Top Ten Tuesday: Head Scratchers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  At first I wasn't sure what to include on this week's list: TOP TEN BOOKS THAT MAKE YOU THINK (ABOUT THE WORLD, LIFE, ETC). But, I think I've got it...In chronological order.

10. Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah: This was the first real "philosophical" novel that I read, and it really rocked by eighth grade world.  I was kind of an evangelist for this one for a little while.

9. Peter Berger, Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective: Sociology was one of the first courses that I took in college, and the worldview that it presented really expanded my thinking beyond what I had learned in my earlier education.

8. Jean Paul Sartre, Nausea: I wasn't so much inspired by the ideas in this particular book as by existentialism in general.  It was really the first philosophy that I found super appealing as a way of looking at the world.

7. James Joyce, Dubliners : I don't enjoy reading Joyce; however, learning about the language puzzles that inhabit each of these seemingly simple stories is one of the things that inspired me to read closely as a career.

6. George Ritzer, The McDonaldization of Society: I remember wanting all of my friends to read this book when I read it in my Social Theory class.

5: Jacques Lacan, Ecrits : I went to graduate school because of Lacan.  When I read it in my senior year literary theory class, I realized that I liked to read things that were hard, and I wanted to spend my time trying to see them in new ways.

4 Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man : This is a wonderful book, and it grows in complexity on each read.

3. Alain Badiou, Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil : Like when I read Sartre for the first time, Badiou opened up a world of new interests for me (set theory?), and changed the way that I approached Literature.

2. Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream : Although I was old enough to, and did, vote in 2000 and 2004, the 2008 election marked a period in my life where I felt really engaged in the political landscape.  I also read DFW's essay, McCain's Promise: Aboard the Straight Talk Express with John McCain and a Whole Bunch of Actual Reporters, Thinking about Hope around the same time.

1. T.R. Reid, The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care:
As a child, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Although I am better now, I have dealt with heath insurance all my life.  This is very readable guide to universal healthcare systems around the world.

Honorable Mentions:
Don Delillo, White Noise
Harriett Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Kathleen O'Shea, Women on the Row : Revelations From Both Sides of the Bars
Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food

What have you read that made you look at something in a different way?  What types of books do you read to expand your thinking?


  1. Awesome list! To be honest I have not read any of those books but some of them sound really interesting, will have to check them out at GoodReads!

    Here's my TTT for this week =)

  2. Wow, these are some impressive reads. I haven't read any of them... I tried reading Obama's "Dreams of my father" but didn't really enjoy it at the time. "Dubliners" sounds particularly appealing!

  3. Ooh, thanks! I added a couple of these (Ritzer, Reid) to my TBR list. I was just thinking as I wrote my list that it has been too long since I've read a good thinker!

  4. I've liked most of Michael Pollan's books, but my favorite is the one you've listed. I felt the Omnivore's Dilemma was a bit extreme (I don't know that I would ever harvest my own salt...). You might want to check out Animal, Vegetable, Mineral if you haven't read it already...

  5. I'm trying to remember if I've read Nausea or not, and I'm not sure... But I've read some Satre, and I'm definitely like 'ooooh...' and thinky about his stuff.

  6. Such a good list of clever reads. As always from you. You read books that inspire me to read more challenging books. Thank you.

  7. I actually found the most beautiful edition of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man the other day at a used book store, and I can't wait to get my hands on it. Joyce knows how to kick some literary butt.

    PS: Please don't be timid about checking out my Totally Top Ten Tuesday! post here.


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