I always like reading people's lists of read or recommended books. They remind me of all the books I've been meaning to read and keep forgetting. I also like reading that someone likes a book I like. Makes me feel like we're friends. But there are lots of lists like that out there, so I'll try to return the favor by saving you the pain of reading the following books.
1. Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse. Great reading for the hyper-irritable college freshman who considers himself a precocious misanthropist, kwim?
2. The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles. I had to read this for a class called Modern Novel, which pretty much explains why it stinks. Now that I think about that class, let's add everything by DH Lawrence and Kate Chopin to our list too.
3. The Red Tent by Anita somebody. Plot summary: 1994 women's studies graduate class is transported in time to the Ancient Near East and and hegemonically imposes insipid feminist (but I repeat myself) principles, hilariously considered intellectual by those who practice them, on a venerable culture. I have to admit it was kind of fascinating to observe how the Scriptural texts on which this book is ostensibly based could be manipulated to convey meanings opposite those arrived at by the Church's hermeneutic. This book is what pastors are up against. The pseudo-theology is horrific, and somehow the writing is worse. (This came to me with the highest recommendation of a First Girl Ever To Learn Greek. After reading it, I was embarrassed for both of us.)
4. Stranger In a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. I kept reading, thinking, but so many people say this is good! I had forgotten that so many people are idiots. The writing is terrible (this is the case with almost all sci-fi, to my great disappointment--I can make available a longer list of atrociously written sci-fi books for interested parties), and the concepts are only serviceable enough to get a sci-fi book published in 1961. Robert Heinlein is that creepy guy from high school who was always snapping his pencil lead while he filled whole notebooks with weird drawings and muttered to himself, and then was a total jerk to you when you tried to be nice to him. Turns out he was thinking about sex all the time, just like you thought. Maybe he'd have been civil to you if you were hot, or maybe he was just that weird. Anyway, here's the one thing you need to know from this book: if you hear someone say "I grok," he means, "I totally understand in an experiential and soul-touching way; moreover, I read Stranger In a Strange Land."
5. Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout. I picked this up because Pastor Lit is a subgenre I like. FAIL. This book is Gilead gone wrong, and apparently written to showcase how the author prepared to write a pastor lit book characterizing Christians as rotten hypocrites (zzzzzzzzzz. Tell us something we don't know) by reading some Bonhoeffer.
6. Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. I tried this after reading The Name Of the Rose, recommended to me by Gauntlets and one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I've ever had. F's P is misnamed and, as Gauntlets also knows, should actually be titled Umberto Eco Thinks He's Cool. This sprawling heap of undisciplined verbiage exists to prove that a lot more obscure pleonastic allusion can be bound into one volume than you ever imagined. It was exhausting to get through the whole thing just so I could say at the end, my mortal intellect withstood you, Umberto, but I wish I'd saved my money, which is pretty sad considering I got this book at the library.
Wow, this was really entertaining! :D If'n you'd like, get in on the fun and leave your unrecommended books in the comments or post a whole list at your place if you're a bloggin type.