Best cultural criticism books according to redditors

We found 419 Reddit comments discussing the best cultural criticism books. We ranked the 238 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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American literature criticism books
Jewish literary criticism books
African literature history books
European literary history books
Asian literary history & criticism books
Australian & Oceanian literary books
Canadian literary criticism books
Latin American literary books
Middle Eastern literary criticism books
Russian literary criticism books

Top Reddit comments about Regional & Cultural Literary Criticism:

u/eremiticjude · 56 pointsr/tolkienfans

this, more or less. the Hobbit, in its original conception, is basically Tolkien deconstructing Faerie stories and making his supercut of all the most classic elements. he just happened to slip in a bunch of references to his own world as well to make it sound unique. Then when it took off, and the publisher wanted more "hobbit stories" he tried to sell them the Silm. They weren't having it, so we got LOTR, and he found himself having to wrap a work he'd not intended originally to be in Middle-earth into his world. he ended up justifying the revised second edition as being the "truer" version of events that Bilbo told Gandalf, while the first is the one he told the dwarves, in order to explain why the ring is passed off as just a bauble in the first edition. but the other discrepancies (stone giants, the staggering differences in behavior you see in the elves, etc) you just have to chalk up to how the piece was conceived.

if this is an interesting topic for you, i cannot recommend enough John D Rateliff's The History of the Hobbit which is i think the single most exhaustive and best researched work on the Hobbit. The history of Middle-earth has great stuff on it too, but Rateliff goes into the wider context of how it was conceived as a faerie story, rather that just its place within the context of middle-earth and the various iterations of its development.

edit: i should have replied to OP, as the person i'm replying to probably knows at least some of this.

u/ahmulz · 18 pointsr/literature

I view The Broom of the System as, like you said, him trying to prove to his professors just how smart he was. He had dropped out of Amherst twice due to depression and he had already written another thesis on philosophy (which you can apparently buy [here] ( he really had to step up to the plate to prove himself as a writer. Nevertheless, I view it as an admirable feat of writing, especially at such a young age. I think it is important to keep in mind just how much writers progress over time, as they gather life experience, knowledge, and skill.

Lots of other writers kind of do something similar. Take a look at James Joyce's Dubliners. Compare that to Ulysses or Finnegans Wake. It is a walk in the park in comparison to what those two texts offer to the reader, and it sometimes seems downright amateurish. However. The text itself is still pretty good. And even in a non-literary genre, authors still grow amazingly quickly. JK Rowling's skills increased greatly over the Harry Potter series, both in terms of prose and plot complexity.

I don't know, man. The Broom was not my favorite, but I respect it because DFW did it when he was only 22 or 23. Besides, it would be unfair to DFW to hold all of his work to the level of Infinite Jest or Hideous Men, only to excuse The Broom as nothing special; it was good for what he was doing at the time, and he grew beyond it.

tl;dr- writers grow up and get better.

u/CapBateman · 15 pointsr/askphilosophy

In general, academic philosophy of religion is dominated by theistic philosophers, so there aren't many works defending atheism and atheistic arguments in the professional literature.

But there are still a few notable books:

  • J.L Mackie's The Miracle of Theism is considered a classic, but it's a bit outdated by now. Although Mackie focuses more on critiquing the arguments for God's existence rather than outright defending atheism, he is no doubt coming from an atheistic point of view.
  • Michael Martin's Atheism: A Philosophical Justification is a lengthy book with the ambitious goal of showing atheism is the justified and rational philosophical position, while theism is not.
  • Nicholas Everitt's The Non-existence of God is maybe one of the most accessible books in the "case for atheism" genre written by a professional philosopher. He even presents a new argument against god's existence.
  • If you're more into debates, God?: A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist is a written debate between atheist philosopher Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and famous Christian philosopher and apologist William Lane Craig. It's far better than any debate WLC had with any of the New Atheists in my humble opinion.
  • On the more Continental side of things, there a few works that could be mentioned. There's Michel Onfray's Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (although I must admit I didn't read it myself, so I can't attest to how good it is) and of course any work by the atheist existentialists, a good place to start will by Jean-paul Sartre's Existentialism Is a Humanism.

    I didn't add him because others have already mentioned him, but everything written by Graham Oppy is fantastic IMO. He is maybe the leading atheist philosopher in the field of philosophy of religion. A good place to start with his writings is his 2013 paper on arguments for atheism.
u/strangenchanted · 12 pointsr/books

Here's a list I made a while back, slightly edited:

Argentina: Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones. Julio Cortazar, Hopscotch.

