Suscipe Domine Traditional Catholic Forum

The Parish Hall => Arts and Leisure => Topic started by: TheReturnofLive on January 17, 2020, 06:16:05 PM

Title: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: TheReturnofLive on January 17, 2020, 06:16:05 PM
What books, outside the realm of Theology and Church history, what classics do you recommend reading, and why?

By books not to be discussed in this section - "theology" and "Church history", I don't mean books that are existentialist and talk about God's existence, or even a book where Christianity is thematic- I mean books that are directly and explicitly about Christianity, Church history, theology, apologia, etc.

I'll start with a couple of mine. They are arguably not the most dense / artsy books, but they are books where, upon reading, I was like "Yep, almost everything this guy says is superb, and I can't really argue against it."

Tocqueville's "Democracy in America." These were two essays by the 19th century French diplomat, Alexis de Tocqueville, who was visiting America to learn about how France could be successful from it and where it couldn't be. While he was there to learn about what America did well, he had clear sympathies to the French Monarchy before the Revolution, and therefore, gives a very objective reading and comparison of American and French society. Not only are his observations about American society spot on such that they are relevant to this day, but I think many of his ideas on human nature were so revolutionary that they forever changed the fields of Psychology and Sociology.

Huxley's "Brave New World." This book was by philosopher (and libertine) Aldous Huxley, and describes a society years from now where there is a strict crony-capitalist totalitarianism and biologically real hierarchical structure, and human beings who aren't at the very top are stuck in an uneducated pleasure society where their lives are dictated by purposeless sex, food, entertainment, drugs (pleasure pills called "Soma"), where the family unit is abolished and the society is constructed towards efficiency. There are remnants of prior civilizations in what are known as the "Savage Reservations," where, despite the fact that the Savages have forgotten the past, they still try to maintain the traditional norms of religion, God, chivalry, family, suffering, culture. The book's plot is that a woman from the pleasure "Brave New World" is left behind in the Savage Reservation and she gives birth to a son there named "John," who is raised on the Savage Reservation and grows up there, but then is taken back to the "Brave New World" (which is what John calls it, quoting Shakespeare), where a clash of the two civilizations occurs. The book says a lot about human nature and the growing industrialization/pleasure society that Huxley felt that the world was heading towards.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Gardener on January 18, 2020, 11:37:22 PM
A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella Bird. Vivid imagery, typically erudite Victorian era British author, but with the benefit of the book being composed from her letters home (so not stuffy). I own several copies just to lend it out.

Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Non Nobis on January 19, 2020, 12:39:30 AM
I've read Brave New World at least a couple times (once in high school [I'm ancient], once on my own very recent initiative), and de Tocqueville (in college [that was ancient history too]; loved it, much more  pleasant reading than BNW). MONTHS ago I picked up "A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains" on Kindle, on Gardner's recommendation: BUT I HAVEN'T READ IT YET!

So I have some good inclinations but a problem with follow-through when it comes to taking suggestions!
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Davis Blank - EG on January 19, 2020, 06:53:03 AM
Tolstoy - Anna Karenina, War & Peace
Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Graham on January 19, 2020, 12:10:49 PM
Non-fiction

The Great Transformation - Karl Polanyi

Primitive, Archaic and Modern Economies - Karl Polanyi

The Culture of Narcissism - Christopher Lasch

Revolt of the Elites - Christopher Lasch

True and Only Heaven - Christopher Lasch

(Anything by Christopher Lasch)

Suicide of the West - James Burnham

Leviathan and Its Enemies - Sam Francis

The Invention of Art - Larry Shiner

The Geography of Nowhere - James Howard Kunstler

Amusing Ourselves to Death - Neil Postman

Black Swan - Nassim Taleb

The Righteous Mind - Jonathan Haidt

The Seven Lamps of Architecture - John Ruskin

The Stones of Venice - John Ruskin

On Art and Life - John Ruskin

Fiction

The Greater Trumps - Charles Williams

The Worm Ouroboros - Eric Rucker Eddison

The Prisoner of Zenda - Anthony Hope

Fifty-One Tales - Lord Dunsany

Dying Earth Saga - Jack Vance

Odd John - William Olaf Stapledon

Book of the Dun Cow - Walter Wangerin Jr.

Voss - Patrick White

And the greatest novel of all time, Quo Vadis - Henryk Sienkiewicz
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Daniel on January 19, 2020, 07:46:05 PM
I don't read much. But here are some:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll - Good fiction, about a girl who goes to wonderland. I think this book's point is to make fun of bad philosophies, though I'm not entirely sure. But I find the nonsense logic to be clever and entertaining.

Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll - Good fiction, about a girl who has to make her way through the world which is a chessboard. Not sure what the deeper meaning is. (This is a direct sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, though it stands as a completely separate story.)

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen - Good fiction, about the mermaid who wants eternal life. So she makes a deal with the devil which completely backfires. The story ends almost like a tragedy, but with a nice twist.

The Etymologies of Saint Isidore - I believe that this is one of the first encyclopedias ever written. It's called 'the etymologies' because St. Isidore includes a lot of interesting etymologies / folk etymologies.

The Hieroglyphics of Horapollo - Horapollo was one of the last Egyptians to know much about hieroglyphics, so he wrote this book which explains the meanings, some of which literal but others are more mythic. (Book I is good. Book II is garbage, probably a forgery written much later by someone who knew nothing about hieroglpyhics.)

