Books I Haven't Finished, or Started.

I haven't read these books yet, but mean to, and should. So read them with me, email me about any of them, and we can chat about it. I've always wanted to be in a Book Club.

1.James Joyce - Ulysses

2.Franz Kafka - The Metamorphosis 

3.William Faulkner - The Sound and Fury

4.Leo Tolstoy - Anna Karenina

5.David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest

Classic.

Henry David Thoreau 'Walden'

I could describe at length how much this book changed my life, which it truly did. Instead perhaps I should allow Thoreau; "I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours" 

Marcel Proust 'In Search of Lost Time (A Remembrance of Things Past)'

A true masterpiece. It is dense, difficult and better read in french. A book many ignore outside of academia, all seven volumes represent an intimidating task. I recommend the audio books.

Marcus Aurelius 'Meditations'

"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live"

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth" 

Meditations may be the most quotable piece of thinking ever recorded. The Stoic masterpiece building on Seneca is perhaps the most profound glimpse into a man of such power and intrigue. 

 

From the Past Month.

Miguel De Cervantes 'Don Quixote' 

Cervantes believed that a good novel should have a touch, a dusting, of everything. It should combine elegantly all the possible types of story. Dostoyevsky called it "the ultimate and most sublime work of human thinking" and so I guess, the proof is in the pudding.*

*one of many popular modern phrases coined by Cervantes' famous Knight.

Dialogues of Plato.

Although often difficult to dictate who's voice leans closest to the surface, Socrates or Plato, the dialogues encompass the true foundation of greek thought. With apologies, pun intended, to Aristotle's more influential 'Nicomachean Ethics' this is the essential first reading. Of course you will find many versions of the Dialogues, as they encompass all platonic writings, from Apology through to Republic, Symposium and later works. Focus early on the more Socratic thinking, Meno and Phaedo are my personal favourites. 

** you will always find the Dialogues as selected works, for something more fundementally Plutonic read 'Republic'.

John Steinbeck 'East of Eden'

Steinbeck's finest work, at least in my opinion. A true American writer in the mould of other favourites Twain and Kerouac, 'East of Eden' is the novel Steinbeck is most proud of, seeping in allusion, philosophical sentiment and the dynamic of good and evil. Although fantastic, it can seem out of touch with reality in his effort to make the deeper meaning stand out, because of that it loses the cultural relevance of earlier works 'The Grapes of Wrath' and 'Of Mice and Men'. 

 

The Latest Three, For Me.

The Sun Also Rises. -Earnest Hemingway

Hemingway is my favorite writer. His ability to describe scenes with such vigor and simplicity is unparalleled and a large part of why he was so profoundly successful as a war correspondent. Yet, I think that his true grit as a writer shines more deeply in this work, one about love, that describes an entire generation, down to the detail, and takes you so deeply into the twenties that you feel as though you might really be there. 

 

Be Here Now. -Ram Dass

Often skeptical about anything spiritual, for too long I deprived myself of the beauty within eastern thought. If you are at all interested in zen or mindfulness Ram Das (Richard Alpert) is a good place to start. This book is in the midst of changing my life.

 

Steve Jobs. -Walter Isaacson

Rarely do I read biographies. Exceptions of course come for people whom I idolize, Jobs really doesn’t fit that category but I was in the Honolulu airport facing a nine hour flight to Sydney and figured I would give it a shot. One of the best spontaneous purchases I’ve made in a long time, Isaacson weaves an amazing story of a truly amazing individual.

First Dose.

These will be short and sweet, many of the books will be reviewed in another section. Here, here its about finding something that might peak your interest and why.

 

1) Erich Fromm "The Art of Loving"

One of my favourite non-fiction books. Fromm a social psychologist and humanist philosopher elegantly lays out the art of loving. Touching on ways in which western civilization and capitalist culture has infected our preconceptions. He points out some critical things; first, that you can't love anyone until you can love yourself, and second, that love cannot be dependant. Whether you think you know everything about love, or you believe that your cold heart is much too focused to think about such an insignificant thing. This book will change how you treat those closest to you, how you view yourself, and maybe one day, how to love.

2) J.R.R. Tolkien "The Hobbit"

I know far too many people who have either wholly ignored books or else grown disillusioned through mandatory readings. If you fit one of those descriptions you will only embrace the wonders of reading if you begin with something that truly draws you in. If you're seven or forty-seven The Hobbit is one of those books.

3) Jack Kerouac "On The Road"

Jack changed my life, his adventures and mindset towards life influenced me more than any other author. To experience everything, to live free of judgement and most of all to feel, to feel everything until you feel like you might explode from all the life and emotion you've piled inside of yourself.