Italy: Italo Calvino, If on a winter's night a traveler. Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose.

Spain: Don Quixote, of course. Arthur Perez Reverte (The Club Dumas). Carlos Ruiz Zafon (The Shadow of the Wind).

Germany: Thomas Mann (Death in Venice, The Magic Mountain). Gunter Grass (The Tin Drum).

Czech Republic: Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Russia: Tolstoy. Dostoyevsky. Bulgakov. So many of these guys.

Hungary: Sandor Marai, Embers

Bosnia: Ivo Andric, The Vizier's Elephant

Serbia: Milorad Pavic, Dictionary of the Khazars

Denmark: Peter Hoeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow

Greece: Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

Egypt: Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz

Kenya: Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

Nigeria: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Jagua Nana by Cyprian Ekwensi

Colombia: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Chile: The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

Mexico: The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes

Peru: Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa

Cuba: Explosion in a Cathedral by Alejo Carpentier

The Philippines: The Woman Who had Two Navels by Nick Joaquin

Indonesia: This Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Japan: Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, Quicksand, The Key, Seven Japanese Tales, etc. The short story collections The Showa Anthology and Modern Japanese Literature. Yasunari Kawabata, Snow Country.

u/blackstar9000 · 11 pointsr/worldnews

This is slightly off-topic, but if anyone's interested in the US relations with the Hmong, there's an excellent book called The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, about culture clash among Hmong immigrants living in California.

u/Zoidboig · 8 pointsr/LearnJapanese

Learn to Read in Japanese (Roger Lake / Noriko Ura)

Vol. 1 (beginner to intermediate)

Vol. 2 (building on Vol. 1, intermediate to advanced)

And of course:

Breaking into Japanese Literature

Exploring Japanese Literature

u/avenirweiss · 7 pointsr/books

I know I must be missing some, but these are all that I can think of at the moment.


Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges

The Stranger by Albert Camus

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

White Noise by Don Delilo

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot

Everything that Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by DFW

Infinite Jest by DFW

Of these, you can't go wrong with Infinite Jest and the Collected Fictions of Borges. His Dark Materials is an easy and classic read, probably the lightest fare on this list.


The Music of the Primes by Marcus du Sautoy

Chaos by James Gleick

How to be Gay by David Halperin

Barrel Fever by David Sedaris

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

Secret Historian by Justin Spring

Of these, Secret Historian was definitely the most interesting, though How to be Gay was a good intro to queer theory.

u/[deleted] · 6 pointsr/infj

I like Camus a lot, but his prose is super hard to read sometimes. I don't really like Nietzsche; he's a massive fucking dick. I like Camus leagues more because Camus explains things and leads you to his conclusion while Nietzsche just preaches and rambles on about how much he hates this or that and how stupid this or that is.

Not all of these called themselves philosophers, but here's some I like:

I'm not stoic by any means, but I love Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. I think it's interesting how someone could write musings that are relevant millennia later.

John Milton wrote Paradise Lost, but he has a ton of prose too. Here's a book full of it along with annotations and modernized grammar. Milton wasn't the most satisfactory person, but his writing is incredible.

I haven't read this myself, but a friend of mine really liked Man's Search for Meaning by Frankl. Some of his friends called him pretentious for reading the book though (I wasn't one of them).

If you like Camus, you'll probably like Sartre's Existentialism is a Humanism. Again, I haven't read it myself, but it was also recommended to me because I like Camus.

Jean-Paul Marat was a journalist during the French Revolution, but his writings sometimes crossed into philosophical territory. He was a huge populist, and I love his work when he's not calling for the deaths of hundreds of people. You can read some of it here.

I'm huge into theology, so I love Thomas Aquinas. He wrote a lot about theology and Christianity and was a major Christian apologist. He also dabbled in theodicy. Smart man.

And to mix it up, here's one I haven't checked out but is top on my list: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz's Selected Works. She was a writer and a nun from Spain who was self-taught--all qualities you usually don't find in philosophers, so she'll be a unique read.

u/theoldkitbag · 5 pointsr/ireland

The Táin is one of our greatest national epics - you can find an excellent translation by Kinsella (a famous Irish poet) online, no problem.