The Gospel in the Stars by Joseph A. Seiss - Explains how all the ancient myths in the stars point to the gospel.

The Game of Logic by Lewis Carroll - Interesting logic textbook. (It's much closer to Aristotelian logic than to modern logic.) Instead of Venn diagrams, it uses a sort of miniature game board.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Gerard on January 20, 2020, 12:50:15 AM
I like Classical music biographies.  It's a great way to learn history from a particular and unique perspective instead of regular histories with their focus on politics with wars as markers. 

Harold Schonberg's books are really well written and engaging and easy reading. 

Lives of the Great Composers (essential reading.  Short biographies of all of the major composers.).

The Virtuosi -singers, conductors and instrumentalists. 

The Great Pianists

Facing the Music (out of print) -collected columns from the New York Times. 

Probably the person that provides the greatest biography of any composer is Franz Liszt.  He had one of the most extraordinary lives ever lived. 

The best of the many biographies about him is the three volume set by Alan Walker along with supplements like "Reflections on Liszt" and biographies of his associates like Hans Von Bulow.

There are also great biographies of Liszt by Derek Watson and Sacheverell Sitwell.  But Walker's biographies are far better researched and debunk a few items in the earlier biographies. 

One of the best advantages of living today vs 20 years ago is the fact that you can read about a performance, a piece of music or something described and then look it up, view it and/ or listen to it.   



Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Non Nobis on January 20, 2020, 01:59:25 AM
Tolstoy - Anna Karenina, War & Peace
Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov

I suggest Dostoyevsky - Crime and Punishment (to get started with something shorter).
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Michael Wilson on January 20, 2020, 03:33:45 PM
I read "Gone With the Wind" and couldn't put it down; much better than the movie.
Hated Brave New World.
Ayn Rand's "Anthem" about a future egalitarian/totalitarian society; short and fantastic; much better denunciation of the e/t mindset than Animal Farm or 1984.
"Lord of the Rings"; still one of my all time favorite books; also a "could not put down"; read it so many times that I can't look at the books any more, practically.
War books: Red Platoon (Afghanistan); A different kind of war (Korea); Lone Survivor (Afghanistan). I've read a lot of military history books, but this is a good short list.
More fantasy: I've read a lot of Fantasy, mostly disappointed, because they were not TLOTR; However, I did enjoy the "Shanara"  books, as he is constantly paying tribute to Tolkien's masterpiece. Brandon Sanderson has a good reputation; I've only read the last three books of the "Wheel of Time" series that he finished for Robert Jordan; and I thought he did a great job.
Generally, I've never liked "serious" fiction, can't get into it.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: coffeeandcigarette on January 20, 2020, 05:04:22 PM
Middlemarch

Everyone should read this. I think reading books where human nature and various common personalities are portrayed so perfectly is a benefit. I think it is an education which gives the reader a short-cut right through human respect and naivety to mature realistic expectation and no-nonsense dealings with humanity. A spiritual aid to be sure, and also, a fantastic read.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Traditionallyruralmom on January 22, 2020, 07:42:58 PM
Silas Marner....there is an excellent reading on YouTube and the movie is a faithful adaptation

Anything by Jane Austen
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Gerard on January 22, 2020, 07:55:37 PM
Robert Greene's books:

The 48 Laws of Power

The Art of Seduction

The 33 Strategies of War

Mastery

Good Histories and studies of human behavior. 
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Non Nobis on January 22, 2020, 08:54:01 PM
Silas Marner....there is an excellent reading on YouTube and the movie is a faithful adaptation

Anything by Jane Austen

When I was young I  read most everything fictional in the house but for some reason I missed Silas Marner.  I also read almost every book by Charles Dickens in the house or outside, but missed Tale of Two Cities (don't ask me how).   Since I discovered them later those two books (and movies about them) have been near the top of my lists.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Machaut1377 on February 19, 2020, 09:18:27 PM
If a person wants to understand the origins of American culture he or she should read Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer.

Anyone wanting a good story might enjoy Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: red solo cup on February 20, 2020, 06:39:01 AM
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Bernadette on March 06, 2020, 10:47:08 AM
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small series.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Gerard on March 06, 2020, 11:49:27 PM
Once in a while, look for something funny to read.  Not everything has to be heavy, everyone needs to periodically lighten up and develop their sense of humor. 
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Maximilian on March 07, 2020, 05:04:34 PM
Once in a while, look for something funny to read.  Not everything has to be heavy, everyone needs to periodically lighten up and develop their sense of humor.

On that topic, the best recommendation has to be anything by P.G. Wodehouse.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Gardener on March 08, 2020, 01:18:56 PM
Once in a while, look for something funny to read.  Not everything has to be heavy, everyone needs to periodically lighten up and develop their sense of humor.

On that note, I just finished Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”. I didn’t find it nearly as depressing as everyone says. I thought the movie was better. McCarthy’s style of writing in it was too stilted/jumpy imo.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Michael Wilson on March 08, 2020, 01:41:53 PM
"True Grit" By Charles Portis. The book is short and has a lot of great dialogue; I've read a couple of his other works and if you like his style, in which the story is mostly an excuse for these very funny and entertaining exchanges, then this guy is worth a look.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Gardener on March 08, 2020, 04:05:31 PM
"True Grit" By Charles Portis. The book is short and has a lot of great dialogue; I've read a couple of his other works and if you like his style, in which the story is mostly an excuse for these very funny and entertaining exchanges, then this guy is worth a look.

