- Books, Literature, and Writing
Stocking Your Home Library- The Essential Books to Build Your Collection On
So you're looking for a good read? You've come to the right place.
What you read builds you into who you are, so it only makes sense that you let yourself take a step back and decide who it is you want to become, and what you will allow to act as your guide. While it seems illogical to tell you everything that you should put on your bookshelf this lens will try to illuminate the cornerstones that will help to figure out for yourself where your head is, and maybe remind you of a few of those classic titles you've looked past, or just never gotten around to. Every book discussed here is discussed from the expert stance simply that it lives on my shelf and has served some purpose in my life and the development of my personal ideas and opinions, the list of greats that will go unmentioned is mind blowing, so before we even begin I hope to remind you that this is only a starting point of a path that you will never find an end to.
I warn you now there are countless amazing works that are not on this list, and I openly invite you to let me know which you'd keep and which you'd lose and which you'd put in their place. I make this list as a series of staring points, fantastic works which I hope will inspire you and lead you on to a whole new way of thinking about literature. Enjoy the list, and happy hunting.
For the record, classic in my mind is older than 25 years.
These are the basics, the works that have shifted, crafted and inspired the literary and philosophical world since they're first appeared. This list could, in theory, go on forever, or at least much longer than I care to write and you'll care to read, so keeping that in mind I'll just stick to the last 100 years, give or take.
ULYSSES- JAMES JOYCE
The amazing thing about this book is that statistics state that only about ten percent of the people who purchase it will actually read the entire things, the statistics of what percent of that ten understand it in it's entirety are debatable, but it's likely safe to assume it's less that a hundred. What this book does give, besides frustration, confusion and headaches is a challenge that pays off if you're willing to work for it. This is the book you place on a shelf with the intention of always getting to "tomorrow," but when you finally do get to reading it you'll sit in awe and kick yourself for wasting so much time getting around to it.
THE SUN ALSO RISES- ERNEST HEMINGWAY
Hemingway has, at least for as long as most of us have been alive, been the subject of retrospective debate. From his sanity, depression, drinking, even his talent has been called in to question. For a while I felt convinced that he was the most overrated writer in American History, and then I read The Sun Also RIses, and I never questioned the man's legacy again. The influence that this work, and the minimalist style he founded within it, are the reason that Hemingway's name is still among the first mentioned when the conversation turns to literature.
DESOLATION ANGEL-JACK KEROUAC
I know that when the conversation turns towards the Beat Generation there are three go to titles, On The Road being at the front line. While it's true On the Road captured the sense of restless youth and the soul of Beat Americana better than any work before it, Kerouac's work, post On the Road, is far too easily looked over. His Duluoz Series, in particular Desolation Angel, perhaps best displays the maturity that Kerouac had reached over the course of his life.
FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS- HUNTER S. THOMPSON
While the Terry Gilliam movie has become a cultural landmark, it's biggest influence on the generation who grew up around it has been a reintroduction to the works of Hunter Thompson. This book, which introduced Gonzo Journalism to the world, and stands today as one of the essential reflections on the 1960s and the fall out that rode in it's wake. While many people find journalistic works difficult or dry this is work which not only redefined what a Journalistic novel could be, but also caused readers and writers alike to reevaluate the line which separates fiction and non fiction.
BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED- F.SCOTT FITZGERALD
I know what you're bound to say, why this Fitzgerald, why not The Great Gatsby, which is usually to go to choice when discussing literature. Well, first off I assume that by now you've likely read The Great Gatsby, or else the Sparknotes version in order to get through Sophomore English in High School. More importantly I mention this work because the point of this lens is to seek out new works and discover new writers, or in some cases new sides of old favorites. The Beautiful and Damned is highly autobiographical, and a complex character study on marriage, morals, writing, and social classes. There's an added boon for familiarizing one's self with this work before the release of the planned 2011 film based on the author's marriage which inspired the work.
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE- GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ
Arguably, and in the opinions of many unarguably, One Hundred Years Of Solitude is considered to be the most influential and important Latin work of all time. Perhaps no praise, however, does a better job of describing the works importance than what William Kennedy wrote in his New York Times Review of One Hundred Years of Solitude, "One Hundred Years of Solitude is the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race." If I need say more...then there is nothing I can say to convince you.
