Apr 27, 2012

Daunting indeed.

The folks at ShortList.com have gathered a list (go figure) of 14 daunting books every man should read. Women are strangely absent from this, but whatever. It shows me how little I read, which is something I guess I should be ashamed of, but I'm honestly not. I fall somewhere in the median of being well read, but I've only taken the time to finish three of these books (Moby Dick, War & Peace, and a Brief History of Time), and I can't really remember much about them. I recall enjoying them, but it's been so long I can't tell you exactly why. I can; however, speak to the commitment I made to finishing War & Peace and Moby Dick, which was a task for sure. A Brief History of Time amazed me in the fact that it's written in layman's terms and was quite entertaining considering the subject matter.

Still I'll make a non-gender specific list of books people should read, that were at least daunting to me.

1. A People's History of the United States: Howard Zinn's classic is a must read for anyone that has any interest in learning about the history of the United States. It's a refreshing look, considering it's written from the view of the masses, and not the privileged few. It's a page turner, even with it's length.

2. The Bible: The Bible, Koran, and Tanakh are books everyone seems to have an opinion on, but very few have actually read. They all seem more referenced then actually read for that matter. Still we live in times where religion infiltrates, or some would say poisons, our politics, and a read of our country's most popular holy book should be done, whether your religious or not. The Bible is a daunting piece indeed, especially Leviticus, which is so painfully dull. Still after reading the book you may find the character of Jesus completely different than the prince of peace many make him out to be, and the Revelation According to John is fascinating as it is wacky.

3. John Adams: David McCullough is one of the great writers of our time, and everyone should read at least one of his works. John Adams is by far my favorite, followed by a close second with 1776. His creativity making history into an actual story makes reading about long dead guys actually interesting, which can be difficult for most.

4. The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of the best sci-fi books to ever be written, and one of the few that made me laugh out loud. The four subsequent novels are equally as hilarious and thought provoking.

5. Confederates in the Attic: It's been often said that if someone wants to understand the character of the United States, one look no further than to the civil war. Confederates in the Attic is really about the lasting impact the war between the states has on the populace today, and how many have transformed memorializing the conflict into something resembling a religion. It's a fascinating look at how people are so fixated on the lost cause and how it still divides us in many ways.

6. Dune: If sci-fi had their Ulysses, Dune would likely be it. I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi literature, but this story captivated me in ways no other has. Timeless in its themes, it really grabs a hold of your imagination and paints a vivid picture of aristocratic strife over resources.

"In the United States today, the Declaration of Independence hangs on schoolroom walls, but foreign policy follows Machiavelli." - Howard Zinn


Anonymous said...

The third Hitchhikers book was tooo dryyyyyyy. God, that book put me to sleep too many times. I gave up on the third try. I could never finish it.

Miss Ash said...

I haven't read any of those.....and NO I'm not into Harlequin romance novels LOL!

Pablo Gerber said...

Done with Moby Dick and War and peace. Not so sure I'll pick up Dune, But I will certainly go get "A People's History of the United States" I've been wanting to read it for a while now.