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Don'tgive me no jibber-jabber
October 13, 2008 2:59 PM   Subscribe

Man-up with Stephen King.
posted by Artw (137 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
what's with the grrr tag?
posted by mannequito at 3:04 PM on October 13, 2008


It's manly!
posted by Artw at 3:05 PM on October 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


I do not consider good modern fiction as male vs female when choose what to read. I have read selections from every author he mentioned. I enjoyed all of them(some more than others).

A good story lets you put reality on hold for a few hours no matter if they blow things up or agonize over sleeping with a guy.
posted by bjgeiger at 3:21 PM on October 13, 2008


I love Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts series for this sort of aggressive testosterone-y escapism -- especially since the second and third series have plenty of women who are just as Beretta+blowtorch hardcore as the men. The first book in that "Founding" collection is a little bit meh, but boy, do they get good fast. Traitor General and Only in Death are especially killer.

Note that you will inevitably need the wikipedia list of characters to keep track of which ones have been killed... or in a pinch you can just figure it's "your favorite character", it's probably easier.
posted by vorfeed at 3:27 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


My friend the manly man swears that Pale Horse Coming is among the greatest American novels of the 20th century.

And I'm like, "Dude? DUDE! Catcher in the Rye? On the Road? The Great Gatsby? Everything by John Steinbeck?"

"No," he says. "Pale Horse Coming is a man book."

"Steinbeck wasn't a man? OK, how about Ernest Hemingway?"

"Hemingway was a punk."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:30 PM on October 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


I was convinced King had very little to tell me in the simplistic manner he was framing the subject.

But then I got to the end, whereupon I cried a man-tear.
posted by Monstrous Moonshine at 3:32 PM on October 13, 2008


Weeping a single man-tear is acceptable when reading a particularly moving peice of man-fiction.
posted by Artw at 3:33 PM on October 13, 2008 [7 favorites]


The problem with this King essay is he has a vested interest in maintaining the perception of male readership, he has a lot of male readers, and his anecdotal examples of his own family are not the norm. The truth is the stats show males don't read as much.
posted by stbalbach at 3:34 PM on October 13, 2008


"No," he says. "Pale Horse Coming is a man book."

From jonsonblog:

Even though I am a total pansy liberal & don’t own a gun & all that crap, there’s something intensely satisfying about Hunter’s books. Three about Bob Lee, and three about his Dad Earl which are all set 30 years earlier when Earl was a soldier returning from WWII. All six books are essentially the same book, with a dramatic narrative that follows the traditional three act story arc:

1. Trouble arises
2. Swagger gets a gun
3. Trouble is shot repeatedly.

posted by Greg Nog at 3:37 PM on October 13, 2008 [6 favorites]


Can't beat that for a structure. Maybe by the hero getting a severe beating somewhere around 2, perhaps.
posted by Artw at 3:40 PM on October 13, 2008


I'm taken a break from reading The Punisher whilst listening to heavy metal and drinking whiskey.

Beat that pussies.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:42 PM on October 13, 2008


Stephen King didn't write that. Nobody fell down a well or got hit so hard they flew out of their shoes. Those are both mandatory for him.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 3:44 PM on October 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


"No," he says. "Pale Horse Coming is a man book."

Agree and note to Artw good torture in this one. I love Stephen Hunter.
posted by bjgeiger at 3:45 PM on October 13, 2008


Do audiobooks count?
posted by pwally at 3:47 PM on October 13, 2008


I'm taken a break from reading The Punisher whilst listening to heavy metal and drinking whiskey.

Beat that pussies.


I'm reading a brick and smoking a nail while listening to Tuvan throat-singers fucking.

Your move.
posted by Greg Nog at 3:48 PM on October 13, 2008 [48 favorites]


Do audiobooks count?

You have to listen to them on your Man-Pod.
posted by Artw at 3:50 PM on October 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm taken a break from reading The Punisher whilst listening to heavy metal and drinking whiskey.

Beat that pussies.


I refuse to take a break from drinking heavy metals while punishing whiskey.

Game. set. match.
posted by jonmc at 3:50 PM on October 13, 2008


I recently re-read a Hunter book and it wasn't as brilliant as first time through (shocking I know).

I have to say I'd have to shove Tim Willocks forward as a man's writer... though he might be a bit to intellectual to count. I mean his last one was a historical (though it did have lots of fighting and stuff in it)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:51 PM on October 13, 2008


Your move.

Well, there was that one time I punched God in the face...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:51 PM on October 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Your move.
I'm reading the Necronomicon with a cherry-bomb taped to my forehead while I listen to Urdu Deathmetal.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 3:52 PM on October 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


I have to say I'd have to shove Tim Willocks forward as a man's writer...

Green River Rising was pretty damn great.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:53 PM on October 13, 2008


If you like audiobooks you will love these...GraphicAudio.
posted by bjgeiger at 3:55 PM on October 13, 2008


I found The Stand to be pretty one dimensional, but it was solid entertainment and good storytelling. I think anyone could enjoy it.
And Chandler’s writing sung - and operated on more than one level.

