Oh look, another reading list!

I came across "100 Must-Read Books: The Essential Man's Library" and I thought it looked like a good list of books, so I am going to attempt to clear this list too. I just hope that the world doesn't end or the shift in consciousness or whatever the Mayans predicted for 2012 ends up being a load of hog-wash so I can finish my task!

  1. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli (Done that one already: http://gavinsbooklog.blogspot.com/2009/01/prince.html)
  3. Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut
  4. 1984 George Orwell
  5. The Republic Plato
  6. Brothers Karamazof Fyodor Dostoevsky
  7. The Catcher In The Rye J.D. Salinger
  8. The Wealth Of Nations Adam Smith
  9. For Whom The Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway
  10. The Picture Of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde (Got that one done already too: http://gavinsbooklog.blogspot.com/2008/08/picture-of-dorian-gray.html)
  11. The Grapes Of Wrath John Steinbeck
  12. Brave New World Aldous Huxley
  13. How To Win Friends And Influence People Dale Carnegie
  14. Call Of The Wild Jack London
  15. The Rise Of Theodore Roosevelt Edmund Morris
  16. Swiss Family Robinson Johan David Wyss
  17. Dharma Bums Jack Kerouac
  18. The Illiad & Odyssey Homer
  19. Catch-22 Joseph Heller
  20. Walden Henry David Thoreau
  21. Lord Of The Flies William Golding
  22. The Master And Margarita Mikhail Bulgakov
  23. Bluebeard Kurt Vonnegut
  24. Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand
  25. The Metamorphis Franz Kafka (I did actually read this in February, but thought it didn't really count as a book as it was a bit short and I read it on my iPhone. Maybe I will read it again come 2013 or so...)
  26. Another Roadside Attraction Tom Robbins
  27. White Noise Don Delillo
  28. Ulysses James Joyce
  29. The Young Man's Guide William Alcott
  30. Blood Meridan, Or The Evening Redness In The West Cormack McCarthy
  31. Seek: Reports From The Edges Of America And Beyond Denis Johnson
  32. Crime And Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky
  33. Steppenwolf Herman Hesse
  34. The Book Of Deeds Of Arms And Chivalry Christine Di Pizan
  35. The Art Of Warfare Sun Tzu
  36. Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes
  37. Into The Wild Jon Krakauer
  38. The Divine Comedy Dante Alighieri
  39. The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien
  40. The Rough Riders Theodore Roosevelt
  41. East Of Eden John Steinbeck
  42. Leviathan Thomas Hobbes
  43. The Thin Red Line James Jones
  44. Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
  45. The Politics Aristotle
  46. First Edition of The Boy Scout Handbook (Hmm that may prove difficult to hunt down)
  47. Cyrano de Bergerac Edmond Rostand
  48. Tropic Of Cancer Henry Miller
  49. The Crisis Winston Churchill
  50. The Naked And The Dead Norman Mailer
  51. Hatchet Gary Paulsen
  52. Animal Farm George Orwell
  53. Tarzan Of The Apes Edgar Rice Burroughs
  54. Beyond Good And Evil Freidrich Nietzsche
  55. The Federalist Papers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
  56. Moby Dick Herman Melville
  57. Essential Manner For Men Peter Post
  58. Frankenstein Mary Shelley
  59. Hamlet William Shakespeare
  60. The Boys Of Summer Roger Kahn
  61. A Seperate Peace John Knowles
  62. A Farewell To Arms Ernest Hemingway
  63. The Stranger Albert Camus
  64. Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe
  65. The Pearl John Steinbeck
  66. On The Road Jack Kerouac
  67. Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
  68. Confederacy Of Dunces John Kennedy Toole
  69. Foucault's Pendulum Umberto Eco
  70. The Great Railway Bazaar Paul Theroux
  71. Fear And Trembing Soren Kierkegaard
  72. Undaunted Courage Stephen Ambrose
  73. Paradise Lost John Milton
  74. Cannery Row John Steinbeck
  75. American Boys' Handy Book (This one I may omit)
  76. Into Thin Air John Krakauer
  77. King Solomon's Mines H. Rider Haggard
  78. The Idiot Fyodor Dostoevsky
  79. A River Runs Through It Norman F. Maclean
  80. The Island Of Dr Moreau H.G. Wells
  81. Malcolm X: The Autobiography
  82. Theodore Rex Edmund Morris
  83. The Count Of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas
  84. All Quiet On The Western Front Erich Maria Remarq
  85. The Red Badge Of Courage Stephen Crane
  86. Lives Of The Noble Greeks And Romans Plutarch
  87. The Strenous Life Theodore Roosevelt
  88. The Bible
  89. Lonesome Dove Larry McMurtry
  90. The Maltese Falcon Dashiell Hammett
  91. The Long Goodbye Raymond Chandler
  92. To Kill A Mockinbird Harper Lee
  93. The Dangerous Book For Boys Conn & Hal Iggulden
  94. The Killer Angels Michael Shaara
  95. The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin
  96. The Histories Herodotus
  97. From Here To Eternity James Jones
  98. The Frontier In American History Frederick Jackson Turner
  99. Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance Robert Pirsig
  100. Self Reliance Ralph Waldo Emerson
But wait! There's more. The top 50 non-fiction adventure books and the top 50 fiction adventure books will also be targets of mine...

My New Reading List

Once I have torn my way through the immense pile of books that I have which currently remain unread, I aim to make my way through the list of '50 Books For Our Times' that Newsweek put together. So this really is a checklist for me. And incase the article is somehow removed over time, I am going to reproduce it now.

