ITT: Books that people read just to feel smart -


True & Honest Fan
The Black Swan. The Art of War. The Prince.

Tolstoy was a living fedora with his head far up his ass, there's nothing to be gained by reading his books. The only thing you're proving is that you have the patience to sit through a long, boring, pointless book, so you must have sat through other long, hopefully more useful (not a high bar to clear) books, and got something out of them.

July was the month of racial struggle sessions. How to Be an Antiracist and White Fragility are big on the NYT best seller list right now so of course we had to read them. Critical Race Theory is just Original Sin dressed up in a way that makes the fancy people feel like they're doing something without doing something.
These aren't really "smart" books. "Smart" books are classics or have the potential to be so (and smart is a wypipo value anyway). SJW books are very transient, they're a kind of pyramid scam for prospective SJW "thinkers". The book du jour is not a classic, it's determined by whoever has just sucked her way to the top of the pyramid to get the payout in clout. White Fragility is a 2018 book; How to be an Antiracist, 2019. They can't be classics, because if there's no turnover, the bottom tiers would have no reason to buy and pretend to have read them.

You can tell the book is of that type by its title, because it's only the title that matters, the contents may as well be "clap clap clap clap clap". What's Atlas Shrugged about? Well, first you've got to know who Atlas is, and then read the book, or at least read about the book. (From the other pole of the political compass, On the Tempering of Steel.) Art of War is an azn book about military doctrine, but what doctrine? Gotta read to find out.

Now: White Fragility!
*clap clap clap clap clap*

Elwood P. Dowd

Turned Normie. Bye.
It's okay, it's somewhat how I feel about the "genre" such works as The Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost, and Metamorphoses fall into.
Seems to me people read Ovid these days to push a victim narrative as much as anything else.

“Not far from the walls of Enna, there is a deep pool,” begins Ovid’s version of the rape of Persephone. “While [Persephone] was playing in this glade, and gathering violets or radiant lilies, while with girlish fondness she filled the folds of her gown, and her basket, trying to outdo her companions in her picking, [Pluto], almost in a moment, saw her, prized her, took her: so swift as this, is love.”

The Greek myth has been recounted for thousands of years in hundreds of languages, scores of countries and countless works of art. It’s considered a cultural touchstone for Western civilization: a parable about power, lust and grief.

Now, however, it could be getting a treatment it’s never had before: a trigger warning.
Columbia students claim Greek mythology needs a trigger warning
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Slimy Time

Muscle Bound Monster
Atlas Shrugged. There was a whole thread about that book and Ayn Rand on this site somewhere, general consensus iirc was that people who took her and her philosophy seriously ended up being the biggest, most selfish losers.
Weeb edition:

The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi.
Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo.
Add on Sun Tzu's The Art of War. I've read both Sun Tzu and Musashi. They are nice books, good general advice and a good look into the mindset of people at the time, but people subscribe way too much meaning to them. IIRC even The Romance of the 3 Kingdoms pointed this out by having one newbie general who knew Sun Tzu's by heart follow it to the letter, against realistic expectation. Did things like "we will camp our troops in this position so they have no way to retreat, so they will fight to the death"...instead they broke morale and left the general to get killed.
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Prophet of Daddy Yakub
True & Honest Fan
they read the books? I thought they just posed with the cover and read a wikipedia summary to pretend they know what it's about.
While I'm at it, I'm reading this wonderfully intellectual book, It's pretty obscure and I don't know if you heard about, but it's called THE GREAT GATSBY


True & Honest Fan
Anything labeled "postmodern" except maybe Kurt Vonnegut who I think people actually enjoy. If I could go back in time to my college years I would tell myself to avoid everything under this umbrella and anyone who claims to like it, and that absolutely nothing of value would be lost.

Buster O'Keefe

Enjoys offal
True & Honest Fan
Someone up-thread mentioned Moby Dick: keep it in your bathroom and read one chapter every time you take a dump. It's obvious from the chapter lengths that Melville intended it to be read like this. It is also a fantastic novel and deserves the praise that was eventually heaped upon it.
I don't think too many people own this book for its content: