I'm Lazy

Monday, June 08, 2009

On occasion, we here at ATK like to take time out from drinking...

...wait. That's a lie. Let's start over. We here at ATK, sometimes between beers, read books! Honestly we do.

And I lack the brain power today to write up another post on Sotomayor, torture, gun laws, GM, those two reporters who got nabbed by the North Koreans or anything else. So today, we get a book meme.

Here's the deal. I don't like to "tag" people, so respond at your leisure, if at all. Also, the meme is a bit self-serving because I am trolling for some new books to read. This is a quick one. Name 15 books, the first 15 that come to mind, that will always stick with you; firsts, especially deep, especially funny, life-affirming...whatever. Just 15 books that have stuck with you over the years.

1. The Lord of the Rings (trilogy) – J.R.R. Tolkein
2. On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace – Donald Kagan
3. Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas – Tom Robbins
4. The (New) Complete Joy of Homebrewing - Charlie Papazian
5. Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
6. The Universe in a Nutshell – Stephen Hawking
7. A Brief History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
8. The Universe in a Single Atom – The Dalai Lama
9. The Hero with A Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell
10. The Prophet – Khalil Gibran
11. Think on These Things – Jiddu Krishnamurti
12. The Gnostic Gospels – Elaine Pagels
13. Dancing Wu Li Masters – Gary Zukav
14. Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates - Tom Robbins
15. The Brewmaster’s Table – Garrett Oliver

Post 'em in the comments, or take it to your own blog, or read and ignore til someone else puts up a more topical post.


Bob 5:39 PM  

Hmmm. Having just about boycotted reading anything thicker than the NY Times since I graduated college, this may be hard.

Fortunately, I recently begun enjoying reading again.

steves 6:51 PM  

Long day. Give me until tomorrow.

B Mac 7:22 PM  

No particular order:

1. Brief History of Time- Steven Hawking.
2. The Audacity of Hope - Barack Obama
3. The Paradox of American Power -Joseph Nye
4. D-Day- Steven Ambrose
5. Black's Law Dictionary- Some Know-it-all Pain in the Ass
6. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
7. The Prince - Niccolo Macchiaveli
8. America: The Book - John Stewart
9. I am America (and so can you)- Steven Colbert
10. The Art of War- Sun Tsu (okay, not technically a "book" but still)
11. The Grapes of Wrath- John Steinbeck
12. The Jack Ryan Series (especially Sum of All Fears)- Tom Clancy
13. I Hope they Serve Beer in Hell- Tucker Max (definitely NSFW).
14. Animal Farm- George Orwell
15. Brave New World- Aldous Huxley

Sopor 7:51 PM  

Yea, I'm going to overlap on at least a couple here...

1. H2G2

2. "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agnecy" and "Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul" - Douglas Adams

3. Salmon of Doubt - Douglas Adams

(at this point... anybody want to wager a guess on who my favorite author is?)

4. Wheel of Time Series - Robert Jordan

5. Ringworld Series - Larry Niven

6. How To Brew - John Palmer (probably one of the most influential books one me I've read)

7. Hobbit & Lord of the Rings - You know who

8. Fool - Christopher Moore (a take on King Lear from the view of Lear's Fool, HORRENDOUSLY entertaining! Also NSFW)

9. Prelude to Foundation - Asimov (I haven't read the rest, but this book made it CLEAR that I need to)

10. The Dark Half - King (Only King Novel I REALLY liked, because it is more like the Bachman novels)

11. Dune - Frank Herbert (If you can't find time to read it, Sci-Fi's mini-series interpretation is pretty good)

12. My Side of the Mountain - Jean Craighead Geaorge (possibly my favorite novel from my youth)

13. 1984 - George Orwell

14. A Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (No list of great books is complete without those last two)

15. Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons - Bill Watterson (And ALL other Calvin & Hobbes books!!)

I don't know that any of that is going to help you find a new book to read. Fool is the best book I've read in the past year. Ringworld is my favorite Sci-Fi book EVER. Don't read Salmon of Doubt is you have doubt in your faith of a higher power, and don't wish to have those doubts upheld and affirmed.

Mr Furious 12:39 AM  

I'm too tired to come up with a meme-list, but I'll recommend "Motherless Brooklyn" by Jonathon Letham(?), "Crossing to Safety" by Wallace Stegner, "LA Confidential" and "American Tabloid" by James Ellroy (again) and "Naked" by David Sedaris.

