Category Archives: Literature

How Do Literary Authors of Small Languages Survive?

One wonders how a literary author of a small language could possibly survive, but they do. The following nations at the very least have, good, thriving publishing industries in their native languages, however, they do not have huge, world-class publishing industries.

Tier 1:

Albania (Albanian)

Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro (Serbo-Croatian)

Bulgaria (Bulgarian)

Burma (Burmese)

Czech Republic (Czech)

Denmark (Danish)

Finland (Finnish)

Georgia (Georgian)

Greece (Greek)

Iceland (Icelandic)

Hungary (Hungarian)

Iran (Persian)

Macedonia (Macedonian)

Norway (Norwegian)

Poland (Polish)

Romania (Romanian)

Slovenia (Slovenian)

Sweden (Swedish)

The Netherlands (Dutch)

Ukraine (Ukrainian)

Tier 1 are relatively small languages, but authors writing in those languages, especially novelists, can probably sell a lot of books simply because the market is rather small. All of those countries have thriving publishing industries.

Further, many of these languages are translated into German. More books are probably translated into German than any other continental language. Germany is basically a clearinghouse for translations from smaller European countries. If your work in say Czech gets translated into German, it will get much wider readership because many Europeans even outside of Germany speak German. German is one of the main lingua francas of Continental Europe.

Books in Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, French, Georgian, Gikuyu, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Lithuanian, Malayalam, Norwegian, Persian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Sanskrit, Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian are often translated first into German and then into other languages. Germany is often the first stop for a foreign translation from a big author from Continental Europe, and a German translation often comes before an English one.

The other big language that Continental European books get translated into is French. French of course is a huge language in Continental Europe and is spoken even by many people outside of France. If you publish in your small language first, you often wish to take it to France to get your first or second translation done. France, like Germany, specializes in translations of good authors of small Continental languages.

Books in Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Basque, Bengali, Bulgarian, Burmese, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malayalam, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Sanskrit, Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu and Vietnamese often receive a French translation, though a German translation is more common.

Works in Albanian, Arabic, Basque, Bengali, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Persian, Portuguese, Romanian, Sanskrit, Swedish and Turkish are sometimes translated into Spanish. Works in Albanian, Arabic, Basque, Bengali, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Sanskrit, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian are sometimes translated into Italian.

Works in Macedonian are typically translated first into French.

Most Albanian works also go into French first.

Some Persian works are translated first into Urdu.

Other languages have thriving industries of all sorts of published materials:

Tier 2:

China (Chinese)

Italy (Italian)

Japan (Japanese)

Korea (Korean)

Portugal and Brazil (Portuguese)

Russia (Russian)

Spain and Latin America (Spanish)

Turkey (Turkish)

Tier 2 are huge languages in their own right with vast publishing industries in their native languages. In addition, works in these languages are often translated into German and French.

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Filed under French, German, Language Families, Linguistics, Literature

Is Any Gay Fiction Worth Reading?

I do not mean gay or bisexual writers, of whom for whatever reason that are actually quite a few. I mean out and out gay writers, writers who include a lot of gay themes in their work? Obviously gay men want to read this stuff, but is any of it of any interest to straight men or possibly women?

I personally cannot recommend William S. Burroughs highly enough. He is one of the last century’s finest writers, and I have almost all of this work. There are homosexual themes running through his work, as Burroughs was very much a gay man.

There is also a lot of explicit gay sex in his books, albeit often written in a flowery, literary and even beautiful style. I read all of that stuff and it didn’t really bother me, but then it didn’t turn me on either. I suppose you could say I skimmed through it. I would be reading along and then it would come to the gay scenes and my mind would say, “OK here is the fag stuff,” and then I would cruise through that part pretty fast. Gay sex in print doesn’t generally disgust me, but it does nothing for me either, and it’s a bit uncomfortable to read. I generally feel like I want to skim through this part and get it over with as soon as possible.

Burroughs’ work is valuable far above and beyond the gay stuff, and many straight people, especially hipsters, read him. In particular Naked Lunch is his magnum opus. I remember lending it out to guys, and they would bring the book back to me with stunned looks on their faces. People started saying I was gay because I read Naked Lunch and was loaning it out. Well, that proves it, right?

The problem is there aren’t many others. I tried to read some Jean Genet, and it is very beautiful, but I never read any of his books in full.

I did read a book called The Lost Language of Cranes by David Leavitt. Although it had a gay theme, it was a very good book. I would recommend it highly. Supposedly Leavitt is some sort of a crossover writer, a gay writer who is accepted by the straight literary community.

I wonder if any straight people read John Rechy? I am told he is supposed to be a great writer, but unfortunately, his books are almost all about homosexuality and nothing else and his recent books are full of a lot of explicit gay sex. Most of his readers seem to be gay. However, City of Night is supposed to be a classic, and it was praised by Ken Kesey and Norman Mailer. In the song L.A. Woman, Jim Morrison voices the lines, “City of night! City of night! City of nighiiiiiieyeyight city of night!” He is supposedly referencing this book.

Based on rave reviews by Kesey and Mailer, I think we could recommend City of Night for straight readers. There’s almost no explicit sex in it anyway?

The Coming of the Night also has straight fans.

Do many straights actually read Rechy? If you do an online search on him, most of the folks writing about him are gay themselves.

I went to see Dennis Cooper read once in this seedy downtown bar in Los Angeles. All the usual maniacs were there, and unfortunately there were quite a few gay guys there too. He had sort of a punk reputation, so there was that element too. I remember that one of LA’s biggest writers was in the audience next to me. Later Cooper was next to me in the audience and he seemed to be making comments about me, but I wasn’t sure what he was getting at. Cooper is supposed to be a great writer, but he seems to have chosen self-ostracization with his focus on gay themes.

Edmund White is said to be a fine writer, but he is mostly read by gays. Gore Vidal was an excellent gay writer, but he stayed clear of gay themes in most of his works. One of his early books deals with homosexuality. A novel of E.M. Forster’s Maurice, has a gay theme, but it’s not much read by straight people.

I think the problem with a lot of these gay writers is they are pigeonholing themselves. I have read that if Rechy did not write about all that gay stuff, he would have been regarded as a great writer by now and would not be stuck in the gay literary ghetto. It seems like a bad career decision by a gay author to focus so much on homosexuality. Do straight writers spend their whole books writing about the sex lives in one way or another also? Are gay men’s sex lives so important that they must obsess about them every time they sit down to write about something?

The problem with a fine writer like Rechy is that there is so much explicit gay sex in his books that I would imagine most straight guys reading him would either put down the book in disgust or toss it across the room in rage. This is sad as I am told that he is probably the finest gay author alive today, and his books are true literature. You either resign yourself to being read by 3% of population and ignored by 97% or you tone down the gay stuff.

Rechy has locked himself into a prison.

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Filed under Homosexuality, Literature, Novel, Sex

The Lesson of Dostoevsky: The Christian Must Fail

If you read a lot of Dostoevsky, you will notice that one of themes is that the bad guys tend to win and the good guys tend to lose.

In other words, evil wins and good loses. The world is evil and it rewards evil. The Christians are basically the revolutionaries against the Evil Order who live self-sacrificing lives of good and denial in order not to succumb to the demands of the Evil Order. The Christians typically suffer greatly or are punished for being good, while Evil is rewarded as it conforms to the demands, requirements and tastes of the Evil Order.

What you find often in Dostoevsky is that the Christians all fail. Everyone who tries to be good fails.

You also see this in de Sade, if you have read any Sade. People are punished for being good and rewarded for being evil in Sade. However, Sade was celebrating evil apparently and attacking the good.

Some say he was simply turning the world upside down. And this was the great philosophical statement he was making.

Personally, I do not think that Sade was a good person. Actually, he was a very bad person, his books are very bad, in fact evil (I have read some of them and they are definitely terrible) and Sade should not be celebrated as some sort of genius. He was just another sick fuck trying to justify his evil ways by attacking religion and everything good in society.

It’s true that Sade never killed anyone, and it’s doubtful if he seriously hurt anyone, but his books are full of homicides, especially of erotic homicides of beautiful young females committed by sadistic males in the midst of orgiastic sex. Sade’s books are manuals for serial killers and hardcore sadists and not much good for anything good. I honestly do not see why people celebrate or elevate him as some sort of transgressive hero.

People are either good or bad, pretty much. And Sade was a very, very bad man.

Dostoevsky is quite different, but he is typical of the Russian tradition, which is morbid, depressive, self-sacrificing, self-denying, even self-punishing and death-loving.

They do not love death via the orgiastic pleasure of outwards-death of the psychopath but more as the inwards-death of the good person who suffers due to the evils of society.

Sociopaths love death by attacking others.

Dostoevsky’s heroes love death by attacking themselves because the world is evil and they are good.

There is a long tradition of this sort of self-flagellation in Christianity. The Catholics are full of it.

Because in Dostoevsky, the good people tend to fail and the evil people tend to win, critics have accused Dostoevsky of being evil himself, celebrating evil and punishing good as many depraved people do. But this is a total error in reading Dostoevsky. If the world is evil, then those who do evil will tend to be rewarded, and they are acting in accordance with the demands of society. An evil society will tend to reward evil and punish good.

In such a world, the Christian can only fail.

If by being good, the evil society will only tend to oppress, attack and discriminate against you, I would argue that it would be perfectly natural for the Christian to fail in an evil society.

Indeed, I would go even further and argue that the true Christian can only fail in an evil society, and that Christian failure in an evil society itself is a sign of good, since success would tend to be suspect and would brand one as possibly in with the evil folks.

Anyway, that is just my take on Dostoevsky.

He isn’t a bad man or a devil worshiper or anything like that. Instead, he is a champion of the good. He champions it so much in fact that his heroes are willing to lay down their lives, careers and happiness for the good in a rebellion against the Evil Order.

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Filed under Christianity, Literature, Philosophy, Psychology, Psychopathology, Religion, Sociopathy

Is It Sick to Be Into True Crime?

Well, of course it isn’t!

But the number of idiots and morons who believe this sort of nonsense is very large. I can’t remember how many times a conversation has turned to a person who has books about serial killers and some moron (almost always an uptight middle class White person) says, “What kind of a person would want to read about something like that?!” The people who have said this idiocy to me had very high IQ’s too. One of them was an attorney!

The implication, of course, is that if you like to read about murderers, then obviously you are a murderer yourself! If not an actual killer, then you must be a latent murderer. You’re going to explode any day now. Well, maybe you are not a latent murderer. Then obviously you like to fantasize about killing people. Surely Ted Bundy is your hero. Etc. etc.

The truth, as usual, is rather complicated, and as with most things fucktards say, there is a certain amount of truth to it, distorted as it is by the idiot’s insipid, narrow as a box canyon mind.

Here is the truth:

Many, many, many people enjoy books, movies, TV shows, etc. about true crime. Usually the more gruesome and horrible the cases are, the more people are fascinated by them. Why people are fascinated by the horrific is not known, but it’s just the way that human beings are apparently. If it bleeds, it leads, and all of that.

Books about murder and especially nowadays serial killers sell a tremendous number of copies. In almost all cases, the people who write these books are very good people (though they are often terrible writers). In many cases, they are former police officers, detectives and investigators. To say that these law enforcement officials are sympathetic to killers boggles the mind!

Why do they write these books? It is hard to say, but one good reason is for the money. There is a lot of money to be made in true crime.

Another reason is fascination.  I myself have wondered how or why someone would or even could write such a book. I do not think that I could handle it, but then I could never be a detective either. First dead body, and I would walk right off the job and never look back. But that’s because I love killers, you see! Because I write about them, obviously I must love them, right?

I have tried to analyze the minds of these true crime writers. A lot of them have the “cop mindset.” A good argument can be made that no matter what you think of cops, no one hates criminals more than cops do. And that is one very good thing about the police. They are the biggest criminal-haters of them all. That’s exactly who you want protecting you, of course.

And the personality of most of these true crime writers is of someone who, like a cop, has an extreme hatred for criminals – a straight, law enforcement mindset type, with an almost religious hatred of these wayward souls. One wonders how one could write a whole book about people you hate so much without throwing up repeatedly, but people are funny.

The majority of the people who buy books about serial killers are females. 95% of violent crime is committed by males. Females commit very little violent crime, and even when they do, they are often being controlled by a violent man who is brainwashing them into doing these things.

According to the nutty argument above, females are killers, or latent killers, or killer symps, or killer fantasizers much more than males are. But none of that is true. Not only do males commit more violence then females, but males also engage in much more violent fantasy and violent threats than females do.

The magic ingredient is called testosterone, kiddos. Men are killers. That’s how a caveman gets through a long cold winter. By killing great big animals. And probably by killing any marauding male who tries to violate your cave and its possessions. In all probability, the male pacifists – the ones who would not fight – simply died and did not pass on many of their genes.

Now here we are in the metrosexual postmodern world, and there is no need to kill great big animals anymore and much less need to kill marauding males, and there are hardly any marauding males around anyway. Yet the Caveman directive yet steers us on to dark and dangerous places.

If women don’t buy these books because they are killers themselves, then why do they buy them? A good possibility is that people just like to get scared. They like to read about scary stuff. Girls and young women love to go to horror movies so they can scream and grab hold of their boyfriends murmuring, “Protect me! Protect me!” This stuff fills a female need.

Unfortunately, there are folks who are into this sort of thing for bad reasons. When we go back through the history of killers or serial killers, we find that many of them were big true crime fans themselves. Quite a few are big horror movie fans. They also love gruesome websites and they particularly love sick pornography, often death porn, gore porn and heavy duty violent porn.

Why do they love such things? Like seeks like after all.

There are also quite a few people into true crime who are not killers themselves, but who I would argue that they are not ok in the head. I have known quite a few people like this. They idolize killers, especially serial killers. They talk about fantasizing about doing things like this.

Some of them write to killers, often to serial killers. Most folks who write to these people in prison are not really ok in the head. There is a whole subculture of women out there who are serial killer groupies. They write to the worst prisoners of all, profess their love for them, sympathize with them, propose marriage to them, on and on. The motivation of such weirdness is hard to figure, but at least some of these women are clearly not ok in the head at all.

