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Tory's Reading List

Tory
The list author says: "I was approached to offer a few reading suggestions a long while back. I'm only too happy to oblige. Here is a running list of suggested titles updated as I have additions.

NOTE: The list will be updated with newest additions appearing at the bottom."
Outliers: The Story of Success
Outliers: The Story of Success
"Malcom Gladwell's tale of success, and why it can prove so elusive.  Gladwell explores the qualities it takes for individuals to traverse the plain from good to great, and explores the human potential lurking inside each of us."
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
"Sherman Alexie is, perhaps, the greatest Native American author alive today. Alexie's tale is inspired by real life experiences growing up on the reservation, and explores what it means to grow up as a Native American in a white-majority culture. It is easily among the wittiest books on the market, and equal parts hilarious/melancholic."
We the Living
We the Living
"Ayn Rand's tragic tale about the Russian Revolution, and the soul-sucking qualities of leftist, collectivism. Its relevance for the age of Obama are startling. Unlike her flagship works, Rand's volume depicts an intimate vision of love, loss, and the danger of forsaking one's freedom for the 'greater good.'  Give me liberty, or give me death."
This Is How It Starts: A Novel
This Is How It Starts: A Novel
"This novel is absolutely abominable - but as an outsider to the Beltway it seems written with a certain familiarity that belies its fictional categorization.  Certainly, an entertaining read for one's weekend at the beach.  Perhaps it also offers a unique insight into DC's social scene."
Boomsday
Boomsday
"I became rather sucked into the Christopher Buckley vortex by reading his weekly columns on 'The Daily Beast.'  Naturally, Buckley's spin on a modest proposal was too enticing to forgo. The plot is weak, but the characteristic Buckley wit coupled with caricature and sarcasm aimed squarely at Washington more than compensate for any lack."
The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America
The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America
"Bill Bryson is not one of my favorite authors.  His comments about America range from snarky to condescending.  But even a callous reader (such as myself) will have a hard time resisting the urge to laugh in parts."
Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy
"G.K. Chesterton's seminal work on the Christian faith, and its relevance to a changing world."
How Football Explains America
How Football Explains America
"Sal Paolantonio's tribute to America's greatest pastime.  Sal explains why football is so popular in America and why only in America could it be so."
Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul
Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul
"John Eldredge's wonderful hymn to Godly masculinity.  Eldredge challenges Christian men to leave religion behind, and along the way to discover the adventure, fight the battle, and pursue the beauty in life."
Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
"Mark Kurlansky's ode to a remarkably, important fish, and its impact on world history.  Perhaps I need to make a trip back to my ponds."
War and Peace
War and Peace
"A couple of winters ago, I attempted to take a trek with Tolstoy, departing Bald Hills in the dead of winter for points unknown.  Like Napoleon, I too was defeated by Mother Russia, and the good Count's epic work.  Now that the Pevear & Volokhonsky translation has come out, I am resurrecting the journey once more."
Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's guide to better English in plain English
Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's guide to better English in plain English
"If the book's title makes you cringe, then it is probably one you should read. Ms. O'Conner's slim missive actually makes grammar fun for grammarphobe and grammarphile alike."
A Confederacy Of Dunces
A Confederacy Of Dunces
"John Kennedy Toole's Pulitzer-winning, and only novel.  A wickedly funny read of mayhem and coarseness.  The reviews say you will laugh out loud.  The strange looks I received from the denizens of Bruegger's Bagels prove this correct."
A movable feast
A movable feast
"Hemingway's memoirs from post-WWI Paris.  It easily contains some of the best descriptive writing that I have ever read.  Hem's thoughts on the French countryside, Parisian cafes and his contemporaries is a luxury not to be missed."
Gilead: A Novel
Gilead: A Novel
"Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Marilynne Robinson's novel captures the voice of faith and mortality with a peculiar beauty not commonly seen in today's writing.  A must read for anyone who appreciates depth and spirit in writing."
The Old Man And The Sea (Scribner Classics)
The Old Man And The Sea (Scribner Classics)
"I was encouraged to pick up Hemmingway's slim volume over the weekend and chided that every 'literary' person should read him.  Having embraced the stark minimalism of his writing, I could not agree more."
No Man Is an Island (Shambhala Library)
No Man Is an Island (Shambhala Library)
"Merton's slim volume explores some of the basic ideas of God, community and individual first introduced in earlier in writings.  It discusses these intersections with an eye toward reflection and succeeds beautifully in challenging old assumptions.  A good read for anyone who seriously enjoys reflecting upon the Spirit and its relation to the world in which we live."
Apathy and Other Small Victories
Apathy and Other Small Victories
"Like the Average American Male, Apathy is another abominable tale.  It's also a must read- and if you pick it up you probably will be unable to put it down.  Neilan's wit is searing and his humor crude.  But if you can get past that, the ideas are akin to Camus.  You just have to dig deep to make the connection.  Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"
Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
"Milton Friedman has long been considered the intellectual firepower behind today's leading free market economists.  Given the long break and spirit of commerce now associated with Christmas, it seemed an appropriate read."
