Tag Archives: Controversial

The Divine Comedy
Dante Alighieri

Given the magnificent structure of the work, and the quality of the poetry in Italian, I have to wonder if it’s worthwhile to read The Divine Comedy in translation…

Journey to the West
Wu Cheng'en

The impact that Journey to the West has had on the world since its publication is…staggering. I don’t think I would be overstating things to say that most (if not all) modern manga/anime have been directly influenced by Journey to the West

Beyond Good and Evil
Friedrich Nietzsche

Beyond Good and Evil is a philosophical text, and a unique one. It’s uniqueness can only be appreciated if you’ve read every philosophical text written prior to Beyond Good and Evil, as well as the rest of Nietzsche’s work. I can proudly claim that I…haven’t read any of that. At all. Like, ever…

The Sorrows of Young Werther
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

So I read this thing not knowing who Goethe was or what The Sorrows of Young Werther was about—nor that it was so famous. As such, I believe I approached it as objectively as one might hope to. The result…

The Communist Manifesto
Karl Marx

The Communist Manifesto reads like something that came out of the 19th century. I myself have never been to the 19th century, but I swear, it seems like anyone could get anything published, so long as it was non-fiction and pompous…

Old New York
Edith Wharton

Old New York is a series of four thematically-linked novellas about old New York—Wharton’s literary bread and butter. It’s neither more nor less than what one, at this point in her career, had come to expect from Edith Wharton…

Virginia Woolf

Orlando: A Biography (and I’ve left it’s secondary title in there since it was evidently important to the author) is a new style of biography. Woolf takes as her subject the character Orlando, and writes a kind of biography the world had never seen up to that point…

Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

The book Don Quixote is about an older man (I like to think early to mid fifties) who decides that he is a knight, in an era (early 17th century Spain) that no longer has any knights. He sallies forth with his neighbor, Sancho Panza, whom he calls squire, and does various things like attack windmills he fancies to be giants. All of that stuff is in the book, but it turns out to be much more than that…

The Swindler
Francisco de Quevedo

The Swindler details the life of a boy named Don Pablos (though he takes on various other names throughout the course of the novel) as he struggles to become a gentleman, despite his low birth (his father is a thief, and his mother a witch [and it’s intimated that they’re Jewish, which, at the time, was “bad” [history and its racism!])…

The Thirteenth Tribe
Arthur Koestler

The nice thing about The Thirteenth Tribe is that even though it’s an academic-style non-fiction book, it’s readable. That’s what happens when a writer writes a book as opposed to an academic (the definition of which is “a poor writer”)…