic Jihad. He is held for over seven years in various apartments within Lebanon, often with other hostages. This book is a memoir of his time held captive, leading up to his eventual release. The narrative is not exactly gripping (hard to do so when you’re chained up against a wall most of the time), but it was an interesting read if you want to mentally prepare yourself for behind kidnapped and held for long periods of time. I have to give the author credit for holding up in a situation where most other humans would break down.

ISBN: 0395859999
The Great Crash Of 1929

I was hoping for a more gritty account of how the commoners faced the depression, but instead I found a technical, month-by-month account of the events that led to the crash. The book offered some lessons for the future that were of course ignored.

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

Related Posts For You

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Willy Wonka
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Good list, I need to read more.

I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction lately. I haven’t read a fiction book since I graduated college 2 years ago. I may have to check one out again, just cause.

Willy Wonka’s last blog post: Dick Trophy’s Birthday Bash?!? (part 2).

nathan
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nathan
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some great books on this list. Brave New World is one of my all time faves. The Stranger is great but freaks me out because I can relate so well to the protagonist. I also agree that Fahrenheit 451 should be a ‘warm up’. I read it after 1984 and was a little disappointed that the world wasn’t as terrifying and fleshed out. Still haven’t read A Clockwork Orange or ‘Fear and Loathing’ but seen the movies and they’re both great. Have you read “Catch-22” yet? That’s a book worth blogging about.

The Rookie
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Not much time to read for pleasure because of grad school, but I did read The Picture of Dorian Gray. In today’s world, he really didn’t do anything that bad. I wish the author spent more time detailing his terrible deeds. Will pick up some more Kundera soon.

The Rookie’s last blog post: Round 2.

Jed
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Jed
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“Angela’s Ashes” is a non-fiction true story.

http://book.consumerhelpweb.com/authors/mccourt/angelasashes.htm

Jesse
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Jesse
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Buddhism is tough for westerners. Why not instead look into Stoicism?

This book is a great intro:
A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William Braxton Irvine

And regarding economics and the Depression this should be required reading, especially these days:
Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics by Henry Hazlitt

Given what I’ve seen of your interests and reading, I bet you’d dig both.

Jesse’s last blog post: Your Pity, Your Beautiful Tears.

jkc
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jkc
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good list. however, you did miss one.

http://tinyurl.com/3ahe4ma

and the release event is tonight at SOVA Wine Bar on H Street. Come check it out.

http://www.artbyjoel.com

Armchair Theoretician
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Roosh my friend, since you are into dystopia novels I recommend you download a couple free mp3 talks by a Scotsman named Alan Watt:
http://cuttingthroughthematrix.com/radio/Alan_Watt_CTTM_Live_on_RBN.html
He’s the best kept secret in the alternative media. And no, he doesn’t talk about fiction at all. You’ll be amazed and disturbed at the same time.

Reality is much, much crazier than any fiction out there. Oh, by the way, Aldous Huxley actually wanted to see the “Brave New World” he described come into existence. He was a totalitarian Eugenicist, as was his brother Julian, first secretary general of UNESCO. Huxley corresponded a lot with Eric Blair (aka George Orwell) in the 30’s and said that the 1984 jackboot phase would eventually morph into the “benign” Brave New World scenario, the scientific dictatorship – the “ultimate revolution”, as he describes and salivates over in many university talks he gave. Huxley was one badass sicko. The foreword in Brave New World is much more interesting and tell-all than the fictional part of the book.

If you find the time, read “Tragedy and Hope” and “The Anglo-American Establishment”, two big books by Georgetown University professor Caroll Quigley, former mentor of Bill Clinton. Quigley was an intimate insider of the establishment forces that govern the USA and England since at least 1913. He got into trouble for revealing so much insider knowledge in his books. A must for any historian and I would say any American as well. They cover the blind spots of history and politics. Stuff the mainstream media will never tell you.
http://www.amazon.com/Tragedy-Hope-History-World-Time/dp/094500110X
http://www.amazon.com/Anglo-American-Establishment-Quigley-Carroll/dp/0945001010

And/or these two:
http://www.amazon.com/Creature-Jekyll-Island-Federal-Reserve/dp/0912986395/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1
http://www.amazon.com/True-Story-Bilderberg-Group/dp/0979988624/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274903534&sr=1-1
The authors got death threats over these ones. Yet, millions of copies sold worldwide.

Armchair Theoretician
Guest

A few quotes for starters:

“The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank (…) sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.” (pg. 324)

“There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so. I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960’s, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies (notably to its belief that England was an Atlantic rather than a European Power and must be allied, or even federated, with the United States and must remain isolated from Europe), but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.” (pg. 950)

“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy.” (pg. 1247-1248 )

– Carroll Quigley, ‘Tragedy and Hope – A History of the World in our Time’ (1966)

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers.”

– Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), foreword to ‘Brave New World’ (1932)

“There will be in the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it (…) [through] brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods.”

– Aldous Huxley, speech at the California Medical School in San Francisco (1961)

Carl Sagan
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Carl Sagan
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If you want to get into stoicism I strongly recommend “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius. But you have to make sure you get the Gregory Hays translation.

Book made me think about what it means to be happy and fulfilled in a different way. I think it was all the more powerful given who wrote the book and what purpose it served him.

ElGuapo
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ElGuapo
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Bro, you have to read Shantaram. One of the best books I’ve ever read.

What about Miller’s works like Tropic of Cancer. Recommended?

ElGuapo’s last blog post: Living Series: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

just another one
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just another one
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good recommendations, thanks!

Flashman
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Flashman
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Maqroll by Alvaro Mutis.

Trust me, look it up on Amazon.

Also, of course, Flashman by George MacDonald

Houellebecq is the best dystopian writer in decades.

Omega Man
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Omega Man
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-A Clockwork Orange is terrific. Burgess turns it up to 11 in the first sentence and never lets up.

-I have read a lot of Orwell, but not “Keep the Aspidistra Flying.” The crucial way he differs from your average deluded leftist is that he was honest, probably the only honest leftist ever. Good to read if you want to understand the leftist mentality.

-The Portrait of Dorian Gray I remember as being very profound, but I can’t remember exactly how.

Omega Man’s last blog post: Anxiety And Me.

spandrell
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spandrell
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Gaming chicks and reading novels all day.
Now that´s a lifestyle.

Papillon
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Papillon
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I second the Shantaram recommendation.
the author, and a character in the book (a westerner) live in the bombay version of a favela, like you did

while i’m at it, i’ll also recommend the book that is my namesake: Papillon

Zictor
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Zictor
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“Some say we’ve more realized the vision spelled out in this book more than in 1984, as we’re drugged, always entertained, and trained to be apathetic through individualism”

Not entirely true. In the Western world, yes, Brave New World does apply more than 1984. However, here in China, 1984 rules supreme. The CCP control is subtler than in the book, but “doublethink” is everywhere in the way people here deal with their reality.

Rivelino
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Rivelino
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I love the fact that you recommend books, and not just self-help but actual works of literature. True game is about becoming a better person, a person of higher value. Good stuff Roosh, keep it up.

Rivelino’s last blog post: Being Disrespectful.

Spike Gomes
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Zorba the Greek.
Starts off slow, but then quickens. I think you’ll find it to your liking.

Amanda
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Amanda
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Have you read Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth?

V
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V
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I strongly believe that if you have not already read it you need to read:
The Mating Mind
Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters
Boink
The Score: The Science of Sex.

V’s last blog post: Up Until Now Everything I’ve Posted Has Been a Lie.

Vincent Ignatius
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This is a damn good list.

The Stranger has the most satisfying ending of any book I’ve ever read.

*spoiler*

“For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.”

Vincent Ignatius’s last blog post: Game in Opera.

The G Manifesto
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A Clockwork Orange is always worth a re-read.

– MPM

The G Manifesto’s last blog post: The Man Who Made it Snow.

sloopJohn
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sloopJohn
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’14: Like anything else you get used to it and it stops being special.’

I’ll take your word for it, but I find that hard to believe;)

MQ
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MQ
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Have you read Houllebecq? Fantastic, and works in some profound ‘game’ type elements. His early books are the best, I think, he starts to repeat himself a bit.

FARC
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FARC
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Multi-thousand year old philosophy, both eastern and western, is all a bit dumb. Read modern moral philosophers for much more nuanced and sophisticated considerations. Give Thomas Merton a peek.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
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Island is an excellent book by Aldous Huxley. It’s similar to Brave New World, but much more mature.

Mark
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Mark
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Good list. Would add The Master and Margarita (just plain diabolic) by Mikhail Bulgakov.

schwanson
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schwanson
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I just dropped a shit-ton of money buying a several of these from Amazon. I hate you all!!

JMW
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JMW
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I agree with Master and Margarita recommendation. It is my favorite novel I’ve read to date.

I know you weren’t big on Catch-22 (I wasn’t either), but check out Good As Gold by Heller. It is a solid satire of DC politics.

four arguments for the elimination of television by jerry mander is illuminating in showing just how fucked up television really is.

William Burroughs’ Cities of the Red Night is fascinating, confusing, and an all out attack. The interview series with him by Daniel Odier is good too.

The Feed by M.T. Anderson is an interesting, quick-read Sci-fi story.

The Book of Chuang Tzu is good Taoism. I lean more towards Daoism if I had to approach a life approach.

Ok, will stop for now. Thanks for the recommendations, I’m going to check out My Uncle Oswald and Kitchen Confidential.