Monday, June 7, 2010

Almost 100 Worthwhile Reads

I found all of the following books worth my time. Books that come at the beginning are on my mind, and may be more significant. Series count as one. Plays count as well.

1. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
2. The Brothers Karamozov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
4. The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekov
5. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Becket
6. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
7. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
8. Ulysses by James Joyce
9. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
10. Dubliners by James Joyce
11. The Rabbit Novels by John Updike
12. American Pastoral by Phillip Roth
13. White Noise by Don Delillo
14. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
15. The Pearl by John Steinbeck
16. The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
17. Black Boy by Richard Wright
18. Native Son by Richard Wright
19. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
20. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
21. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
22. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
23. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
24. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
25. Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs
26. Mystery Train by Greil Marcus
27. Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stephenson
28. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
29. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
30. Roots by Alex Haley
31. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
32. Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon
33. For the Sins of My Father by Albert DeMeo
34. Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi
35. The Tempting of America by Robert Bork
36. Right Turns by Michael Medved
37. Parliament of Whores by PJ O'Rourke
38. Confessions by Augustine of Hippo
39. Surprised by Joy by CS Lewis
40. The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
41. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
42. The Space Trilogy by CS Lewis
43. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
44. Basic Christianity by John Stott
45. The Cross of Christ by John Stott
46. Warranted Christian Belief by Alvin Plantinga
47. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
48. The Collapse of the Fact-Value Dichotomy by Hilary Putnam
49. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
50. The Once and Future King by TH White
51. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
52. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
53. Silence by Shusaku Endo
54. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
55. A Song of Fire and Ice series by George RR Martin
56. The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr.
57. The Illiad by Homer
58. The Odyssey by Homer
59. The Aeneid by Vergil
60. The Giver by Lois Lowry
61. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
62. His Dark Materials series by Phillip Pullman
63. Time series by Madeleine L'Engle
64. 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
65. The Stand by Stephen King
66. 1984 by George Orwell
67. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
68. I, Claudius by Robert Graves
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
71. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
72. The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
73. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
74. King Lear by William Shakespeare
75. Othello by William Shakespeare
76. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
77. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
78. The Bible by Various Contributors
79. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
80. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
81. Flight to Canada by Ishmael Reed
82. Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
83. The Language of God by Francis Collins
84. The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins
85. The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
86. How to Read and Why by Harold Bloom
87. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
88. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
89. Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard
90. Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn
91. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

...and without naming some books that I didn't like all that much or textbooks that are worthwhile only to chemists and mathematicians, that's as far as we're getting in one sitting. (Edit: Thought of a few more.) Add in all the books in series and we're well over one hundred. For a very depressing evening, head over to Harold Bloom's canon and see all the wonderful works that you may never have time for.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Comprehensive Guide to Christian Behavior

This list is gleaned from years in the nondenominational (but actually denominational) Christian Churches/Churches of Christ. I have omitted Biblical citations for obvious reasons.

-go to bed early
-get up early
-be tidy
-marry as young as possible
-have children as soon as possible after marrying
-live in the place where you grew up
-if you choose to move, move to a smaller town than the one you grew up in
-eat lots of casseroles
-create pointless chores for your children
-say "No" for no reason
-make sure that your daughter has an extremely unfashionable hairstyle
-buy lots of knickknacks
-men - drive pickup trucks
-women - drive minivans
-do not talk to your children about sex until they are at least three years into puberty
-do not venture into densely populated areas
-vacation in Gatlinberg, TN

And if you do not stray from this path, my child, you shall earn salvation.

A Note on "Minimalism"

A fallback term for mediocre music critics, "minimalism" has come to mean "music that is simple and sparsely arranged." This use is extremely misleading. Historically, "minimalism" has referred to a style of American art music pioneered in the 1950s and 60s by composers such as Steve Reich, Terry Riley and Phillip Glass perhaps most strongly expressed in Glass's interminable "Einstein on the Beach." Minimalist music is characterized by the repetition of short, usually highly rhythmic phrases of music that vary gradually, often unnoticeably. It is difficult to overstate the impact of minimalism on popular music - virtually all hip hop and electronic dance music owes an enormous debt to the repetitions of minimalism, and sophisticated acts like LCD Soundsystem have recorded several gradualistic tracks. However, the records most often described as "minimalistic" are usually highly reliant on strong, varied melodies and and relaxed sense of time - qualities that minimalism deliberately avoids. Let's choose our words carefully.