A Terrible Blogger is Born!

August 30, 2009

The Too-Much-Information Post

Filed under: Literature — rmangum @ 12:25 am

med38There is one way in which reading habits are like sex. Since it is basically a private activity, nobody is exactly sure if how much and how often they do it is normal. Too little looks like incompetence, and too much can seem like some kind of personality disorder. Also, a person who keeps a record of it looks a bit  perverted.

Take Art Garfunkel, for instance, who has kept track of every book he has read since 1968. Up to 2007, the list contains 1,023 books, which averages out to just over 26 books a year. Well, I happen to share this same compulsion to track and record. I have a similar list, though mine only began in 2005. There’s some heavy-duty stuff on the Garfunkel list, Plato and G.I. Gurdjieff and Reinhold Neibuhr and the like, but we’re just talking about quantity here, not quality. My average is just over forty books a year, so I’ve got him beat on that front, though measured over about one-tenth of the time period (and I stopped playing guitar around the time I started the list). My list also contains notes on each of the books, but I’ll spare you that.

Here’s my list:

2005

  1. Chronicles Vol. 1- Bob Dylan
  2. Unknown Legends of Rock and Roll- Richie Unteberger
  3. The Old, Weird America- Greil Marcus
  4. On the Road- Jack Kerouac
  5. American Splendor- Harvey Pekar
  6. Please Kill Me- Legs McNeil
  7. Candide- Voltaire
  8. The Art of Reading Poetry- Harold Bloom
  9. The Maltese Falcon- Dashiel Hammett
  10. Men and Cartoons- Jonathan Lethem
  11. Ficciones- Jorge-Luis Borges
  12. VALIS- Phillip K. Dick
  13. Heaven and Hell- Aldous Huxley
  14. A History of God- Karen Armstrong
  15. Staying Alive: Real Poems for Real Times- Neil Astley (editor)
  16. Inferno- Dante
  17. Watchmen- Alan Mooremaltesefalcon
  18. Danse Macabre- Stephen King
  19. From Hell- Alan Moore
  20. A Dame to Kill For- Frank Miller
  21. The Great Movies- Roger Ebert
  22. The Modern Library’s Writer’s Workshop- Stephen Koch
  23. Zen in the Art of Writing- Ray Bradbury
  24. Introducing Postmodernism- Richard Appegnanesi
  25. A Universal History of Iniquity- Jorge-Luis Borges
  26. The Great Short Works of Franz Kafka
  27. The Communist Manifesto- Karl Marx/Friedrich Engels
  28. The Dark Knight Returns- Frank Miller
  29. Batman: Year One- Frank Miller
  30. I am Legend- Richard Matheson
  31. Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir- Eddie Muller
  32. V for Vendetta- Alan Moore
  33. The Dark Knight Strikes Again- Frank Miller
  34. The Rock Snob’s Dictionary- David Kamp/Steven Daly
  35. I Hated, Hated, Hated this Movie- Roger Ebert
  36. Cash- Johnny Cash