THE BELL JAR- SYLVIA PLATH
I once heard it said that the purpose of art in any form is to instill true emotions into an audience. If that's truly the case then Sylvia Plath's sole novel has succeeded as a work of art, capturing the hopeless nature of depression better than any work that had preceded it. The novel is at once heartbreaking and terrifying, the story of a woman as she slowly loses her struggle against the madness which threatens, and arguably succeeds in overtaking her.
ZORBA THE GREEK- NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS
There was a period of time, longer than I care to admit, between when I first bought this book from a used Book Exchange(called Mr.K's if you're for any reason interested) and the day I sat down to actually read it. I bought it because somewhere in the back of my mind the title struck a chord, and months later I found out why. Rarely are there authors who are capable of properly able to mesh the line between philosophy and literature, Kazantzakis however raises the bar with his Greek Foreman Zorba delivering a series of morality based soliloquies throughout the work, crafting among them one of the most inspiring and life-affirming works in the history of the novel.
The Last two on this list I bend the 20th century rule, not much mind you, only one century.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY- OSCAR WILDE
Aside perhaps from Faust, there has likely never been a better piece written on the subject of morality and hedonism. An introspective look at the tolls taken on the human soul, and the damages placed on an individual by the distance they place between truth and illusion. Oscar Wilde, arguably one of the greatest wits in history proclaimed the piece in a letter once as aspects of his own self: "Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry is what the world thinks me: Dorian is what I would like to be-in other ages, perhaps". The Picture of Dorian Gray is a first rate reminder to readers across the board that there are in all of us a portrait which shows us truths that we don't want to face, and it also reminds us that its not until we face those realities that we can ever be free of them.
MADAME BOVARY- GUSTAVE FLAUBERT
I had read about Flaubert's process of writing his masterpiece before I had ever heard a single word about what the book was about, and I just realized that I immediately repeated that pattern. It has been referred to as the perfect novel, a high water mark of style and realism. His work habits, which included locking himself in solitude and spending up to a week trying to perfect a single page, shine through as one discovers in this work in particular that every line is essential, every word in the work is...perfect. There was novel's before Flaubert and there were novels after Flaubert, if that doesn't make sense to you, I'll put a link below this section to Amazon, and it will.
I'll put 3 links per section
Building the future of Literature
It would be so simple to pick apart this section, to look at the mass of great novel released in the last few decades, the literary achievements and phenomenons that have presented themselves. Harry Potter led a whole generation of kids, and some adults, to pick up a book, and one the size of a cinder block at that.
INFINITE JEST-DAVID FOSTER WALLACE
I began the list of classic novels with James Joyce's Ulysses, and to compliment that decision I now present first in this section a work that has arguably been nearly as influential to the generation following it's release as Ulysses was to the experimental writers and works of the 1930s and 40's. David Foster Wallace became the poster boy for the tortured genius too aware of the world around him to survive it. His legacy will forever be wrapped in this, his masterpiece of introspective tragicomedy. Wallace died in 2008, with his latest novel left never to be finished, his true potential was perhaps never fully reached, but if Infinite Jest was his starting point, the world will scarcely be able to realize what it had lost, but what he left was a narrative that seems to bring together topics like Junior tennis, substance abuse, rehabilitation clinics, film theory, family structure, abused children and weave through a world of his own creation and somehow find a way to turn it into a reflection of who we are as a world. I feel ill equipped to try to put in so few words what Wallace was able to craft out of a view that seemed to encompass the whole of the world.
STRONG MOTION- JONATHAN FRANZEN
In 2010 Jonathan Franzen was declared by Time Magazine to be the Great American Novelist, this was in reaction to his latest novel Freedom. Say what you will, there is no bad Franzen novel, though there are certain portions of his essays and interviews that can perturb certain readers (see How To Be Alone). I could have recommended The Corrections, or The Twenty-Seventh City, I didn't for no reason but that Strong Motion was sitting closest to me. It's in the office, Freedom is in the bedroom and The Corrections is in my bag...I don't know where I laid The Twenty-Seventh City. Franzen is, in the end, one of...if not the, most talented guy working in the literary field today. Close your eyes and pick a title out of a hat, you won't be disappointed.
