Friday Five, early edition: of books and lists

Filing the Friday Five early this week, since I’ll be taking Friday off — and why should I blog on my day off?

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to post for a long time about Esquire magazine’s list of 75 books every man should read. That link has been lying around in the RSS feed, starred but neglected, for some time now. And since it’s Friday Five time, what better time to:

  1. highlight five from that list that are among my all-time favorites (and yes, I’ve read more than five from that list)
  2. write a mini (five-word) review of each, and
  3. challenge readers of either gender (or trans) to do the same — either in the comments or on their own blogs (please leave a note if you’re posting your list on your own blog)

So, here, in no particular order, are my five faves from Esquire’s list, complete with mini-review.

  1. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey. McMurphy: best Christ figure ever.
  2. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison. Identity politics. Speaks for everyone.
  3. A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories, by Flannery O’Connor. Grotesque, spiritual, but “oncet” offputting.
  4. A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole. Laugh out loud funny, tragic.
  5. The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Best novel ever. Enough said.

Let’s hear from you!

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Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

8 thoughts on “Friday Five, early edition: of books and lists”

  1. I am going to go with On the Road (Kerouac), Suttre (McCarthy), Huck Finn (Twain), Sometimes a Great Notion (Kesey) and Catch-22 (Heller). But I reserve the right to change my mind. I am also a big fan of Confederacy of Dunces and Brothers Karamazov. And I think any real man’s reading list should include plenty of Hunter Thompson, Kurt Vonnegut and possibly Willa Cather. Also, everyone should read Raymond Carver’s short stories. I’ll put up something like this with links on my sketchy blog soon.

  2. Note to self… cut back on online marketing… I look at the post and first thing I check and notice is that every link goes to amazon through an affiliate link and think… man that took a while to setup all that, but great marketing tactic!

  3. I totally agree that there should be some women authors on that list. Can’t a man read a book written by a woman and appreciate it? I would hope so. So, I’ve picked my top three from this list and then added two by women. :)

    Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

    Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry

    Brothers Karamazov – Dostoevsky

    Daniel Deronda – George Eliot (really, Mary Ann Evans)

    Saint Maybe – Anne Tyler

  4. I’m not a strong reader, so I can’t play this time.

    However, when Esquire magazine releases a list of 75 movies every man should see – I’m in!

    Or, a list of 75 books every man should read to his kids…

    Enjoy your day off, Andrew!

  5. Lance – Good picks. I would put Catch-22, Slaughterhouse-Five and Huck Finn in my top 10. But as for changing your mind. Once you’re on the record, you’re on the record.

    Kyle – I also marveled at how painstakingly Largehearted Boy labored to link all 75 books to his Amazon affiliate. It is a clever approach, but I was too lazy to do even five.

    Alison – It is shocking that there is only one woman included on the list (Flannery O’Connor). Saint Maybe is a good pick. I’ve never read anything by George Eliot (or Willa Cather, for that matter). But I do appreciate the works of Anne Tyler, Ursula Le Guin, Eudora Welty, Anne Lamott, Joyce Carol Oates and Toni Morrison, to name a few female writers.

    Todd – Since this list was from Esquire’s 75th anniversary edition, I doubt they’ll do another “75 ______ every man ought to (read/watch/listen to).” Maybe in another 25 years they’ll have that movie list. But knowing how magazines love lists, I’m sure we’ll see another one before long — if not from Esquire, than from somewhere else. Until then, here’s your list.

  6. Huck Finn, definitely. Twain wrote it here in Elmira NY.
    I was overjoyed to see Jim Harrison’s Legends of the Fall. He’s one of the great living American writers.
    Why Dharma Bums and not the barrier-breaking On The Road?
    Kerouac loved Henry Miller and so do I. Tropic of Cancer was a pioneering work, banned in this Puritan country for a long time.
    A Confederacy of Dunces is a classic. John Kennedy Toole, a fairly young man, committed suicide shortly after writing it,.
    Anais Nin should have been on the list. Males should read her Diaries for insights into men and women and artists.

  7. @Andrew – Thanks for a list more my speed (read: slow lane). Seen all but 2 on that list: Taxi (it’s a French movie, and I prefer onion rings) and Swordfish (have only seen clips of that one).

  8. Dennis – I appreciate your picks and agree all males should read Anais Nin. I discovered “Delta of Venus” in my father’s den as a lad and it was quite an eye-opener. (He also had Tropic of Cancer on that bookshelf but it wasn’t until college that I read that classic.)

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