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/lit/ - Literature


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12608033 No.12608033 [Reply] [Original]

What books can help me understand american culture, as a non-american?

>> No.12608040

>>12608033
Just read a McDonald's menu

>> No.12608068

Watchmen. Right now there's a funny thread on /co/ about it

>> No.12608081

>>12608033
Just watch a compilation of Superbowl ads

>> No.12608199

>>12608033
>what books can help me understand european culture, as a non-european?
There are dozens of different cultures across the US

>> No.12608202

>>12608040
/thread

>> No.12608224

>>12608199
Nah, burgers are pretty homogenous. You guys just think that because few of you care about other countries.

>> No.12608262

>>12608224
>New England, Deep South, Pacific North West, Bay Area, and Midwest are culturally homogenous
2/10, made no reply

>> No.12608269

>>12608033
White Noise

>> No.12608294
File: 360 KB, 600x580, 1490138632998.png [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]
12608294

>>12608033

>american
>culture

>> No.12608309

American psycho

>> No.12608368

American Exceptionalim, Blood Meridian, Walden, The Federalist Papers, Death of the West

>> No.12608434

leaves of grass, walt whitman
Tom sawyer, mark twain
Of mice and men, john seitnbeck
The grapes of wrath, john steinbeck
Death of a salesmen, Arthur miller
The great gatsby

>> No.12608451

Anything by thompson
Hillbilly elegy

>> No.12608459

There are basically two americas.
The america fuck yeah america. And the real america.
People say americans have no culture. But this is wrong. And its part of the con. American culture is tom sawyer, its pro wrestling, its hollywood.

But then there is the underneath reality.
And i feel this is best represented by not an author, but a painter. Edward hopper.
The abject isolation and loneliness of americans and the vast and empty plains.

There is a very mystical and transcendental part of america underneath the phoniness

>> No.12608463

>>12608451
hillbilly elegy is poverty porn for bourgeois who want the poor whites to pull themselves up by thier bootstraps

>> No.12608465

>>12608459
America is literally Russia but with hotter women.

>> No.12608612

>>12608465

>> No.12608619

>>12608262
Even the Pacific northwest has 4 or 5 distinct cultures based on region alone.

>> No.12609016

>>12608033
America is a melting pot.
There are several cultures that exist simultaneously, overlapping each other, in the same space, at the same time.
First you have the Patriotic America, that which is taught in schools, and is demonstrated by singing the national anthem at the beginning of sports events. It's a thin veneer that covers all.
Then,you have regional differences, by geography, and by what cultures settled each area. For example New England Yankees, as opposed to that of the Deep South, or Desert Southwest.
Then you have the divisions by race and ethnicity. These cultures overlay all the geographic ones, as they occur throughout the nation.
There are economic divisions across the nation, where the different classes exist, but normally do not interact, except when necessary.
Then there are the divisions of education levels, which, like the economic ones, layer over the whole nation.
You can add political classifications too. Some areas are predominately one flavor or the other, while others are equally dispersed.
Culture wise, you can add in regional cooking, artistic styles, different styles and mannerisms of speech, religious beliefs, on and on, ad absurdum.
I think the final answer is that there is no single American culture. It's different everywhere you go, to one degree or another. I don't think there is any single book to cover it all.

>> No.12609031
File: 145 KB, 637x554, meanwhile in america.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]
12609031

>>12608465
Well, we got better roads, housing, public services,and a better economy, too.
As far as hot winninz go? You need to take a walk through walmart on a payday weekend, and look at all the porkies on the hoof.

>> No.12609047

>>12608033
I present a based list of understanding the american southwest, the only area I can pretend to understand:
Blood Meridian
Personal Topography of the National Parks
Desert Solitaire
Angle of Repose (or any Stegner but this is best fiction by him in my opinion)
Book of Mormon
Rough Stone Rolling
The Wind Dont Know Me
Grapes of Wrath
2666
Anyone add anything to this list? I feel that it's a pretty solid introduction.