Nevertheless the overwhelming majority of folks with this sick fascination will die without ever committing a single serious crime, so one wonders what harm their twisted hobby has actually done, other than Karma-wise (clearly such a mindset is bad for your Karma).

A very few true crime authors are actually serial killer groupies. Some have even married serial killers. There is a very famous woman like this named Sondra London. I have studied this woman a bit, and she is clearly not right in the head at all. At the very least, she is pandering to the lowest common denominator. At worst, she has gotten her wandering mind lost in some very dark territory. London claims that she is writing all of these sick books for educational purposes, to help criminologists and detectives understand what goes on in these psychos’ heads. We have been studying maniacs forever now, and I don’t think whole books detailing all of their sickest fantasies, drawings included, improve the knowledge base much.

There is another type that is found on the Internet. These are the “sleuths” and “crime fighters.” These are sort of Nancy Grace types. Websleuths is one of the finest such boards. Almost everyone on these boards is a very, very, very good person. Why are they there? They are trying to solve crimes, often the most horrible crimes of them all.

On many of these threads, tragically enough, you will find the friends and relatives of the victims, still damaged from the violation of their loved one. People actually think that the friends and relatives of a homicide victim are killers or latent killers themselves? Get off it!

There are also quite a few police officers and detectives (often retired) on these sites.

Far from sympathizing with criminals, most people on these boards probably hate these bad guys more than anyone else. Their hatred for them is often off the charts.

On a few of these threads, sometimes you can find the friends or relatives of say the main suspect who has not yet been arrested. They are often there to defend the accused. In some cases, they are trying to redirect the investigation towards another person, usually someone who is obviously completely innocent.

The serial killer fan and serial killer groupie type is nonexistent on these boards, and if they did ever show up, they would probably get banned very fast, as these sites are very loose with the ban hammer.

So the answer to the question, “Are true crime fans sickos?” is a complicated one. The answer is, “Well, it all depends on why they are true crime fans!”

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Filed under Crime, Gender Studies, Law enforcement, Literature, Man World, Mental Patients, Serial Killers, Women

Gay Men, Straight Men and Promiscuity

Samuel R. Delany, referenced in the previous post, is a famous gay Black science fiction writer. In an interview here, he states that over a 14 year period, he had sex with almost 4,000 different men, mostly in New York City. All that anonymous gay sex in such a disease-saturated subculture using dangerous sex practices cannot possibly be a good idea.

Peter: “…You can keep up an 8 hour a day job, an active social life, have your 300 contacts, and not even be late for dinner. Thousands of gay men in New York live this say…The straight people…have no notion of the amount of sexual opportunity that is available to gay male in New York City!”

Delaney: Most straights…do not realize…that a moderately good looking gay man can have two or three contacts while he’s in the subway on the way to see the doctor to see if he has AIDS!

Gay men have always been insanely promiscuous. This has been a feature of gay male culture in the US for much of this century. There is nothing new about it. It exploded in the 1970′s as new opportunities arose for gay men to have many more partners than before. Of course, some very nasty diseases were churned up by all that promiscuity and risky sexual practices, as one might expect. The promiscuity leveled off somewhat in the 1980′s and since, but it is still quite common for gay men to have many, many more sexual partners than the average straight man does.

There has been a strong trend recently to get gay men to into committed relationships and even gay marriages, but it is having a hard time going over not only due to societal resistance but also due to the fact that gay men tend to do poorly in committed relationships because many of them are too promiscuous to get into one in the first place and others, even if they are in a committed relationship or marriage, are legendary for screwing as many guys they can on the side. Indeed, many committed gay relationships or gay marriages have “arrangements” whereby they can screw around with other guys if they want to.

It would be interesting to look at gay men in other societies to see if they are as wildly promiscuous as they are here in the West.

Many theories have arisen about why gay men are so promiscuous, but no one seems to understand it. It has nothing to do with homosexuality per se, as lesbians are renowned for having few partners and even not much sex at all. Some say that this is what happens when you loose men into an all male society without the inhibitions of women. Men will pretty much screw anything and many of them want to screw all the time. The male appetite for variety is legendary.

Thing is, it is virtually impossible for the overwhelming majority of straight men to have the number of partners that Delaney did – sex with 300, 150 or even 50 a year. Any guy who can pull that off deserves the Medal of Honor, because it’s not an easy feat at all. Not only that, but any guy who can screw that many chicks is an Alpha by definition!

Truth is that straight men are probably not that much different than gay men. If there were enough women out there so that screwing 50-300 women a year was not nearly impossible, I am quite certain that a lot of straight men would do just that! It is only the inhibitions and limitations that women put on straight men that keeps them from imitating their gay brothers. I am sure there would be quite a few straight men who would “just say no” to these new opportunities and remain in monogamous relationships, but I think there would be quite a few who could not resist the temptation.

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Filed under Gender Studies, Homosexuality, Literature, Man World, Sex

Hogg and Mad Man by Samuel R. Delany

Never read these books and do not plan to, but at least Hogg seems to be in the runner-up for the sickest book of all time. Plot summary here.

At the time it was written, no one would publish it due to its graphic and copious descriptions of murder, homosexuality, child molestation, incest, coprophilia, coprophagia, urolagnia, anal-oral contact, necrophilia and rape…

…The plot features a silent pre-adolescent boy (called only “cocksucker”) sold into sexual slavery to a rapist named “Hogg” Hargus, who exposes him to the most extreme acts of deviancy imaginable…

…These acts include a substantial amount of “rape, violence, and murder”, such as “scenes of Hogg and his gang brutally raping various women” and other “extensive scenes involving consumption of bodily waste.” Nearly every scene in the novel contains extensive and graphic sexual acts…

…Hogg is a thug, a “rape artist” and terrorizer for hire, with inclinations more homosexual than heterosexual. Hogg may very well be the most vile, disgusting personality to emerge from contemporary American fiction: he never bathes or changes clothes, urinates and defecates in his pants, eats his own various bodily excrete, drinks a lot of beer and eats plenty of pizza to “maintain” his large gut–he has worms and likes it–and enjoys bringing suffering to others, male or female, mostly for pay but sometimes for his own delectation.

Yet he is also fascinating: the embodiment of what our society can turn people into, the decaying condition of the human soul…

Good Lord, I thought Sade and Naked Lunch were bad. This book sounds nasty!

It was preceded by The Mad Man, about a gay Black graduate student in New York.

The Mad Man is a sexually drenched literary novel by Samuel R. Delany, first published in 1994 by Richard Kasak…

…As such, it combines a number of perspectives: a realistic portrayal of academic research, New York street life and both pre- and post-HIV gay activity, as well as explicit portrayals of fellatio, coprophilia, urophilia, and mysophilia…

…Scenes in The Mad Man occur during “wet night” at the Mine Shaft, a gay bar that actually existed in New York’s meat-packing district in the ‘seventies and ‘eighties, which actually held such a monthly event…

Yuck, sounds horrible.

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Filed under Literature, Novel

James Joyce: Trolling IRL?

Trolling IRL means trolling in real life. That means that trolling in your real, waking, everyday existence. Some people’s whole lives are gigantic trolls. Sometimes I think Adolf Hitler was one of the world’s biggest trolls. Andy Kaufman was definitely trolling IRL. In fact, he is one of the best examples.