FIGHT CLUB- CHUCK PALAHNIUK
I was once discussing Chuck Palahniuk with a friend of mine, and we got talking about Fight Club, as any discussion on Palahniuk will invariably lead , and my friend looked at me and said point blank, "Brad Pitt made that book." While at first I took that as kind of a joke it dawned on me that in a way he was right. The film Fight Club introduced the world to Chuck Palahniuk, and every fan has been lapping up every word they could get they're hands on since, but the national fascination began with Ed Norton and Brad Pitt standing in front of a bar asking one another to hit them as hard as they can. Don't let that sound as though I'm trying to detract from Palahniuk's writing ability though, I believe firmly the man has in his writing the ability to go sentence for sentence with any writer alive today, and arguably Fight Club isn't his best work, at least in my opinion (that would be Lullaby); but none the less this is where the worlds fascination began and it's as good a place as any to start your own acquaintance.
WHITE NOISE- DON DELILLO
The oldest novel in this section, White Noise, released in 1985, follows Jack Gladney, a professor who teaches a class on Hitler Studies at a Liberal Arts College. It follows Jack for a year as he and his wife discuss their shared fear of death and spend the majority of their time together wondering which of them would die first. This fear is increased tenfold after a chemical spill releases an "Airborne Toxic Event" (yes, this is where the band got their name). White Noise is DeLillo's exploration of modern society, as well as societies devotion towards consumerism and paranoia. DeLillo has the ability to look at the world about him and turn it's absurdities back upon it, and nowhere better than in the pages of White Noise.
HOUSE OF LEAVES-MARK DANIELEWSKI
In the most detached and withdrawn description I am capable of giving House of Leaves, it is a story about a family who move into a new house, only to find that they're home has an unexpected supernatural element to it. Sounds simple enough, it's not. Beyond that, to properly explain the nature of House of Leaves I wouldn't be able to come close to actually doing it justice. It's a puzzle, it's terrifying in all the ways that horror writers don't know how to reach. If you are able to take this book in, I'm not sure if you deserve a pat on the back or a rubber room, but either way it is an experience that must be discovered rather than discussed.
Three more shortcuts to get you on your way.
That would be plays, almost as fun to read as they are to see, sometimes more so.
Admittedly sitting around reading a play quietly in your free time is not for everyone. Same could be said, I suppose, for reading anything in the cases of certain people. For those, however, who can't make it to the theater there is no reason to let some of the great stories the world has to offer go to waste.
You had to know he was going to show up sooner or later. The impact that this play had on the English Language alone is more than reason enough for a copy to find a home in nearly any library. "To be or not to be,"- "neither a borrower nor a lender be"- "Dog will have it's day" - in my minds eye"- "method to my madness"- "murder most foul"- "To thine own self be true" ... the list goes on and on. This is, well, it's Hamlet.
DEATH OF A SALESMAN-ARTHUR MILLER
Willie Loman his the broken spirit within us all. His struggle and desperation, which the bulk of the play is spent studying and following, brings forth aspects of us all, first as we follow Loman we find our hearts breaking for the broken man, and after the story has ended we're left avoiding our own glances in mirrors for fear that we may see some reflection of Loman starring back from within ourselves. Some have argued that this play has received more acclaim than it has earned, that it is heavy handed to the extent that it clubs it's message into the audience. One must pause and remember that at times life itself acts much the same way. Death of a Salesman is the fear within all of us that we may be unable to live up to the expectations of our dreams, it is the piece of us that we struggle so not to recognize.
LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT- EUGENE O'NEIL
Eugene O'Neil's masterwork, which won him a posthumous Pulitzer, takes place over the course of a single day. It follows the Tyrone family, a family O'Neil based upon his own, who all suffer from various addictions, alcohol and morphine. Between the characters tensions grow as each turns to place the blame for their own self destruction upon the shoulders of those around them. There is an honesty that shines through as O'Neil reveals more of the depths of the family and the truths they reveal by virtue of the truths they find themselves unable to admit, unable to face. Truths that not all readers will or in truth should be able to understand fully, but that at times stand for truths that most never allowed themselves to face within themselves.
WAITING FOR GODOT-SAMUEL BECKETT
The masterpiece of Godot is not so much in the script but in being able to see it preformed under the direction of one who knows how to fill the sparseness of the nearly empty stage that Godot requires. The plot is two men sitting waiting for a third. That's it. They talk, dance, sing, debate, sleep eat...do whatever occurs to them as they wait for a third who never arrives. There have been countless meanings and theories as the the meanings of every aspect of this play, and diagnosing them is part of the appeal. While reading it doesn't have the exact same appeal as being able to see it performed live, the chance to sit and read and explore this work on your own time is an experience that one should not leap to discredit.