Still this makes this basic sort of prose sound like Richard Harding pulp.

I remember avoiding reading Ian Fleming for quite some time because of that sort of preconception. I finally picked up “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (my favorite bond film) and was pleasantly surprised that his work was nowhere near as goofy and fantastic as the films portray (I’m thinking Roger Moore).
In fact, Bond does quite a bit of worrying over the downhill skiing and is pretty well wiped out, injured, suffering from exposure, etc., not at all glamorous. Fairly solid work really, albeit fairly simple fiction.
Richard Matheson as well.

I have to go with bjgeiger, light reading, if it’s to be entertaining, is going to be entertaining either way.

I think there’s a lot of anti-socialization in terms of men reading that’s cutting into the numbers. Not the material itself.
At one point it was quite fashionable (manly) for men to be lettered. Almost like smoking tobacco was only a male thing.
Then women started doing it and you have this variation.
Sort of like the unspoken thing where women don’t smoke cigars (and yet that’s somewhat broached).
Still - a few men smoke pipes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman smoke on (that is, a meerschaum or Dr.Grabow or something, not granny with a corncob).
Tobacco is tobacco.

I think many men feel they shouldn’t have time to read. Therefore whatever the material is, doesn’t much matter.

And I resist the insinuation that manly = lowbrow.

I am also concerned that dentists are concealing the terrible secret of yellow teeth. *stands by stairs*
posted by Smedleyman at 3:55 PM on October 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


I headbutted a horse once.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:57 PM on October 13, 2008


(Be careful of that Harding link by the way. It’s safe for work - save a few curse words -but he’s a little wacky. Only place I could find “The Outrider” though.)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:57 PM on October 13, 2008


I'm reading Da Vinci Code while eating Sweet-n-Low packets and listening to Pat Boone.
posted by cortex at 3:59 PM on October 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


I mean his last one was a historical (though it did have lots of fighting and stuff in it)

Lots of sexin' and rapin' too.
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on October 13, 2008


I'm reading MetaFilter.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:00 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Game. set. match.

I can't even read, I dictate all my comments to a liquor store clerk I've been holding hostage since my last stick-up.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:00 PM on October 13, 2008 [6 favorites]


Even if you don't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contribution to popular culture. Truly an American icon.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:09 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Even though I am a total pansy liberal & don’t own a gun & all that crap, there’s something intensely satisfying about Hunter’s books.

The only Hunter I've read is Dirty White Boys (and that some years ago), so I'm unfamiliar with the Swagger novels as such, but I did see Shooter, and it kinda made me wonder how much it deviated from its source material. Because I get the impression that Hunter is probably pretty conservative, and the film's subtext was...uh...not that, so much? Shooter and Bourne movies, in fact, prompted me to wonder when action flicks switched from being jerkoff fantasties for republicans to jerkoff fantasies for liberals. I'm not complaining or anything -- I'd rather see something like The Bourne Identity than some ridiculous bullshit like Red Dawn any day of the week -- but I do think it's kinda curious.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:10 PM on October 13, 2008


Oh yeah? Well, I killed my last liquor store clerk. and he wasn't even a clerk in a store, he was a moonshining mountaineer. I dictate all my comments to his reanimated body. I assume you'll excue the occaisonal 'plumb reckon.'
posted by jonmc at 4:11 PM on October 13, 2008


ridiculous bullshit like Red Dawn

WOLVERINES!
posted by Artw at 4:12 PM on October 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


jonmc - Ah, but you didn't have to eat him to survive the cold harsh winter, did you?
posted by Artw at 4:13 PM on October 13, 2008


How does one man-read manfiction? Mansitting? Manlounging? In a manchair or mancouch or simply lying on one's manfloor atop a mancarpet? Does one drink mantea? Manomade? Manhattans?
posted by The Whelk at 4:13 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


The best manfiction evar was discussed here previously. Yes, I'm talking about John Ringo's Paladin of Shadows series. The linked review quotes several passages at length.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:14 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Your move.

I'm reading Charles Willford and later I will read some Mickey Spillane. Home home, children.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:14 PM on October 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


WOLVERINES!

*sigh* Yes, yes. I'd have rather seen the version where half the team was nursing the gonorrhea they got from date-raping the same girl not long before the Russkies invaded, and C. Thomas Howell spent most of the movie trying to avoid the lecherous attentions of a pederastic Harry Dean Stanton. Seems a little more realistic. (Seriously, fuck this movie, even as an unintentional comedy. John Milius, I'll always love you for Conan the Barbarian, but I can't even ironically sit through this horseshit.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:17 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


jonmc - Ah, but you didn't have to eat him to survive the cold harsh winter, did you?

Have to? No. But what's a drink without a nosh?
posted by jonmc at 4:18 PM on October 13, 2008


Just as an aside, I discovered Willeford in an unexpected place -- a gay bookstore in Los Angeles. The book was The High Priest of California, the cruelest book I have ever read, and it was on the shelf in the sadism section.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:19 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Your move.

