What books are in the "MeFi Canon"? June 4, 2010 2:14 PM   Subscribe

What books are in the "MeFi Canon"?

Over the years since I've joined, I've noticed that certain books get repeatedly recommended by MeFites, typically though not exclusively in response to AskMe questions... for example, three that I have noticed over and over again:

Starting Strength, mentioned 144 times.
The Gift of Fear, mentioned 79 times.
The Ethical Slut, mentioned 68 times.

While I've read none of these, it got me thinking as to whether there are any other books that seem to crop up over and over again as strongly recommended by many MeFites...

Have you noticed others?
posted by modernnomad to MetaFilter-Related at 2:14 PM (145 comments total) 131 users marked this as a favorite



A Confederacy of Dunces.
posted by ColdChef at 2:18 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


What Color is Your Parachute and Infinite Jest
posted by dinty_moore at 2:19 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Feeling Good by David Burns mentioned 126 times
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:19 PM on June 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've seen Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell come up a bunch of times. I keep meaning to read it.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:20 PM on June 4, 2010


Cloud Atlas is recommended whenever someone wants a novel that's smart-but-not-impenetrable, calmly-thoughtful-but-not-boring. It's written in five different voices, too, so the reader's bound to like one of them. It's like the perfect recommendation for summer reading.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:20 PM on June 4, 2010


Didn't someone make a website that was all frequently recommended AskMe books? And I assume you've all seen this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:22 PM on June 4, 2010 [3 favorites]




I thought I'd seen a list of most-recommended books somewhere, but I might have been thinking of Jessamyn's link.

(Usually if I see a book recommended over and over, I'll eventually read it. Thanks to AskMe, I'm strong, feel good, and am afraid of my slutty parachute.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:26 PM on June 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


House of Stairs was the answer to several "what was the name of that book?" questions.
posted by smackfu at 2:28 PM on June 4, 2010


Ah, this was it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:28 PM on June 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


Picard/Ryker
posted by shmegegge at 2:28 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stranger in a Strange Land 121. Of couse now that's 122.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:31 PM on June 4, 2010


House of Leaves.

The Handmaiden's Tale.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:31 PM on June 4, 2010


Atlas.
The Fountainhead.

Wait, canon? I've misunderstood.
posted by boo_radley at 2:33 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lady Gaga.

she counts as a book, right?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:35 PM on June 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


metafilter was where I first heard about Riddley Walker, and a quick search shows 121 comments that seem to mention it. Incidentally, it's a fucking great book! A young boy's journey through post-apocalyptic England, told in a bizarre, decrepit future-slang.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:36 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


House of Stairs was offered as an answer to one of my questions, but it turned out to be wrong. SO THAT'S MINUS ONE, BUCKO
posted by DU at 2:37 PM on June 4, 2010


You are dying - Why those with hours to live should visit hospitals rather than websites by Maurice Spencer
posted by fire&wings at 2:38 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Snow Crash - 187

Plus three unattributed hits for "Until a man is twenty-five" which should count.
posted by quin at 2:43 PM on June 4, 2010


Here's a related thread on most recommended books on Metafilter.
posted by yeti at 2:43 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everything by P.G. Wodehouse! (198 mentions). You'll notice that I searched for the author's name and not a book, but many recommendations are for "everything by Wodehouse, especially the Jeeves novels." As long as you don't get his really early stuff, most of his work is similar. It's a crime that he isn't better known (here) in the states.
posted by yaymukund at 2:46 PM on June 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Erm, it helps to grab the address, not the search terms... Snow Crash, Three
posted by quin at 2:46 PM on June 4, 2010


The Story of Ping (pdf). Remember kids, if you're ever late you'll get a smack on the back and if you run away from home you might get eaten.

is it in poor taste to consider a duck 'plucky'?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:57 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Twilight gets mentioned a lot.

I'll see myself out.
posted by iconomy at 3:02 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but Snow Crash is terrible.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:06 PM on June 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Starting Strength, mentioned 144 times.

