T Nation

Books We Should Read in Our Lifetimes

My list. Grow yer mind.

they are all very different, but each is essential reading.

on the road- kerouac

dharma bums- kerouac

the divine comedy- dante alhigeri

william faulkner- absalom! absalom!, As I Lay Dying

leviathan- hobbes

the naked and the dead- mailer

beyond good and evil - neitszhe(sp)

a seperate peace- knowles

a farewell to arms- hemingway

the stranger- camus

focaults pendulum- umberto eco

master and margerita- bulgakov

metamorphsis- kafka

atlas shrugged- rand

young mans guide- alcott

siddhartha- hesse

ask the dust- fante

howl- alan ginsberg

naked lunch- burroughs

the power of myth- joseph campbell

the portrait of the artist as a young man- joyce

the drunken boat- rimbaud

ishmael - daniel quinn

the secret history- tartt

the secret teachings of don juan- castaneda

the alchemist- coehlo

the decameron

slaughterhouse 5- vonnegut

plato republic

the brothers karamazov- dosteyevksy

the catcher in the rye- salinger

the wealth of nations - smith

the picture of dorian gray- oscar wilde

tropic of cancer- henry miller

catch 22- heller

the wind up bird chronicle- murakami

brave new world- huxley

grapes of wrath- steinbeck

iliad/odyssey- homer

Discipline an Punish Michel Foucault

What is Structuralism Gilles Deleuze

Meaning in The Visual Arts Erwin Panofsky

Blue and Brown Books Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ways of Seeing John Berger

What is Philosophy Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

Seduction Jean Baudrillard

The Metastases of Joy Slovoj Zizek

The Myth of Sisyphus Albert Camus

Language and Thought Noam Chomsky

the prince- machiavelli

lord of the flies- golding

white noise- delilo

portrait of the artist as a young man, ulysses- joyce

young mans guide- alcott

blood meridian- mcarthy

the book of deeds of arms and chivalry-- christine de pizan

east of eden- steinbeck

leaves of grass- walt whitman

the politics- aristotle

the crisis- churchhill

hatchet- gary paulson

infinite jest- david foster wallace

essential manners for men- post

hamlet, king lear, othello- shakespeare

a seperate peace- knowles

a confederacy of dunces- toole

the great railway bazaar- theroux

fear and trembling- kirkegaard

all quiet on the western front- remarq

running with scissors- augusten burrougs

candide- voltaire

sophies world- gaardner

the crucible- miller

the tin drum- grass

night- elie wiesel

the jungle- upton sinclair

for whom the bell tolls- hemingway

the name of the rose- umberto eco

brave new world- huxley

Count of Monte Cristo (unabridged) - Dumas

Why the lack of Non Fiction?

If i could only offer one book to add it would be Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl.

I blame On the Road for me not getting to uni until I was in my twenties.

Turns out being a poetic, freight-train-jumping bum was a lot easier in 50s America than in 90s NE England… I just ended up on the dole.

Foucalt is a fucking waste of time, I would never read him again.

One thing that should be on this list is Les Miserables. Seriously, sit down, take the time, and read the book. It is absolutely incredible.

Shakespeare should also be in here. There’s a lot of translations, so to speak, that make him readable, and he pretty much writes the first version of every storyline you’ve ever seen in any movie ever.

Otherwise I agree with a lot of these. Except I would cut out the Dharma Bums (kind of sucked) and replace it with Moby Dick, which I’m currently reading. Herman Melville is amazing.

Some great suggestions there. I’ve read quite a few of those. Grapes of Wrath, Catch 22, Night by Ellie Wiesel, Metamorphosis, A farewell to arms, and Brave New World (so ahead of it’s time) are great books.

Way overrated in my opinion - The Brothers Karamazov, The Alchemist (basically an overlong fable), and Catcher in the rye.

I would also add to the list…Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada, probably the best book I’ve ever read, it stays with you forever, (Published in America under “Every man dies alone”), Great Expectations, American Pastoral by Philip Roth, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, Lolita (I was put off reading it because of the subject, but it’s amazingly well handled and is even humorous in places, a great book) and War and Peace deserves to be there just for it’s sheer scale and scope.

Kerouac is just too dated for me. I just can’t take it seriously. All that “hey cool cats, what you digging?” kind of stuff.

Naked lunch is probably the weirdest book I’ve ever read, but…

A portrait of the artist as a young man? are you kidding me? seriously? SERIOUSLY? That book is easily the biggest pile of shit I have ever read in my life. For the life of me I can’t understand why it makes these Greatest books in history lists. It’s awful.

Is this as good as Cider House Rules and World According to Garp?

I think I’d add some magical realism to the list: 100 Years of Solitude by G. Garcia Marquez, and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières (just don’t watch the film. Ever).

Lots of these authors wrote lots of great books. I would add:

crime and punishment, the idiot - dostoevsky
the trial, the castle - kafka
light in august, probably a lot of other great faulkner novels
philosophical investigations, and also probably the tractatus to see what wittgenstein was turning away from

why no tolstoy?

Also, Jack London. I love Jack London.

Catcher in the Rye = Holden’s the biggest fucking phoney of all.

