EDIT: I left out a few. They’ve been added at the bottom of the list.

ANOTHER EDIT: How could I leave out Thomas Moore?

I just finished A Deepness in the Sky, by Vernor Vinge. A great book, maybe even better than A Fire Upon the Deep. Absolutely top-notch sci-fi. Vinge is a master of stories that span from individual relationships up to the vast distances and time spans of intersteller travel.

I’m working my way through several books, some at faster rates than others. Of the books I have at least started, at the moment I can remember:

We the Living, by Ayn Rand. Depressing, and I hear it only gets more so. The truly depressing part, though, is all the evidence that in hindsight she was exactly right about the true nature of life under the Soviet regime. It’s a shame the West took so long to cop to the facts. You’d think they would have paid more attention to the escapees and less to the propaganda…

ANSI Common Lisp, by Paul Graham. A refreshingly small and opinionated programming text. I’m looking forward to being able to read AND write Lisp.

Settings of Silver, by Stephen Wylen. A somewhat dry but informative primer on Jewish history, religion and culture.

The Miracle of Mindfulness, by Thich Nhat Hanh. A slightly haphazard little book on meditation, by the modern Zen master. Written in his usual beautifully simple, direct yet deceptively intelligent style.

A book of selected poetry by Oscar Wilde. This has been a real unexpected treasure; I knew of Wilde as a playwright, author, and of course, famous historical gay dude; but his poetry paints mesmerizingly beautiful visions of antiquity.

The Golden Bough, by Sir James George Frazer. Yep, still slogging my way through it. It’ll take me awhile, but it’s worth it; neat stuff in there.

Genes, Peoples, and Languages by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza. This is my “car book” – I keep it in my glove compartment, and read a few pages whenever I’m waiting for an oil change or a haircut. So it’s taking me a long time to get through. Which is probably just as well, considering the density of the material. Most recent item of note: China had ceramics long, long before they had developed agriculture. As in thousands of years before.

Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore. I’m just a few pages in, and I know I’m going to be getting a lot out of this book. Therapy as cultivation of the soul, rather than salvational fixes – this guy’s on my wavelength.

So… what are you reading?

I leave you with an excerpt from Charmides by Oscar Wilde:

Ready for death with parted lips he stood,
And well content at such a price to see
That calm wide brow, that terrible maidenhood,
The marvel of that pitiless chastity,
Ah! well content indeed, for never wight
Since Troy’s young shepherd prince had seen so wonderful a sight.

Ready for death he stood, but lo! the air
Grew silent, and the horses ceased to neigh,
And off his brow he tossed the clustering hair,
And from his limbs he throw the cloak away;
For whom would not such love make desperate?
And nigher came, and touched her throat, and with hands violate

Undid the cuirass, and the crocus gown,
And bared the breasts of polished ivory,
Till from the waist the peplos falling down
Left visible the secret mystery
Which to no lover will Athena show,
The grand cool flanks, the crescent thighs, the bossy hills of

Those who have never known a lover’s sin
Let them not read my ditty, it will be
To their dull ears so musicless and thin
That they will have no joy of it, but ye
To whose wan cheeks now creeps the lingering smile,
Ye who have learned who Eros is, – O listen yet awhile.

A little space he let his greedy eyes
Rest on the burnished image, till mere sight
Half swooned for surfeit of such luxuries,
And then his lips in hungering delight
Fed on her lips, and round the towered neck
He flung his arms, nor cared at all his passion’s will to check.

Never I ween did lover hold such tryst,
For all night long he murmured honeyed word,
And saw her sweet unravished limbs, and kissed
Her pale and argent body undisturbed,
And paddled with the polished throat, and pressed
His hot and beating heart upon her chill and icy breast.

It was as if Numidian javelins
Pierced through and through his wild and whirling brain,
And his nerves thrilled like throbbing violins
In exquisite pulsation, and the pain
Was such sweet anguish that he never drew
His lips from hers till overhead the lark of warning flew.

They who have never seen the daylight peer
Into a darkened room, and drawn the curtain,
And with dull eyes and wearied from some dear
And worshipped body risen, they for certain
Will never know of what I try to sing,
How long the last kiss was, how fond and late his lingering.

I don’t know about you, but that’s fucking hot, even if it is about a boy humping a statue.

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  1. I finished reading Angels and Demons (it’s the prequel to The DaVinci Code) a few weeks ago. Loved it.

    I’m currently at the end of HBP.

    I’ve been captivated by a graphic novel named Chloe by Hans Rickheit. It’s graphic and disturbing, yet intimate and beautiful and wonderful. It’s simultaneously intimately wondrous and obscene. I think only certain people will be able to see the wonder and beauty in it, though… I think you have to be screwed up in a very particular way. I’m trying to expose as many people to it as possible to test this hypothesis. = check it out. I can’t find a bootleg of it… you’ll have to get it at your local comic shop or order it. It’s well worth it.

  2. I just finished Sophie’s World, which is neat, but ultimately not worth it. If you’re interested in philosophy but don’t know the basics, read it. If you already know a bit about philosophy, skip it.

    Now I’m on to The Ghost Writer. Not quite sure what it’s about just yet (ghosts probably), but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.

    P.S. Normally I don’t respond to posts in a serious fashion, but I’m feeling quite odd today.

    1. Well I’m pleased to be a benefactor of your oddness 🙂

  3. what am i reading?

    i usually read about a dozen books at a time, too.

    casually, i’ve been reading The History of the Goths. you know, about the REAL goths. a friend was given it, but it never really interested him, so i’m borrowing it.

    i’ve also started reading Coffee and Tea, which is kind of a primer to coffee/tea connoisseurship. history, how to taste a cup, proper brewing, etc.

    Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. finally decided i should get around to it, though i haven’t read it much in the past couple weeks.

    and then i’ve still got, like, six or so books i read a few pages on every month or so… but these are the big ones at the moment. 🙂

  4. The reason “The Miracle of Mindness” is so scattered is that it’s an edited collection of letters. I believe, though don’t quote me on this, that it was compiled postumously.

    1. If so the monks have mastered time travel, because he’s still alive!

      1. You are correct.

        I don’t know where I got the idea that he had passed on.

  5. Vernor Vinge rocks! I think that you have read the best. Tatja Grimm’s World is decent, and I really liked The Peace War but you may have missed dBase II for the full effect.

    I also like Glen Cook, Robert Asprin, and Tanith Lee.

    Sophie’s World is a good introduction to Philosophy, but I agree with secilliack.

  6. You should just stop reading We the Living right now. It is without a doubt the most depressing thing she ever wrote and it will just continue to depress you. Read something more uplifting. . .like a book on the holocaust or the 9/11 report.

    As for Thomas Moore, I really need to read more of him. I read a bunch of his writing on logic for my thesis, but that was much dryer stuff than you’re reading.

  7. So… what are you reading?
    Books, and magazines. 😉

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