I instruct the hundreds of women that I pay to be maids to make giant words out of red flannel long-sleeve shirts and place them around my country estate while I fly around my helicopter reading red flannel stephen king novels.
posted by pwally at 4:25 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Manhattans?

Well played, sir. Well played.
posted by flaterik at 4:30 PM on October 13, 2008


Ew boy. Stephen King is the worst.
posted by basicchannel at 4:31 PM on October 13, 2008


Cormac McCarthy discussion is next door if you want pretension.
posted by Artw at 4:37 PM on October 13, 2008


"Hemingway was a punk."

Hemingway was a punk. All that safari hunting, mountain climbing, fighting in the Spanish Civil War, writing standing up - it just screams overcompensation. Plus, A Farewell To Arms reads like the assembly instructions for a set of cabinets.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:38 PM on October 13, 2008


Hemingway was steampunk.
posted by pwally at 4:42 PM on October 13, 2008


You wash your mouth out!
posted by Artw at 4:42 PM on October 13, 2008


I'm reading my gun while fixing my tank and listening to the screams of my victims.
posted by drezdn at 4:44 PM on October 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


To be fair, the writing standing up was hemorrhoid-related, not overcompensation. Otherwise, I agree.

Most of those guy books are a little too formulaic for me, but I do read comics, so who the hell am I to judge. When I'm in the mood for a fun read, I usually just reread Kurt Vonnegut, James Ellroy, and Mordecai Richler. If I'm looking for a 'manly' read, I turn to Larry Brown or Cormac McCarthy.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:47 PM on October 13, 2008


I usually just reread Kurt Vonnegut, James Ellroy, and Mordecai Richler. If I'm looking for a 'manly' read, I turn to Larry Brown or Cormac McCarthy.

You'd really like Richard Price. I'm just saying.
posted by jonmc at 4:49 PM on October 13, 2008


Men read like THIS, women read like THIS, amirite?


I have a soft spot in my heart for a few of King's books (The Stand and Hearts in Atlantis were both great) but his column is a stain on Entertainment Weekly. It's like listening to your uncle ramble about his favorite new movie/book/CD.
posted by lunasol at 4:52 PM on October 13, 2008


Shibumi by Trevanian, is without a doubt the manliest book ever written.

From The author's site...

Nicolai Hel was born in the turbulent China of the First World War, of an aristocratic mother and a mysterious German father, and educated in the spiritual gardens of a Japanese Go master. Surviving the destruction of Hiroshima he appears as the world's most consumate and artistic lover - though better paid as an assassin. Genius, mystic, master of cultures and languages, Hel's secret is his determination to reach that rare personal purity and state of perfection known as Shibumi. Living in an isolated mountain stronghold with a beautiful Asian companion, he meets his most sinister enemy, a vast monolithic spy organisation. The battle lines are drawn: merciless power and corruption on one side, and on the other...

I'm not even convinced it's a real book. It's almost as if there was an episode of Magnum PI where TC loaned Magnum a paperback,and somehow it fell out of the TV and I got to read it. And when I was done I had grown a mustache.

Otherwise, here's what would comprise the "manly shelf" of my bookcase.

A few Bond Novels, Some James Ellroy (The Big Nowhere!!!), Eddie Little's Another Day in Paradise and Steel Toes. Steel Toes by Edward "Mr. Blue" Bunker, and Henry Miller's Under the Roofs of Paris which is hands down the dirtiest book ever written. Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song, any of Tony Hillerman's Jim Chee books, Clavell's Shogun, Walter Mosely's entire Easy Rawlins series (Bill Clinton's a fan, so it gets the sleazy womanizer vote), and C.S. Forester's Hornblower saga.
posted by billyfleetwood at 5:10 PM on October 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


You'd really like Richard Price. I'm just saying.

Actually jonmc, I'd noticed you mention him a few times and enjoyed his contributions to The Wire, so I tried Freedomland and Clockers a few months back. They were good, but I wish he dropped the police plots. That's not a slight towards his ability or the genre, but there were so many times reading either book when I felt I'd rather just read about the characters without the whodunit aspects butting in all the time. I get that he's using that motif to give him a wide cast of characters to play with, but I find it detracts from the character writing he does so well.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:13 PM on October 13, 2008


To be fair, the writing standing up was hemorrhoid-related, not overcompensation.

Really? Huh. I guess I jumped to conclusions there, thinking he probably considered writing sitting down too effete - a REAL man strides up to that typewriter and says, "Alright, you son of a bitch, let's see what ya got!" and starts pounding away.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:17 PM on October 13, 2008


World War Z by Max Brooks while drinking Mountian Dew and Vodka after riding my motorcycle home on Southern California Freeways (all true).
posted by The Power Nap at 5:17 PM on October 13, 2008


How can anything be a stain on Entertainment Weekly lunasol? In terms of journalistic merit it maybe ranks a slight bit higher than US weekly (although which Celeb rocked what outfit is a great section) and the National Enquirer.
posted by vuron at 5:23 PM on October 13, 2008


Not to derail into pollitics, But Todd Palin is a commercial fisherman, works on the Alaskan North Slope Oil fields, is a world championship Snowmobile racer, Hunts caribou and Moose in his spare time, flies his own seaplane, has five children and according to interviews built This house himself with some help from his contractor buddies.

