The Dude, The Bard, and The Force: An Unexpected Reading List for Lebowski Fans

May 1 2014

Off the Shelf asked Adam Bertocci, author of Two Gentlemen of Lebowski: A Most Excellent Comedie and Tragical Romance, to create a list of books for us and, boy, did he oblige!

We’ve divided Adam’s selections into two lists, both for fans of The Big Lebowski. The classical list can be read here. Today’s list is comprised of Adam’s more unexpected choices. So, without further ado, we present The Dude, The Bard, and The Force: An Eclectic Reading List for Lebowski Fans!

William Shakespeare's Star Wars
by Ian Doescher

Do well enough and you might get to be someone else’s comp title. When Two Gentlemen came out I mused that if it did well, we might see a further slew of Shakespeare-movie mashups. For once in my life, it seems I wasn’t wrong. First out of the gate (in the realm of published books, anyway) is this adaptation of the greatest movie ever made. I’m pleased to learn that I’m not the only person on Earth who’d be the target audience for such a thing. -Adam Bertocci

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William Shakespeare's Star Wars
Ian Doescher

Do well enough and you might get to be someone else’s comp title. When Two Gentlemen came out I mused that if it did well, we might see a further slew of Shakespeare-movie mashups. For once in my life, it seems I wasn’t wrong. First out of the gate (in the realm of published books, anyway) is this adaptation of the greatest movie ever made. I’m pleased to learn that I’m not the only person on Earth who’d be the target audience for such a thing. -Adam Bertocci

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Winnie Ille Pu
by A. A. Milne

I’ve never actually read it, but I’m sure it’s pretty great. Indeed, I think there’s quite a few folks out there who own this and can’t actually read it. This translation of the beloved children’s book is, in my opinion, the unsung grandpappy of today’s literary mashup culture, an oddity that no one asked for and that promptly became a bestseller. The idea comes across as fresh, even laugh-out-loud wonderful today; would you believe it was published in 1958? -Adam Bertocci

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Winnie Ille Pu
A. A. Milne

I’ve never actually read it, but I’m sure it’s pretty great. Indeed, I think there’s quite a few folks out there who own this and can’t actually read it. This translation of the beloved children’s book is, in my opinion, the unsung grandpappy of today’s literary mashup culture, an oddity that no one asked for and that promptly became a bestseller. The idea comes across as fresh, even laugh-out-loud wonderful today; would you believe it was published in 1958? -Adam Bertocci

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Bored of the Rings: A Parody
by The Harvard Lampoon

No doubt required reading for nerds of a certain age, on the surface the jokes are juvenile, but the text is laced with love for the finer details; a lesser spoof would have neglected things like Tolkien’s appendices or the ‘Concerning Hobbits’ prologue. This book rewards an appreciation of Tolkien’s style, his world-building, his excesses. I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed harder than finding an asterisk next to a nod to a king, following it down to the footnote, and reading, “Either Arglebargle IV or someone else.” -Adam Bertocci

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Bored of the Rings: A Parody
The Harvard Lampoon

No doubt required reading for nerds of a certain age, on the surface the jokes are juvenile, but the text is laced with love for the finer details; a lesser spoof would have neglected things like Tolkien’s appendices or the ‘Concerning Hobbits’ prologue. This book rewards an appreciation of Tolkien’s style, his world-building, his excesses. I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed harder than finding an asterisk next to a nod to a king, following it down to the footnote, and reading, “Either Arglebargle IV or someone else.” -Adam Bertocci

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The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays
by Oscar Wilde

I think one of the things that makes Two Gentlemen funny is that all the conflicts and cursing of the film are smoothed over in the comparatively decorous parlance of Elizabethan times. There’s just something funny to me about ‘the polite version of The Big Lebowski’, no matter what the era, so long as everyone’s on their best behavior. And you’ll never find a better pairing of insulting barbs and a dignified tone than in Oscar Wilde. -Adam Bertocci

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The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays
Oscar Wilde

I think one of the things that makes Two Gentlemen funny is that all the conflicts and cursing of the film are smoothed over in the comparatively decorous parlance of Elizabethan times. There’s just something funny to me about ‘the polite version of The Big Lebowski’, no matter what the era, so long as everyone’s on their best behavior. And you’ll never find a better pairing of insulting barbs and a dignified tone than in Oscar Wilde. -Adam Bertocci

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How to be a Brit
by George Mikes

I’m not saying you have to be an Anglophile to get into my mindset, but it can’t hurt. Like the Wilde, the charm here is in the gap between the emotion being dealt with and the dryness of the manner with which it is expressed—or just as often repressed. -Adam Bertocci

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How to be a Brit
George Mikes

I’m not saying you have to be an Anglophile to get into my mindset, but it can’t hurt. Like the Wilde, the charm here is in the gap between the emotion being dealt with and the dryness of the manner with which it is expressed—or just as often repressed. -Adam Bertocci

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Lamb
Christopher Moore

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1066 And All That: A Memorable History of England
by W. C. Sellar

The only adjective I can think of for this lighthearted history is ‘Pythonic’—quite a trick, since it was published before any of the Monty Python crew was even born. Like Two Gentlemen, this is about playing with format as much as language—in this case the format being sent up is old-fashioned textbooks, making this sort of an English ancestor to America (The Book). There’s something charming about reading something from a hundred years ago making fun of stuff that happened a further hundred years ago, I think. -Adam Bertocci

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1066 And All That: A Memorable History of England
W. C. Sellar

The only adjective I can think of for this lighthearted history is ‘Pythonic’—quite a trick, since it was published before any of the Monty Python crew was even born. Like Two Gentlemen, this is about playing with format as much as language—in this case the format being sent up is old-fashioned textbooks, making this sort of an English ancestor to America (The Book). There’s something charming about reading something from a hundred years ago making fun of stuff that happened a further hundred years ago, I think. -Adam Bertocci

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