Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.


Wednesday Night Lights: Essential Man's Library

I'm a sucker for lists. Best ofs, essential, top ten, must-reads, etc. For me, the fun is first seeing how much of the list I know, and then second tearing it apart for how stupid it is for not including something.

So imagine how happy I was to see the list The Essential Man's Library online a few weeks ago. It's been very busy here, but I knew when I got a moment that I needed to write about it here.

The link will take you to the list on four different pages, replete with books covers and semi-snarky commentary. For those of you who do not wish to click on through to the other side, here is the list in its entirety. Even better, I will bold the titles I've read and italicize the titles I own (bolded and italicized I've read AND own):

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
1984 by George Orwell
The Republic by Plato (I have a B.A. in philosophy)
Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Master and Margarita by by Mikhail Bulgakov
Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins
White Noise by Don Delillo
Ulysses by James Joyce (I own Finnegan's Wake, and I've read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, does that count?)
The Young Man’s Guide by William Alcott
Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy
Seek: Reports from the Edges of America & Beyond by Denis Johnson
Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse (in English and German)
The Book of Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry by Christine De Pizan
The Art of Warfare by Sun Tzu
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (sort of, I've read The Inferno, and pieces of the others)
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The Rough Riders by Theodore Roosevelt
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes (this is a book I want to read)
The Thin Red Line by James Jones
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Politics by Aristotle
First Edition of the The Boy Scout Handbook
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
The Crisis by Winston Churchill
The Naked and The Dead by Norman Mailer
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Beyond Good and Evil by Freidrich Nietzsche
The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Essential Manners for Men by Peter Post
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly (this is one of my favorite books, ever)
Hamlet by Shakespeare
The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Dafoe
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
On the Road by Jack Kerouac (I've started this, but not finished)
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole (I have started this, and I want to own, but it always slips my mind when I'm bookshopping)
Foucault’s Pendulum - Umberto Eco
The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard (I would love to read this)
Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
American Boys’ Handy Book
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
A River Runs Through It by Norman F. Maclean
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
Malcolm X: The Autobiography
Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
All Quiet on The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarq
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans by Plutarch
The Strenuous Life by Theodore Roosevelt
The Bible (I've read enough of it to say I've read it)
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
The Histories by Herodotus
From Here to Eternity by James Jones
The Frontier in American History by Frederick Jackson Turner
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Anything surprising from the list? Well, I've only ever read The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway (we used it for a speed reading class in High School), nothing else. I don't own nor have I read any Dostoevsky. I've never read any Vonnegut either. And somehow, unlike nearly everyone else that I know, I've never read any Homer. So what on this list should I read next?



  • At 10:01 PM, Blogger Susan said…

    Wow. I have read 45 of the books on this list and just started "Atlas Shrugged" last week. I would suggest:

    1) To Kill A Mockingbird 2) Catch-22
    3) A River Runs Through It
    4) Slaughterhouse Five

    I must get started on the essential woman's library next!

  • At 10:22 PM, Blogger Susan said…

    oops. You read Mockingbird. Substitute "A Farewell to Arms" by Hemingway which is based on his experience as an ambulance drive in WWI. Amazing writer.

  • At 8:35 AM, Blogger Karen said…

    A Confederacy of Dunces for sure--one of my all-time favs.

  • At 12:21 PM, Blogger jamie said…

    I just bought Confederacy of Dunces for my summer read. At a used book store with a cool 1981 style cover.

    I vote for the Jon Krakauer books. Non-Fiction rules!!

  • At 7:34 AM, Blogger John Klima said…

    I've actually been a lot more nonfiction this year than I've ever read before. I will definitely check out the Krakauer books. And like I said, CONFEDERACY is definitely on my to-pick-up list.


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