So...whatever he's reading is probably manly enough for me.
posted by billyfleetwood at 5:25 PM on October 13, 2008


Alvy: read his earlier works like Ladies Man or The Breaks, they don't have the police plots, but in interviews he says that the investigation is usually just a horse for him to ride through what he's actually getting at. (His latest, Lush Life, is excellent as well)
posted by jonmc at 5:29 PM on October 13, 2008


I think the proper response is to reject both chick lit and man-fiction. Or, at the very least, to read them while nervously glancing around to see that no one is watching. I call this the Guilty Pervert method of reading.
posted by naju at 5:31 PM on October 13, 2008


"Hemingway was a punk."

My Grandfather used to hunt in Idaho with Papa Hemingway. It's true. He was one of the Ketchum crew with Hemingway.

When ever Grandpa dean would go on one of his "Back in my day..." tirades about "margarine making your babies blind" or "kids nowadays not knowing how to kill an Elk with a Popsicle stick" we would always derail him with:

"Grandpa? You know Hemingway was a sissy, right? A HO-MO-SEK-SHUL."

"Wha? You... THE HELL HE WAS. Papa was a MAN'S MAN, GOD DAMNED IT!"

"Exactly."

This is where I inherited the "blown gasket" gene from.
posted by tkchrist at 5:34 PM on October 13, 2008 [12 favorites]


John Sandford's Prey books are plenty manly, Lucas Davenport is one kick-ass cop. And Sandford is savvy enough to give him a few faults and anxieties so he's not perfect. But if you want someone who would kick Bond's ass, pistol-whip Travis McGee, and head-butt Swagger, go for Richard K. Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs. Actually the series is far better written than one might think by that Wiki page. Kovacs is a fully realized character, with faults and foibles. And Morgan is one true mutha fucka of a writer.
posted by Ber at 5:37 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


He referred to a Julie Brown song as old. At least he hit the trifecta: McDonald, "Stark," and now Child.

I'm a little iffy on the Ellroy — it's manly, but sometimes so despairing that it drives out to the edge of the town where it lashes itself with a bullwhip to purge itself of what it considers to be just a little too much admiration of all of the other manly men in the police locker room. Kind of a "wha?" moment where the hardboiled cynicism goes weirdly full of angst and self-doubt. Jim Thompson kind of dances on that edge for me without quite making me want to have a deep urge to know what gun oil tastes like. Child's Reacher is not particularly complicated by self-doubt on a personal level, just a tactical, ass-kicking level.

"The cruelest book I have ever read" is quite an endorsement and makes me want to put it in a cage with a Peter Sotos book, see who wins. I'd never have thought it, but Lonesome Dove is vicious in its own way.

I think I am going to look over this post in a few days and build a reading list out of it. No fancy Kindle for me; I'll just tattoo the appropriate ISBNs on my bulging bicep with a dirty old pen.
posted by adipocere at 5:39 PM on October 13, 2008


Morgans TH1rtE3N sucked donkey balls. Especially in light of the better movie version coming out first. I mean like twenty years earlier.

It was called "Blade Runner."
posted by tkchrist at 5:41 PM on October 13, 2008


How can anything be a stain on Entertainment Weekly lunasol? In terms of journalistic merit it maybe ranks a slight bit higher than US weekly (although which Celeb rocked what outfit is a great section) and the National Enquirer.

Speaking as a recovering magazine addict, I have to say "nah" to that. I can see how someone would have that impression, but EW is actually pretty well-written and intelligent (or used to be, it's taken a bit of a dive in quality in the last few years). But it actually still is pretty substantively different from US and certainly the Enquirer. While US Weekly is mostly papparazi and red carpet pics, along with recycled "gossip" stories, EW employs actual reporters, does several long pieces on the industry every year, and has an extensive review section in each episode (and some of their reviewers are really good).

It's not Vanity Fair and certainly not the Economist, but for what it is (weekly entertainment biz rag), it's the best of its class.

OK, I'll stop talking about Entertainment Weekly now.
posted by lunasol at 5:41 PM on October 13, 2008


Cormac McCarthy discussion is next door if you want pretension.

Those are fighting words, sir.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:42 PM on October 13, 2008


OK, I stopped reading Stephen King after the Stand (or maybe Talisman), having read most of his classics up to that point (during my teens). If I wanted to pick up a book from his works after that point, what should I get? Manliness not a requirement.
posted by Auden at 5:43 PM on October 13, 2008


And you dudes want a manly read? Try anything by Vardis Fisher. Seriously awesome shit.
posted by tkchrist at 5:43 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wot no Richard Allen? Not that I read them myself, but lots of lads at school loved them. I mean, look at this for a cover. Fucking nails.
posted by Abiezer at 5:46 PM on October 13, 2008


I wanted to pick up a book from his works after that point, what should I get?