The Pillars of the Earth
The Pillars of the Earth
"I am proud to say, I picked this up before Oprah followed my friends' lead.  Follett's epic novel recounts the construction of a cathedral in a small village and explores the intersections of the community's denizens.  Follett has a unique way of slowly drawing in readers, juxtaposing power with humility and hate with love.  It makes one want to pick up the sequel."
Lolita
Lolita
"Nabokov's perverse tale of forbidden love. It's subject matter notwithstanding, Nabokov's writing has a way of taking you into the mind of the love obsessed.  His hero villain will have you perversely rooting for evil in the final scene.  Said to be a love story with the power to raise eyebrows, it has also been called mandatory reading for any literate person living in our day and age."
The Average American Male: A Novel
The Average American Male: A Novel
"A purely abominable novel.  But one I nonetheless could not put down.  It is sure to offend most sensibilities so consider this fair warning.  In its defense, Kultgen offers a compelling assessment of modern relationships and makes one wonder how we've come so far afield."
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
"True to form I can't turn down a cultural phenomenon and J.K. Rowling's latest and final installment of the Harry Potter series has been anticipated by readers around the world.  For the skeptics, HP7 melds classic elements of the hero narrative with accessible prose which can challenge both intellectual and child alike.  Do not read until books 1-6 have been read first!"
This Side of Paradise (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
This Side of Paradise (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
"Fitzgerald's first work.  Written by Fitzgerald at age 23, the novel explores the tumult of youth and the mini-life crisis experienced by most twenty-somethings in a nearly autobiographical way.  Heralded as one of the most underrated books of the 1920s the story begins and ends with typical flapper style and elegance."
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog
"A story about a man, his dog and how quickly life can change."
Churchill: A Biography
Churchill: A Biography
"I picked up Jenkins' tome during a brief visit to the UK.  Then billed as the definitive biography of the famous British PM, it now seems like a good read in light of Prime Minister Blair's resignation at the end of the month.  Written by Roy Jenkins, a former British politico, the writing gets a bit stodgy at times but is nonetheless readable and informative."
The Corrections
The Corrections
"Franzen's novel is a bit off-color for those with a more sedate reading palate.  But his character development and intelligent descriptions make the book worthwhile.  It takes a serious, hard look at the struggle families face in caring for seriously disabled loved ones."
Atlas Shrugged
Atlas Shrugged
"Rand's epic work challenges readers to find virtue in self-interest.  After all, who is John Galt?"
Empire Falls
Empire Falls
"Winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize.  Richard Russo's tale chronicles a man, his life and the delicate tension of choice and chance in effecting our lives.  The ending seems a bit forced, but the story itself makes up for the abrupt end by providing no shortage of irony.  The novel offers a good lesson against waiting on life."
The Book of Fate
The Book of Fate
"I was introduced to Meltzer shortly before graduation from college.  His novels lack depth but are high on entertainment value.  They are a great read for the beach or a morning commute."
Don't Waste Your Life
Don't Waste Your Life
"Piper offers some excellent reflections for making this life count.  A great read for anyone facing some big, life decisions."
Fools for Christ:
Fools for Christ:
"Pelikan is our generation's top scholar of Christian thought.  His essays explore the relationship between the holy, true, good and beautiful as commended in the lives of Kierkegaard, Paul, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Luther and Bach."
The Fountainhead
The Fountainhead
"The first of Rand's novels I came across.  An amazing story about the freedom of depending upon no one."
The Idiot (Vintage Classics)
The Idiot (Vintage Classics)
"Dostoevsky's wrenching tale about a morally perfect man and his mark on the chaotic world swirling around him."
Wherever You Go, There You Are
Wherever You Go, There You Are
"A Buddhist take on accepting one's self-acceptance.  The message is in the title."
The Lost Symbol
The Lost Symbol
"The latest thriller from one of America's premier masters of the genre. Per usual, Dan Brown's latest is a page turner."
In Praise of Idleness: And Other Essays (Routledge Classics)
In Praise of Idleness: And Other Essays (Routledge Classics)
"Bertrand Russell's collection of essays on the need for repose and reflection amid the hectic demands of modern life. Russell's words have a profound salience while I reside in Washington, DC for the summer months."
Our Man in Havana (Penguin Classics)
Our Man in Havana (Penguin Classics)
"Graham Greene's spy-thriller spoof.  Recommended by a friend, the basic plot surrounds a Johnny-English-type spy who starts to get it right; much to his surprise."
On Writing
On Writing
"I've long harbored vanities of writing a book.  I've even gone so far as to sketch out a few characters and rough outline. Of course, my name is far afield of the best-seller list. Here's hoping that Stephen King can provide some inspiration."
In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way, Vol. 1
In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way, Vol. 1
"A current read.  Proust has been called the greatest French author of the modern era.  His work "In Search of Lost Time" has been called the finest work ever written. This is volume one of six from the Modern library's publication.  So far, the Moncrieff/Kilmartin translation is absolutely stunning."