Reading that opens the mind - Books

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by midcan5, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    Someone asked recently which writer influenced you most, and I list three, Albert Camus, Thomas Wolfe, and Feodor Dostoevsky. For Camus it was all his writings, Wolfe's 'You can't go home,' and D's 'Devils' and 'Brothers Karamazov.'

    So I complied a more modern list of reading that challenges and will surely make you think. And raise your IQ as well. Four asterisks are excellent first reads. Most is nonfiction, I will add fiction writers at end.

    What We Leave Behind By Derrick Jensen
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/What-Leave-Behind-Derrick-Jensen/dp/1583228675/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8]Amazon.com: What We Leave Behind (9781583228678): Derrick Jensen, Aric McBay: Books[/ame]

    Media / Hate / Ecology ****
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Culture-Make-Believe-Derrick-Jensen/dp/1931498571/ref=pd_sim_b_10]Amazon.com: The Culture of Make Believe (9781931498579): Derrick Jensen: Books[/ame]
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Manufacturing-Consent-Political-Economy-Media/dp/0375714499/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1249125348&sr=1-2]Amazon.com: Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (9780375714498): Edward S. Herman, Noam Chomsky: Books[/ame]

    Burning All Illusions : A Guide to Personal and Political Freedom by David Edwards
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Burning-All-Illusions-Personal-Political/dp/0896085317/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_3]Amazon.com: Burning All Illusions : A Guide to Personal and Political Freedom (9780896085312): David Edwards: Books[/ame]

    Politics - rhetorical thought - excellent ****
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Rhetoric-Reaction-Perversity-Futility-Jeopardy/dp/067476868X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246553514&sr=1-3]Amazon.com: The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy (9780674768680): Albert O. Hirschman: Books[/ame]

    Deer hunting with Jesus ****- excellent picture from a hick on hicks - said with respect.
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Deer-Hunting-Jesus-Dispatches-Americas/dp/0307339378/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books]Amazon.com: Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War (9780307339379): Joe Bageant: Books[/ame]

    Two excellent introductions to political thinking
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Political-Philosophy-Beginners-Students-Politicians/dp/0745635326/ref=pd_sim_b_1]Amazon.com: Political Philosophy: A Beginners' Guide for Students and Politicians (9780745635323): Adam Swift: Books[/ame]
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Political-Philosophy-Jonathan-Wolff/dp/019929609X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8]Amazon.com: An Introduction to Political Philosophy (9780199296095): Jonathan Wolff: Books[/ame]

    Great Depression and Bubbles
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Great-Depression-New-Deal-Introductions/dp/0195326342/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1230302046&sr=1-8]Amazon.com: The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (9780195326345): Eric Rauchway: Books[/ame]
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Short-History-Financial-Euphoria-Whittle/dp/0140238565/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1230302117&sr=1-2]Amazon.com: A Short History of Financial Euphoria (Penguin business) (9780140238563): John Kenneth Galbraith: Books[/ame]

    Poverty Global Issues
    Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet by Jeffrey D. Sachs
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Common-Wealth-Economics-Crowded-Planet/dp/0143114875/ref=ed_oe_p]Amazon.com: Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (9780143114871): Jeffrey D. Sachs: Books[/ame]
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/End-Poverty-Economic-Possibilities-Time/dp/0143036580/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_c]Amazon.com: The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time (9780143036586): Jeffrey Sachs: Books[/ame]

    Globalization and Its Discontents by Joseph E. Stiglitz
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Globalization-Its-Discontents-Joseph-Stiglitz/dp/0393324397/ref=pd_cp_b_2]Amazon.com: Globalization and Its Discontents (9780393324396): Joseph E. Stiglitz: Books[/ame]

    Economics
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/How-West-Grew-Rich-Transformation/dp/0465031099/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books]Amazon.com: How The West Grew Rich: The Economic Transformation Of The Industrial World (9780465031092): Nathan Rosenberg, L.E. Birdzell Jr.: Books[/ame]
    Great Depression
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Invisible-Hands-Businessmens-Crusade-Against/dp/0393337669/ref=ed_oe_p]Amazon.com: Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal (9780393337662): Kim Phillips-Fein: Books[/ame]
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Propensity-Self-Subversion-Albert-O-Hirschman/dp/0674715586/ref=sid_dp_dp]Amazon.com: A Propensity to Self-Subversion (9780674715585): Albert O. Hirschman: Books[/ame]

