Sunday, May 18, 2008

Reading Lists for Manly Men and Time-Wasters

We long ago established that guys generally aren't as into fiction as women (those who visit this blog being the exception, I suppose) and tend to avoid books written by women. But what do blokes like to read?

James Abela pointed me in the direction of a very nice list of 100 must-read books for the guys on The Art of Manliness (and also listed also on a website dedicated to providing you with top tips on manliness :
There are the books you read, and then there are the books that change your life. We can all look back on the books that have shaped our perspective on politics, religion, money, and love. Some will even become a source of inspiration for the rest of your life. From a seemingly infinite list of books of anecdotal or literal merit, we have narrowed down the top 100 books that have shaped the lives of individual men while also helping define broader cultural ideas of what it means to be a man.
A lot of the books listed are just downright good 'uns, whatever your sex. This post is surely a labour of love and I loved the visuals as much as the reading suggestions (surely this is biblioporn at its best?).

Another reading-list I thought was fun was this one of Great Novels About Wasting Time (found via) compiled by Jessica Winter for Slate magazine's special issue on procrastination (a subject close to our hearts) :
Those of us who are vulnerable to the siren call of procrastination can find plenty of fictional compatriots on our bookshelves, though they may provide cold comfort. We could start with Hamlet, obviously, who wonders "whether it be/ Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple/ Of thinking too precisely on th' event" that causes his dithering. Or pity the aptly named Jimmy Tomorrow and the other ne'er-do-wells who populate The Iceman Cometh, nursing their pipe dreams like toxic cocktails. Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City gives us a cocaine-addled protagonist whose procrastination at work costs him his job and whose punishing nightlife regimen is revealed to be, at least in part, an elaborate deferral of grief for his dead mother. Most endearingly, Grady Tripp in Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys toils haplessly on an unfinishable novel—he procrastinates not about starting the book but finishing it or, rather, abandoning it.

My favourite book on procrastination, Magnus Mill's hysterically funny The Restraint of Beasts isn' t included, sadly.


pussreboots said...

I'm going to check out the list for my own reading enjoyment. I know a number of men who love fiction written by women (my husband and son being #1 and #2 on my list). To be honest, my husband reads more chick lit than I do!

aliqot said...

I'm going to read the slate stuff on procrastionation - just as soon as I get round to it.

Will also look at the list of books for men.