While I realize John Wayne fans will want to burn me at the stake for heresy, I thought the Coen brothers’ version with Jeff Bridges was great. Mattie’s Calvinist diatribes and no nonsense delivery played great against Cogburn’s “I really don’t care” attitude.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Michael Wilson on March 08, 2020, 11:59:05 PM
Here is a clip with Jeff Bridges; he does a great job:
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Heinrich on March 09, 2020, 12:07:53 PM
James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small series.

We had our daughter read these in home school. She became a vet technician. She's now a stay at home. I find them quite enjoyable.

I would recommend Hamlet, King Lear and Othello and the history plays by Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Bernadette on June 26, 2020, 01:23:57 PM
Great Expectations and The Count of Monte Cristo.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: maryslittlegarden on June 26, 2020, 04:39:45 PM
Great Expectations and The Count of Monte Cristo.

I'll second the Count of Monte Cristo....
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Greg on June 26, 2020, 05:44:39 PM
The best one in the series.  I like him, he is an anarchist.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/4b/Mr._Tickle.jpg)
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: clau clau on June 26, 2020, 06:19:24 PM
.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Graham on June 27, 2020, 11:16:25 AM
The Myth of Mental Illness - Szasz

Political Parties - Michels

The Concept of the Political - Schmitt

Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Frank on June 27, 2020, 01:00:45 PM
.
"." ...........The Terminator?

Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Aeternitus on June 28, 2020, 05:14:29 AM
The Universe According to GK Chesterton: A dictionary of the Mad, Mundane and Metaphysical. 
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: awkwardcustomer on June 29, 2020, 06:39:02 AM
'Darkness at Noon' by Arthur Koestler.

Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Greg on June 29, 2020, 08:38:40 AM
.

I heard they are no longer going to use the Uncle Ben's image on the rice.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Maximilian on June 29, 2020, 09:33:28 AM
"War and Peace"
"Anna Karenina"
"The Death of Ivan Ilyich"
"Family Happiness"
 - all by Tolstoy

These are really necessary reading.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: clau clau on June 29, 2020, 09:55:09 AM
.

I heard they are no longer going to use the Uncle Ben's image on the rice.

Yes, I saw that also; which is why I changed my avatar (because it pissed me off).

I have a theory about it. I think the people behind this (Democrats) have a mindset of "the blacks must stay on the plantation".  Back in the times of slavery it was enforced with whips and burning crosses and fear.  That bullshit they teach in US schools about how the racists changed from the Democrat to the Republicans is just that. Hilary Clinton attended Senator Robert Byrd's funeral.

The modern version of the plantation is to keep the blacks living in the hood and voting Democrat.  Any who have the balls to strike out on their own (e.g. Candace Owens, Thomas Sowell, Tommy Sotomayor) are regarded as 'uncle toms' and must be taught a lesson. I've seen examples of this at some of the protests where left wing antifa types are shouting 'nigger' at blacks trying to defend a statue.

Uncle Ben was a successful texan rice farmer. I would have thought that would be cause for celebration that a successful black mans picture was on supermarket shelves across the western world. Same argument goes for 'Aunt Jemina'; but Noooo, our new overlords will not accept that.  'Back to the hood with you and vote democrat boy!'.

Melinda Gates says blacks will be first in line for the Covid19 vaccine.  Yes, of course they will; Eugenics 101.

BLM are scum  edit: ... and Planned Parenthood kills more black people in a 2-week period than the KKK has killed in their entire history.

(https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/LzNFxUAv7nw3Fi0OGMpLz5SY0RI=/0x157:2053x1697/1400x1400/filters:focal(0x157:2053x1697):format(jpeg)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/48536557/GettyImages-109406516.0.jpg)
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Kent on June 29, 2020, 10:31:07 AM
Waugh is essential twentieth-century fiction.  Not just Brideshead Revisited, either, although it's his magnum opus.  I read Vile Bodies not too long ago and I think that book needs to be resuscitated as an anthem for the millennial generation.  The parallels are uncanny, and while I don't think Waugh was trying to predict the future, he did a hell of a job of it.  Probably the most capable satirist to put up the pen since Jonathan Swift.

He also wrote a delightfully politically incorrect book called Black Mischief.  Topical right now.  Apparently it got him in a fair amount of trouble, since it was the first book he wrote after converting to Catholicism, and people were expecting him to not be quite as incendiary and offensive once he started practicing the true religion.  If anything, his conversion probably made him an even more controversial writer.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: clau clau on June 29, 2020, 10:34:18 AM
Waugh is essential twentieth-century fiction.  Not just Brideshead Revisited, either, although it's his magnum opus.  I read Vile Bodies not too long ago and I think that book needs to be resuscitated as an anthem for the millennial generation.  The parallels are uncanny, and while I don't think Waugh was trying to predict the future, he did a hell of a job of it.  Probably the most capable satirist to put up the pen since Jonathan Swift.