>> No.12609050

>>12608262
>>New England, Deep South, Pacific North West, Bay Area, and Midwest are culturally homogenous
Those are all one culture. Stop trying to pretend slight regional differences constitute entirely different cultures.

>> No.12609054

>>12608465
West coast women are hottest, rest of the country idk.
Somehow minnesotan women stand out to me as especially hot.

>> No.12609059

>>12609050
Go read albions seed friend.

>> No.12609066

>>12609054
Yeah, because we (west coast) attract people who come here to become models and whatever.
Personally, I have more of a thing for people on the East Coast though.
>>12609031
>the USA is the midwest
They need the fat to survive the cold weather. Russian women are just as fat outside of the propaganda.

>> No.12609109

>>12608262
>America with extra colonial architecture
>America with extra niggers
>America with extra rural treehuggers
>America with extra bugmen
>America with extra flyover ennui
>WER OL SO DIFREN

>> No.12609530

Since we're now also discussing reading recommendations for regions I might as well latch onto this thread.

I'm trying to develop a reading list/canon for California but while I have good recommendations for the "big picture" and a majority of the regions (I want each one covered in their own right), I am having trouble finding good fiction and nonfiction recommendations for the North Coast (Redwoods, Lost Coast) and the inland north(Sacramento Valley, Modoc Plateau).
North State is somewhat covered with Gold Rush stuff but not to my satisfaction, and the only thing I can think of for the North Coast is "Bury Me In Redwood Country" which is a documentary that I can't even find online. Any help would be appreciated.

>> No.12609653

Overstory Zero

>> No.12609677

>>12608033
>>12608033
None, there is no American culture. There IS an American anticulture which you can experience just about anywhere.

>> No.12609969

>>12608033
James Elroy stuff, white jazz, blood's a rover, etc

>> No.12610313
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12610313

>>12608033
We have many different cultures. Each book on the list will give you a “Special” understanding of the corresponding state. I live in the county where the one for Pennsylvania is set and it’s spot on.

>> No.12610392
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12610392

>>12610313
Also this guy makes a really compelling argument that the USA is actually 11 separate nations. The idea is basically that the first settlers in a region have an outsized influence in how the culture of that region develops. 11 formed based on settlement paterns.

Unfortunately he did himself a huge disservice by choosing very stupid names like “Greater Appalachia” for the 11 nations.

>> No.12610396
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12610396

>>12610392
How the11 nations voted in 2016.

>> No.12610422

>>12608224
Absolutely untrue, cross the MA/NH border, to say nothing of like Maine vs Cali or Florida vs Wisconain

>> No.12610423
File: 163 KB, 584x1000, 71f31ea3ad8191aaf9233b6b54210556.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]
12610423

If you read this, you will understand American culture better than most Americans

>> No.12610424

>>12610423
certified dank af, but why does the cover say vol 1 when there was no vol 2

>> No.12610437

>>12610424
Fischer wanted to write a five-volume comprehensive history of American culture, but he never got to it

>> No.12611084

>>12610392
i loved this book

>> No.12611186

American culture doesn't exist

>> No.12611698

>>12608033
You'll have to consult history and its evolution over time to understand its roots and how it came to be what it is today. Generally you need to divide this question according to general regions, waves of immigration over history, philosophical and political ideology, and the rural and urban divide.

>> No.12612574

>>12610313
Wow! That's a great list, just the kind of thing that I was looking for. Thank you so much anon!

>> No.12612597

Americans like to pretend that the apparent contradictions of their civilization are rooted in deeply complex historical underpinnings and some sort of American exceptionalism wherein America is somehow unique among all other nations of the world.

The truth is, their society can best be understood by huffing gasoline for an hour and watching BBC porn. I'd say America is a third world country masquerading as a first world country, but lots of third world countries are far nicer, more socially cohesive, and better developed than America is, and besides America doesn't even try to pretend it's not a banana republic these days.

>> No.12612622

>>12610396
Wtf is wetlands like the dustbin of America?

