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Thread: How to be a man - instructive books

  1. #16
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    It all depends on the kind of man. There is the Wordsworth kind of man who fainted at his first glimpse of the Alps, and there is the Jack London kind of man who slogged around gold camps and watched bear baiting and dog fights. There is the Thoreau kind of man to whom principle is a first principle, and there is the Gide kind of man to whom principles first are cheap toys to invert or be rough with. I might say some John Steinbeck. He is approachable by a wide range of readers in age, and his sense in moral situations is very good.

  2. #17
    Registered User Red Terror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Bromden View Post
    ...Although, glancing at the index of the Abbie Hoffman book does rather challenge my "selection of interesting influences on which he can draw": "Shoplifting. Panhandling. Knife-fighting. Handguns. Shotguns. Rifles. Molotov cocktails. Pipe bombs". Have some of that, 12-year-old Godson! I suspect I may have been whooshed. Mind you, recent events do seem to suggest that we're firmly on the road to a post-apocalyptic dystopia, in which case there's some pretty useful stuff in there.
    Don't worry about the haters.

    “To steal from a brother or sister is evil. To not steal from the institutions that are the pillars of the Pig Empire is equally immoral.”
    ― Abbie Hoffman, Steal This Book

    "Those ridiculous free introductory or subscription type letters that you get in the mail often have a postage-guaranteed-return-postcard for your convenience. The next one you get, paste it on a brick and drop it in the mailbox. The company is required by law to pay the postage. You can also get rid of all your garbage this way." Ibid

    All you kiddies remember to lay off the needle drugs, the only dope worth shooting is [President] Richard Nixon. Ibid


    http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/steal-this-movie-2000

    https://www.amazon.com/Soon-Be-Major...motion+picture
    Last edited by Red Terror; 11-29-2016 at 01:43 PM.
    There has never been a single, great revolution in history without civil war. --- Vladimir Lenin

    There are decades when nothing happens and then there are weeks when decades happen. --- Vladimir Lenin

  3. #18
    Thanks desiresjab. Your point gets to the nub of what I'd like to provide - a variety of examples of the different ways you can be a man. There's no one right answer and that's not what I'd be seeking to provide to my God son. If some of the examples are beautifully written or inspiring then so much the better; perhaps instilling an enjoyment of literature is as important as the moral instruction element.

    While recognising that 'how to be a man' is not something that one can capture in a nutshell very easily (and feel free to tell me to go off and do some reading myself to find what I need - I intend to do so), can you point me in the direction of any specific passages of Wordsworth, Jack London, Gide, Thoreau or Steinbeck that fit this purpose?

    CB.

  4. #19
    rat in a strange garret Whifflingpin's Avatar
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    "The Wizard of Earthsea," and indeed the whole of Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea quintet, meet all the criteria that you have mentioned, in a moderately stated fantasy setting.
    Peter Dickinson has written some classic books that might suit, but, if the other world of Earthsea does not appeal, then the very modern world of "AK" could be appropriate.
    Voices mysterious far and near,
    Sound of the wind and sound of the sea,
    Are calling and whispering in my ear,
    Whifflingpin! Why stayest thou here?

  5. #20
    Thanks, Whifflingpin. I read the Earthsea books when I was young, thought sadly I remember little about them except that I enjoyed them very much. Come to think of it, perhaps I read the Wizard of Earthsea and then failed to track down the others. I shall go back to it and them as part of this project.

    What's "the very modern world of "AK""?

    CB.

  6. #21
    rat in a strange garret Whifflingpin's Avatar
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    "AK" is the title of the book (from AK47, the world's folk weapon of choice for some decades.) The setting is a modern state, African as it happens, but could be anywhere that consensus politics has broken down, or failed to materialise at all. It could be Ur, or it could be post-Brexit England.
    Voices mysterious far and near,
    Sound of the wind and sound of the sea,
    Are calling and whispering in my ear,
    Whifflingpin! Why stayest thou here?

  7. #22
    Ah, sorry. Yes, I'm with you now. Looks interesting. I fear I'm going to be on children's and young adult fiction for a while as part of this project.

    CB.

  8. #23
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    Definitely second the Narnia books and Screwtape.

    Swiss Family Robinson would be another - it's about a family shipwrecked on an island who have to use their natural ingenuity and solidarity to survive. Would fit the 'how to be a man' thing very well, actually - there's a lot on practical skills as well as education. My favourite book growing up.

    White Fang (Jack London), Rafael Sabatini's The Prisoner of Zenda (most of his books actually), John Buchan's The 39 Steps and sequels, Rosemary Sutcliff's The Eagle of the Ninth series and The Mark of the Horse Lord, Kidnapped (Robert Louis Stevenson), The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings, Toby Alone and the sequel Toby and the Secrets of the Tree, My Side of the Mountain (?), Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea . . . all those would probably be suitable.

    Louis MacNeice's Prayer Before Birth might be to your taste as well. Sea Fever and Cargoes (John Masefield), Ithaka, maybe Code Poem For the French Resistance, Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep, ohhhh and definitely Brumana by James Elroy Flecker.

    There are lots more that I could recommend if needed. It's lovely to see someone taking the title of Godfather seriously.
    Last edited by tir_na_nog; 01-11-2017 at 07:21 AM.

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