He also wrote a delightfully politically incorrect book called Black Mischief.  Topical right now.  Apparently it got him in a fair amount of trouble, since it was the first book he wrote after converting to Catholicism, and people were expecting him to not be quite as incendiary and offensive once he started practicing the true religion.  If anything, his conversion probably made him an even more controversial writer.

I read "A Handful of Dust" and got really depressed.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Kent on June 29, 2020, 10:38:16 AM
And of course: Shakespeare.  I am not sure if mentioning Shakespeare is 'cheating', but I see he's gone unmentioned in the thread.  Especially his histories and tragedies (I personally don't care for his comedies all that much).  And especially Macbeth and King Lear.  Lear is my favorite, as might be evidenced by my screen name, avatar, and signature.  Macbeth is, well, Macbeth.  Hard to beat.  The best profile of sin in all of literature, in my opinion.

Hamlet is essentially about the reformation and Shakespeare's discontent over the paltry and ineffective Catholic resistance to Anglican England.  It is overrated in the sense that it draws far too much attention as a sort of existentialist-psychoanalytical piece of literature, which isn't the right way to view it.  But there's lots to unpack and digest if you reject that tendency.

Romeo and Juliet suffers from a similar problem.  It's actually a phenomenal work once you divorce yourself from the common ninth grade reading about egalitarianism and love; really, it's a play about the unreliability of the passions and the kind of havoc they wreak if left to their own.

Antony and Cleopatra is a phenomenal warning against the dangers of being cucked.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: clau clau on June 29, 2020, 10:55:40 AM
And of course: Shakespeare.  I am not sure if mentioning Shakespeare is 'cheating', but I see he's gone unmentioned in the thread.  Especially his histories and tragedies (I personally don't care for his comedies all that much).  And especially Macbeth and King Lear.  Lear is my favorite, as might be evidenced by my screen name, avatar, and signature.  Macbeth is, well, Macbeth.  Hard to beat.  The best profile of sin in all of literature, in my opinion.

Hamlet is essentially about the reformation and Shakespeare's discontent over the paltry and ineffective Catholic resistance to Anglican England.  It is overrated in the sense that it draws far too much attention as a sort of existentialist-psychoanalytical piece of literature, which isn't the right way to view it.  But there's lots to unpack and digest if you reject that tendency.

Romeo and Juliet suffers from a similar problem.  It's actually a phenomenal work once you divorce yourself from the common ninth grade reading about egalitarianism and love; really, it's a play about the unreliability of the passions and the kind of havoc they wreak if left to their own.

Antony and Cleopatra is a phenomenal warning against the dangers of being cucked.

I like Macbeth, but then I am biased, that was the play we studied at school for O'Levels (Greg did "The Merchant of Venice").

Thanks you for the tip about Vile Bodies.  I'll read that next (on my Kindle). I have been looking for a new book to get stuck into.  That might fit the bill.

I came up with a good definition of a book one really enjoys which is ... It divides you life in two; 'before' you read the book and 'after'.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Maximilian on June 29, 2020, 11:24:32 AM
Waugh is essential twentieth-century fiction.  Not just Brideshead Revisited, either, although it's his magnum opus. 

Very good suggestion. You didn't mention, however, Waugh's true magnum opus, the "Sword of Honour" trilogy.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Kent on June 29, 2020, 11:38:47 AM
And of course: Shakespeare.  I am not sure if mentioning Shakespeare is 'cheating', but I see he's gone unmentioned in the thread.  Especially his histories and tragedies (I personally don't care for his comedies all that much).  And especially Macbeth and King Lear.  Lear is my favorite, as might be evidenced by my screen name, avatar, and signature.  Macbeth is, well, Macbeth.  Hard to beat.  The best profile of sin in all of literature, in my opinion.

Hamlet is essentially about the reformation and Shakespeare's discontent over the paltry and ineffective Catholic resistance to Anglican England.  It is overrated in the sense that it draws far too much attention as a sort of existentialist-psychoanalytical piece of literature, which isn't the right way to view it.  But there's lots to unpack and digest if you reject that tendency.

Romeo and Juliet suffers from a similar problem.  It's actually a phenomenal work once you divorce yourself from the common ninth grade reading about egalitarianism and love; really, it's a play about the unreliability of the passions and the kind of havoc they wreak if left to their own.

Antony and Cleopatra is a phenomenal warning against the dangers of being cucked.

I like Macbeth, but then I am biased, that was the play we studied at school for O'Levels (Greg did "The Merchant of Venice").

Thanks you for the tip about Vile Bodies.  I'll read that next (on my Kindle). I have been looking for a new book to get stuck into.  That might fit the bill.

I came up with a good definition of a book one really enjoys which is ... It divides you life in two; 'before' you read the book and 'after'.

Thanks for mentioning Merchant of Venice-- that's an exception to my previous comment about not caring for his comedies all that much. I loved Merchant of Venice, and also The Taming of the Shrew.  It's mostly the other ones that I find to be less interesting.

Everyone to whom I've ever recommended Brideshead has found it a life-changing book (including myself).  I think that you're right.  The mark of a truly good book is if it can segment your life that way. 

Vile Bodies
is depressing, but in a cynically hilarious kind of way.  You'll have to report back when you finish it.  His earlier satires are tremendously quick reads, which is nice.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Kent on June 29, 2020, 11:40:01 AM
Waugh is essential twentieth-century fiction.  Not just Brideshead Revisited, either, although it's his magnum opus. 