Most of the best ones have been made into substandard movies you have already seen.
posted by tkchrist at 5:47 PM on October 13, 2008


I can't read. I'm listening to Stephen King scream while I drink his blood.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:52 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm reading Improvised Munitions And Incendiaries while drinking gasoline and shitting Armageddon.
posted by tkchrist at 5:57 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


And yes. It DOES smell like victory.
posted by tkchrist at 5:57 PM on October 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


Man, everytime I read an article over there, any experience I have with it is eclipsed by my feeling that humanity has been shortchanged by not having something pedestrianly gross (booger eating, perhaps?) show up when you go to Ew.com. There should be a law.
posted by dirtdirt at 5:58 PM on October 13, 2008


Heavy Reading Whenever the topic of "manly" stuff comes up, it always ends with me watching Errol Morris' Miller High Life commercials.
posted by billyfleetwood at 6:00 PM on October 13, 2008


I found a pamphlet on a bus in Seattle that told me I was going to Hell. I folded it into a crane.

Later, I drank a soda made from mushrooms and pee'd into a graffitied urinal without using my hands.

This was a very man-literate day for me.
posted by Pecinpah at 6:01 PM on October 13, 2008


Manly reads? I'm all about that. As a librarian, I get this question a lot, and I always answer with the same suggestion - Harry.

Harry Crews is about as manly as you can get - Feast of Snakes is 100% MAN. Someone mentioned Larry Brown, and I will second that suggestion... Joe is an excellent book that is an easy read, while remaining deceptively complex. However, he wrote Fay as an answer to many of his fan's questions about what happened to one of his characters in the book, and I was severely dissapointed in the work. Still, he will win your admiration again with Father and Son.

For those who have read these titles and want more of the same vein, I suggest Finn, an amazing first novel that attempts ( and succeeds, in my opinion) to continue the story of Huck's father where the original left off.
posted by bradth27 at 6:02 PM on October 13, 2008


I can't read. I'm listening to Stephen King scream while I drink his blood.

Does it sound anything like that time I ran him over?
posted by maxwelton at 6:06 PM on October 13, 2008 [7 favorites]


Derek Raymond/Robin Cook's Factory series and his nameless detective make that Lucas Davenport look like a little schoolgirl.

On preview, Jim Thompson has been listed, but he's worth mentioning again. Inconsistent yes, but The Killer Inside Me? Savage Night? The Grifters?

And thanks for the tip, jonmc!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:11 PM on October 13, 2008


In my dada days I once got drunk and did some cut-up and fold-in on some chick-lit and man-fiction, and ended up with a couple of kid's books that I didn't even want.
posted by Ritchie at 6:11 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm reading a manual for my gun as I single-handedly attack a repurposed military supercarrier surrounded by weaponized rafts.

don't worry - they'll listen to reason.
posted by Pronoiac at 6:16 PM on October 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm reading this thread.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 6:19 PM on October 13, 2008


If we're talking about "escape and entertainment", Bernard Cornwell has gotten me through some truly tough times in my life. If "Sharpe" isn't Manfiction, I don't know what is.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:27 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Robert. E. Howard.
posted by wobh at 6:33 PM on October 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


So... no one else thought that article was wack then?

I'll show myself out.
posted by lunit at 6:34 PM on October 13, 2008


I'm reading MetaFilter.

THE END
posted by DU at 6:35 PM on October 13, 2008


I'm drinking ouzo and beating off while reading a copy of Genet's Querelle that I stole from a sailor.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:42 PM on October 13, 2008


C.S. Forester's Hornblower saga

Sir, you are in the Children's section. Might I direct you to more substantial fare? (Ducks.)

Todd Palin is a commercial fisherman, works on the Alaskan North Slope Oil fields, is a world championship Snowmobile racer, Hunts caribou and Moose in his spare time, flies his own seaplane, has five children and according to interviews built This house himself with some help from his contractor buddies.

So...whatever he's reading is probably manly enough for me.


Apparently he is reading his wife's e-mails. And soon, possibly, yours.
posted by stargell at 6:42 PM on October 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


*seethes at bradth27's links*

By Thor's thunderous gonads, why do publishers put stuff out as "Foo: A Novel"?!

It's in the fiction section of the bookstore, the library, and the online booksellers. If it doesn't have an index, we can deduce that it's a novel and not an anthology of short stories.
posted by CKmtl at 6:44 PM on October 13, 2008


OK, I stopped reading Stephen King after the Stand (or maybe Talisman), having read most of his classics up to that point (during my teens). If I wanted to pick up a book from his works after that point, what should I get? Manliness not a requirement.

I just got back into him after being an avid reader in high school(late 80's), and realized I missed out on some good ones.

