Friday, May 31, 2013

Another list of world changing books

What is it with people making lists of books and claiming said books changed the world? Here is another one of those lists, shared by Paulo Coelho. The list does not include that tripe paean to being a selfish asshole, known as any work by Ayn Rand, but that does not stop some of the commenters there to whine their social security smooching heroine was not included (I don't mind that she took social security. That is what the program is there for, for those who need it. I do mind the hypocrisy and all she stood for in that she would have happily denied it to others, but let's end the rant here. Maybe the lesson is not to read comments). I will agree that many of these books, for good or ill, did have some influence on people and the world.

As my four readers know, I cannot resist a book list, so here is the list. As I often do, I will highlight books and/or authors I have read. Any comments or snark I make are in parenthesis:

1. The Republic by Plato.
2. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
3. The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine. (I have read some other stuff by him, just not this. See next item)
4. Common Sense by Thomas Paine.
5. Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville.
6. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. (A must read for many managers, plus I think it does have things to say for the library world, if you know where to look)
7. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe.
8. On Liberty by John Stewart Mill.
9. Das Kapital by Karl Marx.
10. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.
11. Guerilla Warfare by Che Guevara.
12. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.
13. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence.
14. Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.
15. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
16. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
17. Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
18. 1984 by George Orwell. (I taught this in high school. I think this gives me an automatic "you don't have to ever read it again" pass. I practically know the thing by memory)
19. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
20. Iliad and Odyssey by Homer. (Shouln't these be separate items on the list? Just saying)
21. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. (As I always point out, I read this in high school, in baroque Spanish, not some sissy abridged translation or such. Take that whiny high schoolers bitching over Shakespeare not being "written in English." And yes, I taught Shakespeare in high school, and I did have kids make that whiny statement)
22. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
23. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.
24. The Arabian Nights Entertainment by Andrew Lang. (Not this edition, but I have read The Arabian Nights)
25. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
26. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
27. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
28. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.
29. Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi.
30. The Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft.
31. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.
32. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. (I have read some of her other stuff. I could not care less)
33. Walden by Henry David Thoreau.
34. A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson.
35. Philosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica by Isaac Newton.
36. The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud.
37. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.
38. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.
39. Geographia by Ptolemy.
40. The Meaning of Relativity by Albert Einstein.
41. The Bible. (Yes, unlike a lot of so-called Christians, I have read this, the whole thing, cover to cover)
42. The Qur’an. (yep, this too).
43. The Torah.
44. The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
45. The Analects of Confucius. (And this one as well)
46. The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas. (I have read Aquinas, but not this. Hey, I am a recovering product of Catholic school.  You read Aquinas sooner or later)
47. The Bhagavad Gita.
48. I Ching.
49. Tao Te Ching.
50. Bartleby by Hermann Melville.

 So, I have read 23 books specific to this list plus 4 authors. So a little over half of the list. How about you folks? How many of these have you read? And what would you add to the list? As always, comments are welcome.

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