2006

  1. Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertitti to Emily Dickenson- Camille Paglia
  2. Pimp- Iceberg Slim
  3. The Redneck Manifesto- Jim Goad
  4. You Can’t Win- Jack Black
  5. Omens of Millennium: the Gnosis of Angels, Dreams, and Resurrection- Harold Bloom
  6. Flim Flam: Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions- James Randi
  7. A Voyage to Arcturus- David Lindsay
  8. Break, Blow, Burn- Camille Paglia
  9. Sex, Art, and American Culture- Camille Paglia
  10. Selected Non-Fictions- Jorge-Luis Borges
  11. Cult Fiction: A Reader’s Guide- Andrew Calcutt/Richard Shepherd
  12. The Devil’s Dictionary- Ambrose Bierce
  13. The Importance of Being Earnest- Oscar Wilde
  14. A Whore Just Like the Rest- Richard Meltzer
  15. Vamps and Tramps- Camille Paglia
  16. Beyond Good and Evil- Friedrich Nietzsche
  17. Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock and Roll Music- Greil Marcus
  18. The League of Extraordinary Gentleman Vol. 1- Alan Moore
  19. Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung Vol. 1- P. Craig Russell
  20. A Season in Hell/The Drunken Boat- Arthur Rimbaud
  21. Invisible Cities- Italo Calvino
  22. Tropic of Cancer- Henry Miller
  23. Finite and Infinite Games- James P. Carse
  24. Against Interpretation- Susan Sontag
  25. Life Against Death- Norman O. Brown
  26. Voltaire’s Bastard’s: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West- John Ralston Saul
  27. Love’s Body- Norman O. Brown
  28. The Outsider- Colin WilsonOpensociety
  29. Ranters and Crowd-Pleasers- Greil Marcus
  30. Fragments: the Collected Wisdom of Heraclitus
  31. Nietzsche and Postmodernism- Dave Robinson
  32. Introducing Wittgenstein- John Heaton
  33. Schopenhauer: A Very Short Introduction
  34. Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity- John Stossel
  35. Unsung Heroes of Rock and Roll: The Birth of Rock in the Wild Years Before Elvis- Nick Tosches
  36. Beyond the Outsider- Colin Wilson
  37. The Open Society and Its Enemies Vol. 1: the Spell of Plato- Karl Popper
  38. Sin and Syntax- Constance Hale
  39. Tao Te Ching- Lao Tzu
  40. Archetypes of Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy- Douglas J. Soccio
  41. Foucault in 90 Minutes- Paul Strathern
  42. The Great Philosophers: Popper- Frederic Raphael
  43. Experiments Against Reality: the Fate of Culture in the Postmodern Age- Roger Kimball
  44. The Open Society and Its Enemies Vol. 2: Hegel, Marx, & the Aftermath- Karl Popper
  45. The Great Philosophers: Marx- Terry Eagleton
  46. Heidegger: A Very Short Introduction- Michael Inwood
  47. Conceptual Physics- Paul G. Hewitt
  48. The Pre-Platonic Philosophers- Friedrich Nietzsche
  49. The Black Dahlia- James Ellroy

2007

  1. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves- Lynn Truss
  2. Eat the Rich- P.J. O’Rourke
  3. The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality- Ludwig von Mises
  4. Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal- Ayn Rand
  5. The Future of an Illusion- Sigmund Freud
  6. For a New Liberty- Murray Rothbard
  7. Civilization and its Discontents- Sigmund Freud
  8. Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals Abuse of Science- Alan Sokal/Jean Bricmont
  9. The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History- Thomas E. Woods
  10. Civilisation- Kenneth Clark
  11. The R. Crumb Handbook
  12. The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade- Peter Weiss
  13. The Ring of the Nibelung Vol. 2- P. Craig Russell
  14. The League of Extraordinary Gentleman Vol. 2- Alan Moore
  15. Axel’s Castle- Edmund Wilson
  16. Dreamer’s of Decadence- Phillipe Jullian
  17. The Waste Land and other Poems- T.S. Eliot
  18. Cult Rapture- Adam Parfrey
  19. Choice: the Best of Reason Magazine- Nick Gillespie (editor)
  20. What Has Government Done to Our Money- Murray Rothbard
  21. Capitalism for Beginners- Robert Lekachman
  22. Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets: Wallace Stevens
  23. Hegel: A Very Short Introduction- Peter Singer
  24. The Making of Modern Economics- Mark Skousen
  25. The Second Sin- Thomas Szasz
  26. Wallace Stevens: An Introduction to the Poetry- Susan B. Weston
  27. Kindly Inquisitors: the New Attacks on Free Thought- Jonathan Rauch
  28. The Ethics of Liberty- Murray Rothbard
  29. The Anti-Chomsky Reader- Peter Collier/David Horowitz (editors)
  30. Parliament of Whores- P.J. O’Rourke
  31. Economics in One Lesson- Henry Hazlitt
  32. Thus Spoke Zarathustra- Friedrich Nietzsche
  33. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?- Phillip K. Dick
  34. Confessions of a Crap Artist- Phillip K. DickDecline_of_the_West_1922
  35. End Zone- Don DeLillo
  36. Introducing the Enlightenment- Lloyd Spencer/Andrej Krauze
  37. Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies that Changed History- Joe Bob Briggs
  38. Batman: Broken City- Brian Azzarello/Eduardo Risso
  39. Gilligan Unbound: Pop Culture in the Age of Globalization- Paul A. Cantor
  40. Libra- Don DeLillo
  41. Batman Black and White
  42. Tom Strong Book 1- Alan Moore
  43. The Long Walk- Stephen King
  44. They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions- Paul F. Boller/John George
  45. The Vintage Mencken
  46. Futurism- Caroline Tisdall/Angelo Bozzolla
  47. The Wheel of Fire-G. Wilson Knight
  48. Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement- Brian Doherty
  49. The Truth about the Truth: De-Confusing and Re-Constructing the Postmodern World- Walter Truett Anderson (editor)
  50. The Roots of Romanticism- Isaiah Berlin
  51. Why Americans Hate Politics- E.J. Dionne, Jr.
  52. Eco-Scam: The False Prophets of Ecological Collapse- Ronald Bailey
  53. Moby Dick- Herman Melville
  54. A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation- Peter Singer
  55. Cat’s Cradle- Kurt Vonnegut
  56. Wise Blood- Flannery O’Connor
  57. The Decline of the West: An Abridged Edition- Oswald Spengler

