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Old 01-19-2017, 02:11 PM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is offline
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11 books President Obama thinks everyone should read

Link to article

Here's his list of what he considers essential books.

Quote:
'The Naked and the Dead' by Norman Mailer
'One Hundred Years of Solitude' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
'The Golden Notebook' by Doris Lessing
'The Woman Warrior' by Maxine Hong Kingston
'The Underground Railroad' by Colson Whitehead
'Gilead' by Marilynne Robinson
'Three-Body Problem' by Cixin Liu
'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn
'Fates and Furies' by Lauren Groff
'Song of Solomon' by Toni Morrison
'A Bend in the River' by V.S. Naipaul
I suppose it reflects our post-literate age but what a sad list. (And I'm not particularly getting at Obama, Trump's would have been far worse.)

No classics of Western and world civilization, no Iliad, no Aeneid, no Arabian Nights, no Dante or Ariosto or Tasso, nothing by Montaigne or Shakespeare or Milton, no Henry Fielding, no Goethe, no Jane Austen, no Stendhal, no Pushkin, no Dickens, no Balzac, no Dostoevsky or Tolstoy, no George Eliot or Thomas Hardy.

One might say Obama is sticking to modern books. I don't think that's true, I just think that he has either never read the classics or couldn't appreciate them when he tried and I think that's probably true of most of our politicians these days. The age of the well-read and erudite political class is over. And that is indeed sad.
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:18 PM
Snarky_Kong Snarky_Kong is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiboronti View Post
Link to article

Here's his list of what he considers essential books.



I suppose it reflects our post-literate age but what a sad list. (And I'm not particularly getting at Obama, Trump's would have been far worse.)

No classics of Western and world civilization, no Iliad, no Aeneid, no Arabian Nights, no Dante or Ariosto or Tasso, nothing by Montaigne or Shakespeare or Milton, no Henry Fielding, no Goethe, no Jane Austen, no Stendhal, no Pushkin, no Dickens, no Balzac, no Dostoevsky or Tolstoy, no George Eliot or Thomas Hardy.

One might say Obama is sticking to modern books. I don't think that's true, I just think that he has either never read the classics or couldn't appreciate them when he tried and I think that's probably true of most of our politicians these days. The age of the well-read and erudite political class is over. And that is indeed sad.
Oh wow, another Obama bashing thread by aldiboronti, shocker!

It's funny, that list was distilled from an interview where Obama discusses reading a shit ton of classics. I guess you're too busy reading Tolstoy to click a link though.

Also, those aren't a list of 10 books Obama is recommending everyone read. Good job lying about that in the title. They're just ones he mentioned in an interview.
  #3  
Old 01-19-2017, 02:21 PM
running coach running coach is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiboronti View Post
Link to article

Here's his list of what he considers essential books.



I suppose it reflects our post-literate age but what a sad list. (And I'm not particularly getting at Obama, Trump's would have been far worse.)

No classics of Western and world civilization, no Iliad, no Aeneid, no Arabian Nights, no Dante or Ariosto or Tasso, nothing by Montaigne or Shakespeare or Milton, no Henry Fielding, no Goethe, no Jane Austen, no Stendhal, no Pushkin, no Dickens, no Balzac, no Dostoevsky or Tolstoy, no George Eliot or Thomas Hardy.

One might say Obama is sticking to modern books. I don't think that's true, I just think that he has either never read the classics or couldn't appreciate them when he tried and I think that's probably true of most of our politicians these days. The age of the well-read and erudite political class is over. And that is indeed sad.
As evidenced by Trump taking over.
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:23 PM
Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiboronti View Post
I suppose it reflects our post-literate age but what a sad list.
Is there no twig you can't use to beat Obama with, aldiboronti?

Last edited by Baron Greenback; 01-19-2017 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:24 PM
Tired and Cranky Tired and Cranky is offline
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Actually, I think it says the exact opposite of what you suggest. It would be trivially easy for President Obama to recite a list of classics that everyone should read. Everyone is familiar with the broad outlines of those books so he could fake familiarity even if he had never read any of them. No one would question his taste if he had suggested only Shakespeare. It takes a well-read person to have an informed opinion about a wide range of contemporary literature and be willing to offer those opinions for scrutiny. He'll stand behind those books because he knows and loves them. It's what makes him well-read and erudite.
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:31 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiboronti View Post
One might say Obama is sticking to modern books. I don't think that's true, I just think that he has either never read the classics or couldn't appreciate them when he tried
Is this based on anything other than a personal dislike of the man and the people who supported him?
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:35 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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How in the hell is Hundred Years of Solitude part of a sad post-literate list? Have you even read it? Do you even know what you're talking about?
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:45 PM
Snarky_Kong Snarky_Kong is online now
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
How in the hell is Hundred Years of Solitude part of a sad post-literate list? Have you even read it? Do you even know what you're talking about?
Your mistake is in thinking this thread is about books instead of a poorly disguised way of saying "Fuck Obama."
  #9  
Old 01-19-2017, 02:52 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snarky_Kong View Post
Your mistake is in thinking this thread is about books instead of a poorly disguised way of saying "Fuck Obama."
Yeah, I sometimes have problems with answering a thread by taking it at face value. I don't know what my 11 list would be, but Hundred Years of Solitude has a good shot of being on it, battling it out with Midnight's Children (Salman Rushdie) and Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov) for my magical realism pick. Hell, maybe I'd even put all three on there (though I probably would have to settle for one to make room for others. In that case, Bulgakov is probably my pick.) At any rate, works for post-literate folks these are not.