Very good suggestion. You didn't mention, however, Waugh's true magnum opus, the "Sword of Honour" trilogy.

Do you think so?  I haven't actually finished them.  I have a combined volume, never got very far (I realize this sounds bad from the guy who brought Waugh up).  No particular reason, I think I just got busy with other things and never picked it up again.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: TheReturnofLive on June 29, 2020, 11:54:52 AM
"War and Peace"
"Anna Karenina"
"The Death of Ivan Ilyich"
"Family Happiness"
 - all by Tolstoy

These are really necessary reading.

Anna Karenina is a wonderful book. My favorite character was the train.

Just kidding, even though I think Tolstoy paints the peasant life as too idyllic rather than harsh, I think the message is wonderful.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Greg on June 29, 2020, 12:03:37 PM
And of course: Shakespeare.  I am not sure if mentioning Shakespeare is 'cheating', but I see he's gone unmentioned in the thread.  Especially his histories and tragedies (I personally don't care for his comedies all that much).  And especially Macbeth and King Lear.  Lear is my favorite, as might be evidenced by my screen name, avatar, and signature.  Macbeth is, well, Macbeth.  Hard to beat.  The best profile of sin in all of literature, in my opinion.

Hamlet is essentially about the reformation and Shakespeare's discontent over the paltry and ineffective Catholic resistance to Anglican England.  It is overrated in the sense that it draws far too much attention as a sort of existentialist-psychoanalytical piece of literature, which isn't the right way to view it.  But there's lots to unpack and digest if you reject that tendency.

Romeo and Juliet suffers from a similar problem.  It's actually a phenomenal work once you divorce yourself from the common ninth grade reading about egalitarianism and love; really, it's a play about the unreliability of the passions and the kind of havoc they wreak if left to their own.

Antony and Cleopatra is a phenomenal warning against the dangers of being cucked.

I like Macbeth, but then I am biased, that was the play we studied at school for O'Levels (Greg did "The Merchant of Venice").

Thanks you for the tip about Vile Bodies.  I'll read that next (on my Kindle). I have been looking for a new book to get stuck into.  That might fit the bill.

I came up with a good definition of a book one really enjoys which is ... It divides you life in two; 'before' you read the book and 'after'.

No, I did Henry IV.  Prince Hal and Falstaff, which is a great background for reading Henry V

Oldest son is doing Macbeth.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Heinrich on June 29, 2020, 01:03:00 PM
I posit that Falstaff is Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford's most complex character. 
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Maximilian on June 29, 2020, 02:57:09 PM
Waugh is essential twentieth-century fiction.  Not just Brideshead Revisited, either, although it's his magnum opus. 

Very good suggestion. You didn't mention, however, Waugh's true magnum opus, the "Sword of Honour" trilogy.

Do you think so? 

Yes. "Sword of Honour" takes the themes of "Brideshead Revisited" and raises them up to a universal, epic level. "Brideshead Revisited" is a personal story, and excellent on that level. But "Sword of Honour" shows the worldwide, catastrophic effects of the same elements. While still retaining Waugh's personal touch -- I just recently came across a description of how tightly "Sword of Honour" followed Waugh's personal experience during WWII, down to many of the small details, although recast in a fictional package.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Bernadette on July 01, 2020, 06:35:36 PM
And of course: Shakespeare.  I am not sure if mentioning Shakespeare is 'cheating', but I see he's gone unmentioned in the thread.  Especially his histories and tragedies (I personally don't care for his comedies all that much).  And especially Macbeth and King Lear.  Lear is my favorite, as might be evidenced by my screen name, avatar, and signature.  Macbeth is, well, Macbeth.  Hard to beat.  The best profile of sin in all of literature, in my opinion.

Hamlet is essentially about the reformation and Shakespeare's discontent over the paltry and ineffective Catholic resistance to Anglican England.  It is overrated in the sense that it draws far too much attention as a sort of existentialist-psychoanalytical piece of literature, which isn't the right way to view it.  But there's lots to unpack and digest if you reject that tendency.

Romeo and Juliet suffers from a similar problem.  It's actually a phenomenal work once you divorce yourself from the common ninth grade reading about egalitarianism and love; really, it's a play about the unreliability of the passions and the kind of havoc they wreak if left to their own.

Antony and Cleopatra is a phenomenal warning against the dangers of being cucked.

I liked Julius Caesar the best, out of all of them that I've read. It was the first that I read, so thank God, it was a good introduction. I studied Shakespeare in high school and college, and it would have been really difficult if I'd hated it.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Greg on July 02, 2020, 09:31:37 AM
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Greg on July 02, 2020, 09:35:24 AM
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Daniel on July 03, 2020, 07:31:37 AM
I do not like reading Shakespeare plays. They're confusing, somewhat boring, and it takes me weeks or months just to read my way through a single play. I do, however, enjoy watching them. But even then, I usually have a pretty hard time picking up on even the basic storyline until after I've seen it two or three times. Certainly they're beautifully written, but I kind of wonder if Shakespeare is just overrated.

Back in high school we read Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, and I like them. They are perhaps my favourites. Didn't really like reading them though.