NO EXIT- JEAN-PAUL SARTRE
There was some debate as to what play should complete this list of five, and with so many famed and acclaimed options before us I feel it best to choose one that most people will likely have never heard of, a french work by the existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. The play itself is a study of three recently deceased souls who have just found themselves in hell. It takes place wholly in a singular room of hell with three main characters and a very brief appearance of a forth. The play lasts only one act, and in book form is accompanied by three other plays by the philosopher. It is a piece that you likely have not had the opportunity to see or have even heard of, but that's kind of the whole point of this, to show you something you never realized you were missing out on.
From Drunks to Dandy's, verses crafted to inspire
I could spend an hour trying to go over all the poets that I wish more people knew and what you should know about them, from William Carlos WIlliam to Philip Larkin, from Lord Byron to Jim Carroll. There is no limit to the expanses that you are capable of discovering. But a fair enough starting point would likely be:
COLLECTED POEMS-DYLAN THOMAS
Dylan Thomas's poetry was crafted carefully elegantly musical, Thomas' life was chaotic and hedonistic. Somewhere between the two Thomas accumulated in his brief 39 years of life a collection of works that most poets given twice as many years to work would salivate over the idea of. Collected here are the entirety of Thomas' releases from 1932's 18 poems to 1952's In Country Sleep. To those who are unfamiliar with poetry, or perhaps rather are merely uncomfortable with it Thomas is a fantastic starting point to familiarize yourself with poetry, his commitment to sound and form, as well as his flowing musical qualities, which though most free verse aspired to few ever seemed able to capture as well as Thomas, there is an ease and a beauty in this collection that nearly all artists since Thomas's debut have tried to capture, but none has seemed able to match the mad Irishman.
A SEASON IN HELL- ARTHUR RIMBAUD
Arthur Rimbaud wrote A Season in Hell at the age of 19, and now almost 140 years after the poems publication it continues to inspire. Musician's, poets, writers have all paid tribute to A Season in Hell as a source of inspiration. Considered on of the first pieces to be considered a part of the Surrealist movement, it's cultural influences continue on through the works of later fans such as Patti Smith, Jim Morrison, and Bob Dylan, with a character even based off Rimbaud in the semi-biographical Dylan Film "I'm Not There".
LEAVES OF GRASS- WALT WHITMAN
Considered by many to be the epitome of American poetry. Written over the course of Whitman's entire life, hence the "Deathbed Editions" one finds. Among the poems which make up Leaves of Grass, poems such as "Song of Myself", and "I Sing the Body Electric" have gone on to stand as some of the most well used examples of early American poetry. Through his free verse Whitman explored everything from nature and inner peace to death and prostitution, this allows Whitman to explore the nature of his home and of life itself not from the view of an elevated hero looking out across the lands, but from the view of the common man strolling through fields, and streets. Whitman, in his time, was America, whether America wanted to admit it or not. Leaves of Grass, one finds, is like an emotional history lesson, taking through the world of Whitman's time, not through mere images, but through the emotions evoked by that world.
HOWL- ALLEN GINSBERG
Allen Ginsberg wrote Howl as a letter to a friend he had met while spending time in a mental hospital, in hopes of showing him the world and the times of joy and madness that he was missing out on. He succeeded, and in doing so the long prose call to his friend (Carl Solomon) not only reached his friend, but reached the entire generation of young men and women in search of meaning. Begun with perhaps the most famous line in modern poetry "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked..." From the moment those words were uttered in a San Francisco poetry reading nothing was the same. It was the launch of the Beat Generation's battle cry, and the birth of a whole new school of american poets.
THE WASTELAND- T.S. ELLIOT
The Wasteland was quite possibly the most complex poetic work of the 20th century. With allusions and references that shift from insights on the modern world to the land of the Fisher King of Arthurian legends, which is where the title comes from. While a readers edition is recommended, to help you identify what references the poet had weaved throughout the work, it is the challenge of deciphering the work which leads the reader to the works rewards. On it's simple face value it seems at time more of a collection of disjointed and unrelated quotes from other works with occasional moments of original poetry in between, but when you take the time and put in the effort to dig in beyond the simple face value you discover the reason why this poem has been applauded and praised countless times by scholars and critics who have discovered and rediscovered the poem in the almost 90 years ago.