Ah yes, and we're just a few mentions away from creating the unstoppable army of super-strong nerds which the prophecies have foretold. Only then will St. Rippetoe return to lead us into battle against the heretics.

suck it, haters
posted by ludwig_van at 3:07 PM on June 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


This one's popularity is due for a one-day spike.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 3:08 PM on June 4, 2010


Stuff White People Like
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:10 PM on June 4, 2010


Atlas Shrugged is mentioned over a hundred times, but not necessarily in the context of an actual reading suggestion.
posted by jabberjaw at 3:17 PM on June 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ender's Game is mentioned a lot, but I think (like Atlas Shrugged) not always as a recommendation.
posted by peep at 3:19 PM on June 4, 2010


How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes - 160 results

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie - 119 resullts

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - 86 results

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert - 155 results

Freakonomics by Dubner and Levitt - 72 results (underinclusive search with "Dubner" to filter out casual references to the idea of "freakonomics" as a common noun)

Superfreakonomics by same - 67 results

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan - 95 results

In Defense of Food by same - 52 results

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison - 79 results

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman - 125 results

Think by Simon Blackburn - 33 results

God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens - 61 results

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins - 141 results

Descartes' Error by Antonio Damasio - 38 results

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin - 20 results

A People's History of the United States by the late Howard Zinn - 219 results

Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos - 29 results

Animal Liberation by Peter Singer - 22 results

Critique of Pure Reason by Kant - 79 results

(Those are based on searches in site:metafilter.com. Why is it that there are more results when I search for site:ask.metafilter.com? I thought site:metafilter.com includes anything ending with .metafilter.com, including Ask.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:22 PM on June 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Cryptonomicon, a significant improvement on the last time this question was asked.
posted by googly at 3:23 PM on June 4, 2010


Weird, I don't remember seeing Starting Strength on the site at all, and feel like I see The Gift of Fear and The Ethical Slut recommended once a week. Maybe it's the questions I read.
posted by dfan at 3:27 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but Snow Crash is terrible.

INTERNETS FISTICUFFS.
posted by elizardbits at 3:27 PM on June 4, 2010 [13 favorites]


Weird, I don't remember seeing Starting Strength on the site at all, and feel like I see The Gift of Fear and The Ethical Slut recommended once a week. Maybe it's the questions I read.

Since the references to Starting Strength are all about working out, I'm guessing you don't read workout threads.
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:29 PM on June 4, 2010


I find 588 total hits for Snow Crash across all sites, which is at least 412 too few.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:33 PM on June 4, 2010


...mine?


I can dream can't I ?
posted by The Whelk at 3:33 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I bought your dirty little book. It was good.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:41 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Accelerando: 166.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:42 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


How to Talk to Anyone

Because you're here on this site instead of at a meetup.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Because at the meetups, you might meet someone and marry them.

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Because you need a way to justify asking the dweebs from your company's marketing department to stop bothering you.

Stumbling on Happiness

The meds aren't working.

Freakonomics

Also known as, "How to Win Office Arguments By Using Data to Your Advantage"

Superfreakonomics

"How to Win Office Arguments By Using Data to Your Advantage: THE QUICKENING"

The Omnivore's Dilemma

Because I like the occasional steak...

In Defense of Food

... and ice cream ...

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

... but I feel guilty about it.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

Fine, shut up, already. I'll eat the damn quinoa. Geez.

Think

TATERS

God Is Not Great

LOLXIANS

The God Delusion

DTMFA

Descartes' Error

... was nothing compared to eating that tuna fish sandwich you left on the counter all day.

Black Like Me

But you'll like the movie "Soul Man" better.

A People's History of the United States

Stick it to the man.

Innumeracy

Math is hard.

Animal Liberation

The heart of the Omnivore's Dilemma, see above.