Last edited by pulykamell; 01-19-2017 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:00 PM
Sicks Ate Sicks Ate is offline
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Cool. I have a few of these on my read list this year anyway...in fact, I finished a book last night and "Three-Body Problem" is sitting at home waiting to be cracked this evening.

Probably adding a couple more based on this.
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:15 PM
E-DUB E-DUB is offline
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Surprised at the absence of 1984, especially on a list from a political figure.
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:01 PM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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As usual, aldiboronti gets it all wrong. I read the source--in the New York Times. This is apparently a Kindle list he's given to his daughter--things that "might not surface when she goes to college." Of course he's educated & has read the classics. (Has our OP read them all?)

Quote:
I would say Shakespeare continues to be a touchstone. Like most teenagers in high school, when we were assigned, I don’t know, “The Tempest” or something, I thought, ‘My God, this is boring.’ And I took this wonderful Shakespeare class in college where I just started to read the tragedies and dig into them. And that, I think, is foundational for me in understanding how certain patterns repeat themselves and play themselves out between human beings.
Obama also mentions reading the "Gettysburg Address" (in Lincoln's handwriting) displayed in the Lincoln bedroom. And many other books & authors who have touched him.

We'll miss him. (Well, we'll miss having him in the White House. He's not going away.)

Last edited by Bridget Burke; 01-19-2017 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:03 PM
ftg ftg is offline
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Gone Girl?????
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:07 PM
Blank Slate Blank Slate is online now
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The OP is pathetic.
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:12 PM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiboronti View Post
I suppose it reflects our post-literate age but what a sad list. (And I'm not particularly getting at Obama, Trump's would have been far worse.)
And by amazing coincidence, all by the same author!
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:17 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bridget Burke View Post
As usual, aldiboronti gets it all wrong. I read the source--in the New York Times. This is apparently a Kindle list he's given to his daughter--things that "might not surface when she goes to college." Of course he's educated & has read the classics. (Has our OP read them all?)
Yeah, digging into the article, I have no idea how they get the headline (clickbait!) from the story they source. It's just Obama sitting down with a New York Times book critic talking about literature. It's not even clear to me that all those books are on the Kindle he gave to his daughter. Four of them definitely are, but the others on the list just seem to be books mentioned in the interview as answers to various questions.
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:43 PM
Deeg Deeg is offline
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And I take issue with the belief that the Iliad is obviously better to read than, say, Song of Solomon. Both are great literature.
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Old 01-19-2017, 05:21 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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That is a surprisingly good list, which points up some great works that are usually overlooked. I'd say that One Hundred Years of Solitude is the equal of any book in the traditional pantheon and Song of Solomon is better than quite a few "classic" novels. I also think his focus is on newer works; the idea that literature stopped being good after the 19th century is nonsense.
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:01 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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I'd venture to say the Obama is far more literate and widely read than the OP, based on the OP's half-assed attempt to denigrate the guy.
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:03 PM
Trancephalic Trancephalic is offline
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I'd've pegged Obama as a Catch-22 fan given his relationship with the conservatives
  #21  
Old 01-19-2017, 06:08 PM
bucketybuck bucketybuck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiboronti View Post
no Iliad, no Aeneid, no Arabian Nights, no Dante or Ariosto or Tasso, nothing by Montaigne or Shakespeare or Milton, no Henry Fielding, no Goethe, no Jane Austen, no Stendhal, no Pushkin, no Dickens, no Balzac, no Dostoevsky or Tolstoy, no George Eliot or Thomas Hardy.
I guarantee that had Obama gave an interview and listed those as his favourite books you would have accused him of giving cliched answers and claimed that he probably hadn't read any of them.

Actually, I bet you haven't read any of them yourself. I bet your internet history shows a google search "famous books and authors..."
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:15 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiboronti View Post
No classics of Western and world civilization, no Iliad, no Aeneid, no Arabian Nights, no Dante or Ariosto or Tasso, nothing by Montaigne or Shakespeare or Milton, no Henry Fielding, no Goethe, no Jane Austen, no Stendhal, no Pushkin, no Dickens, no Balzac, no Dostoevsky or Tolstoy, no George Eliot or Thomas Hardy.

One might say Obama is sticking to modern books. I don't think that's true, I just think that he has either never read the classics or couldn't appreciate them when he tried...
As a literate and well-educated gentleman with degrees from Columbia and Harvard, Obama figures that, like him, you've already read all of those.