2008

  1. The Postman Always Rings Twice- James M. Cain
  2. The Idea of Decline in Western History- Arthur Herman
  3. Divine Invasions: A Life of Phillip K. Dick- Lawrence Sutin
  4. Anarchism: A Beginners Guide- Ruth Kinna
  5. Four Quartets- T.S. Eliot
  6. In Praise of Commercial Culture- Tyler Cowen
  7. The American Religion: the Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation- Harold Bloom
  8. Something Wicked This Way Comes- Ray Bradbury
  9. Economics for Real People: An Introduction to the Austrian School- Gene Callahan
  10. A Vindication of Natural Society- Edmund Burke
  11. Our Enemy, the State- Albert Jay Nock
  12. The Libertarian Reader: Classic and Contemporary Writings from Lao-Tzu to Milton Friedman- David Boaz (editor)
  13. America First! It’s History, Culture, and Politics- Bill Kauffman
  14. The 42nd Parallel- John Dos Passos
  15. Journey to the End of the Night- Louis-Ferdinand Celine
  16. FDR’s Folly- Jim Powell
  17. The Road to Serfdom- F.A. Hayek
  18. The New Libertarian Manifesto/Agorist Class Theory- Samuel Edward Konkin III
  19. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said- Phillip K. Dick
  20. Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government- Robert Higgs
  21. The Wit of Oscar Wilde
  22. Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead- Tom Stoppard
  23. The Cartoon History of the United States- Larry Gonick
  24. The 100 Best Poems of All Time- Leslie Pockell (editor)
  25. Essentials of Economics- Bradley R. SchillerCormacMcCarthy_BloodMeridian
  26. Amerika- Franz Kafka
  27. Common Sense- Thomas Paine
  28. The Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle and other Essays
  29. The Case Against the Fed- Murray Rothbard
  30. The Law- Frederic Bastiat
  31. Lonesome Dove- Larry McMurtry
  32. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd- Agatha Christie
  33. The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford- Ron Hansen
  34. The Road- Cormac McCarthy
  35. A Reader’s Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose- B.R. Myers
  36. Rage- Stephen King
  37. Blood Meridian, or The Evening Redness in the West- Cormac McCarthy
  38. Democracy: the God that Failed- Hans-Hermann Hoppe
  39. The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s Changed America- Roger Kimball
  40. Against Love: A Polemic- Laura Kipnis
  41. Art History: A View of the West Vol. 1- Marylin Stokstad
  42. Brave New World- Aldous Huxley
  43. Foucault- J.G. Merquior
  44. The Politics of Obedience: the Discourse of Voluntary Servitude- Étienne de la Boétie
  45. Literature Lost: Social Agendas and the Corruption of the Humanities- John M. Ellis
  46. Brave New World Revisited- Aldous Huxley

Certain interests recur in my reading: pop culture, philosophy, libertarian politics, Batman. Later I might put up a more interesting (and self-effacing) list containing books I tried and failed to read (less Phillip K. Dick and Stephen King, more Joyce and Thomas Pynchon).

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