Ah, the sun! The great giver and destroyer of life; oppressive and deadly, illuminating and vital. I like to keep out of its reach. My summer days are whittled away in the shade or in the comforting gloom of a darkened room with my face in a book, anticipating the return of the cold somewhere out there waiting in the firmament. I’ve been meaning to compile a reading list for some time now. Previous efforts haven’t met with much success. I end up listing too many books or a bunch of stuff that nobody wants to read. But it is summer now, after all, and now’s a great time for a good reading list. I gave myself three rules for this one:
I had to have read the book (obviously).
There could only be seven categories.
There could only be seven books in each category.
They must have some important lesson to bestow, something that strengthens the individual.
I tried my best to list substantial, challenging books—save for the fitness stuff, though they are challenging in their own right. During my initial outlining for this thing, I marked down all the greats. Then, with a touch of melancholy in my heart, I crossed off Ulysses, Middlemarch, The Brothers Karamazov, Beyond Good and Evil, The Sound and the Fury—among many others. I killed a whole section on tragedies when I found out that I accidentally had eight categories. I’m still trying to understand works like Ulysses, Karamazov, Beyond Good and Evil. They’re extremely complex. I need to gain a better grasp on that stuff before I go recommending them people.
I don’t agree with some of the philosophy and religious ideas in the books listed. I’m not a fan of Islamic doctrine. Something about strict Buddhism and Christianity gives me a bad feeling, though I do adopt a copious amount of their philosophies. I hate Rousseau, however; a working knowledge of his major work is key to understanding the story of the past two hundred years. I very reluctantly had to cross Karl Marx off the list. I can’t stand him, but I do feel that a familiarity with Marx and the horrors his ideas visited upon this realm are incredibly important and of much benefit to everyone. Everyone should read Das Kapital. However, I assume that most are familiar with Marx and listing him here would be redundant.
The creation of this list has been an exercise in killing my darlings. I’m toying with the thought of a sequel of sorts down the road. I also had to scrap the paragraphs–I originally wrote one about the book underneath each title. It went on for pages. There’s just no way anyone would sit there and read all that on a blog. I have been inspired to write full essays on a few of these books now.
So here they are, take a careful look and pick out something you might like.