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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read? 796

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-loved-that-one-with-the-plot-and-the-characters dept.
dpu writes "Part of my New Year's resolution is to encourage reading as a hobby in those around me — especially my friends' children (ages 2 to 22), but my wife and I as well. There is a lot of 'classic' literature out there I'm familiar with, and will be promoting to the short masses here (Fahrenheit 451, To Kill A Mockingbird, In The Heat of the Night, Huckleberry Finn, Cryptonomicon, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, A Wrinkle In Time, When Rabbit Howls, etc.), but I know many of you are much better read than I am. What recommendations would you make? What are the books that everyone should read? I don't care if it's been banned by schools, burned by communists, or illuminated by 15th century monks. If you think everyone around you should read it, I'd love to know about it."
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read?

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  • by Cronopios (313338) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @06:43PM (#45840285) Homepage Journal

    A Confederacy of Dunces
    Dharma Bums
    Lord of the Flies
    On the Road
    The Golden Notebook
    The Grapes of Wrath
    The Razor's Edge
    A Clockwork Orange
    Brave New World
    Player Piano
    Slaughterhouse Five
    The Diamond Age
    The Dispossessed
    The Island
    The Stand ...

  • by jddj (1085169) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @06:48PM (#45840361) Journal

    Sorry, I think Catcher in the Rye is worth the read. Not life-changing, but yeah, read it - worthwhile.

    ++On The Road - awesome book - might supplement it with some third-party history of the beats.

    Recommend Dune in the Science Fiction realm. Take the series as far as you wanna - but at least Dune.

    Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug is essential for the web developer, and I think "Simple and Beautiful" by Giles Colburne a close second. Maybe top it with "The Design of Everyday Things" by Don Norman - you'll never look at a door handle the same way again.

    Recommend for ANY coder Kernigan and Ritchie "The C Programming Language" - such a brief tome, and a comprehensive document on how to write in the language that rocked the world. Would be a good read for any tech writer, as well.

    Whatever they say about Steven Ambrose (and they say a WHOLE lot...accusations of plagarism, f.e.), "Undaunted Courage" presents the Lewis and Clark expedition in Technicolor - if only they could teach with books of this quality.

    If you're gonna read any Stephen King, gotta read The Stand, for the sweep of it.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

    by runningduck (810975) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @07:28PM (#45840685)

    I understand how the "errors" comment relates to #8 & #9, but how does it relate to #10? Have you read the Wealth of Nations? What errors did you find? I suspect that you have been exposed Adam Smith's work via someone else's filter and interpretation.

    Unlike Atlas Shrugged and The Communist Manifesto, The Wealth of Nations does not take a position and is consistantly observational throughout the book based on data of the time. Although Adam Smith is often noted as the father of capitalism, he is first and foremost a philosopher. It is clear throughout his works that he does not always agree with what he observes, but lays out the facts regardless. Most people latch onto the observations regarding self-interest in The Wealth of Nations and extrapolate it to mean that "greed is good" when in fact Smith is more focused on the notion that people have to do what is best for themselves and their families. A reading of his earlier work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, expands upon his observations and helps balance the nuanced conflicts within each of us and society as a whole.

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @07:33PM (#45840729)

    > couch surfing writers like Karl Marx

    Karl Marx was an economist. Ayn Rand was a fanatic.

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Informative)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @07:52PM (#45840891)
    I can't comment on "Atlas Shrugged", although I often see it mentioned as justification for some horrible nonsense being posted.

    I did download and listen to Ayn Rand's "Anthem" however, and what a piece of shit it is. Unbelievable characters, including a totally unbelievable protagonist, escaping from a totally unbelievable post-whatever society. I had the vague impression that the author was trying to tell the reader something, but that whatever that message was, it had nothing to do with any sane world.
  • Re:What to read (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @07:58PM (#45840929)

    You clearly haven't read Capital, if you think it's a pipe-dream proposal, or a proposal at all. It's mostly just an analysis of capitalism; unlike the Communist Manifesto, it's not a proposal of or advocacy for any particular alternative.

  • 42 (Score:5, Informative)

    by savuporo (658486) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:46PM (#45841893)

    I cant belive i didnt find "Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy" here. It has answers for everything.

Luck, that's when preparation and opportunity meet. -- P.E. Trudeau