As a more pop-friendly alternative, Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick (the guy who designed the famous Che Guevara image) produced two illustrated volumes of the Book of Conquests - the founding mythology of Ireland. They are the Book of Conquests and The Silver Arm

Irish legends are primary sorted into what are called 'cycles'. There are four: the Mythological Cycle, the Ulster Cycle, the Fenian Cycle, and the Cycle of Kings. Each has a different flavour and revolve around different characters. You may enjoy one more the other. Our most commonly known heroes come from the Ulster and Fenian Cycles.

u/goofballl · 5 pointsr/LearnJapanese

> Since you are learning you may also want to check out Read Real Japanese

Also Exploring Japanese Literature and Breaking Into Japanese Literature

u/FFSausername · 4 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

I did a little google searching and found [this book] ( which seems relevant to your question. I'd also check out the Journal of Qur'anic Studies which, from my observation, has received praise. It certainly exists.

u/aabicus · 4 pointsr/breakingbad

If you're gonna buy this book for Breaking Bad cred, you should get the same edition they use in the show

u/archiesteel · 4 pointsr/EnoughTrumpSpam

Voltaire's Bastards by John Ralston Saul is pretty much based on demonstrating how reason, when place above all other virtues, can lead to terrible things.

The book's main argument is that the virtues temper each other out, and that any one of them pushed to the extreme is destructive. He then proceeds to demonstrate how reason has led to aberrations in many aspects of society, and does so in a very convincing way. It's a long read (took me a year, on and off), but it's worth it.

u/angstycollegekid · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

Sartre presented a lecture called "Existentialism and Humanism," which can now be found in print as Existentialism is a Humanism. It's almost like an Existentialism manefesto, per se. The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus is a good treatise on existentialism (Absurdism, really, but it'll do).

I would not hesitate to start reading fiction novels that have Existentialist themes. Camus' The Stranger, Sartre's Nausea, and Dostyevsky's Notes From the Underground are just a few that will find your studies well.

As for secondary literature, the only text I can knowledgeably recommend is Existentialism For Dummies, as I'm currently working my way through it. It's actually not as bad as you might think coming from the "For Dummies" series. It doesn't go too in-depth, and ideas are very concise and oftentimes humorous.

I have also heard good things about David Cogswell's Existentialism For Beginners, though I have never read it myself.

If your niece feels comfortable with this level of writing and philosophical examination, it is almost imperative to read Kierkegaard's Either/Or and Fear and Trembling, Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future, and Sartre's Being and Nothingness, among others. It is good to have some background understanding of Kant and perhaps have a few essays by Schopenhauer under your belt leading up to the more rigorous academics like Heidegger and Hegel.

Good luck, and happy reading!

u/Thelonious_Cube · 3 pointsr/books

Classics: Tristram Shandy, Moby Dick, The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, The Grapes of Wrath. All wonderful in their own ways. Tristram Shandy is very 'post-modern' in feel depite being from the 1700's

I'm also rather fond of 'classic' short stories, so I can reccommend various collections like this or this or this - all collections I've read and enjoyed. Cheever, O'Hara, Chekov, Carver are all well worth your time.

Borges is fascinating and strange - a great conversation starter.

Mystery/Thrillers: James Ellroy's LA Quartet, George V. Higgins (The Friends of Eddie Coyle, etc.), Chandler's The Long Goodbye, Ross MacDonald's The Chill, Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me...

There's loads of great sci-fi out there - start with a Gardner Dozois "Best of" and branch out. Philip K Dick (Ubik is a good start). Charles Stross Accelerando. William Gibson. Collections of short stories are great: Rewired, Mirrorshades, various 'best of' collections. Swanwick, Sterling, Egan.

As mentioned Douglas R Hofstadter's stuff is great non-fiction (philosophy? linguistics? cogsci? AI?) with a decidedly playfull streak that makes it a joy to read.

u/montereyo · 3 pointsr/Anthropology

My ubiquitous recommendation for medical anthropology is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, about a Hmong family in California whose newborn daughter has epilepsy. It's well-written and engaging.

u/Maepaperclip · 3 pointsr/greatawakening

well thats for another time, but the absolute expert on it is John Ralston Saul - Voltaires Bastards

u/commodore84 · 3 pointsr/worldnews

If you're interested in the Hmong, read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Fantastic book and discusses the plight of the Hmongs in detail.

u/Peralton · 3 pointsr/steampunk

"What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist-the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England"


It's a reference book of all the mundane info you need to write a living, breathing world. You need to know the rules before you cnasteampunk them.


This review describes it nicely:


u/thornybacon · 3 pointsr/tolkienbooks

Volumes I and II were later edited together into a corrected (and slightly expanded) one volume hardback edition published in 2011 (the edition I have):

Which was itself later followed by a paperback edition 'A Brief History Of The Hobbit' which I think contained all the Tolkien writing from the earlier editions, just with greatly reduced commentary and background essays:

Perhaps the initial paperbacks were allowed to go out of print after being superseded by later editions?, or simply had smaller print runs?, perhaps you could try contacting Harper Collins directly and inquiring?

