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Re: Current Reads: What is Everyone Reading?

Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:23 am
by Grim
I am now reading Wittgenstein's "Culture and Value". It is entertaining to start but I am hoping for better in his latter thought. This book is a collection of aphorisms, or rather personal comment concerning various social issues of his day and is therefore not quite what I was expecting from it based on the cover, good thing I also have Wittgenstein's "The Blue and Brown Books," as well as another that I am sure I have but can not find a copy of right now. I think that it might be "On Certainty."

Re: Current Reads: What is Everyone Reading?

Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:49 pm
by Grim
I was thinking a starting a thread where people submit pictures of their bookshelves. Alternatively people who want could simply include pics of their books to this thread which is what I will probably do this evening after work.

Re: Current Reads: What is Everyone Reading?

Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:08 pm
by Arising_uk
The Stuff of Thought, The Language Instinct:Steven Pinker

Re: Current Reads: What is Everyone Reading?

Posted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 2:11 pm
by duszek
Has anyone read "Happyland" by J. Robert Lennon ?
I am not crazy about the content and I even blackened a couple of passages which are too shocking for me.
But I like very much the way Mr. Lennon tells his story.
There is a quiet drama all the time, which fascinates me.

Speech or any written text has some melody in it and a key.
Virginia Woolf has written all her books in a minor key, they all express melancholy.

Most American writers write in major, John Grisham and Boyle in C major, I would say.
The tempo changes, from andante to allegro, to vivace or presto, but the key remains in major.
I do not think that any American author would dare to write a melancholy book. You are obliged to sound cheerful.

Mr. Lennon also sounds cheerful. I like very much his "music" or the tune of his writing.
And there is this quiet drama going on all the time.
His prose improves my mood.

Re: Current Reads: What is Everyone Reading?

Posted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:18 pm
by artisticsolution
duszek wrote:Has anyone read "Happyland" by J. Robert Lennon ?
I am not crazy about the content and I even blackened a couple of passages which are too shocking for me.
But I like very much the way Mr. Lennon tells his story.
There is a quiet drama all the time, which fascinates me.

Speech or any written text has some melody in it and a key.
Virginia Woolf has written all her books in a minor key, they all express melancholy.

Most American writers write in major, John Grisham and Boyle in C major, I would say.
The tempo changes, from andante to allegro, to vivace or presto, but the key remains in major.
I do not think that any American author would dare to write a melancholy book. You are obliged to sound cheerful.

Mr. Lennon also sounds cheerful. I like very much his "music" or the tune of his writing.
And there is this quiet drama going on all the time.
His prose improves my mood.
I like this post very much duszek. I absolutely love the 'music' of your writing. I know you and I are very much opposites (nothing wrong with that) but this post is so very intimate and revealing that my attitude of openness was put to shame.

I have noticed a tendency for Americans to 'sound' cheerful while the rest of the world seems to love being melancholy. However, I don't know if we feel an "obligation" to feel that way. I think we are just happy because we are not as intelligent (generally speaking.) Ignorance is bliss. Plus we are too busy to reflect most of the time.

One thing I will say about the melancholy thing is, as an American, to me it seems like an awful waste of time. I am not saying this as an insult but rather I am asking this as a serious question...what is the attraction and benefit in being melancholy? It doesn't seem to change things. It's almost as if people behave this way out of respect for all those who suffer but the end result is the same...people are going to suffer. How does being melancholy help? Can't respect be giving kindly either way?

Thank you so much for this thought provoking post. I am sure I will be chewing on this for a while. And now I have to add yet another book to my list to read....how the hell did I become a reader? I hope all this reading doesn't make me melancholy...lol.

Re: Current Reads: What is Everyone Reading?

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:32 am
by Eliza
I tend to read more than one book at a time. I have a lot of bookmarks :)

Currently

Emotional Intelligence, Black Order, Labyrinth, Wholeness & Implicate Order, Holographic Universe, The Lightening Thief.

Re: Current Reads: What is Everyone Reading?

Posted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:28 am
by RobbieVzamorA
I am reading Louisa Shea's Cynic Enlightenment: Diogenes at the Salon. I hope, but I doubt that she will examine Diogenes Laertius' anecdotes and antics about Diogenes of Sinope in a more investigative manner. What caught my interest about this book is that she compares Diogenes with Dolmance, the main libertine from Marquis de Sade's The Philosophy in the Bedroom. I think she should have compared Sade's character with Aristippus.

Re: Current Reads: What is Everyone Reading?

Posted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:49 pm
by duszek
artisticsolution wrote: One thing I will say about the melancholy thing is, as an American, to me it seems like an awful waste of time. I am not saying this as an insult but rather I am asking this as a serious question...what is the attraction and benefit in being melancholy? It doesn't seem to change things. It's almost as if people behave this way out of respect for all those who suffer but the end result is the same...people are going to suffer. How does being melancholy help? Can't respect be giving kindly either way?
It could be artistic honesty that makes people write melancholic works of art.
Sylvia Plath´s book "The Bell Jar" is not fun to read but it is interesting and honest. She was not a cheerful person, had mental problems and finally committed suicide.

I do not know whether Chopin is known in America, his music is mostly melancholic too.
He had not much reason for joy, he suffered from tuberculosis, his country was divided under three powers.
And yet, I do not feel depressed when I listen to his works in minor.

Re: Current Reads: What is Everyone Reading?

Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:04 am
by artisticsolution
Hi Duszek,

D:It could be artistic honesty that makes people write melancholic works of art.