That'll hold you on any trip to the Lake.

Anonymous,  8:20 AM  

1. LotR - Tolkien

2. Hitchhikers Guide - Adams

3. Stiff - Roach

4. Diamond - ???

5. Salt - ???

6. Game of Thrones - Martin

7. Dune - Herbert

8. A Mind Forever Voyaging - Bester

9. Lamb - Moore

10. Fafhrd & Grey Mouser Series - Lieber

11. Elric Saga - Moorecock

12. Island of the Sequined Love Nun - Moore

13. Dresden Files - Butcher

14. Prime - Privateer Press

15. Players Handbook - Gugax

Sorry, I am a total escapist reader. Most of those books are fluff, as I read to avoid the world, on one level or another.

Jay 9:48 AM  

Here goes. Some are old favorites, some are books I have read in the last 4 or 5 years that really changed the way I think about certain topics.

1) LOTR, Silmarillion, Lays of Beleriand, etc - Tolkien

2) Hitchhikers Guide, Adams

3) Salmon of Doubt, Adams (for the reason that Sopor referred to above, I feel it deserves a separate entry from Hitchhikers)

4) Lions of Al-Rassan - Guy Kay (by a LONG way, my favorite fantasy novel of all time)

5) The Greedy Bastard Diary: A Comic Tour of America - Eric Idle

6) The Science of Discworld I and II - Pratchett and others (really nailed down in my mind how the sciences of evolution and cosmology evolved over the years and what they explain, in a very entertaining and accessible fashion for the layperson)

7) The New Ambidextrous Universe - Martin Gardner

8) Terry Pratchett - Discworld series (In addition to being all kinds of fun, I also admire watching how an engineer builds a fantasy world one great novel at a time)

9) If on a Winter's Night a Traveler - Italo Calvino

10) Sandman graphic novels- Neil Gaiman (I am not a fan of graphic novels, but I feel that anyone over the age of 16 or 17 who has any interest in fantasy should read these)

11) Beginning - Kenneth Branagh

12) America the Book - Stewart et al.

13) Labyrinths - Jorge Luis Borges

14) Born Standing Up - Steve Martin (I am reading it right now...quite interesting)

15) Made in America - Bill Bryson

Smitty 9:59 AM  

So many great books here!

B Mac: the Art of War and its later Prussian counterpart Vom Kreige were required reading for NCOs in the Marines. They have a permanent spot in my library at home.

Also, I used to read Tucker Max's web site every week. I have never bought the book, but I love his stories and ability to spin a yarn.

Sopor: you read the WoT series? I always suspected you were a fellow dork, but now I know for sure. If only we could do the Secret Gamers' Handshake online...

I have never read Foundation. I really want to. And you are the 4th person to suggest Ringworld. Guess I will have to try it. And I love Christopher Moore; Fool is on my to-do list.

Anonymous (Greg): I enjoyed Dune more than I ever thought. Of the original trilogy, though, I liked Children of Dune the most. Easily the most philosophically-challenging of the first 3. And I have been meaning to get going on the Dresden stuff...

Mr. F: I have been interested to read Naked. I got a bookstore gift certificate, so here's my reason to finally pick it up.

Keep 'em coming!

Smitty 10:02 AM  


Your list just added 14 new books onto my reading list for the summer. Great. It is clear, though, that I am going to have to read Salmon of Doubt.

George 11:56 AM  

Sorry, mine's going to be more of a "he went to school for years acting like a writer" list:

1) "Catch-22" Joseph Heller
2) "Madame Bovary" Gustave Flaubert
3) "The Cherry Orchard" Anton Chekhov
4) "Macbeth" William Shakespeare
5) "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung" Lester Bangs
6) "Anagrams" Lorrie Moore
7) "To a Blossoming Pear Tree" James Wright
8) "Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century" Greil Marcus
9) Pauline Kael, hard to say which collection (pick the one with the most movies you know in it--"When the Lights Go Down" is a good one)
10) "Beginning to See the Light" Ellen Willis
11) "White Noise" Don DeLillo
12) "Baseball Prospectus" (and before that the Bill James Abstracts)
13) "High Fidelity" Nick Hornsby
14) "As I Lay Dying" William Faulkner
15) Colson Whitehead "John Henry Days"

Bob 4:55 PM  

A couple books I read recently:
My Fathers' Daughter - Hannah Pool
This is a story of a Hannah Pool, who returns to Africa to meet her birth family after being adopted to London.