    Liberal thought - Waldron is excellent
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/God-Locke-Equality-Christian-Foundations/dp/0521890578/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8]Amazon.com: God, Locke, and Equality: Christian Foundations in Locke's Political Thought (9780521890571): Jeremy Waldron: Books[/ame]
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Justice-Fairness-Restatement-John-Rawls/dp/0674005112/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8]Amazon.com: Justice as Fairness: A Restatement (9780674005112): John Rawls, Erin Kelly: Books[/ame]

    Serious fun, thought provoking.
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/What-Have-Changed-Your-About/dp/0061686549/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8]Amazon.com: What Have You Changed Your Mind About?: Today's Leading Minds Rethink Everything (9780061686542): John Brockman: Books[/ame]
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/What-Believe-but-Cannot-Prove/dp/0060841818/ref=pd_sim_b_3]Amazon.com: What We Believe but Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty (9780060841812): John Brockman: Books[/ame]
    EDGE

    History
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Age-Extremes-History-World-1914-1991/dp/0679730052/ref=ed_oe_p]Amazon.com: The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991 (9780679730057): Eric Hobsbawm: Books[/ame]

    Evil - understanding a topic that confuses all.
    Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing by James Waller
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Evil-Ordinary-Genocide-Killing/dp/0195189493/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8]Amazon.com: Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing (9780195189490): James Waller: Books[/ame]

    Ideas - a survey from fire to ....
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Ideas-History-Thought-Invention-Freud/dp/0060935642/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books]Amazon.com: Ideas: A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud (9780060935641): Peter Watson: Books[/ame]

    Ethics - profound and deep
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Reasons-Persons-Oxford-Paperbacks-Parfit/dp/019824908X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8]Amazon.com: Reasons and Persons (Oxford Paperbacks) (9780198249085): Derek Parfit: Books[/ame]

    Other stuff to challenge you.

    "Is Democracy Possible Here? Principles for a New Political Debate" By Ronald Dworkin

    "The Morality of Freedom" By Joseph Raz.
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Morality-Freedom-Clarendon-Paperbacks/dp/0198248075/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248087360&sr=1-1]Amazon.com: The Morality of Freedom (Clarendon Paperbacks) (9780198248156): Joseph Raz: Books[/ame]

    Liberal Rights" Jeremy Waldron See Chapter 2 Page 35
    Liberal rights: collected papers ... - Google Books

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Ideology-Very-Short-Introduction-Introductions/dp/019280281X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239196362&sr=1-3]Amazon.com: Ideology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (9780192802811): Michael Freeden: Books[/ame]
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Liberty-before-Liberalism-Quentin-Skinner/dp/0521638763/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1247953101&sr=8-4]Amazon.com: Liberty before Liberalism (9780521638760): Quentin Skinner: Books[/ame]

    Modern writers worth reading William Vollman, Richard Powers, and the books below are all excellent.


    * Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance By Robert Pirsig
    Darkness At Noon By Arthur Koestler
    Angle Of Repose By Wallace Stegner
    Go Tell It On The Mountain By James Baldwin
    Invisible Man By Ralph Ellison
    Man's Fate, André Malraux
    Sophie's Choice By William Styron
    The Fall, The Plague, Albert Camus
    An American Tragedy By Theodore Dreiser
    The Heart Of The Matter By Graham Greene
    The Sound And The Fury By William Faulkner
    To The Lighthouse By Virginia Woolf
     
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  2. KittenKoder
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    KittenKoder Senior Member

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    What are these ... books? Some sort of ancient tablets? ;)
     
  3. Fatality
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    Fatality SunCrackedSoul

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    yeah, you know thoses things about which you and your comrade said people who quote from books are ignorant.
     
  4. KittenKoder
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    KittenKoder Senior Member

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    Really? I said that? ... yeah ... you pay attention well.
     
  5. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    LOL - read some of the excerpts on Amazon. Check out the Culture of Make Believe by Jensen. Edward's book along the same topic is interesting too.
     
  6. American Horse
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    American Horse AKA "Mustang"

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    Thanks for the thread MC. Quite a list – lots of choices. One author which you – and I – quote a lot not on your list is Eric Hoffer. I often go to one of his first three books The Ordeal of Change to find inspiration for clear thinking. On the other hand, I do not go much to Dostoevsky; but that's just me.