(Sorry I couldn't be more help).

u/ohmanchild · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

Thanks. I actually ordered Meditations right after I read Epictetus. Is this the other book? How do you apply reason when you talk to people and look at tasks you need to do so it's not so overwhelming?

u/allthewhite_horses · 3 pointsr/LearnJapanese

Also Donald Keene put together a pretty good anthology of stuff in translation that covers a lot of the most important authors from the Meiji era until the late 20th century, you can get a copy for a few bucks on Amazon.

u/officemonkey · 3 pointsr/booksuggestions

Smilla's Sense of Snow takes place in Copenhagen and features a Greenlander as a main character.

"Journey to the Center of the Earth" features an Icelandic "eider down hunter" as a nearly wordless guide for the Professor and his ward.

u/cukieMunster · 3 pointsr/pics

There was a pretty good book from years back that I read recently that kinda breaks down the arcing history of how we got to the point where the military has to be maintained because it's become such a part of the economy. Subsidies, factories, employment, contractural employment, research and dev, all kinds of stuff tied to it. This is a chapter or two in the whole book, but goddamn was my mind blown.

Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West by John Ralston Saul



It more or less takes the history of reason and logic and shows how it's gotten misused.

u/anthropology_nerd · 3 pointsr/Anthropology

A good popular anthropology book for summer reading is 1491: New Revelations About the Americas before Columbus.

A good medical anthropology-like book is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down about epilepsy in recent Hmong immigrants to the U.S.

I'm a little tired and that is all I've got right now.

u/Chameleon256 · 3 pointsr/languagelearning

Thanks! Right now I am still trying to build a basic vocabulary by learning some Anki decks, but eventually I hope to move on to reading ynet and haaretz, and then eventually writing. I am also thinking about buying and I already try to listen to כאן (via TuneIn) daily, even if I can still only pick out a few words like אכשיו, בקר, לילה תוב (:. At the moment I only listen ג (mostly music), but hopefully in the future I will be able to listen to and actually understand most of what is said on א!

u/egnaro2007 · 3 pointsr/breakingbad

Here ya go bitch!

u/MasterHiggGround · 2 pointsr/LearnJapanese

While I personally do not know any, as I am a beginner (for like, 4 or six years due to my lack of studying :D )
u/overactive-bladder had shown me some.

u/griffinbd · 2 pointsr/davidfosterwallace

I think by the whole ‘nobody is an atheist’ thing, he means that nobody is without a captivation toward something exterior or bigger than themselves (i.e. God, a project, a deity, sports team etc.). All people are worshipers of something. Therefore, there are no people who are without or indifferent to (a—) an object (God) (—theist) of worship/attention/praise. Nothing about this is weak logical reasoning—you just have to see into the meaning through how the terms are used. That’s a very brief Wittgensteinian analysis of this, at least, who was a great philosopher and was a massive influence on DFW. Though I could be mistaken here, since you’re use of ‘literal’ might be more narrow. Although, I don’t see what’s not literally obvious about what he was intending.

As to you’re later point about him not being a philosopher nor a logical thinker, I’d really push back. The dude had an undergrad in philosophy, published work (see here) and went to graduate school for a short time—all of which was primarily centered around symbolic logic and semantics.

My interpretation of what you were getting into could be wrong and perhaps you have countless other examples of his logical lacking ‘rigour.’ I realize that this is the exact kind of fan-boy analysis one would expect to defend DFW. This isn’t meant to be that. I just think you’re mistaken.

u/kbergstr · 2 pointsr/ELATeachers

What's wonderful and frustrating about the English language is that there's no single standard and all of those books out there that try to tell you that there's one absolute rule of English are full of it.

The English language is amazing because of its ability to adapt, change, absorb other languages and remain fluid-- I'd recommend checking out Bragg's Adventure of English to anyone interested in the history of the language as it paints a wonderful picture of the language being in flux.

While I was trained in a "prescriptivist" approach to grammar, I've now fallen fairly firmly in the "descriptivist" camp. That doesn't mean that we should accept anything that anyone writes as being "correct"; it means that there's a purpose and logic behind grammar and that understanding how language works gives you power to communicate more effectively.