  1. The Way We Live Now Anthony Trollope
  2. The Looming Tower Lawrence Wright
  3. Prisoner Of The State Zhao Ziyang
  4. The Big Switch Nicholas Carr
  5. The Bear William Faulkner
  6. Winchell Neal Gabler
  7. Random Family Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
  8. Night Draws Near Anthony Shadid
  9. Predictably Irrational Dan Ariely
  10. God: A Biography Jack Miles
  11. The Unsettling Of America Wendell Berry
  12. A Good Man Is Hard To Find Flannery O'Connor
  13. Underground Harukimi Murakami
  14. Disrupting Class Clayton Christensen
  15. Air Guitar Dave Hickey
  16. Leaves Of Grass Walt Whitman
  17. The Trouble With Physics Lee Smolin
  18. City: Rediscovering The Center William H. Whyte
  19. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep Philip K. Dick
  20. Benjamin Franklin Edmund S. Morgan
  21. The Mississippi Books Mark Twain
  22. Among The Thugs Bill Buford
  23. Brooklyn Colm TÛibÌn
  24. Frankenstein Mary Shelley
  25. Bad Mother Ayelet Waldman
  26. Guests Of The Ayatollah Mark Bowden
  27. Whittaker Chamebers Sam Tanenhaus
  28. Midnight's Children Salman Rushdie
  29. American Prometheus Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin
  30. The Lost Daniel Mendelsohn
  31. Gilead Marilynne Robinson
  32. Pictures At A Revolution Mark Harris
  33. KIM Rudyard Kipling
  34. Walking With The Wind John Lewis
  35. The Line Of Beauty Alan Hollinghurst
  36. The Dark Is Rising Susan Cooper
  37. Persepolis Marjane Satrapi
  38. Underworld Don DeLillo
  39. Why Evolution Is True Jerry A. Coyne
  40. American Pastoral Philip Roth
  41. The Botany Of Desire Michael Pollan
  42. The Regeneration Trilogu Pat Barker
  43. Senator Joe McCarthy Richard H. Rovere
  44. Year Of Wonders Geraldine Brooks
  45. The Elegance Of The Hedgehog Muriel Barbery
  46. Gone Tomorrow Lee Child
  47. Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe
  48. American Journeys Don Watson
  49. Cotton Comes To Harlem Chester Himes
  50. The New Biographical Dictionary Of Film David Thomson*
*Hmm I can see myself giving this one a miss, to be honest. 1,000+ pages of some guy's opinions on actors etc isn't exactly something I'm jumping to read.

I guess that I will have this list finished by 2012... time will see if I am a good estimator or not!

From Russia With Love

The Soviets have decided to strike a blow to the prestige of MI6 by hatching a plot to kill and embarrass their top agent. We all know who that is. This is in my top 2 of Bond books that I have read so far, as it is full of plot twists and vivid characters, like the head of 'T' section. It also paints a picture of Istanbul that makes me want to visit, and ends on a cliffhanger that makes me want to pick up Dr No immediately to find out what happens.

I think however, a passage from this tale will best explain why this is a novel to be read.

"I had a little Bessarabian hell-cat. I had won her in a fight with some gipsies, here in the hills behind Istanbul. They came after me, but I got her on board the boat. I had to knock her unconcsious first. She was still trying to kill me when we got back to Trezibond, so I got her to my place and took away all her clothes and kept her chained naked under the table. When I ate, I used to throw scraps to her under the table, like a dog. She had to learn who was master. Before that could happen, my mother did an unheard of thing. She visited my place without warning. She came to tell me that my father wanted to see my immediately. She found the girl." - Kerim Darko, head of 'T' section.


Empire: The Russian Empire and Its Rivals is an extensive overview of both Russian Empires (Tsarist and Soviet) and its three main rivals - British, Hapsburg (Austro-Hungarian branch) and Ottoman. I found this to be very interesting, as aside from studying the fall of the Tsar and beginnings of the Soviet Union at school, I have little knowledge on Russian history, and know nothing at all really concerning Hapsburg and Ottoman.

Empire gives an overview of each empire, and then compares it to the Russian so we may see what similarities and differences exist. The three rivals all offer different examples of Empire, with British being a maritime-financial-economic, Hapsburg a Federation (at least toward the end) and Ottoman a geographic based upon conquest but with local traditions respected and left to theirselves. I found it interesting just to read and learn about the Hapsburgs and Ottomans, and the context to which they were the rivals of Russia.

This is a well-written, informative book, although not surprisingly the subject can be a little on the heavy side sometimes. I could sit down and plough through a chapter, but equally it would occasionally be very draining and make me sleepy. Reading in the heat of summer with humidity probably did not help this! But I feel like I have learnt from reading this, from understanding a little more about the make-up of the former Soviet Republics today to basic information of past empires. I also found it interesting to read (and wondered why this had not been brought up in school all those years ago) that the dismantling of the Hapsburg Empire following the First World War by the victorious Allied Powers was a key reason for the ease of Hitler's subsequent domination of Central Europe as there was no longer a strong force that would resist German domination present.

There were two points made by the author that I found particularly interesting. Those will follow, but before they do, a swift summary: Empire... is a well-written, interesting and concise look at the Russian Empires, and would serve well as an introduction to the subject. Of course it is totally ironic that the things I have found most interesting have nothing to do with Russia...

"At the beginning of the 21st Century, the American 'goldilocks economy' shares the planet with a Japan in deep recession and a Germany struggling to come to terms inter alia with reunification. A mood of euphoria equal to that of the 1920s reigns again on Wall Street. Should it be followed by another 1929 then once again predictions as to which economy will lead mankind in the twenty-first century will be modified." Prophetic words!

"America's rancorously nationalistic public opinion was also seen as inherently aggressive, unstable and expansionist." Some things never change - this was the view of the 19th Century!

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