Rick Dyer definitely trolls IRL a good part of the time. A good case can be made that much of Rick’s recent life has been nothing but one gigantic troll on all of us.

If any of you have read or tried to read Joyce, especially Ulysses and even worse Finnegans Wake, do you think maybe those books are just gigantic trolls on literary culture and society and literature in general, or possibly just trolls on the whole world. Finnegans Wake in particular comes to mind. Every time I open up that book to some random page, I start laughing and wondering if the whole book is just some gigantic troll.

Thoughts?

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Filed under Literature, Novel

“Terra Incognita,” by Joseph Hirsch

The writer William Styron once observed that there was very little terra incognita, when it came to what an author could write about with authority, regardless of his or her own personal experiences.

A man who has never been to war can, after diligent research, write with authority about the horrors of war (see Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, a work so convincing in its details that when aging veterans of the Civil War read it, many were keen to track down its author; imagine their shock when they encountered a man so young that he hadn’t been born until after the war was over and done!).

Mario Puzo had never been in the mafia, but after a reputed decade’s worth of research in the New York City Public Library, he wrote The Godfather, which would go on to be adapted into one of the greatest American films in history.

At this point the reader might be wondering: is there an area where this rule does not hold, an experience that one would have had to endure personally before writing about it convincingly? If a writer can bluff his or her way through war and crime, what can’t they write about without having first lived it?

Styron’s answer to that (which I agree with) involves the prison milieu. To be frank, the best books about the prison experience have been written by people who have lived it firsthand. There are many good, even great books, about doing hard time written by people who’ve never seen the inside of rock walls, but they pale next to the works of those who have done time themselves.

Stephen King’s novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption is good; John Cheever’s Falconer is brilliant, but neither holds a candle to Edward Bunker’s No Beast So Fierce.

I’ve notice that Rob (and many of his commenters) have more than a passing fascination with prison. In the spirit of perhaps quenching some of that curiosity, I have compiled a list of what I believe are the ten most fascinating books written about prison. Some of them are written by men who’ve done time, and some of them aren’t. Here, without further ado, are my personal ten favorite books about the Big House:

Stone City by Mitchell Smith: A college professor gets a DUI, killing a young girl with his car. He is sent to the state pen, where he begins to teach convicts to read. This book could have easily descended into the clichéd teacher-in-the-hood category, familiar from movies like Dangerous Minds, but it becomes an incredibly convincing whodunit, which is something one rarely sees depicted in prison.

Bad: The Autobiography of James Carr by James Carr. One of the most brutal, unsentimental pieces of writing I’ve ever encountered. Carr was a young black man who grew up in the gang culture of Southern California in the early and late sixties. He makes no excuses for his actions, whether he’s bludgeoning someone to death with a baseball bat or raping a fellow inmate.

Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover: Conover was never a convict, but was rather a journalist with a set of balls the size of church bells. When he wanted to know what it was like to sneak across the border from Mexico into the United States, he linked up with some coyotes and he made the journey. And when he wanted to know what prison was all about, he applied to be a guard at Sing Sing, completed his training regimen, and then he proceeded to work a year as a “bull.” Conover is incredibly compassionate without ever being mawkish or melodramatic.

Tattoo the Wicked Cross by Floyd Salas: This one might be a little too much for most readers. It deals with a fair-skinned Hispanic boy who is sent to a charnel house of a reform school, ruled over by a ruthless black teenaged bully named “The Buzzer” who wears a set of leather black gloves and “stings” (re: rapes) “paddy boys” (Caucasians) for their “punk honey.” Incredibly disturbing, but remarkable that the taboo of teenaged male-on-male rape was broken open in such a brave way, and several decades ago, too.

Mother California: A Story of Redemption Behind Bars by Kenneth Hartman: When Kenneth Hartman was a young man, he made a very tragic, stupid decision. He got drunk, high, and he beat a homeless man to death in a park in Los Angeles. That decision cost him his freedom, but there isn’t an ounce of self-pity in this book. Hartman is an autodidactic philosopher, whose wisdom and serenity pours across every page of this book.

The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison by Pete Earley. If you’re only going to read one of the books on this list, let it be this one. The most compulsively readable book ever written about prison, Earley’s book follows several cons as they try to survive and navigate fed pen culture, but the most fascinating character in the work is Tommy Silverstein, a shot-caller in a white gang who is notorious for his murder of a prison guard, which has resulted in him being kept in a lighted cell twenty-four hours per day.

Silverstein is still alive (but nearly blind from the incessant fluorescence) and he is something of a brilliant artist. His story would require far more space than I’ve allotted him here, but if you are interested in reading about the injustices done this man, here would be a good place to start:

You’ve Got Nothing Coming: Notes from a Prison Fish by Jimmy Lerner: If you’re a nice middle-class Jewish boy who ever wondered what it was like to share a cell with a Neo-Nazi skinhead, wonder no more! Depressing books about the penitentiary are pretty much par for the course. What saves this book is its cynical, relentless sense of humor.

No Beast So Fierce by Edward Bunker: Bunker was, without a doubt, the greatest writer to ever emerge from the ranks of hardened criminals. He led a strange life, being first adopted by the wife of a movie mogul who took him to meet everyone William Randolph Hearst at San Simeon to Aldous Huxley, but crime was in his blood, and he went from reform school to juvenile detention to eventually San Quentin, where he held the record as the youngest inmate to ever be incarcerated there. Miraculously, Bunker went on to have a second life as a screenwriter and actor (he was Mr. Blue in Reservoir Dogs). All of his books are good, but this one is the best.

Fish by T.J. Parsell: The saddest book ever written about prison, sadder even than Tattoo the Wicked Cross. Parsell was a seventeen year-old lanky white kid with long hair and a charming smile. He decided to flirt with a girl at the local photo-mat by holding her up with a toy pistol, but his act backfired and he got a bid in a hardcore “gladiator school.” He was raped repeatedly, but eventually linked up with a hardened gay prisoner who refused to be victimized, and he learned to stand up for himself.

No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons by Joan Mariner: This was written as a Human Rights Watch Report, and while it’s not much of a narrative, it is an eye-opening document that sheds light on the racial nature of caste and abuse inside America’s prisons. Various convicts were urged to write their own accounts of what happens in prison, and their letters are presented, unvarnished and unedited, for the reader to see. Obviously it is brutal, but it sheds light on why men are willing to join racist gangs in order to survive and avoid victimization while doing time.

Well, that’s ten, but I’d like to give an honorable mention to Eddie Little. Little wrote two good novels, Another Day in Paradise and Steel Toes, the former of which adapted for the screen and starred James Woods and Melanie Griffith:

It is alleged that Little’s Another Day in Paradise provided James Frey with grist for his phony memoir about addiction and recovery. Sadly, Little is not here to defend himself or his work. He died of an overdose several years ago, which is a shame because he was a hell of a writer. His columns for LA Weekly are prime examples of why William Styron was right. Prison producers very few great writers, but the ones who emerge from that hell bring the kinds of stories that the MFA crowd just cannot bring. Little’s How to Rob a Drug Dealer is a good place to start:

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Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich

Fascinating and brilliant trailer for a book that came out in 2010. The reviews on Goodreads are evenly split between 5′s and 1′s. I like that! If I’m not making you mad, I’m not doing my job!