You have, haven't you?
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:18 PM
Ulfreida Ulfreida is offline
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I've only read about half of them but they are all very solidly in the Great Modern Literature pantheon.

I wonder if the OP has read a single one of them.

Imagine trump's favorite books .... if you care to. The only book I'm sure he's read besides The Art of The Deal is Mein Kampf, apparently a favorite. I sure wish I was joking.
  #24  
Old 01-19-2017, 06:24 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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Imagine trump's favorite books .... if you care to.
"There are some books, right over there."

http://wonkette.com/610596/donald-tr...ves-reading-it
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:28 PM
running coach running coach is online now
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And I take issue with the belief that the Iliad is obviously better to read than, say, Song of Solomon. Both are great literature.
The Song of Solomon isn't music?

*flees*
  #26  
Old 01-19-2017, 06:35 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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Originally Posted by ftg View Post
Gone Girl?????
Yeah, right? I enjoyed it, but it doesn't fit even within the rest of that list.

I probably shouldn't talk -- I've tried Gilead and The Woman Warrior multiple times and haven't made it through them.
  #27  
Old 01-20-2017, 12:14 AM
Ulf the Unwashed Ulf the Unwashed is offline
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It's nice that the OP is recommending that we all read Balzac and Shakespeare and all them other high-falutin' Greeks. Wasn't so long ago that a small-town librarian would be shunned for providing access to the "dirty books" written by Chaucer! Rabelais! and Bal-zac! I guess tastes have changed, even among conservatives, since the halcyon days of the 1910s. Leading us to wonder how you can be a "classic" today if you were a "dirty book" not so very long ago, and how it is that the canon of classics actually has changed over the years...

Worth noting is that despite being creations of the late twentieth century, both Gilead and Song of Solomon are very difficult to understand without a solid knowledge of the "classics"--in the case of Gilead, that includes particularly the Bible. For erudition, for depth of challenge to the reader, for understanding and illustration of the human condition, I would stack Gilead up against anything Hardy, Pushkin, or Milton ever wrote, to name three of the authors appearing on the OP's list. (Maybe Balzac too. Scuse me for livin' but I never read it.)

But if it wasn't written by an author the OP had heard of before the age of 18 or so, an author widely acknowledged at the time as a master of the craft of writing, then it must not count as a classic or perhaps as any good at all. Such an odd and limited way of looking at literature. Poor OP!
  #28  
Old 01-20-2017, 12:28 AM
Rushgeekgirl Rushgeekgirl is online now
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I think the link within the link shows how brilliant and well-read the man is.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/16/b...an-to-him.html
  #29  
Old 01-20-2017, 01:17 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by ftg View Post
Gone Girl?????
Here is what Obama said about that book:

Quote:
There were books that would blend, I think, really good writing with thriller genres. I mean, I thought “Gone Girl” was a well-constructed, well-written book.
That's the scope of it. It was the part of the conversation that started with Obama saying "Sometimes you read fiction just because you want to be someplace else" and the interviewer asking him about these "escapist" books that he reads for fun, to get away from his head.

Read the New York Times article linked for context. The headline is pure clickbait and not at all the "11 books President Obama thinks evereyone should read." It's "11 books Obama mentioned in a New York Time interview."

Last edited by pulykamell; 01-20-2017 at 01:17 AM.
  #30  
Old 01-20-2017, 07:24 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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[Treating the OP as serious] I was surprised I had only read 3 on the list. Thrillers are my escapist preference, and Gone Girl doesn't fit in the top 10 - hell even the top 50 or 100 - even if we were restricted to that genre. Only reason I'd put it on any list was because it was such a popular phenomenon, so people could read for themselves what the buzz was about.
  #31  
Old 01-20-2017, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
I wonder if the OP has read a single one of them.
I wonder if the OP can read? I mean, come on, a fifth grader would have understood from the article that these are clearly NOT "11 books the president thinks everyone should read".

I guess maybe it's lack of reading comprehension really. But sheesh, have a little self respect. At least read enough of the article to get the damn title right!

Also I thought thread titles had to actually be descriptive. Whereas this one is purposely misleading.

How is a click bait title NOT considered trolling, I wonder?
  #32  
Old 01-20-2017, 08:07 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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[Moderating]

I think we've pretty well established by now that this thread is based on a false premise, so I'm just going to close it. I can't tell whether the OP deliberately falsified the premise, or if he simply misunderstood the article he read, but either way, the effect is the same. If anyone wishes to continue any of the serious discussion that followed, please open a new thread with a non-poisoned well to do so.

That said:
Quote:
Quoth Snarky_Kong:

Also, those aren't a list of 10 books Obama is recommending everyone read. Good job lying about that in the title. They're just ones he mentioned in an interview.
Quote:
Quoth elbows:

I wonder if the OP can read? I mean, come on, a fifth grader would have understood from the article that these are clearly NOT "11 books the president thinks everyone should read".
You two have both been here long enough to know that accusations of lying and personal insults are both prohibited outside of the Pit.
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