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What books are you reading now?

361 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

I was able to get electronic copies of some books I was hungry for reading:

  • Durant Story of Philosophy
  • Durant first 3 books story of civilization
  • Conceptual Physics
  • Hawking's Brief History of Time
  • 3 works about Schopenhauer: Bryan Magee, Janaway and Cambridge Companion

I am somewhat annoyed by reading in the computer; especially long books. But since I cannot buy them or find them in the library, I have no other choice:roll:

Edited by Paulus

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Posted (edited)

I am reading a wonderful introduction to Eastern Philosophy :)

Hinduism feels sometimes very similar to some astrophysics and physics theories. The difference is that Hinduism uses metaphorical language and no evidence:-D.

For example the beginning of the cosmos in the Vedas:

First there was a void of existence and non-existence, after it heat ariseth and expanded "the one", etc. Sounds a bit like the big bang:-D, at least in the idea of the condensed heat that expanded matter.

Another like the Atman-Brahman which says everything is one, is similar to theories that search for a unification of the fundamental forces like String Theory.:-D

I think is a great experience to immerse oneself into diverse ways of looking at the world, but after all perhaps, they may not be very different.:mrgreen:

Okay that is one of my reasons for studying Eastern Philosophy, another is to understand better the character of Schopenhauer, the one I deem with much respect and admiration.

Schopenhauer opinion of the Upanishads

Edited by Paulus

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Posted (edited)

There seems to be quite a bit of interest in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, to the point that a sort of grassroots book club has sprung up, called Infinite Summer. Not sure if I have the time, but it sure sounds engaging.

Edited by muraii
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I like to, as much as the next person, engage in conversation, and typically I expect it to end there- depending on with whom I have engaged in conversation with. I have your standard conversations with casual acquaintences from work or some place or another, and all the time, subsequent to the conversation, I have someone shoving their favored piece of literature down my throat. To be honest, it is a bit nerve racking because I do not want to offend them by refusing the book, and yet I do not particularly care to read what they have offered. Have you all ever experienced this? I mean, for heaven's sake, I'm already backed up as it is with literature I want to read.

For example, right now in my home I have two books given to me to read by persons from work: one is The New World Order by Ralph Epperson, given to me post conversing about whether or not economic globalization will lead to world government; I have not even the slightest inclination, none, zero, whatsoever to read this book; the other is The Better Covenant by Watchman Nee, given to me to read by a Christian coworker. This case is interesting: have you all ever had a counter offer when you recommend a particular work; for instance, I recommended, as she had never read it, to my amazement given that she is Christian, The Imitation of Christ , and sure enough, the counter offer: ohhh you have got to read this.

Generally, in these cases, as I can count on a follow up conversation, I will skim through the book in a lackidiasical manner, just enough to spout a few talking points..........

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Paulus, I have not read much of the east, but I do dabble here and there. I have several books on buddhism and hinduism, and some text on eastern mythology. One in particular I plan to read soon is Zipporyn's Being and Ambiguity.

Deadcandance, as someone who enjoys reading, I get that all the time and I too, share your sentiment.

Because I already have a mile-high stack of books to read, mostly difficult works of philosophy and the great classics of literature, I'm very disinclined to accept books recommended by others unless they are what I'm interested in at the moment. Right now I'm reading Very Little, Almost Nothing by Simon Critchley, and 50 Key Contemporary Thinkers: from structuralism to posthumanism, by Lechte, 2nd edition. Just finished Fools Die by Mario Puzo (for my bookclub) and am stuck in the middle of David Foster Wallace's first novel, Broom of the System. :roll:

What I do in the face of unsolicted books is either say, I'm busy with 4 books right now, or if that person is someone close, tell them you won't get to their book unless you are finished with the ones you're currently reading. Just be honest - brutally so if they're not your good friends. :twisted:

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I think your right Camp; time for a little honesty; I am going to spare myself the pain of even a lackidaisical reading of the two books; life is too short......

....been reading some of Stefan Grabinski's short stories as compiled in The Dark Domain ; he has been called the "Polish Poe," and dare I say....*gasp* I have found at least some of his stories to be better than Poe's......far superior in fact.

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My "library" consists of about 250 books or so, about twenty of which I have yet to read; consisting mostly of works of philosophy, history, and a surprisingly large (now that I think about it) number of theological texts, and surprisingly few works of fiction. I treat it how the man obsessed with polishing his coin collection treats his coins. It is sad really, to be honest. I just have to let any visitors know how intelligent I am, given that it enjoys its existence in the living room.

