So Does This Make Me a Man?

Over last weekend I was surfing the internet looking for the recipe for the perfect martini. I found that there are several opinions on this (and don’t get me started on the whole gin vs. vodka thing) but I found a good recipe on the website The Art of Manliness.

I used that recipe, and started exploring the page. They had a page on the 100 books every man should read. While I’ve never worried about my status as a man, I’m a sucker for booklists. I even have booklist of my own. So how did I do?

Well, of the 100 books they list, I’ve read (or at least started) 25 of them. Here are the books they recommend that I’ve read:

  1. The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald. I read this a few years ago.
  2. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I read this in 1977 at the end of my junior year in High School.
  3. 1984 by George Orwell. I read this in high school, and was frankly more impressed with his novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying.
  4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I read this in 9th grade. The book is excellent but you should also watch the movie.
  5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I read this in High School after reading 1984. It didn’t scare me as much as it was supposed to.
  6. The Odyssey by Homer. I can only claim half credit because the web page lists both the Odyssey and the The Illiad, also by Homer. I read only the Odyssey in my 2nd year of college.
  7. Walden by Henry David Thoreau. I ready this in my junior year in High School
  8. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. This has become a political football. I can only claim half credit as I stopped 2/3 of the way through the book as I found Ayn annoying. I still believe I am my brother’s keeper.
  9. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I didn’t like this book, but most of those who read it liked it. I’m happy for them.
  10. The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri. I read this in college.
  11. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. It was my gateway to the rest of his stuff, and also to C.S. Lewis.
  12. The Boy Scout Handbook by the Boy Scouts of America. For a very brief time I was a Cub Scout in the late 1960s. They lured me in on the pretense of camping but I soon found out it was all about medals (that I couldn’t have cared less about). On the other hand, this is where I learned to tie a tie.
  13. Animal Farm by George Orwell. I read this in high school before 1984.
  14. The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. I can only claim half credit as I haven’t read all of them, but I’ve enjoyed what I have read.
  15. Moby Dick, or The Whale by Herman Melville. I’ve seen both versions of the movie, and started the book. Someday I’ll finish it. Give me half credit.
  16. Hamlet by William Shakespeare. I took a course in 12th grade on Shakespeare’s tragedies. I’m actually happy about a book I was assigned to read in high school
  17. The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn. Nancy is a big Dodger’s fan so it was inevitable we’d read this. It was a few years ago.
  18. The Stranger by Albert Camus. I read this as a senior in high school in 5th year French. Do I get extra credit for reading it in the original French?
  19. On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I “read” this as an audiobook a few years ago. I agree with Truman Capote: “That’s not writing, it’s typing.”
  20. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. If this doesn’t dissuade you from climbing Mt. Everest, you shouldn’t have children
  21. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. I read this in English class in high school; the course was called “War Literature.” It may have started my fascination with World War I.
  22. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. I also read this in the “War Literature” course; I was already fascinated by the Civil War. Thanks Mr. Brady.
  23. The Bible. This is really a collection of books, but in the course of several years of seminary, I’m sure I’ve read all of it.
  24. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. I read this a few years after the mini-series came out. Still not a fan of westerns.
  25. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read this in 9th grade English in a course called “Family Literature.” Thanks Mrs. Peterson. It’s a rare event where the book and the movie are equally brilliant. I still refer to a house in my neighborhood as the “Boo Radley House.”

If you want to see the other 75 you’ll have to go on the web page. I don’t want to publish it here as I’m not eager to have people email me with your shock that I haven’t read your favorite book.

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