Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dude Lit

You know I love chick lit, as sort of a "guilty pleasure." It's one of those things that's just fun, even if you know before you get the book home that the girl will get the guy and the new shoes in the end. I found on Bookchase a post about Esquire magazine's column on "75 Books every Man Should Read." I wondered why it was specific to men, as there are some damn good books on here, but I guess that probably has to do with it being a men's magazine, like "The Ten Money-Saving Tricks Every Woman Should Know" that actually work regardless of your plumbing.

You can find the article here. But I've got the list below. I bolded the ones I've read:

1. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, by Raymond Carver
2. Collected Stories of John Cheever
3. Deliverance, by James Dickey
4. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
5. Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy

6. The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
7. The Known World, by Edward P. Jones
8. The Good War, by Studs Terkel
9. American Pastoral, by Philip Roth
10. A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories, by Flannery O’Connor

11. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
12. A Sport and a Pastime, by James Salter
13. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
14. Time’s Arrow, by Martin Amis
15. A Sense of Where You Are, by John McPhee

16. Hell’s Angels, by Hunter S. Thompson
17. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
18. Dubliners, by James Joyce
19. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike
20. The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James M. Cain

21. Dog Soldiers, by Robert Stone
22. Winter’s Bone, by Daniel Woodrell
23. Legends of the Fall, by Jim Harrison
24. Under the Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry
25. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer

26. The Professional, by W.C. Heinz
27. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
28. Dispatches, by Michael Herr
29. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
30. Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates

31. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
32. The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara
33. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
34. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
35. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey

36. Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
37. A Fan’s Notes, by Frederick Exley
38. Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis
39. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami
40. Master and Commander, by Patrick O’Brian

41. Plainsong, by Kent Haruf
42. A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
43. Affliction, by Russell Banks
44. This Boy’s Life, by Tobias Wolff
45. Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin

46. The Adventures of Augie March, by Saul Bellow
47. Women, by Charles Bukowski
48. Going Native, by Stephen Wright
49. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
50. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, by John LeCarré

51. The Crack-Up, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
52. CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, by George Saunders
53. War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
54. The Shining, by Stephen King
55. Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson

56. Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
57. Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie
58. Labyrinths, by Jorge Luis Borges
59. The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe
60. The Sportswriter, by Richard Ford

61. American Tabloid, by James Ellroy
62. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Alex Haley
63. What It Takes, by Richard Ben Cramer
64. The Continental Op, by Dashiell Hammett
65. The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene

66. So Long, See You Tomorrow, by William Maxwell
67. Native Son, by Richard Wright
68. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, by James Agee and Walker Evans
69. Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
70. The Great Bridge, by David McCullough

71. The Dharma Bums, by Jack Kerouac
72. Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
73. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
74. Underworld, by Don DeLillo
75. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

I'm not a guy, but I was surprised to see that I've only read 11 out of the 75 listed. Some of them, like Slaughterhouse Five and Affliction, seem like ones I would have read, too. I wonder about some of their choices, too: The Dharma Bums instead of On the Road? The Crack-Up instead of The Great Gatsby or This Side of Paradise? Did they do that just to be iconoclastic, or did the person who compiled the list really believe that those were better?

I should note that the list isn't ranked, too. They aren't actually trying to say that the Raymond Carver book is better than Huck Finn.But I like lists like these, even when they put me to shame. They always remind me of books I've meant to check out but never have. I've been wanting to read one of the classic Russian novels for a while now, and the list had a couple of good suggestions. A couple of years ago, I read an excellent short story about a young teacher who was doing This Boy's Life with her class, and it sounded like an engaging book. I'd forgotten all about those ideas, but this list helped bring them back to the forefront. It also gave me another idea: trying to do my own list of what I consider essential reading. Maybe tomorrow!