Anyways my fellow TGL'ers, call it nosy, but I was just curious as to how many books make up your library; it would also be interesting if you could tell me (or us for that matter) a little bit about your library; do you enjoy collecting 1st editions, is it constituted of mostly philosophical texts, poetry, political analysis, etc, etc?

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I've never counted my books. I'll bet I have more than a thousand. Here are my estimates as to the categories:

1) Fiction -- 300

2) Poetry -- 50

3) History -- 50

4) General reference -- 50

5) Essays, criticism, short non fiction compilations -- 75

6) Sports -- 50

7) Humor -- 75

8) Children's books -- 50

9) Cook books -- 10

10) Games (bridge, chess, backgammon) -- 20

11) Mountaineering and exploration -- 50

12) Travel and guide books -- 50

13) Mythology and Religion -- 50

14) Other - 150

14) Philosophy -- 3 (Does "Wittgenstein's Poker" count as philosophy of history?)

Many of my books are in tatters, as I tend to re-read them often, and I don't take good care of them. Like DCD, I do keep some of the better-looking hard covered books in my living room -- the rest are on bookshelves in the two bedrooms, or lying on the floor next to my bed, or in boxes in the closet.

I also have about 30 books here in my office at work, which I read when not posting on the internet, or (horrors!) actually working. A glance around my office reveals: half of a 1998 World Almanac (the other half having been tattered through overuse); several poetry books (which I quote from when writing work-related articles); the Complete Works of William Shakespeare (same purpose); "How Soccer Explains the World" (which I brought to work when arguing with dedmetaphor about the Rangers vs. Celtic rivalry, and never brought back home); Beowulf (the Seamus Heaney translation, I'm not sure why it's in my office); "Best American Essays of the 20th Century (ed. J.C. Oates); "Lectures on Literature" by Nabokov.

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Most of my books are either in storage (too many to recall) or in my friends' bookshelves. :evil:

That said, here's a recent photo of my bookshelf:

bookcase.JPG

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I have no idea how many books I have. Most are stored in boxes (and quite a few of the boxes are in the attic); other books are hidden in cabinets, and some have found some shelves on which to rest.

Anyhow, I recently finished The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 by Antony Beevor. Enjoyed it very much.

I am currently reading The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara & Lenin Play Chess by Andrei Codrescu (whose occasional commentaries on National Public Radio are usually at least very witty when not outright hilarious), and I am also reading Sound and Symbol: Music and the External World by Victor Zuckerkandl.

Michael

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Campanella what a beautiful organized bookshelf! :lol:

I only have a couple of books like 50.:? (philosophy, fiction, science)

I have a giant collection of printed papers though.:mrgreen:

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My library is somewhat large, I guess roughly 600 books or so. Mostly fiction of one type or another, but roughly 70+ philosophy books and quite a few physics / science books as well. I haven't got any recent pictures of it though; right now most of them are hiding in boxes waiting to be unpacked...

Right now I'm reading Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. It was recommended to me by a friend and I am really enjoying the imagery and characters.

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I was just curious as to how many books make up your library; it would also be interesting if you could tell me (or us for that matter) a little bit about your library; do you enjoy collecting 1st editions, is it constituted of mostly philosophical texts, poetry, political analysis, etc, etc?

I have in the neighborhood of 150-200 books. There are a very few philosophical works, meaning works specifically focused on the explication of philosophy. Twentieth-Century Analytical Philosophy was a steal at Half Price Books years ago, but I haven't really read too much. Others include a series of short Dummy-style introductions to Kant, Plato, Derrida, and others. I made it through the intro to Derrida, or most of it; the presentation didn't really lend itself to much depth.

Many are fiction books, including quite a few Greg Bear and William Gibson (though not much of either's more recent stuff), as well as Dhalgren which I aim to tackle this summer. I'm noncommittally rereading Bear's The Forge of God, which was my step from Asimov's Foundation trilogy into more contemporary science fiction. Another gem in the fiction, possibly science fiction, is Lives of the Monster Dogs by Kirsten Bakis. Excellently written. Not quite so well-written, but still worth my time (maybe not yours) is a small book entitled Day-by-Day Armageddon, the diary of a U.S. soldier as he survives the first year or so of a zombie apocalypse.

