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Sunday, December 13, 2020

RAW's recommended books, any advice?

Robert Anton Wilson did a 20-book recommended books listed, posted on his official website.  RAW wrote, ""Not the 'best' or even my favorites, exactly: Just the bare minimum of what everybody needs to chew and digest before they can converse intelligently about the 21st Century." That website is down for a little while for renovations,  but I have a blog post from 2010 that lists the 20 books. 

Chad Nelson writes, "Going to grab a few of the books on this list for Xmas. I don't think I'm ready for Joyce or Pound...the abstruseness of their writing is a hurdle I can't get over. 

"Any strong recommendations? Right now, the two that seem most interesting to me are Reich and Demeo. Would love to hear other RAWIllumination readers thoughts if you're looking for a post!"

I told Chad that I've been able to read Ulysses a couple of times and plan to read it again. Does anyone else want to weigh in? 


quackenbush said...

Here is another list from Trajectories with some more details on some of the books and some different suggestions:

Chaos and Cyberculture might be the most accessible book on the list. Fuller and Reich would also move to the top in my pile. Maybe Nietzsche. There's an abridged version of Science and Sanity that might be worth dipping into.

There's a lifetime of reading in these short lists. Mosbunall, I find heavy sledding.

Eric Wagner said...

I found all of the books on the list worthwhile. I found the Leary and the Mailer the easiest to read. I struggled with the Popper. The Fuller seems very relevant right now.

Anonymous said...

Warm regards all!

Tend to think that the entire canon of James Joyce (up until Finnegans Wake) could/should be recommended to any followers of R.A.W but most readers would also agree that is appears to be a monumental undertaking, it is, while plenty that pick up Ulysses put it down well before completion. Well before the 23rd page! Tip. Dubliners and Portrait are wonderful, and necessary, jumping off points and many obscure or difficult passages can easily be referenced by the old Coles/Cliffs Notes booklets that you maybe saw in high school…would help navigate any weighty or seemingly symbolic parts. It’s a great start! With characters than run through with continuity to his other novels and if you find some of this writing enriching you may be coerced into his more esoteric and challenging masterpiece, Ulysses. Any searches online will show that Ulysses is quite the undertaking, not to say that it is not ‘worth it’, but breaking in and grasping at the depth of the novel will feel like work. It is incredible + intelligent work — R.A.W recognized brilliance there.
Dubliners is a collection of short stories that Joyce was commissioned to write about his home city, it’s inhabitants, and with ‘a little bite to it’…give a man an inch. Whoa. Joyce rarely holds anything back, he bites and he is still biting. Portrait seems to be more of an autobiography (he continues to bite) that shows flashes of the artist that he will surely become, setting out his own catechism, structures, guidelines, railing against the common power authority and doctrine of the day, mainly/namely, the catholic church.
Frank Delaney (R.I.P) managed an invaluable podcast called ‘RE:Joyce’ where he unpacks about 1/3 of the novel Ulysses with his imaginative and unparalleled Irish wit and humour. Well worth checking out where you can gauge your interest level in Joyce after a few episodes, certain that R.A.W himself would have adored the technology and information held within— makes ‘reading’ Ulysses much easier and way more fun! Sadly, Frank passed away before he could complete the task. Shame.
Lastly, thought it was said by R.A.W that Joyce maybe the most important anthropologist of our time, might be worth looking into. Happy hunting.

KC from Vancity

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

It might be fun for people to write "book reports" on the recommended books, explaining what RAW apparently got from them. I would publish the pieces on this blog.

Psuke said...

I have never managed to finih a Joyce book, although I managed half of Ulysses. He is probably the favorite author (aside from Dostoyevsky) of the brother of mine who reads almost exclusively "classical" literature (mostly anything pre1930).

I've read Reich and i think his work was amazing, His critique of Soviet Communism (The Sexual Revolution) was fascinating. I can't speak to its veracity, not being a historian, but its a viewpoint i think needsto be considered for anyone thinking of undertaking such a cultural remaking. There is no talk of Orgone, or at least I don't remember any. It has been 15+ years since I read it.