Monday, November 14, 2005

Old Books

What's been up? Moved in with Pat. Stayed at the Manila Pen for a while. Helped her clean out her room. Built some bookshelves. I'm actually fair at carpentry (sawing and varnishing, anyway). I know most of you won't believe that but there it is.

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The Conservatory


The thing with bookshelves is that you put books on them. I found a few of my old gems hidden in Pat's closet that I felt deserved at least a little mention.

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
The classsic tome of objectivism. I first heard of Atlas Shrugged from rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan. There was a short fan fiction parodying it, and I was intrigued by the moral dilemma between "take care of the weak" and "don't suffer fools". So I went out and got the book, which made a huge impression on my character, as I was 16 at the time. Amazing read all over. In hindsight, a better order would be to read Anthem and Fountainhead first.

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, by Douglas Adams
By the same guy who wrote H2G2, this is just as funny but a lot more literate. For one thing, it asks that you know a bit of Coleridge to appreciate the story. Did I mention it was funny? I'd rank it aboe Hitchhiker's, and way above anything Adams wrote in his bitter phase.

Foucault's Pendulum, by Umberto Eco
I decided to pick up some Eco because of something Zafra mentioned. This is a really clever book about mysticism and the lack of it. Throws in a lot of odd factiods about old mystical traditions, wishout getting too dry.

Sometimes Eco can be a really thick read (ie, Kant and the Platypus), but in this book he reallty shines. And anyway, don't you just love semiotics teachers? "Pat is my wife. Pat is a three letter word. My wife is a three letter word."

In case you missed all of that, let's just say it's a very cerebral Dan Brown.

A Depth of Beginning: Notes on Kabbalah, by Colin Low
Speaking of which, Kabbalah is something that fascinated me for years, which is singular since I consider myself to be neither superstitious nor religious. It started with the aforementioned Foucault's Pendulum, and Neon Genisis Evangelion before that (around 1998). Colin Low's Notes on Kabbalah is one of the finest works on Hermetic Kabbalah that I've read, probably helped by the fact that he's a practicing physicist/computer scientist so the presentation is quite logical and scientific, even if the subject matter is quite not so. Also, it's free and published only on the net! What's not to like?


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