Grammar should help illuminate the author's purpose, add meaning, and clarify ambiguities-- not drive us all insane. We should think of grammar as a set of tools to use, not a set of laws to be obeyed and feared.

I believe that the oxford comma generally clarifies the meaning of a sentence, so I use it. But if I'm reading something that's perfectly clear that doesn't use it, I'd be in no way offended, and I don't think anyone else should be.


u/scdozer435 · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

>I didn't know continental vs analytical terms are outdated.

Dated perhaps isn't the right term, but just know that they do have certain limits.

As for post-WWII philosophy, there's a lot, but I'm going to let you know that much of it can't be well-understood without a basic understanding of Heidegger, much of whose thought was pre-WWII. His best known work is Being and Time, but it's one of the most challenging texts in the western canon. For an easier introduction to prep you for it, I'd recommend some of his early lecture material, such as The Hermeneutics of Facticity and The History of the Concept of Time. This could just be me, but I've found his lectures to be generally easier than his primary texts. If you want to trace the development of his thought, much of which was post-WWII, the Basic Writings anthology has a number of essays by him. While nothing really eclipsed Being and Time, much of his later thought is still studied. I'd say the most significant work of his later career was his Contributions to Philosophy, which took the form of briefer aphorisms and anecdotes, more similar to Nietzsche in style, but still grounded in much of his own thought and terminology.

If you want to move away from Heidegger, some of the big texts would be Gadamer's Truth and Method (Gadamer was a student of Heidegger's, so the former's thought is very deeply influenced by the latter), Sartre's two texts Being and Nothingness and Existentialism is a Humanism (note the similarity to Sartre's title with Heidegger's Being and Time, and also note that Heidegger would respond rather critically to Sartre's Existentialism with an essay in the Basic Writings), and Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex (a key feminist work heavily influenced by Sartre and Heidegger).

Beyond this my knowledge is a bit scattered, as I've only just completed undergrad. I really would recommend David West's text as a decent overview that will guide you in what the key texts are, as well as good secondary sources. I've not brought up Derrida, who was also huge, as well as Alain Badiou, Slavoj Zizek, Michel Foucault and Charles Taylor just to name a few. On top of those, there's a ton of pre-WWII stuff that's hugely important for understanding these thinkers, such as the ideas of Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, and the whole field of psychoanalysis (Freud, Jung and Lacan). Then there's postmodernism, postcolonialism, the various strands of feminism, and tons more. The more I type, the more I'm just reminding myself how little I know about this area (even though it's the area I'm most interested in).

Let me know if there's anything more you need to know or if you want to know a decent secondary source.

u/Belgand · 2 pointsr/LearnJapanese

Not like this, no. Still, you can put in the work, build your own, and share it with others if you're feeling generous.

The closest example would be to get some of the Japanese readers out there like "Read Real Japanese", "Breaking Into Japanese Literature", and "Exploring Japanese Literature". These are aimed at people still learning so they're chosen to be notable, but still easy to read. More relevantly they typically have vocabulary at the bottom of each page to help you. Admittedly, there are other features present (full parallel text in English, Japanese audio for each, etc.), but that's why they're specifically sold as teaching tools.

u/spectrometric · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

fun fact: we use the french term because of when the french invaded/conquered england in 1066. all the aristrocrats spoke french, while their servants spoke english. so the english servants would be all talking about cows, but when the meat got to the table the french would call it boeff (sp? my french is rusty). neat eh? i read that in a book called "the adventure of english" by melvyn bragg. very neat book if you're into etymology.

u/Mattyocrazy · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

The Norton Edition of "The Wasteland" comes with critical commentaries, essays, copious footnotes, and Eliot's own dubious footnotes to the piece. Pretty good if you really want to dive into Eliot's masterpiece.

u/lehuric · 2 pointsr/ireland

I'm in the same boat. My work involves a lot of academic reading and I had got out of reading for pleasure in the past couple of years because it was such a slog during the day. I've started again recently, beginning with short story compilations to make it easier to keep my attention. It also gives me an idea of authors whose work I'd like to explore further.

The Oxford Book of American Short Stories

That Glimpse of Truth

u/Pylons · 2 pointsr/atheism

> aka by people heavily invested into and having careers built upon Jesus being non-mythical.