Most of my books are math books, several textbooks but popular reading entries as well. I highly recommend Unknown Quantity: The Real and Imaginary History of Algebra by John Derbyshire, not so much David Berlinski's A Tour of the Calculus, if only because he indulges himself too much. The lion's share of these texts are unused, and there are great big holes where Rudin, Munkres, and Lang, etc., should be. I'll slowly be filling them, with any luck, if only with the international paperback editions (via BookFinder.com.

---------- Post added at 15:52 ---------- Previous post was at 15:50 ----------

I have a giant collection of printed papers though.:mrgreen:

Yup. I have a nice large-capacity printer at work. One day, I wanted to test print something...and ended up printing the entire 300+ pages.

Almost all of them are math books (ones that would fit the holes I mention above).

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Thank you all for the info regarding your libraries, I held it to be fascinating stuff; though unfortunately, the only two books that I could make out in Camp's photo were Charlie Wilson's War and The Philosophy of Schopenhauer.

I just finished Knut Hamsun's first novel Hunger, and while I am certainly not a Hamsun scholar, Hunger being the first literature to be authored by him that I have read, I can see why there is a bit of a consensus that it is his greatest work. It was absolutely brilliant, written in much the same vein as Dostoyevsky's Notes From Underground, and I would venture to say that Hamsun's work is on par with Dostoyevsky's.

I'm tired of fooling around...........all this secondary reading, commentary on the masterpieces, I'm sick of it! It's time to buckle down and get back to the basics; I have never read Plato's Republic. There, I said it; yes I know, it's shameful. Oh sure, I've tinkered around in it in some shoddy Penguin translation, but I have never soaked it in, immersed myself in it, given it the undivided attention it deserves, now that I have Allan Bloom's translation, I intend over the next couple of weeks to do what I have thus far in my life neglected to do.

And after that I am going to read, come hell or high water, to swim in, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged..........or not :), but seriously, as a good little conservative, it is an absolute embarrassment that I have yet to read, and I mean more than a random blundering about, de Tocqueville's Democracy in America ; so that's next on my list........

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Dead, I would like to hear why you put Hamsun on par with Dostoevsky, i.e., what do they have in common, like psychological insights, or overwrought characters, or philosophical overtones, and so on.

Ah, no sense in beating yourself up over not reading a book. I myself haven't read Spinoza's Ethics, or Heidegger's Sein und Zeit, and I'm sure there are holes in anyone else's list of books they should have read by now. :lol:

I have problems with people who judge thinkers when they haven't done their homework, though.

As for Ayn Rand, you should read Fountainhead instead (if you haven't) because it is a much better book by all counts. More focused, much more realistic range of people, more successful at meeting its aims, etc.

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Thank you all for the info regarding your libraries, I held it to be fascinating stuff; though unfortunately, the only two books that I could make out in Camp's photo were Charlie Wilson's War and The Philosophy of Schopenhauer.

I just finished Knut Hamsun's first novel Hunger, and while I am certainly not a Hamsun scholar, Hunger being the first literature to be authored by him that I have read, I can see why there is a bit of a consensus that it is his greatest work. It was absolutely brilliant, written in much the same vein as Dostoyevsky's Notes From Underground, and I would venture to say that Hamsun's work is on par with Dostoyevsky's.

I'm tired of fooling around...........all this secondary reading, commentary on the masterpieces, I'm sick of it! It's time to buckle down and get back to the basics; I have never read Plato's Republic. There, I said it; yes I know, it's shameful. Oh sure, I've tinkered around in it in some shoddy Penguin translation, but I have never soaked it in, immersed myself in it, given it the undivided attention it deserves, now that I have Allan Bloom's translation, I intend over the next couple of weeks to do what I have thus far in my life neglected to do.

And after that I am going to read, come hell or high water, to swim in, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged..........or not :), but seriously, as a good little conservative, it is an absolute embarrassment that I have yet to read, and I mean more than a random blundering about, de Tocqueville's Democracy in America ; so that's next on my list........

Shame on you! Shame on you!:nono:

You should be like me

I have read The Republic but I have not read Confucius Analects, Aristotles Politics, Aurelius Meditations, Seneca's Letters, Boethius Consolations, Spinoza Ethics, Descartes Discourse, Kants Prelogomena, Locke... etc:rofl:

Be aware that I am not a complete ignorant. I have read histories, introductions, etc but not the main works.