'Bag of Bones' was terrific. I read 'Lisey's Story' last winter and thought it was good, if not what you'd typically expect from King. I haven't got around to 'Duma Key' yet(his latest), but I've heard it's his best in years.
posted by spirit72 at 6:49 PM on October 13, 2008


Todd Palin is a commercial fisherman, works on the Alaskan North Slope Oil fields, is a world championship Snowmobile racer, Hunts caribou and Moose in his spare time, flies his own seaplane, has five children and according to interviews built This house himself with some help from his contractor buddies.

So...whatever he's reading is probably manly enough for me.


Palin's husband, Todd, came under particular scrutiny in the 300-page Troopergate report, which was published on Friday. It noted that he spent half his time in the governor's office, making full use of state facilities and participating in official meetings.

He also made extensive approaches to officials in which he called on them to fire Wooten. Branchflower concluded that these were "impermissible" and put officials in a conflict of interest.

In an official representation to the inquiry, Todd Palin denied any wrongdoing. "I have heard criticism that I am too involved in my wife's administration," he said. "My wife and I are very close. We are each other's best friend. I have helped her in her career the best I can, and she has helped me."

Republican officials likened his role to that of the politically engaged first lady Eleanor Roosevelt during the 1930s and 1940s.


Whining to your wife, the Governor, to get your Brother-in-law fired? Very manly indeed.
posted by cjets at 7:45 PM on October 13, 2008


Robert. E. Howard.

Crom!

Of course he was a bit of a shut in who shot himself when his mum died.
posted by Artw at 7:45 PM on October 13, 2008


Shibumi by Trevanian, is without a doubt the manliest book ever written.

Eiger Sanction is up there as well.
posted by cjets at 7:48 PM on October 13, 2008


The man wrote a book where he thought Alien chest-bursters weren't gross enough and had hosts shit aliens. I can't take him seriously.
posted by FunkyHelix at 7:49 PM on October 13, 2008


alvy and others, James Crumley will rock your fucking world. As a bonus, he can actually write.
posted by stet at 8:14 PM on October 13, 2008


Just for the record, I'm reading Bukowski while snorting Drano and listening to Wagner on the set of a snuff film.
posted by Mister_A at 8:21 PM on October 13, 2008


Are you punks all so cowardly you can't even call the genre by its real name? It's not man fiction, it's dick lit.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:37 PM on October 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


Stoke me a clipper, I'll be back for Christmas.
posted by maxwelton at 9:27 PM on October 13, 2008


I've got a sloth under my arm, and I'm giving it a noogie.
posted by Iridic at 9:31 PM on October 13, 2008


Heh, stet; I linked to the Crumley interview Fresh Air rebroadcast after his death in that thread as a reminder to check him out - I had never heard of the guy, but the interview made me want to learn more about him.
But, as often happens with me, I completely forgot to follow up.
Thanks for the reminder!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:02 PM on October 13, 2008


'Bag of Bones' was terrific.

And here I thought I was the only one that thought it was an underrated, sadly overlooked work.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:33 PM on October 13, 2008


I second the recommendation for the Kovacs books; Altered Carbon in particular is fantastic.

But it's best to pretend that those are the only books Morgan has written.
posted by flaterik at 10:39 PM on October 13, 2008


MEN!
posted by Artw at 10:40 PM on October 13, 2008


MORE MEN! (also Nazis and tits)
posted by Artw at 10:43 PM on October 13, 2008


The ultimate in man's literature: Maqroll the Gaviero.
posted by Xurando at 3:10 AM on October 14, 2008


You know what I'm doing? I'm punching a shark in the face..
posted by Cantdosleepy at 3:17 AM on October 14, 2008


I wanted to pick up a book from his works after that point, what should I get?
Dolores Claiborne (not manly, not actually horror, but still good and creepy)
Needful Things (can't really remember if it was pre- or post- Stand, but get it if you haven't read it)
Different Seasons (including Shawshank Redemption and Apt Pupil)
Insomnia

Of the really recent stuff, Lisey's Story and Duma Key have both been very enjoyable, but it's a noticably different tone than Classic King Canon.

I'd suggest steering clear of Desperation and The Regulators and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. Cell was... okay in the 1-D sense.
posted by whatzit at 3:43 AM on October 14, 2008


Of course the man-lit of my youth was of course horror, in particular James Herbert, dog-eared copies of which would be passed around the play ground. You were guaranteed plenty of gore and at least one decent sex scene which was pretty important to a growing lad in those pre-internet days.

I've no idea what the the current equivalent, if any, exists now... though I suspect it involves a lot of 'tabbing' and 'slotting'. This sort of thing.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:44 AM on October 14, 2008


Chick-lit hating woman here, who reads whatever she wants...I just want to comment that reading this entire thread while humming the theme to Men In Tights is very amusing.

"We're men, we're manly men..."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:57 AM on October 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


um, i cut off stephen king's dick and, awash in his spurting blood and defecating on his tousled hair, ate it... oh wait.

i cut off my penis!

unrelated from freafulsymmetry's times link above :P

Of course he was a bit of a shut in who shot himself when his mum died.

but he had the whole wide world...
"The mere accumulation of knowledge and the acquisition of wisdom does not make a god," answered the other rather impatiently. "Look!" A shadowy hand pointed toward the great blazing gems which were the stars.

