Hello and welcome to an extensive list of all things literature. Cue your inner Rory Gilmore, grab your cup of coffee (or tea, whatever. We don't judge here), and sit down, relax, and enjoy.
(if you'd like a complete list accompanied by more lists and reviews and everything in between, check out my Goodreads page).
The Republic by Plato
Not to be confused with the fun moldable clay, Play-Doh, this is actually a dude that was really into philosophy during the Classical period of ancient Greece. This book, well, Socratic dialogue, is authored by Plato around 375 BC, concerning justice, the order and character of the just city-state, and the just man. He dives into the eternal question that I’m sure no one is really wondering, is it always better to be just than unjust? I don’t know, Plato. You tell me.
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
A 1956 novel by American author Grace Metalious. The novel describes how three women are forced to come to terms with their identity, both as women and as sexual beings, in a small, conservative, gossipy New England town, with recurring themes of hypocrisy, social inequities and class privilege in a tale that includes incest, abortion, adultery, lust and murder. It sold 60,000 copies within the first ten days of its release and remained on The New York Times best seller list for 59 weeks. Hmm. Small, conservative, gossipy New England town… Stars Hollow, is that you?
A Mencken Chrestomathy by H.L. Mencken
Phew, this guy has the bulk of our literature section for this episode. Edited and annotated by H.L.M. (that’s H.L. Mencken), this is a selection from his out-of-print writings. They come mostly from his books – the six installments of the Prejudices series, A Book of Burlesques, In Defense of Women, Notes on Democracy, Making a President, A Book of Calumny, and Treatise on Right and Wrong – but there are also magazine and newspaper pieces that never got between covers (from the American Mercury, the Smart Set, and the Baltimore Evening Sun) and some notes that were never previously published at all. It’s a large one (around 650 pages), should you dare to take it on.
My Life as Author and Editor by H.L. Mencken
Whenever Richard is telling Rory he’s got some of this guy’s first edition memoirs, he’s most likely referring to this, although it’s never 100% confirmed. H. L. Mencken stipulated that this memoir remain sealed in a vault for thirty-five years after his death. For good reason: My Life as Author and Editor is so telling and uproariously opinionated that it might have provoked a storm of libel suits. As he recounts his career as a critic, essayist, and editor of the ground-breaking magazine Smart Set, Mencken brings us face to face with the literary aristocracy of his day, from the dour womanizer Theodore Dreiser to F. Scott Fitzgerald, drowning his gifts in alcohol. Here, too, are the hacks, poseurs, and bohemian crackpots who flocked around them. Most of all, here is Mencken himself, defying censors and Prohibition agents with equal aplomb in an age when literature was a contact sport. He was basically a satirical rebel in author form.
Happy Days: Mencken's Autobiography: 1880-1892 by H.L. Mencken
Mencken decided one autobiography would just not suffice for all he had to say, so he chose to write them in a trilogy instead. This is the first one, and it covers his days as a child in Baltimore, Maryland from birth through age twelve. It was followed by Newspaper Days, 1899 – 1906 and Heathen Days, 1890 – 1936.
Newspaper Days, 1899-1906: Volume 2 of Mencken's Autobiography by H.L. Mencken
This is the second volume of his autobiographical writings; H. L. Mencken recalls his early years as a reporter. Really not much else.
Heathen Days: Mencken's Autobiography: 1890-1936 by H.L. Mencken
The third (and final) volume of his autobiography. H.L. Mencken looks back on his life and declares it “very busy and excessively pleasant.” He imparts the impressive education he received from Hoggie Unglebower (what a name), the best dog trainer in Christendom, and the survival techniques he employed at Baltimore Polytechnic, where he learned to protect his fingers from power tools and his character from the influence of algebra. Wish I could have figured out how to be protected from the influence of algebra in high school.
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