    Here is how Hoffer’s emergence as an author/philosopher/social commentator was summarized in the Editor's Preface of The True Believer when it was re-published in the Time Reading Program for the Special Edition in 1963:

    “In 1951, when "Believer" first appeared, eager eyes had long been peeled for the emergence of a proletarian philosopher. A genuine one emerged at last – with a philosophical cast very different from what a proletarian was supposed to think. The literary shock could hardly have been greater. For Hoffer’s hero is “the autonomous man,” the confident man at peace with himself, engaged in the present. In Hoffer’s book, this hero, nourished by free societies, is set off against “the true believer,” who begins as a frustrated man driven by guilt, failure and self-disgust to bury his own identity in a cause oriented to some future goal.”

    In his small (second) book The Passionate State of Mind, Hoffer goes further in describing the human characteristics of the autonomous man versus the true believer. He does this in 280 aphorisms on 141 pages, ranging in size from just less than a page at the beginning to as little as 6 words as the book progresses. He separates them by abundant blank space to give the reader time to absorb the last before moving on to the next.

    These three aphorisms give the gist of what he has to say; a long one in the beginning, one of medium length in the middle, and a very short one at the end:

    Aphorism 30:
    “WE ACQUIRE a sense of worth either by realizing our talents, or by keeping busy, or by identifying ourselves with something apart from us – be it a cause, a leader, a group, possessions and the like. Of the three, the path of self-realization is the most difficult. It is taken only when other avenues to a sense of worth are more or less blocked. Men of talent have to be encouraged and goaded to engage in creative work. Their groans and laments echo through the ages.

    Action is a high-road to self-confidence and esteem. Where it is open, all energies flow toward it. It comes readily to most people, and its rewards are tangible. The tendency toward it is rarely spontaneous. Where the opportunities for action are many, cultural creativeness is likely to be neglected. The cultural flowering of New England came to an almost abrupt end with the opening of the West. The relative cultural sterility of the Romans might perhaps be explained by their empire rather than by an innate lack of genius. The best talents were attracted by the rewards of administrative posts just as the best talents in American are attracted by the rewards of a business career.”


    Aphorism 170:
    “IN AMERICA not only are class lines indistinct but there is something at work which equalizes people irrespective of their education, possessions, occupations and their mental and physical attributes. The differences are relatively slight between the educated and the uneducated, the rich and the poor, soldiers and civilians, old and young, men and women, business leaders and labor leaders, the sane and the insane, and (considering the quantities of patent medicines consumed by all) the healthy and the sick.”

    Aphorism 255:
    “FEAR and freedom are mutually exclusive.”

    Here is a link to his bio in Wikkipedia and a list of books he’s written.
    Eric Hoffer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009
  7. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    I agree but I think too that times change and writers react to their times.

    Saw this list in a Newsweek and thought it interesting and worth sharing.

    I have been back reading Derek Parfit and now a Richard Powers novel, the echo maker. Both challenge.

    'What to Read Now. And Why'


    "We know it's insane. We know people will ask why on earth we think that an 1875 British satirical novel is the book you need to read right now—or, for that matter, why it even made the cut. The fact is, no one needs another best-of list telling you how great The Great Gatsby is. What we do need, in a world with precious little time to read (and think), is to know which books—new or old, fiction or nonfiction—open a window on the times we live in, whether they deal directly with the issues of today or simply help us see ourselves in new and surprising ways. Which is why we'd like you to sit down with Anthony Trollope, and these 49 other remarkably trenchant voices."

    Fifty Books for Our Times | Newsweek Books | Newsweek.com


    "If anybody asks me what I have accomplished, I will say all I have accomplished is that I have written a few good sentences." Eric Hoffer


    AH, I was going to use that quote and Hoffer in my avatar after the election, but since Obama bugs others I had to keep him. lol
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
  8. American Horse
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    American Horse AKA "Mustang"

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    Actually I like your Av and hope you keep it. The Obama family looks so "ideal" in it and that's the image you want to project. It's honest of you from your point of view. Maybe you could change around a little, but nothing could be more revealing than the family photo.
     
  9. Harry Dresden
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    Harry Dresden Latinum, Plantinum,Silver,Gold Member Supporting Member

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    yea you have any tissue....im getting a tear in my eye....:(
     
  10. hjmick
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    hjmick Gold Member

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    Louis L'Amour.
     

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