of no fixed subtitle
May 01, 2008
50 Best Cult Books
- as chosen by The Telegraph. How many have you started?
How many have you finished?
13 years ago
What, no [fill in the blank]?
How many have you started? How many have you finished?
I've got over half of them in my own library, and have read them all. There's a few on that list, though, that I've not read and look interesting. Thanks, fish tick!
I've finished more of these than I probably should have but, cult or not, I'm glad that I did. Many glaring omissions, of course, and at least one of the thumbnail reviewers comes across as a supercilious twit. The review of Jonathan Livingston Seagull is spot on.
Started 24 and finished 19. For me, some of these as things to "dip into" rather than read cover to cover.
Read 14, Know the authors of a few more, and a few I've never heard of. So why isn't Ulysses there? And Hesse's Steppenwolf was more hippie-cult than Siddharta. It's a good list, and when I reallocate my reading time, I should read some of those.
Read seven...most of them just to see what all the fuss was about.
I've only read nine. I need to take my cult membership more seriously.
I'm never quite sure what counts as a cult book. At least they included Dianetics
Of those, I've only read three in their entirety:
The Bell Jar
. I think I tend to shy away from books with "fuss". Though, I'm sure a lot of books I've read could easily be lumped into this list.
Read and enjoyed:
Slaughterhouse-Five Dune Catch-22 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy To Kill a Mockingbird
Read (or started to read), but didn’t particularly enjoy:
The Fountainhead The Outsider The Stranger
Always wanted to read, and now want to more:
The Bell Jar Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau The Beauty Myth The Master and Margarita The Female Eunuch On The Road Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Never really wanted to read, and now probably won’t bother:
The Catcher in the Rye The Doors of Perception Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Never heard of, but sound interesting: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller The Magus Labyrinths
I guess I'm not a particularly good cultist.
I've read 17 of them. Not counting Gravity's Rainbow which I only sort of read.
I started both
Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
but found them both annoying crap so I didn't finish them. Maybe they get better after the first couple of chapters?
Well, I don't know about Zen and the Art, but with Hitchhiker's it helps if you're 14.
I don't do a lot of reading. I read three of them -- two because my high school made me. I did live one of them, however.
That was you at the back of the bus? Huh.
15. I finished all but "Godel, Escher, Bach" which although brilliant, got bogged down too much into programming language arcana for my tiny brain to handle. I also didn't finish "Dianetics" which was transparently rubbish, even back then (ditto "Chariots though inexplicably, I finished it). I have to also agree that "Zen" was a bunch of navel-gazing twaddle as was the execrable 'Seagull". "Confederacy" remains one of my all-time favorites however and "Doors" has had an enduring positive impact as well.
Yeah TUM, I would definitely skip "Zen"- a lot of pretentious self analysis culminating in absolutely nothing of value to the reader. It's time you won't get back.
I've read ten of them. I also realized that I read all but one of them before I reached the age of 18. Did anyone else read most of theirs while junior high or high school age?
Yes, kitten, the one I read, I read in high school.
Good point, kittenhead. I read most of them during/around high school years.
> with Hitchhiker's it helps if you're 14. Yes, very much so. The review of Colin Wilson's
is heavy on the snark but fails to mention that he was an autodidact, leaving school at 16 and getting a job while reading in his spare time. The book was published when he was 24 years old; it's an impressive piece of work.
I've read--and finished--13. Didn't like all of them, though (particularly disliked the patronizing tone of "Acid Test" and found "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" downright icky). I wonder what the authors think/would think about the cult status of their work... and as Nickdanger aptly pointed out, the list is arguably incomplete. Fun read! Think I'll go re-read The Stranger, it's just so much FUN.
I've read 24 of them (maybe 25--read one Von Däniken book years ago, but not sure if it was the one listed), so far.