Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Summer reading

Recently (since the start of the summer):

The Awakening, Kate Chopin: don't know how I feel about her worldview, but it made me feel like writing, which consequently made me want to read it again . . .

Rape, sex violence history, by Joanna Bourke: fantastic, very insightful.

and some other stuff I didn't like as much.


Watchmen, Alan Moore: a fantastic second read through. I actually think this will remain on my list for a couple of further re-readings when I'm done. . .

The Lucifer Effect, Philip Zimbardo: constantly feel as if I'm wading through poor reasoning and mediocre writing in search of fascinating information. . . . which is there. This is about the Stanford Prison Experiment and it's implications.

Next up:

Between the Blinds; A Derrida reader, edited by Peggy Kamuf. I'm told it's the good place to jump in to literary analysis, about which I'm excited.

How to lie with statistics, last chapter. It's an ok basic primer, at this point I'm interested in learning a lot more of the math and how it was developed.

And the other fifteen or thirty books sitting on my desk, including:
a gardening book
a history of the hellenistic societies
music theory for dummies
a small heap 'o classics, to be postponed till after the Derrida (which I expect to take a good while). Some of these I'm half or more through, and may finish first.

Hoping to get out of:

The God Delusion: I'll read the chapter that proclaims to have evidence in favor of atheism. . . as more than one more faith. Other than that. . . Wes can deal with my agnosticism. . . Except that it did kind of look interesting. But there's so much else that I really want to read. . .

Wanting to read, at some point maybe soon:

Zen and the art of Motorcycle maintenance
V for Vendetta
The trouble with Physics
more Kafka, particularly The Trial

Possible upcoming acquisitions:

Robert's rules of order
Chicago manual of style
Ethics of Ambiguity. . . which, come to think of it, I also want to read again. Wouldn't hurt to have it in French as well.
A complete Shakespeare with decent binding, probably vintage riverside.
My own copy of QED?
Some particularly good board books to read to Gavin
Lolita, as a gift for a young fashion designer. . .

Math and science reading shall be interspersed, and is at this point somewhat less planned.

By the way, if anyone has comments or recommendations, I'd particularly like to hear them on this.

So I've always been into the cheesy library summer reading programs; something about the deadlines and the prizes and the artificial gratification has been very appealing to me; it's one of those times grown-ups can reasonably behave like six year olds. This summer, I started out with the goal of five books a week--sort of reasonable, since I have a lot of reading time at work. . . and then I got caught up in the sort of books I can't cut through nearly that fast(aka most everything but young adult fiction and pop nonfiction). It's been really great--to realize that I'd rather be reading something more substantial, and to be enjoying it more than my (still) beloved silly prizes. I think my attention span is growing. :)


rman1iscool said...

I did not like The Awakening.

I am sort of curious about the Lucifer Effect as I have read something by the author of it once.

I did not like the God Delusion very much. It has an interesting study on the efficacy of prayer in it but the "who designed the designer" argument did not seem that powerful. I might not have given it a fair shot as I read it when my life was going to hell, and I stopped in the middle of the book.

My recommendations would be:
--The Ego and Its Own by Max Stirner (a book on egoism, existentialism, and the rejection of everything and can be found online)
--The Worldly Philosophers by Robert Heilbroner (not online, an overview of major economic ideas over time)
--Human Action by Mises(found online, long but well-written, a central piece of Austrian economics which is uber-libertarian, so interesting at least from the standpoint of history of thought, he also defends strict a priori reasoning, which is interesting)
--Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche(probably somewhere online but maybe not as a pdf, I like Nietzsche)
--The Machinery of Freedom(not online, by economist David Friedman-son of Milton, an intro to capitalistic anarchism)
--Bible by ? (found online, provides info on Christian theology and thought and through that knowledge on western society, way way too long)
--1984, Animal Farm, Brave New World or some such like that because dystopia novels are awesome.
--Theory of the Leisure Class by Veblen(not poorly written, an argument about the nature of society with the rich being attacked as the leisure class, possibly online, part of the history of economic thought)

I dunno, I might also recommend reading a good book on psychology, sociology, economics, political theory, philosophy or some such like that.

Day said...

That's a long list. . . I hope you aren't one of those shmucks who goes around recommending things they haven't read. ;)

The pile on my desk includes Thus Spoke Zarathustra. . . One of my good friends is a Nietzsche freak, and I respect his taste (and his familiarity with my background) enough to take his word on where to go after that.

I'm reasonably familiar with the bible, and don't particularly intend to go back to it till I've done a little Greek.

Read and liked Brave New world and Animal Farm long ago. :)

Is The Worldly Philosophers particularly well written? Is it a compilation of original works? I'm actually doing a sort of freelance economics course at the moment, based around a set of lectures offered by my university library. Sounds like this might be a good place to go next. . .

Out of curiosity, why all the econ recommendations?

Day said...

I should add, looks like a very interesting list also, and thanks. :)

SAC said...

I'm reading Respect for Acting at the moment, which is by Uta Hagen "with Haskel Frankel," whatever that means. I also mean to get to Stanislavsky's An Actor Prepares. At some point. I wouldn't mind company (to discuss them) in either case.

rman1iscool said...

I have read the books I recommended.

Thus spake zarathusthra reads like a religious text from what I have read of it.

Ok, that makes sense on the bible. I should familiarize myself with other religious works.

The Worldly Philosophers is well-written. It is not a compilation of works, but rather an overview of major thinkers or schools of thought and often it has a biography of a thinker and their major ideas.

Econ recommendations? Well, one of my bigger interests is economics and I have studied it formally and informally. I have not studied an amount of psych or sociology that compares to my economics so I do not recommend it so much.

An additional recommendation could be "The History of Western Philosophy" by Bertrand Russell, which I am only about half-way through.

Day said...

That seems reasonable, though I'd like to point out that two of the books on my list have a lot to do with both sociology and psychology.

Maybe we can talk economics after I've done some of that reading. :)

Good science/math reading recommends are especially desired. .. finished "how to lie with statistics," started a book on the logistics of manned mars missions. .