Kull looked and saw that they were changing swiftly. A constant weaving, an incessant changing of design and pattern was taking place.

"The 'everlasting' stars change in their own time, as swiftly as the races of men rise and fade. Even as we watch, upon those that are planets, beings are rising from the slime of the primeval, are climbing up the long slow roads to culture and wisdom, and are being destroyed with their dying worlds. All life and a part of life. To them it seems billions of years; to us, but a moment. All life." --The Striking of the Gong
posted by kliuless at 5:19 AM on October 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's gratifying to see Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts series mentioned already. I totally agree that the first omnibus is a bit weak and you should just jump into The Saint. Oh, Cuu, you wonderful psychopath. I also enjoy Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain. Cain is to Gaunt as Flashman is to Sharpe.

If you'd prefer less lasers and more wizards, there's Glen Cook's The Black Company, also available in omnibus form.

Bernard Cornwell, of course, started out as a manfiction writer. His earlier works all consist of men on boats doing deeds of high intestinal fortitude. I guess they do ladies too, but mainly, the manly love their boats. As mentioned, there's the Sharpe books, but it is also worthwhile taking a look at the Arthurian Warlord trilogy, the Saxon series, and the Grail Quest series.

If you'd prefer your historical action on a boat, but don't want the slashfiction undertones of O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin or the sometimes prissiness of Forester's Hornblower, there's always Dewey Lambdin's Alan Lewrie series. Captain Lewrie is a bit more, ah, coarse, than his predecessors.

While Mcdonald's Fletch does not chew bullets and piss lightning, his books are a bit more rugged than the Chevy Chase movie would lead you to believe. Just as many guys want the ability to punch their way through problems to right what has gone wrong, many others are happy with the perfect biting remark.

There's also F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack and Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, both series in which a lone man stands against some sort of mystical darkness, and punches it in the dick.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:24 AM on October 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


And here I thought I was the only one that thought it['Bag of Bones] was an underrated, sadly overlooked work.

Oh yeah, it was great. One of those novels that I stayed up wayyyyy too late with for 'just one more chapter'. I'm still working through all the SK stuff I missed in the 90's, but so far I think 'Bag' is his best from that decade.
posted by spirit72 at 5:45 AM on October 14, 2008


I can't believe this thread has gone this long without anyone bringing up how incredibly awesome Joe Hill is. I read 20th Century Ghosts before I realized who he was. Start with the story "Best New Horror".

And no love for Keller?
posted by Pastabagel at 5:54 AM on October 14, 2008


I headbutted a horse once(turgid dahlia)

You know who once knocked out cold a huge dog with a single punch?

Emily Bronte!

(IIRR, she was an animal lover but thought the farm dog had gone beserk!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:13 AM on October 14, 2008


I'm curious as to how rare it is to like both macho and chick lit equally. I know that there are others here who say they read whatever they want (it saddens me to think some people might not read whatever they want), but amongst my friends, I seem to be alone in equally loving Anne Tyler and Nelson DeMille.

And it's not the case that I lump everything together in a category called literature. I DO think to myself, "I want to read about feelings and relationships ... that was good, now I want to read about car chases and explosions..." I'm so glad that both these styles exist, because depending on my mood, I want one or the other.

But I constantly have to remember that I can't just recommend a good book to a friend. I have to first think about whether my friend likes guy books or girl books.
posted by grumblebee at 6:29 AM on October 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


The point is that the marketing people see a drop in readership of half the population. So they put all their effort in romance novels and "cozies". So they'll flood one market while creating a positive feedback loop of decline in the other market. Brilliant! Especially when the best fiction is of course, universal.
posted by AppleSeed at 6:34 AM on October 14, 2008


If I wanted to pick up a book from his works after that point, what should I get?

the Dark Tower, over and over again. it's fucking awesome. The best part about it though is that he actually finished the series.

Also:
Insomnia
Bag of Bones
Duma Key
The Talisman, then Black House (This was written with Peter Straub, and has a different feel than everything else by King. It can occasionally be too admiring of "beautiful young boys" for my taste, though.)
And, I always loved Pet Sematary. It's very simple and short and the writing is not fantastic, but the ending scares me like none of his other works ever could.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 7:05 AM on October 14, 2008


And, I always loved Pet Sematary. It's very simple and short and the writing is not fantastic, but the ending scares me like none of his other works ever could.


I read the book once and will never, ever re-read it. Same with the film. In fact, I think I remember King mentioning once that he had to put it down for awhile while writing it, because it scared the hell out of him.
posted by spirit72 at 7:16 AM on October 14, 2008


spirit72:

That's why I love it.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 7:21 AM on October 14, 2008


I operated on my own brain!
posted by Artw at 8:23 AM on October 14, 2008


I’m maintaining a stoic distance from the thread while wearing a Gregory Peck scowl, not reading a damn thing.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:30 AM on October 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Trevanian's* books are Mary Sue fic for teenagers that haven't discovered the oeuvre of Eric Van Lustbader, who eschews Trevanian's sneering condescension toward the bourgeoisie in favor of some smoking-hot sex scenes.