I have them in my little library there untouched and sometimes I look the covers in amazement saying to myself:

One day I shall read you mi friend :mrgreen:

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Well, sorry Plato, but the carnal spirit that rests within me has led me to Lautreamont's Les Chants de Maldoror. The author immediately presents the reader with a dilemma, a choice, a reenactment of the story of Adam and Eve and that infamous forbidden fruit:

It is not right that everyone should read the pages which follow; only a few will be able to savor this bitter fruit with impunity. Consequently, shrinking soul, turn on your heels and go back before penetrating further into such uncharted, perilous wastelands.

To eat of the fruit or resist the temptation? Well, I am hungry after all; how can I do anything else; to eat of the forbidden fruit is the nature of man.

Is anyone here acquainted with Lautreamont's Songs?

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Not I. :mrgreen:

Just finished The Broom of the System. Because it was less of a novel with a story and more of an intellectual attempt at debunking both modernism and postmodernism, I didn't much like it. The characters failed to be engaging, the plot was purposely disconnected, and the satirical subtext overwhelmed the narrative to the point it seemed pointless to read in the first place. If you're not familiar with Pynchon or Barth (classic american authors of pomo literature) or Wittgenstein, this book will go right over your head. The witty structure and the amusing names and the odd characters save this book from an utter crap grade.

(Posted via mobile device)

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If you're not familiar with Pynchon or Barth (classic american authors of pomo literature) or Wittgenstein, this book will go right over your head.

Speaking of Pynchon, he, as you may already be aware, has a new novel Inherent Vice, due to be released in roughly three weeks......

519ar6ElRGL._SL500_AA240_.jpg

I for one am thoroughly excited; perhaps several of us can agree to read the novel and have a discussion...........

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Just started this. Interesting so far but I'm only in the 3rd chapter.

Amazon.com: The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World: Jenny Uglow: Books

This book came free with a new subscription to Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

Amazon.com: Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?: Paul Kurtz, Barry Karr, Ranjit Sandhu: Books

It's published by Prometheus Books and is a collection of articles by mostly pro science people. The tone of the articles I've read so far are the interesting thing here. This topic makes most people pretty hot under the collar.

I also picked up a textbook titled Conceptual Physics (Ninth Edition) for a buck at a booksale. It's a basic look at physics which I never took in school so I thought it would be good to get a feel for it.

Amazon.com: Conceptual Physics. Ninth Edition.: Paul G. Hewitt: Books

I'm also taking a short course from the local Literacy Volunteers organization and am reading I Speak English and Tutor for that.

Amazon.com: I Speak English: A Guide to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages-Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing: Ruth J. Colvin: Books

Amazon.com: Tutor: A Collaborative Approach To Literacy Instruction: Judy B. Cheatham, Ruth J. Colvin, Lester L. Laminack: Books

And I took a summer break and read

Amazon.com: To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Perennial Modern Classics): Harper Lee: Books

and

Amazon.com: A Year in Provence: Peter Mayle: Books

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Just started this. Interesting so far but I'm only in the 3rd chapter.

Amazon.com: The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World: Jenny Uglow: Books

I bought this book at our public library sale a couple of months ago. The downtown Cincinnati branch of the Hamilton County Public Library is in the top 3 public library branches in the country, in terms of traffic and business. Every year they hold a book sale, and it's nuts. Even at $2 - $3 each, we spent $140. The Lunar Men looks wonderful.

Looks like I've got it slated on my reading schedule for...2015. Still want to read Dhalgren this summer, but we'll see.

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Posted (edited)

That book, Dhalgren has been sitting in my bookshelf ever since I read Hogg in 2004. I did start a couple of times but put it down for the latest Gibson or Stephenson release. Eh.

Edited by Campanella

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Recently I was fortunate enough to read, in quick succession, the two greatest books I have ever known. They are Roberto Bola

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Whoa. In other words, knowing Hugo, American Psycho has been dethroned from the pantheon of literature. How much of this is due to your own evolution as a critical reader, as opposed to the singular greatness of these books?

(Posted via mobile device)

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2666 is one of the books I am currently reading. I am about 3/4 of the way through the book, and I definitely recommend it. One aspect which I particularly like is the variety of styles Bola

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