As opposed to the other side? aka people who [sell books on amazon] ( about their shit? They don't have careers built upon Jesus being mythical?

u/williamsates · 2 pointsr/conspiracy

Islam is no different here from Christianity and Judaism, there are textual variants present in earlier manuscripts making the reconstruction of the original text impossible.

u/Trotter999 · 2 pointsr/tolkienbooks

You could also look at the one volume hardback edition, instead of the paperbacks, as an alternative, as suggested by thornybacon.

u/j0h0 · 2 pointsr/books

Note: This comes from my interpretation and quotes from "A Commentary on The Stranger" by Jean-Paul Sartre, which can be found in the book Existentialism is a Humanism also by Jean-Paul Sartre.

> In The Myth of Sisyphus... Camus provided us with a precise commentary on his work: his hero was neither good nor bad, neither moral nor immoral. Such categories do not apply to him. He belongs to a very particular species for which the author reserves the name "absurd."

Sartre goes on to explain that "absurd" as used in Camus' work represents both a factual state and the lucid awareness that some people acquire from that state. By this reading, Meursault is Camus' attempt to throw us headfirst into the feeling of the "absurd".

>"For the absurd man, the ideal is the present and the succession of present moments before an ever-conscious spirit." Confronted with this "quantitative ethic," all values collapse. Projected into this world, the absurd man, rebellious and irresponsible, has "nothing to prove."

>And now we fully understand the title of Camus's novel. The stranger he wants to portray is precisely one of those terrible "idiots" who shock a society by not accepting the rules of its game. He lives among strangers, but he is a stranger to them too.

>Meursalt does not seem to be indignant about his death sentence. He was happy, he did as he liked, and his happiness does not seem to have been affected by any inner gnawing so frequently mentioned by Camus in his essay, which stems from the blinding presence of death. His very indifference often seems like indolence, for instance on that Sunday when he stays home out of pure laziness, and admits to having been "a little bored." The character thus remains singularly impenetrable, even from a vantage point of the absurd... He is there before us, he exists, and we can neither understand nor quite judge him. In a word, he is alive, but his fictional density is the only thing that can make him acceptable to us.

I hope some of that helps! I really enjoyed reading Sartre's commentary on The Stranger and I felt as though it made me appreciate Camus's work more than my first reading. Somewhere inside the commentary Sartre explains that Meursalt is much less a key player in the events of the story as an impartial observer and that to truly live the "absurd" is simply to experience it. He likens the events in the book to our looking in on them through a window in which we can see what is happening, but are completely cut off from the context and meaning of such events.

I haven't read The Myth of Sisyphus yet, but Sartre claims that it amounts to Camus's spelling out of his theory of the absurd. The Stranger attempts to expose us to the "feeling" of the absurd, while TMoS attempts to expose us to the "idea" of the absurd in a much more philosophical way. If you're interested in Camus's ideas, I would probably have to second his recommendation.

u/SF2K01 · 2 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Like I said, there isn't much, and your ability to read them will depend on your capabilities. Keith Small's Textual Criticism and Qur'an Manuscripts is one example of an effort to apply textual critical studies to the Quran as well as Quranic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation which is a much more difficult read, but even more foundational (or you could even go and track down Geiger's original work, "Was Hat Mohammed aus dem Judentume Aufgenommen?" (Bonn, 1834)).

u/sabu632 · 2 pointsr/Anthropology

Basso is phenomenal. I also always recommend The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Both superb ethnographies.

u/the_unfinished_I · 2 pointsr/books

Existentialism is a humanism, by Jean Paul Sartre. Very short, easy to understand, and (speaking personally) quite life-affecting.

u/BonkTink · 2 pointsr/Existentialism

"Man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world—and defines himself afterwards"

—Jean-Paul Sartre

From Existentialism and Humanism (later published in English as Existentialism is a Humanism)

u/hishtafel · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

This is probably weird, but the most fun I have is when I am planning something. (An event/party with friends or family, curriculum for a class, a date.) Related, I think, is that I really enjoy experimenting with flavor combinations in foods/baked goods/cocktails. On a more normal level, I like to read, hike, and reddit.

Simple pleasures for me? Sleep, coffee, chocolate. Ooh, and bubble bath. My perfect summer day would be sunny, warm but definitely not hot, spent in a coffee shop with the windows open to a quirky town's Main Street.

Here's a book from my WL, because you've gotta have a book with your coffee!