AS: This is so true. I have no doubt that melancholy can be artistically honest. Artistic happiness can be honest as well. What I question is why you made it sound as if American author's are dishonest somehow on their feelings of happiness. This is what you wrote:

"I do not think that any American author would dare to write a melancholy book. You are obliged to sound cheerful."


Forgive me if I am reading too much into your words. Believe it or not I think being melancholy and happy has the same value when it comes to honesty.

D:Sylvia Plath´s book "The Bell Jar" is not fun to read but it is interesting and honest. She was not a cheerful person, had mental problems and finally committed suicide.

AS: I am sure she is interesting and honest. And I can certainly understand you wanting to read something that is not "fun." It is probably the same reason I like to paint things that are not "beautiful." There is something unique and haunting and extraordinary about the beauty of things that move our spirit but not our eyes. No one else need "get it." It is a personal thing which makes it all the more rare and therefore all the more valuable.

D:I do not know whether Chopin is known in America, his music is mostly melancholic too.
He had not much reason for joy, he suffered from tuberculosis, his country was divided under three powers.
And yet, I do not feel depressed when I listen to his works in minor.

AS:Yes, I think I know what you mean. There was a famous man in my country named Doc Holiday.
He had tuberculosis as well. I do not feel depressed to know that he did. However, he was not melancholy despite his illness. His last words showed his (honest) American spirit:

As he lay dying, Holliday allegedly asked for a drink of whiskey. Amused, he looked at his bootless feet as he died—no one ever thought that he would die in bed, with his boots off. His reputed last words were, "Well I'll be damned. This is funny." John Henry "Doc" Holliday died November 8, 1887. He was 36.


I am not saying that Happiness is better than being melancholy, each has it's purpose. What I am saying is that the happiness most American's feel is not out of obligation to anyone.

Re: Current Reads: What is Everyone Reading?

Posted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:33 am
by GeMariann
Well, I'm currently reading 1984 and the more I read the more I think we are not that far away from a world where we are watched all the time and only our thoughts are free as long as we don't speak them.

Re: Current Reads: What is Everyone Reading?

Posted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:04 pm
by Richard Baron
GeMariann wrote:Well, I'm currently reading 1984 and the more I read the more I think we are not that far away from a world where we are watched all the time and only our thoughts are free as long as we don't speak them.
Fortunately, we have weapons in our hands. Wikileaks is wonderful. Blogs run from small countries can be great too. (Iceland looks set to become a great haven of free speech.)

Our ultimate line of defence is that they cannot monitor all of us, all of the time. A blog in Britain, http://www.oldholborn.net, has as its slogan "There are 60 million of us but only 646 of them". Substitute the population of the US and the number of senators/congressmen for the population of the UK and the number of members of Parliament, and you get the idea. Even put in the number of police officers, and we still come out ahead of the authorities. But this line of defence fails if we only think in the accepted ways, and so police ourselves. I think that is the most chilling message of 1984: Newspeak means that the authorities do not need to monitor everyone's utterances, because most people have no desire to think heretical thoughts.

Re: Current Reads: What is Everyone Reading?

Posted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:36 pm
by stretmediq
Deist: So That's What I Am. It is written by 13 modern Deists and covers the history of Deism, Deist ethics, and the various forms of Deism in the 21st century from Pagan Deism to Christian Deism to the most scientifically rigid (to the point of almost being Atheistic) types of Deism out there. It's probably the best book on modern Deism available today. It's easy to find. It's rated #1 on Amazon when you type in "Deist" and #3 when you type in "Deism". And it's a pretty good read. But caution, it's designed for freethinkers so if your uncomfortable with having your beliefs challenged this is not the book for you.

Re: Current Reads: What is Everyone Reading?

Posted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:48 am
by Grim
"The Ticklish Subject" - Zizek
"Don Quixote" - Cervantes

Re: Current Reads: What is Everyone Reading?

Posted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:58 pm
by mhoraine
Consciousness and the Novel - David Lodge

Of particular interest, Chapter 10 - Kierkegaard for Special Purposes.
This is where Lodge describes his own creative process. Writing as and in ' Therapy ' - he draws out the parallels between his character 'Tubby' and Kierkegaard.

It was the theme of depression which led Lodge to Kierkegaard.
Really, really interesting to see how Lodge, or any novelist, is inspired by even a quickie with kirkie or such-like.
Lodge ( ? as Tubby ) was ' impressed by K's insights into the subjectivity of happiness and unhappiness....and the paradox of [ seeing matters so clearly yet being unable to put this into practice in his own case ].
Ex. the ' self-punishing reversal of a choice ( the choice of a spouse ) by a philosopher who insisted on the necessity of commitment'. p276

Tubby on Kierkegaard : ' What a fool. But what an endearing, entirely human fool '
Kirky didn't get Regine ; Tubby didn't get Maureen.

Lodge talks about the writing of journals, dramatic monologues, memoirs - and how they help the writer become more self-conscious :

'Turning a negative, subjective experience into something positive and shareable. This is what literature does...the consolation and reward of being a book-writer. Kierkegaard knew it was so ; Tubby Passmore [ in 'Therapy' ] discovers it is so ; I have certainly found it so'. - p282

[ Other chapters in the book are interconnected essays on eg the works of Dickens, Henry James....]

Re:

Posted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:28 pm
by chaz wyman
aloysius wrote:Just started reading "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. I'm only about 20 pages into it so I don't have much to say about it - maybe later.

Anyone have any ideas or pointers for my reading of it?
Not to be confused with philosophy.