Every now and then, a discussion is launched answering the
question "what books do y'all think are classics?" This
is an attempt to capture (archive) some of that info.
On this page, novels alphabetized by title.
short stories or novellas
have their own lists. So does
science fiction. All
Science Fiction |
All Quiet On the Western Front,
Possibly the greatest war novel ever written. The best one I've
I've not read War and Peace but I've read AK twice.
Some would say Anna Karenina has everything - history, romance, sex, power,
religion, philosophy, social taboos (and the flaunting thereof) ... :)
Also classic conflict of "emotion" v. "reason".
Some say A.K. is Tolstoy's best book.
The Art of War,
It's practically older than dirt and still relevant. Good source of
quotes or reference book for politics, managment, chess, etc. You'll
find the actual text brief, but the various interpretations can add a
lot of meat to the book. Like a code reference book, you'll want to shop
around before selecting a particular version.
Because it's the best novel-ization of a libertarian economic/social philosophy (objectivism) that you'll ever read. You also need to acknowledge the context - ie, Rand was a refugee from Russia and this was her response (IMO) to that communist threat. Written in the, umm, 40s I think. In fact, you should probably first read _Anthem_. It's short (and was written earlier) but it sums her philosophy of the importance of the individual in a way that I've read no where else. She had a major impact on my world view as a teen and into my 20s -- I argue with her a bit (ok, quite a bit!) when I re-read the works. I'm overdue on a re-read. Extremely idealistic.
It's got monsters and dragons and heros and swords and stuff.
You'll be the only kid on your block who really
knows what Catch 22 is. You'll also learn Snowden's
Secret which is the secret of life. But mostly because
you'll have fun. Don't watch the movie, Mike Nichols
was way off mark. M.A.S.H. was a better movie version
of Catch 22 than Catch 22 was.
Essay on Man or Essay on Criticism,
Great ideas exquisitely expressed. If you don't like
great ideas, read Pope's Rape of the Lock instead -
cynically insignificant ideas exquisitely expressed.
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
Less sensationalistic that his other works, but
definatly a good primer on your country's political
system from one of the people who was there. With a
seriously twisted view.
entertaining and not as long winded as Atlas Shrugged
Grapes of Wrath,
I read this for the first time about 3-4 years ago. Excellent portrayal of post-depression, rural america. It gave me a perspective into my parents' life that I could not appreciate as a teen. I believe he won a Pulitzer for this.
Also, Ed Gardner
Gone With The Wind,
For its portrayal of the civil war, especially Reconstruction. SO much better than the movie.
Also, Ed Gardner
or go to the play. :)
I re-read the book after seeing the play -- insights into French Revolution. Dark.
essential political reading
still relevant text of political behaviour
Principles of Psychology,
An American, James believed that belief (will) is a prime determinant of attitude, and that emotions follow physical sensation -- ie, act happy => feel happy, tremble => feel afraid, hit someone => feel anger ... NOT the other way around (ie, we chose to feel POed at the idiot BDC who cuts us off in traffic *g*). I remember when I was introduced to this concept (chosing to feel anger) in the early 80s - and I'm still re-learning it. This book is held as one of the most important books in the history of psychology -- when psychology was a discussion of thought more than essays on chemicals and neurotransmitters.
also on school lists, but with good reason. See above (Politics)
Still Life With Woodpecker,
Robbins is kind of a Vonnegut on acid. I've read two of his books
(this one and "Only Cowgirls Get the Blues" and Woodpecker was the
most enjoyable, in spite of the main character's fawning over Ralph
"L'etranger" (or the Stranger),
a must for "existential" reading (that is; approachable)
Little known, based on a NFB series by an ex military/
political journalist. An excellent look at the title subject.
Puts reading VonClauswitz, Sun Tzu, and Machiavelli in a
War and Peace,
This is, IMHO (and that of a few others, as well) the greatest novel
in European literature (defining Europe to include Great Britain
and the US, as well). It has *everything*, history, romance,
war, much philosophy, etc.