Critique of Pure Reason

TATERS
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:42 PM on June 4, 2010 [22 favorites]


Two that I don't see mentioned in the other thread that I associate with Mefi -

Jasper Fforde

Boris Akunin
posted by yarrow at 3:43 PM on June 4, 2010


Neuromancer: 422 hits
Illuminatus!: 241 hits
posted by empath at 3:45 PM on June 4, 2010


Watchmen: Posts (59) Comments (1278)

HP Lovecraft: Posts (73) Comments (1049)

Neil Gaiman: Posts (101) Comments (1473) [Sandman]: Posts (41) Comments (892)

PKD: Posts (8) Comments (319) -- Philip K Dick: Posts (47) Comments (597)
posted by empath at 3:50 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find 588 total hits for Snow Crash across all sites, which is at least 412 436 too few.
posted by Electric Dragon at 3:51 PM on June 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


The DaVinci Code: 239
posted by eyeballkid at 3:52 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Michael) Chabon: Posts (20) Comments (349)
posted by empath at 3:52 PM on June 4, 2010




Ayn Rand: Posts (37) Comments (1714)
posted by empath at 3:53 PM on June 4, 2010


McSweeney's: Posts (47) Comments (547)
posted by empath at 3:53 PM on June 4, 2010


Nabokov: Posts (39) Comments (717)
Proust: Posts (33) Comments (578)
Kafka: Posts (59) Comments (781)/(kafkaesque): Posts (13) Comments (649)
Orwell: Posts (92) Comments (1527)/(Orwellian): Posts (27) Comments (717)
Oscar Wilde: Posts (34) Comments (451)
James Joyce: Posts (40) Comments (451)
Mark Twain: Posts (68) Comments (1009)
Salinger: Posts (28) Comments (502)
Vonnegut: Posts (65) Comments (1561)
Poe: Posts (81) Comments (940)
Dickens: Posts (60) Comments (985)
Tolkien: Posts (65) Comments (1074)
posted by empath at 4:01 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


site:metafilter.com "jared diamond" = 230 hits
posted by selton at 4:08 PM on June 4, 2010


Electric Dragon, you are a fine individual.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:08 PM on June 4, 2010


If Chins Could Kill is mentioned 8 times if that helps. Legend of Huma is mentioned six times but the superior Kaz the Minotaur receives no mentions. Pillars of the Earth gets 95 results and make that 96 because I'm reading it now and it's really good. Ass Goblins of Auschwitz inexplicably returns zero results.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:10 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]






Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 4:38 PM on June 4, 2010


Kaz the minotaur is not better than the Legend of Huma... wth people?

Check out the cover of the former vs. cover of the latter. Judge for yourselves...
posted by ServSci at 4:45 PM on June 4, 2010


The Easy Way To Stop Smoking
posted by ErikaB at 4:50 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Getting Things Done by David Allen.

A good percentage of those results are for the actual phrase 'getting things done', but fifteen out of the first twenty results are for the book/philosophy.
posted by PercyByssheShelley at 4:56 PM on June 4, 2010


Not just Necronomicon but also the 4000-page opus The Baroque Cycle, Neal Stephenson.

Most others I thought of are already mentioned here.
posted by rokusan at 5:13 PM on June 4, 2010


Everything by P.G. Wodehouse! (198 mentions). You'll notice that I searched for the author's name and not a book, but many recommendations are for "everything by Wodehouse, especially the Jeeves novels." As long as you don't get his really early stuff, most of his work is similar. It's a crime that he isn't better known (here) in the states.

If you're going to go that route, then Terry Pratchett gets around 400 hits. Which is criminally low.
posted by kmz at 5:18 PM on June 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Foucault's Pendulum, Umberto Eco
posted by the painkiller at 5:47 PM on June 4, 2010


Gravity's Rainbow?
posted by orthogonality at 5:56 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wish I were the Hiro Protagonist of the Ethical Slut.

Dunno about its popularity, but the manga/anime Azumanga Daioh counts amongst its fans both myself and Stabby*, so it's gotta have something going for it

* sorry but that's how my brain elides it

posted by jtron at 6:07 PM on June 4, 2010


Wow, nice list. Now we can open an independent bookstore.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:16 PM on June 4, 2010


It's probably better to look for canonical authors; most of the great books seem to be written by authors who write many great books.

