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75 Books – the Esquire list

October 1, 2008
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Following on from the Jezebel list, here is the list from Esquire that prompted its compilation. Again, there are books I’ve read, authors whose other books I’ve read, and books I didn’t realise were books (Deliverance? Legends of the Fall?). Although I’ve read more from this list than from the Jezebel list, there are probably more books on this list that I wouldn’t read (mostly the books I thought were only movies and Blood Meridian, which I’ve tried to read but just… can’t).

The Esquire list also comes with a sentence or two for each book and some of those are just off-putting. Yes, I get that it’s a men’s mag but some of the comments are so … I don’t even know how to express it. “Glib” and “smug” don’t quite capture the squeamishness some of them sparked. Anyway, I managed to overlook most of the comments and just listed the books, but some of them I couldn’t let pass.

75 Books Every Man Should Read

  1. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, by Raymond Carver
  2. Collected Stories of John Cheever
  3. Deliverance, by James Dickey
  4. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck “Because it’s all about the titty.” Yep, couldn’t let that one pass.
  5. Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy
  6. The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  7. The Known World, by Edward P. Jones
  8. The Good War, by Studs Terkel
  9. American Pastoral, by Philip Roth
  10. A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories, by Flannery O’Connor
  11. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
  12. A Sport and a Pastime, by James Salter
  13. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
  14. Time’s Arrow, by Martin Amis
  15. A Sense of Where You Are, by John McPhee
  16. Hell’s Angels, by Hunter S. Thompson
  17. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
  18. Dubliners, by James Joyce
  19. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike
  20. The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James M. Cain
  21. Dog Soldiers, by Robert Stone
  22. Winter’s Bone, by Daniel Woodrell The comment “The best book by a modern-day Twain, high on meth, drousy with whiskey” not only confuses me, but leaves me completely disinclined to see this out.
  23. Legends of the Fall, by Jim Harrison
  24. Under the Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry
  25. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
  26. The Professional, by W.C. Heinz
  27. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
  28. Dispatches, by Michael Herr
  29. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
  30. Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates
  31. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
  32. The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara
  33. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  34. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
  35. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
  36. Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
  37. A Fan’s Notes, by Frederick Exley
  38. Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis
  39. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami
  40. Master and Commander, by Patrick O’Brian
  41. Plainsong, by Kent Haruf
  42. A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
  43. Affliction, by Russell Banks
  44. This Boy’s Life, by Tobias Wolff
  45. Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin
  46. The Adventures of Augie March, by Saul Bellow
  47. Women, by Charles Bukowski
  48. Going Native, by Stephen Wright
  49. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
  50. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, by John LeCarré
  51. The Crack-Up, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  52. CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, by George Saunders
  53. War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
  54. The Shining, by Stephen King
  55. Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson
  56. Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
  57. Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie
    But, hey, Esquire, “Because beyond the hot ex-wife and the fatwa, Rushdie is actually a great writer” just diminishes this project. Like, yeah, we thought it was all about the hot ex-wife…
  58. Labyrinths, by Jorge Luis Borges
  59. The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe
  60. The Sportswriter, by Richard Ford
  61. American Tabloid, by James Ellroy
  62. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Alex Haley
  63. What It Takes, by Richard Ben Cramer
  64. The Continental Op, by Dashiell Hammett
  65. The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene
  66. So Long, See You Tomorrow, by William Maxwell
  67. Native Son, by Richard Wright
  68. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, by James Agee and Walker Evans
  69. Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
  70. The Great Bridge, by David McCullough
  71. The Dharma Bums, by Jack Kerouac
  72. Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
  73. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov Haven’t read the book (no strikethrough) but it is on the list. It does seem somewhat creepy, though, that the compiler tags this with “So horribly dirty. So, so good.”
  74. Underworld, by Don DeLillo
  75. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 10, 2009 2:43 am

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.


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  2. Another reading list | …blah blog blah…

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