I'm also a fan of his Julius Caesar, but part of that might be because I once performed in it which really helped me to follow it better. Another part of the reason could be the subject matter: ignoring the tragedy, it's basically a more poetic, more dramatized version of Plutarch's Life of Julius Caesar, which I already liked. And a third reason might just be because I really liked Star Wars Episode III. However, if I had to read something, I'd read Plutarch. And if I had to watch something, I'd watch Episode III (which I think is the best adaptation and/or ripoff of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar that I've ever seen). I also find it a little odd that it's titled "Julius Caesar" when it's really about Brutus. That had me confused for quite some time. Seems to imply it's more of a history/biography about Caesar, when it's actually a tragedy having little to do with Caesar.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Davis Blank - EG on July 03, 2020, 10:17:12 AM
Quote
I do not like reading Shakespeare plays.

Because they are not meant to be read but rather heard.  It is like reading lyrics to a song and not liking the song.  The play is meant to be heard, not read like a book.  Next time try reading it out loud to yourself so you can hear and feel the beauty.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: MundaCorMeum on July 03, 2020, 10:32:36 AM
Quote
I do not like reading Shakespeare plays.

Because they are not meant to be read but rather heard.  It is like reading lyrics to a song and not liking the song.  The play is meant to be heard, not read like a book.  Next time try reading it out loud to yourself so you can hear and feel the beauty.

I found a really good audio dramatization of Shakespeare's 'As You Like It' on Audible that the kids and I have been listening to and enjoying.  It's an Arkangel production.  Those who can read, follow along, and we read an E. Nesbit retelling first, so we already know the basic story.  I'd like to find one we can watch being performed when we are finished listening.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Graham on July 03, 2020, 06:03:38 PM
Watching the plays (live and respectfully staged) is best, but the texts repay some study as well. Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare and DAW's lecture series are both pretty engaging. 
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Greg on July 04, 2020, 01:53:55 PM
Quote
I do not like reading Shakespeare plays.

Because they are not meant to be read but rather heard.  It is like reading lyrics to a song and not liking the song.  The play is meant to be heard, not read like a book.  Next time try reading it out loud to yourself so you can hear and feel the beauty.

What you want to do is over act them like Robin Williams.

That is really fun.

I love going to the Globe Theatre in London when something decent is on.  The standing tickets in the pit are only £5 or about $6.50 and you are right next to the stage. 
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Greg on July 04, 2020, 01:55:17 PM
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: drummerboy on July 25, 2020, 03:22:49 AM
How about the ancient sagas?  The Song of El CidThe Song of RolandThe Tale of SiegfriedLe Morte de' ArthurThe Decameron is a medieval Italian work I've always been interested in.  Don't forget Don Quixote
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Kent on July 25, 2020, 11:15:32 AM
How about the ancient sagas?  The Song of El CidThe Song of RolandThe Tale of SiegfriedLe Morte de' ArthurThe Decameron is a medieval Italian work I've always been interested in.  Don't forget Don Quixote

And Beowulf.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: drummerboy on July 25, 2020, 11:51:41 AM
How about the ancient sagas?  The Song of El CidThe Song of RolandThe Tale of SiegfriedLe Morte de' ArthurThe Decameron is a medieval Italian work I've always been interested in.  Don't forget Don Quixote

And Beowulf.

Of course!  I have the Seamus Heaney (+) translation with the Old English adjacent to the Modern English.  Looking at my bookshelf I found Canterbury Tales and, though not ancient in origin but definitely in theme, Chesteron's Ballad of the White Horse.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Graham on August 10, 2020, 09:04:06 PM
The Unconscious Civilization by John Ralston Saul

Lament for a Nation by George Grant

These two books pair very well, especially for Canadians (both Canadian authors)
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Graham on September 03, 2020, 10:11:12 PM
The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen (for the insights into consumerism)

Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: TheReturnofLive on September 04, 2020, 10:32:59 PM
How about the ancient sagas?  The Song of El CidThe Song of RolandThe Tale of SiegfriedLe Morte de' ArthurThe Decameron is a medieval Italian work I've always been interested in.  Don't forget Don Quixote

And Beowulf.

I feel like Pon de Replay really likes Beowulf.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Heinrich on September 05, 2020, 10:32:58 AM
How about the ancient sagas?  The Song of El CidThe Song of RolandThe Tale of SiegfriedLe Morte de' ArthurThe Decameron is a medieval Italian work I've always been interested in.  Don't forget Don Quixote

And Beowulf.

I feel like Pon de Replay really likes Beowulf.

Dellery is Beowulf.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Pon de Replay on September 08, 2020, 09:34:31 AM
I feel like Pon de Replay really likes Beowulf.

Thank you for the mention.  I do like Beowulf, though I prefer the Book of Taliesin, which vacillates between poetry and prose; it would probably not qualify as a "non-theological," though.
I appreciate that you thought of me.  You have long been one of my favorite posters on this forum, although I confess you seem to be growing away from some of your anti-sex and anti-anti-Semite views.  Your tenor is becoming slightly more "manosphere" and less Desert Fathers, but all of us are on a sojourn in this life, and peace be with you in yours.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: TheReturnofLive on September 08, 2020, 05:58:36 PM
I feel like Pon de Replay really likes Beowulf.