Philosophy and Theology
No, there is no Chicken Soup for any kind of Soul here, seriously.
MERE CHRISTIANITY- C.S. LEWIS
The copy that I own of Mere Christianity was given to me as a gift from a Pastor who had run the church that I had not attended since I was a young child. He handed it to me and said that nothing he had ever read in his life had captured the reality of what it meant to look at life through the eyes of the Christian Faith as well as this book. Say what you well about the followers of any faith, C.S. Lewis speaks to the common man, speaks to the basics of the faith and reminds readers of the ideal of what Christianity was meant to be when the religion was still young. Mere Christianity is a reminder of what the Christian religion once strove to be, what it can be. Regardless of your own personal feelings towards faith or religion, it is a reminder of the thoughts and beliefs that helped to shape the Western World.
BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL- FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE
Nietzsche is easily the most well known name in modern discussions of philosophy. His actual views have been set aside in favor of replacing them with the views that those who never got around to reading his works want them to have; his words have been jumbled and rearranged to the extent that misquotes and approximations have replaced the actual statements of the man himself. Many would recommend that a person new to Nietzsche began their introduction to the work which preceded Beyond Good and Evil, the book Thus Spake Zarathustra, but personally as much as this Zarathustra is a fantastic work of self discovery, Beyond Good and Evil is a more critical and focused work, and likely one of the seminal works in the fields of morality and metaphysics. Those who are able to connect with the work of a philosopher on a cerebral level will devour that philosophers works to no end, Nietzsche is a philosopher whose works are prime for those capable and willing to dive in, Beyond Good and Evil is as tempting as any work to inspire a reader to make that dive.
It's the Bible. I'm not saying keep it by your bedside, I'm not telling you what faith to follow, or who to pray to if you want to pray at all. But it's the Bible guys...the only book to never be out of print, easily the most influential work...ever. It's as simple as that.
THE TRANSCENDENCE OF THE EGO- JEAN-PAUL SARTRE
Jean-Paul Sartre, in his lifetime, became one of the most respected and acclaimed philosophers on Earth (a fact the man himself was aware of though not particularly excited over). This was the first work that the philosopher release, arguably an essay rather than a book, but though he was at the time only 32 years old his work and thoughts presented here would stand to this day as one of the founding works of the existentialist school of thought. Some have argued that this is an expanded introduction to Sartre's masterpiece, Being and Nothingness, but other's state that by that logic every piece of philosophy is nothing but an introduction to the piece which will follow it. Existentialism has over the last century become one of the of the largest schools of thought in the spectrum of philosophy, with names such as Sartre, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and Camus falling under it's wide ceiling. But it is in this work that is perhaps the most concise introduction, and once properly introduced there is a lifetime's worth of discoveries awaiting you.
TAO THE CHING-LAO TZU
It's easy to lose perspective amid the countless forms of faith and religions that the world offers us. Which path is the true path, which offers the greatest guides and truths one can apply to their lives? These are the questions that most of us at some point of our lives are left to consider. As such it is important that we all allow ourselves the chance to expand our perspectives as much as possible, taking from them those ideas which can allow us to take the greatest leaps forward in our lives. Tao The Ching was the seminal work of the Taoist movement that influenced the religious progression of China since it's earliest appearances in the 6th century and continues to be a seminal work within Taoism to this day. The text itself is a series of 81 short "chapters" each of which stands as a guide for the understanding and traversing of the world about the reader. It is a series of perspectives that have been looked over by far too large a percentage of the western world, and in truth it is the expanses of perspectives that allow us to properly judge the quality of an individuals time on this world.
CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON-IMMANUEL KANT
The difficulty of recommending books of philosophy to someone is that you have two options when judging which works to push to the forefront, our first two writers, Nietzsche and Sartre I admit I recommended for the first reason that one does such things, and that was because they are the writers who have most acted as influences in my life and personal world views. Critique of Pure Reason, which I present now I do for the latter reason that one does such things, and that is simply because this is one of the most influential and far reaching works in the history of philosophy. One can not accept the answers that another's life has led them to, one can only find what truths apply to themselves. In philosophy that is at times a vast and deeply personal search, and Kant, especially in the works often known as his three Critiques, stands as one of the founders of the modern schools of philosophy and while I would hardly consider his writing introductory, they are a fantastic place to begin one's journey.
Memoirs, Journals, Biographies, and History's Best.