Dreams of My Father - Barack Obama

Currently reading:
Black Baby White Hands: A View from the Crib by Jaiya John
A story of a black man raised by white parents.

See a trend here?

Other books:
A great book which provides a glimpse into the life of a Native-American girl during pre-Columbian times is:
Waterlily by Ella Cara Deloria

As mentioned: Dune, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. The third book gets way out there. I am betting hallucinogenic drugs would clarify some of the third book for the reader.

Read many of the best Tom Clancy novels a long time back:
The Hunt for Red October, Red Storm Rising, Patriot Games, The Cardinal of the Kremlin , Clear and Present Danger, The Sum of All Fears, Without Remorse
I got bored with them when they became mere outlets for Clancy’s conservative views.

Also Juan Williams did a nice companion on the civil rights series on PBS: Eyes on the Prize. It’s a good primer on civil rights history.

I have a pile of books to read given to me as gifts:
I want to break into 1776 by David McCullough and also have his book: Truman, but I probably don’t want to know that much information about good ‘ol Harry S.

John R. 5:02 PM  

1 - 1984, of course!

2 - Wheel of Time series, at least the first 5 or 6, I can't remember when I stopped really loving it and started reading out of obligation. I thought I remember it picking up toward the end, though.

3 - Ball Four, Jim Bouton

4 - The Road, Cormac McCarthy (I honestly enjoyed No Country for Old Men more while I was reading it, but The Road stuck with me longer after)

5 - Small Stakes Hold 'Em - Ed Miller

6 - The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - Michael Chabon

7 - The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Michael Chabon

8 - Baseball Prospectus 2002 (because it was the first one I bought)

9 - The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

10 - 2005 State of Michigan Telephone Directory

11 - Basketball on Paper, Dean Oliver

12 - America the Book - Daily Show people

13 - Moneyball - Michael Lewis (though the draft section sure isn't aging well!)

14 - "Whatever parts of The Bible they teach you in Catholic School, because you don't read The Bible itself," Vatican II (???)

15 - Orientalism - Edward Said (If for no other reason than convincing me I wasn't bright/ambitious/clever enough for grad school at age 22)

I really recommend Kavalier and Clay and Yiddish Policemen's Union.

steves 7:02 PM  

1. Hitchhiker's Guide
2. Old Man's War-John Scalzi--Best sci fi book I have read in the last few years.
3. Bible
4. A People's History of the Supreme Court-Peter Irons, and The Supreme Court-William H. Rehnquist--Gives a good overview of the history of the Court from two very different political perspectives.
5. Wheel of Time--I am glad the final book comes out this fall.
6. Leviathan-Thomas Hobbes
7. The Social Contract and Discourses-JJ Rousseau
8. Bravo Two Zero-Andy McNabb--I like military history, but often they are not well written. This guy proves that isn't always true.
9. Game of Thrones-G RR Martin
10. Battered Bastards of Bastonge-George Koskimaki--A family friend is mentioned in this book. He says it is a very accurate account of the Battle of the Bulge.
11. The Glass Bead Game-Herman Hesse
12. Harry Potter--I thought the author did a great job of creating characters that were plausible and likable.
13. Necessary Illusions-Noam Chomsky--My dad dragged my to a lecture by Chomsky when he was touring to promote this book. Fascinating, even to 13 year old.
14. Night Angel Trilogy-Brent Weeks--Good, fun fantasy about an assassin.
15. The Deed of Paksenarrion-Elizabeth Moon--Fantasy.

Sopor 9:24 PM  

A geek, through-and-through I am, Smitty, that is for sure.

H2G2 is quite popular with this crowd apparently... in general it looks like we've got a bunch of Sci-Fi fantasy nuts... LotR, WoT, Dune... Anybody read The Sword of Truth series? I just got done watching the first season of the TV show based on it... and I would HIGHLY reccommend that if you've read it... DON'T watch the show.

steves 9:42 PM  

The Sword of Truth was good, at first, but he should have stopped writing after the 3rd or 4th book. I thought the TV series was ok.

B Mac 8:28 AM  

FWIW, my nephew seems to enjoy "The Hungry Caterpiller", as well as the "Llama Llama" series and "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"

Bob 8:19 PM  

Yes, B Mac, I too an fond of Llama Llama too, especially, Llama Llama, Mad at Mama.