Pandora's Mystery Summer Box of Goodies

u/1000m · 2 pointsr/LearnJapanese

I think it's Japanese Vocabulary (Quick Study Academic)

u/theshiba · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

Hi, throwing in my two cents that the best way to improve your reading/grammar and literary knowledge is to dive deep into anthologies and collections. Think of it as a sampling of the 'best of the best' and you are getting a taste of what is considered to be great. Also don't be afraid to pick up a piece of classic literature and think, "Good god, this was considered awesome?" That's ok. Some people don't like premodern literature. Some people LOVE it. Some people HATE it. Some people are all about cyberpunk angsty lit that's a product of our super modern society. Some love poetry...well, you get the picture. The beauty of an anthology is you can survey the goods -- and if you love something you read, odds are it's only a small selection taken from a much bigger book OR the writer is pretty prolific and if you like his style of writing, odds are you are going to LOVE the rest of his work.

Don't know where to begin? I recommend checking out some classics from overseas (which I use as a required book in my courses):

u/efrique · 1 pointr/atheism

I don't think I am being asked that, since (if I remember right) the person I replied to mentioned Nazareth before I did. The onus would be on the original claim (of nonexistence) first. But that it existed at some point in time is easy - it exists now! It's been there since well before I was born, so there's a string of times when it existed. its present existence makes the claim that it never existed flat out false.

What I have seen is mention of the position that Nazareth was
unoccupied at the time Jesus was supposed to be alive, or that it didn't exist until well after he supposedly died.

edit: some references that appear to relate to this --

René Salm, The Myth of Nazareth: The Invented Town of Jesus, (2008).

See also this link, and this

W. B. Smith, "Meaning of the Epithet Nazorean (Nazarene)" The Monist (1904) 26.

T. Cheyne "Nazareth" Encyclopedia Biblica, (1899).

R. Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus. New York: Penguin Books, (1997) p. 952.

(edits: added a couple of small additional bits of info, and a change of my second sentence to better respond what you actually said, rather than what I originally read it to say)

u/RoarK5 · 1 pointr/books

Tough call. Eliot and Emerson are both in my top 20. I think I'd go with the Eliot one though, Pound is way more fun than Nietzsche. Also, I recommend this copy of The Wasteland.

Edit: Fixed link

u/ocross · 1 pointr/videos

I agree with you on the second point you make 100%; and it is a huge failing of the video. But the rise of the middle class after the renaissance and age of reason is more complicated than black death --> church looses its grip. The BD was huge but there was more too it. Nevertheless religion as the 'key' institute did cede to modern systems of governance which if you look at the last 500 years puts the average westerner in a pretty good spot health / wealth / education wise. The fist quarter of Voltaire's Bastards makes a pretty decent account of it (not a bad book IMhumbleO).

u/FabesE · 1 pointr/IAmA

Kierkegaard makes for dense reading, real dense.

Existentialism is a Humanism by Sartre is my go-to recommendation for an entrance into Existentialism. It's actually a lecture, so it reads like an essay; it's short, so it is manageable; and it is significantly less dense than Kierkegaard. "Existence precedes essence". Such a simple and wonderful idea that needn't scare or lead to malaise.

Edit (to include links):

Wall of text version

Affordable paperback version

u/imsoeffingtired · 1 pointr/AskReddit

If you are interested in Watts' idea of nothingness you might be interested in the philosophy of Existentialism. If you want this idea put in layman's terms Existentialism is a Humanism is a great place to start. Honestly though, I would steer away from Alan Watts, although he is interesting, after reading a few of his books his philosophy seems rather empty and repetitive... Kierkegaard, Camus, and Sartre are all very interesting reads. Despite our resentful convo you should check them out.

u/morebeansplease · 1 pointr/PoliticalHumor

> Carrier, Richard (2012). Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. p. ch. 1. ISBN 978-1-61614-560-6. ...attempts to ascertain the 'real' historical Jesus have ended in confusion and failure. The latest attempt to cobble together a method for teasing out the truth involved developing a set of critera. But it has since been demonstrated that all those criteria, as well as the whole method of their employment, are fatally flawed. Every expert who has seriously examined the issue has already come to this conclusion.

This looks like a good read too.

• Nazareth is not mentioned even once in the entire Old Testament. The Book of Joshua (19.10,16) – in what it claims is the process of settlement by the tribe of Zebulon in the area – records twelve towns and six villages and yet omits any 'Nazareth' from its list.
• The Talmud, although it names 63 Galilean towns, knows nothing of Nazareth, nor does early rabbinic literature.
• St Paul knows nothing of 'Nazareth'. Rabbi Solly's epistles (real and fake) mention Jesus 221 times, Nazareth not at all.
• No ancient historian or geographer mentions Nazareth. It is first noted at the beginning of the 4th century.

u/overactive-bladder · 1 pointr/LearnJapanese

there are many graded readers out there with exactly what you're describing though.

u/curizen · 1 pointr/Psychonaut

I recommend Magick (or Book 4) reminded me of Wilson's writing style even. very accessible.

