Help make me uncomfortable.
January 20, 2010 6:50 PM Subscribe
Looking for a reading list of things that will make me productively uncomfortable. (tl;dr inside)
posted by Nonce to Media & Arts (59 answers total) 101 users marked this as a favorite
There is a sensation of discomfort and disorientation that I feel whenever I read an effective work of literature. I believe the sensation is caused by my being forced to face or acknowledge a contradiction in my internal belief system and/or being presented with information for which I have no pre-formed context.
Blood Meridian is one example of this. (The Road is not, for whatever reason. I think perhaps it is at heart an uncomplicated, though chilling, novel, which presses other buttons.) Alice Munro creates this sensation with almost every story I have read. Many of the stories in Winesburg, Ohio created this sensation.
In films, Werner Herzog creates a similar sensation, but I'm mostly looking for books.
These do not have to be fiction. I would enjoy a good book of philosophy or history as much as a novel. But I want that sensation. I want to be forced to consider what it is I have read, and what I think about what I have read, long after the book is done.
When I mention that I want to be uncomfortable, I should stress that the discomfort I'm seeking is not mere revulsion, disgust, or anger at having the good fellows fail. Those would be incidental factors, neither necessary nor sufficient.
Typing this question has reminded me of this passage from Spoon River Anthology:
Now I, an under-tenant of the earth, can see
That the branches of a tree
Spread no wider than its roots.
And how shall the soul of a man
Be larger than the life he has lived?
Metaphorically speaking, I hope to be recommended books that will expand the scope of my life.