Is there a publicly-available list of book titles? How hard would it be to run it against the MeFi message database? Or maybe authors is better, 'cause there's bound to be an order or two of magnitude fewer of them.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:22 PM on June 4, 2010


Green Eggs & Ham, 168 results (includes posts about the actual food)
The Cat in the Hat, 137 results (includes posts about the gawdawful movie)
The Lorax, 112 results
Oh, the Places You'll Go!, 68 results
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 67 results
Fox in Socks, 66 results
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, 29 results
Yertle the Turtle, 27 results

rather disappointing; don't you people know classic literature?
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:42 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am outraged that you neglected to mention Hop on Pop.
posted by elizardbits at 6:43 PM on June 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


I know The Five Love Languages has been mentioned several times.
posted by amtho at 6:49 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


We have a winner:

Wikipedia, mentioned 15,400 times

No wait:

MetaFilter, mentioned 228,000 times
posted by DU at 6:51 PM on June 4, 2010


How to be an Adult in Relationships. I think scody was the one who started recommending it.

I bought it, though, and I found it not that useful.
posted by purpleclover at 7:10 PM on June 4, 2010


Other AskMe favorites:

Feeling Good
The Four Agreements
posted by availablelight at 7:38 PM on June 4, 2010


Codex Seraphinianus
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:42 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Monster at the end of This Book.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:03 PM on June 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


All this way, and no mention of the most asked about "what was the name of that story/movie about a girl locked in a closet?" story in the history of AskMe?
posted by Ghidorah at 8:04 PM on June 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


INTERNETS FISTICUFFS.

Snow Crash was recommended to me at a party as "better than Dune". If I ever see that man again, I will laugh in his face. Of course, he will probably have no idea why I'm doing so. It was 10 pages of brilliance followed by 300 of dreck.

The Diamond Age started out interesting, but like Snow Crash completely fell apart at the end. F--

Cryptonomicon? Get that man an editor, and strike every fucking sentence that contains the words "like" or "as". I did enoy the Bobby Shaftoe sections, though.

Anathem I actually liked. Keep it up, Neal
posted by adamdschneider at 8:49 PM on June 4, 2010


Watts' Blindsight is mentioned at least 67 times.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:52 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


(er, 67 times)
posted by Burhanistan at 8:54 PM on June 4, 2010


The Bread Baker's Apprentice (101 times). I highly recommend it. I've set fire to my kitchen twice, but I recommend it.
posted by YamwotIam at 9:21 PM on June 4, 2010


Dune, on the other hand was three books of brilliance followed by, well, constant dreck. As far as Cryptonomicon, I'll say that it's like fine Scotch or Bourbon, an acquired taste. Not for the Southern Comfort drinkers. Or Zima chuggers.

To each his or her own.
posted by Splunge at 9:59 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Bible gets quoted a lot. The Oxford English Dictionary, too.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:16 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think 2666 gets mentioned a lot. Or maybe I just notice it more, because I'm one of those guys that found it very tedious and never finished it.
posted by sanka at 10:17 PM on June 4, 2010


Riddley, Codex Seraphinianus, Hypnerotimachia Polyfilii, Peter Watts, Tristram Shandy, Lovecraft, Melmoth The Wanderer (srs, just do it), Ligotti, Barthelme, jesu christe this excercise is ridiculous. Knuth. Antler. Cf any glib comment re Borges cos there is no end to this thread. Why are you squandering your time on MeFi?!
posted by everichon at 10:25 PM on June 4, 2010


Stuff white people like,

I' m very sorry. Iz quite drunk
posted by special-k at 10:27 PM on June 4, 2010


How To Pick Up Chicks
posted by bardic at 10:31 PM on June 4, 2010


Dune. And recently there was a really nice post about the origins of Dune, btw.
posted by homunculus at 10:46 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, well, he was comparing Dune the novel to Snow Crash, not Dune the series, of which I have only ever read the first two. I would point out that Dune won both the Hugo and the Nebula, while the only thing Cryptonomicon appears to have won is the Worst Simile Ever award as presented by yours truly. I would further point out that I drink both Scotch and bourbon, and neither Southern Comfort nor Zima. To each his own, indeed.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:10 AM on June 5, 2010


Starting Strength, mentioned 144 times.

...of which 100 by ludwig_van.

That is a really great book though, should be required reading in schools.
posted by atrazine at 12:33 AM on June 5, 2010


My personal favorite, The Doomsday Book, pops up in 127 comments.
posted by MeghanC at 12:46 AM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Infinite Jest: About what you'd imagine.

Yes, it's mentioned a lot....but is it mentioned enough?