My kid is into Dr. Sueuss now. Damn I hate reading that shit. I hid those books.

Smitty 7:51 AM  


Of your list, I loved Catch 22. I read it in my high school AP Lit class, and have since read it multiple times. I really enjoy it. Shakespeare is obvious, and believe it or not, I have read that Faulkner book (I sometimes struggle with his writing). Of your list...what one would you most highly recommend of those I haven't read? Just curious. As you have helped me expand my musical horizons, so I ask you for literary expansion as well!

John: "005 State of Michigan Telephone Directory"


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay? What's it about?

Steve: WoT has a final book?? Is it like number 36 or something? I quit after 8.

Necessary Illusions-Noam Chomsky: I will add it to The List.

Sopor 8:38 AM  

Steves... yea I never got past book 5 or 6 of The Sword of Truth. About that time I discovered the Wheel of Time, and realized that Terry Goodkind's writing, while decent, could not hold a candle to Jordan's.

However... the TV show was... APPALLING. If I had not read the books, I might have found it OK... but the just completely SLAUGHTERED the story, and I was NOT happy.

George 11:57 AM  

Smitty, hard to say what to recommend from my list as it's all over the place. There's a lot of what could be grouped as rock criticism, but it goes in different directions--the Willis is feminist but in a fun way, the Bangs is all over and wild, the Marcus sort of about the Sex Pistols but also about Dada and the Situationists and all sorts of odd movements (is the toughest read).

Kael is great film criticism, plus she just writes incredibly well sentence by sentence.

"Anagrams" is a poignant and very funny novel. "White Noise" is also very funny but also sort of terrifying. Both are partially set in academia, so that's a draw for me too.

"High Fidelity" is way better than the movie, and if you're a list-maker and music snob, an incredibly perceptive book.

"John Henry Days" manages to be about the world of publicity, and race, and history, and isn't an easy read but still is very very funny.

Does that help?

John R. 10:59 AM  

Kavalier and Clay is mostly about two cousins hitting it big as comic book creators in the "Golden Age" of comics. Scope is very broad and covers a lot, but at the same time it's really about Joe and Sammy.

Sopor 11:25 AM  

Has anybody read anything by Chuck Palahniuk? I've now seen two movies based on books of his, Fight Club and Choke, and it seems that he can write a very compelling story... I'm curious if the rest of his work is as good?

steves 8:38 PM  

Sopor, his books are good and are fun to read. If you like his movies, there is no reason you shouldn't like the books.

Mrs Furious 11:43 AM  

Am I allowed here?!

I don't have time for a full 15 but here are some books that I never have gotten out of my head.

Fear not these are not women's books ;)

The Shipping News, Annie Proulx

Crossing To Safety, Wallace Stegner

Big Rock Candy Mountain, Wallace Stegner...

I used to think Crossing to Safety was one of my favorites, and it is, but I cannot get the characters out of Big Rock out of my mind and it's been 2 years.

The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers

Peace Like A River, Leif Enger

A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers

Smitty 1:57 PM  

Mrs F! You are always most welcome here. Usually, we're talking about beer, but you caught us red-handed in a cultured moment. There are none too many of these.

BRCM: I had heard once that it was an influence to that movie Legends of the Fall; one violent brother, 2 brothers vying for dad's affection, growing up rootless and momless in hardscrabble America...

The Shipping News has been recommended before, but I never got to it. Maybe I'll give it a whirl...

Mr Furious 3:30 PM  

Kavalier and Clay is indeed excellent—though it helps if you're a comic fan. Not necessary, but a bonus.

Shipping News. though the movie was very good, it pales in comparison to the book. Read it first.

Naked is fucking hilarious—I cried on the NYC subway while reading it, but it seems a better library move than purchase...though I have lent my copy out many a time.

High Fidelity is also very good—much better than the movie. (do I detect a theme here?)

Mrs Furious 3:50 PM  

BRCM... I can see that actually. But they are very different. It's like if you crossed Legends of the Fall with Road to Perdition and then added a whole lot of crazy. It's very intense and focuses much more on the abusive/insane/ambitious father. Stegner is also a fast and engaging read because he writes from the multiple points of view of the characters; son, father, & wife masterfully presenting different ages and genders. He's got the psychology of the relationships and interactions down in a way I have not found with another fiction writer.

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