15 Reads For The Non-Conformist

If you’re an outcast, life can really suck at times. These books make the fight against popular culture a little easier.

1. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

“If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed.”

ID: 1755895

2. Meditations in an Emergency by Frank O’Hara

“Now I am quietly waiting for the catastrophe of my personality to seem beautiful again, and interesting, and modern.”

ID: 1755886

3. Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

“It is the business of the very few to be independent; it is a privilege of the strong. And whoever attempts it, even with the best right, but without being OBLIGED to do so, proves that he is probably not only strong, but also daring beyond measure. He enters into a labyrinth, he multiplies a thousandfold the dangers which life in itself already brings with it; not the least of which is that no one can see how and where he loses his way, becomes isolated, and is torn piecemeal by some minotaur of conscience. Supposing such a one comes to grief, it is so far from the comprehension of men that they neither feel it, nor sympathize with it. And he cannot any longer go back! He cannot even go back again to the sympathy of men!”

ID: 1755889

4. One Flew Over The Cookoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

“Now they tell me a psychopath’s a guy fights too much and fucks too much, but they ain’t wholly right, do you think? I mean, whoever heard tell of a man gettin’ too much poozle?”

ID: 1755898

5. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

“You’re an expatriate. You’ve lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed by sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see. You hang around cafés.”

ID: 1755750

6. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

“I figured I could get a job at a filling station somewhere, putting gas and oil in people’s cars. I didn’t care what kind of job it was, though. Just so people didn’t know me and I didn’t know anybody. I thought what I’d do was, I’d pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes. That way I wouldn’t have to have any goddam stupid useless conversations with anybody. If anybody wanted to tell me something, they’d have to write it on a piece of paper and shove it over to me. They’d get bored as hell doing that after a while, and then I’d be through with having conversations for the rest of my life. Everybody’d think I was just a poor deaf-mute bastard and they’d leave me alone.”

ID: 1755901

7. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

“You have a class of young strong men and women, and they want to give their lives to something. Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don’t need. Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they don’t really need.”

ID: 1755802

8. Women by Charles Bukowski

“Nothing was ever in tune. People just blindly grabbed at whatever there was: communism, health foods, zen, surfing, ballet, hypnotism, group encounters, orgies, biking, herbs, Catholicism, weight-lifting, travel, withdrawal, vegetarianism, India, painting, writing, sculpting, composing, conducting, backpacking, yoga, copulating, gambling, drinking, hanging around, frozen yogurt, Beethoven, Bach, Buddha, Christ, TM, H, carrot juice, suicide, handmade suits, jet travel, New York City, and then it all evaporated and fell apart. People had to find things to do while waiting to die. I guess it was nice to have a choice. I took my choice. I raised the fifth of vodka and drank it straight.”

ID: 1755793

9. The Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs

“Rock and Roll adolescent hoodlums storm the streets of all nations. They rush into the Louvre and throw acid in the Mona Lisa’s face … they shit on the floor of the United Nations and wipe their ass with treaties, pacts, alliances.”

ID: 1755906

10. On The Road by Jack Kerouac

“I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”

ID: 1755653

11. 1984 by George Orwell

“The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering—a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons—a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting—three hundred million people all with the same face.”

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12. Factotum by Charles Bukowski

“I always started a job with the feeling that I’d soon quit or be fired, and this gave me a relaxed manner that was mistaken for intelligence or some secret power.”

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13. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

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14. Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse

“Eternity is a mere moment, just long enough for a joke.”

ID: 1755915

15. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

“Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday night. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life … But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?”

ID: 1755920

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