On a trip to Mammoth Lakes last week, I realized that I’d forgotten to pack the book I planned to read. But then I was watching friends stop to charge their car on the drive up the 395, wrestling in the dirt with their great big bear of a dog, and the charging station was in a lucky place: behind the
New piece at The Blaze today, by the way:
I'm currently reading "Surely You Can't Be Serious: The True Story of Airplane!" by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker. Very funny, particularly if you are a fan of the movie. It's a great break from the insanity of the world right now.
I just started Moby Dick and it’s surprisingly hilarious.
“This Perfect Day” by Ira Levin is his most underrated book, and perhaps the most accurate imagining of the future ever written. It was published in 1971 after Levin apparently time travelled to the mid 21st century. AI governance (modeled by Chinese engineers), the sexualization of children, banning of hate speech (“hate” is a profanity), centralized digital currency (all transactions are subject to “government” approval) gender ambiguity, the internet, the iPad, and mandatory universal drug treatments are just a few of his uncanny visions. It read like science fiction when first published, but today reads like.... well, just read it. It is astonishing, and deserving of awe for its prescience. If I hadn’t read it when it made the book club over fifty years ago I would find it difficult to believe it wasn’t published this year.
The standout book for me in the last five years is Gary Saul Morson's "Anna Karenina" In Our Time, a close reading of Tolstoy's novel. I have read AK a half dozen times for the simple pleasure of just reading something truly beautiful, and yet GSM's intimacy with the great book is shocking: deep, moral, fascinating on every page. The Russians are indispensable for this moment in time. But academia and "literary fiction" have just about killed the pleasure of reading a story—and along the way have also managed to obscure the great utility of narrative in navigating the actual world.
We read The Oxbow Incident in grade school (≈60 yrs ago) and it shaped my lifetime view of legal rights, due process and an unbiased jury. Never thought it’d be an allegory for Mass Formation Psychosis by our government & willing civilian dupes, and the generational consequences.
I would advise anything by Evelyn Waugh. He hilariously chronicled the decline of British society and the fraudulent, self-important elites atop it better than anyone. America is at that point now.
Wolf's new book about "Facing the Beast". No fiction in it, just hardcore truths.
The top 2% of books I have ever read: https://www.tomwhitenoise.com/bookshelf
Chris, When I was in public school, The Ox Bow Incident was required reading (as were many other worthwhile books like To Kill A Mockingbird). Sad that you are just discovering it now. It was good then and is still good. Education has gone downhill so far over the past years.
The Devil's Chessboard, David Talbot, it's about the intelligence community's rise to power. It's more than a little creepy.
The Ox Bow Incident movie would have won the Oscar too (but for Casablanca).
I think we had to read it in school. Probably would be banned today.
Dostoevsky's "The Possessed/Devils"
the sub text is how a small Russian town gets infected by all the European "isms" (socialism, marxism, atheism, liberalism) and ends up burning down half the city and driving most residents mad. the plot deals with the land owning aristocracy and their children coming home who represent the new ideologies and cause general chaos...very relevant to now.
Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve been stuck on a fair amount of non-fiction, but I’ve sought out the good ol’ apocalyptic fiction when switching it up - Brave New World, and just finished CS Lewis’ Space Trilogy - if you’re looking for some eerily relevant comparisons to many of the situations we’re in right now, That Hideous Strength is that book (as well as the other two, but can be read independently of them). I might finish The Road if I can manage reading it during the day, as I can’t say I recommend it for pre-bedtime. Or maybe I’m just a weenie and had to stop.
a canticle for leibowitz - miller
the gulag archipelago - solzhenitsyn
33 myths of the system - allen