History of the Franks- Gregory of Tours, kind of like a nonfiction game of thrones

Harrison Bergeron - Kurt Vonnegut, not really a book but excellent short story

1984 & Animal Farm- George Orwell

Beowulf

American Psycho- Bret Easton Ellis

Heart of Darkness- Joseph Conrad

Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God-emperor of Dune, Chapterhouse Dune- Frank Herbert

Do androids dream of electric sheep?- Phillip K. Dick

Starship Troopers- Robert Heinlin

Fight Club- Chuck Palahuniuk

A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Solzhenitsyn. I would recommend the Gulag Archipelago instead but I think that people will get the gist from reading A Day in the Life.

We Were Soldiers Once…And Young - Moore and Galloway. I learned some really solid leadership lessons from this book.

The Forgotten Soldier - Sajer. Really moving book about the experiences of a average German soldier on the Eastern Front.

Science and Practice of Strength Training - Zatsiorsky. Quit getting your training advice from random people on the internet.

james

The Real America: Messages from the Heart and Heartland - Glenn Beck
An Inconvenient Book: Real Solutions to the World’s Biggest Problems - Glenn Beck
An Unlikely Mormon: The Conversion Story of Glenn Beck - Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck’s Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government - Glenn Beck
Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government - Glenn Beck
Broke: The Plan to Restore Our Trust, Truth, and Treasure - Glenn Beck
The 7: Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life - Glenn Beck
The Original Argument: The Federalists’ Case for the Constitution, Adapted for the 21st Century - Glenn Beck
Being George Washington: The Indispensable Man, As You’ve Never Seen Him - Glenn Beck
Cowards: What Politicians, Radicals, and the Media Refuse to Say - Glenn Beck

Pretty good list so far, I’ve read a decent amount of those and like many of them. Not-so-coincidentally, the ones I read were mostly books I read in high school and the ones that I actually read instead of reading the SparkNotes ended up being books I liked, even though I was getting better grades when I read the SparkNotes instead of the actual book. Moral of the story, I would’ve been more learned and better educated if I didn’t prioritize grades over learning. I missed out on opportunities to read Othello, The Tempest, Dracula, Frankenstein, Gulliver’s Travels, and Candide all provided by local taxpayers because I thought that grades were the most important thing.

My recommendations to add:
The Allegory of the Cave-Plato (I think it was Plato)
Beowulf
Macbeth
No Exit-Jean Paul Sartre
The Courtier-Castiglione
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest-Ken Kesey
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-Robert Louis Stevenson
Dracula-Bram Stoker
Frankenstein-Mary Shelley
My Losing Season-Pat Conroy. The only basketball book I’ve ever read. I don’t even like basketball but I really like this book.
Fahrenheit 451-Ray Bradbury

What a great list thus far . . . I’d add these:

The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Deliverance - James Dickey
Annapurna - Maurice Herzog
No Shortcuts to the Top - Ed Viesturs
The Longest Day - Cornelius Ryan

Each will make you think about the ability to overcome, and generally promote your becoming harder to kill.

Poo the Bear.

The Ant and the Grashopper.

The little engine that could.

Hardly read any of them, but some of them are on my list to read. I usually find I do most of my casual reading after my exams in May. Brave New World and Lord of the Flies were excellent reads.

I also recommend The Long Walk by Slawomir Rawciz.

some of these were made into movies. do yourself a favor and read the book.
some will say this is a kids book. if you didn’t read it as a kid read it now and just enjoy it. the title does say “Books We Should Read in Our Lifetimes”

Musashi-Eiji Yoshakawa

Lord of the Barnyard: Killing the Fatted Calf and Arming the Aware in the Cornbelt-Tristan Egolf

The Gulag Archipelago-Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn

John the Balladeer-Manly Wade Wellman

Death in the Long Grass-Peter H. Capstick and M. Philip Kahl

The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld-Herbert Asbury

Storm from the East: From Genghis Khan to Khubilai Khan-Robert Marshall

Something Wicked This Way Comes-Ray Bradbury

The Book of Five Rings-Miyamoto Musashi

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever-Stephen R. Donaldson

Tarzan of the Apes-Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Complete Chronicles of Conan-Robert E. Howard

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil-John Berendt

Strip Tease-Carl Hiaasen

The Deed of Paksenarrion-Elizabeth Moon

The Art of War-Sun Tzu

The Lathe Of Heaven-Ursula K. Le Guin

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner-Dean Karnazes

Snowblind: A Brief Career in the Cocaine Trade-Robert Sabbag

Hungry Ghosts: Mao’s Secret Famine-Jasper Becker

The Witchery of Archery-J. Maurice Thompson

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream-Hunter S. Thompson

The White Plague-Frank Herbert

Roastbeef’s Promise: When Your Dad’s Dying Wish Is to Have His Ashes Sprinkled in Each State, What’s a Son to Do?-David Jerome

The Snow Leopard-Peter Matthiessen

not a book per se but a must read. my favorite, The Murders in the Rue Morgue.
the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe

[quote]Diddy Ryder wrote:
I blame On the Road for me not getting to uni until I was in my twenties.

Turns out being a poetic, freight-train-jumping bum was a lot easier in 50s America than in 90s NE England… I just ended up on the dole.[/quote]

Ha! Kerouac, Burroughs, Ferlingetti (I met him twice) Ginsberg are to blame for a lot of lost time, bad ideas, goofy behavior, furious drinking and great memories for me in the 90’s. A lot of their ideas of human potential and belief in personal freedom have stuck with me and IMHO made me a better person that I would have been.

My CFO is from the same area as Kerouac and every time he speaks I hear Sal Paradise.

Crazy from the Heat ~ David Lee Roth. A must read.