Unfortunately some of those results are my posts, rather than people mentioning the Book. I'm so, so dreadfully sorry for skewing the data.
posted by Infinite Jest at 3:09 AM on June 5, 2010


Add another two dozen mentions of the Domesday book, MeghanC.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:37 AM on June 5, 2010


Er, I don't even know what the point of this list is. We stopped loading the Metafilter cannon with books because they proved ineffective against the upgraded armor of the Imperial Dreadnoughts. We've since swapped to using bacon, puppies, and (occasionally) languagehat.
posted by Ritchie at 3:40 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Come now, Ritchie. One may never use languagehat. One merely summons him and prays.
posted by cgc373 at 5:44 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, it's mentioned a lot....but is it mentioned enough?

I confess - I LOLed.

No stats on H.P. Lovecraft? No stats on why I'm too lazy to either google this or actually read H.P. Lovecraft? I see his name a lot, but that might just be confirmation bias as I live in PVD, City of Cthulhu.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:49 AM on June 5, 2010


Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Add references to GTD and you're up to several hundred.
posted by alms at 8:10 AM on June 5, 2010


Hammett, Chandler, and Leonard.
posted by ijoshua at 8:59 AM on June 5, 2010


Ladies Man by Richard Price!

(a man can dream)
posted by jonmc at 9:06 AM on June 5, 2010


Bradbury, Ballard too.
posted by Skygazer at 9:36 AM on June 5, 2010


The Master and Margarita
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 9:54 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm on a one man mission ot get everybody here to read Dhalgren.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:12 PM on June 5, 2010


Lanark?
posted by The Whelk at 12:37 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


...of which 100 by ludwig_van.

Actually, I got 260 hits. I'm sure that isn't correct for a one to one suggestion ration but I would question anybody overzealous enough to think a one size fits all prescription is best. By the way, has anybody given John Sarno a shot?
posted by P.o.B. at 1:08 PM on June 5, 2010


Yeah, you'd need to find out whether America's top strength coaches agree or not.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:21 PM on June 5, 2010


Mefi also has a strong Gene Wolfe contingent.

My AskMe is the first result. In case anyone's wondering, I read Shadow & Claw but although I liked the atmosphere, the descriptions and the setting that could be mistaken for fantasy, I was discouraged by weak characters (especially the female ones) and some pacing issues. YMMV.
posted by ersatz at 2:53 PM on June 5, 2010


I'm constantly harping on Under The Volcano, but my one-man crusade is beginning to feel Quixotic.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:22 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: And I assume you've all seen this.

Do you have any goddam idea how much money you just cost me?
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:39 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


You have a terrific library system. I have only cost you money that you want to spend.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:45 PM on June 5, 2010


I have only cost you money that you want to spend.

You haven't seen my library fines. I think I got permanently blacklisted back in The Stupid Years.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:53 PM on June 5, 2010


Do you need me to make a call?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:54 PM on June 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


I feel like I've seen The Now Habit in a number of askme's. I thought it was useful.
posted by mercredi at 4:06 PM on June 5, 2010


Do you need me to make a call?

So... if someone... say a friend, needed a certain ah record to... disappear, rhetorically speaking of course, pressure *ehrm*... influence... could be brought to bear?

(Seriously! I paid for that book I lost! I swear!)
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:21 PM on June 5, 2010


¿Le gusta este filtero, que es suyo? ¡Evite que sus hijos lo destruyan!
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:27 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


> I'm constantly harping on Under The Volcano, but my one-man crusade is beginning to feel Quixotic.

I will join you in your crusade. Read the damn book, people! It will shake your world! (And, uh, perhaps make you want to either get drunk or join AA, but never mind that.)
posted by languagehat at 6:09 PM on June 5, 2010


Don languagehat, may it doubly redound to your benefit. I will be you Sancho Panza any day.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:37 PM on June 5, 2010


Short story, not a book, but Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day" is very frequently asked about on AskMe. (It was also a short PBS film.)
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 7:48 PM on June 5, 2010


I immediately thought of Taking Charge of Your Fertility (193 pages) and The Guide to Getting It On (53).

