Book lists to make your head spin

So I finally tackled a major item on my to-do list yesterday.  No, I didn’t organize the basement (although I really need to).  Instead, I managed to wrangle the collection of links that had been hanging out in my bookmarks folder, and organized all the books recommended there on my master to-be-read list.  It was a big job, let me tell you.

Fortunately, they were all full of excellent recommendations, and built around interesting and provacative themes.  Plus, they were all were comprised of books that have been read and weeded by some seriously intelligent people.  These are lists for readers looking for quality fiction, a bit on the heavy side, with plenty of historical and literary significance.  So, do you get tired of hearing about the “10 Best Summer Reads”?  Can’t stand chick lit or lame vampires?  Have you ever fantasized about studying classical texts in graduate school?  Well, you’ve come to the right place.

The New Yorker Book Club

This month, super-smart New Yorker readers are discussing Ether by the highly unpronouceable Evgenia Citkowitz.  If anything, I trust this book club’s selections because of the people making the picks.  Besides Editor David Remnick, they have intellectual superstars like Malcolm Gladwell, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Jeffrey Toobin picking the books.

Slate’s Pre-College Reading List

Sometimes, I like to pretend that I’m still an undergrad.  Or, I like to fantasize about a life of leisure in which all I do is study great thoughts.  Ahh, if only college was actually like this.  Anyway, I’m always trying to see what the kids heading off to college are reading, because even though I may have graduated, I feel the need to remind myself that I’m just as smart as them.  This is an excellent list from Slate, and not just for recent high school grads.

Penguin’s Great Ideas Series

I love when publishers publish a series of books geared around specific themes.  Especially when the theme is “great ideas.”  I love this particular series because it organizes the nebulus category of “classics” so that readers know what’s supposed to be important without signing up for a college class.  Plus, it’s great to find annotated lists full of science writing, historical texts, theory and philosophy geared toward the layman.

Penguin’s Central European Classics

Again, another homerun for Penguin.  Central European literature is largely unknown to myself and most American readers, and so I think this series of books from that region is a great idea.  Though I may be unable to pronounce any of the authors’ names, I copied all these titles for later reference.  Perhaps I’ll make a project/challenge of reading them all.  I’m sure Penguin wouldn’t mind

Authors Pick the Modern Classics They Would Like to Revive

This one comes from The Independent, and if you can’t already tell, I’m a big fan of lists involving classics—particularly ones I may not have known before.  I know and recognize a lot of them already, and so when people reccomend classics that I’ve never heard of, I gobble it up.  Must. Gain. Knowledge!!  Anyway, this is a good list, and I was surprised to find that I hadn’t added Invitation to a Beheading by Vladimir Nabakov to my TBR list.  Tsk tsk.

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One thought on “Book lists to make your head spin

  1. Pingback: Sunday Salon: August 8, 2010 « Paperback Fool

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