Time for another book thread! I’ve got a little bit of an ulterior motive for this one. I’m looking for examples of your favorite or least favorite cult books — either fiction or non-fiction.
I’m not necessarily looking for books that have a small but devoted following (though those are fine) but also for those books that seemed to be everywhere at some point in time — the kind of books that friends pressed upon you, insisting you read them, telling you they had “changed their life.”
In one discussion of cult books over on Metafilter, a commenter described his list of suggestions as “what any self-respecting 80s stoner would have had on his bookshelf.” Replace 80s with any decade you’d prefer, and “stoner” with “nerd” or “punk” or whatever suits you better, and you get the idea.
Some examples of the sort of books I’m looking for:
- Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse
- The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, by Carlos Castaneda
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig
- The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
Feel free to post examples that are far more obscure and/or recent. Or examples of books that “everybody read” at one point that have become obscure, or that people mainly remember as an embarrassment.
These can be books that you personally love, or books that you can’t understand why anyone loves.