Shows you which threads I read often...
posted by ALongDecember at 3:18 AM on June 6, 2010


I really didn't mean to slip back into an old habit, but after the first ten comments above, I began counting the number of women writers mentioned. Hmmmm. Not sure what this says about mefi/meta ... just interesting that this kind of thing still hits me so hard.

And, just so this doesn't seem a peckish sort of comment - I will assert that I am a mad fan of Gibson, Stephenson, and many others mentioned. No complaints about the books mentioned (aside from Ayn Rand, but then, as someone pointed out, she is less mentioned in a recommendation than in a side comment about 'randbots')

And do any ppl who have read Handmaid's Tale ever go on to read Atwood's *better* books?
posted by Surfurrus at 3:29 AM on June 6, 2010


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep - 164 times
posted by y2karl at 7:52 AM on June 6, 2010


The Lord of the Rings - 841 times but yeah, I know...
posted by y2karl at 7:54 AM on June 6, 2010


Likewise, the Bible - 4, 490 is too generic

Holy Bible - 163, one l;ess than Do Androids Dream. That makes sense...
posted by y2karl at 7:57 AM on June 6, 2010


> I began counting the number of women writers mentioned. Hmmmm. Not sure what this says about mefi/meta ... just interesting that this kind of thing still hits me so hard.

To redress the balance a bit:

Anna Akhmatova, Requiem and Poem without a Hero
Pat Barker, Regeneration (WWI) trilogy
Elizabeth Bishop, Collected Poems
Anna Comnena, The Alexiad
Helen DeWitt, The Last Samurai
Emily Dickinson, all poems
George Eliot, Middlemarch
Fumiko Enchi, The Waiting Years
M.F.K. Fisher, anything you can find
Frances FitzGerald, Fire in the Lake
Penelope Fitzgerald, The Beginning of Spring and The Blue Flower
Joan Larkin, poems
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed
Audre Lorde, Zami
Rose Macaulay, The Towers of Trebizond
Nadezhda Mandelstam, Hope against Hope
Olivia Manning, Balkan Trilogy and Levant Trilogy
Hilary Mantel, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street and A Place of Greater Safety
Alice Munro, all stories
Lorine Niedecker, Collected Works (poems)
Zoé Oldenbourg, The Crusades
Mary Renault, The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea
Joanna Russ, The Female Man and short stories
Sappho, all remaining poems
Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Disturbances in the Field
Dale Spender, Man Made Language and Women of Ideas
Josephine Tey, The Daughter of Time
James Tiptree Jr., all stories
Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror and The Proud Tower
Eudora Welty, Selected Stories
Rebecca West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon
Nancy Willard, Things Invisible to See
Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

An idiosyncratic list, but all of them have been important to me and might be to you.
posted by languagehat at 12:18 PM on June 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


Barbara Kingsolver comes up 37 times, (104 in ask) which I thought would have been more, and not always favorably, though I think The Poisonwood Bible was a pretty important book. She's the only American writer I know of who's taken on the American involvement in The Congo at all. Some of the antipathy here has been a little surprising.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:30 PM on June 6, 2010


An idiosyncratic list, but all of them have been important to me and might be to you.

Indeed and agreed and feeling guilty as charged. I would add C.L. Moore to languagehat's list for Vintage Season alone. And Lady Muraskai for The Tale of Genji. Not to mention The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon. And Doris Lessing for herself alone.

And Sappho's name, for a fact, comes up 94 times. Not bad, considering what few lines we have of her, let alone entire poems.
posted by y2karl at 4:48 PM on June 6, 2010


Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. 46 mentions on MetaFilter.

It's a poorly written book, but it still matters.
posted by NortonDC at 8:45 PM on June 6, 2010


That is quite a redress, languagehat. I knew I had seen women writers mentioned over the years - but didn't realize there were so many. Some of these books I need to explore.

Mahalo to all of you.
posted by Surfurrus at 10:05 PM on June 6, 2010


Delivered from Distraction and Driven to Distraction (often recommended interchangeably, get a combined 193 hits on the Google.

I bought your dirty little book. It was good.