Thank you for the mention.  I do like Beowulf, though I prefer the Book of Taliesin, which vacillates between poetry and prose; it would probably not qualify as a "non-theological," though.
    I shall be until the day of doom on the face of the earth;
    And it is not known whether my body is flesh or fish.
I appreciate that you thought of me.  You have long been one of my favorite posters on this forum, although I confess you seem to be growing away from some of your anti-sex and anti-anti-Semite views.  Your tenor is becoming slightly more "manosphere" and less Desert Fathers, but all of us are on a sojourn in this life, and peace be with you in yours.

Well here's the thing - again, I'm no expert on Nietzsche -  but as I've progressed in age, I more and more see that Nietzsche was kind of correct in his book "On the Genealogy of Morals." For most of my life I've been fond of "slave morality," as I believed that "warrior morality" was vanity. What value was there to be gained in excessive dominance, wealth, sex, bullying, food, vigor, and health? Nobody could ever, EVER be fully dominant in anything - even if you are the strongest person in the world, you cannot become the richest person nor can you become the most romantic nor could you be the most poetic. Bill Gates is "tsk-tsking" at all the Navy Seals for how stupid and poor they are, and the Navy Seals see a Software Engineer and "tsk tsk" at them for being weak. So what does it matter? Pursuing something that had a hard ceiling cap which would always yell at you as "inadequate" was stupid.

So I embraced slave morality fully, because I thought that no matter where somebody was at in life, you could always strive to be a "better person," poorer in spirit, not controlled by carnal desires or greed, etc. And life is short anyways, it's not worth destroying your friends and family in the pursuit of dominance; everyone is here to suffer, might as well try to be a bearer of suffering that makes people's lives better.


However, it's becoming readily apparent to me that an extreme of slave morality is just as vain as an extreme in dominance. You cannot be a slave in life - you need some level of dominance, some level of lust, some level of greed, some level of gluttony - otherwise, what does it mean to be human? Can one be human without love, without a desire to increase your financial standing, to want to eat, sleep, drink, to be competitive?


For me, my ideal is neither a warrior nor a priest - it's a Crusader, a Crusader who is able to be dominant, to set goals for themselves and achieve those goals, to direct your eros to something you personally value - your loved one, your children, your job, your passion, your community etc. To be the guy that people look up to, but to be humble when necessary, to be a listener when necessary, to be loving and poor in spirit when necessary. To work for material security, but to be detached. To seek romance, but not lust. To seek healthy and good foods, but not be a glutton. To be able to defend myself from those who threaten me, but to stand up for the innocent. That's who I want to be.

I've become more manosphere insofar as I see that I have fallen short of being a Crusader and acted too much like a monk in my life. I need to compromise a little bit to the point that I am more fit in society than where I currently stand. My views towards sex have changed as a result as well; I do not believe in hook up culture, nor do I believe in polyamoraty - I believe those things are cancer, performed by adults with adolescent minds, or weak partners who let their S.O.'s take advantage of them. At the same time, I think we need to be more realistic about current day relationships and the expectations of dating nowadays.

And I've become more Anti-Semitic not in the sense of ethnicity - my grandfather's best friend and close family friend is Jewish and I love him and his family. I am anti-Semitic in the sense of repulsion to the extremes of slave morality that I see incessantly promoted by society today - and I view as my enemies those who are knowingly promoting ideologies nowadays which take warrior morality and slave morality to extremes. I don't blame the Jews per se on this though.

And I view contemporary social engineering and leftist extremism as taking slave morality to an extreme that would make Marx and Christ blush.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Pon de Replay on September 09, 2020, 02:09:29 PM
That all sounds good, Return.  I'm still not sure if your use of the triple parentheses is in earnest or sarcastic, though.  Not that the usage would necessarily indicate that you hate your grandfather's Jewish best friend, nor that it would make you believe in the congenital wickedness of all Jews, or that they ritually drink the blood of children and desecrate the Eucharist on their high holy days.  But it's possibly a step on the way there.  You have read On the Genealogy of Morals; I wonder if you have read The Antichrist.  If not, then that would be a "specifically non-theological classic" which I recommend you read—for its meditations on Christianity vis-à-vis Judaism, if for nothing else.  By a loophole, you are permitted it.  Somehow the Catholic Church managed to overlook Nietzsche, and none of his works ever made it onto the Index.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Greg on September 09, 2020, 03:23:54 PM
I adopt the "Leech morality".  Pretend to work hard so that the rich warrior class like you and adopt you into their social group.

However, spend as much time as possible back-pedalling, enjoying life and your family and hoovering up freebies that fall from the warrior class' tables.  Plenty falls.

The warrior class have a major disadvantage that they are so very busy all the time that they never look at the details of ANYTHING, and they are so confidant in their decisions that once they have decided you are great, no amount of reality can stop them from believing it and saying they were wrong.  This make them easy to milk.

Nietzsche was German.  That means he neither read Dickens's novel Great Expectations nor saw the movie °How to Succeed in Business without really trying".

Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Pon de Replay on September 09, 2020, 04:00:41 PM
Nietzsche was German.  That means he neither read Dickens's novel Great Expectations nor saw the movie °How to Succeed in Business without really trying".