>> No.12612627

>>12612622
>wetlands
Midlands

>> No.12612648

>>12608033
If you want one book that will sum up the zeitgeist of modern America while also providing god-tier prose just read Absalom, Absalom.

>> No.12612767

>American culture
It is necessary to speak and to think what is; for being is, but nothing is not.

>> No.12612771

>>12608033
It's a racist, white supremacist nation. What else do you need to know. Any self-respecting black man would get the fuck out of there and return to their brothers and sisters in Africa. Likewise, whites need to GET THE FUCK out of Africa and Australia and go the fuck back home.

>> No.12612811
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12612811

>its a yurostarves who have had a gay materialist monoculture since the cold war call a country that is the size of their entire continent with 1/3rd the population spread out and semi-isolated a cultureless blob episode

>> No.12612842

Lolita.

>> No.12612986

>>12612811
>a country that is the size of their entire continent
the contiguous us is quite a bit large than what most people consider to be europe, also the usa is the better part of the north american content almost in terms of area but certainly in terms of usable land area - more americans live further north *in america* than there are canadians which should show you how useful all of canada's land is
>with 1/3rd the population
you can only get this figure if you include russian/turkey/*stans and some other parts of asia into the european figure, the contiguous us has closer to 60% the population of what most people would consider to be europe

>> No.12613014

>>12608033
>culture
404

>> No.12613031

>>12609109
>focusing on bad shit
It's almost like you came into this thread to argue and pretend to be smart, but don't realize it's fultile, as your opinion means nothing if you don't get replies. :3

>> No.12613036
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12613036

Here's American culture summed up in one pic

>> No.12613042
File: 43 KB, 641x491, 1427578877720.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]
12613042

>>12612811
>n-no it's u who's cultureless materialists!11
>US is big btw!11

>> No.12613050

>>12613042
That's nice honey have fun watching our president on TV in your irrelevant shithole

>> No.12613059
File: 678 KB, 996x708, 146122567342.png [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]
12613059

>>12613050
>u-ure irelephant i said!!11
>MAGA11!!

>> No.12613060
File: 23 KB, 720x419, visiting the usa.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]
12613060

>> No.12613062

>>12613050
>implying any sane person watches TV in the XXIst century

>> No.12613075

America on six rubles a day, absolute banger of a book

>> No.12613076
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12613076

>>12613062
Everyone watches TV anon.

>> No.12613078

>>12613059
But you are irrelevant. Your lot whines about america all day and think its funny none of us care about you in any capacity. Like memorizing trivia about a country that never thinks about you allows you to "win" against burgers. Its pathetic. Yurostarves, particularly on 4chan, have overt inferiority complexes about this.
>MAGA
It's MIGA*, you swine. Now you're gonna look at that faggot in all of your nations media, and you're gonna like it.

>> No.12613090
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12613090

>>12613078
>haha ure totally my strawman!! le OBSESSED yuropoorian btfo haha!
>I like totally dont care dude here's my third post full of rectal pain to display how much I dont care!1 haha

>> No.12613108

>>12613042
>>12613059
>>12613090
why are europeans so embarrassing. I really hope you're ESL and lack the intrinsic grasp of what is tryhard and cringepilled

>> No.12613116
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12613116

>>12613108
>lumoa kek embarrassing cringe tryhard esl BTFO!!!!

>> No.12613125

>>12613116
yikes. Again, I just hope you're not British and reply to this post or your mother will die in her sleep tonight

>> No.12613131
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12613131

>>12613125
>downvote and epic reddit spoiler joke

>> No.12613139

>>12609530
Jonathan Gold's food writing helped me understand Los Angeles. There's another book about California by some.urbam designer incant quite recall. I'll add it to the thread once I remember.