I want the books I edit to get this response.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:12 PM on June 6, 2010


Yeah, Nickel and Dimed is really more important as an idea than in its execution.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:03 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's an aside: what are MeFi's most hated books? Obviously, Atlas Shrugged is at the top of the pile. There's a couple that seem to be held up to pretty regular scorn:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Da Vinci Code

I aks because I stared a book that was recommended to me last night -- The Last Albatross, which is just simply the most gawdawful excuse for writing I've laid eyes upon in many, many years. I'm about 30 pages in and want to just beat Irvine with a stick.

If you haven't had a chance to hate it yet, you should! It's that terrible.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:00 AM on June 7, 2010


Here's an aside: what are MeFi's most hated books?

I bought David Cross's book thinking it would surely be hilarious. It's awful and I sort of hate him now. (The book, it turns out, is just a compilation of inane rants from his blog.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:10 AM on June 7, 2010


Wow, even the jacket blurbs equivocate.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:17 AM on June 7, 2010


Hey D's R and lh, I'm reading Under the Volcano for the first time right now. I'm about a third of the way in and aching to finish work and dig in again.
posted by tangerine at 11:12 AM on June 7, 2010


Splunge: "Dune, on the other hand was three books of brilliance followed by, well, constant dreck. "

The art of kanly still has admirers in the Metafilters.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 11:38 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


allan carr's easy way to quit smoking, or whatever it's called.
posted by rhizome at 7:07 PM on June 7, 2010


House of Leaves is...

A: Terrible
B: Recommended for absolutely any book question in askme, no matter how inappropriate.
posted by Artw at 10:16 PM on June 9, 2010


Dear AskMe: I just moved into an old house and it's scaring me a bit... is there a work of fiction that could ease my worries?
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:37 AM on June 10, 2010


There's a couple that seem to be held up to pretty regular scorn:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Da Vinci Code


Wait, what's wrong with ZatAoMM? It's a little dated perhaps and obviously the title (at at least some of the content) has become cliched--but you can hardly blame the book for that.
posted by DU at 6:42 AM on June 10, 2010


There's a couple that seem to be held up to pretty regular scorn:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Wait, what's wrong with ZatAoMM?


It was held up for scorn in this thread. I wouldn't say it's "held up to pretty regular scorn."
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:46 AM on June 10, 2010


It was held up for scorn in this thread.

I didn't really search. Probably confirmation bias because I personally disliked the book & perhaps conflating other conversations from other sites that I managed to get mis-wired in my memory. Maybe it's not an overall scorn thing so much as a somewhat widespred ambivalence and skepticism. Though upon a good search of the blue, I can see now that the ambivalence is far from universal. The scorn in that thread you linked is pretty scathing, though.

Wait, what's wrong with ZatAoMM?

Mostly, the kid. I hope for his sake that it was purely fictional. Also, the belaboring. I felt like I was being bashed over the head with a cudgel, especially when he got to the "quality" bit that rambled on for hours, and didn't strike me as a particularly original or interesting thought. I can accept that I'm probably in a small minority of 20,000 mefites, though so I'll leave it at that. I don't want to just slam works that might be important or insightful in ways I just don't get -- I can let that be my problem.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:16 AM on June 10, 2010


Here's another thread on ZatAoMM
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:47 PM on June 10, 2010


> Wait, what's wrong with ZatAoMM?

Nothing. It's a damn good book; I've read it more than once. Some people have a hate on for it, but there are always people around to hate anything. Hell, some people hate bunny rabbits.
posted by languagehat at 5:00 PM on June 10, 2010


Hell, some people hate bunny rabbits.

They can be so goddam self-important.

I'll get Prisig back out, if you say so. It will no doubt be ambrosia compared to the dung I'm currently enduring.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:07 PM on June 10, 2010


House of Leaves is...

A: Terrible
B: Recommended for absolutely any book question in askme, no matter how inappropriate.


That's it, we're taking this outside!
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:16 PM on June 10, 2010


There is no outside! Your're in a maze of gimmicks which has no end because a proper ending would be unliterary!

* pointless footnote.

¥ likewise.
posted by Artw at 6:22 PM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


There is no outside! Your're in a maze of gimmicks which has no end because a proper ending would be unliterary!

* pointless footnote.

¥ likewise.


Editor's note: No minotaurs allowed.
posted by ersatz at 9:40 AM on June 11, 2010


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