No, he was not fond of the English (nor his fellow Germans, for that matter).  He did like Shakespeare and Heine, though.   He was not that broad of a reader.  He claimed to keep a small library of books, those that could be re-visited again and again.  "It is not my nature to read much and widely; it is also not my nature to love much and widely."  He did admire Dostoevsky, but mainly he preferred French writers, including Molière, Maupassant, and Stendahl.  He felt a kinship with the French.  "I have something of Montaigne's mischief in my spirit."

I do not think Nietzsche would have cottoned to the "leech morality," even if it has practical value.  He likely would have seen it as shameful and debasing.  His contempt for man was so great that he saw man as something to be overcome.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Greg on September 09, 2020, 04:19:05 PM
Then he was a fool.

The English had the greatest empire in the history of the world.

Mostly acquired through cunning, guile and convincing the natives to do the heavy lifting for them while getting an education and their civil service brought up to standard.   Genius.

The French and Germans were utter failures by comparison.

Never be jealous of rich people.  Learn how to make them like you.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Sempronius on September 09, 2020, 04:29:23 PM
Then he was a fool.

The English had the greatest empire in the history of the world.

Mostly acquired through cunning, guile and convincing the natives to do the heavy lifting for them while getting an education and their civil service brought up to standard.   Genius.

The French and Germans were utter failures by comparison.

Never be jealous of rich people.  Learn how to make them like you.

French were utter failures?

I was an anglophile in my youth but when looking back I realised that all of my favourite authors were french. They had the most influential culture during the middle ages (together with Italians). There aren’t any masterful brittish painters. Joshua Reynolds was okay but not compared to the italians and french.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Pon de Replay on September 09, 2020, 04:36:14 PM
Then he was a fool.

The English had the greatest empire in the history of the world.

That's just it, though.  He viewed that kind of thing as vapid alpha-dog chest-thumping.  His contempt for the English and the Germans was, in part, for their imperial spirit.  I don't know if that makes him a fool.  De gustibus.

The argument can be made that a lust for empire typically spoils a good thing.  You spread yourself too thin, things get watered down, too many undesirables get subsumed, and the whole project collapses.  Don't get me wrong.  I like Rome, Spain, England, and Japan.  But they would all have benefited from prudence.  Not that Nietzsche taught prudence.  I don't read him as being about any of this so much.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Greg on September 09, 2020, 05:30:30 PM
French were utter failures?

Yes, because they tried to have empires and failed.

The English were spectacularly successful.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Vetus Ordo on September 10, 2020, 01:10:13 PM
French were utter failures?

Yes, because they tried to have empires and failed.

The English were spectacularly successful.

The French had an empire.

Napoleon aside, their colonial empire had a lasting influence in the world.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: The Theosist on September 11, 2020, 06:49:47 AM
.
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: John Lamb on September 11, 2020, 06:00:59 PM
You cannot be a slave in life - you need some level of dominance, some level of lust, some level of greed, some level of gluttony - otherwise, what does it mean to be human? Can one be human without love, without a desire to increase your financial standing, to want to eat, sleep, drink, to be competitive?

You say you can't be a slave in life, then you list the things that make men slavish and slaves.

Quote from: Linji
Linji taught the assembly saying: “The Buddha Dharma is effortless: just be without concerns in your ordinary life, as you shit and piss and wear clothes and eat food. When tired, then lie down. Fools will laugh at you, but the wise will know. An ancient said: ‘Those who make external efforts are all stupid and obstinate. Just act the master wherever you are, and where you stand is real.’ When objects appear they cannot turn you around. Though the uninterrupted hellish karma of the habit energy of your past is still there, it spontaneously becomes the great ocean of liberation.

“These days students in general do not know the Dharma. They are like goats: whatever they encounter, they put in their mouths. They do not distinguish between the slaves and the free, the guests and the host. This type ‘enter the Path’ with twisted minds. Even though they cannot enter places where it’s noisy, they call themselves true leavers of home [monks]. Actually they are true conventional worldlings.

“As for leavers of home [monks], they must be able to perceive with true understanding in ordinary life. They distinguish enlightenment and delusion, true and false, ordinary and holy. If you can make these distinctions, you are called a true leaver of home. If you cannot tell deluding from enlightening influences, then you have left one home [ordinary life] only to enter another home [cultish ‘religious’ allegiances]. Then you are called a sentient being creating karma, not a true leaver of home.

“Right now there’s something where enlightenment and delusion share the same substance undivided. It’s like water and milk mixed together: the king goose drinks only the milk. People of the Path with clear eyes will reject both delusion and enlightenment. If you love holy things and hate ordinary things, you float and sink in the sea of birth and death.”
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: paul14 on October 01, 2020, 12:55:39 PM
I just started reading the dead-tree version of this.  It looks good.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Politically-Incorrect-English-American-Literature/dp/1596980117

Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: Greg on October 01, 2020, 02:11:12 PM
Is that the lady I know who lives in Maryland?
Title: Re: Specifically non-theological classics you recommend people to read
Post by: paul14 on October 01, 2020, 03:54:39 PM
Is that the lady I know who lives in Maryland?

Yes.  It's a bloody good book.  I've read about on third of it already.  Really enlightening, entertaining and funny.   :D

There is an English Literature for Dummies aspect to it that suits me just fine as I did really badly in English as I never read anything.

Video games on the other hand and hitting golf balls in mid air … I am pretty good at that.