If you want more of his crazy cool ideas and poetry I recommend Book of Lies

Also this website has everything

He covers so many diverse topics everything is worh checking out!

u/ninjininja · 1 pointr/unt
u/rjmaway · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

>Are you not aware of the History of both the Quran and the ahadith?

Well aware. It appears that you aren't.

There is no full manuscript that is from the time of the Prophet, and our first fragments of hadith collections come much later.

I have read many books on this topic, for example:

Resources for you:

u/ihamsa · 1 pointr/hebrew

Hmm. Why do you need one? I haven't used any, but this one looks pretty solid.

u/CBFisaRapist · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Just click the other options. You can get a hardcover for $30.

It's a GREAT set if you're interested in this sort of thing.

If you only want it for those three chapters, though, take a pass. Not sure if they're out there somewhere, but I wager someone has scanned them.

u/Thadius · 1 pointr/DoesAnybodyElse

It is actually very interesting the way Webster proposed to change the language and in reality the logic is admirable. A Lot of people think that Americans changed the spelling of English deliberately to make themselves different from England. Webster however was already in the process of proposing the changes before the Revolution occurred. The Revolution perhaps helped to shed light upon his efforts and lend them support, but it was not in itself a cause for the changes.

If you like the idea of the history of the language an easily readable book on it is called The Adventure of English and though it sounds geek supreme, it is actually and easy read that teaches a lot.

u/workpuppy · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg (that's supposed to be the "O" with the line through it, but fuck, I can't be bothered. ;)

Good read.

u/grndfthrprdx · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I read that book. It is a biography/history of one family of Hmong, and the Hmong in general. One of the stories is that since they are so used to farming, they tend to plant crops in their house in the US or whatever country they are moved too.

u/catnik · 1 pointr/books

The Oxford Book of American Short Stories - A lot of classics, and a range of genres and styles.

More Classics - and it contains "To Build a Fire" which is one of my all-time favorite short stories.

I prefer my sci-fi in neatly digestible bites - there are some great ones in The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories if you want some genre options.

u/missiontodenmark · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

BTW, the ebook versions are all free on Amazon.

u/amazon-converter-bot · 1 pointr/FreeEBOOKS

Here are all the local Amazon links I could find:

Beep bloop. I'm a bot to convert Amazon ebook links to local Amazon sites.
I currently look here:,,,,,,,,,,,,, if you would like your local version of Amazon adding please contact my creator.

u/cathalmc · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

Joyce Carol Oates edited The Oxford Book of American Short Stories (1994 edition). I studied it in college and found it a great introduction to the short story in general.

u/CammysComicCorner · 1 pointr/breakingbad

Step 1) Buy friend Breaking Bad DVDs, including this book with the same inscription Gale had.

Step 2) Wait for the text several months later from friend, freaking out about the cliffhanger, and having possession of the book.

u/small_far_away · 1 pointr/ireland

My gf has

A Handbook of Irish Folklore for college. I don't know if it is really academic or not.
She also has The Táin.

Hope that is useful for you.

u/I_TYPE_IN_ALL_CAPS · 0 pointsr/AskReddit


u/justanumber2u · -2 pointsr/islam

Unless you want purely faith-promoting works, I suggest looking at the academic side of Quranic studies:
You can read some interesting articles in the Journal of Qur'anic Studies by Edinburgh University Press.
Keith Small’s Textual Criticism and the Qur’an Manuscripts looks at small textual variants over the centuries. It hasn’t been updated yet with the recent find of one of the oldest known text that was found.
Another academic scholar to look into is Christopher Luxenberg (who writes under a pseudonym due to death threats) that looks at the Quran through textual and linguistics analysis. His book most popular book is The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A Contribution to the Decoding of the Language of the Quran.
For history, Patricia Crone’s Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World and From Arabia Tribes to Islamic Empire are very good. She summarized much of her research here.

u/Salva_Veritate · -35 pointsr/breakingbad

Yep, $20 on Amazon. That publishing company must be cleaning up right now. First Denny's, then the cars, and now this. Not liking the prominent product placement as of late.

By the way, poetry is shit for bathroom reading because good poetry is worth more thought than the length of time it takes for you to drop a deuce no matter how clogged up you are. Poetry that does take that short a time is bad poetry and bad reading unless you're just looking for something to do, in which case the back sticker of the shampoo bottle is a cheaper equivalent.