I haven’t read the book yet, but you can go read reviews of it here. Any book that Steve Erickson and Jeff Van der Meer are plugging can’t be all bad.

One reviewer calls her the love child of Kathy Acker and William S. Burroughs. Ok, where do I sign up then?

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Filed under Literature, Novel

What Are the Most Difficult Books to Read?

In this survey, we will look at popular books, both fiction and nonfiction, with an emphasis on fiction. We will include those books that typically make it onto lists of “the hardest book you have ever read” that are found on the Internet.

To conduct this survey, I analyzed over 4,400 responses from mostly American mostly average reader types on this website. They were then tallied and given one vote for every time they were listed. The results were then ordered according to vote. For instance, Finnegan’s Wake got 116 votes and Ulysses got 89 votes, etc. I also looked at many other “hardest books” lists on the Net and the results were more or less the same as this one.

Hardest or most difficult books typically means the most complex or the hardest to read. However, many were listed as difficult simply because they were tedious, boring, long-winded, etc. Others were difficult because they were so emotionally draining, terrifying, shocking or depressing.

A number of books made the list simply because they were awful. The books of Ayn Rand and a recent novel called Twilight were often listed. I did not list those because this is a list of hardest English language books, not worst English language books.

Many obscure, technical books or books for students such as textbooks were not included on the list. In general, to be included on the list, the book had to win awards, get good reviews, be a classic of some sort of otherwise be of high quality. Many books were eliminated due to the obscurity of the author. Genre books were generally disallowed, but exceptions were made for a few authors like Stephen King. A certain number of well-known or well-reviewed science fiction authors were included.

In some cases, poems, especially long poems, were listed, such as Homer’s Odyssey and Milton’s Paradise Lost.

What about you? What is the hardest or most difficult book you ever read? Feel free to list more than one.

How many have you read? I read 87 of the books below and I read part of another 18 books for a total of 105 books.

1. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

2. Ulysses by James Joyce

3. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

4. The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien

5. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

6. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

7. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

8. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
8. The Holy Bible

9. Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant

10. Phenomenology of Spirit by Georg Hegel

11. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

12. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

13. Being and Time by Martin Heidegger
13. Paradise Lost by John Milton
13. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

13. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
13. Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust

15. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

16. Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco

17. Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by
Douglas Hofstadter
17. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

18. Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
18. Das Kapital by Karl Marx
18. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs

21. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

22. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

22. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
22. Beloved by Toni Morrison

24. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
23. Trainspotting by Ian Welsh

23. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
24. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

25. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
25. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer

26. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

27. A Brief History of Time by Steven Hawking
27. Under The Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

28. Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner
28. Being and Nothingness by Jean Paul Sartre
28. Blood Meridian Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy
28. Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delaney
28. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Lawrence Sterne
28. The Recognitions by William Gaddis
28. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

29. Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk
29. The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
29. The Waves by Virginia Woolf
29. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert S. Pirsig

30. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

31. A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce
31. Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski
31. Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

32. Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes
32. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

33. Clarissa, Or the History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson
33. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
33. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstien

34. JR by William Gaddis

34. The Odyssey by Homer
34. The Unnameable by Samuel Beckett

35. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
35. Beowulf
35. Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
35. The Golden Bowl by Henry James
35. The Iliad by Homer
35. The Republic by Plato
35. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

36. The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
36. The Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S Eliot

37. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
37. Dune by Frank Herbert
37. Molloy by Samuel Beckett
37. Of Grammatology by Jacques Derrida
37. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
37. The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spencer
37. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
37. The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid/The Golden Apple/Leviathan by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea
37. The Man without Qualities by Robert Musil
37. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
37. V. by Thomas Pynchon

38. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
38. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
38. Mason and Dixon by Thomas Pynchon
38. Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life by George Eliot
38. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
38. Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
38. Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
38. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
38. The Ambassadors by Henry James
38. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
38. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

39. 2666 by Roberto Bolano
39. At Swim, Two Birds by Flann O’Brien
39. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
39. Pet Sematary by Stephen King
39. The Ghormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake
39. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
38. The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
39. The Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
39. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
39. The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien
39. Umbrella by Will Self

40. A Tale of a Tub by Jonathan Swift
40. Ethics by Baruch Spinoza
40. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
40. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
40. Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
40. Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
40. The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade
40. The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
40. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
40. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
40. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
40. Underworld by Don DeLillo

41. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
41. Écrits by Jacques Lacan
41. Light in August by William Faulkner
41. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
41. Malone Dies by Samuel Beckett
41. Nausea by Jean Paul Sartre
41. Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
41. Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard
41. Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey
41. Suttree by Cormac McCarthy
41. The Cantos by Ezra Pound
41. The Castle by Franz Kafka
41. The Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
41. Unfinished Tales by J. R. R. Tolkien
41. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
41. Women and Men by Joseph McElroy
41. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

42. Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon
42. Capitalism and Schizophrenia by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari
42. It by Steven King
42. Jealousy by Alain Robbe-Grillet
42. Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
42. Petersburg by Andrey Bely
42. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
42. Rayuela by Julio Cortazar
42. Sartor Resartus by Thomas Carlyle
42. Something Happened by Joseph Heller
42. The Making of Americans by Gertrude Stein
42. The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth
42. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
43. The Tunnel by William H. Gass
42. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
42. The Unfortunates by B. S. Johnson
42. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
42. Walden by Henry David Thoreau

43. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
43. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
43. Billy Budd, Sailor by Herman Melville
43. Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
43. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
43. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
43. Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar
43. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
43. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
43. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginian Woolf
43. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad
43. Nova Express by William S. Burroughs
43. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
43. Porno by Ian Welsh
43. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
43. The Atrocity Exhibition by J. G. Ballard
43. The Book of Dave: A Revelation of the Recent Past and the Distant Future by Will Self
45. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
43. The Death of Virgil by Hermann Broch
43. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
43. The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding
43. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
43. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
43. The Origin of the Species By Means of Natural Selection by Charles Darwin
43. The Prince by Machiavelli
43. The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass
43. The Trial by Franz Kafka
43. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
43. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

44. 1984 by George Orwell
44. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
44. A Fable by William Faulkner
44. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
44. Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle by Vladimir Nabokov
44. American Pastoral by Philip Roth
44. Anathem by Neal Stephenson
44. And the Ass Saw the Angel by Nick Cave
44. Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson Or an Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man’ by G. I. Gurdjieff
44. Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
44. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
44. Blindness by Jose Saramago
44. Correction by Thomas Bernhard
44. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
44. Darkmans by Nicola Barker
44. Dr. Sax by Jack Kerouac
44. Either/Or by Soren Kierkegaard
44. Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
44. Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard
44. Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais
44. Giles Goat Boy by John Barth
44. Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis
44. Glas by Jacques Derrida
44. Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
44. Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
44. Joseph and His Brothers by Thomas Mann
44. Justine by Marquis de Sade
44. Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr.
44. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
44. Metamorphoses by Ovid
44. Metaphysics by Aristotle
44. Negative Dialectics by Theodor Adorno
44. Paradise by Toni Morrison
44. Roots by Alex Haley
44. Silas Marner by George Eliot
44. Terra Nostra by Carlos Fuentes
44. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
44. The Anatomy Of Melancholy by Richard Burton
44. The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
44. The Book of Mormon
44. The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler
44. The Geneology of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche
44. The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco
44. The Kalevala by Anonymous
44. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
44. The Royal Family by William T. Vollmann
44. The Science of Logic by Georg Hegel
44. The Stranger by Albert Camus
44. The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence
44. The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obrecht
44. Translated Accounts by James Kelman
44. Valis by Philip K. Dick
44. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
44. Vineland by Thomas Pynchon
44. Watt by Samuel Beckett
44. We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver

45. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
45. 1982, Janine by Alasdair Gray
45. 2666 by Roberto Bolano
45. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
45. A Glastonbury Romance by John Cowper Powys
45. A Mercy by Toni Morrison
45. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
45. A Void by Georges Perec
45. Alphabetical Africa by Walter Abish
45. American Tabloid by James Ellroy
45. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
45. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
45. Baudolino by Umberto Eco
45. Blood’s a Rover by James Ellroy
45. Cancer Ward by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
45. Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
45. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
45. Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa
45. Cosmos by Carl Sagan
45. Darconville’s Cat by Paul Theroux
45. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
45. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
45. Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault
45. Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
45. Dissemination by Jacques Derrida
45. Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann
45. Dog Years by Gunter Grass
45. Dracula by Bram Stoker
45. Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
45. Empire of the Senseless by Kathy Acker
45. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
46. Fahrenheit 451 by Kurt Vonnegut
45. Eugene Onegin by Pushkin
45. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
45. Harlot’s Ghost by Norman Mailer
45. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
45. Hogg by Samuel R. Delaney
45. Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow
45. In Parenthesis by David Jones
45. In the Labyrinth by Alain Robbe-Grillet
45. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
45. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
45. Jazz by Toni Morrison
45. Justine by Lawrence Durrell
45. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
45. Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
45. Letters to a Young Contrarion by Christopher Hitchens
45. Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont
45. Margins of Philosophy by Jacques Derrida
45. Michael Kohlhaas by Heinrich von Kleist
45. Miss MacIntosh, My Darling by Marguerite Young
45. Money by Martin Amis
45. My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk
45. Night by Elie Wiesel
45. On Creativity and the Unconscious by Sigmund Freud
45. On Nature by Paramenides
45. Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo
45. Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein
45. Pilgermann by Russell Hoban
45. Pincher Martin: The Two Deaths of Christopher Martin
by William Golding
45. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
45. Red Badge of Courage by Steven Crane
45. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
45. Satantango by László Krasznahorkai
45. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
45. Shōgun by James Clavell
45. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
45. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
45. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
45. Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
45. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
45. Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas
45. Tarr by Wyndham Lewis
45. Tender Buttons: Objects, Food, Rooms by Gertrude Stein
45. The 50-Year Sword by Mark Z. Danielewski
45. The Aeneid by Homer
45. The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
45. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
45. The Confusion by Neal Stephenson
45. The Corrections by Jonathon Franzen
45. The Demon by Hubert Selby Jr.
45. The Female Man by Joanna Russ
45. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
45. The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals by Immanuel Kant
45. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
45. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
45. The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
45. The Journal of Albion Moonlight by Kenneth Patchen
45. The Mahabharata
45. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
45. The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco
45. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
45. The Obscene Bird of Night by José Donoso
45. The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosiński
45. The Phenomenology of Perception by Maurice Merleau-Ponty
45. The Prelude by William Wordsworth
45. The Red and the Black by Stendhal
45. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
45. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
45. The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs
45. The Son by Phillip Meyer
46. The Sonnets by Ted Berrigan
45. The Stand by Steven King
45. The System of the World by Neal Stephenson
45. The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima
45. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
45. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
45. Torture Garden by Octave Mirbeau
45. Troilus and Criseyde by Chaucer
45. Ulverton by Adam Thorpe
45. Villette by Charlotte Bronte
45. Violence and the Sacred by René Girard

46. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar
46. A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilbur
46. A Brief History of The Universe by Steven Hawking
45. A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan
46. A Disaffection by James Kelman
46. A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century by Barbara Tuchman
46. A Fortunate Life by Albert Facey
46. A Frolic of His Own by William Gaddis
46. A Grammar of The Arabic Language by William Wright
46. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
46. A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
46. A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka
46. A Meditation by Juan Benet
46. A Midwife’s Tale by Martha Moore Ballard
46. A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava
46. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
46. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
46. A Study of History by Arnold Toynbee
46. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
46. A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
46. A Vision by William Butler Yeats
46. Acquainted with Grief by Carlo Emilio Gadda
46. Against Nature by Joris Karl Huysmans
46. All and Everything by G. I. Gurdjieff
46. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
46. Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko
46. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
46. Americana by Don DeLillo
46. American Tabloid by James Ellroy
46. Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
46. An Equal Music by Vikram Seth
46. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke
46. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
46. And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer
46. Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
46. Animal Farm by George Orwell
46. Antigone by Sophocles
46. Armed with Madness by Mary Butts
46. Australia Felix by Henry Handel Richardson
46. Auto-da-Fé by Elias Canetti
46. Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill
46. Balthazar by Lawrence Durrell
46. Barefoot in the Head by Brian Aldiss
46. Barley Patch by Gerald Murnane
46. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
46. Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
46. Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen
46. Being and Event by Alain Badiou
46. Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace
46. Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov
46. Best Words, Best Order by Stephen Dobyns
46. Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West
46. Blackstrap Hawco by Kenneth J. Harvey
46. Book of Dreams by Jack Kerouac
46. Brave New World by George Orwell
46. Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace
46. Broom Of the System by David Foster Wallace
46. Burn by Vasily Aksyonov
46. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
46. Candide by Voltaire
46. Capricornia by Xavier Herbert
46. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières
46. Cartesian Meditations by Edmund Husserl
46. Cat and Mouse by Günter Grass
46. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
46. Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
46. Cheri by Colette
46. Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
46. Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem
46. Cities of the Red Night by William S. Burroughs
46. Clea by Lawrence Durrell
46. Closing of the American Mind by Alan Bloom
46. Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami
46. Collected Poems and Other Verse by Stéphane Mallarmé
46. Concrete by Thomas Bernhard
46. Cosmos by Witold Gombrowicz
46. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
46. Crash by J. G. Ballard
46. Crossing the Water by Sylvia Plath
46. Crowds and Power by Elias Cannetti
46. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
46. Cujo by Stephen King
46. Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials by Reza Negarestani
46. Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell
46. Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
46. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life by David Dennett
46. Day by A. L. Kennedy
46. Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
46. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
46. Democracy and Education by John Dewey
46. Demons or The Possessed by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
46. Detour by Michael Brodsky
46. Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom by Roy Bhaskar
46. Difficult Loves by Italo Calvino
46. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
46. Dream of Fair to Middling Women by Samuel Beckett
46. Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
46. Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp by Harriet Beecher Stowe
46. Dubliners by James Joyce
46. Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke
46. Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess
46. Effi Briest by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
46. Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
46. Embassytown by China Miéville
46. Enneads by Plotinus
46. Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay
46. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
46. Filth by Irvine Welsh
46. Fin-De-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture by Carl E. Schorske
46. Five Spice Street by Can Xue
46. Flow Chart by John Ashbery
46. Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna
46. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
46. Freedom by Jonathon Franzen
46. From an Occult Diary by August Strindberg
46. GB84 by David Peace
46. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
46. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
46. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity by Judith Butler
46. Germinal by Émile Zola
46. Glue by Ian Welsh
46. God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert
46. Gould’s Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish by Richard Flanagan
46. Grimus by Salman Rushdie
46. Gulliverʻs Travels by Jonathon Swift
46. Hagakure: The Book of the Sumarai by Yamamoto Tsunetomo
46. Hard Times by Charles Dickens
46. Hawaii by James A. Michener
46. He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope
46. Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
46. Her Weasels Wild Returning by J. H. Prynne
46. Herzog by Saul Bellow
46. Hiroshima by John Hershey
46. Histories by Herodotus
46. History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
46. Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut
46. Hollywood by Gore Vidal
46. Hope Leslie, Or early Times in the Massachusetts
by Catharine Maria Sedgwick
46. Howard’s End by E. M. Forster
46. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics by Ludwig von Mises
46. Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks
46. Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez
46. Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial, or a Discourse of the Sepulchral Urns Lately Found in Norfolk by Sir Thomas Browne
46. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
46. I the Supreme by Augusto Roa Bastos
46. If This is a Man by Primo Levi
46. Imaginary Magnitudes by Stanislaw Lem
43. Immortality by Milan Kundera
46. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
46. In the Castle of My Skin by George Lamming
46. In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka
46. Inferno by August Strindberg
46. Insatiability by Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz
46. Introduction to the Reading of Hegel by Alexandre Kojeve
46. Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner
46. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
46. Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf
46. Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut
46. Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch
46. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
46. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
46. Justice as Fairness by John Rawls
46. Kama Sutra
46. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
46. King Lear by William Shakespeare
46. La Maison de Rendez-vous by Alain Robbe-Grillet
46. Lanark: A Life in Four Books by Alasdair Gray
46. Land of the Blind by Jess Walter
46. Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
46. Laura Warholic, or The Sexual Intellectual by Alexander Theroux
46. Lectures on Aesthetics by Georg Hegel
46. Les Guérillères by Monique Wittig
46. LETTERS by John Barth
46. Life, a User’s Manual by Georges Perec
46. Literature or Life by Jorge Semprún
46. Little Bee by Chris Cleave
46. Little Big Man by Thomas Berger
46. Lookout Cartridge by Joseph McElroy
46. Lord Leverhulme’s Ghost: Colonial Exploitation in the Congo by Jules Marchel
46. Long Talking, Bad Conditions, Blues by Ronald Sukenick
46. Lost in the Funhouse by John Barth
46. Locus Solus by Raymond Roussel
46. Love by Toni Morrison
46. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
46. M by Peter Robb
46. Mad Man by Samuel R. Delaney
46. Madness and Civilization by Michel Foucault
46. Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought by Louis A. Sass
46. Magister Ludi by Hermann Hesse
46. Maiden Castle by John Cowper Powys
46. Manticore by Robertson Davies
46. Mao II by Don DeLillo
46. Marks of Identity by Juan Goytisolo
46. Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy by Isaac Newton
46. Maurice Guest by Henry Handel Richardson
46. Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin
46. Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky
46. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature by Eric Auerbach
46. Mountolive by Lawrence Durrell
46. Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeymi
46. Mr. Palomar by Italo Calvino
46. Mulata de Tal by Miguel Ángel Asturias
46. Mulligan Stew by Gilbert Sorrentino
46. Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa
46. My Education: A Book of Dreams by William S. Burroughs
46. Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church by Vladimir Lossky
46. Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth
46. Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson
46. Nedjma by Kateb Yacine
46. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
46. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
46. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman The Subtle Knife
46. Nova by Samuel R. Delaney
46. Neuromancer by William Gibson
46. Memories of the Irish-Israeli War by Phil O’Brien
46. Oblivion by David Foster Wallace
46. Odysseus by Nikos Kazantzakis
46. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
46. Omensetter’s Luck by William Gass
46. On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche
46. On Certainty by Ludwig Wittgenstein
46. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
46. One Dimensional Man by Herbert Marcuse
46. Open Mike by Michael Eric Dyson
46. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
46. Orthogonal by Greg Egan
46. Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet
46. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
46. Palace of the Peacock by Wilson Harris
46. Parade’s End by Ford Maddox Ford
46. Paradise Regained by John Milton
46. Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan
46. Passage to India by E. M. Forster
46. Past and Present by Thomas Carlyle
46. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
46. Platero y yo by Juan Ramón Jiménez
46. Poems by J. H. Prynne
46. Poetic Edda
46. Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley
46. Polyphilo, Or the Dark Forest Revisited by Alberto Perez-Gomez
46. Poor Fellow My Country by Xavier Herbert
46. Portnoy’s Complaint by Phillip Roth
46. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
46. Posterior Analytics by Aristotle
46. Principia Mathematica by Bertrand Russell
46. Prior Analytics by Aristotle
46. Prometheus Unbound by Percy Byce Shelley
46. Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson
46. Prostitution by Pierre Guyotat
46. Raintree County by Ross Lockridge
46. Rape Me by Virginie Despentes
46. Ratner’s Star by Don DeLillo
46. Report on Probability A by Brian Aldiss
46. Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Jr.
46. Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie
46. On The Hypotheses Which Lie At The Foundation Of Geometry by Bernhard Riemann
46. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
46. The New Heloise by Jean=Jacques Rousseau
46. S/Z by Roland Barthes
46. Sabbath’s Theater by Phillip Roth
46. Saint Genet, Actor and Martyr by Jean-Paul Sartre
46. Sanctuary by William Faulkner
46. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
46. See Under: Love by David Grossman
46. Seeing by Jose Saramago
46. Selected Poems by John Ashbery
46. Self-reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
46. Setting Free the Bears by John Irving
46. Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence
46. Sexual Personae by Camille Paglia
46. Sexual Politics by Kate Millet
46. Shadow and Claw by Gene Wolfe
46. Shame by Salman Rushdie
46. She: A History of Adventure by Henry Rider Haggard
46. Shikasta by Doris Lessing
46. Shirley by Charlotte Brontë
46. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
46. Silence by Shusaku Endo
46. Sixty Stories by Donald Barthelme
46. Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut
46. Slow Learner by Thomas Pynchon
46. Snow by Orhan Pamuk
46. Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson
46. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
46. Songs of Enchantment by Ben Okri
46. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
46. Soul Mountain by Gao Xinjian
46. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
46. Stones of Summer by Dow Mossman
46. Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille
46. Sula by Toni Morrison
46. Summa Theologiae by Thomas Aquinas
46. Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
46. Sword and Citadel by Gene Wolfe
46. Syntactic Structures by Noam Chomsky
46. Tar Baby by Toni Morrison
46. Tennis Court Oath by John Ashbery
46. The Acid House by Irvine Welsh
46. The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges
46. The Antichrist by Friedrich Nietzsche
46. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
46. The Bald Soprano by Eugène Ionesco
46. The Ballad of the White Horse by G. K. Chesterton
46. The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You by Frank Stanford
46. The Bear by William Faulkner
46. The Beautiful and The Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
46. The Bell by Iris Murdoch
46. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
46. The Big Music by Kirsty Gunn
46. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
46. The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins
46. The Bone People by Keri Hulme
46. The Book of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe
46. The Book of the Short Sun by Gene Wolfe
46. The Bridge by Iain Banks
46. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert Heinlein
46. The Centaur by John Updike
46. The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal
46. The City and the City by China Mieville
46. The Clouds by Aristophanes
46. The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy
46. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis by Lydia Davis
46. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
46. The Complete Poems of Hart Crane by Hart Crane
46. The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer
46. The Confidence Man by Herman Melville
46. The Confusions of Young Törless by Robert Musil
46. The Crisis of European Sciences by Edmund Husserl
46. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
46. The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism by Fredric Jameson
46. The Damned United by David Peace
46. The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips
46. The Day He Himself Shall Wipe My Tears Away by Kenzaburo Oe
46. The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
46. The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes
46. The Death of Ivan Illych by Fyodor Dostoevsky
46. The Decameron by Boccaccio
46. The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper
46. The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by Joao Rosa
46. The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
46. The Discovery of Slowness by Sten Nadolny
46. The Dollmaker by Harriette Simpson Arnow
46. The Double by José Saramago
46. The Dream Songs by John Berryman
46. The Dunciad by Alexander Pope
46. The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald
46. The Emperor’s New Mind by Roger Penrose
46. The End of Alice by A. M. Homes
46. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
46. The Enormous Room by E. E. Cummings
46. The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer
46. The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick by Philip K. Dick
46. The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer
46. The Famished Road by Ben Okri
46. The Fifth Queen by Ford Maddox Ford
46. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
46. The Gay Science by Friedrich Nietzsche
46. The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
46. The Georgics by Claude Simon
46. The German Lesson by Siegfried Lenz
46. The Gold Bug Variations by Richard Powers
46. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
46. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
46. The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
46. The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslev Hasek
46. The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth
46. The Grand Design by Steven Hawking
46. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
46. The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker
46. The Green House by Mario Vargas Llosa
46. The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie
46. The Grundrisse by Karl Marx
46. The Harroway Reader by Donna Harroway
46. The History of Jazz by Ted Gioia
46. The History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault
46. The Human Stain by Philip Roth
46. The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili by Francesco Colonna
46. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
46. The Instructions by Adam Levin
46. The Inverted World by Christopher Priest
46. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
46. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
46. The Kabbalistic Mirror of Genesis by David Chaim Smith
46. The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell
46. The Known World by Edward P. Jones
46. The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis
46. The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo
46. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
46. The Little Prince by St. Exupery
46. The Location of Culture by Homi K. Bhabha
46. The Lover by Marguerite Duras
46. The Magus by John Fowles
46. The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo
46. The Manchester Man by Mrs. G. Linneaus Banks
46. The Mayor of Castorbridge by Thomas Hardy
46. The Maximus Poems by Charles Olson
46. The Mediterranean by Ferdinand Braudel
46. The Mind of God by Paul Davies
46. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
46. The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus
46. The Need for Roots by Simone Weil
46. The Neon Bible by John Kennedy Toole
46. La New Life from Dante Alighieri
46. The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson
46. The Notebook by Jose Saramago
46. The Number of the Beast by Robert A. Heinlein
46. The Onion Eaters by J.P. Donleavy
46. The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich
46. The Order of Things by Michel Foucault
46. The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt
46. The Parallax View by Slavoj Žižek
46. The Pearl by John Steinbeck
46. The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia
46. The Phantom of The Opera by Gaston Leroux
46. The Phenomenon of Man by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
46. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
46. The Poems of Laura Riding by Laura Riding
46. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
46. The Pope’s Rhinoceros by Lawrence Norfolk
46. The Power Of Horror by Julia Kristeva
46. The Powers That Be by David Halberstam
46. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
46. The Public Burning by Robert Coover
46. The Question Concerning Technology by Martin Heidegger
46. The Quran
46. The Rat by Gunter Grass
46. The Red Cavalry by Isaac Babel
46. The Rig Veda
46. The Ring and the Book by Robert Browning
46. The Rite of Spring by Alejo Carpentier
46. The Road to Reality by Roger Penrose
46. The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek
46. The Room by William Selby Jr.
46. The Ruin of Kasch by Roberto Calasso
46. The Satyricon by Petronius
46. The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano
46. The Sea by John Banville
46. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
46. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis by Jacques Lacan
46. The Society of Society by Niklas Luhmann
46. The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord
46. The Story of American Freedom by Eric Foner
46. The Story of the Stone by Cao Xueqin
46. The Stuff that Dreams Are Made of by Steven Hawking
46. The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
46. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
46. The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
46. The Tartar Steppe by Dino Buzatti
46. The Tempest by William Shakespeare
46. The Theory of Everything by Stephen Hawking
46. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
46. The Ticket That Exploded by William S. Burroughs
46. The Time of the Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa
46. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
46. The Trinity by St. Augustine
46. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
46. The Twilight of the Idols by Friedrich Nietzsche
46. The Unnatural History of the Sea by Callum Roberts
46. The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf
46. The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess
46. The Way Home by Henry Handel Richardson
46. The Way of Love by Luce Irigaray
46. The Web and the Stone by Thomas Wolfe
46. The White Goddess by Robert Graves
46. The White Hotel by D.M. Thomas
46. The Wild Boys by William S. Burroughs
46. The World as Will and Representation by Arthur Schopenhauer
46. The Wrestler’s Cruel Study by Stephen Dobyns
46. The Wretched of the Earth by Pearl S. Buck
46. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
46. Theory of Justice by John Rawls
46. Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen
46. There Is No Year by Blake Butler
46. This Sex Which Is Not One by Luce Irigaray
46. Three Lives by Gertrude Stein
46. Three Trapped Tigers by Guillermo Cabrera Infante
46. Time’s Arrow by Martin Amis
46. Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut
46. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carre
46. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
46. Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
46. Tomb for Five Hundred Thousand Soldiers by Pierre Guyotat
46. Too Far Afield by Gunter Grass
46. Totem and Taboo by Sigmund Freud
46. Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy by Edmund Husserl
46. Trawl by BS Johnson
46. Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare
46. Truth and Method by Hans Georg Gadamer
46. Ultima Thule by Henry Handel Richardson
46. Under the Net by Iris Murdoch
46. Unforgiving Years by Victor Serge
46. USA by John Dos Passos
46. Utopia by Thomas Moore
46. Vilnius Poker by Ričardas Gavelis
46. Voss by Patrick White
46. Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett
46. War in Human Civilization by Azar Gat
46. Warped Passages by Lisa Randall
46. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
46. What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
46. What Is the What by David Eggers
46. White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings by Iain Sinclair
46. White Noise by Don DeLillo
46. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
46. Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor
46. Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson
46. Wolf Solent by John Cowper Powys
46. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
46. Writing the Disaster

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