More “influential” book lists

A quick rundown of more book lists, either in response to my list or to others’. The following are lists by:

Aaron Nagler

Matt Hinton

Tyler of The Lions in Winter


Dave of Pigskin Punditry

Trent of Howling with Mirth

Nathan Matthew

Kieran Healy

Ivar Hagendoorn

Matt Yglesias

And, though it’s not a most influential list, this is Brophy’s recent reading list. And I am still waiting on some other prominent sports bloggers to chime in. Don’t be afraid of being judged, in our little sarcastic, self-referential, self-deprecating world.

  • Tim James

    “Don’t be afraid of being judged, in our little sarcastic, self-referential, self-deprecating world.”

    I don’t think there’s any risk of that, since this “world” is the blogosphere, and everyone loves to list their favorite political and philosophical books. Apologies in advance if this is too anti-intellectual, but I’d rather talk smart football!

  • carlinthemarlin

    Not a (prominent) sports blogger, but I am a) a writer and b) loving the fact that you put Invisible Cities on your original list because Calvino, particularly that Calvino, is criminally under appreciated.

    1. Jesus’s Son – Dennis Johnson: Possibly the most perfect book just on a sentence to sentence level I’ve read. Not sure there’s an out of place word here, and of course the characters are good, stories interesting, etc. But the sentences man, the sentences.

    2. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely – Claudia Rankine: It’s not a novel, or really a book of poems, or an essay. It’s kind of all three and none of the above at the same time. It’s got as much empty white space as text, is weirdly shaped, and features pictures of televisions showing only static as a kind of section break motif thingy. Thingy here is a technical term meaning no existing motif I’m aware of really covers what the televisions are, which goes for the book itself, so maybe let’s just use Ms. Rankine herself’s choice of classification, “an American Lyric.”

    3a/3b. Everything and More: a Compact History of Infinity – David Foster Wallace/A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking: Because few things in the modern world are as fascinating and exhilarating as really really complicated mathematics and advanced theoretical physics. Thought you knew everything there was to know about infinity (“It’s big!”)? Did you know there are two kinds (!)? Did you know that time passes more slowly the further away from a large body of mass or that…well, just read the books.

    4. Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon: Most transcendent ending ever. Very hard but only if you make it (meaning just go with it, trust the man, stop trying to make it conform to your idea of what a novel should be, etc.) and the payoff…well, see my first sentence.

    5. The Log of the S.S. The Mrs Unguentine – Stanley Crawford: A novel about a couple who live out their married years on a fantastically modified (be-gardened, domed in glass, etc.) garbage barge. Beautifully written, heartbreaking, funny, etc. For a long time unavailable. Purchase now while supplies last.

    6. My Vocabulary Did This To Me: the Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer – Jack Spicer/ed. Peter Gizzi and Kevin Killian: Jack Spicer is the most influential and important poet who you might not have heard of because he was over shadowed by his less talented but more boisterous peers. In his life he published sparsely and in small runs out of choice and generally went unread. But Spicer’s influence has slowly grown since his death in 1965 and you’d be hard pressed to find a young, up and coming poet today who wouldn’t list Spicer up there on a list of his/her personal poetic influences. Fun Fact: Did you know Spicer though his poems were beamed into his head by Martians?

    7. The Rings of Saturn – W. G. Sebald: What seems like the entire history of England contained in a “novel” about a walk down the island nation’s Eastern coast. Sebald’s book is less a novel than a journey of thought and contemplation on matters historical and otherwise. Sentences tend to run long but are no less perfectly pitched than those in Jesus’s Son (well, maybe a little less).

    8. Absalom, Absalom! – William Faulkner: For my money, Faulkner at his finest. I don’t feel like I need to say much more.

    9. The Meat and Spirit Plan – Selah Saterstrom: Maybe my favorite contemporary novelist, Saterstrom is kind of the modern savior of Southern Gothic as a genre. This book is strange and beautifully and very sad and dark and funny and totally awesome.

    10. The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien: Talking purely from an influence stand point, this is the book that made me realize what writing could do, that you could create a fully realized world with words. Is it very good? Well, I thought it was when I was younger. It doesn’t particularly hold up that well, the writing isn’t very good, and the book has a kind of silly and childish right/wrong good/bad dichotomy set up that even a devoutly religious person must view as being at least an over simplification. But it’s the unspoken but always present extratextual history of the world that made this novel so influential to yours truly.

  • carlinthemarlin

    I realize that with my explanations this came off as maybe my favorite ten books rather than my most influential. This is because I like talking about things I like but not talking about myself (which is why I am a bad blogger). But I did think for a long time about this list in the context of your list and I did mean it to represent the books that have influenced me the most, I swear!

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