Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Books Essential for Life

10. Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality - Sigmund Freud.

It's still easy to see why these essays horrified the world. Freud described a kiss as the mutual contact of the mucous membrane of the lips. He connected romance to perversion. He traced the architecture of adult life to the hidden sexuality of children. Brilliant, fearless, and, yes, a little nutty, he turned science inward and changed our minds forever.

9. Charles Bukowski - Women

Henry Chinaski, the gritty, drunken poet protagonist of Bukowski's best novel, is an irresistible bastard

8. What It Takes - Richard Ben Cramer

Richard Ben Cramer published this gorgeous and absorbing undertaking about running for the American presidency.Cramer had focused his giant talent on 1988, which seemed a yawner election by comparison

7. Advnse and Consent - Allen Drury

Advise and Consent has got closet cases and State Department commies, confirmation bloodbaths, blackmail, and suicide,

6. A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton - John McPhee

A slim but not slight meditation on a young basketball star named Bill Bradley. It's ostensibly about what it means to be gifted in that blessed

5. The Professional - W.C. Heinz

inz's 1958 novel about boxer Eddie Brown and his big fight reads and feels like actual literature: lean, economical prose; beautifully nuanced characters; action that's fierce and true.

4. The Education of Henry Adams

The last, powerful yawp of a family full of Boston snobs who were nonetheless so mad for human liberty, they failed to see where it all would lead or, in the case of great-grandpappy John, appreciate it very much when they got there. Adams rings in the twentieth century, buys a car, and deeply regrets that his high-rent formal education has left him unprepared for the wonders to come. "Chaos often breeds life," he concludes. "Order breeds habit."

3. U. S. A. by Dos Passos

Dos Passos's epic trilogy — The 42nd Parallel, 1919, and The Big Money — is simply about politics, conscious and unconscious, rational and instinctual, at a time in which the country itself changed forever a

2. Dino by Nick Tosches

prawling biography of Dean Martin

1. Ralph Ellison - Invisible Man

Maximalist and mythic, devoured by, and reborn in, all the craving, rage, and lunacy one nation — and a nameless young narrator — can hold. Sex and race, politics and religion

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