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Great Books For Misanthropes

If you have been reading World’s Strongest Librarian for very long you may have forgotten that not everyone likes people. I don’t like everyone, but there are people out there who don’t like anyone. Some of them are authors. And some of those authors have written some great books for misanthropes. Misanthropy is the condition of loathing humanity, for whatever reasons. I’m an occasional misanthrope, and those are the times when I take out books like these:

gullivers travels

  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • Candide by Voltaire
  • Freedom and The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (Not everyone will agree with this one, but I think Franzen’s novels are lengthy–and great–examples of just how crappy people can be to each other
  • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  • Filth by Irvine Welsh
  • The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski
  • Justine by the Marquis de Sade
  • American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis (I don’t consider this a great book, but a great book for the topic today, books about misanthropy, definitely–a guest’s book review of American Psycho)

I could go on, but then I might wind up hating people for the rest of the day. Help me fill in the gaps.


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  • Jim Janney November 9, 2010, 12:12 pm

    Pretty much anything by Ambrose Bierce. Also Clark Ashton Smith.

    • Josh Hanagarne November 9, 2010, 12:20 pm

      Absolutely on Ambrose Bierce. This is me adding Devil’s Dictionary to the list.

  • Boris November 10, 2010, 9:48 am

    “Catcher In The Rye”?

  • David November 11, 2010, 3:13 am

    The Count of Monte Cristo…

  • Graham January 26, 2012, 5:51 am

    I’m looking for books that may (though I doubt it) “cure me” of my own misanthropy. Any suggestions?