>> No.12613152
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12613152

>>12613131
>it's a bitter redditor trying to fit in
ofc

>> No.12613163

>>12610392
>>12610396
I am seconding this recommendation
Ya'll niggas need non-fiction

>> No.12613164
File: 99 KB, 900x900, 15451978975570.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]
12613164

>>12613152
>n-no ure reddit!!1

>> No.12613165

>>12613036
This is a great image of the American spectacle, the hyper-real carnival that people overseas see on TV sets and on the World Wide Web. It’s the difference between how a Chinese tourist sees Vegas versus how a local does.
But it’s this >>12608459, I think. Lots of silence, open space, and shit that will fill you with dread and amazement (large tracked housing complexes) if you stop walking down the midway, put the cotton candy down, and really take a look at what’s going on at the carnival.

>> No.12613166

>>12613164
>he actually can't stop replying

>> No.12613171
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12613171

>>12613166
>n-no u cant stop being assblasted!11

>> No.12613172

The grapes of wrath
The Jungle
A Confederacy of Dunces
Blood Meridian
Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas

All of these are 40+ years old. I can’t think of anything in the last 20 years.

>> No.12613177

>>12613171
Awwe anon it was just a joke! Your mummy will he fine. Run along now

>> No.12613184

>>12608465
>he doesn't rate ruski women

>> No.12613186

>>12612597
>I'd say America is a third world country masquerading as a first world country, but lots of third world countries are far nicer, more socially cohesive, and better developed than America is
t. someone who's never been to a third world country

>> No.12613187
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12613187

>>12613165
>OH NO NO NO we're totally very sophisticated and mysterious people! all the gaudy philistine kitsch and rampant anti-intellectualism and bugmanry and consumerism is just for you plebs and Chinese tourists!

>> No.12613194
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12613194

>>12613177
Fuck, I should have made popcorn

>> No.12613199

>>12613186
Southern states literally experiences a hookworm epidemic as we speak. US is literally a third world country with lots of Jewish money.

>> No.12613210

>>12613199
>hookworm
In people?

>> No.12613228

>>12613187
I never said sophisticated, Chinaman.

>> No.12613302
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12613302

>> No.12613332
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12613332

>>12608033

>> No.12613344

>>12613060
Isn't culture just what people do?

>> No.12613352

>>12613031
The only bad thing on that list was slicon valley bugmen

>> No.12613516

>>12613199
I live in Paraguay, one of the poorest countries in South America. If the US is 'literally a 3rd world country' as you've said then what's my country? 4th world? 5th world?

>> No.12613633

>>12608033
Song of Myself by Walt Whitman.

>> No.12613653

>>12613332
I bet it was a white person who did this antisemitic vile thing.

>> No.12613661
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12613661

>it's a roasting america thread
It's okay anons, we still love you

>> No.12613683

>>12613653
That's European-American to you, Shlomo.

>> No.12613762
File: 473 KB, 1279x1210, Bronze Age Postironist.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]
12613762

>"The bell which the pioneers hang round the necks of their cattle, in order to find them again in the woods, announced our approach to a clearing, when we were yet a long way off; and we soon afterwards heard the stroke of the hatchet, hewing down the trees of the forest. As we came nearer, traces of destruction marked the presence of civilized man; the road was strewn with shattered boughs; trunks of trees, half consumed by fire, or cleft by the wedge, were still standing in the track we were following. We continued to proceed till we reached a wood in which all the trees seemed to have been suddenly struck dead; in the height of summer their boughs were as leafless as in winter; and upon closer examination we found that a deep circle had been cut round the bark, which, by stopping the circulation of the sap, soon kills the tree."

>> No.12613791

>>12613661
>yet another American confuses economic parasitism with welfare and warfare
Yes, I'm a shithole communist.

>> No.12613806

>>12610423
i love that painting. the cholmondeley ladies. it's in tate britain. i love that at first glance the two women are identical but when you look closely they're completely different.

>> No.12613809

>>12608033
last exit to brooklyn

>> No.12613820

>>12609054
>west coast women
Depends on what you mean. If you mean West Coast outside the cities where everyone is basically pseud-Red Necks, sure, I agree. If you mean urbanites, you're fucking braindead. Everything about them is completely artificial except their horrible personalities. The vapid, vain pretentiousness is 100% honest. No amount of being marginally fitter than the rest of the country can cover up for them being the worst people in the entire country personality wise (with exception to maybe the North East).