*AKA Rodney Whitaker, art professor. The protagonist of The Eiger Sanction is an art professor who moonlights as an assassin and climbs a mountain to do a hit. His boss is "'Dragon', an albinistic ex-Nazi confined to semi-darkness and kept alive by blood transfusions". Really.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:30 AM on October 14, 2008


SS Death Battalion go to Monte Casino for the Massacre
posted by Artw at 8:37 AM on October 14, 2008


I'm crushing my enemies, seeing them driven before me, and to hearing the lamentation of the women
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 9:20 AM on October 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


BTW, if anyone has not figured this out, do not click on any of the links prefaced "Conan, what is best in life?" on Warren Ellis's blog.
posted by Artw at 9:23 AM on October 14, 2008


I remember reading an interview with Van Lustbader where he said the sex scenes were only there for 'character development'. Right.

Such a pity that he never again reached the heights of The Ninja and it was diminishing returns all the way.

Anyone mentioned John Norman yet? No. Good.
(Hey, I was a teenager! And there was loads of gory fight scenes! And the long long boring philosophical tracks on being a sex slave did'nt turn up until about book 8. And... oh dear)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:38 AM on October 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Shameful Admissions of Gor!
posted by Artw at 9:43 AM on October 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


WWBSD?
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:37 AM on October 14, 2008


How about the Travis McGee books by John D. MacDonald? Pretty eavy Seventies vibe (man), but he's a PI who lives on a boat.

And for retro reading, Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" is good: he single-handedly overwhelms the flower of Arthurian nobility by introducing modern tenchnology -- most notably the machine gun.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:33 AM on October 14, 2008


Trevanian's books are Mary Sue fic for teenagers that haven't discovered the oeuvre of Eric Van Lustbader, who eschews Trevanian's sneering condescension toward the bourgeoisie in favor of some smoking-hot sex scenes.

You want a piece of me, tough guy? You want to dance with the snowman?!* Cause we can step outside and do this right now.


*no idea what that means, but Jerry Stiller yelled it out in a barfight scene on King of Queens once, and it still cracks me up.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:56 AM on October 14, 2008


It's been a while since I have read John D. MacDonald, but I recall The Green Ripper being as tough and violent as anything I have ever read.

Nightmare in Pink has, I believe, the first description of an LSD trip in literature, when Travis gets dosed.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:04 PM on October 14, 2008


And now I remember reading several Remo Williams/Destroyer books in my youth - I'm not sure how many as they all seemed to have exactly the same plot. One advantage, that put them above a lot of similar tosh at the time, was that, as far as I can remember, they didn't exactly tame themselves too seriously.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:21 PM on October 14, 2008


I'm reading this thread while I'm waiting for my shit-knife to harden, then I'ma go kill that dog, turn it into a sled, and disappear into the blizzard. Pansies.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 12:46 PM on October 14, 2008


I discovered Lee Child via this essay and it struck me that he's really trying to update Travis McGee for a contemporary audience. The Child books I've read so far are okay but I like MacDonald better. A couple of years ago, Jonathan Yardley had a nice appreciation of MacDonald that's worth reading.
posted by maurice at 1:01 PM on October 14, 2008


After years of reading challenging books, I ran across the Lee Child books and rediscovered the joys of pure escapist page-turners. Being a lit teacher, I have definitely been guilty of a certain snobbishness about these kinds of books. Not any more.
posted by kozad at 1:52 PM on October 14, 2008


Inspired by this thread, I've tried my hand at writing some man fiction.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:52 PM on October 14, 2008


TKChrist, I wish I could favorite your Vardis Fisher suggestion more than once.

Another author that I find many men like, yet few women do, is Ed Abbey. Frequently called juvenile, offensive and idiotic. Yet oh so good.
The Fools Progress always makes me want to shoot the fridge, bake some bread, drink a bottle of whiskey, load the truck with the old dog and my rifles and then head off to die in the hills of my youth. Really.

I haven't read the article yet (you know . . . work and all that crap) but I was surprised to see a Jack Reacher novel in the first illustration. I just finished reading one last night. I should have stopped after the first third of the book when I figured out who really was doing all of the killing, but I had to know if it was really as idiotically simplistic as I thought it was going to be. It was. It was not great literature. Not even some type of magical man-lit.
posted by Seamus at 2:28 PM on October 14, 2008


I was weirded out to see newly produced Destroyer audiobooks on sale at a gas station – I guess it’s just the thing to pass the time if your driving through miles and miles of empty space with only the odd grainsilo as a landmark. Though their not called audiobooks – they’re movies in your mind.
posted by Artw at 9:02 AM on October 15, 2008


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