A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS:- DAVE EGGERS
Dave Eggers' was 30 when he released his memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, a book whose title alone has led to quite a variety of interpretations since it's release. Those who have enjoyed it, however, love it with a fiery passion that has led Egger's to be one of the premier names in modern fiction. The book it self concerns Eggers, and his attempt to raise his younger brother after the death of his mother, but don't allow this to make you think it's is all heartbreak, regardless of the title, Eggers work in fact is full of the authors humor, and hubris. Between the warm and affectionate story of Dave and his younger brother Toph the author freely takes the reader on tangents and dreams, his main character has a penchant for breaking the forth wall and actually acknowledging the fact that he's in a book. All and all though, whether or not this is a work of staggering genius, is up for debate, but it is a debate worth having.
THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY-JEAN-DOMINIQUE BAUBY
Jean-Dominique Bauby suffered a stroke which caused him to fall into a coma in 1995, when he awoke he found that he was suffering from a condition known as "Locked in Syndrome", in which he was mentally aware of his surroundings but found himself unable to move, paralyzed but for very limited movements of his head. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which chronicles Bauby's life and world after the accident, was written with a series of blinks to a transcriber over the course of ten months, writing four hours a day. The book itself touches on not only his life after the accident, but also a retrospective look at his life leading up to the stroke. Bauby's dies three days after his work was published, but he was able to see is sell over 25,000 copies on it's initial day of publication. In 2007 the book was released as a film directed by Julian Schnabel.
BLUE HIGHWAYS- WILLIAM LEAST HEAT-MOON
Travel books, when done correctly, leaves the reader upset at the realizations of the places that they are still yet to see. For every moment when life felt overwhelming and you get the feeling that you're ready to just pick up and leave, Blue Highways is a cheaper, slightly safer avatar you can live vicariously through until you get you're own fan properly stocked and equipped to leave. For William Least Heat-Moon, born William Trogdon it took losing his job and his wife to push him to load up his old green van with a bunk, stove, copy of Leaves Of Grass (remember that one?) and a few other essentials and venture out to find America and to find himself. Traveling along old forgotten roads, from forgotten town to forgotten town, meeting and talking in depth with an assorted crew of people along the way including a cabin restorer, fisherman, med student, prostitute and a handful of other unique voices that Moon discovered along his trip. At some point in every life there should be a moment in which they are able to pick up and escape, and if you don't know why a life needs that experience the link for Blue Highways is below this section.
COMING INTO THE COUNTRY- JOHN MCPHEE
There was a time when Alaska was a world unto it self. America's last frontier, as well as home to a breed of men and women no other place in America could contain. There have been, over the years, as many perspectives of Alaska as there have been writers who have thought themselves capable of capturing it. None have been able to do so as well as John McPhee. What McPhee has managed to do in Coming Into the Country is to show a land, still foreign to him, through the eyes of the people who call this place home with such ease and honesty that generations of readers felt a homesickness for a place they had never been. It seems difficult to say if this Alaska can still be found anywhere but for these pages, but so long as these pages find new readers, this land, and the people who inhabit it will manage to continue to inspire the frontier spirit that founded this nation.
MOTORCYCLE DIARIES- ERNESTO "CHE" GUEVERA
Some people consider "Che" a saint, other's a butcher, a third the poster boy for modern revolutionaries. His life, his battles and his death have been fodder for debate from both sides of the political spectrum, however this work is not from Che the revolutionary, but from Ernesto, a 23 year old medical student who in 1952 left his posh life in Buenos Aires for a nine month trek across South America where he saw the struggles and the conditions of the people and the workers who lived there. It was on the trek that the transformation from upper class doctor to Marxist guerrilla leader began to take place. The placement of this book on the list is not a statement of justification for his actions but as an offer of a new perspective of not only Guevera but of a world that could inspire a man to venture to such extreme ends. It's not the fight that one must understand, it's the passion which drives one to fight that you see in these words.
BOOKS OF ALBION-PETE DOHERTY
British musician Pete Doherty has made a reputation as both a musician a poet and a tabloid staple. While equally loved and hated across the world, especially his native England, to those whom have developed an affinity for the artist there is a plethora of poetic insights and stories from the musician. There are few living artists in any field for whom a more devoted fan base has developed. While admittedly this work is not for every taste it is a quality introduction to an artist and a field of thought likely overlooked by far too many potential fans and followers.