>> No.12613832

>>12609047
I'd take the Book of Mormon off the list. If what you want is insight into self-serving triangle schemes disguised as religions, you should read about scientology. It's a lot more interesting than
>would it be fukken TIGHT if we all had 80 wives and got our own planets and could be adam and eve with them when we die?

>> No.12613867

ITT: People who grew up in the world of Americana - who learned our language as they watched our movies, listened to our music, read our literature, and used our internet - and are already all enculturated to Americana cannot see the forest for the trees.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr8ljRgcJNM

>> No.12613885

>>12608199
im european, european culture is a thing

>> No.12613894

>>12608040
fpbp

>> No.12613961

>>12613885
>Greece, England, Spain, and Latvia have the same culture
The EU isn't culture.

>> No.12614120

>>12613867
>People who grew up in the world of Americana - who learned our language as they watched our movies, listened to our music, read our literature, and used our internet
So basically people who obviously have an appreciation for your country's culture. Wouldn't you be happy about that, as an american?

>> No.12614136

>>12608033
Death of a Salesman, if you don't mind plays.

>> No.12614155

>>12612597
>>12613199
If we get worse maybe third-worlders will stop moving here.

>> No.12614497

politically incorrect guide to american history - tom woods
renegade history of the united states - thaddeus russell

>> No.12614549

>>12614155
The solution to illegal immigration = turn the entire country into a third world shithole

>> No.12615356

>>12608033
It can be boiled down to GUNS! (partial) FREEDOM! and MONEY!

>> No.12615368

>>12613116
Stop posting

>> No.12615371

>>12613125
lol

>> No.12615393

>>12613187
Europeans are beyond contemptible

>> No.12615408
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12615408

>>12613116
lurk moar you fucking frogposter.

>> No.12615573

>>12614120
I honestly don't care very much; if people like Americana, cool, if they reject it and care about their own culture, that's cool, too. I'm only trying to point out that non-Americans only think Americans don't have a culture of their own because they've misidentified American culture as their own culture. It's like looking into a mirror - only the mentality unfit see someone they don't think of as themselves. People cannot see the American culture that exists because they misidentify the Americanization they already live with as their own thing.

>> No.12615675

>>12608033
Pynchon

>> No.12615720

>>12613516
dude we´re not that bad, back in 2015 i visited Cuba, that country is literal shithole, way worst than Paraguay, (i don´t even want to mention haiti because that´s another level of poverty)

t. encarnaceno

>> No.12615800

>>12608040
Kek

>> No.12615839

>>12615408
>election cycle embryo still trying to fit in too hard
Go back.

>> No.12616919

>>12613516
Anon who originally posted that America is third world here.

I lived in Argentina in Formosa along the Paraguayan border for the better part of a year. There's lot of problems, of course, more now with Macri, but whenever I had a medical issue I could go into the hospital and they would fix it for free, or give me a prescription for medication that costs 30 pesos at most.

Women could walk the streets escorted at any time of day or night without fear of being raped and murdered.

The homeless people were uncommon, and usually more like unwashed hippies than the drugged up psychopaths that live in the USA.

Indians could go into the woods and just build a house out of sticks for themselves. Land was abundant. People had free time to peruse interpersonal relationships and hobbies

Black people were mostly non-existent.

Comparing that to my experiences in America, most people are drugged up so they can work 50+ hours a week just to barely survive. On the whole, it's slightly richer than the Average SA country (hidden by their monetary policy where they've artificially increased the exchange rate against the rest of the world), but the quality of life is far far worse. Brazil isn't much more dangerous than California these days. Given their debt bubble, it's only a matter of time before the whole country collapses

>> No.12617146

>>12608033
Read Don DeLillo. Underworld has a very American feel to it.

>> No.12617150

>>12609050
Are you literally retarded?

>>
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