Favorite Books: David Clemens

As the Borders stores close their doors and Kindles are creeping ‘cross our beaches, books are on our minds. So for a short summer series, we asked some of our friends to tell us their favorite books—top ten fiction and top ten non-fiction. We asked them for the titles of books they most enjoy, not necessarily books that are, as one friend put it, "good for you."

We'll print their individual lists one by one.

David Clemens, professor of English at Monterey Peninsula College


Moby Dick—Herman Melville

The IliadHomer

The Odyssey including The Lost Books of the Odyssey—Homer and Zachary Mason

The Man Without Qualities—Robert Musil

Billy Budd—Herman Melville

Go Down, Moses—William Faulkner

The Wind in the Willows—Kenneth Grahame

The Nigger of the Narcissus—Joseph Conrad

The Crying of Lot 49—Thomas Pynchon


Tao Te Ching—Lao-tzu

Why Read?—Mark Edmundson

The HistoriesHerodotus

Duty—Bob Greene

Mimesis—Eric Auerbach

Classics Revisited—Kenneth Rexroth

Teaching as a Subversive Activity—Neil Postman

California Diary—The Rev. Walter Colton

Regarding the Pain of Others—Susan Sontag

The Stars, the Snow, the Fire—John Haines

David Clemens is the founder and coordinator of the Monterey Peninsula College Great Books Certificate Program. He publishes in the scholarly and popular press, most recently the San Francisco Chronicle, Inside EnglishCommunity College AdvocateReading at Risk: A Forum, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He also appears in the documentary film Indoctrinate U. He has designed three online classes: “Introduction to Great Books,” “Literature By and About Men,” and “More, or Less, Than Human?” which considers literary and cinematic speculations about the convergence of artificial intelligence and human intelligence. In 2006, he received the Allen Griffin Award for Excellence in Teaching.

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