Archive for April, 2013

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire?

So Newsweek published an article on 9 letters that the Morgan Library recently acquired from a 22-year-old J.D. Salinger.  Salinger had written the letters to a 17-year-old fan from Toronto, Marjorie Sheard. The article notes how Salinger had fibbed in these letters, perhaps in an attempt to woo the young girl.

And there in lies the rub. With fiction and the fiction writer you are never quite certain of what is truth and what is a lie. Whether the author is trying to woo a young lass or a middle age pugilist, a lie is still a lie.

Here is the link to the Newsweek article:

75 Books Every Man Should Read

Judge Smails: “How do you measure yourself with other golfers?” Ty Webb: “by height.”

I’m a sucker for lists of the “greatest books ever written” if only as a narcissistic measure of how well read I am. This time it’s men’s magazine Esquire with the admonition: “75 books every man should read.” So, now I feel half as well read as I thought I was and my manhood has been challenged.

But, with the honest introduction: “an unranked, incomplete, utterly biased list of the greatest works of literature ever published,” I had to take a look.

  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, by Raymond Carver
  • Collected Stories of John Cheever
  • Deliverance, by James Dickey
  • The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  • Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Known World, by Edward P. Jones
  • The Good War, by Studs Terkel
  • American Pastoral, by Philip Roth
  • A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories, by Flannery O’Connor
  • The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
  • A Sport and a Pastime, by James Salter
  • The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
  • Time’s Arrow, by Martin Amis
  • A Sense of Where You Are, by John McPhee
  • Hell’s Angels, by Hunter S. Thompson
  • Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
  • Dubliners, by James Joyce
  • Rabbit, Run, by John Updike
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James M. Cain
  • Dog Soldiers, by Robert Stone
  • Winter’s Bone, by Daniel Woodrell
  • Legends of the Fall, by Jim Harrison
  • Under the Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry
  • The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
  • The Professional, by W.C. Heinz
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
  • Dispatches, by Michael Herr
  • Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
  • Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates
  • As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
  • The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara
  • Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  • All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
  • Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
  • A Fan’s Notes, by Frederick Exley
  • Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami
  • Master and Commander, by Patrick O’Brian
  • Plainsong, by Kent Haruf
  • A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
  • Affliction, by Russell Banks
  • This Boy’s Life, by Tobias Wolff
  • Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin
  • The Adventures of Augie March, by Saul Bellow
  • Women, by Charles Bukowski
  • Going Native, by Stephen Wright
  • Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, by John LeCarre
  • The Crack-Up, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, by George Saunders
  • War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Shining, by Stephen King
  • Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson
  • Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
  • Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie
  • Labyrinths, by Jorge Luis Borges
  • The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe
  • The Sportswriter, by Richard Ford
  • American Tabloid, by James Ellroy
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Alex Haley
  • What It Takes, by Richard Ben Cramer
  • The Continental Op, by Dashiell Hammett
  • The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow, by William Maxwell
  • Native Son, by Richard Wright
  • Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, by James Agee and Walker Evans
  • Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
  • The Great Bridge, by David McCullough
  • The Dharma Bums, by Jack Kerouac
  • Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
  • Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Underworld, by Don DeLillo
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

What say you, fair reader? As a Fight Club pugilist, I noticed that there isn’t a non-fiction title in the bunch (see cockamamie Rules of Fight Club). So, not only are we a sissy book club, we’re not even reading manly books. After feeling emasculated, I clicked over to Esquire’s photos of Leryn Franco champion javelin thrower from Paraguay, and forgot all about it.



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